We always carry two gas cylinders so we can swap over when one runs out. Swapping cylinders over is an outside job as they are kept in the gas locker right at the front of the boat. Consequently, the operation generally has to be done at the most inconvenient time, in the middle of cooking and when it’s dark, snowing, raining or windy or any combination thereof.
With the windy conditions forecast to stay until Sunday at the earliest we changed our plans and decided to stay at Linslade until cruising further north next week. Heather (Karen’s sister) & Keith were joining us on Sunday and sleeping over so Monday would be an ideal day to go for a cruise after spending a night with us. We would then drive up to Yorkshire for a few days to see my mum & dad for our last visit before heading to Migennes.
|Mum looking at Lauren & Lewis’s wedding pictures when we last saw her in February|
Steve arrived on Thursday afternoon; he had come for a sleepover and also to help (or do!) some jobs on the boat. During the day I had gone to a village outside Aylesbury where a small business manufactures brass fixings in an agricultural unit. I picked up some 2mm round headed, countersunk brass screws that I had been unable to track down anywhere else.
|The screws put to good use|
Steve offered to put the first couple of plaques up to get me going and then I hit on the idea of offering him a beer for every ten plaques. The inducement seemed to work because in the end he put all 43 up and in a straight line which I doubt I would have done!
When we went to bed something happened that keeps making us chuckle. When people stay over Buddy comes in to sleep with us rather than spending the night snuggled up next to the stove. Karen woke Buddy up to move his bed into our bedroom but by the time he got things together the door had almost closed. He is such a timid boy that he won’t push against a half open door. His face was a picture as he couldn’t really work out why he had been woken up and then his bed was taken away.
On Friday morning Judith called to say that Mum had passed away in the night. Thankfully she wasn’t in pain and it was peaceful; she was ready to go and she always said she had had a good life and didn’t need anything more 😊
It looked like being a dry morning, so Steve and I got on with some outside jobs. First of all we changed the domestic battery bank – now you’ll understand why Steve was visiting; he’s an electrician so wouldn’t let me cock anything up.
Next, we fitted fold up steps at both sides at the front of the boat. These will be useful when using the French locks as one of us will be climbing onto the roof at the front end when going up the locks. Steve, of course, had all the gear so we could tap the necessary holes to bolt bolts into.
|Steps folded away…|
|…and ready for action|
The batteries we replaced still had plenty of life in them but we replaced them so it would lessen the chances of having battery problems whilst away in France. Karen and I had decided that we would give the old batteries to someone who needed them in return for doing something for someone else or donating money to charity. It so happened that a young couple who live on a boat moored behind us were needing to replace theirs and were saving up to buy a new set. We had got talking when walking our respective dogs past each other’s boats. They were so pleased and happy to take the batteries, so we were pleased and happy they went to a good home.
On Saturday morning we went for a walk around the meadows that seem to surround Leighton Buzzard and then spent the rest of the day indoors, making sure we watched the rugby during the afternoon.
The wind got up again during the night and by Sunday morning it felt like we were on the sea as white horses were forming on the water. Luckily, we were tied with nappy pins onto the Armco as we wouldn’t have felt safe leaving the boat for a few days on stakes whilst we went up to Yorkshire to help my siblings with the arrangements for Mum.
|White horses – not a sight we often see on the cut|
We arrived at Gargrave just in time to watch the rugby with Dad. The change in the weather was unbelievable; it wasn’t particularly cold when we left Linslade but by the time we reached Skipton the car thermometer was showing 1.5 degrees. Judith & Nigel, who were also staying in Gargrave and had made a sterling effort in organising things for Mum with my young brother Richard, said it had been snowing and hailing on and off all day.
The last few days have obviously seen us all being busy organising things and the wild weather hasn’t let up. The River Aire that runs through the village is beginning to rise so there is no way of getting across using the stepping stones at either end of the village.
|The river is lapping against the back door of the house by the bridge|