Sunday 30 April 2017

A guest, another guest and large gins.

So what I didn't mention last night was that 
Amanda arrived during the late afternoon for a long weekend.  No don't worry she was invited, we had invited her and were going to fully utilise her skills of hardiness and strength, I am much lacking in both fields.

So I awoke today and all was quiet.  Very quiet.  
But shortly afterwards she joined me in bed and tea was delivered, sipped and suddenly I was alone as both of them had rushed off to play the Hot Car Shuffle, to somewhere I have never heard of.

In their absence, I cleaned the glass in the portholes.  
Many do this weekly, however I thought it fitting to complete this after five years.  

Pleased to report that it was noticed and commented on too.

Ready Steady Polish.  Its great to have a willing --"Victim" in Amanda, to come help.

Half way through the first side I am glad to report that we were oh so happily interrupted by Tom from NB Waiouru   HERE  he regaled us with tales of his army days, NZ days and his plans for his future adventures.   😳

All good wishes to you and Jan, and thank you for the wine too!!

Polishing resumed, oh what joy.  

Later after a tasty bite of lunch, we left Braunston.  We went about two miles and moored up and polished the other side, came 
in and I started mentally preparing for the day ahead.  We have mileage and locks to do tomorrow, but first Sarah, we need a pump out and not a moment too soon either!!!

Supper was steamed salmon, broccoli and french beans cooked in the modern way of being raw, accompanied by two large gins for tomorrows Lockies.  


Big Boats and bigger bottoms

We made the turn this morning at Wigrams Turn, technically, we were already on the Grand Union, but here I always like to think we are turning onto the Grand Union.
Locks to do today, of course, that's why we got Amanda here,  "The Lock Nut". 

Looks like he missed the turning but we went around ok.

This came past us, in fact we heard him from a distance and weren't sure what it was, they got level with us and blasted the steam horn making small children and old dogs jump out of their skins.  NB Adamant   HERE  quite a sight and now estimated to be well over one hundred years old.

NB Adam Ant

Not a sight often seen, me driving

Quite a variety of boats on view down here, Dutch barges, narrow dutch barges, wide beams and more of the like.

This one did look emormous.
First of the Stockton Locks and we found a nice lock buddy.

Renovation project anyone?

Just missed the Morris Men dancing, they were all on the beer here at Long Itchington.

We had made really good progress with Amanda on the bike going ahead prepping the many locks and myself and the other lady working the locks. Hardly any boats coming up and  Amanda had to fill everyone of the locks for us.  
Our Lock Buddy moored up here, very little moorings left available there today.  
We carried on as there was still life left in the two old girls yet.  Luckily, we met up with a single boat in front and motored through the remaining locks down into Leamington Spa.

NB Verity, our daughter's namesake.  We have met the owners before.

Is this the same boat that was moored south of Braunston for ages?

It was hard work for those of us who have only boated for the longest period of two hours a day this past two weeks.....  But having a boat to do the entire stretch of 23 Locks with Amanda too was too good a chance to miss so here we are.  

We were told of this nesting pair of swans, the cygnets hatched a day or so ago.

Look carefully for two cygnets.

As we went slowly past, two cyclists past the nest....  The cob launched at the cyclists upper leg and almost made contact too.  
He was accurate in his attack, so much so David changed his own cycling route for tomorrow!

An amusing incident happened to Amanda though, I'll leave her to explain;

As all the locks were against us I took the trusty Brompton and headed off the lock to fill and prepare it to speed up our progress.  Ahead of us was a yogurt pot with three young men and a lass enjoying a day out on the canal with some home brew. 
My first encounter with one of the lads who was wearing tracksuit bottoms, was as he was shutting a lock gate.  His tracksuit, worn with the fashionable low slung look, gradually worked their way down to his knees as he heaved the gate open, leaving a large expanse of white spotty buttocks on display. I averted my eyes and became very interested in the water flow over the weir.  
Biking down to the next lock I rounded a corner to find the yogurt pot being held by the young lady while two of the lads were heaving Mr Buttocks out of the canal, who had fallen in - the weight of the water causing his tracksuit bottoms and boxer shorts to ride down to his ankles. Averting my eyes yet again I stopped to make sure all was well before continuing to the lock 20 yards away to start the filling and prep.   
While I was waiting for the lock to fill I was faced with a shocking sight - yes shocking!  Yet again see the young man stripping down to his birthday suit on the tow path  - bells and whistles on display for all to see. 

Fortunately someone in the party had the foresight to pack some spare clothes and after a brisk towel down he put on another pair of tracksuit bottoms - only to whip them off again when someone handed him a dry pair of boxer shorts to put on.

Dear Reader, it took two large gins to calm myself and Lisa down.   Radford Bottom Lock will always be imprinted on my mind!

No photos.

Thursday 27 April 2017

Cold feet, constriction and a Mini Cooper

An early-ish start today, we were above the Watford Flight last night and wanted to just go as far as Norton Junction. 
Two reasons, it was a good place to move the car from and NB Waiouru were though to be in the vicinity....  

Not too many boats around this morning, when we arrived at Watford, we were called straight in. 

Perishing cold it was.  David had popped out of the boat earlier to do a temperature check for me and reported that I needed to take full undergarment precautions, so I did.  I actually put on two thermal tops.  One of which was seeming more elasticated than I remembered..... 

Halfway down the flight and there was my very favourite birdy, a grey wagtail I believe.  
I haven't seen them here before but I have at other locks around the countryside.  The colours are divine and its the colour I want for my Mini Cooper. 
David, I want a Mini Cooper please.

White beautiful blossom and white cotttage.

Cowslips and daffs 

We came down this way last year at almost the exact same time, but I didn't notice the lovely planting that i think is new,  Cowslips, daffs and narcissi planted all along and looking wonderful.

We arrived at the junction and moored up quickly, marginally avoiding the sleet and hail.  

We walked down the Buckby Flight looking for NB Waiouru, no sign, so I think they must have moved this morning before we arrived.  

But we did go into the charming shop at the second lock down which sells canalware and also antiques, the lady had a couple of big vintage shipping lamps which I know lots of boaters are searching for.....  The shop is called Anchor Cottage and its at Buckby.

Supper was the delicious stilton and broccoli soup followed by bresola Parmesan and rocket.

Today we set off even earlier to try to get through the tunnel at Braunston before anyone else was awake.
I resisted putting on two layers of thermals as yesterday I felt like I was a victim of a boa constrictor attack.

This is such a pretty cottage here right on the junction, but if it were mine I would have that willow taken out in minutes.

Willow and fir tree out if it were mine.

They have planted this sweet tree too.

So the early start worked as we didn't meet anyone in the tunnel, curiously, our galsses both steamed up on entering the tunnel!!  So it was warmer inside than out.  This didn't last.

We met another boat to come down with and all was easy and quick.

Kill the oldun's off first!!!

This was a volunteer work party here today.  I was amused that all the younger CART staff were talking, and all the grey haired more mature gents who were volunteers had shovels in their hands and were working......

Nick Wolfe on his way home after a vintage show.

Landed in busy Braunston, we jumped on the first space available as it is busy here today.

Supper was pork stir-fry with orange and chilli sauce and mango surprise.

Tuesday 25 April 2017

A whizz and a wash

We did that back to front thing again today, we went cycling this morning and boating this afternoon.

Off to see the village of Winnick as we often do.  Its a good place to visit as the church sells books and jam.  
Guess who forgot the money?

So by-passing the church, past the divine Bridge Cottage and down past a very interesting property that has Llamas 
(or Alpacas), Debby do you know the difference?
Then back towards WaL in a big sweep.

But first, after waiting and waiting and waiting last evening, the hares appeared....  such big cuties.  We thought there were about five scampering about.  

Winnick Manor or Grange or other

The devine Bridge Cottage after a recent wash and brush up.

Windmills behind the village, we counted six

I call these the Footballers Wives gates.  I loathe these ones.

There were three, this was the only one smiling.
 Today's Pretties;

Pretty sure this is Honesty

and this is a blue one.

Fast ride back to WaL

So we set off at about Elevenses Time, we wanted to water up and grumbled loudly at a boat not filling and of course moored on the water point... He finally came out and suffered a withering glare.

NB Enterprise.  I can't find anything about her......
 We moored up short of Watford Locks in the snow then later in the cratch it was boiling in the sun......

This crept over and then it snowed again.

This was taken without and filters or jiggery pokery.  Minutes later the entire sky was grey and snowing again. 

Supper was broccoli and stilton soup and an orange.

A quick Flit

Just a short hop today.  Down to yet another of our favourite places.  Bridge 22.

Usually at this time of year Hares can be spotted frolicking in the field opposite, but so far no signs.  David has remarked more than once what a mess has been made of the spraying of this field, its tinged all over yellow.  Trouble is with farming, ones mistakes are public to other farmers and much comment is made.

Peter spotted and hooted us!  For those of you who don't know, Peter is a single hander, he is out during the week all summer.  He reads avidly on his kindle, is ex-RAF and a keen bird and areoplane spotter oh yes and is 84.  If you see him to say hello.

Nice little bit of dredging happened, just after this we passed a boat and we went mildly aground, so they could do more.


I do like a bit of blossom.

Near to Winnick village.

We often walk to Winnick, last time we did there were signs up all over Say No To Wind Farm.  
Looks like they lost.  
I was discussing this issue with a daughter about how controversial they are, the noise, the sight of them in beautiful surroundings and this was her reply " Get over it mother, its better than a nuclear power plant"  so I suppose that's that then, the next generation speaks.

Ah, my first brood seen.

Stunningly good maintenance work on this bridge. 

Amusingly these ladies were nudging and tickling him, he remained nonplussed. 

We arrived in a drizzle which quickly became a shower, moored up, argued over my chain placement, (He was right) and snuggled in.

Supper was salmon, broccoli, wedges and rhubarb surprise.

Monday 24 April 2017

Lycra, Rupert and bacon.

"Put more layers on" says he with authority, he always tells people what a cold woman I am.

So my new NZ merino wool undergarments went on, he went out and spent time playing with his new pumpy toy and with rock hard tyres off went went, to see The Naseby Battlefield.  

Yawn yawn I hear from from non history lovers, sorry bear with.  
Almost at the bridge this dear thing was having a drink, I do hate to think of the water quality, but dogs too drink out of the filthiest puddles.

A lovely shortish ride got us to here, I was boiling, while trying to working out which articles of clothing to decently remove, these came haring past;

Some helpful suggestions about clothing came from them.

 Needless to say I was walking up this hill, they didn't stop for breath I don't think and some of them older than me too.

I walked to the top.

Actually the battle of Naseby in The English Civil war took place outside Naseby village and between two others, so there are different places to see it from.  
It was a defining moment for the Royalists, who lost and from reading the information boards, was from iffy tack ticks, pity really as the Royalists surely had better outfits. 

The flag marks one of the spots

Interestingly, today it is far harder to see the places as we have trees and many hedges, back then in 1645, the only hedges marked the parish boundaries and few trees, we wondered if King Henry 8th was responsible for that.  
This Prince Rupert of the Rhine chappie had an interesting life HERE.  Any Canadian Readers?

Further on, this was the view from East Farndon 


 This is the same shot with the zoom;

WaL is close by to the lower ploughed field.  I said I didn't want to go too far today! 

I do appreciate a nice gate, I would like one of these at home.

This is a public footpath, you'd have to bend yer head and knees

Two types of pretty blossom seen today growing in the hedgerows, this first one looked like an apple blossom to me, Debby? 

Just past its best but beautiful or what?

I was struggling a bit by the time we got back to the boat, 13 odd miles is a bit much for MY first ride of the year....

 We set off almost immediately, heading for another pretty mooring south of the Welford Arm,  several boats moored there but no afternoon sun, this is the main criteria for me when mooring up.

Leaving the Laughton Hills at about 1pm

Just around the corner were these darlings, they gambolled along with us 

I for one am delighted that these shrubby bushy trees have been decimated, glorious views right through here.  But its only a question of time as this hedge will be rejuvenated and fill out thicker than ever.  Good for the birds I guess. 

Darling launch at South Kilworth, where's the loo?

So finally moored up, we had done about six miles (Don't tell the Boat Sharers, they never do less than 18 hours a day when they are on WaL)!  It wasn't a silent afternoon as the Gliding Club located near to here was very busy....  They went home for tea and we laid in the cratch in the full sun, reading and perhaps a nap took place.

Look carefully and you can spot the towing string.

 Supper was breakfast, that is to say bacon, avocado, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms scrambled eggs and annoyingly no sparkle, that wasn't in the fridge.  It is now.  

Lastly the sky did this last night after I had finished the blog.
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