There haven't been any cruising notes this year. There is a very simple reason for this. Normally we make a plan and then go ahead and do it. This year we didn't have a plan and just sort of hung around. No adventure so few pictures and even less things to write about. So this is the story of doing next to nothing. It is a simple equation, no cruising equals no cruising notes.
Winter, for example never happened. We had a monsoon instead. No ice, no snow, just rain. A normal monsoon brings relief from the intense heat in places like India. Ours was sort of cold, damp, and turned the towpaths along the canals to mud. Then we just hung around waiting for Debbie (our daughter) to get a date for her impending surgery. By the time we found out it would be in September it was a bit too late to take on any serious, long distance cruising so we hung about some more. When the date got close we booked the boat into a Marina for it's personal safety while we tripped off to Alberta for a couple of months to look after Debbie and by the time we got back it was winter, so we are still in the Marina and probably will be for the rest of the winter.
So what is there to tell. Not too much really, but here goes:
We started off on Milton Keynes as that is where we were for the winter. This was punctuated by a few trips to Leighton Buzzard to see Steven (our son) start on his way as a professional wrestler. (the word professional here refers to the style of wrestling rather than it's ability to make money from it). Each time we had to pass the “Globe” pub. It's minor claim to fame is that it is very close to where the Great Train Robbery took place.
It still looks to me as if it needs a new roof.
And each time we went that way, we passed this swing bridge
It would seem that the “out of order” sign is not really essential
But it's pretty down that way, we stopped here a couple of times.
Staying in places like this is, after all, what we signed up for.
There was a lot water around and as a result, many of the locks looked more like weirs.
It is worth noting that the large black beam also functions as a footpath, just don't trip, or tell health and safety about it.
This sign has been left over for a few decades. Motor Spirit has been called petrol since I was a kid (apart from in North America where “gas” can be either gaseous or liquid).
In a small fit of lunacy the masters of the waterways decided we needed poetry in the lock gates to brighten our poor dismal lives. I hate to think just how dismal the poets lives must be seeing the results. Still they will be much brighter now after the thousands of pounds they received for this absolute masterpiece.
As happens most years, we get to see historic planes flying over. They tend to fly low so that by the time I get a camera they have gone. For this one, I was a bit quicker on the draw, but still far too late. For those who are not vintage plane anoraks, it is a Lancaster bomber, one of the two flying examples. We also saw the Red Arrows a couple of times, but they are far too quick for me.
So after mooching around the same area for months we put the boat into a marina and caught a plane to Calgary.
It was time to find out what living in a house was like.
Debs surgery was scheduled for a week after we arrived so we had a bit of time to acclimatise and for me to get driving lessons as I hadn't driven since I was last there.
While we were prepared for cold snowy weather, just about every day we woke up to “another beautiful sunny Alberta day”. It snowed 3 days after we left.
So we got used to yin and yang cats
And huge open spaces.
One of the really high spots of the visit has to be eating an incredible meal of roast Elk, while being told that the dog kept very quiet when the grizzlies were passing through (smart dog). We were in a house of a friend of Debs, close to the US border at the time, very much in the middle of nowhere.
Then there was Judy trying to stun me with Data's Phaser, the real thing if you can call a prop the real thing.
And seeing a “real” tribble.
All at the Star Trek museum at Vulcan (about an hour north of where Debs lives).
After a couple of months, it was time to return as Debs was well on the road to recovery. It was quite memorable really. Flying above Hudson Bay eating airline chicken is something I don't do every day. Our return altitude was 41,000 ft, the highest I have ever been. I checked the specs for the plane when we got back, service ceiling is 41,100 ft. Glad there was no turbulence. Yes I am an aircraft anorak.
Let me leave you with the following:
It is Christmas, a season of cheer and a spirit of goodwill.
Judy and I wish you and yours the seasons greetings and hope you have a wonderful time. Soon it will be 2015 and once again we hope you have a wonderful time for a whole year.
P.S. Back copies of cruising notes are at www.ccer.org.uk for those that are mystified and think that they have just jumped into the middle of something. After all, they are probably no more boring than Christmas TV.