We awoke on Thursday to a slightly overcast but still warm day, and after breakfast moved a short way to top up our water tank - we're not getting caught with a drought on board again!
There's always something going on along the towpath - a woman signwriting a boat
Stunning old traditional narrowboat, lovingly restored - the owner's wife says he goes through more Brasso than diesel
One of the floating homes moored permanently opposite our mooring
Entering Trent Lock, sharing with another boat, taking us back onto The River Trent
Quaint little tea rooms beside the lock
We crossed the Soar/Trent/Erewash junction late morning, and ambled along the charming River Soar ogling at some cool riverside houses along the way - the drawback would be the view from the rear of the house of Ratcliffe Power Station!
Kayakers coming down the River Soar as we passed going up
Oh dear, a dismal scene!
Ratcliffe Lock, a sharp right hand turn
There were only three locks to negotiate - one of them, Kegworth Deep Lock, certainly lived up to its name! Barry went ahead to open the gates, and while he was gone an amazing photo opportunity presented itself to me so I had to take it with my little Canon Ixus - an iridescent blue and a fluorescent green dragonfly attached themselves to the rear porthole and proceeded to copulate before my eyes! I believe the female grasps the male by the head until she can find a suitable spot - then he brings his tail up and 'does the business'. Spectacular colours, it's so difficult normally to get a shot of these beautiful creatures, what a joy!
Wow! How incredible to be honoured with this erotic display of dragonfly loving
After my photographic delight it was into the bowels of the lock which reminded me of the huge caverns of the River Trent that we passed through last year. It's pretty nerve wracking being in these 'tombs' alone, on what appears to be a teeny narrowboat in comparison - hanging onto the ropes with gritted teeth and hoping that the other end that's tied up but unattended doesn't come loose and send you swishing around like a washing machine - there were even what appeared to be soap suds in the swirling water! I encountered a couple of tricky moments when the stern rope couldn't quite manage to easily glide up the pole, and the boat rocked precariously, but we eventually we ascended safely - phew!
Plenty of room in here; and an old, disused lock runs parallel to the Deep Lock
Does my boat look little in this?
Hanging on tightly whilst smiling through gritted teeth!
We spotted a riverside pub just before 1500hrs kick-off, and pulled up hoping they may be showing the New Zealand match, but unfortunately they weren't - so on we trekked ...
The Otter at Kegworth, looked very pleasant but far too respectable to be showing football!
The imposing Whatton House overlooks the Soar - mostly shrouded by trees, you can visit the gardens and can hire the venue for weddings
Good job there's an arrow pointing in the other direction!
We continued on and had managed six miles of travelling before finding a perfect pub in a small village called Zouch, just north of Loughborough, that was showing the football - well the lovely man was sitting watching Wimbledon and we asked if it would be possible to turn the TV over to watch the match. Bless him, he very kindly said it wasn't a problem and switched channels - we didn't find out until later that he'd actually been watching the mammoth, record breaking, three day match which was eventually won 70 games to 68 after over 12 hours! There was a very congenial atmosphere in the canalside pub 'The Rose and Crown', of course at that time of day it was fairly quiet but everyone who worked there or came in chatted to us amiably.
Suffice it to say, the All Whites are out of the World Cup after only managing a nil/nil draw against Paraguay who go through with Slovenia - well who'd have thought? Even Italy have been knocked out and they are the current holders of the Cup! There was a banner in the crowd which read "The All Whites - As many World Cup Finals as Spain" - I suspect that's nothing to be proud of, but when you've nothing to lose you may as well boast about something! The Kiwi goalkeeper was amazing, Paraguay should probably have won three nil realistically, they were definitely the better team! Ah well, we'll just have to lend our support to England now and stay away from the match on Sunday so they win again!
Houses backing straight onto the river The Rose and Crown pub - highly recommended
Two kiwis entranced by the game, and the lovely bloke who unselfishly turned the TV over for us - you can tell which pubs are supporting the World Cup by the English flags flying or adorning furniture/people
By the time we returned to Northern Pride it was after 1800hrs so we decided to stay the night. Barry had a trip on the bike to Normanton-upon-Soar, a 12th century village nestling between Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, just a short distance away, but not accessible from the water.
An assortment of shapes and sizes of boats on the river
The 12th century parish church of St James surrounded by gravestones
Church Steeple - looks like the stairway to heaven
Normonton-upon-Soar - a picture postcard (affluent) village
The flood protection weir on the river bypass - a very elaborate looking system, though I guess it's needed when you see how close the houses are to the river
We'll motor on to Loughborough on Friday and hope to make it as far as Leicester on Saturday - thanks for the advice Adam - I have to admit that I'd heard some dreadful tales of thugs stoning boats in the locks in Leicester when we were here last year, and haven't been terribly keen to visit (though Barry always says we shouldn't listen to 'Chinese Whispers' horror stories but experience areas ourselves and form our own opinions!). However, after reading the write-up in the Nicholson's Guide I'm actually looking forward to being proved wrong and enjoying discovering more about the town. Some years ago I almost got a senior midwifery post at the Hospital there, but it was at a crucial point in my younger daughter's schooling so it would've been too difficult to move from Sutton Coldfield at that time. I was told then that there are many quaint villages around Leicester too, so hopefully we'll get a chance to see some of these also over the next few days.