Sunday, 26 October 2014



IMG_4367The view from our mooring back towards Cosgrove lock and some of the hundreds of Geese that live in this area.

IMG_4353This lovely old working boat passed us and you could here him coming from miles away with the sound of his vintage engine echoing through Cosgrove. It looks like he has just had a new paint job.

IMG_4374Managed to get this blurred photo of this Kingfisher. He was fishing opposite our mooring and was a fair distance away so i had to use 32x Digital zoom which didn't come out that clear.

On Saturday morning my Mum ,daughter and Granddaughter arrived , They brought Curly (Abbie) up from Devon to spend a week with us on the boat. Now we have to try and keep an 8 year old entertained for the next 7 days   Suggestions on a postcard please. We have decided on Monday to head back down towards Milton Keynes where there will be more for her to do. No doubt Carolyn will continue to train her in the art of shopping and how to spend Granddads money.

IMG_4386After breaking two zips and countless fasteners on our cratch cover we decided to get some fenders made up to protect the cover and zips. And there is no one better when it comes to rope work than Mick Betts at Cosgrove near Milton Keynes. He had them all measured, made and fitted within a couple of days and with rope fenders for both sides costing less than one zip would cost to replace we think its well worth it. (Curly above watching Mick at work)

IMG_4409And as well as being practical they also look good  !!!!            Mick can be contacted on 07816541868

IMG_4394With Cosgrove park closing on November the 1st we were lucky to be able to watch their end of season Firework display. With a brilliant view from the Towpath we really enjoyed a bit of free entertainment.


                                                                             Happy Days

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Captain Carolyn

IMG_4276With some good weather in Cosgrove its great to get out and about after sitting in the boat on damp wet days . One of the biggest problems when we get bad weather is cabin fever , So often even if its pouring down with rain we just have to get out and about. Above is the ornate bridge at Cosgrove , this has to be one of the best looking bridges anywhere on the network.
IMG_4245Now there's an idea. If i could get hold of one of those old washboards and one of these and get rid of the washing machine, just think of all that electric we could save.
IMG_4287I wonder if he has some NOSEGAY in his pipe   (See last post).
After a few days we decided to move on and spend a bit of time at one of our favourite moorings.
IMG_4297The last time we passed this boat a couple of months ago the guy was still living on it. I don't think it will stay afloat much longer.
IMG_4336Captain Carolyn on the Tiller. There is a new edition of The boaters guide ( ) that has just come out with a video that's well worth a watch, and near the beginning it says always appoint a captain who will always be in charge. Its amazing how women make us men think we are the captains but in reality we are just cabin boys/General Dogsbodies.
IMG_4307At Grafton Regis there has always been good TV and Internet at over 20 megs but for some reason the internet was down to 0.3 megs and as Carolyn LIKES watching TV online she wasn't very happy. We stuck it out here through all the bad winds and decided to move as soon as the winds dropped. It was amazing to see how many boats were still moving in all that wind and many of them were struggling to keep their boats in a straight line.
IMG_4330On Wednesday morning with the temperature at 9deg we pulled pins at 09.00 in beautiful sunshine. The nearest Winding hole (turning place) is at Stoke Bruerne ,so after winding we reversed up to the service point and filled with water and dumped waste. With all that high wind we are hoping to pick up some wood on our cruise back towards Cosgrove.
IMG_4346We are now moored back in Cosgrove with no more wood on the roof and are now awaiting a visit from our daughter and granddaughter at the weekend . Curly (Abbie) will be spending half time with us so the next week will certainly be hectic. Carolyn has done a shop in Tesco as Sharon on Nb Midsummer very kindly drove her into Wolverton so we are now stocked up again for a day or two.
The boat above went past us on Wednesday afternoon and I think its called Valhalla. Some of the private moorers on the off side shouted at him to slow down as he was creating such a wash. But looking at the shape of the Bow its never going to go through the water vey smoothly. Its certainly an odd boat and its one of those that you either love or hate .
                                                                     Happy Days

Sunday, 19 October 2014



We pulled pins from Giffard park and headed North towards Cosgrove. After a couple of days of rain and wind it was good to be on the move again.The downside to the bad weather has been having to run the engine to charge the batteries. Its the first time we have had to run it when stood still since April ,so we haven't done that bad. The solar panels still provide one or two amps in cloudy weather , but with the sun getting lower in the sky we are now struggling to get much more than 12 amps at mid day in full sun.Having said that though every free amp from the solar panels is much appreciated.

IMG_4211There's something about this boat that i like. The clue is in the name.

IMG_4212Some of the locals around here are a funny lot.

IMG_4225You can’t pass through Wolverton without admiring the Train mural. Wolverton and New Bradwell were built up around the railways and it was the centre for repairs as it was half way between London and Birmingham.

IMG_4237With good TV and Internet we picked up this mooring on the approach to Cosgrove lock. Its not far from the shop ,so we walked in to pick up a Newspaper after mooring. It was good to meet Sharon and Lew from Nb Midsummer.  We met them last February at Braunston and it was good to catch up with them and have a chat.

On a more sour note. Some one we know who continuously cruises had his car broken into at Grafton Regis. We have always considered Grafton to be a safe place but it seems not so. He parked his car next to the bridge and only left it for a short time ,but when he returned the windows had been smashed and two clarinets worth several thousands of pounds were stolen. We spoke to him this morning and as you can imagine he is absolutely gutted…. So beware !!!!!

IMG_4239As you know Carolyn likes her shopping, and with a good sunny day at last we walked back to Galleon Wharf and a walk around Gdad’s.It sells all sorts from second hand jewellery to furniture.. Guess what ? We didn't buy anything. That's the type of shopping that i like !!!

IMG_4240But what i really liked was the sign next to the door. Can you imagine walking into a shop today and saying “Please can i have an ounce of NOSEGAY”.

We are going to have a few days here and do some more chilling before moving on again. Cosgrove is a small village but a very pleasant place to spend a few days and with plenty of walks Molly and Hamish will be content.

                                                                                             Happy Days

Thursday, 16 October 2014


Just a short blog today as it is my Birthday and as most people will know i have never worked or done very much on this day each year for the last 39 years. The sun is now above Inca’s Yardarm so its time to crack open a bottle of the Red stuff..Cheers to everyone .

IMG_4195With a break in the weather its out with the raincoats and umbrellas and a walk around Great Linford. The picture above is of Linford Manor which believe it or not is in Linford Manor park which is next to the canal. The main house was built in 1678 by The Lord Mayor of London Sir William Pritchard.

IMG_4194He was so rich that he had two more houses built opposite the manor house, but actually they were just simple Stables made to look like houses.

IMG_4196 Carolyn is well known for having a very good sense of humour ….. up until now !!!

IMG_4200I came up with this simple cunning plan a few days ago. As i have mentioned before at this time of year it is too cold not to light the fire but when it is lit it is so hot we have to open the doors and windows. All i have done is put a brick in each side of the fire and reduced the size of it , simple really. But the amazing thing is that it stays in over night better than it has ever done before. The picture above shows the fire in the morning after being filled to the top of the bricks 13 hours before. The room temperature was 21deg with an outside temperature of 8deg and we could have left it a few more hours before topping it up again. I have now discovered that you can get metal inserts that fit to the sides of the stove that do a similar job. But at £37.70 a pair i think i will stick with my bricks for the time being. We are currently moored in a smokeless zone , so we cannot burn wood. But we are burning probably half as much coal as we normally do . I thought the bricks might crack but so far they are fine.  So a nice few quid saved, just the ticket……….

                                                                                        Happy Days

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Toilet talk


IMG_4177With an early start it was straight on to the services at Fenny Stratford. We were low on water and had a couple of bags of rubbish and 3 full toilet cassettes to get shot of.

Now then while on the subject of waste. when ever you meet up with other boaters the talk eventually always gets around to toilets as it did yesterday. We can still not make our minds up whether to go down the composting toilet route or not, I have read and read about them and i must admit only having to empty them every 2 to 3 weeks or even longer is very appealing. Well in fact it is only the number two’s you empty every 2 to 3 weeks ,the number one’s goes into a separate container and you just empty that in to a convenient hedgerow when full which would be every 1 or 2 days. I would have thought that you would need 2 poo containers as it would need more time to compost after its last use, so storing a container of you know what for a few weeks could be an issue .We have a total of 4 cassettes with each one lasting about 2 days but have so far never used the 4th one. Another option that has been mentioned is to buy a Porta Potti and just use that for number ones and then use our main Thetford Cassette for number two’s. The problem i envisage with that is trying to empty the cassette after maybe a week of poo when most of its contents are solid, my hands are to small to fit into the cassette and pull it all out but thinking about it i bet Carolyn could get her small hands in so that might work, but thinking about it i don't think that idea will go down very well with her Ladyship . There is also the Bucket and chuck it method, but again were not sure if that is the right way to go. Anyway still no the wiser on what to do.We will just have to sleep on the idea for now.

IMG_4182Going through Fenny lock and we did think about mooring next to the lock ,but as there is an IWA clean up happening soon all of the moorings were taken up and the ones below the lock had no internet so that was a no to stopping here from Carolyn.

IMG_4183This Heron was taking full advantage of this boat to fish from.

IMG_4186This is bridge 84 at Milton Keynes and as you can see its in a bit of a bad way. Carolyn always says go quickly through it just in case it falls down on us. The good news is that it is being repaired in the new year, but the bad news is that the work will mean the canal being closed from the 7th of January 2015 to the 13th March 2015. That will certainly have an impact on our winter cruising plans.

IMG_4188Apparently this stretch of canal just South of Campbell park in Milton Keynes is a reasonably safe place to moor. We were told that certain boaters wanted this area to themselves so put up the sign to scare off other boaters mooring there.

IMG_4189Yet again one or two inconsiderate idiot boaters and it gives us all a bad name.

IMG_4197After a few hours cruising we picked up this mooring just south of the Sizzling pub and services at Giffard Park. There are plenty of parks and good dog walking around here, so with heavy rain on the way we will sit it out and walk it out here for a day or three.

                                                                                       Happy Days

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Hot or cold


IMG_4136I have said it before and i will say it again , only an idiot a silly boater takes a narrowboat out in very high winds. Even low winds can make a huge difference to how the boat handles. We have come to the conclusion that anything over about 15 to 20 mph and its just not worth cruising. Its not just about the damage you could do to your boat and other boats, but the danger of someone getting hurt. With winds over 25 mph on this day there were still loads of boats cruising and not being able to control their craft in the high gusts like the one in the picture above who ended up jammed across the canal.

IMG_4127The weather is so changeable at the moment that we are going from one day of high winds to the next morning when we experienced our first frost of the Autumn.

IMG_4141After a few days at Linslade we moved on to Stoke Hammond which is another one of our favourite moorings. How lucky are we again to have it all to ourselves.

IMG_4139Being out in the country it gave us the chance to cut up and log the wood we had .With Carolyn being retired from using the axe it wasn't long before she had all our free heat stacked on the roof.We now have 14 bags of coal and this wood so it should keep us going for a while , but we will still be on the look out for more free wood.

IMG_4112It is a silly time of year for lighting the fire. It is too cold with out it and when we do light it we have to have all the windows and doors open as it gets so hot. We do have the diesel central heating ,but that cost money to use so we would rather be a little too hot and burn free wood rather than have to put the central heating on.

IMG_4170We have now moved from Stoke Hammond and are now moored at Fenny Stratford which is next to the town of Bletchley in Milton Keynes. With a plethora of shops Carolyn is in her element and the old bank account is taking a right hammering ,she much prefers to go shopping without me for some unknown reason . I did go with her to IKEA where she treated me to a 9 item breakfast for only £2.75, i must admit it went down a treat and at that price what a bargain . The only problem was that after that i was dragged around the shop ,I think Carolyn only takes me so i can be her Carthorse for carrying all the heavy items she buys. We did manage to get our Flu jabs done and believe it or not we got them done in Tesco. The picture above was taken in Bletchley town on another shopping trip i reluctantly went enjoyed going on. Bletchley is a small bustling town with a good mix of shops , so I'm told.

We are now starting to get low on water and the full toilet cassettes are starting to build up ,so we will soon have to move again and get to the services at Fenny lock which is about half a mile from where we are currently moored. And then after that we will move on to Who knows where ….


                                                    Happy Days

Friday, 10 October 2014

Canal rage


IMG_4079We pulled pins in Beautiful sunshine at 07.30 and cruised down to Church lock. After leaving the lock and when Carolyn had shut the gates she then had to descend some very steep steps and squeeze through a narrow gap to get back on board Inca.

IMG_4094The next lock is Grove lock and Carolyn wants to know why is it that every time we pass a pub its closed .

IMG_4106After doing a shop at Tesco and Aldi we picked up a mooring on the other side of Linslade and it wasn't long before we heard shouting and the roaring of engines. The dark blue boat which is privately owned tried to overtake the light blue hire boat just as they were passing us. You can tell how fast he was going by looking at the Bow wave he was making.

IMG_4110After nearly hitting us and nearly pulling our pins out with his wash he carried on at full throttle and eventually forced the Hire boat into the side of the canal. Words were exchanged between the 2 boats and then the hire boat reversed back off the bank and the guy shouted to us that they had never seen Canal rage like that before.It seems like the guy was in a hurry to get somewhere fast and couldn't cope with the pace of the hire boat in front of him.  People moan about how bad some hire boaters are at boating, but there are some useless and ignorant boat owners on the cut as well.

IMG_4116With Gary busy on his coal boat Ascot it didn't leave much room for other boats to pass,and it wasn't long before this hire boat (on the right) went aground when trying to pass.Eventually after a lot of revving they managed to get of the side and continue with their holiday .

IMG_4150The moon over Inca and the end of another enjoyable day on Inca.      picture by Carolyn

                                                                 Happy Days

Monday, 6 October 2014

Accident waiting to happen


IMG_4056With Carolyn back from Devon it wasn't long before she found this haul of free winter heat. Its not a lot but it is a start

IMG_4071We pulled pins from Wendover and left the arm in Glorious sunshine and it wasn't long before we made the tight turn back on to The Grand union and then down The Marsworth flight.

IMG_4075The White Lion at Marsworth is now looking in a real sorry state. Apparently it was a very popular Pub .We did ask a few local people if they knew what was happening to the place , but nobody seemed to know its fate.

IMG_4087After 4 hours of cruising we finally moored behind Stewart and Fran on nb The Boat in the long pound above Church lock. Shortly after mooring Narrowboat Dover motored past us. This boat was rebuilt by a guy called Alan Herd and a TV series was made showing the complete re-build.

IMG_4086With some wood on the roof from Wendover and some more that we have picked up on the way its out with the chainsaw and Axe. With me on the chainsaw Carolyn decided to have a go at splitting the wood with the Axe. But as you can see its just an accident waiting to happen….. Don't worry she has now retired from chopping wood and she is now in charge of stacking the wood on the roof.

IMG_4102Pickle Widge  …    What a brilliant name for a boat. But does anyone know what it means ?. I have looked it up but can find no reference to the name. And look at that canopy , Its part of a car roof box mounted on some timber. I don't think the idea will catch on.

We have now left Church lock pound and are heading back down towards Leighton Buzzard and yet another shop at the convenient Tesco moorings and then back out into the country and pick up a peaceful mooring somewhere.


                                                               Happy Days

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Billy no mates


IMG_4011After a long day cruising and locking and going up a very shallow canal we are so lucky to pick up our favourite mooring at the end of The Wendover arm.

IMG_4009Not long after arriving Stewart soon hooked this beautiful 14lb Carp.

IMG_4015With Carolyn on the Train back down to Devon for our Granddaughters 8th birthday and Stewart and Fran off cruising back on the Grand Union canal, I am now Billy no mates and all by myself for the next few days on the arm. But it will give me the chance to catch up on several little jobs that need doing.

IMG_4005With winter coming and not long before we light the fire its time to get prepared. We bought this new chimney last year when we passed a boat that made them on the Coventry canal and have so far not used it. Although not cheap the quality is first class. The guy tows a small butty around which is his workshop and he produces these Stainless steel chimneys from it. Click on the link to have a look at what he does …..

IMG_4023With the level on the Wendover arm very low it gave us a lot of problems on our cruise up here. The pumps at this pumping station are running flat out to try and maintain the level.

IMG_4028With most of my jobs done it leaves plenty of time for exploring the local countryside with Molly and Hamish. I was hoping to find some field Mushrooms on my walks across the fields , but they seem to be a bit scarce this year. Maybe the unseasonal hot weather this year has had an effect on them.

IMG_4036One thing that are plentiful around here are Aircraft ,as we are on the main approach to Luton airport.

IMG_4040Sunset over Inca and with the temperature today reaching well over twenty degrees what a brilliant Summer we are having, and long may it last.                                      


                                                                                      Happy Days