Sunday, 24 May 2009

Day 2: Parbold and the baby elephant

Well we awoke at Parbold this morning to find these little darlings by the back of the boat. They were literally falling over each other to get at the bread we threw, it was a work of art getting them all in the same photo.
 
I think the highest number of ducklings reported so far on the blogs (with one mum) was about 22, but this has got to be some kind of record.
 
Here they are, all 32 OF THEM, did a recount as they were swimming away too…!
 
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Plans changed for the better when Debs altered her shifts at work, which meant we could carry on travelling together till further into the week.
 
Debbie, John, and Bobby aboard Tickety Boo…
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Just to clarify which one’s Bobby, here he is but I don’t think he likes having his photo taken…!
 
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Leaving Parbold heading towards Crook…
 
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Coming up to the first lock after Parbold at Appley Bridge…
 
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TT coming into Appley Bridge lock…
 
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Gorgeous day,,, gorgeous view…
 
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Fast flowing weir before King’s Lock, we filled up with water at the BW water point nearby…
 
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Just after we’d gone through the lock I was waiting on the bank for Dave to come along and pick me up (right under the M6 to be exact). Where,, I surprised myself by averting disaster with my “expert” boating skills:
 
Another boat was coming towards Dave looked a bit too close for comfort, there he was heading straight for our boat. Obviously Dave had slowed right down, but the other boat was totally out of control. I shouted to the driver to “BACKUP NOW and turn the tiller towards me.” The poor guy tried, but by this time he was being blown across sideways, then I heard “Sorry, my engines packed up…!” (Sh*t)
 
It was quite breezy under the bridge and somehow he managed to get the front end in towards me. There were 6, yes I said SIX people sat on the front. All TOTALLY ANEBRIATED OBLIVIOUS to the fact that the boat they were on had just nearly clattered another. OR that it was now on a 90 degree angle.
 
I couldn’t believe that I even had to shout “Can somebody throw me the bow rope please?” One of the passengers stood there with a rope asking if this was it, I said “Yes it is, but could you PLEASE remove the mooring pin before you throw it?” Reply: “What’s that?” (Stay calm Heth, stay calm).
 
After we’d established what a mooring pin was it took what seemed like ages to untangle the darn thing. I kept the front end in and another guy grabbed the middle rope. I felt really sorry for the guy steering, it was obvious he was an experienced boater, and felt totally embarrassed. Probably more so about the lack of assistance from his passengers than anything else.
 
Anyway he thanked me for the help and I told him that I hoped he could get it sorted soon. He said it was a recurring problem with the electrics. They managed to spark it up again before we left, but how long for?
 
Debbie and John missed all the “excitement” (is that the right word?) Because they were in the lock at the time. After that experience we moved on quite a long way away from the noisy motorway, to a nice quiet spot and moored both boats up just beyond this pub: 
 
It was originally called “The Navigation” inn, but has been reborn as the “Baby Elephant” and serves Indian food. Well as long as “leg of elephant” isn’t on the menu who cares…?
 
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By this time the wind had dropped, and it was really warm again. So the four of us went and sat in the beer garden of the pub for a really nice meal, later on we had a drink sat on the back of TT. (Great place to sit and party!)
 
Then the “crew” of Tickety Boo went for an early night, so Dave and me got the old, (well newish) Scrabble board out.
 
Diane had texted me during the day about where we were, I let her know, and at precisely 11pm I got another txt saying “Is the kettle on?” Before I had chance to txt back “Are you serious?” There was a knock on the side of the boat, it was Diane AND Steve!
 
Well the game of scrabble was immediately abandoned, I mean you know what it’s like when you’ve had a bit to drink, or even a lot. A game of Scrabble gets to the stage whereby adding bits onto words that are already there is the best it gets. For example I created the word FART and Dave added ED on the end. (Clever that).
 
So basically the boredom soon got chased away with the appearance of our fellow friends, we had a hilarious hour of banter (as usual). I mean anyone listening from outside would’ve thought there was about 20 of us in here.
 
After discussing “His n Hers” bathroom sinks, we ended up on the subject of installing “His n Hers” stair lifts in the boats at each side of the um, stairs. However, Dave insisted that his would have a remote control, so he could set it going and take a run at it while it was gently gliding upwards. I can picture it now…

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