Monday, July 27, 2015

On into Leicester. Remember Leicester?

It was a short trip from Zouch to Loughborough Wharf, a small, neat basin surrounded by colourful buildings, with space for six to eight boats. There was already a widebeam and three narrowboats there, so we were lucky to get in. We moored at the foot of a tall, colourful TraveLodge, with Fairy next to us.

It was windy and raining, but we ventured out after lunch to buy food, and for Grace to visit a handbag shop she'd discovered on the web (Yes, I know she bought a handbag back in Newark. She bought another there, too). There was a small art exhibition in the Town Hall, which we enjoyed (some of).

The next morning, the rain had gone, and we set off after filling both boats' water tanks. We moored for lunch at Barrow Lock, then carried on through the Mill Basin (it's a sunny Saturday. Watch out for the canoes and pedaloes!). On through Mountsorrel Lock (look out for the dayboats Fumble, Rumble and Tumble!), Sileby and Cossington Locks (look out for the gongoozler who's sure he knows more about mooring than you do!), finally mooring at a very quiet, green spot just past Junction Lock.

It was then that we realised with some dismay that a patch of our bedroom carpet was wet. With engine coolant. We have in the past had problems with a leak in the joint between the calorifier and the pipe which brings hot water to it from the engine. We've had it "dealt with" twice by professionals, but we'd put a drip tray under it for good measure. And forgotten about it. It had overflowed, possibly some days earlier, and the floor under and around the leak was rather wet. No major damage was done, fortunately, but it was more than annoying, and probably means we'll need a new calorifier. 

Our despondency was duly squashed by an evening of cards and wine with Dave and Sandy, and we went to bed knackered after midnight.

The only thing we could do about the leak the next morning was to stand the mattress on its side next to the bed throughout the day, and check regularly to make sure the leak wasn't getting worse, and that the drip tray (a lunch box) wasn't about to overflow. Apart from a small amount of water which collected overnight, there was no further problem. I think we might carry on doing this for the rest of the trip. We anticipate being back in Yelvertoft on Friday.

Sunday's weather started off very much better than forecast, but the weather we were promised duly arrived as we made our way up towards Leicester. It rained, then it rained harder, then it poured. The floating filth increased in density the closer we got, but there's no denying that the River Soar at this point is rather beautiful - so long as you don't look at the water. Winding, often quite narrow, and with large populations of manifold varieties of birds. We saw a pair of Little Grebes. None of us had seen any before, though "the book" says they're not uncommon in the UK.

There were few walkers and cyclists; the rain had deterred them, perhaps, but the weekend boats were out.

There's what looks very much like a very large, inflatable building to be seen by Birstall Lock. Seriously! Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera to hand. 

Five locks up into Leicester, then, and the "official" CRT mooring platform was full. They need to make it bigger. Double-depth platforms like they have on the Trent. We both moored opposite, in the shadow of the DeMontfort halls of residence. It was raining still. Hard. And we were all wet and a bit chilly. It was so bad, even the emergency services weren't out. All the crims and other deplorables were indoors, keeping dry, I should imagine. Sixteen swans massed past us, too cool to be bothered by the weather. Two young ladies rowing backwards at high speed bounced off the side of the boat, too dense to consider the possibility that they might hit something unless they look where they're going. Sigh.

A change of clothes for us next, a quick, hot lunch and drinks, and an afternoon of avoiding the weather. Easily done, though we did need to buy some food. We'll do that tomorrow, then. The forecast says better weather tomorrow. We'll see. No photos today. My camera's not that waterproof.

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