A short journey

We could have stayed in Barrow for a few more days, just soaking up the peace.

The meandering Soar at Barrow

Until the joy riders arrived on their bikes. Yes, Barrow Boating brings new meaning to travelling by water.

That looks more like hard work than fun.


There were several of these bike boats and swan shaped pedaloes, and once the frost had melted happy families joined the emerald drakes adding to the rich colours. The ducks seem to have disappeared, I can only assume they are now sitting on their nests and we’ll be rewarded with fluffy ducklings soon.

Where have all the ladies gone

But Barrow wasn’t always fun and frolicks as this poem pinned up at Barrow deep lock reminds us.


Barrow Deep lock is the deepest lock in the East Midlands region having a fall of 2.9m (9.7′) but it didn’t faze us, the deepest canal lock in this country is Tuel Lane on the Rochdale canal at 6m

The Barrow Deep lock

The rest of our day saw more wide open river sections.

The navigable Soar between Barrow and Pilling Lock


Although we didn’t plan to cruise far, just beyond Pillings Marina under Woodthorpe Bridge

Woodthorpe bridge

And onto Loughborough Moors, a journey which took us all of an hour to do of just over 2 miles. We are easing ourselves into the sort of boating we love.

More tranquility on Loughbourough Moor

Promises of spring, blown in on the North wind

So much for our cruising plans, there was no way we could get through this obstacle that had come down overnight. The north wind doth blow.

Glad we weren’t moored next to this one

We joined the others waiting patiently at Blue Banks for CRT to leap into action – which they did with great efficiency.

Mooring below Blue Banks lock

It turned out to be such a lovely mooring that we stayed for a whole week.

This is a mooring spot to mark on the map

Walking and exploring the nature reserve and country park adjacent to the canal. The old train line has been developed into a cycle/foot path right into the city centre. The river Soar meanders the meadows here so I suspect it’s land that floods regularly. Unsuitable for residential development, there is a huge retail park nearby, and for any boater needing to stock up on non essential fashions and sports gear, this really is worth marking on the map.

Everards meadows and Fosse retail park

Admittedly we didn’t feel any desire to wander around a deserted retail park, and won’t be going anywhere near it in the next few weeks when it opens up, but it was nice to be able to buy some M&S hot cross buns. I had a go at making my own simnel cake, but took my eye off the grill for a mini second and the poor apostles got slightly singed.

“Well” baked but still tasted good

And with it being a bank holiday weekend we got a merry mix of English weather, beautiful blue skies one minute and biting cold north winds with snow the next.

Is that blossom or snow

But on the whole it feels like spring has well and truely sprung.

Is that a 6 legged frog

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy

Double Rail Lock, Kilby

The lure of cruising in this mini March heatwave proved too much to ignore. Although I did wonder if a new snowy mountain range had appeared in Leicestershire.

Snowy mountains or a storm on the horizon


But no it looks like spring has well and truely arrived.

Yellow Celandines by Taylor’s Bridge


We decided to interpret the guidance issued by CRT on 23rd February

“…….potentially from 29 March, when it is anticipated that the official stay at home order will end but people will be encouraged to stay local. Limited local boat movement may be possible but you should avoid travelling if your boat is not located close to where you live, and only those living aboard are permitted to make an overnight stay…..”

We’ll keep our social contact to a minimum and stay close to our home. But we aren’t the only ones enjoying the liberation being outside in the sunshine brings.

Swans


And just to prove this is home, I even hung the washing out to dry.

You can’t beat hanging the washing out to dry in the fresh air

And Eric has been touching up the paintwork

He claims to be working, not sleeping on the job
Gee’s lock

Daffodils

There’s been a fair bit in the news this week about it being a whole year since first lockdown. Social media asked us to share our final photo before the new normal and of course being March, it was no surprise to me that my last photo was a vase of daffodils.

Daffodils in Liverpool 23rd March 2020

And then completely unintentionally exactly one year later another vase of staffs.

Leicestershire daffodils 23rd March 2021

Admittedly I don’t usually keep a vases of flowers sitting in the open side hatch, they’d be in the canal or smashed on the floor the moment one of us moved and rocked the boat. But as I soaked up the colours of the golden sunset lighting up the old wharf side shed, we both realised that it is exactly two years to the day that we were last moored here.

Rural sunset 2021

A little different to my evening stroll last year.

City skyline 2020

The only thing I’m going to predict for 2022 is that I will have daffodils.

Daffodils at Wiston

To add a couple of positives this week, we’ve both had our vaccines without suffering any significant side effects. And after 4 phone calls and 4 different individual access codes we finally got our census completed, what a fiasco. All the call handlers tried to be helpful but it was only the last one on the 23rd who, listened heard and understood that we don’t have a postal address and created our very own individual address and code.

Plenty to reflect on