Paintings On The Walls. 11th January

Castle Gardens Moorings to Watermead Country Park

Yesterday we couldn’t sum up the effort to walk over the river to go to Tescos for a top up shop, so we went this morning. Mostly fresh veg and fruit was needed along with a few other bits and bobs so that we can keep the freezer full in case we get stuck somewhere.

One less Bessie today

With the shopping stowed we pushed off, winding managing to avoid the numerous swans that loiter for white sliced. The pontoon at Friars Mill could well have been noisier than Castle Gardens this morning as work is still on going with new buildings going up right along the river bank, we just had to contend with drunkards last night.

Frog Island

The frog graffiti is still on the walls as you round the bend to avoid the weir before Frog Island. When we passed through April before last there was a mass of very good graffiti along all the walls leading to North Lock. Most of these have now been covered with smart elaborate tags, very colourful, but I preferred the old Indian chap with turban and huge white moustache.

By Nottingham born BoasterBy Joto Foto (I think)

A cartoony old man with round glasses (Boaster) and a young lady looking on disapprovingly (Joto Foto) sing out from all the tags.

New pontoons

On social media we’d heard rumours that another pontoon had been installed in Leicester. As we approached Limekiln Lock the end dolphin showed itself. A long pontoon stretches down into the arm which once seemed full of rubbish. A Leicester College building stands to one side at the end of the arm along with a modern carpark. We couldn’t see any mooring signs suggesting how long you can moor there for and without going to have a look we couldn’t see if they were secure. Maybe they are for visitors or permanent moorers, we’ll be interested to find out as stopping here would mean we’d be nearer to the National Space Centre and the Abbey Pumping Station Museum that we’d like to visit someday.

New houses reminiscent of brick factories

New buildings are going up around Wolsey Island, modern houses and a very large block of apartments are progressing well. This side of the city is certainly having some money spent on it. Maybe this will mean there is less rubbish in the river in years to come!

Belgrave Lock looked like the lumberjacks had been around. Large branches needed to be encouraged to move out of the way of the gates and a large log prohibited me from being able to open one of the gates. There have been a lot of trees and logs floating about. In locks like this it’s hard to get them out as the sides are so high, so we had to leave them for someone else.

At Loughborough Road Bridge there is a new culvert this will be used to help flood water flow past the bridge and the surrounding land has been lowered to give more storage for water. Running through the culvert is a new cycle path leading out of the city.

Birstall Lock bottom gates were exceptionally heavy today. I normally can bump gates to get them to close, but this one was obstinate. I got it to move a couple of feet, then would it shift, would it heck as like. Mick was just about to come and help when I managed to commandeer a chap who was planning on walking straight by with his girlfriend. It was still very heavy with two of us but we got it to move in the end.

Coming into Thurmaston Lock

Thurmaston Lock was our last for the day and we made our way along the straight towards the Hope and Anchor stopping short of the bridge to give Tilly a better mooring. Today is the first time we’ve done this stretch without it snowing. Usually there have been clouds of fairies or blossom wafting through the air, but today unless it snows overnight it is decidedly brown.

No snow today. Well, not yet!

Trees, plenty of friendly cover to keep me busy and a later curfew time today. I wonder if this is a bit like a curlew but is rarer, it certainly feels that way to me. This outside has a handy fence for me to stand on above the friendly cover, giving me a better vantage point and greater pouncability. Just a shame there are lots of people on bikes and woofers, but they didn’t seem to see me up on the fence.

I thought I should mention that there will be a couple of Myth Busting Workshops on Composting Toilets next month in the London area, similar to the one we went to in Banbury. If anyone is interested click the link (Link) which will take you to the Eventbrite website where you can reserve yourself a place, the workshops are free.

DSCF7114sm5 locks, 5.97 miles, 1 wind, 1 chicken, 2 carrots, 2 parsnips, 1 broken camera, 51 swans, 4 branches, 6 logs, 1 stubborn gate, 0 pipe bridge, £99 deposit, 0 canoes, 1 cyclepath, A46, 1 elevated pouncing perch, 2 noisy crows, 1 friend, 15 minutes longer, 1 cat picked up squirming to return to the boat, 1 secret passage, 1 determined cat.

I wonder where we’ll be getting our newspaper from tomorrow?