Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Canal on Saturday

Looking the other way

Sorry guys didn’t realise it has been more than a week since I’d written anything here.  By Wednesday of last week we had visited Stoke Golding and were once again back at Hinckley.  This so we could stock up at Tesco, followed by a busy morning writing Christmas cards and a trip to the post office.  On Friday we moved about a mile southward, filling with water and deciding to stay there for the night, when we hadn’t even had our lunch.  Saturday morning found us frozen in again! Tho’ once again we were lucky with a passing boat breaking the ice before we set off.  We turned eastward on to the Coventry canal back towards Hawkesbury Junction.  This was to meet up with friends Max and Lindsay at the Greyhound, where we had a lovely meal on Sunday.  Although the canal carries on into Coventry we thought we would catch the bus.  So Monday morning found us catching the bus into the centre.  We went to the Transport Museum, which was very interesting and spent a pleasant afternoon wondering around the shops and looking at the Christmas lights and decorations.  About 4 we were back at the bus stop for the ride back.  Unfortunately when we got off the bus we found we had gone in the wrong direction and were completely the wrong side of town!!  It had been dark so we couldn’t really see where we were going.  Luckily it was only 10 minutes until a bus into town and another 10 minutes for the connection back to Hawkesbury.   We finally made it back on board just after 7!!  Luckily there was still plenty of gravy in the chicken stew which Paul had left cooking on top of the stove!!  Yesterday we turned and made our way back once again to Hinckley, doing a good turn on the way.  We came up behind a boat which was going VERY slowly.  He waved us past and we ended up towing him for a couple of miles until we were turning off.  Seemed he had a small electric engine and his generator wasn’t working properly.  When we asked where he was going he said Llangollen.  Just hope he didn’t expect to spend Christmas there as it’s a long way yet.  Don’t think he had a map as he asked if the next junction was the Trent and Mersey!  We wished him good luck and waved goodbye!  Today we have been to The Lime Kilns for lunch to meet with Dave and Joan, friends from Birstall, not far from here by car.  Not seen them for a couple of years so it was good to catch up.  Probably tomorrow we will go into the marina, then on Friday we get the hire car ready to drive south on Saturday.  First to Paul’s cousin Alison and Paul in Taunton for one night, then on to Plymouth on Sunday until the new year.

So for now Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The frozen canal we woke up to this morning
Well we got up this morning to see the canal is frozen over!  Sun just coming up through some clouds, very pretty.  Ice is not too thick tho’ as we have just had a boat go past us.  We did make it into Measham.  We cycled which was good as it was a couple of miles.  Came back a different way into the village of Snareston and so on top of the tunnel we had previously cruised through.  A week ago today we turned and started to make our way back.  Having a look around Market Bosworth on the way.  Friday saw us back at Hinckley where we went into the marina for a few nights.  There we had a couple of busy day.  Joan and Colin who we met on our cruise in January were visiting their son who lives in Hinckley.  So Friday they came to see us, their first time on board, with son Ian.  Saturday I spent to and fro the laundry catching up on the accumulated pile!  Sunday Joan and Colin came on board again.  This time with not only son Ian but his wife Julie and daughter Becky too.  Then all 7 of us went out for a cruise up to the winding hole and back to the marina.  Surprisingly we all fitted in quite well.  Ian was ‘made up’ as it has long been his dream to travel on a narrow boat.  He often walks their dog on the towpath and chats to boaters.  While we were briefly moored on the towpath his mate jogged by and Ian called out, pretending he had just bought a boat!  We are now back on the main canal, heading north once again to visit Stoke Golding before making another turn to head back to Hinckley.  Yes there is reasoning behind all this toing and froing.  We have decided we like Hinckle Marina and will leave Falcon there while we go to Plymouth, so we are just fitting in distance with plans.  Well having written this we don’t have very good connection here so will have to post later.

Joan and Colin visited us on Friday and again on Sunday

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Steam train from Shackerstone

Well we arrived at Hinckley on Tuesday, spending 2 nights there.  It is a lovely town with a good selection of shops.  Not all chain stores.  Although we did find Lidl and Tesco so the cupboards are once again well stocked.  Although we have seen a few boats moving about as we have been cruising most of the mooring places are very quiet.  The Ashby is a lovely canal.  Leaving Hinckley we have pretty much made straight towards the end of the canal as we wanted to get there for the weekend.  Yesterday we made it to Shackerstone, mooring just after 10.  We then for a ride on the steam train on the Battle Field Line.  This time of year the trains only run at the weekend and at the moment it is the Santa Train.  A shame in one way as it runs to Shenton via Market Bosworth but due to lack of trains we couldn’t really get off and explore.  Still if it wasn’t for Santa the train probably wouldn’t have been running at all!  Today a 3 mile cruise through the Snareston Tunnel brought us to the present limit of the canal.  We are spending the night here at Snareston just beyond the north end of the tunnel.  There is about another half mile of canal but nowhere to turn at the end.  We will probably walk there tomorrow and perhaps on to Measham for a look around.
On the Santa Train

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Well this morning when we first looked out of the window it was clear that winter has arrived.  Everywhere is white with frost and at first there was mist too, although that is now starting to clear.  We did all meet up on Saturday.  At Hawkesbury Junction in The Greyhound.  Barry, Leyanne, Dave and Miggy.  A lovely meal and a good old natter with much laughter.  Then back to Falcon for a cuppa.  Strictly Come Dancing in the evening, what a lovely day.  Sunday wasn’t as good as it rained up until about 3 o’clock.  Too late then to go anywhere!  Not to bad though, as we had the fire lit so were snug and warm.  Paul watched the Grand Prix and saw Lewis Hamilton win.  Yesterday we moved on having just one lock to work and now we are on the Ashby Canal.  22 miles with no locks.  Just about to head on this morning and plan to reach Hinckley.  We need bread and milk so need to go in search of some shops!  
The view this morning looked lovely with the mist

Monday, 17 November 2014

Well not quite a week this time.  However we haven’t travelled very far!  We are now in Rugby.  We met up with some other friends from Yelvertoft on Saturday.  Going for lunch together in Butlers Leap.  We then had a ride in their car, very exciting for us, and did some shopping!  A real treat!  Having another get together next Saturday all 6 of us.  Hum sounds like we are spending all our time in the pub!!!  Sorry have to go now to order a pint.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Well another week has gone by.  We are moored very close to where we were when I last wrote but we have travelled a bit in between.  We did catch up with Barry and Leyann last week.  They came over from Yelvertoft on Wednesday and after a leisurely lunch in the pub they took us into Daventry.  So after a walk around the town we ended up in Tesco so we were able to do lots of food shopping!!  On Friday we made our way back to Napton, unfortunately in the rain.  Not so bad for me as being a lock free trip I stayed inside, only popping out at the end to help moor.  By then the rain had stopped.  We had gone back to Napton as there was an open day.  Unfortunately the weather still wasn’t very good but we went anyway.  |It was very interesting and we were able to go down into the empty lock and look at the brick floor and the channels where the water comes in.  Being wet was a good excuse to go into the Folly, the pub there for lunch and sit by the fire and dry off!  So tomorrow we will be continuing along the North Oxford Canal towards Rubgy.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Sorry guys didn’t realise it had been more than a week since I had written anything.  Time does fly!  A lot of that time we have been passing through remote villages and our signal strength has been poor to nonexistent.  Can’t think of a better excuse!!  Well along the way we reached the summit of the South Oxford Canal and had 11 miles of lock free cruising.  This gave me opportunity to get the hoover out.  Oh deep joy.  Still twice a year doesn’t seem excessive!! So now we are working our way downhill.  Had to get to Napton before 2nd Nov as the lock flight there is now closed for 6 week for maintenance.  So now we are moored at Braunston having arrived yesterday afternoon.  We will probably stay around this area for about a week.  Not too far from Yelvertoft where we started out.  About 20 minutes by car.  2 days by boat!  Again the lock flight at Watford is closed so we can’t go there.  So hopefully a couple of them will come to see us.  If you remember we had some work done to the cylinder heads back in the summer.  Well it was to Braunston we sent them so one of the things we have to do while here is go and pay our bill.  Not that we have had one yet!!  So the sun is shining and we are off out.  Catch you all later.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Well we did arrive at Banbury on Tuesday as we had planned.  Off to Morrisons in the afternoon.  Been a while since we have shopped in a Morrisons! Wednesday saw us off to the launderette!  So with all the admin jobs done we had a proper day out on Thursday.  We got the train to London and went to the Tower of London to look at the ceramic poppies.  Well worth the visit, it was an amazing sight, best seen from outside the Tower where there were hundreds of people all doing the same.  We also went into the Tower, as despite several previous visits to London over the years we had never been there.  It was very busy, but we joined a tour and had a very funny and informative ‘Beefeater’ to take us around.  After a meal we ended the day with the ‘Dance ‘til Dawn’ show at the Aldwych, staring Vincent and Flavia of Strictly fame.  It was almost midnight by the time we got back on board having had a fantastic day.  We stayed in Banbury a couple more nights, moving on Saturday afternoon in the hope of a TV signal for Strictly!  Not that we are obsessive or anything!!  Sunday we did move on for 3 locks then decided to moor just before lunch.  By sheer coincidence we moored next to a boat called Campanula with Penny on board.  We last met her 2 years ago not too far from here.  So with a coffee here on arriving and a shared bottle of wine with her in the evening we had a catch up with what we had all been up to in the intervening time.  We are about to move on now.  Our next stop is Cropredy, just for water and a quick look around the village before continuing northward towards Rugby.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Well we got on to the Oxford Canal last Friday as planned.  Our first stop was at Thrupp, a small village but a thriving canal area.  We ended up spending 2 nights there as the TV reception was good and we wanted to watch Strictly on Saturday night!!  We are now well on our way to Banbury, should get there tomorrow depending on the weather.  If the forecast is correct I don’t think we will be going anywhere.  We did have our fire lit, but it has been so mild we have let it go out again.  Made more sense than sitting with the doors open!!  Think it all may change tomorrow.  

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Well we had a lovely weekend.  First stop was to Tenbury Wells where we had a lovely time with Joan and Colin.  Meeting their daughter and son-in-law, Sue and John, and several friends and neighbours, who were also sharing in his 80th birthday celebrations.  He had already had a big party on the previous Saturday.  We spent that night there with them and were made very welcome.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  We were reluctant to leave but as the weekend was to be spent with the grandchildren there were good reasons for going.  Saturday found us at another birthday party.  This time for a 3 year old called Thomas!  A friend of Brogan’s.  Both he and Addison had been invited and as it was in the community centre parents were able to stay as well.  As grandparents we were made to feel very welcome.  It was lovely watching the children all playing.  I even got down on hands and knees to join in a few times.  Getting up is not so easy!!  Sunday we all had a walk in the woods at the back of Lorraine’s house with Phoenix the dog.  All too soon it was time to head back to Lechalde.  Thankfully not too far.  Falcon was fine when we got back, and after a quick cuppa we were off out again.  To visit Tanya and her family, husband Kurt and daughters Tyler and Tatum, for a meal.  Monday another busy day shopping and washing while we still had the car.  Later Tanya and Kurt came to see us so Kurt could see the boat.  So Tuesday saw us setting off, about a mile further on, then we turned and started heading back towards Oxford.  So the past couple of days have seen us retracing our steps.  It was lovely today to be cruising with blue skies and sunshine as we have got a bit wet the past two days.  Tonight we are moored at Eynsham and tomorrow will move on to the Oxford Canal and start to head north.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Well we did make it into Oxford on Friday and after lunch we set off for the launderette.  Whilst there we got talking to a Danish school teacher, here with students.  We ended up meeting him in the pub later, along with his colleague.  The children were all with their host families so they had plenty of free time!  I think they learnt more about narrow boating than we did about Denmark!  We did manage a look around Oxford before leaving there on Saturday.  Since then we have been moving along towards Lechlade.  Not really any places to visit en route.  We arrived here at Lechlade at lunch time today.  So it has taken us about 3 days to travel the 30 miles from Oxford to here!  We have had some rain so have had a couple of late starts so have avoided getting wet!  Paul did light the fire yesterday and it is still in.  So sat here in a t-shirt now!  We have a busy few days coming up.  Tomorrow Tanya is coming to visit.  I used to work with her at Stonehouse, can’t remember how many years ago and it’s quite a few since we last saw her and her family.  They live at Fairford, so we are fairly close now.  Then we get a hire car to visit friends Colin and Joan who we met on the cruise in January.  Colin is 80 on Thursday, so we are paying them a visit.  I am sure Colin won’t mind reading his age in print!!  Then on Friday we are off to Medmenham to visit Lorraine, Paul and the grandchildren for the weekend.  So off to pack now....

Friday, 3 October 2014

Whoops, days go so quickly I didn’t realise it has been more than a week since I last wrote here.  Meanwhile we have been making our way along the Thames with several ‘runs ashore’ to sightsee and in some cases reminisce.  We stopped at Pangbourne for 2 nights, walking over the recently reopened bridge to Whitchurch, a very pretty village with lots of flint built houses and walls.  We also looked around Pangbourne, not sure if you would call it a village or a town, some very posh houses.  Also a lovely butcher, where amongst other things we bought a couple of individual beef wellingtons for dinner.  They were delicious!! On Sunday our friend Max who lives on the outskirts of Reading came and picked us up and took us back to her place where we had a lovely meal whilst our washing was in her machine.  Then she had to drop us back again.  Thank you Max we really enjoyed the meal and the company.  Along the way we stopped at Goring and Wallingford, before arriving at Abingdon on Wednesday.  This is where we were living when Richard was born, though have to admit there was very little that we remembered.  We often used to walk to the lock and feed the ducks, but the scenery all seemed quite new.  We are now on our way into Oxford, should arrive there later today, just stopped now for a coffee break.  Must drink it while its hot so bye for now.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Well we left Frouds Bridge Marina as planned on Monday.  Did one lock and then moored up for lunch.  As we were finishing a boat came through the lock, so we joined up with them for the lift bridge at Aldermaston Wharf followed by another 4 locks and 4 swing bridges.  The boat was called Harlequin, and on board were Colin and Sandra.  Colin is Australian, but that isn’t his fault.  We moored together and they came on board for a beer that evening.  The next day we cruised together, finding a good cafe for lunch and arriving at Reading about 4.  Wednesday found Paul and I shopping in Reading, and we did manage to spend 6 hours and a fair bit of money!! So we finished off the day by going to Pizza Express (other restaurants are available) with Colin and Sandra in the evening.  Today we set off again with Harlequin through the first lock on the Thames, Blake’s Lock.  Here we parted company as they were heading east towards London and us west towards Oxford.  We got on well together and will definitely keep in touch.  Well good smells are now coming from the galley, so must away as dinner calls.

Monday, 22 September 2014

We spent a lovely 10 days in Poland with Richard.  We got the train, travelling first class, to Cracow for 3 nights in the middle of it.  First visit for Richard too.  We visited the Salt Mines, amazing place, huge caverns with salt chandeliers and statues.  We took a horse and trap ride around the city and visited the castle.  On our last night we went to a football match with Richard to watch Wroclaw win 1-0.  So now we are back on board and about to head out on to the canal to continue towards Reading.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Well the weather has been warmer again and cruising has been very pleasant.  We spent a night in Hungerford.  We had paired with a boat called Octarine for the locks leading down from Great Bedwyn and when we got to Hungerford the 5 of us went off to the pub for lunch.  We had a couple more night stops before we got to Newbury on Friday.  Spent a couple of nights there.  The mooring is by the park which is right in the middle of the town, so handy for a bit of retail therapy!!  Also there is a launderette not too far from the canal, so we are all sorted for a while!!  Yesterday we arrived at Froudes Bridge Marina near Aldermaston.  Falcon will stay here while we go to Poland to see Richard for 10 days.  So it will be about 22nd of September before we are out on ‘the cut’ again.  So until then bye for now.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Well we are now spending our second night at a little place called Great Bedwyn.  The next place we will come to is Little Bedwyn!!  None of the villages around are very big.  Since I last wrote we have passed through Pewsey and also the Bruce Tunnel along the summit of the canal, bringing us to Crofton Locks and the pumping station.  The moorings there are nice so we spent 2 nights.  Have had a couple of nice days so Paul has been touching up some of our paintwork.  Looking quite posh for the moment, but don’t suppose that will last for long.  We are headed now towards Hungerford, then on to Newbury.  In just over a weeks time we will be flying out to Poland to see Richard, looking forward to that as we haven’t seen him since New Year.  Take care all.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

We are moving along nicely now.  Having moved on from Hilperton we cruised about a mile then moored near some friends whilst Paul made some final adjustments to the engine with their assistance.  We finally got properly on the move on the Friday (22nd) when 3 swing bridges and 4 locks brought us to Seend where we filled with water and stayed for the night.  3 locks and 2 swing bridges brought us to Sells Green where we stopped for lunch.  As we were leaving a boat at the water point asked us our plans and we agreed to join for the up coming locks.  So we joined with Simon and Fiona for the 7 locks at Foxhanger which brought us to the bottom of the Caen Hill Flight of 16.  By then it was 4 so as the flight would take about 3 hours we stopped for the night.  Half past eight on Sunday saw us as the first pair to go up the flight.  By then Fiona and I had worked out a good system and we reached the top easily within the 3 hours which included a quick break part way to make a cuppa.  This was followed by a longer stop at the top of the 16 before carrying on with the final 6 which brought us into Devizes.  The mooring there is for 72 hours so that gave us plenty of time to stay on board on Monday as it rained most of the day.  Typical for a Bank Holiday.  yesterday we caught up with the laundry and the shopping and this morning we have moved on again.  Just a few miles to some moorings near Bishop’s Cannings.  We are now in 15 miles of lock free canal although there are a couple of swing bridges.  Mostly through small villages, the largest place coming up in a couple of days is Pewsey.  So know you know!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Well we have been moored here at Hilperton for just over 4 weeks.  Some of that time we spent in Plymouth as those of you we managed to see will know.  Have been back on board now about 2 weeks.  The good news is that all went well with the engine.  The cylinder heads have been returned looking clean and shiny and Paul has refitted them.  We are planning to move on this afternoon.  We will be heading east back towards Devises.  It will be good to get on the move again.  Will let you know how we go.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Friday saw us travelling the final lock at Bradford on Avon and two swing bridges which has brought us to Hilperton, just north of Trowbridge.  We will be here for a while as Paul has taken the cylinder heads off of the engine and we are sending them off to Braunston for a de-coke and service.  It was very lucky that we got here on Friday as on Saturday we had thunderstorms with torrential rain well into the afternoon.  I am sure many of you did too.  So we are taking opportunity to come to Plymouth for a few days and will catch up with as many of you as we can.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Well we are moored in about the same spot as the last time I wrote here, but we are now facing the other way!! We left Bath last Friday, actually cruising with Eleanor so we were paired for the 6 locks down through Bath one of which is the second deepest lock on the whole canal system, over 19 foot deep.  There were then another 4 locks before we moored for the night alongside them at a little place called Bitton.  We set off together on Saturday morning and 2 lock and 10 miles brought us into Bristol.  It was lovely moored there in the harbour with lots going on.  Right in the centre of the town.  We had Paul’s cousin Alison with her husband, another Paul come to see us on Saturday.  Sunday friends from Plymouth, Sheree and Alec with Sheree’s Mum and Dad came to see us.  We did manage some sightseeing too.  Monday we were up at 7 To watch Andie and Geoff on Eleanor go out through the open lock on to the Avon towards Portishead.  In other words under the M5 bridge near Gordano!!  We may do that at a later date or we may go back via Reading, yet to be decided. 

Monday morning my cousin Carole arrived in Bristol on the bus then cruised with us through 2 locks to Keynsham where we dropped her off at that is where she lives!!  Again we moored at Bitton.  Yesterday we stopped at the bottom of the Bath locks so we could get shopping in Sainsbury. So today we have travelled just under 2 miles with 6 locks.  Now back at the top of the Bath flight for the night.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

We have spent a relaxing week and a bit since I last wrote.  Not many locks and just a couple of swing bridges.  We spent a couple of days at Bradford on Avon, a very pretty little town.  We have been cruising with 2 other boats, Yes Dear and Eleanor.  Not moving together but generally ending up at the same place most evenings.  We first met Andie and Geoff from Eleanor last year when we did the Birmingham Cruise.  Then again when we came out on to the Thames they were part of the group we were with.  Jan and Dave from Yes Dear we have just got to know over the last few weeks.  Then about a week ago we met up with Maureen and Peter on Grey Hare who we hadn’t seen since 2012!  So there has been a bit of socialising going on!  We have been over Avoncliff and Dundas Aquaducts.  Spend a very pleasant Sunday afternoon at Dundas sat in the sun watching the hire boaters negotiate a sharp right angle bend.  We are now at Bath.  Arrived here yesterday afternoon, will probably stay tonight and move on the last bit into Bristol tomorrow.  Ahead of us is a flight of 6 locks which will take us down on to the River Avon.  One of them being the second deepest lock on the system. 

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

We did start out on Saturday completing 7 locks to the top of the flight before lunch.  Unfortunately we did get rather wet on the last 2!  Stopped at there and went into the cafe to have lunch.  By the time we finished another boat had come along so we were able to pair which is ideal.  The 16 locks took us about 2 hours so not too long.  The other boat had 4 people on board so that meant there were 4 of us to operate the locks.  We then stayed the night at the bottom leaving the final 7 locks for Monday.  We are now in a very rural part of Wiltshire with only small villages alongside.  We have spent the night at Seend.  In the next couple of days we will pass north of Trowbridge, so well on our way to Bath now.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Well another week has gone by and we are now at Devises.  On the way we have visited Hungerford, Great Bedwyn and Crofton, where there is an old beam engine that used to pump the water up to the summit,( it still does at certain times of the year,) and Pewsey. We travelled through some very rural parts of Wiltshire, some of which we were very glad that we didn’t meet another boat it was sooo narrow!  We have now completed just over half of the locks from Reading to Bristol.  We have been enjoying the lovely sunshine, but at the moment there are signs of rain!  Ah well it was good while it lasted.  In front of us now are 29 locks in 4 miles, which include the Caen Hill Flight.  We walked down yesterday to have a look and the view down over is amazing.  Think coffee is called for before we start.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Whoops didn’t realise how long it had been since my last entry.  We have gradually been making our way westwards.  Jane and Kelly, friends from Plymouth, met up with us at Aldermaston.  They have a camper van and we found a site for them right by the canal, so we were able to spend a couple of days together.  On the second day they were on board whilst we worked through a couple of locks.  Also a lift bridge but that was already up and we were waved through.  Yesterday 5 locks and 2 swing bridges brought us to Newbury.  We are moored just above Greenham Lock.  Greenham Common is not too far away from here.  We had a walk around yesterday and the canal goes right through the middle of the town and its is very interesting with lots of old buildings.  Off to Tesco now!  Then tomorrow moving on westward to Kintbury where we are meeting a new friend Max who we met on the Basingstoke Canal.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Well it is now nearly a week later and we have passed through Windsor, Marlow Henley and Reading all on the Thames and are now on the Kennet and Avon.  Actually Reading is the start of the K&A where you have to use a traffic light system to go through the Oracle, a large shopping complex in the middle of Reading which is quite narrow.  So our easy life on the Thames with electric locks and lock keepers is now over and it is back to working the locks ourselves.  The Thames was interesting some bits quite remote and wide, we wore our lifejackets all the time.  Hopefully now on the canal the water should be ‘quieter’ although this is river in part.  We have done 4 locks here so far and all were fairly heavy so I suspect that Paul will have to help me a few times.  At the moment we are moored at Burghfield and Lorraine, Paul, Addison and Brogan have been to see us which was wonderful.  We all went off to the nearby pub for lunch before coming back on board for a cuppa.  It seems very quiet now they have gone.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Well we spent 3 days pottering about by Frimley Green.  Luckily though only a small place there was a car spares place there so Paul was able to order us a replacement fan belt.  He replaced ours last week when we were on the Wey and he likes to keep a spare.  We can run the engine without it, so not like a car, but we don’t charge our batteries.  Although this time of year our solar panels do a very good job of recharging.  He also bought several fuses as we had a problem with our water heater! Ah well nothing too major!  So on Friday we again paired with the same boat to travel down the locks.  The boat was called Lady Linda of Pryford and on board were Linda, Lindsey and Max.  So for 2 days Paul had his own harem of 4 women!! Friday we had 17 locks although thankfully this way no rain.  With another 11 locks yesterday.  There was a lot of weed, the canal had a green surface with all the duck weed.  Lady Linda cut a course but it was all back by the time we followed her through.  Last night we moored near Weybridge and had a walk into the town.  This morning we have come out on to the Thames and tonight are moored at Laleham.  We only did 2 locks on the Thames but decided to stop about 3.30 rather than mooring overnight in Staines. 

Navigators Notes:- The Basingstoke is almost a canal of two halves, from the start at Woodham to the top of Deep Cut it is very shallow, beware if you are more than 2’6” draught and Very, Very, weedy, but from Frimley it is weed free and very pleasant. It is such a shame that it is such an effort to get up and down the lock flights with so much effort. Don’t be put off   trying though, especially if you are shallow draughted and don’t carry anything on top.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

We left Guildford on Wednesday, turning and heading back north along the River Wey back the way we had come.  Saturday morning found us starting out on the Basingstoke Canal.  This canal is run by Hampshire and Surrey county councils so we had to purchase a licence.  Also you have to book the locks.  We were luck to pair with another boat with 3 on board which meant there were 3 of us ashore to work the locks.  Saturday was 6 locks with 5 on Sunday, but yesterday was a really busy day with 17 lock in pouring rain!  All to be completed by 3pm!  These brought us through Deep Cut and we are now moored at Frimley Green.  Unfortunately we can’t go much further as there is a low bridge and we won’t fit!  So we have about 4 miles of canal to potter about in until Friday when the locks will be open again for our return trip.  The scenery around had been lovely but the canal in places is full of weed and quite shallow despite saying they take boats of 3 ft draught and we are 2ft 6 inches.  Also the lock opening times makes your journey very restricted, limiting where you can stop.  Not sure that this canal comes with our recommendation.  We did have a surprise visit on Sunday night.  Alan, Karen, Hannah and Mathew came to see us for a cuppa on their way to get the eurostar.  For those of you who don’t know Alan and Paul worked together in Safeway.  It was good to have a natter and a catch up. 

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Well Saturday was a very eventful day.  We were both up at 5.30!  The alarm had been set for 6 but we didn’t need it.  Locking out was interesting, we were the middle boat of 3 and the gates open to let the water out but the water in the lock was several feet higher than the river so in effect we were sat at the top of a water fall.  My thought at the time was the lockkeepers do this all the time so we are fine! By 7.30 we were out on the Thames as heading east towards the Thames barrier.  We passed the O2 and Greenwich on the way.  We then turned to wait for the tide and the rest of the group to join us.  There were 19 boats in total, but only 3 at a time could lock out at Limehouse.  We then started up river back the way we had come.  The river was fairly calm and I spent some time on the stern with Paul.  A couple of times at the tiller as he needed to go below!  However as we got closer into the centre of London there is so much river traffic that it started to get quite lumpy.  There isn’t too much space on the stern so I decided I would be safer in the bow.  Even so the water was washing through the cratch and at times coming over the bow.  Although seeing Houses of Parliament, Westminster, Tower Bridge which we saw go up, etc from the river was amazing it was with some relief once we passed through towards Hammersmith and the river was calmer.  We then cruised on through Chiswick and Kew on finally to Teddington and the lock which brought us to the end of the cruise and on to the non Tidal Thames.  The trip was 36 miles in total which took about 9 hours.

Sunday saw us progress along the Thames through 2 more locks, a beautiful day so very busy with lots of cabin cruisers.  The Thames locks are manned and very big.  We then turned off on to the River Wey and as I write we are moored at Guildford.

Friday, 16 May 2014

We had a good trip back down the Lea retracing our steps.  Wednesday saw us back at the junction where we had joined the Lea so once again on new waters.  We moored at Bromley where there is a very useful canal side Tesco so we were able to stock up.  Yesterday morning we got the bikes down and cycled to the Olympic Park.  So glad we were on bikes as I hadn’t realised how vast an area it is.  Much of it is a building site and not all paths were open, but we got around fine.  Went as far as the veladrome, saw the stadium and the canal that wends its way through the park.  The canal isn’t open for cruising which is a shame.  Yesterday afternoon saw us cruising the last bit to Limehouse Basin. We are moored here now until tomorrow when we go out on to the tidal Thames.  Watch this space!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Well again we have a wet Thursday so at the moment it doesn’t look like we will be moving today.  We arrived at Bishop Stortford on Saturday.  Found the laundrette and later had a look round the town, buying some much needed supplies from Sainsbury’s. So on Sunday, 24 hours after arriving we were on our way back again!  Tuesday found us back on the River Lea heading north so new scenery for us.  We stopped to have lunch at Stanstead Abbots.  Set off did 1 lock then met up with another boat to pair with for the final 3 locks up to Hertford.  The locks were with us and with extra hands we made good progress.  Yesterday we walked into Hertford, quite a pretty town.  Had lunch in a pub where the TV was on.  Forecast was for rain on Thursday.  We had planned to stay put for the night but decided to move on so at the moment we are at Ware.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Well since Monday we have had several long cruising days, except for yesterday when it rained so we lit the fire and didn’t move on at all.  We have made our way up the River Lea.  At the start this was been quite wide with a defined tow path along one side, however as we progressed it has become narrower and more river like.  On Wednesday we branched off on to the River Stort.  Mooring opportunities are less now and on Wednesday we had to use the plank for the first time since we have been afloat.  I managed to get ashore with a rope and for once it was me banging in the pegs with ‘helpful’ instruction from Paul!  It must have been OK as we were there for 2 nights and managed to set off OK this morning.  We now have just 4 locks to work tomorrow before we arrive as Bishops Stortford.  Once there is will be off to the supermarket at the fridge is looking very bare at the moment.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Well we have been back out on ‘the cut’ since Wednesday, however we didn’t venture very far until Saturday.  That saw us cruise the 15 miles of the Paddington Arm, where we had been just a couple of weeks ago.  It is lock free so made good progress with the usual stops for coffee and lunch.  We moored at Little Venice for the night.  So we are now on the Regent’s Canal.  Yesterday was another busy day.  The same length of day saw us only cover 6 miles but also 6 locks.  We cruised past Regent’s Park catching glimpses of the zoo.  3 of the locks were at Camden where the locks drop just alongside the market.  Unfortunately there is very little opportunity for mooring and any space already taken up by boats in some places 3 deep.  So we didn’t explore on foot.  As I write it is 9.30 am and we are about to set off for the day.  Just 1 lock then we will turn left on to the Hertford Union Canal and on to the Lee Navigation and heading north.  Watch this space!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Well another week has passed us quickly by.  Thursday night found us moored in Padington Basin which is literally just behind the station of the same name!  So Friday found us out and about in London.  We walked to Marble Arch and along Oxford Street, finding ourselves in Carnaby Street!  A very hectic day.  Saturday we spent another day sightseeing around the Embankment and Houses of Parliment this time.  Also we had company as we met up with Sheree and Alec (for those who don’t know friends from Plymouth) who were in London for the day.  It was a happy coincidence that we all happened to be there at the same time.  Monday found us back tracking towards Uxbridge to leave Falcon in a marina for a week whilst we are in Plymouth over Easter.  So it will probably be another week before I post here again.  Happy Easter to you all.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Well since I last wrote we have made it down 11 locks into Brentford on the edge of London.  We arrived there on Sunday.  Went exploring on Monday, but found it to be a very uninspiring place, so after having lunch on board we got a bus into Hamersmith.  The three of us had a walk around and found our way onto the bridge over the Thames, we hope to be travelling under there next month!  Tuesday morning saw Dave set off for home.  In the afternoon we went for a walk, initially to post a letter but walked on to Syon Park, saw a sign for Richmond so we walked on and ended up on Richmond Bridge.  We gave up walking after that and made our way back by bus!

Yesterday saw us coming up the 10 locks to Bulls Bridge.  I missed Dave’s help with the locks.  Especially as one of  the pounds was very low and we had to let a lot of water through to get out of the lock.  We then went under Bulls Bridge and are now on the Paddington Arm.  I will let you guess where we are heading!

As a note from Paul, It is a shame that there is so much vegetation debris in this section of the canal, especially as we saw a dredger and a weed boat moored at Brentford, shame that it isn’t being used as parts of this stretch are very shallow and smelly!

Friday, 4 April 2014

Well Dave arrived as planned on Wednesday and we kept him busy yesterday with 5 locks.  As I write it is 9.50 in the morning so we have yet to start out for the day.  We are currently moored near Denham.  About a mile from the village.  We walked there yesterday and it is a very pretty village with posh big/old buildings and 3 pubs.  We only tried one out though.  Setting off shortly and we expect our next stop will be Uxbridge.  Apparently a very good chandlery there so that will be worth a visit.  Catch you all later.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Well a week and a bit has passed since I last wrote.  We are still moored in the same place as my last post.  The week has passed fairly quickly.  The highlight being at the weekend, when on Saturday, Lorraine, Paul, Addison and Brogan came to see us.  It was lovely to see them, not the least because it was the first time they had been on board Falcon.  Luckily the weather was very good and we all spent a while on board before going off to the pub for lunch.  This meant them driving and Paul and I walking.  It wasn’t too far though, and afterwards we spent some time in the garden and the park.  Lovely to spend time with them all and to watch the children playing. 

‘Diesel Dave’ had to order parts for our injector so we weren’t sure how much longer we would have to stay here with water supplies getting low.  Was very please to get a phone call yesterday to say the parts had arrived and he would be along today to refit the pump and injector.  What a lovely sound this morning when the engine started.  So now we are ready for the off again in the morning.  Just as well as Paul’s brother Dave is arriving tomorrow to spend a few days with us.  He doesn’t realise how many lock I have in store for him!  I am hoping that we can make it to Brentford with him on board.  Getting closer to London all the time.  So bye for now.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Well later Wednesday saw us pass under the M25 so it now feels as though we are getting nearer to London.  Thursday was a busy day for, we came down through 6 locks passing by Watford along the way.  Friday 2 more locks then a short walk to a nearby industrial estate where Paul had spoken to ‘Diesel Dave’ about coming to look at our injector as we have had a diesel leak for a while.  So as I write this Dave is on board removing our injector to take it back to his work shop in hopes that he can fix it and that if we need parts they don’t prove to be too elusive.  The weekend in between passed quickly as on Saturday we caught the bus into Watford.  Yesterday we worked 2 locks to Tesco so the cupboards are well stocked.  We then turned back to fill with water before working the same 2 locks and winding again to moor back in the same place we had left several hours earlier.  So where are we?  Nowhere in particular, but about half way between Watford and Rickmansworth.  Hoping for sunny weather so the solar panels keep our batteries charged as we won’t be able to run the engine or in fact go anywhere until the injector is replaced.  Will let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Monday was a quiet day as we only had a short distance to travel to Middx & Herts Boat Services where we needed to go for a pump out.  As with lots of marinas etc they are often closed on Mondays following a busy weekend.  Though I don’t think they have too much passing trade this time of year.  Well we aren’t seeing too many!  So we had a walk along the canal to see where we would be going and found a lovely mooring with daffodils along the bank.  So yesterday morning it was through the swing bridge and to the boatyard.  We followed that up with 7 locks before stopping for the night just south of Hemel Hempstead.  So I feel we really earned our supper yesterday!  Today we have come through 2 lock to moor at Kings Langley and we have just come back having had a very nice lunch there in a cafe called Fred and Ginger.  Paul spotted one tiny duckling this morning, though as it was in the water and mum seemed to be sat on the bank I’m not too sure how it will fare.  Still signs of spring are all around. Well we plan on 2 more locks today so must away.  Bye for now.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

We are once again back on ‘the cut’.  Left the marina on Thursday and arriving at Berkhampstead on Friday.  A nice mooring opposite a park, with Waitrose and the town a short walk away.  Lots of people about enjoying the lovely sunshine we have at the moment.  Yesterday we cruised on a short distance.  Just 3 locks and about half a mile.  Didn’t want to overdo things!  There is a lot of water around still and Paul had to help with one of the lock gates.  We are continuing with our journey south into London but taking time to explore as we go.  Living life in the slow lane.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Well although almost a week has gone by since my last post we have not travelled very far in distance, although we have ventured along one bit of, for us, new canal.  We spent last night on the Wendover Arm.  Unfortunately the canal doesn’t reach Wendover as only the first one and a half miles of the canal is navigable.  We did walk on further and where the Wendover Arm Trust are working hard to restore the rest of the canal.  However this will take some work due to bridges/roads etc that have been built since the closure of the canal.  We only saw one other boat and that one was moored.  The water is really clear and in the area by the flour mill was full of fish.  Today has been a lovely warm sunny day, and we have seen several signs of spring.  Lots of snowdrops, a few daffodils and some pussy willow.  Tomorrow we are headed into Cowroast Marina where we are mooring for a week.  So see you all back here in about ten days time once we are on the move again.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Well we are now back on board and have left Leighton Buzzard behind. Still making our way southwards towards London.  Our plan had been to go on to the Thames that may have to change, we will have to see what the weather does.  Meanwhile we can stay on the Grand Union and there is still a way to go.  Our next big town will be Berkhamsted, but it will probably be about 2 weeks before we get there.  Meanwhile it’s just small villages along the way.  At the moment we are moored quite close to where the Great Train Robbery took place.  We came this way in November so at the moment are revisiting some places.

Just moored for the night at Ivinghoe, got our timing just right as having a cuppa when it hailed! But we don’t care right now!!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Well a bit belated, but a Happy New Year to you all.  After a lovely Christmas with many family members we set off from Southampton on 10th January for our cruise on the Queen Elizabeth.  It lived up to every one of our expectations.  The highlight was transit through the Panama Canal, which was truly amazing.  We were up at 6 so as not to miss any of it.  A very close second was ‘riding the pole’ on a San Francisco cable car.  A week after our return we have travelled, by hire car, to Plymouth to pick up Christmas presents and other bits we left here.  That included the lap top which is why I haven’t blogged until now. The week on board has seen us cruise from Cosgrove to Leighton Buzzard.  A couple of windy days we stayed moored but managed to travel as far as we wanted.  We plan to be back on board on Monday to continue on our way to London, although we will be watching the weather to watch progress of the Thames.  We may have to rethink our summer plan as our intention had been to cruise the Thames. Bye for now.