Market Harborough, 0 miles, 0 locks
So today was supposed to be a relaxing day of doing laundry, commissioning the fridge and having a nice lunch down the pub. It all started well and I got two loads of washing done before there was a knock on the hull to say that it was 1:20pm and lunchtime. I quickly got ready and joined Dave and Pam—the people from the boat from Welford—in The Union Inn, which is just round the corner from the wharf.
Lunch was pretty good. The pub did the traditional roast beef and yorkshire pudding which is what I wanted, but they also did a 'trio' of beef, pork and lamb with yorkshire, which sounded even nicer. The roast potatoes were nice, if not as crispy as they could be, and the mash was good too. About the only criticism was that there was one small plate of vegetables between three of us when I'd have said we warranted at least two.
After lunch, we sat chatting and talking, and talking and chatting, until I bought a round before going off to get my canal maps. To my amazement, it was 6:30!
A little later, after we'd chatted some more, a man with a microphone came round to ask whether we were participating in the pub quiz. We decided we would and stumped up our £1 each and were given the necessary paperwork, including a mystery picture quiz to keep us occupied until the quiz started. We were, well, not as good as we could have been. In the end we got 40 out of a possible 60, so better than two other teams, but miles behind the winners who got an astonishing 59/60! First prize was a choice of a round of drinks or a £120 jackpot, but the jackpot was in one of six envelopes. Pick the wrong one and you might end up with £1! The winners actually picked an envelope containing £15, so they might have been better off with the round of drinks.
By this time it was 10:30 and the pub was chucking out! I couldn't believe that we'd sat in there for 9 hours, but the conversation had flowed and the time had passed and it was one of the nicest afternoons/evenings I've spent in a long time.
One of the topics of conversation was that the River Soar, which is intertwingled with the canal through both Leicester and Loughborough, is badly in flood at the moment and effectively unnavigable. This means that when I leave Market Harborough, I can't actually go north. Moreover, even if I could get beyond Loughborough, the River Trent is in an even worse state, so I'd be stuck again. It appears that my only choice is to head south, back down to the start of the Leicester branch and across to Braunston and up the Oxford and Coventry canals. This needs careful planning, because I need to be near a railway station next Friday for a quick jaunt into London, plus I'd really wanted to see the National Space Centre at Leicester. It might be that my best options are to actually stay here for either a couple of days, or even the whole week. It's not a great choice and one I think I need to sleep on.