ImageWaking to find rain is a traditional start to any boat trip and this was no exception. Luckily it's pretty light, more a kind of drizzle. We'd rented a people mover (a Kia something) and Joan had very kindly offered to pick it up for us and she arrived just after the All Blacks had trounced the poms.

Amazingly the Kia was up to the job, six bodies, booze, baggage, barbecue, charcoal and some food. A comfort stop was required at a motorway service station, this turned out to be surprisingly reasonable with clean but noisy bogs and reasonable, albeit expensive, food and coffee. A retail opportunity presented itself and we were able to buy 5 folding chairs, in rainbow colours, something we've not seen before, for only twice what they cost in New Zealand. 

Doreen (the GPS) found the area very easily but the actual boatyard was beyond her abilities and ours too despite having been twice before. By this time we were rather later than I'd planned, no surprise here, so we biffed out the cargo and sent the foraging party (Mary, Joan, Jenn and Charlotte) to the supermarket for yet more supplies. Lynn and I settled down to stow the kit as best we could, claim the best bunks and get the briefing from Napton Narrowboats. We've used them several times before and as always the boat was in tip top condition and the briefing comprehensive.

ImageIt took some while for the shore party to return and no supplies to make tea :(  We were not underway until gone 4:30pm with Joan taking the Kia back to Penny Rentals in Virginia Water. Thanks Joan. This first stretch is all familiar territory as we went around the Four Counties 'ring' last year. Patchy rain still persists but all in all it's not to bad at all.

Once underway Lynn gets her first introduction to steering with a tiller rather than a wheel, I'd forgotten about her motion sickness issues until this, rather late, point. She remarked in passing about an incident with a helicopter pilot's hat. Not perhaps the ideal time to remember. Anyway she's got a good feel for the tiller and apart from a couple of minor crises of directional control we made it to our first mooring in a small cut just north of Watling St, the Roman road near Brewood (pronounced Brood).

ImageApart from the barbecue being a quite unacceptable powder blue the lamb chops were excellently cooked by Jenn with new potatoes and coleslaw. There was a half hearted walk along the tow path suggested for after dinner (it's the longest day today) but some of us did not get too far.