Sunday 29 April 2018

Gunpowder treason and plot.

After the gloomy skies last night this was the promising view this morning.  
After the tunnel clash yesterday David confirmed his choice to go very early through the Braunston tunnel, as its much narrower in places and has a handy 'dog-leg' too.

The end of clouds...?  Nah.

The cow whisperer strikes again.  You try it, its harder than you think.

I had my down coat on plus gloves of course, and my stylish ear wrapper, I quite expected to throw layers back on the boat as we started the six double locks but no, it all stayed on it was so cold.

I standby with camera at the leafy run immediately before the Braunston tunnel as I have spotted Kingfishers there previously but it was too cold today for man beast and bird.

Delightful couple of senior gentlemen on a small narrowboat we passed in the tunnel, they called out it was their first ever tunnel and please excuse them if they were doing it wrong!  We both assured them that were doing brilliantly.

No King Fishers today.

What a beaut eh?

Now Reader have I mentioned that we have had a problem with the bilge pump?  Well it had decided not to work any more and we have been deciding who to call out, 
David Lewis (Boat Sharer) or River & Canal Rescue well as luck would have it, as we approached the locks I was convinced that the lock had two boats in it about to  descend but as we approached we saw there was only one there.  A nice sight, as its a bit of a slog to do these gates alone.  

Now this lovely couple who live in Braunston have a neighbour, this neighbour (Graham), works at the Marina at Braunston.  Now he made a phone call in lock four to Graham had us booked into the marina.... 

"Pull in on the pump out dock", when we got to the pump out dock there was a bit of a bun fight going on with four boats waiting or being served then one more from the very back of the marina one more wanted to get out and simply came on through....

I watched from the dock thank goodness as I get twitchy with all boats jostling.  I got talking to a charming couple who were from Norway and had a problem with their starter battery and had also been told to pull onto the pump out dock.... 

I wondered how we would fare in Norway at a marina explaining an engine fault.

In true "Visiting the GP" fashion, when the bilge pump was faced with an engineer.... It started first time.

Not at all annoying.

Very very shiny boat to creep past on the right.

So after all this faffing we did finally moor up at about 2pm.  Quick lunch, grab the bikes and car keys and walk to the car which luckily had appeared in Braunston.

David has explored this immediate area fairly well and found a nice route for me...  a flat ride in this area of undulating hills.  We drove to Ashby St Ledgers, its very close to Daventry.

We cycled to Welford, David, (For the third time) got to a junction, he's always way ahead of me, failed to tell me in advance where we were going, he then hid behind a bush and so of course I got lost.  
The other occasions I haven't had a phone either....  
Not that I hold a grudge.

Doing a nice big triangle, we ended up back at Ashby St Ledgers.  Oh my goodness what a find.

The thatched Village Hall

Cottages in the village.

Now the medieval manor house is still in the private hands of Lord Wimbourne so this was as far as my camera lens went.

But look carefully and you will pick out the gate house.  It is the very place that The Gunpowder Plotters met.  

The manor a that time was owned by Kit Harrington's forefathers ( Now all you non Game of Thrones people Kit Harrington plays the hero Jon Snow.  Recently he played his ancestor William Catesby in the BBC production of 'Gunpowder', Catesby lived at Ashby St Ledgers.

Kit Harrington as Jon Snow descendant of William Catesby

Read all about it      HERE   But what a place, seeming untouched.

Entry via the Gate House.

Plotters met in the gatehouse to plot.

Its a sprawling set of buildings, these are some to be seen from the roadside.

Fabulous.  Will our buildings of today likely to last a thousand years? 

The Manor curtsey of Wikipedia.

This is a long row of cottages dating back to 1908 and built by Edwin Lutyens.  I did my best to capture all of it but the best shot would need to be from the bedroom of the house opposite. 
Quite a stunning row me thinks. 

Lutyens also designed this pad... call "The Cottage" and built for the Dowager Lady Wimbourne of the time.

We had dwinks in the garden of the pub in the village, I was very tempted by the calamari starter but as it didn't serve food until 6pm, ninety mins away, we went home for another fridge clearing smorgasbords of Italian cold meats and cheeses possibly with an accompanying soave.

A rain filled day is on for tomorrow, marvellous.

Friday 27 April 2018

"What do you mean you gave me the bloody keys?"

The day was set wet today, even so David slipped out early to play musical cars.
When I saw him next and it was already very heavy drizzle.  He was laughing, which under the circumstances of pedling to the car and finding he hadn't got the car keys was quite something.

No really Reader he did laugh, eventually.

Frankly for the rest of the day we snuggled, read, watched the Stephen Lawrence documentary on the BBC to commemorate his murder 25 years ago and drank gin, oh and I cleaned the toilet.

I have a new bottle on board its Gordon's Pink, but the jury is out on that one.

Supper that night was David's homemade stilton and broccoli soup with olive bread (from Co-Op).

The next day was much much nicer and we moved the boat.

Heave ho.

This was at Crick, they are not dredging but digging a big 'ole.

We filled with water at Crick, I wandered off with the rubbish and met two great guys.  They were Pigeon Fanciers and letting out four baskets of pigeons as training for a big club race on Saturday, birds from their own club racing home from Honiton to home in Leicester.  Googlemaps says 200 miles but maybe a bit less for pigeons and crows.

We talked on and on and every year they have a very big race, from Portugal it was last year.  I asked if they all get home and the answer is no, shooting takes some, but the majority of non returners are taken by hawks they believe....  
I felt a bit troubled here as I love hawks.  
I asked if they only send their worse birds overseas if the casualties are high but no they send their best out.  I was told that the birds follow the motorways or railway lines home to Leicester where the men had driven out from today.

The conversation went on and how flabbergasted they were to discover that I am a southerner but that I was alright, because its a well known fact that southerners are all really stuck up!  

Well I felt I had made some progress to ease south north relations today.  A bit like North and South Korea.

The Crick tunnel was wet, very wet, I went inside.  
Minutes later David remembered what he had forgotten... Our BW key on the key ring alongside our River Nene Key and the water hose attachment...... 

More beautiful Blackthorne looking fabulous against the blue sky, makes you smile.

Arriving at Watford Locks to be told "Come straight in..." it was chilly Reader but I'm still smiling at the blossom.

Strong breeze here but he didn't bang.

White cottage, white blossom, white clouds.

I much prefer white blossom to pink.  At home I have white and purple of course.

Bish bash bosh through Watford and onwards but can we please hurry up as the sky darkened to accommodate the rain forecast all afternoon???
David is most attached to mooring at Norton Junction, where the Leicester Arm meets the main Grand Union.  But as the grey skies turned blacker I pointed out a nice mooring on armco, on our own but no of course not "Lets go to the junction, its a nice view"  
Then the drizzle started lets moor here I suggested...... no its near trees, lets go to the junction, well you've guessed it haven't you?  The junction was full of boats who have taken root.  So we pulled around the corner and after two attempts managed to moor close-ish to the bank.  There seems to be a bit of a Shroppie Shelf going on here.

Just avoided the rain. Just.  Not so much the hirers who came past for a couple of hours trying to enjoy themselves.

Supper was fish pie.

Tomorrow going to get the car again!  

Wednesday 25 April 2018

For gods sake go right !!

So then we continue travelling southwards in a calm and dignified manner.  

Now aren't these pretty?   They were just past a bridge, I was wondering if they had been "Planted" but as we continued along the Leicester Arm of the Grand Union canal there were other patches.  Cowslips grow on chalkland upland situations in our experience but here they are doing very nicely thank you.

Cowslips, forget me knots and the odd primula.

Just around the corner and on a bit is the first of our three tunnels, Husbands Bosworth tunnel.  As we got close we could see a light indicating a boat in the tunnel, Oh wait for him to come out I said, so we did and all was well...... 
We went in then about two thirds of the way through we could see a light lining up.... I think he's waiting says I.....  
He wasn't.
Now we have a sort of helping system aboard WaL in tunnels, David steers and watches closely the wall side, today we had the wooden boards running along our side so no worries, right?   I watch on the waterside and oncoming boat side..... 

So I call out to this PRIVATE NB to bloody well get over mate as  we was veering across the water on target to hit us, now this tunnel is a fairly wide one as they go so hitting another boat is madness, but he was right on our side, 
"He's going to hit us!"  I yelled to David, he kept WaL closely into the wooden boards but even so there was a nasty grinding crackling sound, the sort of sound that was loud.  Now they didn't actually make contact with us but all the same we were whooshed into the wall as he at the very last second veered away and that's what  made the grinding sound. 
The other boat's captain called out a cheery "Good morning!" as he passed us  "Oh great" replied me.

Well we both expected that we would have a gouge the whole way down.  We couldn't see.

But what we could see is the is new South Kilworth marina looking a bit more  the ticket, it has water in it now and everything.  Actually the three boats in there are workers who live aboard, we have been told that they are testing the marina for leaks at the moment and the open date is this summer.  
Last year some wag said that the workers are three years into a six month contract...

Offices are going to be above the work shops.  Hope the office workers won't get cold.

The water level is a wee bit higher inside in the marina than on the cut.

There's always so much to see along here.

So pretty me thinks.

For a second the sun came out and shone golden through the grasses.

He popped up a bit late for a good shot.

He did a loop around the boat and settled down almost in the same spot as we passed by.  (David didn't crash here)

Farming News;
This tractor is direct drilling into the stubble, they have  skipped ploughing, this saves costs and can be beneficial to the soil.  Its a relatively new idea you would not have seen it 30-40 years ago. 

We moored up at the old favourite place bridge 22.  Its has a lovely open aspect and last year I was lucky enough to see many hares, not not this time, not one, not even a pair of ears sticking up out of the wheat.

We have been so lucky, this is the damage to the ghastly loud scraping sound.  The wooden boards didn't save us.
I have forgotten to close the hatches and the wall of the tunnel ground into it.

David Lewis can you please replace it for me?

Supper was chicken and mushroom stir fry. 

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Fabulous Sunday.

So today the weather started off fine, went downhill a bit, recovered a bit and then got cold but a lovely sunset sky.

We went out for a bike ride.  Our route actually took us further north than Debdale Marina, so it could be argued by some (Not mentioning any names here) that in the five days of cruising we have gone backwards and not forwards.  Reader you can make your own mind up.

To exit the canal we went over this bridge and saw these two boats moored here.  
To our guesswork these two boats have been here a few years...  
Now the evidence from Maffi is    HERE    that was dated 11/05/16.  So then CART what about that?  
Or Reader do you know better than me?

These two been for definitely two years, I think more.

So we whizzed off (Me wearing my new cycling shorts with extra padding)  an unappealing look but frankly worth their weight in gold).

During the ride we saw more of these horrors (Canadian Geese) eating their way through this wheat crop.

Wild violets.  David's father Tom picked these for his mum every spring, after he died I picked them for her and since she died last December I shall always think of her when I see them.   
(They grow our in garden, I didn't pick these), 

Memorial to Gwen growing on the towpath.

Now believe me when I say that this lane was steep, obviously I walked up.  A lovely view towards Saddington and its reservoir which feeds the canal there.  When all of a sudden a young woman cyclist came past me, I urged her onwards and called to David at the top of the hill to give her a round of applause which he did, she said I'm only going at walking pace to which I said I had had trouble walking up it, I love the power of women.

Quite a selection of Pretties at this time of year if you just look carefully.

My first Bluebells


No idea what.

After a swift half in The Bell at Gumley sat out in the sun,  we headed back to WaL.  
Now Laughton is a village we always drive through to get to Debdale, it also lends its name to my favourite mooring  on the whole network, The Laughton Hills.  But until today we hadn't explored it.  Striking houses in this tiny village, built with money from The Wool Trade.
Here are the ones I consider the most handsome.

I don't approve of the extension, but it could be demolished.


I have always loved this one, its really lacking care I just want to nurse it back to health.  Such a sad garden.
But not for me to live here.

Around the corner is St Lukes, the oldest parts dating back to the C13th.  (800 years old for the benefit of Americans).
What treasure this country has.

Now the day had started with David asking me what I would like to do today.  I said to have Afternoon Tea.  I went online to see where the best Afternoon Tea venues were in Leicestershire, Kilworth House was the answer, happily this is only around the corner.  
The menus and prices were online.  £25 pp,   £35 with a glass of champagne, well obviously I would want more than one glass.  
So, we decided that as we had the loveliest of views, champagne already in the cupboard.  So I made fruit scones, David made the sandwiches ( I hate making sandwiches don't I Amanda?) and instead of paying £70, we estimated we spent £15 in total.

Happy happy days.

Smoked salmon, cucumber and egg & cress rolls.

This blackcurrant jam has sloe gin in it!


Moving tomorrow