Sunday, 29 December 2013

Stoke Hammond

After 10 days at Fenny Stratford it was time to leave. Carolyn had spent out in the shops and even Hamish and Molly had a shampoo and cut at the local Pets at home. And at £35 for each dog i am still in a state of shock.  And with also paying out £150 for diesel and coal I'm in a state of double shock.

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           We pulled pins on Sunday at 09.00 with a good frost on the roof and the temperature at just over 1 deg C.  A bit cooler than India coops ?

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It was then through the lock and straight onto the water point. We hadn't filled with water since arriving here so we were getting low. We also tend to run the washing machine before filling as it takes over 10 gallons to do one wash and if no one is waiting for water we hang around until its finished.

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                                When we were approaching Stoke Hammond we came across the canal frozen with a thin layer of ice.

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                                      Our mooring just before Stoke Hammond lock. As you can see we have this stretch all to ourselves…..Lovely !!

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                          Wonder women at work !!! With the good weather today we decided to get all the wood on the roof cut up into logs.

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                                                       There that looks better. With all that wood and coal on the roof we are not going to be cold.

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                                        The view from our front room window. It looks out over the river Ouzel and the Ouzel valley…..Not bad is it .

The weather people say we are back in for more stormy weather so we will stay here for the next few days. We have good TV and 5 megs of internet.

This is probably our second favourite mooring after Grafton Regis so as long as we don't get frozen in we will be ok.

Our next move will be up Stoke Hammond lock then the 3 Soulbury locks and onto Linslade and Leighton Buzzard.

                                                                  Happy Days

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Xmas at Fenny Stratford

On Monday i gave into her ladyship and agreed to go to Ikea. It was about a mile away which was no problem , but what i didn't count on was how far you walk inside the store. Follow the arrows the sign says and you seem to walk for miles . I must admit it is very clever as you have to walk past every item they sell and there seems to be no way of taking a shortcut.  We did end up spending £2.50 on a cutlery stand so it wasn't so bad.

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                                                                                   Strange looking sky over Fenny Stratford.

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After a superb Christmas roast Turkey lunch with all the trimmings there was only one thing to do , open another bottle of wine…..No no said Carolyn you are going to have a good long walk. So after watching Her Majesty at 3 o clock we set off. The lock at Fenny Stratford is about 150 yards in front of our mooring and it only has a rise in level of 12 inches .It was built to lower the level in the canal from here to Cosgrove as that stretch of canal lost so much water due to leakage in the top foot of the cut. The lock is also one of the few locks left with a swing bridge in the middle of it.

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                                On our walk up the towpath we came across this boat.  (Abbie Louise is our granddaughters name.)

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                                     After a good walk up the towpath and around Fenny it was back to Inca and another bottle of wine.  Glug glug…….

                                                                     Happy Days

Sunday, 22 December 2013



                                                   To all our readers


                     Merry Christmas

                                and a

                      Happy new year


                                       Gary and Carolyn

Thursday, 19 December 2013

To Fenny

We had intended to move on Monday but due to the high winds we decided to stay at Giffard Park.

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And it was a good job we stayed as who should turn up but Paul and Jill from Nb Falcon. Like us they come from Devon. We spent a couple of hours in the pub catching up and talking. And as usual the conversation got around to pump outs and toilets and even composting toilets which we may look into in the future…. . It was very good to see you both , Have a good Christmas and enjoy your cruise. .We will catch up with you in the new year.

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On Tuesday we pulled pins at 08.30 and headed straight onto the water point at Giffard park . It is one of the slower taps on the Grand union but as we are never in that much of a hurry it doesn't really mater.

We were lucky to pick up a mooring at Campbell park as it is always very popular here due to its proximity to the shopping centre at Milton Keynes.The only problem was that the towpath was so low. And with both of us having short legs we had to use a step to get on and off Inca.

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                                                                          On Wednesday with a lovely sunny day we had a walk down to Willen Lake.

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                     We spotted this water skiing on cables and thought we would give it a go…...But guess what……….It was closed…...Oh well !

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                                          Carolyn was taken with this piece of art in Campbell Park that over looks the moorings. It is made out of 1 inch steel plate.

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At 09.20 on Thursday we pulled pins and headed south towards Fenny Stratford. On the way we came across all of this boaters gold (wood). It looked so lonely on the bank. But it looks a lot better on our roof and it will look even better when its in the fire…….Free heat !!!!!!!!!!!!!

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We thought we would struggle to get a mooring at Fenny Stratford, but as it was there were several available. Carolyn loves it here because there are loads and loads of shops. We did a Tesco shop in the afternoon and no doubt we will do several more before Christmas. There is also an IKEA just up the road and as i have never been to one before i have been told by her ladyship that i have to go tomorrow and that i will enjoy it……..enjoy shopping ? …….     I don't think so.

The mooring here has good TV and Internet but the towpath is a bit wet. But that's just a part of winter cruising. We may well spend Christmas here but you never know. When you get that urge to move you just have to move.


                                                              Happy Days

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Sitting still

We are still moored at Giffard Park and are in no real hurry to move. The weather over the last week has been very mild but temperatures are down to 4 deg at night and with a few hours of sun every day the solar panels are putting in between 4 and 6 amps. We are still experimenting with different coal and are now trying Homefire ovals. It is one of the more expensive coals you can buy but at the moment it seems to burn well with low ash and good heat output and it stays in well over night.

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With the good weather we have been out and about and enjoying walking around Tongwell lake.







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On Thursday it was a treat for Carolyn when we visited some brick kilns.

  Now for the History lesson…     All the clay was dug nearby and formed into bricks They then spend 4 days in the kilns at over 900 degrees where they changed colour from blue to brown.After a further week they are cool enough to be removed from the kilns

End of lesson





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On Sunday the Milton Keynes half marathon passed our mooring with hundreds of runners competing.We did think about entering!!!!(not)








We have very good Internet here for Sky Go and with Spurs playing Liverpool on Sunday this will do us fine. But we are now getting itchy feet and Carolyn really wants to hit the massive shopping centre in Milton Keynes.We will try and moor at Campbell park were there is a bus service up the hill to the centre.

                                                                Happy Days

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Milton Keynes

Our time at Cosgrove has been taken up by our usual pastime of walking . We have walked into Stony Stratford a couple of times to do a bit of shopping which is a 4 mile round trip, but very enjoyable as it follows the route of The river Ouse.


                                                                 On one of our walks we came across this lock which is below the the aqueduct.

                       This lock has been built on the site of one of the 8 locks that used to be here before the aqueduct was built in 1811.


                                                  There are some very old lock gates next to the lock but there is nothing to say how old they are.


                                          The boats using these locks had to cross the Rive Ouse. Which was not good when the river was in flood.

                                                                                                            A history lesson for you.

After 6 days at Cosgrove it was time to leave. We pulled pins at 08.45 on Monday morning and headed for the water point below Cosgrove lock. We winded (turned) and while Carolyn filled Inca with water i dealt with the waste….Strange how i always get the waste jobs. It was then off and on our way to Milton Keynes. The picture above shows water being pumped into the canal from the river Ouse.


                                                                       Our mooring for a few days at Giffard Park which is part of Milton Keynes.


.                                                                    Opposite our mooring is Great Linford park. With its Manor house

IMG_0226                                                                                                                              Pub

IMG_0228                                                                                                                  alms-houses and Church.


                                         We have seen these rocks in the park every time we pass this spot on Inca and always wondered what they were.


                                                                                       We are still no wiser. Maybe its just a bit of art ?


                                                                                  How typical is this , Tons of boaters gold and nowhere near Inca.


        On the way back from our walk this fox walked out in front of us. He stood still looked at us for a few seconds then dived back into the hedge.

The mooring here at Giffard park has all the amenities we need .shops, good walks , a Chinese takeaway ,water and waste facilities and a Sizzling pub. And how rude would it be not to make good use of the pub. We have eaten here before and it is a typical chain pub . But having said that it is very good value for the money.

We still have a bit more exploring to do in this area over the next couple of days then we will continue our journey at our usual snails pace south on The Grand union canal.

                                                                          Happy Days

Thursday, 5 December 2013

December in Cosgrove

We pulled pins at Grafton Regis on Tuesday morning just before 09.00 . With the temperature at just over 4 deg and a clear bright morning with no wind it was perfect cruising weather. When we arrived at Cosgrove the first stop was the services and then we dropped down the lock and picked up a mooring with no problem. We expected the moorings to be full as there are designated winter moorings here. We were told that C&RT had doubled the amount of mooring space this year but it would seem that boaters are not prepared to pay out any extra money and who can blame them !.



                                                                                         We passed this boat on the way. We like to waste time ….


                                                                                            The view from our side hatch back towards the lock.



                                                                                                                   One for you Big Dick.


On Wednesday we decided to do a trip up to Wolverton and do a big shop at the Tesco store there. But just as we were leaving Jules turned up in her fuel boat. We stocked up with bags of coal and filled up with diesel.


I always get a buzz passing over the aqueduct and stop Inca half way over. Meantime Carolyn is huddled down in the bedroom with her eyes closed….. Wait till we go over the Pontcysyllte aqueduct in Wales.

After shopping at Tesco we cruised up to New Bradwell where we winded (Turned) and headed back to Cosgrove. We like the village and with very bad winds forecast for Thursday it would be a good sheltered place to sit it out.


When we winded at New bradwell i used the Girlie button to help us turn and picked up this piece of rope in the blades of the bow thruster. Yes i know you don't need to use it but sometimes it just makes things a lot easier.  Luckily we have a weed hatch in the bow thruster tube so getting it out was ok.


Thursday has been spent doing a bit more exploring and getting out and about in all that wind. We have decided to stay here for a day or two or until we get the urge to move on.


                                                                       Happy Days

Monday, 2 December 2013

Back to Grafton

We left Nether Heyford on Wednesday after Carolyn had her hair done (and how lovely it looked) and found a rural mooring just before Gayton junction.
grafton december 013                          The mooring is very rural which we just love. The only down side is the proximity of the trains. But you soon get used to them.

grafton december 017On Thursday morning we used the facilities at Gayton Junction and then on to Blissworth to pick up a few supplies in the village shop. Yes that is me pulling a shopping trolley.  No comments please….
We then moved on through the Blissworth tunnel and on to Stoke Bruerne . We have never seen it so empty above the top lock with only one boat apart from the working boats which are moored there. We went down through the first 2 locks and moored for the night.
grafton december 045On Friday morning we pulled pins at 08.45 and headed down the rest of the Stoke Bruerne flight of locks and then onto Grafton Regis and our most favourite mooring in all the world. There are no other boats within half a mile and with good TV reception and over 20 megs of internet it is just perfect.
grafton december 030                                                                                           The view from our port window.
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grafton december 022Not long after mooring molly decided to fall in the canal. I have never seen Carolyn move so fast to get her out. She is ok it was just a bit of a shock for her.

grafton december 040               On Sunday morning this boat went by. The boat is called Dover and it featured in a Television series where it went through a total restoration. .
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Another good thing with this mooring is the abundant wild life. We have spent the whole weekend watching this Kingfisher. He has even been fishing off the side of Inca and it was brilliant to see him dive in and catch a fish only a couple of feet away from our eyes. Carolyn tried for hours to get some photos but they are so fast. In the end she managed to get the one above.
grafton december 057                                                           This little chap kept visiting us all week end and was very tame.
We now have a plan…… We will pull pins on Tuesday morning and head through Cosgrove and onto Wolverton where we will turn around do a Tesco shop and then move back to Cosgrove and pick up a mooring. The weather is supposed to be getting a lot colder by the end of the week and as Cosgrove has water and waste facilities its a good place to get frozen in. But lets hope that doesn't happen.
                                                               Happy Days