Norbury to Calf Heath
The autumn run, lovely as it is, does come with a bit of a sting in its tail. It represents the last trip of the season and much as we always plan to have a cruise or two in the winter the reality is that at best we will have a night or two aboard before the leaves start to emerge next Easter.
But hey, were not finished with this trip yet. The autumn sun is out and the mild weather is holding so we potter along, picking sloes and rosehips and creating a one boat water hazard to all and sundry who happen to come past whilst we are in picking mode.
Montgomery taking shape
We decided to make Brewood our destination for the night but in the event we never quite made it. We approached Stretton Wharf and slowed to take a further look at Montgomery and just as we were about to carry on, the guys came out and invited us to moor alongside the rebuilt Phyllis May and take a closer look at their work. It was good to be able to examine the new steelwork and so share ideas for the next phase of the project. With the main bulkhead in place with one door handing on its hinge, attention is turning to the front deck and its associated bulkhead. The crucial thing about such a short boat is to make it look right and it would be so easy to make it all look top heavy. I am happy to leave this to Keith who has an expert eye for good proportions and what he is producing is exceeding my expectations.
As we were wandering round Montgomery Sara and Jim climbed down out of Bakewell, which is currently out of the water undergoing some repairs and blacking. We were invited in for coffee and one thing led to another and suddenly we found ourselves back at Wheaton Aston enjoying yet another great pub meal. Three nights out in a row - a very sociable return trip.
Whilst we were looking at Bakewell I realised that Drysdale was alongside and had its waterline overplated. It appears that the boat, which has been moored at Calf Heath for years, was bought without survey on e-bay and it was a case of buyer beware when the sides were found to be down to a scary 1mm! Its a small miracle it made it to Stretton for repairs and rather than trip out the interior they opted to fill it with CO2 to prevent internal fires. This is not a technique I have come across before and I am advised that it involved regular tests involving candles in jam jars being lowered into the hull but always being careful not to inhale!
We spent the night next to Phyllis May but heard none of the ghostly goings on which Terry used to remarked on in his book. The signwriting is absolutely great - it made me laugh out loud.
And so it was off to Calf Heath, picking late elderberries as we progressed. Sadly there was a literal sting in the tail - I hopped off the boat straight onto a wasps nest. One stung my ankle and one got me on the bum, which encouraged me back onto the boat in double quick time. I hope all the elderberry cordial lovers appreciate my suffering for the cause.