Friday, 4 October 2013

End of the epic

So Amelie May is now snugged down for the winter in the Caen Hill Marina near Devizes.  It felt quite sad to do the last few miles before turning into the Marina entrance but we’ll be down regularly to work on items on ‘The List’ and fettle her important bits for next year’s epic voyage.  Sod’s law had half a gale blowing and last time I came into a marina there was also a strong wind and I ended up pushed sideways onto another boat.  Not so this time and the wind even helped us onto our pontoon - of course, this time, no one was watching.    So what did we enjoy?  Well the wonderful weather for start, then there was the fantastic scenery and complete and utter lack of stress.  Seeing what’s around the next corner is very definitely a way of life that we intend to continue to enjoy.  We won’t miss - people running their bloody generators all evening and charter boats – including the git who damaged the Caen flight lock and stranded us for a week.  The bit of the K&A we are on is one of the most crowded and we will definitely not be staying here next year – oop North is the plan.  We had been warned of all sorts of things before we set off – feral swans, rabid fishermen, killer locks; well nope, everyone we met was delightful (including the swans).   This includes  the hippy boat at Fradely which looked like  it should have sunk years ago and couldn’t possibly contain as many people as it actually did. They were all clustered around a guitar on the towpath one evening and when I threatened them with my Abba albums they just laughed and invited us to join them and a great time was had by all, if the hangover was anything to go by.  We made loads of new best friends and found out that everyone has a strong opinion about the waterways which is normally aimed and the Canal and River Trust who seem to be universally distrusted.
 So how did we do?  Well we travelled a total of 576 miles, on 5 canals and three rivers, from April to October which is a speed of 0.212 miles per hour.  We transited 371 locks and Fi only clobbered a few of them.  We went under 18 lift bridges and pushed open 22 swing bridges. We fed 72 Swans and ducks (alright, I made that up but it was lots) and I caught three fish.  On the slightly negative side, I emptied the chemical loo 42 times.  BUT by far the most important statistic – we had 15 Sunday lunches and the winner is – The Great Western at Aynho on the Oxford canal and we will be going past there in the Spring.
Home now for; book writing, Golf playing (badly), grandchildren patting and handing back and occasional trips to the boat and maybe Lanzarotte in December for the start of the Caribbean Christmas Rally.  It’s a tough life.
Some photos:

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