Saturday, 31 October 2015

Lucky Dog


IMG_0226We had been told that Berkhamsted was very busy and there was a shortage of moorings ,so we decided to have an early start from Cowroast and pulled pins at 08.15 which was a bit too early for Curly as she nearly falls asleep on Cowroast lock.

IMG_0250At Dudswell lock no 48 we came across the tamest Heron we have ever seen . He/She just patrolled up and down the lock as we locked our way down.

IMG_0264This has to be the luckiest dog in Berkhamsted. As we arrived on the town moorings where there was plenty of room we could hear people shouting from the Towpath over the canal to the people on the other side of the canal in the park . It turns out that this dog was chasing Ducks and fell in, unbeknown to its owners it couldn't get out of the canal due to the steep side. With the dogs head starting to go under after franticly trying to get out the owner just managed to grab it and pull it out.

IMG_0304Our good deed for the day .While out walking Hamish we could see this boat in the distance drifting out into the middle of the canal .We thought that the two men were with the boat as it happened while they were stood next to it. It was only as we got closer that we could see the two men were in fact Anglers and the boat had come adrift. I climbed on the back of the boat and walked along the side to get the centre rope so we could get it back in . As we struggled to pull the boat back in and moor it the Anglers did absolutely nothing to help… To think I always slow down to tick over and keep to the centre of the canal when passing an Angler so as not to spoil his fishing .Don't know why I bother.

It looks like we are going to spend a bit of time here in Berko . There is a park opposite our mooring and a swimming pool and sports centre in the town, So Curly is more than happy to stay here. Oh and did I mention the shops…….

                                                                                                                     Happy Days

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Not the way to moor



The canal and river trust state on their website that…..  If there aren’t any bollards or rings, use your mooring stakes if the ground is suitable. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO HAMMER INTO CONCRETE OR OTHER HARD SURFACES. It is my understanding that the reason for not driving stakes through concrete or Tarmac is to avoid causing damage as can be seen at many other locations where it eventually causes the surface to break up.

The picture above is at Cowroast and next to the water point. There were plenty of suitable moorings just back from here and also plenty of mooring space below the lock. Come on Canal and River Trust ,set a better example please !!!

                                                                                                    Happy Days

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Asset stripping


IMG_0186With Curly (number one Granddaughter) arriving from Devon for the half term break we are soon on the move again and make our way towards Cowroast. Although its only a couple of Months since I have seen her she seems to have grown up an awful lot. Anyway with a windlass in her hand at least she is becoming much more useful at lock wheeling and is certainly starting to earn her passage.

IMG_0188Passing Bulbourne workshops at the top of the Marsworth flight . I was told by a fellow boater that Canal and River Trust want to sell off the whole site including the place that makes the ornate Ironworks. Lets just hope its not true as they have only recently sold off the yard at Marsworth Wharf for luxury unaffordable housing. Unless you call £515,000 for the cheapest one affordable.

IMG_0189A lovely old pair of working boats on the water point at Bulbourne

IMG_0192Our mooring for the night at Cowroast.

IMG_0223I managed to get this picture at 30x magnification of a jet liner heading off to the Sun. I then got a load of stick from Carolyn saying that we should be on it and not stuck here with Winter approaching. Perhaps we should do what Marilyn and David do on nb Waka Huia and spend the Winter in the Southern Hemisphere. (Better not mention that to Carolyn or it will put ideas in her head) .

                                                                                              Happy Days

Tuesday, 27 October 2015



IMG_0121We pulled pins at 09.45 to make our way up to Marsworth to pick up number one Granddaughter who is up for the half term break from Devon. On the second lock up the gate is covered in plants and is home to all sorts of insects.

IMG_0123Every time we pass this boat we see the plants getting taller and taller.

IMG_0126This could be a busy boat at the weekend…..

IMG_0128The cabin on this boat looks a very rusty colour. In fact it is rust as it looks like it has never been painted. I'm not sure if it is meant to be this way,but after watching Grand Designs last week were they clad a house with rusty metal it may be that its the final finish.

IMG_0133The new complex of 13 houses at Marsworth Wharf are now nearly complete and with the cheapest one costing £515,000 I don't think we will bother buying one unless we win the lottery. It also looks like there is a new boaters service block being built next to the old elsan ,at least I hope that's what it is .

IMG_0147This warning was on the pipe that goes over the bridge at Marsworth Wharf . I reckon its because of what happened on The Northampton arm earlier in the year when someone tapped in to a fuel pipe and caused a massive pollution in the canal. Surely if the pipe carries fuel it should be protected a lot better than it is.

IMG_0145Our mooring at Marsworth and next to Startops ends reservoir. With a car park and the Bluebells cafe next to us it will be an ideal place to pick up Curly.With plenty of walking for Hamish and lovely scenery we will spend a couple of days here before moving on again.

                                                                                           Happy Days

Monday, 26 October 2015

Coal sorted


SAM_5748With Gary on his coal boat Ascot moored behind us we decided to get some coal from him as we were running low him. You may remember that they have now stopped producing Pureheat which was the coal we were using at the end of last Winter,so we have been trying Excel and Winterblaze. Excel has been brilliant and stays in for well over 12 hours and we even had it stay in for up to 17 hours if we put a good old heap in with the boat staying at 22 deg C. Winterblaze believe it or not was a lot better than Excel and with a very good heat output and low ash we actually had it stay in on one fire filling for nearly 24 hours and the boat was kept at a constant 22deg C. The downside to Winterblaze is that its not a smokeless coal ,so there would be problems using it in a built up area. Having said that the smoke is not that bad once you get it burning and settled down, although the smoke is a bit more noticeable than a smokeless coal.

SAM_5782So in the end we have decided to go with Excel and bought 10 bags from Gary. Its a good price as you can get it from anything between £10 .25 and £11.00 and we know that if ever we cant get Excel, Winterblaze would do if we are not in a built up area. Now lets hope for a nice mild Winter..

                                                                                         Happy Days

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Soaring over the Chilterns


IMG_0022After picking up my new camera we had a walk around Leighton Buzzard. Its a medium sized town and has just about everything you could possibly need. There's even a Spoons for the crew of nb Oakfield.

IMG_0023We have used this butchers before and they sell lovely big fat pork chops..I know its no good for me but they are delicious and its just the ticket with a bottle glass of the red stuff.

IMG_0030I'm not sure about this for a boat name.

IMG_0038We pulled pins at 0915 and after going through this load of leaves I had to put Inca in to reverse to clear them away from the propeller.

IMG_0049Ideal for the al fresco lifestyle on a boat..

IMG_0050Unusual looking Tables and benches full of rocks at The Grove lock pub near Leighton Buzzard. I guess they would be difficult to steal or chuck in the canal.

IMG_0078The whipsnade zoo Lion is only just visible and could do with a bit of a whitening.

IMG_0106That's a different photo.

IMG_0094Carolyn on the tiller as believe it or not I do a few locks just for a change ,but mainly to try and work off that lovely pork chop I had last night.

IMG_0103Not a brilliant picture but there is nothing better than seeing a Red Kite soaring over The Chiltern Hills.

We picked up a mooring after pitstone wharf and just before The bottom Marsworth lock. We have nearly 30 megs of Internet and good TV so this will do us for tonight. With Granddaughter Curly (Abbie) coming up for the half term we will get up to Marsworth where it will be easy to pick her up. Then the peace will be shattered and I will be demoted from first mate to chief deck scrubber.

                                                                                          Happy Days

Friday, 23 October 2015

Feeding the Ducks


SAM_5788After a couple of days chilling and a bit of fishing it was time to move again. We pulled pins from Below Stoke Hammond lock at 09.15 and with the lock in our favour we were soon up this well kept and picturesque lock. 

SAM_5791After filling with water its up the Soulbury 3 locks and how lucky are we with all the locks again in our favour. Usually there are loads of Gongoozlers here ,but on a dull and damp Autumn day there was just one person watching us go up the locks.

SAM_5803OOPS !   And another one bites the dust muddy bottom .

IMG_0663Parked opposite the Globe Inn at Linslade is this colourful van. At least you wouldn't lose it in a car park.

IMG_0666On to the Tesco moorings at Leighton Buzzard. This is where we do the biggest shop we can due to the proximity of the store which is just a few yards the other side of the towpath. We are allowed 2 hours here and with an Aldi just a few yards away as well we just about fill up Inca in the time allowed. It always amazes me when we are here about the amount of bread that is fed to the ducks. In the time that we were loading the boat no fewer than three full loaves of bread had been thrown in. Its not just the little kids its also adults that feed the ducks. I always thought that it was bad to feed ducks bread ,but every time we come through here there are more and more ducks and they certainly seem to be thriving. You would have thought that if it was so harmful there would be signs up at all popular duck feeding locations warning people of the dangers and educating people of what to feed them. Apparently we feed six million loaves of bread a year to ducks in England and Wales causing damage to birds’ health and polluting waterways. Oats, corn and peas are safer for the ducks to eat. (If everyone stopped feeding bread to the ducks then I wonder what would happen to those six million loaves ?)

SAM_5809Its then past the services and around the corner where we picked up this mooring. I have bitten the bullet and ordered a new camera which will be delivered here tomorrow, so this will do us for a day or two.

                                                                                 Happy Days

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Pimm’s o’clock


IMG_5708We pulled pins from Fenny Stratford at 09.45. A bit late but as Carolyn keeps reminding me we are now slowing down for Winter.Its good to see as we travel around the canal system that a lot of the old signs are still retained.

IMG_5710The lock at Fenny with the bridge in the middle of it. We were told by one of the local boaters that a few weeks ago a group of drunken Leeds United supporters stopped off at The Red Lion on their way to the game against MK Dons who's ground is just up the road, they then got totally pie-eyed and started jumping up and down on the bridge while singing and shouting. The result being that the bridge came off its centre bearing and was left with one side touching the water. The bridge was then out of action for a short time until it could be put back in place.. PS   Leeds won the game  2-1…

IMG_5715We passed this boat on our cruise today and guess what ?, Its always Pimm’s o’clock if you live on a Narrowboat

IMG_5719We then past this boat . Its a Springer built boat which had a wooden top.

IMG_5724Such a shame. Its never good to see a boat looking like this.Luckily there was nobody on-board at the time of the fire .That reminds me to check our smoke alarms. On Inca we have 2 smoke alarms ,3 fire extinguishers ,a fire blanket and 2 Carbon monoxide alarms.So hopefully we should be safe enough.

IMG_5729Only a short cruise today and we reach another one of our favourite moorings in this area. We are just below Stoke Hammond lock.Although there is a bit of road noise its peaceful enough and we will have a day or two here before moving on again

                                                                                            Happy Days

Monday, 19 October 2015

Work out


IMG_5712After the disaster of losing my camera in the canal I have managed to salvage the SD memory card and get the few pictures that were on it,as for the camera that is well and truly knackered . Its a bit of a shame as I only bought it in the summer after dropping my previous pride and joy camera on the back deck and destroyed that one. I am now using a very ancient digital camera that seems more like a Box Brownie compared to the 2 I have recently broken. We reckon it will cost the equivalent of about 50 bottles of a reasonably priced wine to get a replacement (ouch!) .Guess I will be stuck with the Box Brownie for sometime. Anyway I did like the weather vane above a house in Fenny Stratford.

IMG_5689Our mooring at Fenny and its not long before Carolyn is off to hit the rather large retail park just up the road. She eventually returned 6 hours later and I even had to make my own lunch while she was gone !!.

IMG_5690What a lovely splash of colour for this time of year..OK so its a funeral directors but it looks good.

IMG_5698Not far from our mooring at Fenny is Caldecotte lake and we have a walk around it most times we stop here. Just the other side is the factory for the Red Bull formula 1race team

IMG_5701All around the lake there are exercise machines and as you can see I'm quick to jump on one.

IMG_5702After a couple of minutes I've finally had my yearly quota of exercise.

IMG_5704Carolyn is a bit more serious than me at working out and takes full advantage of the equipment.

IMG_5682There are more berries and fruit on the trees now than we can remember seeing for many years.

IMG_5545As for the Crab apples, every tree is totally loaded. Carolyn has got bags of them ready to make some Crab apple jelly.

IMG_5707After a walk around the lake and Carolyn taking full advantage of all the exercise machines we will have another day here before pulling pins and heading further South.

                                                                                     Happy Days