Maiden Voyage

What a day! The maiden voyage of ‘Froth on the Daydream’ began early. In fact, we were so excited we were awake at about 5.00 a.m., but we actually set off from the boatyard at Thurmaston at about 8.00.

Cap’n Andy took the tiller. Note the walkie-talkie hanging round his neck. With such a long boat, these devices proved invaluable for good communications between us. Highly recommended for all boaters!

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The first manoeuvre was in some ways the hardest of the day – getting the boat away from the mooring, in reverse, avoiding some nasty sharp objects, and swinging her around through 360 degrees to face the first lock.

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And here is a video of Froth entering the first lock:

Yes, you did hear correctly: Louise called her ‘Faustroll’. Old habits die hard!

Louise did ten locks today, and they were the hardest locks we have ever encountered. Leicester really has turned its back on the canal, and the buildings and canal gear are in a state of shocking dereliction. The locks were full of rubbish, and had various damaged paddles, stiff gates, etc.

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But there were some beautiful spots too:

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Rosie was relaxed most of the time, but got upset when Louise went ashore to do a lock. In the end, we decided it was easiest to put her ashore and tie her up lockside, which she seemed to like. She is not one of those dogs that likes to leap off the moving boat, which is good news!

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The boat handles really beautifully. This video has a lot of wind noise at the start, but stay with it:

Travelling through Leicester took us through old haunts, of course. We passed the area around De Montfort University, where Andy used to work and where we both lived for quite a long time. We stopped at Castle Gardens for some lunch, and went for a walk.

We had thought we might meet up with some old colleagues there, but the weather is driving us onwards. High winds are forecast for Monday. So, maybe another time…

We also passed the back of Leicester City Football Ground, which overlooks a terrifying weir. The was the most hazardous part of our trip.

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So, we avoided this successfully! All watched over by our tiller pin, who Vian lovers will recognise as the talking mouse from L’écume des jours.

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Finally we reached our mooring spot for the night, at Packhorse Bridge 105, south of Leicester. Shortly after we arrived, the heavens opened, so we are very glad to be in from of a warm fire, with a glass of sherry and a nice chilli con carne.

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