Tuesday 29th August – Welford to Crick

Such a different day from yesterday. No sun at all today with heavy murky skies and the lightest of rain occasionally. The weather is just so variable in England but we can liken it to the weather in New Zealand because they are both island countries. Four seasons in four hours is not unheard of!
We set the tone today for Marlene and Wolfgang by being late risers. Need to lift our game!! So our plan today was to leave Welford and head back down the arm which took us about 45 minutes and then turn left at the junction back on to the Grand Union Canal Leicester branch.

We are in very rural country of rolling farmlands, hedgerows, lots of cattle and sheep. We are away from motorways, railways and people. For such a small country, it is amazing how quickly you can escape the maddening crowds and busy cities.

We cruised in total for four hours just meandering down the canal until we pulled in for the night at a very well known spot to all boaters called Crick. Every year there is a festival for narrowboats where all and sundry descend upon the small village of Crick for the boat show where the latest and greatest in narrowboating is for sale. You can buy anything from a key ring in the shape of a narrowboat to a narrowboat itself.

We have seen photos of the festival where the boats are three abreast on the canal and the place is teeming with people. At the end of each show they choose the best new narrowboat and of course that company will get lots of new orders placed with them. We all had a look in the latest towpath magazine of the winning boat for this year at the Crick Boat Show and we all reckon there could have been some improvements in the design – you see, no matter in what sphere there are always people who know better!!

Also in Crick are three huge marinas. It might sound weird to have marinas in the middle of the countryside but all they are are huge ditches dug into a field with jetties and then filled up with water. Yesterday we passed an enormous one that they are in the process of building. For you who are not familiar with narrowboating you might wonder what is the need for them as you can just tie up to the towpath.

Many people only use their boats about three weeks of the year and you are not allowed to leave your narrowboat tied to the towpath for more than two weeks so they need to put them somewhere and especially over winter – hence the marinas. Some people who are very lucky and whose home backs onto a canal are allowed to moor up their boats at the bottom of their garden but there is still a mooring fee to pay each year to the Canal and River Trust.

Marlene and Wolfgang tie their boat up each year in a marina called Weston Hythe which is not too far from here. Just like a home in Canada you need to winterize a boat. If you have enough money you can even lift the boats out of the water for winter but as you can imagine, that costs a fortune. By lifting them out of the water you then don’t get algae growth etc on the hull.

Every three to four years you have to take your boat out of the water and get the hull sand blasted and scrapped and then reblackened. Once again, not cheap. We equate it to having a swimming pool in Australia where you walk out the back door every day and throw a $50 bill into it!!! In this case it would be £50!! This is not a cheap passion to have.

So it was a quiet evening for us as we did not pull up until 6.30pm so not a lot of the evening left. No time for TV or such like as enjoying one another’s company!!!!

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