Tuesday 6 September
We are on our way. Way to where, I just don’t know yet. Nor do my humans; nothing new there then.
This is our fourth adventure for those of you that are new to my travels. After travelling some twenty-eight European countries since twenty-thirteen, we decided to explore the waterways (mainly the canals) of the U.K. After a series of setbacks and dilemmas with our recently purchased narrowboat – to be referred to as V.P. or N.B. in future writings – we set off yesterday. Because V.P. wanted to remind us who is the boss, she began slowing down quite quickly after leaving Tardebigge. Tom pulled over on to the towpath in order to take a look at her workings, and realised that the gear box had flooded. Yelp!
Leigh stood holding the centre rope to keep V.P. from straying and Rosie and I had a mooch around the towpath. After a while Tom gave orders (I keep thinking Leigh is back in the Navy; as Tom drives the boat she must be the subordinate rating) to us all to jump aboard. V.P. then limped to a very conveniently located boatyard.
Apparently the ‘O’ ring on the gearbox needed replacing. It was done this morning, much to our relief. According to the boat engineer, this is a common fault on NB’s and only cost us a mere fifty pounds. Now, you may think I am being flippant here but…a few weeks back Tom told us the word ‘boat’ stands for ‘Bring Out Another Thousand’, and I can tell you this is very true. Everything on a boat costs much more than it would in a house. We have spent an awful lot of money on fixing up V.P. but we will not give up on her. She now looks, and is, ship-shape. All the bodge jobs – and there have been many – have been sorted out in a ‘good and proper’ manner. If you are wondering what I mean by bodge jobs here are a couple of examples:
1. Every light fitting and electrical connection had wires either hanging loose or just twisted together instead of having a connecting block joining the wires. A fire hazard for sure.
2. When Tom replaced some of the interior ‘tongue and groove panelling’ he found it had been fixed to the wall with…double sided tape. Looking on the bright side it could have been Blue Tack!
Anyway, here we are, moored up for our second night at a pub – no surprise there eh? Last night my humans ate at the Weighbridge Pub in Alvechurch; award winning beers and a hearty dinner in a pub built around a Weighbridge made for a good night out. Rosie and I stayed home alone for an hour and Rosie was not happy! Tonight, Tom is meeting a couple of buddies whilst Leigh relishes the thought of having time to do notalot! She may wander over and meet the guys for a quick drink, but she has a video meeting with a contact in New Zealand first – isn’t technology amazing (when it works)?
All in all we have had an enjoyable day today. The weather has been warm, we had a family of almostgrowncygnets pop over to say hello, saw a beautifully vibrant kingfisher darting in and out of the water (the turquoise of his feathers appeared almost fluorescent), Leigh picked blackberries and made blackberry and apple yoghurt-topped pudding, and I enjoyed toddling off down the towpath a couple of times.
Unfortunately, Tom came and fetched me back quite quickly – what a meanie? Leigh laughed when she saw me trotting back toward the N.B. – she told me that I seem to acquired a newly found confidence; perhaps I have!
Tuesday 6 September