Today was a bit of excitement. Barry and Carol from nb Winton's Folly arrived back yesterday and mentioned that they planned to cruise into Stone to do some grocery shopping and then straight back and did I want to come along. It was a great opportunity for some steering practice so we agreed to take nb Parisien Star instead.
I allowed myself plenty of time for preparation in the morning. The chimney had to come off (let the fire go out the night before - a good opportunity to give it a clean), the tv aerial down, electric lead unplugged and switched off, and the pram hood folded down. Tiller on, engine started, mooring ropes untied. I really didn't know what to do with Banjo. Would he be happier being locked inside nb Ferndale while we were out or would he rather have people around but be out on a boat not his own. In the end he came along with us. He cried pitifully when we left him inside so in the end Carol sat on the step in the stern with him. It's hard to know how a dog will behave when he's not yours. We were a bit worried he might jump out!
It wasn't too windy on the way to Stone. There were many more boats moored up than there had been on Monday when I walked in with Banjo. One name caught my eye - nb Beefur. The name was familiar and I was sure I'd seen a blog of that name.
We winded (turned around) and moored in the first spot which was conveniently available. I didn't fancy trying to get in between two other boats so was glad I didn't need to. We all did our shopping, with Banjo making his dissatisfaction with being tied up outside the supermarket well known!
As we walked to the supermarket Carol asked if I'd like to join them for dinner tonight. I thought it must surely be my turn to cook but after the back and forth... I'll cook... no, I'll cook...but I want to cook... please let me cook... I gave in. Who was I to deprive her of cooking after a month of not cooking a thing! Sounds like a great holiday they had in Thailand.
When we had the shopping stashed in the boat we headed off again. The wind picked up as we got closer to the marina. Just what I needed. As I carefully negotiated the boats moored about the last bridge before Aston Lock a boat caught up behind us. Oh dear... I hope they're patient! The lock was in our favour. Barry just jumped off and by the time I'd maneuvered away from the bank he was opening the gate. It wasn't the best lock approach with the wind making life difficult but I've done worse.
Barry chatted to the lady from the boat waiting behind to use the lock and it turned out to be nb Beefur whom we'd seen earlier. I was right about the blog and have looked it up again. I really am going to have to do something about my "blogroll". There's so many not appearing and I'm not sure why. It's impossible to read them all but I do have a browse most days.
Turning into the marina entrance was hard work with the wind pushing the boat about. Oh well, a couple of back and forwards and we were through. Then to try and reverse onto the pontoon. It was another wind blown muddle but I got there eventually. It took a while to put everything back to rights but satisfying to know I can do it myself. Even the pram hood turned out to be quite a simple task.
Thanks Barry and Carol!
I can't believe I didn't take a single photo of being out of the marina on the boat.