Karen's happy: found a card game she can beat me at

We had a little planning session on Thursday morning and thought we would cruise a couple of miles and a couple of locks to Swarkestone on Trent.  We would then stay there for a few days as there are lots of walks and things to see. 

Before we set off I had a niggling feeling that things weren’t as we thought in the holding tank so had a check on it.  It was practically full which was a shame as it meant we couldn’t stick to our plan we had just made as we had to get to the next boat yard for a pump out.  So the new focus was getting to Stenson a few miles and locks further than the original plan.  As usual, it didn’t really bother us because anywhere we go is somewhere new with potential surprises.

Fortunately it wasn’t raining and we made good progress.  Karen and Buddy walked the eight miles and operated the locks as usual whilst I steered along with my thoughts.  As usual I think ridiculous things, the most constructive being “What shall we call the next blog entry?” and “What does Karen think about when she walks along on her own?”.

When we got to the first lock, the Canal & River Trust guys we had met earlier in the week were there.  The gate paddles were stuck partly open with debris making the lock difficult to empty and fill. So their job was to remove all the debris.

When we first met them they told us that they have to do a risk assessment before starting a project, however small.  They told us that the risk assessments often take longer than the job itself.  Karen managed to get this picture of them working – not without risk she thought. One guy was holding onto the other whilst the first guy was leaning over the lock edge.

Here are a few pictures Karen took whilst walking today. Firstly: me.

Secondly: Buddy.
Lastly: a field.

We went past the Swarkestone Hall Pavilion which is one of the places we wanted to visit and why Swarkestone was our original destination for the day.  Anyway, we didn’t mind that we went four miles further because it gives us a good excuse for a long walk later in the week.  I have just read up on the web and this place was built in 1630 in the grounds of Swarkestone Hall which is no longer in existence.  The web is fascinating as it is so easy to go off on tangents. The furthest I’ll go is to tell you that The Stones had a photo shoot for their Beggar’s Banquet album here in 1968.  We’re looking forward to walking back and having a look around.

We arrived at the Stenson boat yard but, unfortunately, too late as it closed at three so we had to moor up to wait until they open in the morning.  At least it gave us a chance to have some tea and cake.  The apple cake Karen made yesterday was delicious so thanks to Ann and Heather for the recipe.  If I had to rank Karen’s homemade boat cakes it would take the number one spot.

I have been thinking about the “12 best things about living on a boat” that we included in the blog yesterday.  There is something to add about proximity.  I’m sitting here in the dining room (saloon) writing the blog (with a glass of wine as it’s Thursday) just chatting to Karen in the kitchen whilst she cooks Kashmir Yellow curry (with her glass of wine as it’s Thursday).  In a house we would have to shout to each other and I wouldn’t so easily smell the delicious meal that is being prepared.

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