Thursday, 31 March 2016

Sad sight


IMG_3235We passed this sad sight yesterday at Stowe hill near Weedon Bec the home of Rugbyboats . It seems that the boat was taken out to be blacked and then put back into the water when the work was completed. Then the following morning it was on the bottom.  It seems that the owner is a livaboard so you can only imagine how bad he feels.

                                                                               (Not so)   Happy Days

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

A bit strange…


IMG_3100After pulling pins at o8.30 we soon reached the top lock of the Watford locks on the Leicester section of the Grand Union canal. There are volunteer lockkeepers on this flight so you have to contact them to book your passage down the locks.With one boat nearly at the bottom we had to wait for about 20 minutes for our turn.

IMG_3103Come on Curly ! Put your back into it and close that lock gate..She’s pretty good for a 9 year old.

IMG_3105Both the lockies had other jobs to do so asked us if we minded locking ourselves down which we didn’t mind doing .Nearly at the bottom of the flight and there were 6 boats waiting to come up. The lockie told us that the boaters at the bottom were getting very frustrated and fed up about having to wait in a queue and had complained to him. It seems a bit strange how not one of the boats crew members came up and helped us to lock down. This is the first time we have ever seen this happen, as at most busy lock flights everybody chips in and helps each other out which is all a part of boating. OK so it was a bit windy and cold, but that’s no excuse .Lets just hope this experiance was a one off…

IMG_3160At Norton junction we turned left and paired up with the crew of NB Grebe to share the Buckby flight of locks down to Whilton. As always if you get two crews working well together it makes locking so much easier.

IMG_3224After a stop at Wilton for Carolyn and Curly to visit the farm shop we carried on towards Weedon Bec passing on the way the man at Bedazzled . Curly said that he reminded her of me. Just cant see it myself.

We will have a night at Weedon with a visit to the local Chinese takeaway before making an early start in the morning, as long as Curly can drag herself out of bed.

                                                                                      Happy Days

Monday, 28 March 2016

Tunnel Boggart !


IMG_3026We pulled pins at 06.50 from our mooring above Foxton locks ,I do love an early start. After about an hour of cruising Curly decided to get out of bed and join me for the passage through Husbands Bosworth tunnel. At 1166 yards long it should take us between 10 and 15 minutes to get through.

IMG_3030A lot of the tunnels on the canal system are said to be inhabited by Boggarts which are spirits.We are half way through the tunnel and by the look on Curly’s face I think she might just have seen one.

IMG_3043We then passed the new marina that is being built at North Kilworth. The marina is being built by Mike Goode who also owns Debdale marina.

IMG_3065There seems to be a lot of work happening on this stretch of the canal as Yelvertoft marina has now completed their new slipway. With the new marina at Kilworth also having facilities to take boats out for repair this has to be good news for boaters, with hopefully more competition and lower prices.

IMG_3068We had intended to stop on the services at Crick but this boat was moored on the wharf. As we passed the guy on the boat opposite said it had been moored there for more than 2 days (ignorant person).

We then passed through Crick tunnel and got absolutely soaked to the skin, even so we all had a good laugh about it. It was then onto a mooring about a mile above the Watford flight of locks to sit out Storm Katie for the next day or two.

                                                                                                Happy Days

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Escaped at last


IMG_3001After 10 days on shore having the remedial work on our hull carried out its now time to get put back in the water. The underwater epoxy blacking paint is guaranteed for 10 years ,so lets just hope it last that long this time .Mind you we still have the zinc metallization under the epoxy which has performed better than I thought it would. I have gone aground and scraped all sorts of things over the last 2 years , but the zinc has not worn off anywhere, even on the base plate which is most impressive. It has clearly protected the hull as there is not a single pit or any sign of rust at all.  Debdale have asked us to come back in 12 to 24 months when they will lift us out jet wash the hull and check everything is OK. 

IMG_3009We are then transported back down to wharf and lowered back into the water.

IMG_3017We made it and have escaped. We were very well looked after by all the staff at Debdale marina ,but its good to get back out on the cut and start cruising again.

IMG_3023We then head straight towards Foxton locks where we have arranged to pick up Curly (number 1 Granddaughter) who also goes by the name of Abbie. She is up for a couple of weeks so that should be fun. With it being Bank holiday the flight of locks was very busy,not with boats but people watching. There was only us and one other boat on the flight so there was plenty of help working the gates from all the Gongoozlers (Canal watchers).

IMG_3025Half way up and look what Carolyn and Curly found. At least Curly won on the Tombola so she was happy.

We will now have a night above the locks before having a early start in the morning and heading South back down towards the Grand Union Main line.

                                                                                                           Happy Days

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Getting there

IMG_2968We are still on shore in Deddale marina having the work done on our hull. Parts of the hull have been treated and its now just about ready to have the top coat of protective epoxy applied.

IMG_2959With the weather now a lot warmer we are now having our new hull coating applied. So we are finally getting there.

IMG_2935We saw this buzzing over the top of us and I just had to go and have a closer look. It was taking photo’s of the marina.

IMG_2937Its a drone that is used by a professional pilot and cost several thousands of pounds. This one has 6 rotors which apparently makes it a lot safer to use .. … Please Carolyn can I have one . ( No chance or words to that effect was the reply ! )

IMG_2993One of the services they offer here at Debdale is to store your boat on dry land if you are not going to use it for some time. The advantage of this is that its cheaper than being moored in the marina and you don’t have to pay any Canal and River Trust licence fee as your boat is not on their waters. Speaking to the guys in the marina and they told us that this is very popular with people from the Australia and New Zealand as a lot of them spend 6 months of the year here and the other 6 months back down under.

IMG_2882Three guesses where these boat owners come from.

IMG_2885Look what we found !….  She belongs to friends and fellow bloggers Marilyn and David who come over from their home in New Zealand and spend the Summer cruising our canals and then sensibly going back home for another Summer in NZ. We had trouble finding Waka Huia but when we eventually found her she was just behind us on the other side of the workshops. Just to let you know Marilyn she said she is missing you both, but is very happy and content where she is.
Our stay at Debdale is going to be a lot longer than was originally planned. The people and staff at the marina are very friendly, but the only downside  here is that the marina is out in the country and miles from anywhere which is making Carolyn very frustrated. Hopefully in a few days we should be back in the water and cruising again….Fingers crossed !!

                                                          Happy Days

Monday, 21 March 2016

How long !



                                                                                                            35 years ago today


                                                                                                                  Happy Days

Sunday, 20 March 2016

High and dry

IMG_2879After a few hours of waiting we finally get lifted out to have the remedial hull work carried out on Inca. The first job was to get us onto the supports and then power wash off the sides and base with Debdales ultra power jet wash.

IMG_2904Inca is then suspended and a trailer is put underneath and we are then ready to be pulled up into the yard.

IMG_2916The tractor driver and the banksman have radio communications so nothing can go wrong and notice how the rear wheels on the trailer are able to turn enabling it to be very manoeuvrable.

IMG_2919Inca slowly moving into position.

IMG_2928This will be our home for the next week or so. Mike Goode the owner and his staff have been very good and made us feel extremely welcome.We have shore power ,water and everything we need and its so good to have clean concrete outside the boat instead of a muddy towpath ,although I expect we will soon get itchy feet and wish we were back on the muddy towpath.
We are now sorting out a Tesco delivery as Debdale marina is a bit out in the sticks. With all that 230 volt electric we can even put the TV on in the day and not worry about the batteries, not that there’s anything on TV worth watching in the day.

                                                                                                              Happy Days

Friday, 18 March 2016


IMG_2872We have now got to the day after waiting for a week or so when we need to go into Debdale Marina. After pulling pins from Foxton village at 07.45 we filled with water and got rid of waste at the bottom of Foxton locks.

IMG_2874We then headed North and passing under this tree and I wondered how long it will before it falls down and blocks the canal or even worse falls down on a boat. Fingers crossed as we pass underneath it.

IMG_2875After half an hours cruise we arrive at Debdale marina and are told to pull in and wait for our lift out. It was thought that we would be in dry dock for a few days ,but now it seems it could be a bit longer than that .Never mind as we have a week or so before Curly (number one Granddaughter) comes up for Easter and by then we should be back on the cut and heading South.

                                                                                          Happy Days

Thursday, 17 March 2016


IMG_2825With it being a lovely sunny day and with plenty of time to spare there was only one thing to do, a bit of Gongoozling which is the pastime of watching all that happens on our canals.

IMG_2827After a walk up the flight we decided to have a bacon bap for lunch and with a bit of luck maybe something to drink when we get back down to the bottom.

IMG_2833 We then walked around the top of the flight and onto the site of a piece of great Victorian engineering.This is the view from the top of the world famous Foxton inclined plane.The completed plane was 75 feet high, 307 feet long and had a gradient of 1:4. The construction consisted of two caisson tanks which acted as two balancing weights positioned on the plane and suspended by a connecting rope passing over pulley wheels at the top. The effect of gravity would take one of the tanks down whilst at the same time the other tank would be travelling up. The only power that was needed for the plane was to overcome friction and the inertia of the moving parts, which was provided by a steam engine at the top. The journey time for boats on the plane was about 12 minutes, compared to around 45 minutes that it would take to pass through the locks. This method saved time and also water, as the same section of water went up and down the incline all day so there was little wasted.

IMG_2847Carolyn enjoying the views at the top of the plane.

This is the plane taking boats up and down in the large caissons back in the early 1900s. Although the plane reduced travelling times considerably, in the long term it proved not to be cost effective and was ultimately unsuccessful. Traffic on the canal did not improve enough and was too irregular to justify keeping the plane running and paying the three staff who were needed to run it. The locks at Watford Gap and Foxton were never widened, so even though wide boats could pass through Foxton on the lift, they could not travel much further south to places such as London. The Grand Junction Canal Company was becoming disillusioned with the plane and felt that it had spent a large sum of money and was getting little return. On 26th October 1910 it was announced that that the plane would close down in a fortnight, and that all traffic was to use the locks. The plane continued to be used occasionally after this, but in 1914 part of it was dismantled and the rest was taken down between 1924 and 1926. The machinery was sold for scrap in 1928.

IMG_2855It was then back down to the bottom of the flight and with a hire boat coming out of the bottom lock and wanting to turn right towards Market Harborough there were a few problems. After a bit of pushing and shoving they eventually got around and on their way. It was all a good spectacle for the Gongoozlers watching. The blue boat in front belongs to fellow bloggers Clinton and Sharon on nb Tacet, they came down the flight to turn and were waiting for their slot to go back up. We had a quick natter before they made their way back up and headed back down South.

IMG_2858After all that excitement there was only one thing to do. Notice that its only half a pint, weren’t we being good. Mind you it was only eleven o’clock in the morning. But at least the Sun was above the yard arm !!

                                                                          Happy Days

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Itchy feet


IMG_2798We now have our date to go into Debdale marina to get the remedial work carried out on our hull,but its not for a while so we decided to have a trip into Market Harborough to waste a bit of time as we were both getting itchy feet. On the way in we had to stop for 20 minutes for some contractors as they were taking down a tree on the offside. In the end it turned out rather well as the tree was Ash and they said we could take as much as we wanted. Needless to say we now have enough to see out this Winter…. Just the ticket !

IMG_2800It was then into the basin at Harborough and straight onto the services to fill with water and get shot of the waste. We were surprised to see all the visitor moorings full on the approach to the basin ,so we enquired in the basin office about paying for a mooring there only to be told that they were full as well.

IMG_2807Not to worry as we spotted this quiet rural mooring on the way in .So we winded (turned) in the basin and will spend a couple of nights here. We just need to look out for all the floating bits of tree.

IMG_2813We pulled pins at 09.00 after a couple of good days moored out in the sticks and headed back towards Foxton.The Market Harborough branch is mostly out in the country and is a very enjoyable arm to cruise. There is only one notable building on the way and that is at bridge 8 . Its a meat rendering plant and you certainly know when you are approaching it. Meat rendering plants process animal by-product materials for the production of tallow, grease, and high-protein meat and bone meal. There,so now you know….YUK

IMG_2818The swing bridge at Foxton is a road bridge ,so Carolyn has to put barriers across the road before opening the bridge to allow us through. Come on Carolyn put your back into it . She loves it when I shout say that to her , Not.

IMG_2823Moored back next to Foxton village and another boater told us about the Farm shop in the village,so Carolyn decided we had to go and find it. Its a bit strange as there are no signs to say where it is and not even a sign on the shop itself ,I did check the Internet but nothing on there either. I’m not sure how they expect people to find them. We ended up asking some locals who gave us directions. Its on North lane at the entrance to Foxton locks lodges.

We will now stay around Foxton and have a walk up the locks and do a bit of Gongoozling before heading off to Debdale marina.

                                                                                                Happy Days

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Foxton village

IMG_2745We are still waiting for a date to go into Debdale marina to have the work done on our hull, so in the meantime we decided to have a stroll around the lovely village of Foxton. With us being the only boat and not that many walkers its reasonably quiet here. On the left is the old Foxton coal Wharf.

IMG_2754I was very surprised to see this weighbridge just up from The Black Horse canal bridge. But then the penny dropped that it was obviously used to weigh the coal from the wharf.

IMG_2747As always when we visit anywhere its up to the local Church for the continued search to find my final resting place. But not for a few years yet I hope !!

IMG_2749I’ve never seen a weathervane like this before, but I did like it.

IMG_2757What a great idea this is for a redundant phone box. We have seen it done in a few villages that we have visited and I’m sure it must help to save lives.

IMG_2751It was then back to The Black Horse pub as Carolyn fancied a drink and a late lunch only to find that it was closed and didn’t open in the afternoons. Never mind Carolyn we will have to head back to Inca for a nice cuppa and a biscuit. (saved myself a good few quid there..just the ticket)…..

                                                                Happy Days