Saturday, 31 December 2016

Narrow locks


IMG_0476After meeting up with Keith and Ann ( NB Oakfield ) and then having a good old catch up we pulled pins the following morning at 09.10 and made the short cruise towards Hillmorton locks. After several months of double locks it made a change to get back to the single ones. Hillmorton locks are the most used locks in all of the country ,but luckily not so well used at this time of year so we made good time down the flight of three locks. Although they are single locks there are two locks side by side which helps to speed locking up and down when it’s busy in high season.

IMG_0479Locking down was made a lot easier when Ann helped us to lock down the flight.

IMG_0480At the bottom of the locks who should we meet up with but our friend Chris on Nb Bosley . We first met Chris over three and a half years ago at the top of Hillmorton and have met up several times since then . After a chat and a catch up we said our goodbyes and will no doubt meet up again when we head up North in the Spring.

IMG_0483How lucky where we? .Passing Rugby Golf course and we heard the crack of a wood hitting a golf ball . The next thing we heard was a shout of Four as this golf ball went whizzing past our heads. It missed us by only a couple of feet and landed on the towpath in front of us. We are now going to buy a lottery ticket and hopefully we will be lucky again.

IMG_0487Arriving at Brownsover and we were surprised to find that the moorings on the park side were empty and there were only two boats on the towpath side. This will do us for a few days and allow us to chill out and do a bit of shopping in the retail parks which are below the moorings Not to mention it’s a good place for our number one Daughter Chloe to drop off our number one Granddaughter Curly who is coming up from Devon for a week..

                                                                                                               Happy Days

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Oh! Deer


IMG_1691We pulled pins from Braunston at 10.35 and after a stop on the services next to Midland swindlers Chandlers we headed off out in to the country. It’s a stretch of canal we always enjoy cruising and are always rewarded by seeing all sorts of birds and animals along the way. We always get a funny look from this silly old Goat whenever we pass.

IMG_0396It’s not very often that we ever see any deer during our travels although there are thousands in the countryside . I think these might be Roe deer although I could be wrong.

IMG_0470We are miles from the Sea but there are hundreds of these small Gulls in the fields around Braunston.

IMG_0472Passing all these Ewes and it looks like the Ram has done his job as there’s a blue ink mark on all of them to show that he has been vey efficient at his job …If I was ever to be reincarnated I would like to be a Ram  !.    For some reason Carolyn is in the background laughing ..

IMG_0474Not long out of Braunston and who should we come across but our friends Keith and Ann on NB Oakfield. With an invitation to stop and have a catch up with a cuppa and a glass of wine or three how could we refuse. We have not seen Keith and Ann for nearly 12 months so it was good to meet up and be invited onto their delightfully fitted out boat . At least it wont be as long till we meet again , see you both soon !

Tomorrow we will have an early start and make our way towards Hillmorton and then down the flight of three locks and then cruise in to Rugby. Then if we can pick up a mooring at Brownsover we will spend a couple of days for me to chill and Carolyn to hit the shops…


                                                                                                          Happy Days

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

The missing post

For some Bizarre reason I forgot to put up this post to the blog. I am usually a few days behind with the blog and sometimes have one or two blogs written and ready to post. Probably due to Christmas and copious amounts of the Red stuff I cocked up failed . Anyway here is the missing post and our trip from Weedon to Norton junction , before moving on to Braunston.
IMG_0409After a visit from Ryan on his coalboat Southern Cross we pulled pins at 09.10 and started our cruise towards The Buckby flight of locks.

IMG_0415Passing the Bedazzled man and it was good to see him in his Father Christmas outfit . Please can we have no comments like I had before, that he looks just like me !!

IMG_0419I always try to get this picture on the long straight before Buckby locks . It shows us in the middle doing 2 or 3 mph then on the right we have the M1 with cars doing 70 plus mph and then on the left The high speed train doing 125 mph.I Could do with a aeroplane going over head at 500 mph just to make it a perfect picture.

IMG_0422Passing the wine boat at the bottom of Buckby. They like us are from Devon and we always stop for a chat when we pass each other .

IMG_0429Going up the flight and for some reason there’s a giant inflatable Snowman in the garden centre.

IMG_0432This flight of locks have been closed for several weeks to have repairs carried out on them . You may remember a post I did 12 months ago where I put up a picture of a sheet of steel covering up a big hole in the side of a lock. Well this is the repaired lock now. What was very surprising is that as we emptied the lock water poured through the joints of this so called repair. Looking at the brickwork above the repair it seems to me that it’s a bit of a bodge/temporary permanent job.

IMG_0440We were lucky to share our passage up the flight with NB Ekusna . They were taking the boat to ABNB boat sales . I must admit the boat looked to be in very good condition and talking to the owner it has a very high class fit out and no money has been spared in maintaining this boat to a very high standard. Click on the link to view the boat

IMG_0444We didn’t expect to see any Wyvern hire boats out. But it seems that the owner of Wyvern James and a couple of crew members were taking this pair back to Leighton Buzzard after being in for repair.
We managed to pick up a good mooring above the top lock at Norton Junction and will spend the night here before moving on in the morning to Braunston where we have arranged to meet up with our friends Gary and Della on NB Muleless ..
                                                                                                                 Happy Days

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas



                                                           Merry Christmas to all our blog followers ,best wishes from Gary and Carolyn

                                                                                                                    Happy Days

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Pea Soup


IMG_0445We pulled ropes through rings and set off towards Braunston in what can only be described as pea soup. I think it’s the first time we have ever used our Navigation lights, although we didn’t pass any other boats as stupid brave as us on our cruise towards Braunston.

IMG_0450How strange was it that entering Braunston tunnel it was still thick fog , but when we came out the other side it was blue skies. At the top Braunston lock we were met by a Canal and River Trust worker who was sent out to deal with low water levels on the flight of six locks.

IMG_0454Halfway down the flight and we had a visit from this chap. Sitting on the lock gate he was very tame and never moved even when Carolyn was working the paddles.

IMG_0453I just love this front door on the house next to the Admiral Nelson pub . I’ve said to Carolyn that when we retire back to dry land I am going to have a door like this to remind us of our wonderful life afloat.

IMG_0464In to Braunston and we passed the Gongoozlers cafe which used to be called the Gongoozlers rest ,but for some reason the name was changed from rest to cafe. A Gongoozler is a person who enjoys watching activity on the canals of the United Kingdom .The term is also used more generally to describe those who harbour an interest in canals and canal life, but do not actively participate , although we don’t mind them helping to push open the odd lock gate.

IMG_0465Just after the Gongoozler is the water point where we stopped to top up our water tank . It would have been rude not to have a Bacon and egg Bap from the Gongoozler ,so needless to say I succumbed to temptation. With lashings of Brown sauce it went down a treat..

IMG_0469After mooring we met up and spent the evening with friends Gary and Della on their lovely boat Muleless. We haven’t seen them for a few months so it was good catching up over a glass or ten of wine.. Merry Christmas you two and looking forward to meeting up for New year.


                                                                                                                  Happy Days

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Space station


IMG_0352Sunrise from our mooring at Grafton Regis,and with fog in the valley it doesn’t get much better than this . We pulled pins at 08.40 and headed towards the Stoke Bruerne flight of locks.

IMG_0359Arriving at the locks we were met with this view of water cascading over the bottom lock. It was something that we have never seen before on this flight. We pulled in on the services and filled with water while watching two boats coming down the lock. The first boat was pulled out of the lock as was the second one. The guy said that both boats had broken down and he was going to wait for an engineer at the bottom. He also said that three of the pounds were a bit low ,so he had left the top gate paddles on those locks open. Alarm bells immediately rang as that is something you would never do.

IMG_0364As we proceeded up the first locks we soon came across empty pound and open paddles. With a boat coming down and us going up Carolyn and that crew had to go back up the locks and start letting water down from the top. We tried to get out of the lock in the picture above before the pound was fully filled and got stuck on the lock cill.

IMG_0368After a bit of a delay Carolyn soon got us sorted and on our way up the flight. When we reached the top a Canal and River Trust guy turned up and said he had been called out because there was a report of low levels on the lock flight. Carolyn explained to him what had happened and that it had now been sorted by a few boaters.

IMG_0374After a longer than expected trip up Stoke Bruerne locks it’s then a short cruise to Blissworth tunnel . It is usually a wet passage through and should take us about 35 minutes.

IMG_0380We passed one boat coming in the opposite direction. In a tunnel you should always have your tunnel light aimed up towards the roof of the tunnel so you don’t blind oncoming boats. As you can see this idiot boater has his pointing straight ahead and this is our view. When this happens and it often does I just try and look down the right-side of the tunnel wall and try and keep in as tight as possible.

IMG_0392No leaves but plenty of Apples left on this tree.

IMG_0403On our mooring at Weedon and we heard on the radio that the Space station was flying over the top of us . I grabbed the camera and got this amazing picture of a dot in the sky as it whizzed over above us.

Tomorrow we are meeting Ryan on his coalboat to get a bottle of gas and we will also top up with diesel and coal to see us through Christmas. It’s then up the Buckby flight of locks and hopefully we will be able to pick up a mooring at the top.

                                                                                                                     Happy Days

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Lamb Roast


IMG_0306With a long day ahead of us we pulled ropes through rings at 08.40 from our mooring at Fenny Stratford. It was our intention to get to Grafton Regis and hopefully be lucky and pick up our favourite mooring on the GU canal. Passing under this bridge as we travel through Milton Keynes the sign says that The Bedford and Milton Keynes waterway will start just North of here on the right ! but not in my lifetime me thinks. Although there are plans for a new marina here and housing development just the other side of this bridge.

IMG_0314We were on half a tank of water so decided to stop at Gifford park and top up. After mooring and getting out and connecting up the hosepipe we found that there was no water coming out of the tap. Good job we weren’t empty.

IMG_0318This may be handy for boaters travelling this area , there is a brand new Asda just South of Bradwell near to Target turn. It’s always good to have a good Supermarket next to the canal as it can make our lives a whole lot easier.

IMG_0323Another sad sight just before Bradwell . I’ve seen nothing on any of the forums or Facebook groups about this so I don’t know much about it . I just hope nobody was hurt and the boat was well insured.

IMG_0331We are not great fans of Graffiti but we often see some that are very good . This was on the old railway sheds at Wolverton.

IMG_0335Crossing over the Aqueduct at Cosgrove and yet again I keep my distance from the edge. With the river below running fast and looking very cold I don’t want to fall off and land in there.

IMG_0348How lucky are we . After a good days cruise we picked up the mooring we wanted . We were surrounded by hundreds of pregnant sheep in the fields and it was just a bit bizarre that we had one of Carolyn’s lovely Lamb roasts cooking in the oven. I must say it didn’t put us off eating it and it went down a treat with a bottle of the you know what.

Tomorrow and it looks like it will be another long day. We want to get up the Stoke Bruerne flight of locks then through The Blissworth tunnel and then all the way to Weedon to moor for the night.

                                                                                                              Happy Days

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Meeting friends


IMG_0256After another good stay in Leighton Buzzard it’s time to be on the move again. With a Tesco right next to the canal with it’s own 2 hour moorings it’s and ideal place to stop and do a big shop and stock up with essentials wine . But guess what ? 3 dopey anglers decided to set up and start fishing on the moorings. Is it any wonder that there is often bad feeling between boaters and Anglers. Yet again I’m told by her Ladyship to bite my tongue and say nothing.

IMG_0273After forcing making our way onto the moorings we stocked up and headed out of town . Passing the Wyvern hire boats with all their hire fleet at base is always a good sight for us. We have probably been hit by more Wyvern hire boats than any other, usually Stag or Hen parties.

IMG_0285We only cruised for a couple of hours before stopping for the night just above Stoke Hammond lock and enjoying this wonderful sunset.

IMG_0287The following morning we pulled pins at the very lazy time of 09.35 and cruised the short distance to Stoke Hammond lock. This is one of our favourite locks, but why I just haven’t got a clue why. There are some locks that are just another lock and then you go through a lock and just think I liked that lock .. How Bizarre !

IMG_0290It’s then a good run to Fenny Stratford which is a lock that has a swing bridge which goes over the middle of it. With the bridge having to be left open over the lock for walkers Carolyn has to swing the bridge to allow me to take Inca in to the lock.

IMG_0292I just love these old signs . I wonder if it still applies to the Swing bridge ?

IMG_0297We then picked up a mooring just below the lock where we had arranged to meet our friends Sharon and Lew from NB Diana. It’s been a while since we last saw each other so we had plenty of catching up to do over a few glasses of wine.That’s one of the biggest drawbacks of our travelling lifestyle ,you can go months and sometimes even years without seeing each other. Although we do all keep in touch through social media.  Have a good Christmas and new year you two and we will catch up with you when we are down that way next.

We now have to pull our finger out and get moving . The weather seems OK for the next few days so we will put in a few long cruises.


                                                                                                                  Happy Days

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Cockroach ? surely not


IMG_0223Still in Leighton Buzzard and we have enjoyed watching this Kingfisher on the tree opposite our mooring. Someone said to us a few years ago that we would soon get fed up with seeing Kingfishers as there are so many on the canals. Well I can honestly say that we still get just as excited as if we were seeing our first ever one . Our favourite bird in the World,we just love them.

IMG_0216He would come and visit everyday and usually catch a small fish while perched on the tree. (pictures by Carolyn)

IMG_0266As always you can rely on Jules and Richard of Jules Fuels  for Diesel ,coal and gas. As always we try and use the fuel boats where ever we are.

IMG_0236Well it is a Wetherspoons , it’s almost like it has a magnetic pull that drags you through the doors.

IMG_0192As you well know we tend to visit a Wetherspoons where ever we are ,simply because off it’s well priced no frills food and drink.OK so a lot of it is just microwaved meals but if it tastes alright and the price is right I’m not moaning.

One thing that we never took much notice of is the carpets in every Spoons, not at least until I read an article about the pub chain.It turns out that these post-Blair Bayeux tapestries cost between £20,000 and £30,000 each. They’re partly hand-made – by the renowned firm Axminster. Their carpets usually have just five or six colours in the mix; whereas those in Wetherspoon’s often have more, meaning they have to be produced on old-fashioned looms. Carpets are designed using the pub name, and take ideas from the building and the town itself. Then they make sure it’s all integrated in to the pub in that town.

IMG_0253After having our meal Carolyn looked down to admire the carpet and saw this chap admiring the carpet as well. It looked like a Cockroach to us so Carolyn went up to the bar and asked for the manager. He came over to the table and said Oh my God it is a Cockroach. He then went off to get something to catch it in. Coming back with a small box and a plastic bag he caught it at the first attempt. At first it appeared that it was dead , but on closer inspection it turned out to be a fake plastic one. It certainly fooled all of us and we had a good laugh about it. But we did say who would leave that on the carpet in a Wetherspoons pub ?

                                                                                                           Happy Days