With a family Christening to attend at the weekend, the logistics of getting both of us down to Surrey for a weekend while looking after the Captain’s needs had proved too difficult. So we’d booked the boat into Festival Park Marina at Stoke-on-Trent for a few days, so that the chief cook could travel down by train, and the Captain and First Officer could spend the weekend in a male bonding session (a.k.a. as catching up with the laundry backlog). We’d also arranged for Piper Boats to come and look at some things, so it looked as though we could kill several birds with one stone, as they say. But we had to get there first.
Setting off on the Thursday morning, a pleasant cruise down the last bit of the Macclesfield Canal saw us re-joining the Trent and Mersey just north of the Harecastle Tunnel. The water turned a very odd colour…
Just after launching Song & Dance we’d spend our first night aboard just south of the tunnel, but hadn’t ventured through. Actually, although interesting from an engineering point of view, the 40 minute transit is both somewhat tedious and hard work, requiring considerable concentration. (And we’re not the only ones that think that).
Anyway, we ended up mooring for the night at Westport Lakes, a pleasant reminder that first night afloat on Song & Dance. A first time for the Captain though, who amused himself taunting the Canada Geese.
On Friday morning a short cruise down through Longport (where Song & Dance was first launched) and we were soon tucking ourselves into Festival Park Marina, a busy Black Prince Hire Fleet base, even at the end of the season. This was where the Captain first joined us, after our initial week’s proving cruise.
Anyway, SWMBO was despatched South, Pipers’ people came and went, loads of washing got done, and after a very very wet Saturday, on Sunday the morning dawned bright clear and still.
In fact, it was so nice, Sir decided to come out and pose…
With baby Rufus’ head suitably wetted, the chief cook safely returned on the train, the nights drawing on and the end of the season rapidly approaching, we prepared to revisit our first proper cruise with the Captain aboard, and make the trek south back down the Trent & Mersey Canal, Coventry Canal and Oxford Canals to Song & Dance’s winter quarters at Cropredy Marina. We were going to be busy.