The Captain and Boatwif had travelled to Macclesfield on Saturday afternoon. "Play with me, Granny," the Cheshire One had pleaded. Into the dining room we went, music playing as background to a card game. Later Boatwif was honoured to be chosen for bedtime story-reading too.
Sunday dawned grey but dry. Techno Son-in-law set off at 0815 (wasn't that 0715
Meanwhile Chatsworth House (or more exactly Chatsworth grounds) was to be our destination, with picnic. Up the steep hillside via zigzag path we slogged, safe in the care of our "star soldier", who, equipped with two large sticks, lead the way and protected the Queen (Boatwif), the King (the Captain) and the Princess (Mummy)... Past the vast aqueduct carrying water to the garden's many water features we climbed. Then, high up above Chatsworth House we came upon a hunting lodge, a convenient seat in front of it. Lunch was eaten, before an alternative route back to car park level down hundreds of slippery steps was taken. Next onwards to the farmyard and adventure playground. Cows, calves, sheep, lambs, goats, pigs, piglets, hens, chicks, donkeys, Shetland ponies, Shire horses: a fairly fast observation of the aforementioned was made before a race up to the adventure playground level, where the Cheshire One bounced and bounced for much of the next hour on a very orange trampoline. The playground, built "for children of all ages", is pure temptation for climbers and sliders, for music makers, for sand and water engineers, and yes, a slide or two had to be tested by this water-thrill deprived would-be boater...
And so to the would-be boating: out to the boatyard on Monday morn we bowled. Bright daffodils jostled for space in front of the grey stone walls. The workforce were hard at their coffee break in deckchair seats as we rounded the dry dock. Over to the boat they scuttled. Swiftly one dived under the cratch cover to start the show. We boarded Cleddau. Lights, music, action. Ceiling lights, wall lights, radio, TV, gas hob, tiles... such progress. On to the bathroom: here were tiles behind the basin, a shower fitted with hose and taps, a working shower pump!
But tools are still scattered about the boat so what remains to be done?
· the blacking of the hull (but Andy Russell is painting a boat in the dock...)
· the laying of the floor (but the floor layer didn't turn up as promised...)
· the fitting of the diesel heater (only Expert Engineer is deeply involved with another boat...)
Photos were taken; discussions were had; fire extinguishers were counted (the boat safety examiner obviously had problems!); battery terminals were examined. Then Boatwif and the Captain left, pleased at progress but frustrated by delays.
Later another thought occurred: weren't brushed stainless steel electric fittings, not shiny chrome, specified? And then, while doing chef duty Boatwif reached for the extractor fan above the hob: had the galley fan been retrieved and replaced? After a Tuesday visit another thought: had the 12 volt sockets been installed?
Sawdust blankets the boat, inches deep. It is Spring, the sun is shining and the Cleddau crew so want to be spring-cleaning and arranging cupboards and trying out the new installations - and floating on water, however brown, however shallow…
TO BE CONTINUED