Monday, 11 February 2019

Aylesbury (trespassers on the boat)

The weekend saw revellers climbing on the back deck, whilst we were on board, on both Friday and Saturday nights. Fortunately, on both occasions, I was able to go out and diffuse the situation.  We do feel that the first response should always be unaggressive and to try and appeal to the better nature of the wrongdoers.  Explaining that it’s our home and that we expect the respect that they would expect us to show for where they live has always helped.  Luckily for us, we have never been the target of stone throwers (or worse) where the same approach may not work.

On the Saturday night they were exceptionally apologetic and explained that they were trying to take photos of themselves pretending to drive a boat – I’m not sure how the pictures would have come out in the pitch black.  As we were going to Yorkshire for four days, we were a bit concerned about leaving the boat where it was even though we had left it in the same position for three weeks over the Christmas period without any issues.

With this in mind, on Monday, we moved the boat over to the pontoons and breasted up against Liz’s boat.  Being on the pontoons gives the added security of being locked and gated, although, determined and agile people could easily jump the gap into the secure area.

Karen doing a different sort of locking up as we left for Yorkshire on Tuesday morning
After moving the boat, it was a quick trip to the vets in town for Buddy’s second titre test.  We have to leave it 30 days from the rabies injection before being able to have the test.  All the signs are that he should pass this time, but we still have no idea what we will do if he fails until we know whether or not (or how) we’re leaving the EU at the end of March.

We hadn’t been up to Yorkshire to see my parents since before Christmas, so it was good to spend time with them during the week.  Mum is more confident since her falls and, although, she stays in her room she is talking about being able to go downstairs for meals again soon, which is positive news.  Dad, who was given a week or two to live a year ago, is as mentally strong as ever and we enjoyed hearing him recounting stories of his youth whenever we visited (he said he enjoyed recounting them too).  He has also been able to visit Mum a couple of times recently thanks to a local group of volunteers who transport those without mobility to visit loved ones etc.

There had obviously been a lot of rain recently as we couldn’t take our normal walk into my parent’s village across the stepping stones.

No way over the River Aire into Gargrave
On Wednesday we spent a lot of the day in Harrogate at the newly refurbished Turkish baths, one of only a handful of Victorian baths still left in the country.  After a guided tour, two hours in the baths, thirty minutes in the spa, lunch we then had a full body massages for an hour.  Yes, we were relaxed 😁

These pictures hopefully show the splendid decoration of the brickwork and tiling in the baths

The original changing rooms

The cooling down room
A treatment room

Welcome plunge pool we used after each visit to the steam or hot rooms

One of the hot rooms
We felt well and truly relaxed for the rest of the day and it was all we could do to walk around the corner and have a cream tea at Betty’s tea rooms…

…with a view over one of Harrogate’s many green spaces
I can’t move on from talking about Harrogate without mentioning a lucky find.  We had parked out of the centre and to get to the baths had to cross on a high-level walkway across the railway station.  Looking down at the platform we caught a glimpse of a pillar box.  We expected it to be Victorian as most boxes on stations are still the originals but we have only come across wall boxes before so this would be a first.

After a bit of faffing around and cajoling the station staff we managed to get onto the platform without a ticket and found that the box was indeed Victorian with the classic curved VR cypher found on pillar boxes.  

Victorian pillar box in Harrogate station
We stayed in Yorkshire until Friday and, after a final visit to my parents, set off home before we got caught in the Friday evening traffic.  We arrived back at Aylesbury basin just before darkness and, as expected, the boat was safe and well, if a little cold.  Ours was the only non-permanet boat left as the others had all left whilst we had been away.

The trip boat, Woody’s boat, Liz’s boat and then us
Saturday saw us heading off for Reading on yet another long car journey.  We were picking Jake and Lewis up on our way to see the Southampton-Cardiff game.  On the way we dropped Buddy off in Wokingham as our friend Ali had offered to look after him for the day.  We were rather hoping for an easy win, especially as Lewis is a Cardiff supporter.  We were sadly disappointed even though we had most of the possession and were clearly the better team, as no player seemed to want to try and score.

Fully expectant before the kick off
We were going to move out of the basin on Sunday and start heading back up the Aylesbury arm but decided to have an easy day and stay on board.  We had managed to avoid the results from Saturday's Six Nations matches so had a full afternoon catching up and watching the England-France game.

I did move the boat back to the side after breakfast as we felt a bit guilty breasted up to Liz’s boat, especially as she and Colin were spending the weekend on it.  As I have my marine radio certificate exam on Tuesday, I also spent a few hours or so doing some revision.

One reason we had planned on moving out of the basin on Sunday was to get up to the Grand Union mainline ready for when Jules and Richard come through on their fuel boat on Monday.  As we will now miss them, it looks like we’ll be making trips to a local coal merchants and to find a garage that sells red diesel. 

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