It’s that time of the year. In Holland people will celebrate Sinterklaas.
Or, more precise, celebrate the name day of Saint Nicholas on 6 December, by giving gifts on St. Nicholas’ Eve (5 December).

There are a lot of sweets involved, like speculaas (spiced cookies), kruidnoten (mini spiced cookies, also called ginger nuts), pepernoten (small aniseed flavored honey cookies), taai-taai (aniseed and honey flavored figurines) and chocolate letters.

And a lot of songs. One starts with: Zie de maan schijnt door de bomen… (Look, a bright December moon is visible through the trees).

Zie de maan schijnt…

Sinterklaas must be in the UK as well. I can but start singing, when seeing this moon.
And Aldi sells the proper speculaas. Would I also get presents next Tuesday..?

Ho, ho, ho, don’t be silly. This is the UK, and it’s all Christmas here. Which means: annual Christmas Dinners.

So, in order to benefit from the ‘good’ weather, we cast off on Friday the first of December, and make our way to the New Scarisbrick Arms. It’s a bit cold, but that’s about it.

Not having to cruise on the Saturday enables me to make bread, and assemble most of the Christmas Cards.

Christmas Dinner 2017

The Christmas Dinner is, as usual, absolute superb. I have a very interesting tomato-mozzarella salad, sea bass filet (that almost makes me licking the plate afterwards), and Christmas pudding. And, as per usual, we have an after dinner drink, and are about the last ones to leave the restaurant.

After Dinner Drink

No, I’m not drunk, but I forget half of my normal going-to-bed routine…

The cold weather, that was predicted for this weekend, never made it. It’s not cold, but windy. Of course, it’s me on the tiller, who has to try to get properly back at the jetty
With the wind from the wrong direction: usual the wind turns the bow of the boat into the right direction, now I have to turn into the wind.
But I manage. Quit well, I must say.

And this will be our last day of cruising, this year.
In total we’ve cruised 113 days. And were ‘om the move’ for 388 hours. We covered 776 miles, 334 locks and 54 bridges.

When I switch the engine off, Lawrance has been on the tiller for 170 hours, and I braved the elements for a staggering 203 hours.
Yes, I know, 170 + 203 ≠ 388. The missing hours was Mick on the hire boat, of course.

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