Monday 29 October 2018


Ice, as we emerged, on the inside of Erin Mae's bedroom window. Frost all over the hull and the pontoon.

But a gloriously sunny morning – all designed to put Dave Freeman in a good mood! Dave was here at 9 a.m. to do our Boat Safety Certificate inspection. First, he had a peek in all relevant spaces and glory-holes, with instruments to measure this and that.

Then he wrote up on the relevant forms what he had found.

All went well, so we handed over the dosh and look forward to receiving the relevant certificate by email. He showed us there was the faintest of leaks from some of the gas burners on the hob – not enough to fail the inspection, but sufficient to consider repair or replacement. Amazingly, it will probably cost more to replace three burner controls than to replace the whole hob. Over the winter we'll look at our options. It seems that, if I source an appropriate hob, it wouldn't cost much for him to install it himself, and that would be convenient.

After he'd gone my best beloved said she'd love some toast and marmalade! Unfortunately we only brought with us a minimum of essentials this weekend, and marmalade wasn't among them. So I capitalised on the moment to earn some brownie points by suggesting going up to the Canalside Café for a bacon sandwich. Approved!

The Great Haywood Canalside Farm business has been doing very well. Last year they made it into the national headlines for the number of pumpkins they sold, and all indications are it's a repeat performance this time around. But we were more interested in other things and headed to the café, which overlooks the Trent and Mersey.

Looking at the menu we settled on Staffordshire oatcakes with bacon and cheese – if you've never had one you've missed out! When they arrived at our table it transpired that, instead of two single oatcakes, they'd prepared four doubles! I followed the waiter back to the counter where he was discussing with the cooks what had gone awry, to make sure they weren't simply going to throw away all that good food. So two of the doubles came back to our table.

Brunch with a vengeance! Very tasty, and very sustaining. So we needed to walk it all off, through the village and back via the towpath. Not much moving on the water, but a stunning day, both sunny and chilly. We had another appointment around lunch-time – Keith Wilson was coming to fit the new side panels to Erin Mae's pram hood.

He took care over the fitting, and we are very pleased with the result.

The material is a slightly different PVC from the original, since that's no longer available. It's a bit heavier, a bit less flexible, and has a different texture – grainy rather than flat. But the colour is a very good match, and it will do very well.

So, in various ways (and with some damage to the bank account), we're covered again. Shucks – that reminds me that the insurance is due next month.


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