It was a couple of weeks ago that we met up with friends Vanessa and Lance who were spending a few days in the Portsmouth area.
There was much chin-wagging (and the occasional drink!) on the water front at Spice Island, Portsmouth ………
…… watching the huge yachts practicing for the leg of the America’s Cup being held in Portsmouth that weekend.
It was a gloriously sunny day for us and we chose one of our favourite haunts, The Spice Island Inn, for lunch.
From the first moment of a chance encounter with Lance and Vanessa on “Queen Elizabeth last year we’ve got on like a house on fire.
If you’re lucky and get a window table in “The Spice Island” you can watch the world and his brother going about their business. Like the man cleaning the Spinnaker Tower (he’s the spec where the two curved bits join at the top) …….
…… just there …….
Portsmouth’s old Napoleonic defence battlements have a new role these days as something to lean against while people sun themselves.
Spice Island and Old Portsmouth have a lovely atmosphere and it’s great to wander around all the old defences during the short walk to Southsea …..
….. wonderful Southsea where James can get his dose of the Hovercraft!
Now – while James was being restored and refurbished so was “Chance”. Getting it up to MGM meant we could have the bottom blacked and a safety inspection during James’ operational ‘downtime’. Once back on board, we had an unintentional week’s stay at MGM due to the failure of the Mikuni heater to start.
We can’t praise Mikuni Marine (023 8052 8777) in Southampton enough. After Doug had whisked the unit down to them, in 2 days they replaced the air blower, water pump (to be on the safe side) and given it a full mechanical and software service. We now look forward to getting another 4 years’ faultless service from it.
Yesterday, on our last night at MGM we were able to witness the wonderful spectacle of the “Blue Moon”.
Today (Saturday) we finally set sail down the River Soar, sharing Cossington Lock with a beautifully presented little 2005 boat “Red Rose”.
The massive brick railway bridge just after Mountsorrel is always imposing – even more so on a lovely sunny day.
Entering Barrow-upon-Soar there are usually numerous pleasure craft around on a good day but we’ve not seen these before.
You can’t help but admire the beautiful gardens …..
….. as you cruise gently towards Barrow Deep Lock.
The depth of the lock at 9’ 7” wasn’t the reason why we decided to put it off until the morning. With the shady moorings before the lock, and the fact that we were feeling lazy, it seemed a good idea to call it a day and enjoy the afternoon and evening. Our first day back on the cut has been splendid.