The day did not start well. Rain pounding on the cabin top, and me still with the headache which I'd had since last night, and which I'd kept waking up in the night to check was still there. Didn't even have any paracetamol on the boat, but what I really, really, needed was a cup of tea or three. So I crawled out of bed, tried to light the primus... wouldn't light. Crawled back into bed. Half an hour later, crawled out of bed again, tried to light the primus again, wouldn't light again. After another half hour, realising things weren't going to get any better without me taking some action, I crawled out of bed again, crawled into some clothes, and went and got Jim to try and light the primus while I went for a healthy walk in the fresh air to the rubbish point. When I got back, I could hear that comforting roaring sound. I knew what was wrong with it - over filled again - but I hadn't had the heart to do anything about it. Jim had tipped some out, and we were away. Three cups of tea later, I was feeling much restored, and the sun had come out, so we set off at half past ten.
Through the Cranfleet Cut, onto the Trent, and then before we could really get the throttle open, into the Beeston Cut and through Nottingham. Being wimps today we decided to stop for lunch - well, really we were stopping for shopping, but while Jim found Sainsbury's, I made some sandwiches, while it started to rain again. Then the sun came out and we set off again, and just as we got to Castle Lock (pictured, as they say) it started to tip down again, while it was out turn to be knights in shining armour and pull a boat off the weir. Thoroughly wet, we proceed on our way.
Meadow Lane lock was a building site when we were here last year, and today we saw what they had built - a brand new facilities block with toilets and showers and a brand new spanking clean elsan point (these things are of interest to us now). So I said, why not let's empty the toilet, look, look how clean it is, and I will investigate the loos. And I did, and I looked into the shower, and it looked so big and clean(ish) and hot and tempting, I said, I think I will have a shower, yes, right now in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon, and I did, and it was good, and after that Jim had one too. Then he adjusted the tickover back down as it seemed to have adjusted itself a bit higher... I thought my slowest was getting faster. Then we went through the lock, and I was moved to ponder why, with all that money to spend, they hadn't put a bit aside for attention to the paddle gear, which was diabolical.
Then we were back on the big river again, thrash, thrash, thrashing away. Was there slightly less oil on the cabin top at the end of today? We think possibly yes. Is the engine less smokey? Almost definitely yes. And despite the late start, and the stop for lunch, we have made it to Gunthorpe on schedule tonight, showing that Chertsey is capable of quite a turn of speed when given the chance. However, we will not be visiting the Unicorn Hotel, where last year we had the worst pub meal ever. Instead we will be feasting on an Indian takeaway selection that Jim picked up in Sainsbury's, reheated in the Epping with the assistance of my new oven thermometer. I got it mainly to assist in the correct cooking of delicate things like cakes, but this is its first try out. We're up to 100 degrees now and counting. And I may have to take my jumper off in a minute. There is only one bottle of drink in the cupboard, because we gave the rest away yesterday to the nice men from up the Ashby who helped us get off the rocks - they looked like the type to enjoy a bottle or two of speciality ale. And the last remaining bottle is Magners cider, which I have never tried before. Well, the power of an advertising campaign. It's got less flavour than Woodpecker!
All in all it's been a lovely day, after the unpromising start, aspecially the last stretch with the low sun shining and a stiff breeze, and me sitting on the cabin top (my arms must be getting stronger because I can heft myself up there without a foothold now). And tomorrow Newark!