Saturday 30 April 2016

So what is the collective term for a group of Bloggers? A scribble? A Tapping? A Scroll?

Today had a chilly start, the temperature had fallen overnight and yesterday after the stove had gone out, we had decided to leave it out and run the central heating instead.  However of course it means a cold morning. Brrrr

David and I had several ideas to fill our time, first one was to cycle to Willoughby and have lunch at the Rose pub, second one to go for a scenic bike ride lastly to take the boat out of Braunston and moor up at the closer mooring to Willoughby.  
We ended up doing none of these.

David did go off on on a shorter ride, while he was gone those nice people from NB Jubilee  HERE   John and Jan invited me in for coffee, Himself had just arrived back in time so we trotted along and had a lovely time and what always happens with nice people we ran out of time.  Thank you again for your hospitality and look forward to meeting you both again.

Back to the boat and we decided to move today after all towards Willoughby to meet up with Geoff and Margaret on NB Seyella, fellow “Washers” with whom we made the Wash crossing last year   HERE

We were on the verge of sitting down to an hurried lunch when Maffi  HERE   knocked on the side, I am glad that we was able to join us for lunch as we hadn’t caught up with him in a while and were to leave shortly

Well we did leave finally, and just look what we sailed into…   

You can just about see the iconic church steeple  behind a bush.

I washed up inside in the warm, David did say that he would wash up and I could drive but..…..  

Sleety snowy rain but hot coffee delivered in my defence.

Black skies now departing

There were so many bloggers in Braunston at the today.
We haven't yet met Chas & Ann  HERE  but maybe next time.

Goodbye to John and Jan on Jubilee (Aka Halfie)

We haven't yet met Sue and Andy on NB Festina Lente   HERE  maybe next time.

NB Windsong is here with her new owners, we met Pip & Roger  the old owners last year.

Not much room through here leaving Braunston

We passed this ahem narrow boat four years ago on the GU towards Stockton Locks, maybe two years ago on the South Oxford and here it is on the North Oxford..... not too much distance then.

So an hour later, at Bridge 81 we landed, Geoff and Meg came out to meet us.  Sue and Vic  from NB No Problem    HERE    were due to meet them too so after they arrived on our heels we all piled into Seyella and enjoyed tea, chat and really really really good cakes that Geoff had freshly made.  I could certainly benefit from a lesson or two from him.

Syella comes into view.

L to R Sue NP, Margaret & Geoff Seyella, Vic NP and David (Mine)

Maybe we’ll move tomorrow, maybe we’ll stop and wash the boat (Or start  washing it anyway)

Lunch was the rest of the sweet potato and ginger soup, after those delicious cakes I think supper will be cheese and biscuits.

Friday 29 April 2016

Down into the canal metropolis, Braunston.

So ignore the cup of tea, kettle and water bottle but everything else in the photo was brought to the boat this am by David on his little bike.  I am so impressed by this and think far more men should do the food shopping.  He handed me the bike basket through the kitchen window and I could hardly lift it!
What a man eh?

After a lot of faffing this morning we set off.  David went shopping, (I think he was there before the staff),  our safety test was completed,  then phone calls home each of us had some Life Laundry to sort out and finally singing Happy Birthday for Beloved daughter Verity.  Then we departed.

Toll Cottage's garden, it must be a very photographed garden.

Our mooring last night in that gap.

Making a good turn.

LOOK!!!  A fisherman, sat in the shade and wind, but enjoying a joke.

A charming garden.

A lot of work goes into making it look so natural.

We motored along towards Braunston tunnel,  a pretty trip with the green shoots of spring peeping through and first blossoms, I have an idea its Hawthorn but I might be wrong.

On arrival at the tunnel entrance we hovered while this boat exited. 

This is the view inside the tunnel.

This is what its like when a boat approached, a blinding light in your face while you have to manoeuvre your boat against a brick wall, sadly we scratched the newly painted black.

We had an easy run down throughout the flight with a boat on which a couple have lived for five years, they decided to do so after a glass of wine in the garden on a sunny afternoon, with no previous boating experience!!  Five years on they are looking good on it too.

Then we saw this boat.

That is Sue's arm   HERE      you can just see waving at the first window,  we knew they had been on the North Oxford Canal last week and had hoped to see them before they go south on the Grand Union.

She was just about to walk Penny and Meg and stopped by, she refused a glass of wine saying there had been too much over indulging since arriving at Braunston....!

Here is one of her partner in crime's boat Maffi's   HERE  Sue did tell us that several other Bloggers known to her not me are all in town together, but ours is a quick overnighter so we'll see who we spot in the morning on leaving.

A quick trip to the chandlers here for us to replace the fender we burnt the other day and home to light that stove and get supper which was sausages, sweet potato wedges, mushrooms, onions and tomatoes followed by rhubarb & apple with thick greek yoghurt and roasted hazelnut topping.
I might need chocolate too as its so cold and snowed today.

Thursday 28 April 2016

Loitering extended

A nice Sunday was had on WaL, but not a lot of action on my part.  
Bradley Wiggins here moved the car to god knows where, I don't think it's in this county even.  He was gone ages, so I managed to read 50% of my book.

Later, we had a mini Cheese & Wine party รก la deus.  
David opened a bottle of Argentinian Malbec and served it with a sheep's cheddar and grapes, (No I didn't know there was such a thing as sheep's cheddar either).

Today saw us moving again.  We had an appointment with the Safety Inspector at Norton Junction at 9am tomorrow morning.  David wanted to leave at the crack of dawn today as rain was forecast at about 11am and high winds so it made sense to leave early.  I was a bit surprised when he set the alarm for 06:15.....  Don't worry he said, I'll be awake before that.

Now all that know me understand I am a picture of tolerance and patience, but when I was awoken by Himself twice in the night, then at about 04:30 he put on his phone which lit up the bedroom like daylight, then at 05:45 he got up and crept about the place, you know what it's like Reader when an elephant creeps down the corridor then slams the door, then swears about it.  To make up for it, the dear man washed up from last night (Sweetest rump steak mushrooms and cherry tomatoes), bang crash wallop.  He brought me tea at 06:50 and asked for a kiss, I replied that I would like to cut his throat.  

My mood improved somewhat with the tea and his absence.

Unhappily for some, the forecast was less then accurate and within minutes of departure, the heavens opened and the familiar three blasts on the horn which means an emergency, this time; Can you get my rain hat? 

 So I did the "Boatwork" from the warmth of the lounge and Himself sadly got wet and cold.  I helped with deliveries of hot drinks.

As we passed by Yalvertoft, Peter (Old Gentleman) was already out on the canal, this was at 07:45, he was all togged up and enjoying the rain.

We toyed with the idea of leaving the Watford flight till the rain had passed but I said lets just go for it and the rain stopped.  My just look at the gleaming black paint work. sigh.

Lock keeper told us that 2 or 3 boats a day are ignoring the rule of reporting to him before entering the locks and meeting boats half way up.

Wind died down momentarily for this turn.

David was scandalised with the £20 fee for a pump out here at Welton Marina.

Happy Capt, rain stopped.

We met this attractive boat 18months ago on the Staffs to Worcester, the owners were the first people to say that "They read this blog" to me.

Do not Disturb

So on arriving at Norton Junction we hopped onto a WaL sized space and got nicely nested in time before the heavens opened again.

Lunch was delicious, homemade sweet potato ginger and chilli soup.  Supper was New Zealand eggs, that is to say hot buttered toast with slices of avocado and tomatoes.  First had by us in NZ but David tells me he was out to breakfast in Brighton  two years ago with Fliss, our newly married daughter and she had it there, so it can now be called Brighton Eggs.

Wednesday 27 April 2016

Losing ourselves in unparalleled beauty.

It was a miserable start to the day, so I had a delayed start, in the comfort of my own bed with good book I am well into.

Last afternoon we had been very pleased to have been spotted by more people we know, Irene and Andy this time from the same stable as us, another Fernwood boat NB Kamili launched just in front of WaL. 
They are off to meet family today and we waved goodbye over the kitchen sink.

Quite a lot of discussion about just how much winter clothing should be worn today, in the end all of it was chosen,  with him all tucked in like a good mummies boy, he then wanted his phone which was three layers below.

Now we've done this before and unwittingly repeated it.  
Can you see?  Yes that's right, we left the dangle too close to the exhaust pipe and have burnt through the rope, see the dangle in the water not doing any good at all?  
Luckily heading towards Braunston to stock up on useful and broken bits. 

Anyone looking for free wood?

Just the one of these Aylesburys but my favourites, I used to keep them at home.

Peter, our "Old Gentleman"

Now for any Frequent Flyers to this blog, this is Peter.  
"The Old Gentleman", of whom I wrote the passage below in April '14.  I am so delighted that he again, Hooted us and we got up on deck to meet and greet.  As you can see he is in good health.  The only allowance he makes to his advancing years is that he goes back to his marina on Fridays to be collected by his attendant family, then he is out again on Monday.  His boat looks marvellous too!

Hooters going and a deal of yoohoo-ing and there was our “Old Gentleman”, we hadn’t seen him since last spring but this marvellous man known only to us as Peter, has his own boat, he sails up and down the Leicester Arm, he is ex-RAF so enjoys plane spotting and watching nature and reading avidly on his kindle, oh yes and he’s in his mid 80’s, very interesting chap, so glad he took the time to stop, moor up and bang on the side.
WaL Blog April '14  Hooters and stupids.
An inspiration to us all.

Supper was sea bream, stuffed with feta and peas.

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Lunch out at West Hadden

Like I said yesterday, this area is an area of immense beauty.  David simply loves it on this Arm and we try to loiter when here.

I was to be taken out for lunch, I had suggested Crick, but David found West Hadden on the map and what a good choice it was.

Winnick Grange and church  from above, last time we came past all the houses had "Stop the Wind Farm Coming" posters in the windows,  but it looks like that campaign has failed.  

Bikes were the order of the day for us, but keen walkers could easily manage it.
First through the village of Winnick, we usually make a point of walking to here, its ancient, pretty and the church has boxes of books for sale.  I brought two, they had some good recent ones if you make it to here.

Llamas or Alpacas?

This chicken looks like its straight out of the Ladybird book of Farms.

Pretty blue stuff flowering in the hedgerows.

This was a charming ride to West Hadden all bar 100 yards on gated lanes without cars.

So lunch was the The Pytchley Arms,    HERE   just 3.7 miles from WaL.   Nice and busy, always a good sign, the food was really homemade, yes it tasted like it too!!  

I had Lasagna and David had a chilli, I had planned a tiramisu dessert but I couldn't manage it.

Wobbled back to the boat and watched Boomers, seen it?  Hilarious, but you have to be old to laugh.

Monday 25 April 2016

Laughton Hills to the Welford Arm

So then here we are a couple of days into this boating malarky and we've forgotten certain elements of it that more senior members of the boating fraternity might consider important.... 
This morning Himself cast off without that long thing in place, you know, yes the TILLER!
Fear not though Reader, only us idiots around this morning and no casualties taken.

To be fair I have struggled to remember how to tie my special knots, David is pleased about this, as he has tantrums trying to undo them.

Pixie seats awaiting the arrival of Mr Lewis to refit, they have specially treated this winter by Mr L.

Aw Bless, tiller fitted and away we go.

Now we are self proclaimed idiots but even we wouldn't park right ontop of a bridge hole.  I am pretty sure this pair were along here last autumn annoying me.  David wasn't that bothered, he said they must be happy to be bumped into.

A favourite wooded stretch.

Now this is all the evidence I have but along here were two or three butterflies, I am pretty sure they were Brimstone's   HERE   bright yellow but all attempts to photograph failed as they were doing about 40mph along the tow path.

David enjoying a healthy breakfast whilst I drove, very slowly.  I still managed to drive headlong into a bend all while trying to capture said butterfly on film.  

We arrived at the Welford Arm long stretch.  Travellers in these parts will know that its a good place to touch up the paintwork as for some reason the boat is high here and the concrete is low.  Aren't canals a bit like the sea in sea level terms?  

Well here we are about to paint.

David got out all related equipment.

Boat is in a shocking state, full of these

and these.

Now you may find it hard to believe but we know nothing about maintenance, we don't know that much about quite a lot of things, but we jointly sought to offer advice and constructive criticism to the other based on no certain experience or knowledge.
But after picking the brains of many we have completed the job to our mutual satisfaction.  In fact I am a most thoroughly happy wife and have repeatedly applauded Himself's efforts.  He seems also to be content with this unusual state of affairs.

Star man in best shirt that now has paint on the sleeve.

I am pleased with the results.

These two watched.

 After doing both sides, we are now snugged up bathed, warm again and both with aching backs, is this normal?

Supper was Italian eggs with a terrific NZ Sauvignon, then chocolate and coffee.