Friday, 9 October 2015

Home... Well for a couple of days.

Sometimes, reality gets in the way. We have had to return home for a few reasons. Shifting cars, the dreaded M.O.T and then sorting out insurance being just a few. Then there is the Rugby. We have tickets for the England game in Manchester. Evening kick off so staying overnight.

So, home it was. It is strange to be back, albeit briefly. On Sunday we return to the boat in order to start all those jobs that need attention. That is, if the weather allows. But there again, if its good, we may well go back out.

Anyway, back to the final bit of our cruising, enjoying the stunning weather, we left our mooring at Stowe hill and made our way south. A late start, so not too far. At Gayton junction, we made use of the services, then stopped to chat with Geoff and Julie on Willow Too. It was so quiet that we were able to hover under the Bridge to chat. Then it was to Blisworth tunnel!

This one place always strikes fear, as it was here, on our maiden voyage through Blisworth tunnel,  that we were rammed! Fortunately, no such experience on this occasion, but we passed several boats in what seemed a convoy heading north. At Stoke Bruene, we dropped down the top two locks and moored in the long pound. Quite busy and lucky to get a mooring. As a reward, we went that evening to the Indian restaurant, Spice of Bruene I believe. Now as not a lover of Indian food, surprisingly, I loved the food! Well recommended.  The next morning we started down the rest of the flight, half way down the first lock of the day Willow Too appeared, so we waited in the next and shared the rest of the flight with them.  We left them at the bottom as they wanted diesel from the fuel boat.

After this we bimbled in the autumn sunshine as far south as Cosgrove. This is a lovely section of canal, broad and deep. The canal side hedges were dripping with Sloes and Crabbe apples. We were now in Wyvern shipping hire boat country, most of which appeared to be on the move. We managed to wind above the lock and moored opposite some new builds, nearing completion and quite in character for the area.

Then the return. We were on a loose agenda, having to collect a car and ready for the Rugby trip. We were in luck at Stoke Bruene locks, sharing with an American family on a Wyvern boat, consisting of middle aged son and wife, elderly Dad, and his girlfriend! Must say, with no traffic descending, we managed rather well, leaving the locks together, then entering in the same manner. It made the flight so easy. After a quick shop stop, Blisworth tunnel was passed with ease, although very busy and somewhat smokey, thanks to a couple of trad boats. The pleasure of ingesting ones exhaust fumes at face height, as well as the noise, is beyond me At Gayton,a stop enabled Ali to touch up a few war wounds below the gunwale on the port side, then a hop to Bugbrooke, enabled her to touch up the starboard. After all the effort, she deserved a drink and meal out, so off to the pub went we.

We topped up the fuel at Rugby boats, at a very reasonable 59.9ppl, by a good way the cheapest in the area.

The following day it was up the Long Buckby flight. Not a boat in sight so alone went we. Using our trusted single gate, single ground paddle method, we ascended with ease, albeit rather slowly. The day ended with us back on the Leicester line, moored in rural isolation. Just the hum of the M1 for company and oh, the odd train in the distance.

At the ever delightful Watford flight, after a short wait above the lower two locks, we shot up the remainder. At the top waited N.B. Panda, with Lizzie and Carolyn starting their autumn adventure. Ali chatted, whilst I emptied the bog! Then back to Crick through the tunnel. We spent that night, temporarily, rather uncomfortably, on a 50ft pontoon. But moved on to a somewhat longer one for the winter. As ever, telephony at Crick is awful. The mifi refused to connect and the phone signal was abysmal.

So after visiting the family in Northampton, home we came. Somewhat strange. A busy couple of days with the washer hardly pausing for breath. But we are nearly there now. Cars shuffled and mot passed, insurance sorted. Nice to switch on a tap and not think of topping the tank up and to flush away your waste though!

Manchester over the weekend, then back to sort out the boat and just maybe a little trip, weather permitting.

45.5 miles
28 locks (21 Broad )
7640 yds of Tunnels.

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