Saturday, 30 May 2015

Leicester's welcome starts badly but gets a lot better

We were up, breakfasted and ready to go by 9 this morning, but we very graciously (!) waited for Chance and Eleventh Heaven to go down the locks before us.

James waving; Chris untying

Les and Chris
There was a boat on the water point we thought we could share the locks with, but they were joining up with another boat so, in the end, we continued on our own. It was a great help to have the first few locks back set for us, thank you.

The weather was an improvement on yesterday, with no rain and a fair amount of sunshine. There was still a cool breeze.

At King's Lock, Aylestone, we stopped for lunch and then went to the tea room at the old lock cottage for a cream tea. Very nice scone, clotted cream and jam; the tea would have been better had it been hotter and not served in such utilitarian thick-lipped cups. Delightful lock cottage, though. If you go, make sure you use the loo. You go upstairs and into the original-looking bathroom, complete with bath.

The approach to Leicester from the south goes through lovely countryside; the city comes very gently until you suddenly find yourself at Castle Gardens at the end of the Straight Mile.

There are a few weirs to avoid on the way; this is the most impressive at Freeman's Lock by the football ground.

Arriving at the Castle Gardens moorings we thought we were going to have to breast up to another boat, as one boat was already doing so. We slowly approached the first boat on the pontoon only to see it had "No mooring" signs in the windows.

We later found out were later told that the boat had been there for weeks, claiming to have a broken gearbox. I think his licence holder must be broken too. No licence was displayed on the side.

As we tried to creep past the wind caught us and we nudged the boat. At this a man emerged and told us we couldn't tie up to him. Not the friendliest of welcomes to Leicester.

Once past the breasted-up boat we could see that there was, in fact, a space on the pontoon. We just fitted. Shortly afterwards we could see that another boat was coming in to land, as it were, so we indicated that he should breast up to us. Which he did.

I mended yet another bicycle puncture then, after tea, we walked round the city centre for a while. The main purpose was to recce a church for the morning; we eventually found Holy Trinity in Turner Street. As we were looking at the notice board at the entrance a young woman came up and asked if we were going in. Er ... it's Saturday; we were considering coming tomorrow, so what's happening now? It transpired that there was a free musical evening in the church. We were invited in and made very welcome. A jazz/rock band was performing; chairs and drinks were got for us and we found ourselves talking to the vicar. Or trying to; the music was very loud and not suited to the acoustic of the building. The next act was much better, a string quartet playing Sibelius. Then the young cellist played a Bach sarabande extremely well; this was followed by a breathtaking performance by his sister, a 15-year-old violinist playing from Biber's Mystery Sonatas. Her technique was amazing, with some incredibly fast and accurate passages and a huge amount of double stopping.

We were very glad to have come upon this; we will return for perhaps a more conventional church service in the morning.

edited to add corrections


Pip and Mick said...

Just thought you might like to know that the chap who gave you the warm welcome to Leicester still seems to be having gearbox problems!
We are heading up to Trent Lock for Sunday/Monday so will wave if we pass.
Pip and Mick NB Lillyanne (

Halfie said...

Pip and Mick, I think we'll miss you as we aim to be off the Erewash by Friday to head up the T&M. We've seen your boat somewhere recently; were you at Kilby Bridge a couple of weeks ago?

Pip and Mick said...

No, only came through there in the last couple of days. I think you were moored near us for the boat show at Crick. Happy floating and I hope the levels on the Erewash are better on your way back.

Pip and Mick said...
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