Tuesday, 27 May 2014

No pain, no gain

Hi There

You may remember from my last blog post that I was about to be sent outside with some polish and some rags! When Nicky thrust them at me, I said no that’s a red bottle, that’s not the polish!! I know she said, you’ve got to T-cut the boat first!!!

So after T-cutting the boat I had the next exciting instalment of boat care in the shape of polishing it as well. It took me seven hours to T-cut and a further two hours to polish just one side of the boat. (That's the 'pain' of the post title) I did the first side over two days and I can’t remember my arms ever hurting so much, so I did the other side over four days and they came through relatively intact.

So here’s a picture of The Boys being dried off after getting caught in a downpour on one of their walks, although the main reason of the photo is of course to show off our nice shiny Badger Sett. I wouldn’t admit it to Nicky, but it does look much better (and that's the 'gain' of the post title) and as she likes to remind me, I’ve only got the front and the back to do now that I know I need to get around to.

We’d been doodling along the final stretch of the Trent and Mersey to where we were meeting our youngest son and girlfriend at Snarestone and just walked the final couple of miles to the junction with the River Trent, River Soar and Erewash Canal on what was probably one of the warmest day’s we’ve had yet.  
We have been along this stretch before on holiday when we did the Leicestershire Ring about ten years ago and it’s surprising how little we actually remember of it.

Once we’d met up with Dec’s and Stevie at Snarestone we started making our way back to Burton upon Trent where I was hiring a car to collect our other son and his girlfriend from Gatwick airport as they were stopping with us for a few days after their holiday in Turkey.
Here’s Nicky with Dec
and then Dec’s with Stevie and finally
Stevie going solo.

We’re now fully crewed having picked up Aza (Aaron) and Emma the day before so 

Dec and Stevie are on lock operations,
Aza bringing the boat into the lock and Emma! Hang on, what role was allocated to Emma, oh yes I remember now,
she was in charge of the iPad!

Oops, almost forgot one other crew member,

Benji, who was working just as hard on lock operations and here he is just checking the water level in the lock.

We brought ourselves a Scrabble game a few months ago and usually do a game or two in the evenings. Now I don’t like to lose at games and as my version of the saying goes ‘it’s not the taking part that counts, it’s the winning’. Nicky on the other hand is fine (normally), but I’ve certainly seen another side to her when she plays Scrabble and it isn’t nice to see. She probably F’s more in one game of Scrabble then she does in a whole month and continually refers to herself as being a silly woman (so she must listen to what I say sometimes I suppose) and much worse. We’ve even had to start using a timer because she takes so long and yes, it’s my fault if she runs out of time and it gets even worse for me if I’ve not kept a running commentary of the time she’s got remaining. Dec’s even went out and brought us an official Scrabble words book as he saw for himself how ‘excitable’ his mum was getting if anyone used words she didn’t like that could be for a whole host of reasons.

Here are the kids having a game whilst they were over with us although none of them were brave enough to let mum have a game with them, no, that all seems to me my pleasure to bear alone L

I said to Nicky about a month ago, ‘what about going vegetarian for a month’ to which she immediately replied ‘yes’. I then said ‘what about going alcohol free for a month as well’ to which a deathly silence fell upon us. Now don’t worry, the meat industry isn’t going to suffer whilst we’re off meat as it won’t be a permanent thing and nor does it seem will the alcohol trade as Nicky is still fully in support of them. The simple reason for going veggie for a month was to force us to think about trying different things and on the whole we’ve done pretty well with what we’ve had so far.

So in our first few weeks we’ve had:

Tarte Provencale

Spinach and Ricotta Terrine

Carrot and Cumin soup

with of course home made bread French bread.

Filo pastry parcels (the home made filo pastry wasn’t a success so we’ll probably buy it from the shop next time) filled with stir fried vegetables.

Hot spiced chick pea salad that we did with jacket potatoes

Warm winter vegetable salad (not nice and won’t bother with it again)

Peasant salad, the photo of which didn't come out, but it was really nice

Catalan pie

Vegetable curry

Muttar Paneer (with home made Paneer cheese) and and Dry Moong Dal

And last, but not least, a full English breakfast with homemade Cheese and Leek sausages and hash browns.

So we’re two weeks down and two weeks to go and although I’ve not really missed having meat dishes as we’ve hit on some really nice ones in the above list, I am subconsciously planning my ‘meat’ menu with at the very top of the list a bacon in a French baguette for our first breakfast. Followed by Nicky’s steak and ale pie, my Chicken Tikka Masala and probably a roast beef and Yorkshire puddings although not all on the same day. . . .

We splashed out and brought ourselves a new toy the other day,


that fits perfectly under the back boards on our cruiser stern when not in use, but when in use it becomes,

a bicycle and here being modelled by Nicky and me (I’m in the bottom photo J)

We went into Polesworth the other day and much to my distress Nicky decided that she had to pee, not that that in itself is distressing to me, but the 10p I had to splash out (pun intended) on the public loo was. Now it was one of those Star Trek swish type doors and I told her to make sure that she didn’t it caught inside after the deed was done as it might be one of those automatic self cleaning ones and that she wouldn’t want to be caught inside or she’d end up getting a wash and blow dry as well.

You can see by the look of relief (okay, pun intended again) that she was happy to get out safely.

Nicky’s been having a bit more success keeping plants and herbs alive lately, so our ‘allotment’ is coming together now with Marjoram, Thyme, Mint, Bay Leaf, Rosemary, Chives, Parsley, Tomotoes, peppers (normal and chilli) lettuce, courgette and strawberrys. No doubt there’ll be some pictures of our various crops in the coming months, assuming of course that we manage look after them right, but here they are for now.

And finally for this post, making the best the good weather and having some nice walks with The Boys in the evenings, this one being on the Coventry Canal between Polesworth and Atherstone.

And so in signing off,

Day 535 in the Badger Sett Narrowboat - 1075 miles and 470 locks further on from when we started.