With our share in Winding Down sold and the long wait for Oleanna to be built getting longer, Mick and I were in need of a fix out on the cut. In October we had been on an RYA Helmsman course in Leeds, where we learnt how you are meant to do things and I had learnt to take the tiller with confidence. We needed to put our training into practice.
Mick had a few days holiday still to take before Christmas so we planned on hiring a boat for four nights somewhere after my Christmas shows had opened. Of course the weather might have gotten the better of us and all boats on the network have been iced in, so we waited to see what the elements were going to do. With the Countryfile forecast watched we decided that we'd be okay. So I set about doing research on where we could go. An ideal would have been to hire a boat on a section of the waterways not connected to the network, but no-one was hiring boats in December.
So on Wednesday I put together a short list of boats that met with our requirements. 58ft, not a trad stern, fixed double bed, countryside, locks, a bit of pootling, central heating and a stove. The short list became two boats when Mick got home, both Anglo Welsh. One was based at Wootten Wawen on the Stratford Canal the other at Great Haywood on the Trent and Mersey.
On Thursday morning I rang Anglo Welsh, their long weekends are from Saturday returning on Tuesday, we wanted to see if it was possible to get an extra night, hopefully without paying any more. Yes this was okay, with the extra night thrown in. The number of locks was the deciding factor, both for practice and to help keep us warm. Boat booked, packing for a hire boat was different to our usual pack, but the chocolate banana loaf still had to be made!