Monday, 31 March 2014

Cream teas in Milton Keynes

We pulled pins at Cosgrove at 08.30 on Friday and headed towards Wolverton to do a big shop in Tesco. There are good moorings there and it is only a short distance to the shops.

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This is us crossing the Cosgrove aqueduct. I just have to go over it slowly and stand on the side overlooking the drop. I am not brilliant with heights but you just have to do it. Carolyn was in her usual place down in the bedroom shouting “For Christ's sake get a move on” as she is no good at all with heights.

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                                                            Approaching Wolverton and passing the now disused railway sheds.

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                                                    We just managed to get on the end mooring in Wolverton.

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                                                              This boat was moored there as well. Not the ideal way to attach a mooring rope.

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                             After emptying Tesco's shelves and filling Incas we passed this chap on route to Gifford park…. He seemed happy enough.

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We picked up this mooring just before the pub at Gifford park.The thing i like about this mooring is that there is a Chinese takeaway about 100 yards away. And if there is one thing i miss its a good curry.

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After a good curry on Friday night we pulled pins at 09.15 on Saturday morning and made the short journey down to Milton Keynes and moored close to Paul and Lorna on nb India.We met them last year when we passed through on our way to London and always stop and enjoy a good chat when we are passing.

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After mooring we went for a walk down to Willen lake and the water skiing where they are pulled around the lake with a over head cable. Well , I just had to have a go and this is me in action just coming off a jump.

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I want one of these. We bumped into this guy flying this machine. I thought it was brilliant. It can fly for over 15 minutes at a height of 2000 feet and is about 18 inches long and has a camera that is linked up to an i-phone which is held on the remote control. Carolyn was all for me getting one until the guy said it was £900. Oh well ,I can always dream.

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On Sunday afternoon Paul came over for a good old Devon cream tea made the correct way with the jam on the top of the cream and not under the cream like them silly bu**ers down in Cornwall do. Paul really enjoyed it ,  almost as much as i enjoyed his Irish Whiskey…Cheers Paul…..

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When we looked out of the window on Monday morning we saw this mink going in and out of the rushes looking for birds and birds eggs. Nasty things !!!!

We are now about to pull pins and head down to Fenny Stratford. Carolyn enjoys the shops there so we will spend the day there and then decide what to do on Tuesday morning.

PS…… It wasn't me water skiing …..but i reckon i could have done it. (not)

                                                         Happy Days

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Mud glorious mud

On Monday at 09.00 and in full sunshine and light winds we pulled pins at Whilton and began our cruise south.
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                                                                                  “Come on Carolyn Put your back in to it”…... And guess what her reply was !!.
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                                                                                                  Smoking. The view when steering Inca.
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                                                                                        Love the name……   Must be somewhere in Wales, me thinks.
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                                                                            Canal side wall near Stowe hill….  I don't think i would employ this builder.
We ended up at Nether Heyford and spent all of Tuesday inside Inca due to the constant rain. The towpaths were drying out a treat and it was so good not to have mud everywhere but now we are back to the mud. We made an early start on Wednesday and headed towards Stoke Bruerne stopping off at Gayton junction to fill with water as Carolyn did a couple of washes whilst on route.
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          Just below Furnace Wharf we passed this boat. You may remember this is the boat that Guy Martin Messed up restored in his TV series.
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The picture above shows one of the left over rings from when part of the Blissworth tunnel was re-lined in the early eighties and shows the diameter of the tunnel and how it all locks together.We have been through the tunnel many times but this is the first time we have noticed it
We got absolutely soaked in the one and three quarter miles of the Blisswoth tunnel . It took us just under 30 minutes to go through as i wasn't hanging around to get any wetter . Molly and Hamish do not like tunnels at all and they just shake the whole time we are in one and Carolyn has to try and keep them calm. We have tried leaving them down in the boat but they seem less stressed out on the back with us.                                                           .
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                                                              Inca outside of Stoke Bruerne Museum waiting for the top lock to fill.
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                                                                On our mooring at Stoke Bruerne and Back to muddy towpaths.
After a good night at Stoke Bruerne we pulled pins on Thursday morning and after the first lock we teamed up with another boat and that made the locking down a lot easier. They had only been aboard for 5 days and they were on their way down to London ,we didn't get the guys name but the lady was called Susan. We hope you both enjoy your cruise down south.
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                                                                                 This is the best dressed horse we have ever seen.
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                         Simple……2 surf boards held together with a ladder, solar panel charging the batteries and an electric outboard.
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After nearly 4 hours we arrived at Cosgrove and just after getting moored the skies went black and then there was a thunder storm and heavy rain. We were lucky we never got caught out in that. We are not sure how long we will stay here but we have good TV and internet ,but and a big but, there aren't any shops for Carolyn, so i guess we may well be on the move again tomorrow.
                                                                 Happy Days

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Bang Crash Wallop

We pulled pins at Braunston at 09.15 on Saturday morning and headed straight onto the service point to fill with water and get rid of waste.Just outside of Braunston marina is a floating cafe called the Gongoozlers rest. Every time we cruise by we get hit with the odour of fried bacon. But this time we decided to stop and get a couple of bacon butties and they were just the ticket. Next we hit the Braunston flight of locks and were joined by Nb Dawn. They were new live boards and had only been aboard for 5 weeks but seemed to be enjoying it so far.We had intended to stop at Norton junction but as the weather was fairly good and there wasn't a great deal of room we carried on down the Buckby flight and picked up a mooring below the bottom lock.

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At Buckby top lock ..  If looks could kill. I jumped off with the windlass and all i said was i will do this lock you steer the boat in and lock down….. Don't worry i took it down the lock ….(I think the look will be even worse when Carolyn sees I've posted this picture).
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                                                                                                  Summer is coming.
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                                                             The strangest tender we have ever seen. Not sure what it is used for but he was towing it.
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The view from our side hatch, we are moored at Whilton opposite the marina. Ideal if you are a train spotter. On the other side of us about 100 yards away is the M1 Motorway so this has to be one of the noisiest moorings around.There is a good farm shop just above the bottom lock and Carolyn always likes to stock up from there. There is a Garden centre and guess what ? A Chandlers..We only spent £7 pound in there this time on a new holster for Carolyn’s windlass. With heavy winds forecast on Sunday we decided to spend the day here and then move on Monday morning.
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                                                                                                                          I wish i was as happy as him.
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The winds certainly were strong on Sunday. There were a lot of boats moving and all passing us very fast as they couldn't control their boats at low revs in all the wind. Half way through the football (well done Spurs) there was an almighty bang in front of us. The boat in the picture above had come out of the marina and decided to reverse back onto the diesel pump at the marina. In all the wind he could not control his boat and after hitting the boat in front of us very hard he then gave us a right old bump and started scraping up the side of us. I jumped out of the side hatch and pushed him off and he then went bang into the boat opposite. After refuelling he tried to get back into the marina. In the picture after revving the nuts out of the engine and hitting yet another boat that was moored below the marina entrance he is actually trying to pull the boat with the bow rope into the marina entrance. In total he hit 4 boats and he couldn't even bother to say sorry….What a NOB.
We are now starting to get some good results from the solar panels as the days are longer and we have had some good days of sunshine. On Sunday we never ran the engine at all and we were getting up to 17 amps which for March is very good.
                                                                    Happy Days

Sunday, 23 March 2014

A life sentence !!!

We pulled pins at 08.30 on Friday and moved the short distance into Braunston. We were lucky and picked up a mooring opposite The Boathouse pub.

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                                                                                                                The approach to Braunston.

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                                       One for the lads at SWW……………Braunston STW and what a well kept site .(Is that a copa clarifier on the right?)                         

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                               The junction at Braunston  , left takes you to Rugby and the North and right takes you to Leicester or south to London.

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On Friday the 21st of March it was our 33rd wedding anniversary. So i had to take Carolyn out for lunch. As you can see i am telling her that she hasn't changed a bit in all that time and how lucky she is to be married to me!!…….. Or more like it, How lucky i am to be married to her !!!.

We got married at Newton Abbot registry office and had the reception in the upstairs room of Harberton constitutional club near Totnes in 1981. The food for the reception cost Carolyn's mum and dad £1 a head. So the cost of our lunch today would have fed nearly everyone there.

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                                                                     It was good to sit and eat lunch while looking at our home.

We then had a walk up to the chandlery just to buy some toilet blue but ended up spending another £50 on polish and other boat bits and pieces. It was then back to Inca and doing things that you do on your Anniversary…..No not that ….I meant a glass or two of vino and fall asleep in the chair.

                                                                                               Happy Days

Friday, 21 March 2014

A few Narrowboat live aboard Stats

It is now nearly 11 months since we left Upton marina on the River Severn and we have now travelled 802 miles and Carolyn has operated 544 locks while i have done just 3 locks !!!. During last summer we were averaging 3.6 miles per day, but over the winter months we have been averaging only 1.7 miles a day. As continuous cruisers the rules state that we must be on a continuous journey and we can not stay in one area for more than 14 days and if you look back through the blog you can see we have been very good and adhered to the rules.( except for the one night we over stayed in Paddington basin. But that was due to excess wine and we lost track of the days !!)  In total we have used 941 litres of red diesel at an average price of 0.89 pence per litre. During the winter months we did run the engine for 2 or 3 hours a day when not travelling to charge the batteries. We have also used 5x13kg bottles of gas at about £27 a bottle . As for coal we have found that Homefire Ovals works well for us and we have used it for most of the winter. It is only used to keep the fire in overnight as we use wood during the day and evening.We are averaging about a bag and a quarter a week so at £12 a bag its not too bad.
I have started to work out how much we have spent this year and it is a lot more than we expected. But having said that we have bought a lot of one off items like the generator , multi fuel stove, pram cover and solar panels. When we get to having been afloat for 12 months i will sit down and add everything up and have a shock i expect ,even so it is all still well worth it.
We pulled pins on Wednesday from Napton on the hill at 08.30 and headed towards Braunston and after a couple of hours picked up a mooring in one of our favourite areas about 2 miles south of Braunston below Flecknoe. With very high winds on Thursday we will sit it out here then head into Braunston on Friday.
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                                                                                                  Lucky us we have these moorings all to ourselves.
We should now be on our way to north Wales and onto the Llangollen canal but we have a problem with our hull blacking. When we had Inca surveyed last year the blacking started to come off when it was jetted so we were told it could be due to mill scale on the steel from when Inca was built. The advice we were given was to black the hull and then check it in 12 months time and if it was still coming off the hull would have to be grit blasted and blacked again with a 2 pack blacking. Well sure enough it is coming off ,so we are booked into Debdale marina in April to have the work done. In the meantime we are just killing time in this area but we are getting excited about our summer adventure.
                                                    Happy Days

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Nobs and locks

On Saturday we pulled pins and headed up to the summit of the South Oxford canal .


                                                                                              Carolyn getting help at one of the locks.


                                                                                         The weather was perfect for cruising.


                                                                                                      And perfect for walking.


We were lucky and picked up the same mooring that we had a couple of weeks ago and it wasn't long before we sprung into action and gave the port side a much needed wash.


                                                                                                      The sky on fire.  What a great Sunset .


After a relaxing weekend on the summit on Monday we pulled pins at 09.00 and headed towards Napton. When we reached the Top lock at Marston Doles we found all the paddles open, We closed the bottom paddles and filled the lock. As we entered the lock 2 Canal and River Trust workers turned up and said that they were filling the pound below as some nob had left some paddles open and drained the pound overnight. As you can see CaRT have been busy and the paddles have been well greased ready for the summer.

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                                                                                              Napton on the Hill from Napton bottom lock.


After mooring on the 48 hour moorings we decided to have a walk up to the church which over looks Napton on the Hill. And what a hill . But it was well worth the walk. The church was one of the best maintained we have come across on our travels and Carolyn said she would be very happy for this to be my final resting place.


                                      After all that walking and hill climbing there was only one thing to do when we got back down to the canal. …..Cheers .

                                                                             Happy Days

Friday, 14 March 2014

On the move at last

On Monday with the water level in the tank touching zero we moved down the lock and filled up at the water point and then onto the winding hole to turn and then back up the lock and hopefully pick up the same mooring as we need to stay here until Thursday for the dogs jabs.

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                                                                                           Before the lock is the hydraulic lift bridge.

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                                                                                      Then we dropped down the lock and onto the water point.

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                                              After winding it was back up through the lock and then we luckily got back on the same mooring.

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                                                                                    Things certainly got wetter this winter.

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                                                          We know a little girl called Curly (number 1 Granddaughter) but i don't think she sells potatoes.

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                Leaving Banbury and passing Timothy west and Prunella Scales boat. (Their new series on more4 is brilliant… Mondays at 21.00)

On Thursday after 2 weeks it was time to leave Banbury. Carolyn took Molly and Hamish up for their jabs at 08.00 and was back half an hour later. But with the fog so thick we never pulled pins until 09.55. It was so good to be moving again after all that time stood still. Although Carolyn could probably have stayed longer. But the rules say we can only spend 14 days in one area/district as we are continuous cruisers.

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                                                                      It wasn't long before we spotted this lot and soon had it on the roof.

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          Carolyn bringing Inca out of a lock which must mean I'm doing a lock for a change and look at that wood, not much room left on the roof.

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                                                                           Entering Cropredy there’s not much holding this wall up.

We filled with water again at Cropredy as we intend to spend a few days out in the country . We also had a cassette to empty but the elsan was out of order, but behind the building we found there was the elsan manhole so it got emptied down there ….sorted.

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                                                                                                The locals are a friendly lot !!

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                                                                                 These are the first primroses we have seen this year.

After 4 hours of cruising we found a good mooring in the long pound between Elkington’s lock and Bottom lock of the Claydon 5 locks. We spent the next couple of hours cutting up most of the wood. With me on the chainsaw and axe and Carolyn loading the roof we were like a well oiled machine . We then crashed out with a bottle or two of Californian ruby cabernet and Spurs getting well and truly outclassed by Benfica. Oh well with local derby against Arsenal on Sunday and the return with Benfica next week it should be interesting….Come on you Spurs

                                                                    Happy Days