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January 2011
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March 2011
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8th March 2011

Having taken the afternoon off, I cycle back out to Tipton to bring the boat back. He's parked outside waiting when I arrive and is sporting a bracket for the bike rack on his rear-end as per request. Alas, but I can't find the damn bolts to fit the thing before I leave, so the bike gets stowed below. First attempt at spinning the Cat proves unsuccessful, as there's not really room with all the moored boats about, so I try again in the opening to the boatyard and get him winded at the 2nd attempt. Much to the chagrin of two anglers who were waiting to fish in the winding hole. (Actually that's unfair, they were perfectly civil about it). With a shiny black bottom and a clean prop I now power back down the mainline home, my wake now a thing of beauty turning over smoothly as if harrrowed. maing such good time, and as there's no-one about to hold up, I stop in a gauge lock and cut off my bunwhale fenders. I've been unable to do this before, as they're all on the offside when I moor. Later, On my way through Telford's cut, I encounter sheets of ice across the canal: "Aaaargh! me new blacking!". It's 3pm in the afternoon on a bright sunny day, what's that doing there?! Fortunately, it's not a long stretch and I carry on in peace until I enter the Soho loop. Ahead of me, mid channel, is a dredger churning the silt like a washing machine but going nowhere. He seems oblivious to my approach so I give a toot. This elicits neither wave, nor even a head turn and I continue to creep up on tickover. As I move alongside this is the first time he ackowledges my presence, and mutters something that I lose amidst the grunt of his diesel churning the mud. It didn't seem an imprecation, and I'm past now, so we'll let it go. Twenty minutes later, and a mere two hours from setting off - compared to the three it took me to get there with a fouled prop - I'm tied up at home and I even find the bolts for the bike rack, so get to dangle my velocipede over the stern to see how she looks. That's going to catch on everything, still, I like it.

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