The day began with great intentions, we set the alarm nice and early, had a checklist of things to do – just to make sure we didn’t waste a single second before setting off.
As the boat wouldn’t be available until 2PM, we decided to visit a National Trust garden on the way up.
In this current climate we had to book our National Trust entry in advance, including choosing an arrival time – 10:30 should do the trick, we thought – after all, we’ve set our alarm nice and early. We have plenty of time.
So naturally we left about 30 minutes late, with no real reason as to why. Ah well, we were sure we would able to make up the time en route.
The car’s satnav cannot be blamed. It told us well in advance that our journey would be delayed. Sadly it didn’t offer us any alternative ways to get to Stowe, but what was a couple of minutes delay really?
I drove, the Captain navigated, and the SSO kept two close (closed?) eyes on our packing in the back of the car.
We made good time. Actually we made very good time, as we arrived at Stowe early. Perhaps the wet and windy weather on the way up helped us somehow?
Stowe was an interesting place to explore, some 250 square acres of decadent garden, strewn with follies of all kinds.
After feeling lucky about making up time on the drive up, we didn’t think our luck was likely to hold, so we left Stowe 20 minutes early, to make our way to the marina.
Yet again the satnav informed us that our next journey was also delayed, it started with a 3 minute delay, then 4, then 10. You see you really can’t blame it for trying to warn us.
Our 20 minute head start on this leg of the journey was swallowed up almost instantly by traffic jams and reported accidents.
It wouldn’t usually matter, but due to COVID-19 the boat had to be picked up at a set time, otherwise we risked losing getting the boat at all! (This is apparently part of the “new normal”).
With some clever, on the fly navigation by the Captain we made it in time – just.
After a very, very quick handover, we were off.
The boat is a little rough around the edges, but she’ll do for us for the next week or so.
She required a thorough wipe down with disinfectant, partly due to the current pandemic and partly because everything just felt like it needed a good clean.
We may have been a little rusty when we started, but we soon had a smashing time on the water – for my part I broke a glass, whilst the Captain incurred her obligatory injury (no plaster required this year).
We had a few showers of rain as we travelled, some heavier than others. None of them heavy enough to dampen our spirits, even if it dampened our clothes (the Captain had to undergo a complete change of outfit at one point).
We saw a wide variety of boats on the canal, it’s probably the busiest stretch of water we’ve been on.
Eventually, after 6 hours of trundling along, we found our mooring spot.
It may have been a wet and time constrained start to the day, but it ended in peaceful sunshine.