Wednesday, 30 May 2012

What a lovely week

As James has previously mentioned Jess arrived with us on Tuesday 22nd May with the plans to leave on Saturday, so a good four days aboard with us.  As soon as she arrived it was pretty much off with Mum and John also aboard for our picnic lunch.  When we got back to the marina early evening I spotted some huge fish swimming around the boat and called for Jess and James to have a look, they were apparently Carp - some of them must be a good 2ft - 2.5ft long and very wide, like barrels.

Half a huge Carp
On Wednesday Mum and John headed off for a day trip whilst we stayed at the marina - I needed to catch up on the washing!! so with the poor washing machine working overtime and the gorgeous weather it was done, dried and put back away in no time at all.  We wandered over to the pub to break the day up for our lime and soda and watch the boats going by.  Mum and John joined us shortly after, we hadn't realised they had been inside having a late lunch/early dinner.  John had kindly bought a bottle of wine for our anniversary, which went down very well.  After a few hours we headed back to LJ so I could finish the washing and get dinner sorted - Mum and John joined us later for coffee and cookies made by Jess.

On Thursday 'Solar Man' was due, so it was up fairly early and breakfast of tea and toasted muffins with jam, just as the muffins were ready James, who had been keeping a look out of the kitchen window, announced "the engineer is here", unfortunately Phil (Solar Man / Engineer) couldn't get through the security gate to us and only had James' phone number which had no signal - so was just wandering up and down hoping we would spot him and James did.  Jess and I moved off the boat onto the pontoon to eat our muffins so the boat didn't move when Phil was looking to see where the panels were going.  After that with books and papers in hand we all wandered over to the pub for coffee leaving Phil to it.  Again we met Mum and John over there and spent another few hours in the garden, with the occasional visit back to LJ to see how Phil was getting on.  As Mum and John were heading back home we had an early lunch (thanks Mum the carvery was lovely), then off they went.  We went back to LJ where Phil was about 20 minutes from being finished.  Then it was out of the marina for us and heading north on the Ashby to the end.  We stopped off at the same spot we had stopped on Tuesday for the picnic, it was a nice location and just on the edge of Hinckley and we needed to top up on food supplies before heading on into a very rural location with nothing around.  Morrisons was only about 2 miles away so it was a hike there and back with a full bag load of shopping each - a bit of a struggle in the heat but we made it!  So burgers for dinner cooked on the Cobb BBQ and then Jess' first night on LJ not on a marina.  It is very different waking up to views of fields one side and the canal the other and boats going past.

Friday was a bit of a rest day, most of it spent reading books!  Then it was a move further up the Ashby and stop over at Stoke Golding.  We walked up into Stoke Golding where the small village there has three pubs, a little convenience shop, post office and a church.  We were interested in the history of the church so went up to go inside - it was all locked up but a notice said where the key was so off we went in search of it - a bit like a treasure hunt.  Then I spotted it hung by someone's front door, probably the biggest key I've seen, you would need a big pocket to keep that in!  So back we went to the church for a look around.  Back at LJ whilst waiting for the BBQ to heat up we were watching the wild life - right opposite us was a moor hen family with tiny fluffy black babies, and we were also lucky enough to spot a water vole, the guide book had said to listen out for the 'plopping' sound as they entered the water but as they are very rare you don't usually see them.

Stoke Golding
Saturday we walked up to the next place we were planning on mooring, we wanted to check it out as it seemed like it could be a busy place, with organised boat trips.  It was a very hot day so after a stop off in the cafe for a lemonade it was a slow plod back to LJ.  After a bit of a rest we headed off to the next stop.  Sutton Cheney Wharf, where Jess fed mummy duck and her 11 ducklings.

Proud mummy duck
Jess had decided to head back home on Sunday instead, but then we realised that the buses in the little villages we were near don't run on Sundays so she wouldn't be able to get to the train station.  So after a quick check with her boss at work her holiday was extended by a day leaving on Monday instead.  She booked her train ticket and we had to get her as close to Market Bosworth as possible for the bus leaving at 12 noon.  The moorings at Market Bosworth were packed, but we managed to sneak in on the end with it all overgrown to the path.  We walked up into the centre of the village to check out where the buses stopped and to see how long it was take to get there, just over half an hour.  Also we noticed a sign on the bridge saying fish and chips on Sundays - yum.  Unfortunately the chip shop was closed so the sign on the bridge was a little out of date - so a quick check round the pubs etc for an alternative found not one of them served food on Sundays - looks like there could be a business opportunity there!! We had noticed a chinese take away so it was back there for sweet and sour chicken for three.

Monday James and I pushed our bikes up the hill to see Jess off on the bus, a quick stock up on food supplies at the co-op and a leisurely, downhill ride back to LJ where we stayed for another night.  Tuesday, after doing a 'spring clean' we headed off for the end of the canal with a stop off for lunch.  We had planned to moor at Snarestone just before the tunnel which has turned out to be a lovely spot, and the solar panels are certainly doing their job - with all this sun we shouldn't have to run the engine today - excellent.  Yesterday evening we wandering to the end of the canal to look at the restoration work that was going on.

Present terminus of the Ashby Canal
During Jess' visit we seemed to have spotted more wildlife than usual:- lots of swans with their cygnets, ducks with their ducklings, moorhens with their chicks, terrapins, water vole, huge carp and something that looked like a slow-worm but it was swimming - so if slow-worms swim it was that, if not it was something that looked like it!!  Oh and I nearly forgot we had a visit from a warble fly (according to our wildlife book - thanks Mum) - it looks like a 3cm wasp, it certainly got Jess moving she was out the door before James and I realised it was there!  Apparently their larvae feed just under the skin of cattle producing a swelling - doesn't sound too pleasant.  Unfortunately it didn't stay around long enough for a photo.

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