SUNDAY 14TH MARCH 2010
The day was bright and breezy and friends Zena and Clive, who spend most of their life in France, arrived with their little dog, Renee and as expected Duggie and Renee hit it off immediately.
Despite the windy conditions we decided to head off towards the Folly Inn. Easier said than done, SKYY had a mind of her own, so I decided to go with her and instead of trying to make directly to the narrow exit to the canal, we headed down towards the wide open area in front of the marina office and did a 360 deg. turn before heading back to the exit. Again I nearly decided to go with the wind and head towards Braunston, but persistence and plenty of engine revs and I managed to get SKYY heading into wind, towards the Folly. We lunched opposite the gentle slope, near the winding hole and watched the sun warm the assorted Shetland ponies, deer and sheep.
I had hoped that by late afternoon the wind may have dropped, but no, the moment we left the shelter of the cut and entered the marina it was blowing as hard as ever and it took several goes and a bit of persuading, reluctantly using my freshly painted poles to get us lined up with our pontoon and pass, without touching the two boats moored either side. Clive had earlier refused my offer to take the helm and after my faffing about and getting us safely tied up, he was glad he hadn’t been tempted. Shortly afterwards we said farewell and look forward to visiting them in France next year.
Talking about my poles, my old boat hook had a rubber bumper at the non hook end, but the new one didn’t, I had vaguely considered sticking on an old tennis ball, this would have been a bit crude, when I spied one of Duggie’s toys, a blue knobbly, thick rubber, hollow ball, with a bell inside. Duggie said I could borrow it. I don’t think he realised that I was going to open up the end with a scalpel, remove the bell and with a bit of washing up liquid, as lubricant, stick it on the end of the new pole. It works a treat, non slip and leaves no scratches or marks on other boats paintwork and so far Duggie hasn’t missed it. I had also bought at great expense a pair of chrome brackets (twice the price of brass ones) to support the pole as the old one had rotted as it mostly laid directly on the roof, hopefully this pole should, as they say, ‘See me out’.