I’d almost forgotten what a contrast cruising on rivers is compared to canals. Leaving the delights of Trent Lock on Thursday morning, after a brilliant evening catching up with Julie, we took the right turn at the Junction onto the River Soar.
Before we set off, I had a short stroll around the famous Trent Lock area; a major waterways junction for the River Trent, River Soar, Trent and Mersey Canal, and the very weedy Erewash Canal where Julie’s boat is moored.
Adoring The Soar
It certainly makes a difference when the weather is fine, and the past few days have been splendid. Even Kim, who dislikes cold weather intensely, has been spotted wearing less clothes and even sunbathing!
Dominating the skyline here for miles is the Ratcliffe-On-Soar Power Station. This is a coal-powered station that\’s operated for 50 years, but as the government are closing all coal-powered stations, it’s life is limited. It seems that Uniper, who runs the current station, have submitted plans to demolish the current structures and replace it with a huge new £330 million power station. We think the towers are very picturesque – but then we don’t have to live in close proximity to them!
We relished our journey to our next port of call. No rushing as the locks are massive again and seem to take an age to empty and fill.
Our first port of call after Trent Lock was Loughborough. Affectionately re-named ‘loogabarooga‘ by Australians we were told in 2010 on our first visit here, and the name’s stuck in our heads ever since.
Kim needed something from town, so we ventured in wearing our ‘crazy paua’ face masks that I’ve made (Barry will have one too soon!).
The moorings in the basin look delightful but when we arrived there was just one other boat there. They left not long after we returned from the shops. Shortly afterwards we did too. The picture may look lovely but in reality, you’re adjacent to a very busy road and the locals gather here talking loudly. Not the type of mooring we want at the moment.
Barry found us a secluded spot to nestle for the night, not far away. Much quieter, apart from the occasional roar of a train freakily close by! But you can’t have it all.
Barrow Upon Soar
Our next point of call on Friday was a short cruise to Barrow-Upon-Soar. Kim took the opportunity for some more SUP-ing – Stand Up Paddle Boarding. She keeps trying to persuade Barry and me to do it but isn’t getting far. Though Barry’s been tempted recently, so watch this space! With his wide feet, he can balance incredibly well. Whereas I’d be falling off all over the place 😉
Kim had arranged to meet a friend she’s known since school here, and they all went to The Moorings pub nearby for lunch, giving me space and peace for a couple of client calls. I caught up with them all later. Another well run establishment abiding by the distancing rules.
Friday brought another mini-heatwave across the UK and people were out and about in force. Once again it’s easy to forget about COVID-19, especially if, like us, you have no TV and don’t read ‘news’papers! That’s not to say we’re being flippant. We can’t afford to be.
It was wonderful to see so many people enjoying the water other than fellow boaters. Kayaking. Stand up paddle boating. Pedalo boating. And lots of swimmers. Of course, being a river means it’s far cleaner than a canal. I’m still not going in there myself mind you. I like to be able to see what’s in any water I immerse myself in thanks very much!
Air New Zealand Scary Snag
You’ll recall the flights we originally booked to New Zealand, last autumn, were cancelled due to COVID-19? Then on a phone call with Air NZ on 6th June, our final lockdown day, we easily re-booked them albeit with a slight change of times – and Heathrow rather than Gatwick. The Hong Kong to Auckland leg was also changed at that time from an Air NZ flight to Cathay Pacific.
Since then I’d had an email from Cathay Pacific to say the first flight time had altered. But this didn’t change on my Air NZ app. The second leg still showed in my Air NZ app, but not on the Cathay Pacific website. The Auckland to Gisborne flight for 31st August as cancelled on my App then suddenly reappeared last week. I’d not received any notifications for either.
So on Thursday evening, I thought I’d better phone Air NZ again. At that point, we had ten sleeps left before our planned flights on 16th August. My previous call was answered fairly quickly. This time I was on hold for just over an hour before a lovely kiwi accent spoke.
Thank goodness I phoned and waited. I won’t bore you with all the details, but our second flight had ‘disappeared’ from the system. Can you imagine if we’d just turned up at the airport on the morning of 16th August, to be informed we ‘re only booked to go as far as Hong Kong?
To cut a long story short, we’re now booked to fly on Thursday 20th August instead. We must have proof of negative COVID-19 test results I think within 48 hours of flying. I’ve no idea how we’re going to organise that, but I’m confident we’ll find a way.
Yes, admittedly, it’s a stressful time for us all on board Areandare. The transition of moving from one hemisphere to another for an extended period of time entails much thought and organisation. Add in a world-wide pandemic to the mix, and it becomes a tad chaotic and crazy.
However, we feel extremely fortunate. That we still have the chance of returning to NZ as planned for many years. We’re extremely grateful to be fit and healthy. If it all goes completely to pot, and we don’t get there, it’ll be devastating but not the end of the world. There are far worse events occurring to people at the moment.
Lots more crossing of appendages on board …
We last moored here in 2014 when Helen and Andy stayed on board. We cruised with them to Loughborough and back.
It’s an idyllic location, especially on a sultry August summers evening. Last night’s sunset was spectacular, with golden rays emanating high into the sky.
Four ‘Extra’ Days
We can at least relax a little now having made excellent progress towards our destination. And having an extra four days to organise our big journey to the Southern Hemisphere. Hopefully …
Lisa and the boys are arriving today for the weekend, we’re making the most of the time we have left in the UK. Though it may be a lot more than we’re anticipating!
Always look on the bright side of life if you can.