Monday 2nd June 2008 - Bridge 60, Leicester Line.
Crick Show is out of the way and we should expect life to return to normal. And so it did, the sun came out again as the last of the shiny boats returned to their marinas and hire boats took their place.
It’s a week day and perfect for an unhurried drop down to the basin without dozens of eyeballs, cameras and questions from visitors to the Foxton Locks.
Crossing the centre pond I missed the opposite concrete walls completely and slid neatly into the lower lock without touching the sides, as lockie Bill is my witness.
Tuesday – Black Horse Bridge
Tesco dropped our groceries at the boat while I warmed the engine and recharged the batteries. The sun doesn’t reach the solar panel in the vicinity of Black Horse Bridge until later in the day so its 1/2 amp charge rate wasn’t worth the wait.
On the way out of Foxton we marvelled at FBS’s price of 81p a litre for diesel and wondered what we’d find at Debdale. Jolly good for us it’s still 72p so we filled to the neck and settled down for the evening out of range of the marina.
The weather’s not really behaving itself so we lit a fire in the evening and roasted everything at the back end of the boat.
Wednesday – Debdale to Kilby Bridge
We have a crew today, Mike and Jo Edwards, recently parted from Sarah-Kate which is somewhere up north in the paint sheds. Mike and Jo are super people, like others we’ve discovered, they can’t resist messing about on boats so we’ve grabbed their muscles to see us through the dozen locks down to Kilby Bridge.
Don’t remember what Mike is talking about here but it looks like he’s recalling his motorcycle adventures.
I said I’d mention it in case anyone is planning a tour of the world. Mike’s son and Becca are keeping a journal of their “round the world in hundreds of days” on www.getjealous.com/byronedwards. Go and have a look, it’s definitely not your everyday tour guide package.
As it happens we caught up with Alegacie at Kibworth and made use of John’s windlass arm too as Eileen steered the boat and answered my questions in the locks.
Thursday – Kilby Bridge to Leicester
A quiet run through the southern city limits ended in safe arrival at Mile Straight in Leicester. There we were greeted by Lily Pad (Ian and Carol), Kayos (Mark) and a little later - Tezzer and Claire.
Shuffling about as other boats arrived, we jockeyed for position next to the park and the centre of the festival’s outdoor activities. Well positioned next to Lilly Pad we were away from the tow path and being 12 feet shorter than her we were almost hidden from view.
But it wasn’t to stay quiet for long, rowers thrashed back and forth on one side while ITV Central took up position on the tow path filming the festival introduction and starring Ian and Carol on Lily Pad.
Saturday – The Leicester Riverside Festival
Today it threatened rain, drizzled a bit and then brightened up. Councillor Andy Connelly arrived by launch and opened the event at noon. The public then dribbled in and wandered about and the music from the stage in the Plaza made sure the student accommodation was blitzed with a taste of their own medicine.
With apologies for the grey look (it was an umbrella up and down day) the following pictures will give an indication of what has to be the biggest and best Leicester Waterside Festival to date.
Vikings fought in the park. Falconry demonstrations might have happened (we missed all but the sitting on perches bit), faces got painted and shoes got shone – someone not that far from me and who never cleans her shoes actually sat and watched while a male of the same species talked her through the process. Look and learn, said I, but she refused to take any interest and sat gazing up into the sky.
A DIY BBQ with the IWA ended the day but not before we’d finished a bottle of red on Lorimar where we found Mark doing his best to relax at the same time as stopping the dogs wandering off.
It was lovely to see Keith and Janet (ex Mr Toad) and Tony and Julie from Kings Lock Tea Rooms yesterday and today it was nice to offer a wet and nibble to John and Dave (ex IWA vice chairmen). We also got a smile from the Lord Mayor (Mrs Lord Mayor, councillor Manjula Sood), and a wave from councillor Andy Brooks who spotted us from the crowd.
The boat parade was themed “Leicester” and we didn’t enter. The only decorations we carry that would suit the theme was a couple of pairs of socks.
Congratulations to Reflections, Forever Young (pictured with Matt) and LillyPad.
Sunday saw the sun appear with a vengeance and all those that hadn’t already gone a brown colour (.....) promptly turned pink.
Boats cruised, dragons raced on the water, kids did battle in canoes and on rafts and the whole place jumped to non stop music from the Plaza.
To say it was heaving was not an exaggeration. The beer tent ran out of it, the pubs around did a roaring trade and yet the atmosphere was perfectly family orientated with not one sign of bother, even Mrs Mayor said “It was brilliant”.
But all good things come to an end and after ten minutes of The Lancaster Boys Choir, on the stroke of 4 o’clock we slipped our moorings under the cover of smoke from barbeque stalls.
Finally reaching the County Arms or what’s left of it, we pushed our way into the undergrowth we now call canal bank. There are signs of veg’ cutting around the locks in these here parts but the contractor’s mowers haven’t been seen since they went out in the middle of winter. But it looks alright, if it saves money then I’m happy to cut my bit of giant hogweed when I tie-up. Can’t say I like the flowering grasses that spit pollen when I try to find the metal piling but if these are conscious cuts to help the money go round then I’m not going to object.
Monday 9th June 2008 – County Arms, Blaby.
Well what a lovely day, in fact what a lovely couple of days this has been. Saturday was somewhat dismal until late afternoon when it became dry and warm enough to sit out with the barbie in the evening but Sunday was a scorcher. On Sunday the place was heaving so it was a case of tow path dodging, park avoidance and wiping icecream off shirt sleeves.
Today is quiet if you can call builders hammering roof trusses, blood wagons screaming down Lutterworth Road and work boats on the move - quiet.
The dentists went well, nothing extracted apart from £32.40 for 10 minutes work.
There’s only one ‘necessary’ worse than a dentist’s check-up and that’s a dispensing chemist’s rip-off for hayfever medication. One is satisfied, for six months, while the other will probably continue drilling into my wallet for another couple of months.