Friday morning was very cold and the canal was frozen over yet again. We had moored by the pump out at Stenson marina overnight so we could use it when they opened at 10.
When I went to the office they were very apologetic but they couldn’t find the pump out key and the only spare was with someone who wasn’t back until Tuesday. What a dilemma as we were in desperate need and the ice was thick.
I hate navigating through the ice as I don’t want to upset anyone. Mind you, most people would say “If you don’t want ice sheets sliding against your moored boat then break the ice around it or put scaffold boards around your boat”. I know this is true but find it hard to think like that. We decided to set out after lunch for the next boat yard by which time the temperature was due to have risen. I took Buddy out for a short walk whilst Karen did some chores. When Buddy gets back to the boat he sits patiently waiting for us to get our boots and coats off before we wipe his paws. He proffers these one at a time but is a little unsteady about the back paws.
It took a while to get away from the mooring because no other boats had been through and we had to get out sideways. As we left we immediately passed moored boats and some guy called out to Karen (who was standing at the front to fend us away if necessary), “You’ll ruin your blacking”. Quite true but we had no choice and thought the ice had melted somewhat since the morning.
We headed for Mercia marina, a massive place that has only just recently opened up. Karen walked as usual and took some pictures of us breaking the ice but they didn’t really show what was happening. This shot, however, shows the path we carved out.
Here we are entering the marina which has its own tunnel under a main road.
Going into marinas is something else that is out of my comfort zone. All marina dwellers have smart new boats and don’t suffer from the cold as they have electric hook ups etc. This marina is so big it has a ladies’ boutique, fancy childrens’ wear shop, butcher, baker and large bar amongst other things. These are housed in the massive building in the photo above. The bar is on two floors and looked packed upstairs. They were probably having a good laugh at the old boat (and the old boy) making heavy water of turning the boat round in the ice.
We had a short walk and decided to go back to the boat for the rest of the day. Getting snugly and having mulled wine on the boat was more appealing to us than walking along muddy footpaths in the gloom to a local pub. We know we can suss it out tomorrow as we will probably walk to Willington and see where we can moor for a day or two.
I’ll be cooking tonight but nothing fancy as we still have Karen’s Kashmir Chilli chicken left from last night so all I have to really cook is the rice. A strange day for both of us as we didn’t really do anything other than get a (not very successful) pump out. But as we both said, “What’s one day out of a year and it’s only five o’clock - cheers!”.