Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Catching up, again!

Time just seems to fly by, especially when a hostelry beckons in the evening, the time the blog is usually written.  This hot weather has necessitated an increase in liquid consumption and that means more beer!

So where have we been?  Monday saw us leaving Crofton early morning in order to beat the heat.  This was a truly lovely location and will err be remembered as the backdrop to watching Murray win his first Wimbledon final, shared with the crew of NB Joanne.

Dave and Angie were to catch us up after their stopover in Devizes and so we did not want to make their day too long.  We decided to make a short hop to the lovely village of Great Bedwyn.  This would also enable us to hopefully secure a good mooring and beat the heat.

We arrived at eleven, visited the services and moored up just past bridge 95.  Time for a catch up on chores, showers and then Ali decided that the availability of the rail station was to good to pass over. A quick trip to Hungerford on the train replenished the vittles.  The return trip cost £3.20 and the journey time was 7 minutes!  I went to the village hairdressers for a full head trim.  The  bald spots are now merging, so keeping it well shorn does hide this, a little. (Ali - he hopes!!)

 In the afternoon, I spent my time trying to sort out the top board of the cratch. This warped somewhat last year and I used coach bolts to secure the rear.  This year the front has come adrift and so I have now drilled out and bolted this end down. I just hope that now the board is secured at either end rather than glued, that this will sort out the warping issue, Time will tell......

By late afternoon, Dave and Angie joined us and moored up with a little shoe horning.  Later that evening, they joined us on the boat for a catch up and more than a few drinks!  We all agreed to an early start the next morning, I think....

Miles 2
Locks 4.

Tuesday dawned dry and clear if with a slight chill in the air. The sky was azure blue, giving more than a hint of the heat to come. Our decided destination was Kintbury, not to far in that we could be moored before the full heat of the afternoon and with well spaced locks. We made steady progress to Hungerford.  I remain surprised at how little boat movement we are experiencing.  It is very quiet and this can make you somewhat blase when rounding bends and negotiating bridges!  After descending to the services, we found that a wide beam trip boat was having a self pump out and filling with water, to we waited for them to complete.  This gave Ali and Angie the time to nip to Tesco's for a few bits.

Once watered and emptied we continued in very hot weather. The approach to Kintbury is stunning, with beautiful houses on the south bank. We managed to moor by bresting up after asking a boat to shuffle down in order to give us some space.  The bonus was we could re water without moving.

Upon our arrival, a number of trees near the lock were being lopped. The skill of the chaps doing this is amazing. Clinging to a willowy tree, with a chain saw hanging from a rope to their belts, descending as they lop down sections, is mad!  I hope that they are well paid.

After relaxing in the sun whilst the ladies walked around the village, it was decided that a meal at the Dundas Arms was reward for our endeavours.  Beautiful meal, if a tad on the expensive side. I actually had to drink lager - to cool down, of course.

Miles 8
Locks 13

No water shortages

Company on the lock

Swinging the bridge back over the lock (so the cows can get back over)

Love this!
As we arrived




Wednesday was forecast to be cooler. Well if it was, it was not by much! We left our mooring around eight and after dropping down Kintbury lock, a pound of a couple of miles enabled us to do a quick clothes wash. The washing machine is brilliant, but it does need a good wallop of power when heating, so we tend to do this when on a lock free pound in order to maintain rev's for the Travel Power.

The river Kennet is now our neighbour and increasingly will take over the navigation. In stunning weather, we made our way down this beautiful valley, accompanied by both the river and now the railway. We arrived in Newbury, descending the town lock to experience the flow of the Kennet for the first time for a while. We managed to moor opposite Greenham Island.  Whilst I did a few little job's on the boat (and chilled out), Ali did some retail therapy.

Thus far the K & A has been rather good. Quiet but with some stunning villages and sections. I just wish that there were more visitor moorings.

Miles 6
Locks 9
Swing bridge 1 ( Excellently operated by Angie)

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