After the excitement of the showjumping it was time to chill on a narrowboat for a few days.
I left Milton Keynes on Monday and drove up to Derby where I left the car in the safekeeping of blog reader Kevin, who also kindly gave me a lift to Derby railway station, many thanks Kevin.
I caught a train to Althorpe via Sheffield where I was met on the platform by Ray from NB Ferndale.
It was a short walk to the boat, we then sat in the late afternoon sun and had a couple of beers.
The next morning we were up at the unbelievable hour of 05,00 as we had to leave the lock at 06,00 to catch the incoming tide on the River Trent.
We squeezed in between two other early morning nutters!
The day started off quite fine and calm.
It soon deteriorated to pouring rain , it was absolutely freezing on the stern of the boat, and even with wet weather gear we both got soaked, the shorts did prevail though!
By the time we stopped at Torksey we were wet through and numb with cold. A good hot shower did the trick, separately I may add. What I could have done with a hot woman!
We didnt even go to the pub as it was just too grotty.
The mooring was nice and quiet.
We were off again the next morning at a not quite ridiculous time of 09.15.
We shared most of the manned locks with GRP cruisers.
It was a much nicer cruise with no rain.
We stopped for the night at Newark and moored up just opposite the castle.
We had a quick look around Newark and tried a couple of really nice pubs, at the last one we had a nice couple of Pizzas for dinner. We also had a bit of a chat with a couple of nice local ladies.
It was a fantastic mooring, we were in no hurry the next day so went for a nice walk around the town, ending up at a coffee shop right in the middle of the town square. The coffee shop just happened to be owned by one of the nice ladies!
We sat and chilled for a while watching the poor people going to work!
We set off in glorious sunshine.
It was a perfect day for cruising down the river.
It was a very long day, we finally moored up right in the middle of Nottingham outside of County Hall .
In the evening we went to a nice pub on the river and shared a lovely nachos. We were the perfect couple with our two little fluffy white dogs, once again it would have been nice to share it with a hot woman, no offence Ray!
We then had a change of plan, Ray wanted to stay in Nottingham and watch a cricket match at nearby Trent Bridge whereas I was keen to get to Macclesfield, my job had been done on the river, the rest of Rays journey would be on the canal which is easy peasy single handed.
I caught a train from Nottingham to Derby where once again Kevin kindly picked me up and took me back to his house and the Shaguar. I then drove back to Nottingham and picked up the doggies and my bag plus a few goodies from Ray and Diane including a years supply of Tim Tams which are truly the greatest chocolate biccies on the planet.
The boating trip was now over, it was a lovely trip with great company, but it did make me realise that my boating days are over, to me it would be just too lonely on my own. Unless of course I meet a hot chick who happens to like boats or preferably owns one!
Im staying at Elaines dads house in Macclesfield and he has made me very welcome.
It was a bit strange staying in Elaine's old bedroom and indeed her old bed, it still has her little signs on the bedroom door.
I have been for a walk along my favourite stretch of canal.
I also visited the hospice where Elaine spent the last two months of her far too short life. the nurses made me and the doggies so welcome, it was quite emotional but I'm so glad I went. A couple of the nurses weren't there so I'm meeting them tomorrow morning for coffee.
I have also caught up with friends and Elaine's brother Trevor who kindly gave my laptop a once over and backed it up for me.
Im meeting up with some Aussie friends on Tuesday, they are over here for a months holiday so we are having lunch at nearby Chester.
I have also made a booking for the channel tunnel next Saturday morning.
My time in the UK is nearly at its end.
Its been a good trip but could have been so much better with some company along the way, Cornwall was just lovely but the locals were far from welcoming, family is family so it's always good to catch up with them, even though I dont get time to catch up with all of them.
Time in my sisters caravan was lovely but once again a tad lonely.
The showjumping was brilliant as usual and a highlight of my trip.
The narrowboat was very relaxing but as I said earlier I dont want to cruise on my own so I'm so glad I went on the boat rather than spending thousands on another boat and realising I dont like it.
Im loving Macclesfield, the people are so much friendlier especially in Bollington which was the village we lived in for six months a couple of years ago.
I went to my old local today The Spinners Arms to watch Man Utd's first game, I was welcomed like an old friend.
I am getting quite excited about returning to my little paradise of Mojacar where I have some lovely friends, I miss the great bars, restaurants and music and of course the terrific weather.
I will also start looking at getting a caravan to tow behind the shaguar, it will make travelling so much easier especially travelling with the doggies.
I then need to find a hot chick who likes caravanning.