Playing The Sainsburys Game. 16th, 17th January

Nottingham
As the marina was closed on Tuesday Mick took our life jackets in first thing Wednesday. They have now been sent off and will take around a week to come back. Thank you all for your comments regarding doing it ourselves, we’ll look into it further and be prepared to do it next year, near a handy address for any spare parts that may be required.
Being back in civilisation means there are things that need doing. Christmas vouchers to spend, tea to stock up on. The slippers Mick got for his birthday from Tilly had sprung a leak, I’d tried to mend them, but the glue wasn’t strong enough to hold the top to the bottom. These are sheepskin slippers with an outdoor sole, so not cheap and had been proving to be very good, mine have lasted over five years. They have been sent back to either be replaced or reglued, we’re waiting to hear.

Tip of Tilly’s tail just visible
The trip to the Post Office was delayed somewhat as the heavens opened, quite a downpour it was too. So thoughts of going for a walk around Nottingham were put on hold. Tilly however was not put off. Out of her sulk, neck nearly back to normal, It takes an awful lot of grooming (two whole days) to get my fur back to being gleaming and sleek, her collar was put back on with a new bell and out she went. Straight into the sideways trees by the boat. An extra rule today, ‘Mind the bikes’, they don’t half hurtle along the towpath here.

I decided it was a perfect day to do my accounts for last year. In the old days this would take several days even though I’d done my best to keep things up to date as the year went on, a day to check everything over and then hand them on to my accountant. But as my earnings for the last few years from being self employed have not come to enough to pay an accountant I don’t need one anymore, however the tax man still wants me to do a tax return.

How depressing our rental income was for that year, tenants who’d left the house in a state, loosing their bond and it costing us more to put right! Then a rotten joist in a backroom meant we had to have the kitchen floor dug up, concrete, etc, give a months free rent to our new tenants, the year just kept on taking our income away from us.

Tilly helping with maths
By late afternoon all the figures were ready, I was all prepared to make a start on putting figures into boxes. But where had self assessment gone? It took forever to find it rather than just information on why I should be doing one. Then there were so so many questions, to tailor my tax return to my income and make it easier. There were far more than there used to be. This was meant to save me time, but took nearly as long as it used to take me to fill the whole return in!

Time to put numbers in, I’d checked about what I could claim back regarding the work we had done on the house, most of it not included! But new carpets, curtains, mending leaks on bay windows were. With only a few questions in front of me at a time I put numbers in, only to be told that I was wrong! I persevered only to find a question on the next page where some of the expenses should be. Going back I altered the figures, but this then lost the next section I’d already filled out! GRRRR!!!!! This was going to take quite a lot of concentration and everyone was wanting to be fed, so I closed it down to revisit another day, that’s if I can find the bloomin thing again, it’s not as if I owe them any money anyway.

A small dusting

Thursday morning was bright if cold. There had been an icing sugar dusting of snow overnight. With temperatures set to be lower in the coming days we decided to stock up on coal and diesel before the marina possibly froze. The canal has a flow to it, so hopefully will stay liquid. After breakfast we rolled up the frozen covers, persuaded frozen ropes to untie and pushed off reversing to the marina entrance. This is so much easier on Oleanna than it was on Lillian. Oleanna behaves better and when she starts to drift a touch of the girlie button helps to correct things.

Stocking up

We turned into the marina, winded and reversed to the service pontoon. This is where the slipway is, so you have to be careful not to go too far. It was recommended that we nudged forward if we were going to fill the diesel tank as our skeg might just end up on the bottom with all the extra weight, so we did. Four bags of coal, gas and a full tank of diesel, hopefully this will see us into Yorkshire. We pulled back out onto the canal and moored on the same two rings.
Nottingham Castle covered in scaffolding

The moorings here are very handy for Sainsburys, so we tend to pop in and buy things as we need them. Mick has already been on several such trips. In the past the voucher machine has  been really glad to see us again and offered us a voucher for double points or extra bonus points on things we tend to buy, although not on wine! However the really good voucher will only be produced on a big shop as a reward and to tempt us back in next week to do the same again. But these sort of vouchers on a final shop are usually worthless to us, so we try playing them at their own game. We start off with just a few bits, no voucher, a few more, no voucher, a semi shop (over £10) this one quite often works, but hasn’t this time! It may be because we have a double points voucher that runs out tomorrow. But we may try and call their bluff. We’ll do a big shop, using our voucher and most probably be given another. This time though we’ll be back in time to use it before it runs out.

0 locks, 0.18 miles mostly reversed, 180 degrees, 1 wind, 1 left, £4k, 0 useful at Gov Gateway, 1 hour hunting, 2 much! 1 freezing morning, 4 bags excell, 83 litres, 1 empty wee tank, 1 new gas bottle, 2 slipper in the post, 1 new blue bell, 2 chilly to be out for long.

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