Despite yesterday's late night I was up reasonably early and fired off a couple of last minute emails before shutting down the laptop for the rest of the week.
Today was the start of our short break on a narrow boat and, true to form, packing and preparation were to be last minute activities. Fortunately we were not scheduled to pick up the boat until after one o'clock so we had the morning to get our shit together.
30% headed out for an appointment straight after breakfast so I completed a circuit of the Three Miler with T&M in an attempt to "take the edge off them". By ten thirty we were both back at home and spent the remainder of the morning assembling food and clothing for our four day break.
TP returned from his weekend away around midday and it was then just a case of a few last minute activities before we were ready to go. Since our party included four adults, two large dogs, their food and luggage 30% eventually agreed to the proposition I made last night and finally agreed that two cars were necessary.* TP therefore headed off to pick up his girlfriend in his Fiat while we finished packing the car and plugged a Dudley post code in to the Sat Nav.
Half an hour later we had reached Stourport, completed two circuits of the town centre and finally found the narrow lane that took us to the boat yard in the canal basin. TP arrived about twenty minutes behind us and we were soon unpacked and settling in on The Dark Star.
At this point it is worth mentioning that I have quite a bit of experience with narrow boats as I used to be a demonstrator on a fleet on The Avon in my youth and we owned one for a few years when TP was much younger. The reason for this apparent bragging is that the hand over of the boat was somewhat half arsed in that the "demonstrator" was not familiar with the craft and also had a nasty habit of referring to key items as "the wossname" due to regular memory failures .... I'm sure it will all come back to me.
We were soon manoeuvring out of the berth and heading down thorough the four locks that took us on to the River Severn. It was at this point that TP noted that he couldn't find his car keys. A fruitless search followed and we conjecture that he has locked them in the boot ... It looks like next Saturday will involve a return trip to The Pile to pick up his spare set.**
Putting this minor hiccup behind us, we were soon cruising down a verdant Severn. The high banks restrict the views somewhat but it was lovely to be chugging down this green highway with the natural world all around us. Within a few miles I had already been rewarded with the sight of a Kingfisher darting across the bows and coming to rest on a nearby branch as I passed.
We cruised until half past six; reaching Worcester where we moored just along from the race course. As we settled for dinner in the saloon I had forgotten how tiring a boat holiday can be and was glad when ten o'clock arrived and I could shuffle off to bed.
* but I was not allowed to say "I told you so" when she saw the car after loading was completed!
** he takes after his Mother