Friday, 3 November 2017

Lapworth Bridge 31 (getting ready to escape the winter maintenance)

Monday was spent pottering around and going for walks and the canal was eerily quiet.  I didn’t see a single boat on the move all day and then realised that half term was over and that, traditionally, signals the end of the summer boating season.  From now until March all will be quiet on the cut and boat movements will mainly be limited to people like us with the odd hire boater over the Christmas period.  We love both seasons; the hustle and bustle and meeting lots of people during the summer months and the solitude and peacefulness of being one of the few boats on the move during the winter.

The quiet pound we are moored in this week

When Karen came home from work on Monday we went into Leam for the evening  to celebrate my birthday, albeit a bit late.  We had a meal and then went to the art deco assembly rooms to see Kenny Wayne Shepherd and his band; he’s an American blues/rock guitarist/singer – Karen had bought tickets for my birthday present.  It was a great night but Karen felt a bit like I did at a girly concert.  There were very few women in the crowd, the reverse to when we saw Take That a few years ago where, apart from gay guys, I felt as if I was the only guy in the whole of Wembley 😉

I know most people won’t be interested but I have to include a picture from the gig for our own memories:

My daughter Lauren thought I was the bassist!

I always enjoy reading Aileen’s blog and it occurred to me that, apart from the fact they are cruising in France, the main difference in our writing is that she doesn’t hold back.  Even though she knows her mother reads the blog, she’s not shy about mentioning the amount of alcohol she and Mike get through or using flowery language.  Maybe I’m wrong and that is her holding back, but I thought of her when I was about to write that everything went tits up on Tuesday morning.

I got up from the sofa to get a second cup of coffee and, bang, my lower back pinged.  Oh no! I didn’t want to face another few weeks of incapacity.  Anyway, to cut a long story short I have been very good and spent the week mainly on my back and this morning I can walk without being doubled over.  Hopefully we have caught it early this time.

Apart from doing puzzles and reading I spent some time musing over our use of social media.  Karen and I only use Facebook and, even though she has an account we both tend to share mine.  When I used to work I worked at many different companies and when I left each one I moved on without exchanging contact details.  There was one exception, my closest friend John and his wife Heather used to work with me back in the 1970s and we have kept in touch ever since.  This all changed with Facebook and I have a lot of Facebook friends from Legal & General, the last company I worked at. 
Some people find social media friendships a bit weird but I have enjoyed keeping in touch with my L&G friends and we even have the odd phone conversation which would have been unheard of in previous times.

I mention all this because I used to work with the couple who are popping over this afternoon.  They are looking at living on their boat like we do and want to pick our brains about the life.  Before Facebook they wouldn’t have been able to get in touch, but as we are ‘social media friends’ they could, and we now realise we have shared interests.  It’s just the same with Mike and Lesley from Cropredy; Lesley and I worked together at L&G and never really socialised until we realised, years later, that we had the shared interest of boating.

This coming weekend is when the canal closures start in support of winter maintenance.  As we intend to cruise around the south of Birmingham for the next couple of months we need to get into position this weekend.  There is a lift bridge ahead of us at Shirley that closes on Monday so we will need to get past that.  We will then be stuck until Christmas on a lock-free stretch for several miles between the top of Tardebigge and the centre of Birmingham.

Talking about closures, a boating friend got in touch with me yesterday.  She has just completed the purchase of a mooring on the River Avon in Evesham and was looking forward to getting down there to tidy it up over the next few weeks.  She has just realised she can’t get her boat down there until the end of February because of the maintenance closures on the river
After today, Karen only has 18 weeks left at work before we’re off travelling properly again.  When we were having dinner out on Monday evening we did toy with the idea of popping down to London first before heading North.  As much as it would be great to cruise around London again, we decided against it as it would mean a 300-odd lock and 300-odd mile detour before we were back in the same place ready to head North.  

On our first walk this morning - not much of a picture but it's the only one I've taken since Monday - I do feel sorry for myself don't I?

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