Friday, 5 August 2016

Angi, Geraldine and Rob for the Day.

Friday 5th August, 2016 in Stone.
A lovely clear morning. M sat on the stern deck with her morning cup of tea and watched a hot air balloon drift slowly by in the still air.
Angi, Geraldine and Rob arrived, fortified by Big Breakfasts in their B&Bs. After yesterday's rain, we were blessed with a beautiful August day - warm and sunny.
We set off soon after. Although we will do an "out and back" through Stone like yesterday, going up through the five Stone locks and turning, we will then come down only three locks and moor up in the middle of Stone. Tomorrow, we will turn in Stone and start going north on the second part of our Summer Cruise. So this was "goodbye" to Aston Marina for eight weeks - a happy/sad occasion.
At Aston locks, there were C&RT volunteers painting the lock in their hi-vis jackets. One of the paddles has been broken for a week or so and we hoped that they were fixing it, but no such luck.

Anyway, the volunteers were kind enough to help us through the lock, the first of the day.
By the third lock, Geraldine and Rob had got the hang of lock wheeling. The blue "Griffin of Stone" board in the background refers to our friend Nick Griffin, who has a magnificent butcher's shop in the centre of Stone and who provides the best "middle-cut" bacon we have ever tasted!
Geraldine and Angi chatted happily while doing the locks.
In fact, Angi appeared to be thoroughly enjoying herself and relaxing in the sunshine.
After turning and a lunch stop, we returned back down the three locks into the centre of Stone. Newcastle Road Lock has a separate "horse tunnel" under the road.
In the centre of Stone, we moored up. There are only five moorings in the centre and we were worried that we would not find one - but fortune smiled on us as there was only one other boat moored up there and so we had the prime spot.
With all the hard work over, Angi and Geraldine continued to catch up on things while R and Rob did likewise.
Eventually, Angi, Geraldine and Rob went off to get Angi's car from Aston and to change for dinner, but before they left, we had a group photo.
M was clearly feeling very happy, as she agreed (for once) to have another photo with her in the picture rather than behind the camera.
We had booked the five of us for an early dinner at the Pasta di Piazza, an Italian restaurant that we had been to before and that was just 50 yards from MM's mooring.
The last time we were there, R had ordered a "Chocolate Bomb" only to be told that, sadly, they were sold out. This time he was not disappointed! He declared it to be delicious.
After an excellent supper, Angi departed to drive to see a friend in Lincoln.  Meanwhile, Geraldine and Rob returned to their B&B for another night.
We had an absolutely super time with the three of them. They appeared to enjoy their first ever narrowboat trip and we were blessed with perfect weather. Geraldine and Rob are particularly keen to join us again if we go to Liverpool - so we shall let them know when we are likely to be there.
Today: 4 miles, 8 locks and 4.3 hours.
Trip: 215 miles, 144 locks and 157.1 hours.

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