After a few days of post-Sidmouth rushing around (family gatherings, laundry, doctors and dentists appointments etc.), it was a struggle getting up at OMG o’clock on Wednesday morning to head up to Stoke-on-Trent. The cough/cold/man flu caught at Sidmouth didn’t help either…
Somehow arriving at Piper Boats by 10:45, there was already a very large crane standing guard: they were not only lifting Song & Dance, but a much heavier Dutch Barge destined for Bristol as well. Once Song & Dance was ensconced on the lorry, the crane was apparently following us down the hill to Longport to lift our boat back into the water. We rather thought the crane would be too big to get down to Longport Wharf, but apparently the crane driver had already done a recce, and was happy everything would fit.
With Song & Dance in mid-air waiting for the lorry to back under it, we realised that it was the same lorry and driver that had broken down all those weeks back. The lorry started this time, but did manage to clout the rudder and skeg while backing under the boat. No damage, it would appear.
So, with minimum drama, we were back afloat, and the Piper Boat chaps were happy. After unloading all the contents of the car back onto the boat, the camera bag finally emerged too late for any pictures of the re-floating. But it looked much like the first time, except that Song & Dance was pointing north.
Leaving the car in the care of Stoke Boats at Longport – thanks chaps – we set off for the long-haul cruise to Westport Lakes, where we’d spent our first night afloat on Song & Dance just over three years ago. It’s a pleasant – if goose-filled – spot, and we’d resolved to chill out there for a couple of days, sorting out the boat, relaxing and taking stock. (We’d originally left the boat with Pipers expecting to be away three weeks, but for lots of reasons it was three months…)
It was good to be back afloat, even though the Captain wouldn’t be keeping us on our toes.