Friday, 29 November 2013

This will keep us warm!
It has been an eventful couple of day even though we have not travelled very far.  On Tuesday we cruised through lock 12, the lock which had collapsed causing the Aylesbury Arm to be closed for many months.  Then the afternoon found us foraging!  Paul had spotted some wood on the tow path so off we set with the chain saw as you can see from the picture!  The wood keeps us warm in so many ways, not the least in the gathering of it!

So Wednesday should have been a cruise of a couple of miles with 3 locks then into Aylesbury Basin.  All was well until the second lock when we were warned by a passing chap that the next pound (stretch of water between locks) was very low.  It was more than low there were big sand banks on either side.  So we rang the Canal and River Trust (CRT) and had lunch whilst waiting.  Seems there is construction work going on the in basin and the workmen were letting the water out so they could do their work!  Not ideal for us. .  Meanwhile we had been talking to Sue from a boat we had first met 5 or 6 days ago.  They were behind us, then as we filled with water just before turning towards Aylesbury, they passed us.  So we knew we were following them.  Sue was walking the dog and told us they were stuck in the basin as the water was too low to leave.  In any case they wouldn’t get through the pound that was stopping us!

 So we walked into Aylesbury and had a short walk around the town.  By yesterday  morning CRT had let enough water down through so that we could continue.  We had already decided we wouldn’t stay in the basin, not very pleasant with all the contruction work anyway.  So yesterday was the final 2 locks down, after turning we filled with water and came back up the same 2 locks, taking us nearly 2 hours the levels were still so low!  So today we will be wending our way back to the Grand Union! 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Well as you will see we are now on Tuesday.  I wrote the piece below yesterday then couldn't seem to post it.  Well yesterday was a busy day with 9 locks in total.  The first 2 being a staircase.  We are now making our way towards Aylesbury.  A beautiful frosty sunny morning, so must be off and away.
Monday 25th November

Well didn’t realise how long since I last wrote here.  Time goes so quickly!!  We pottered on from Milton Keynes and on through Fenny Stratford, not taking a walk ashore at either place, as we have visited before and we will be headed back this way in a couple of weeks time.  Friday morning saw us arrive in Leighton Buzzard.  Tesco has 2 hour moorings, so we were able to stock up.  We also caught up with an old friend of mine, Julie, we grew up together.  We did see her last year in Milton Keynes but on Friday she took us back to her place.  Unfortunately due to commitments on their side and ours we were only able to spend a few hours with her and husband David.   Still long enough for a glass of wine and a catch up! 

We needed to press on southward as lock 35 closes today for a week.  Well we came through there yesterday.  Currently we are thinking we may head to Aylesbury before heading northwards once again.  The Aylesbury Arm had been shut for a while as lock 12 had collapsed, however last night we looked at the stoppages to check everything out and it seems the only problem now is with the towpath.  So we will give it a go.  Watch this space to see how we get on.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

We arrived in Milton Keynes this afternoon.  It has taken us a bit longer as we backtracked through Cosgrove.  Came through there on Sunday and Monday morning moved on to Wolverton where there is a Tesco quite close to the canal so we were able to stock the fridge.  We then winded and headed back to Cosgrove, for very good reason.  Whilst we were at Weedon Paul got chatting to the couple moored in front of us.  Turned out they own some moorings at Cosgrove.  So this morning we went to see them and we now have our mooring for Christmas all sorted out.  That done we winded again and are once more heading south.  We are heading towards London, don’t know how far we will get before we have to turn and head back.  Watch this space.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Nosy neighbour, think the moorhen wanted to share our lunch
Well we did stay the extra night at Weedon leaving there on Thursday morning.  A nice easy day with no locks but a very strong wind.  We got to Gayton Junction and moored for water.  No problem with that as the wind took us right on to the jetty.  Just arrived when a boat came along the arm to turn right out on to the Grand Union, straight into the wind.  It was their first time out with their new boat.  They were blown on to us but no damage done.  Cruising is sometimes known as a contact sport!  In then end Paul got on their boat and took it round the corner, then walked back.  By which time I had the water all connected!  After all that we moved back on to the main canal and decided to stay there for the night. 

Yesterday was a much busier day.  We moored at Blissford and went to look at the village, this was followed by the Tunnel of the same name.  The 3rd longest on the network.  After a lunch break came the 7 locks of Stone Bruerne.  No boat to pair with so on our own.  As with Buckby there was lots of water with several of the gates overflowing.  Still they say better to be lucky than rich and I was lucky.  Two guys walking down through the locks were fascinated, not seen the locks being worked before.  Did we mind if they helped!!  I really don’t know what I would have done without them.  Yes I do, Paul would have had to get off and help.  This would have slowed us down and the light was fading  anyway as we moored for the night.  

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Moored opposite Whilton Marina at the bottom of the Buckby Locks
After our night at Buckby on Monday morning the remaining 6 locks of the Buckby Flight awaited.  The weather wasn’t great, rather grey and drizzly, but not pouring with rain so we thought we would set off.  Well it was a hard morning.  We were following a boat so in theory as we were travelling downhill the locks should have been empty when we go there.  So full is the canal, combined with leakage on the gates at least 2 of the 6 were already full when we got there.  In some instances the water was pouring over the top of the gate.  This made them very heavy to open and close.  These locks are double width so 2 boats can go side by side, so you only need to open one of the pair of gates.  However lock gates are very contrary and a couple of times the offside gate would open as Paul came in!  When they did Paul was able to get off and shut it which saved me walking around! Particularly difficult was the penultimate gate where for a while the only thing moving was my feet on the ground.  Well to my triumph and satisfaction we completed the lot arriving at Whilton in time for a much needed late lunch in the cafe at the marina.  That was us of the day!!

A closer view of the lock gates with the water coming over the top.
Yesterday was much more relaxed and the sun was shining.  We had a leisurely cruise and are now moored at Weedon.  There is a garage here which will wash and dry a load of washing for £5 so am making good use of their facility.  Off to collected the clean dry clothing etc shortly.  Again the sun is shining so we may well stay here again tonight.  The sun will go a fair way to recharging our batteries so we don’t need to run the engine.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Well as I write this we are cruising through Braunston Tunnel, so you will know we have come safely through as I won’t get internet connection until the other side!  We last came through here on Wednesday, but then we were going in the opposite direction!  We arrived in Braunston on Thursday where Johnno came on board to have a look at our impeller!  Something to do with the water pump that Paul had been concerned about for a while.  This was the reason we had come to Braunston.  Long story short, both Paul and Johnno seemed to get black and greasy, they seem to like that, and about 3 hours later job was all done.  Much to Paul’s relief.  We cruised on towards Braunston and moored for a couple of nights.  On Friday we caught the bus into Rugby.  Yesterday was wet and cold so we didn’t venture far.  Today however is lovely and sunny.  We have just come up the six locks from Braunston, the last 4 we shared with another boat with a lovely family on board.  A ten year old girl was working the paddles and the gates.  No mean feat as it can take all my weight and effort at times.  Our plan had been to moor at Norton Junction, however there was no room so we had to work another lock, going downhill now and have moored for the night near Buckby.  Nearly time now for Strictly results show, so bye for now.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Monday 4th November

Well we are now back out on ‘the cut’.  The weekend was lovely.  We arrived in the marina at Yelvertoft on Thursday morning, having rung ahead so we knew which berth we were on.  Straight on from the entrance, so that was easy.  Have had a very sociable time either visiting, or having visitors.  On Saturday friends took us to Daventry, might not sound exciting but these days a ride in a car is a treat!  We are easily pleased!  Saturday night was the Halloween Party, though our dressing up was minimal.  Paul had a hat and me a wig!  The punch was good and I did my best to sample it!  Being in the marina meant we had electrical hook up so caught up on a few chores, hovering etc.  Also made full use of the laundry facilities, so now we are all spick and span and fully charged.  We left about 3 after a pump out and cruised for about an hour.  Tomorrow we will go down the staircase at Watford, then probably moor up and go for a coffee at Watford Gap services on the M1.  Living it up again!  So until next time cheerio.

PS Well as you will have seen at the top it is now Tuesday and we are at Watford Gap Services having a latte and using their internet.  We have come down the staircase of 4 and 3 other locks this morning.  The lockkeeper booked us in asked if I knew what to do and we didn’t see him again.  Don’t think he wanted to be out in the rain.  Well must crack on as I didn’t bring the power lead and we are sat right by a socket.  TTFN