Sunday 31 December 2017

New Year's Eve

Don't be fooled by the date given for this post - it was, of course, actually written the next morning but it is easier for later use if the date of the post relates to the day described!

After the late night yesterday, no-one was in the mood for an early rise today. In fact, the last of the 'getting up' occurred just before high noon.

Eventually we managed to construct lunch after which we planned to walk into town for some milk. However, having kitted ourselves out for a walk along the damp (aka very muddy) towpath, and getting out of the boat, locking the doors etc, rain arrived and in the sky it looked  as if there would be heavy showers for some while.

So Mike was dispatched back to the boat for the car keys - which also meant changing from walking boots into shoes for driving - and we drove to Morrisons. Alice had just finished all of the books she had brought with her, both hard copies as well as a load on Kindle, so she and Christine went off to WH Smith whilst Mike and Jess collected the various items on our list. Yes, we know that we originally said that we only wanted milk but lists grow. This time, Jess had written out the list earlier and came prepared with a pen to tick each item off as we found it. Naturally, there were one or two extras along the way as well!

After driving back to the marina, leaving Alice to make a start on her new and substantial book, the others went for a walk along the towpath down to the new locks towards the motorway. You see, that rain never really materialised - that's British weather for you!

Along the way we showed Jess how the new stretch of canal had been built and how modern techniques (ie reinforced concrete) were used to make the locks, both the double lock staircase as well as the single Lock 6.

We walked as far as the footbridge just before the culvert under the motorway. Today the water level had receded and was well down into the green section of the measuring board below the last lock.

Back on the boat and later in the evening, Jess set about making a pizza for tonight's meal - using some of the extra ingredients (olives and pineapple) which she had bought earlier. It also gave us a chance to try out the new pizza tray and to see if it bakes the  dough better than a solid tray. (It did)

When it came to loading up the top of the pizza, we had to make a map of the four quarters as everyone had different preferences for what to put on. More accurately, each of us had views on what not to put on! Christine put together a salad and, with some heated up hash browns from the freezer,. we had a good meal. The pizza was followed by eating up some of the left over dessert items that were still taking up space in the fridge!

The evening television programming was not that brilliant but we did find a very interesting documentary on More Four about the present restoration works on Big Ben (or more correctly the tower in which the famous clock and bell are housed).

This took us close to midnight and we tuned to the fireworks display from central London. Even though we could only see it trough the small screen, we could tell that it was a really impressive display. Each year the technology seems to move on to enable the designers to surprise even the most seasoned firework watcher.

We had drinks at the ready and saluted the New Year, just as Big Ben chimed - it was allowed to ring out today even though we knew from the documentary that it is currently normally silenced for the protection of the workers on the restoration.

Eventually we all drifted off to bed . . . but not before some of us had to cope with a small glitch with the washing machine. Fortunately, all is now well!

Welcome to 2018, folks!

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