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Summer Fun 2006

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Toni, John, Kathryn and Ryan Haddow came from New Zealand to visit friends and family. Previously they had lived next door to us in Cepen Park. Ian and I took a week off work so that we could spend some time with them. The intention was to spend some time on the boat, then after the Haddow family left us, Ian and I would spend the rest of the week relaxing and soaking up some sunshine.


 

We had spent a weekend on the boat at the beginning of July in order to clean and polish it ready for our cruise. That in itself was quite relaxing since we had not had much time to spend on the boat this year. So we made the most of it. However, as we were shining the last bits of brass etc, disaster struck. The water pipes came apart, pumping water from the water tank into the bilge. Thank goodness it happened then, and not a week later. Ian quickly put things right again -had he done this before I wonder?


 

The Haddow family arrived on Friday 21st July and we could not stop talking. We had a lot of catching up to do. We wondered through the water meadow in the afternoon and that evening, we had invited the new neighbours to meet the old neighbours for a BBQ. What a wonderful way to spend our first day. On Saturday 22nd we gathered our things together in order to go to the boat in the afternoon. Thunderstorms had been forecast for the day and we were not disappointed. The lightening was spectacular and the rain came down in torrents. This did not put a dampener on our intended trip by any means. We waited out the storm then packed up and left, arriving at the boat in glorious sunshine, congratulating ourselves all the way on our timing. After stowing our gear, we slipped the mooring and were away. 10 minutes later the heavens opened drenching us completely. A lesson to be learned here I think? Something about counting chickens?


 

Because there were 6 of us on the boat and only sleeping arrangement for 4, we took a 2 man tent with us. Kathryn and Ryan would share the tent, pitching it alongside the boat or on the aft deck in the evenings. This worked very well, and they were quite comfortable.


 

Tanya and David joined us with Daniel on the Sunday afternoon for a BBQ. We had got as far as Pewsey warf by that time. The thunderstorms of the day before were a thing of the past and the day was glorious. Time to catch up on all the happenings of the 3 families over the past 2 years. Tanya David and Daniel left us early in the evening and we moved on down to Wooten Rivers where we intended to moor for the evening. We passed through the first 2 locks and then moored up


 

Monday morning found us stranded. The thunderstorms on Saturday night had caused a power failure at Crofton Pumping Station. This resulted in the pumps not running from Saturday night till Monday morning. The pound at the summit had lost a lot of water and some boats were aground. The locks had been closed in order to restore the water level before boaters were able to use the locks again. We had planned to go through the Bruce Tunnel and on down to Crofton on the Monday. Toni, John and family would then depart on Tuesday morning. Well not to be thwarted, we walked! After slapping on sun cream and gathering up bottles of water, we set off. It was a good walk taking about 2 ½ hours (that of course was with many stops along the way to take photos and soak up the atmosphere). Arriving at Crofton, we refreshed ourselves before Ian, John and Kathryn went off to explore the magnificent Beam Engines. The return walk only took 1 ¼ hours, with Kathryn setting a cracking pace. Needless to say, we all slept very well that night.


 

The Haddow family left us on Tuesday morning. Ian and I turned the boat around and returned through the locks taking on fresh water at the water point. British Waterways were only allowing a few boats at a time to go through, so we thought it would be better to return before we got locked in again. That evening, we moored about a mile from Pewsey warf in a lovely quite, shady area of the canal. Wednesday and Thursday were spent in a similar fashion, a little walking, a little boating, - we moored at the wide water near Lady Bridge, a little pub crawling and a lot of relaxing. Friday found us in Devizes where once again, Tanya, David and Daniel joined us for the evening


 

Saturday morning, we took the boat back to Horton Bridge where we met up with some work colleagues. Rhos with daughter Daisy, Helen and husband Graham with son Jake, and Richard with his wife Pat joined us for the day. We turned the boat and cruised down through Devizes, working three locks before stopping at the Black Horse for Lunch. After lunch, we walked down to the tea room at lock 44 for an ice cream and to gaze at the magnificent Caen Hill flight, before returning to work the 3 locks on our return. Again the weather was perfect. A slight breeze cooled things down making it a very pleasant day. After saying goodbye to our guests, we cleaned up, tidied up, put the boat away and headed for home. The sad end to a lovely week, but more to look forward to in August.


 
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