Wednesday, 29 May 2013

A tad damp!

After our sojourn sitting out the rain yesterday, today we saw Cropredy as our goal.  This is a pleasant run, normally.

After more heavy rain overnight, by morning it seemed to be clearing although the low cloud persisted. There was ner a breath of wind and we and Lady E left our mooring at 9 am. First stop was Fenny Compton, where we filled the water tank (long queue so Dave and Angie sped ahead) and Dave topped up with fuel. £1,49 a litre. sheer robbery.

After that we had a somewhat slow meander down the route of the old tunnel, before hitting the first lock.  There was another queue! We were now behind a Viking afloat hire boat.  Their system was to say the least, slow and Dave and Angie were soon well ahead of us.

The sky did not noticeably darken, but it did begin to rain. Light at first, then it started to persist it down.  By the time we hit the lock above Cropredy, we were more than ready for a stop. Dave and Angie got into Cropredy and it was full!  It would not have been if every other boat had not moored with half a boat lengh between them. I saw one spot where I thought by reversing in we could shame the chap sitting in the cratch to offer to pull back, or let us pull him back, but he studiously ignored us. What a selfish person, or words to that effect!

We descended the final lock of the day, Where along with Lady E, we managed to squeeze in, but I do mean squeeze!  Not ideal moorings, but they will do.  Off to sample the Brasenose arms tonight. Hope the food is good, we are all bloody starving!  Hollywood showers seemed to pick us up though.

Miles  8
Locks  9

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

What a difference a day makes!

From this, yesterday

To this, today!

It was hammering down when we awoke, and it hasn't stopped.  Needles to say we are going nowhere -book day!

Monday, 27 May 2013

Summer cruise with Lady Esther begins

Yesterday we reversed (well John did) from our mooring back to the water point, but when we got under the bridge a boat was using the water point so John reversed a bit further to the one by the Toll House.  After filling up we returned to the mooring by The Boat Inn to await our Tesco delivery.  Braunston is always busy, but..... I have never seen so many boats out at the same time, the sun definitely brought out the boats! Once we were stocked up we set off from Braunston to meet Lady Esther.  We knew Dave & Angie were waiting for us by bridge 100.  When we arrived Dave was cleaning the roof, after a quick hello and discussion we decided to chance getting onto the moorings by The Bridge at Napton.  So we set off in convoy it was still busy in both directions, we were amazed when we got to the moorings and were able to pull straight in with only one other boat for company, this did change later.

Busy Boating

Get that roof cleaned

Look at that sky!

Ridge & furrows fields

John & Dave went to check out the pub to see if they were doing food, unfortunately they were not other than burgers later as they had a band on.   The landlord did however ask if we needed anything from Tesco as they were going, thought this was really good, so Dave put in his order for bread & milk. When they returned, I phoned the Folly and they had also stopped serving food at 4pm, (recession, Bank Holiday Sunday, lovely sunny day!)  We had a lovely afternoon catching up, Dave doing a BBQ, (Dave style!), after tea, we retired, just for a couple to the pub, erm...... much later we came back for coffee on Triskaideka.

The sun dropped behind the hedge so we had to move onto the roof

Dave BBQing

The result

This morning again was sunny, but it was windy and a cool wind, we set off for the services prior to hitting the Napton flight of locks, surprisingly in good shape, no headaches (or none being admitted!).  We hit the first lock with everyone going in the same direction, not a boat in sight coming down.  The pounds were really low at the bottom of the flight and we dragged the bottom of the lock at one point, however as we got half way up the water levels improved as did the traffic, unfortunately, so did the wind.  We cruised from the locks to bridge 130, some of this section is quite bendy and it was interesting at times as the wind was blowing us into the bank and its quite shallow, so we have bumped along at times.

A new born water buffalo, very wobbly on its feet

Angie working hard

Its hard to imagine the HS2 speeding through here

Finally, the May blossom is appearing

The weather forecast is awful for tomorrow but we will wait and see.

Yesterday 8 miles, today 8 miles & 9 locks

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Busy doing little.

A quick catch up only. We remain at Braunston. Yesterday whilst Ali was picked up and taken shopping by Jane, I stayed on the boat doing a few catch up jobs, The weather was truly awful, with very strong winds, and sleety heavy showers. It was freezing!

As there is a launderette in the marina at Braunston, I took a load. We are conserving our water on the boat and it was easier to do it there rather than on the boat and then have to move to fill with water. It is really busy here and moorings are at a premium. Whilst the wash was on, I popped into A.J. Canopies and collected our Wendy house. Brilliant service as they even said the modification was free! Left a tip for a drink. Dropped this off at the boat and then went back to dry the washing. Must say, the dryers are carp, so when I got back had to put ours on to finish off.

The wind by midday was horrendous and you would think it was autumn with the temperatures and the leaves coming off the trees, which covered the boat roof!  I then did a little hoovering. Was I not a good boy?

Today was our trip to Crick boat show. Bus from Braunston to Hillmorton, then change to another for Crick. Took us about 40 mins which was not bad. We wandered around the show, buying a few bits and pieces. The main attraction is viewing the new boats and as we have our own, we do not bother. Especially as now each boat has a booking system.

We did meet Paul and Elaine from N.B. Caxton ( Manley Ferry) and had a short catch up. As they too are heading south this year, no doubt our paths will cross again at some time.  Look forward to it.

Arrived home by mid afternoon. It has been a lovely day weather wise, what a contrast to yesterday. So we set about clearing the debris from the roof and rear deck. Now all spic and span.

Dave and Angie ( N.B. Lady Esther ) have made really good progress and we will meet up tomorrow. Then we will start for the Thames in earnest.  Cannot wait,,,,

Thursday, 23 May 2013


The forecast today seemed to indicate that the morning blue skies would deteriorate to heavy possibly thundery showers in the afternoon. Being wimps, we decided to get an early start and try our best to beat them.

We were away just after 8 am. It was sunny, but with a cold wind. We negotiated the junction and headed for the tunnel. I must admit, we were again suprised by how quiet it was.  Entering Braunston tunnel we could make out one boat some distance ahead of us, with nothing coming towards us at all. The passage through was a doddle and only as we got to within 100 yds of the exit did another boat appear.

As we reached the top lock we saw another boat just entering and so we were able to join them and then went down the flight together. The pound below the Nelson was a little low for some reason, but caused us no problems although the working boat Hadar did become a little grounded.

Below the bottom lock, we topped up with fuel, then moved to the water and elsan point just prior to bridge 91. After this there are some 14 day moorings and after a little wait, we managed to bag a slot. Sorted...

We managed a walk around the marina and popped to bottom lock chandelry to collect some pre ordered paint. We then called into . They are lovely people and made some modifications to our pram hood ( aka Wendy House ) during the winter . We needed a little velcro sewing on. It will be ready tomorrow, how is that for service.

So back to the boat and as forecast, the heavens have opened.  Think we may have the fire on tonight!

Cold, windy, but how can you not enjoy this?

Entrance to Braunston tunnel

nearing the end, and another boat coming in

 This afternoon President and Kildare came past, lots of steam under the bridge 

Tonights mooring

Miles 4 1/2, Locks  6, Braunston Tunnel 2042 yds

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

A slow pace.

We are maintaining a slow pace in order to time our meet with Dave and Angie, NB. Lady Esther later this weekend.  This is no hardship, as we actually really like this area, despite the intrusion of the M1.

After passing Crick yesterday and seeing the preparations for the show, we have decided to go to the opening day on Saturday.  This poses a slight problem.  We have no means of transport and mooring anywhere near Crick will be a nightmare.  We have found that it is possible to travel by bus from Braunston and I think this is what we will do.  This is despite a very kind offer from a fellow member of the Canal world forum to give us a lift. ( Thank you "Tree", but it is too much of a diversion for you.)

So, the plan will be to have a few days in Braunston, get some little jobs out of the way and visit the show.  With this in mind, we left our mooring this morning and made the short journey to the top of Watford Locks. There was no one ahead of us and two boats coming up, so Ali signed in with the Lockie and we had but a short wait before we began our descent. Just enough time to empty the Elsan in fact.

A quick passage was made and we made our way in quite a strong wind towards Norton junction. It remained dry all day.  In order not to overstay on the visitor moorings in Braunston, we have stopped for the day on the visitor moorings at the junction.  We will make our way in tomorrow, through the tunnel and down the locks and hope that by arriving late morning, there will be some space freed up. The rationale being that all boats are heading for the show!  We shall see....

Miles 2
Locks 7

The start..

Fearless baby bunny..

 A slight leak in the gates..

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A day of two halves.

With Ali away for the house viewing, (do not ask!) I decided to get an early start.  So up at six, before many a sparrow had broken wind, untied and away before seven.  It was a dull morning, but dry and with very little wind.  I quite like passing moored boats ever so quietly with the engine burbling away.

I had anticipated that this stretch may be busy with boats heading for Crick show, but I was wrong. In the distance between Welford junction to Yelvertoft, I never saw another boat moving! At ten o clock I had arrived at the point Ali and I had agreed to meet. This was between bridges 20 and 21. There are good moorings there and it is next to the road. Yet again Paul came to the rescue and was to collect Ali after she dropped the car off and bring her to the boat.

A14 - now where would I rather be?

I had a visit from a local PCSO who is patrolling the bank in the Yelvertoft area. He stated that a boat was broken into near bridge 19 recently and foodstuffs consumed. He is asking us all to be aware and keep our eyes peeled. He seemed to think the suspect is a white male in his 50's. He does not believe the miscreant to be a fellow boater, and the age seems to rule out Mr Finch in his opinion.

Well they were nice moorings, except for the boat moored in front of me which ran its generator ALL DAY. The noise was bad enough, but the fumes were unbearable. So when Ali rang to say she would be arriving at 4.30 pm, I suggested we move and arranged to meet at the water point near bridge 19. I set off on tickover past the visitor and long term moorings and arrived at the water point were Ali was waiting. We began to moor up on the services when a boat travelling from Crick appeared under the bridge.  The bow wave should have given us fair warning and he did not slow down as he passed us, or the other moored boats.  We had to hold on for dear life.  Anyway, started filling with water when a chap and I take it his partner walked from the village. They stood for a moment or two peering up the canal, then as they approached the gent asked if we knew about the boat slewed across the canal in the far distance.  I did not see this and explained about the speeding boat that had passed but was now out of sight. Still think he thought we were responsible..... I am going to note offending boat names in future.

Anyway, after watering, we decided to crack on past Crick and after passing through the tunnel we are now moored in a lovely spot just short of the top of Watford locks. The burble of the M1 is audible, but not too intrusive.

Crick Marina preparing for the show this weekend

& boats starting to arrive

If this was one family she has a lot of duckling!

Blinded by the light! and it got worse the closer it came!

Despite all the times we have travelled this area, It remains one of my favourites.

Welford - Yelvertoft - Watford - 12 miles, Crick tunnel - 1529 yards