I woke knowing full well that we had to give the boat back first thing this morning. That was not a happy thought. None of us wanted our holiday to end. Maybe we could keep the boat and high-tail it on to a different canal, would anyone notice?
The weather, however, had a different plan. We picked the boat up in the rain last Saturday, we had blistering heat for the rest of the week, and now that Saturday had rolled around again the rain was back.
It really was time to leave.
But not before breakfast.
We were using up the remaining food, which consisted of finishing up the little cereal multipacks then eating sausages in bread rolls. And I sliced and diced the final grapefruit.
Trevor, who now only operates at full speed ahead, decided to squeeze the life out of the cafetière, not realising that if you push the plunger down too quickly then the boiling brown water squirts out and goes everywhere.
Fortunately we had some kitchen roll left to use up, so really he did us a favour.
The Captain chose this moment to give Trevor a quick lesson on cafetière etiquette, only to spill more of the hot coffee.
This last, silly misadventure in a small way summed up our week: Funny, a little bit haphazard, and a learning experience for us all.
After untying the boat from her mooring, we chugged slowly down the last short stretch of canal. There was one last lift bridge to operate. Elaine and I hopped off the boat onto the bank and winched with all the strength we had left.
Next came the marina. It was early, and there were only a handful of boats moored up, which gave us enough room to manoeuvre into place.
I had to pop the pushing pole into the soft canal bed to get the front of the boat into position, whilst the Captain took care of the back.
Before we knew it we were unloading our belongings back into our cars and we were off the boat.
The Yellow Legged Gull, our home for a week, was ours no more.
But, we had room for a little more adventure on this holiday, so we drove off (on land for a change) to a National Trust property called Erdigg.
Having no real clue how to get there, we pushed the postcode into the car’s satnav and followed the instructions to the letter.
Sadly this approach brought us, after several winding lanes, to a bridal way which we couldn’t get down. Deciding that instinct was the better option at this point, we switched off the satnav and followed our noses.
The Captain and I in the first car, Trevor and Elaine in the second.
This approach seemed to work, as we soon found our way onto the grounds of Erdigg. Sure, we entered through the exit (confusing several other drivers along the way), but we got there.
The house itself was a fascinating property, set up in its Downton Abbey-era (despite being almost 500 years old), this property sells itself on telling the history of the Yorke family (the heads of which were all either called Simon or Philip… which was quite confusing).
But the real selling point is the garden. It’s very neat and well organised, inspired by the gardens of Versailles (or so they say). The best part was learning that it had a Grade 1 listed lawn, which basically meant they couldn’t do anything with it other than cut the grass.
Trevor has now decided that his back garden is Grade 1 Listed, too.
We had lunch at the property, explored the garden a little more, had an ice cream, and then departed.
We made just one stop at a service station on the way home, to take on fluids – coffee for the boat handlers, hot and tasteless mud for the lock workers.
The drive home was a long one, not helped by the threat (and then eventual appearance of) traffic jams on the motorway.
But we all made it back in the end. Holiday done.
Now all I need to do is sort through 3,500 photos and pick out the best ones for editing and sharing online.
It has been our absolute privilege to share this journey with you all, and we cannot thank you enough for following along.
Until next time (and there WILL be a next time), goodbye.
Scott, Jo, Trevor, and Elaine.