Saturday, December 11, 2004

Leighton Buzzard

Just north of this town we found a very good pub right by the canal. British Waterways rated it highly in 1996 so we just had to check it out! Stuffed ourselves with a grand meal one evening at the Globe Inn. Moved on to the town and passed the TESCO (yes that shop again) with its own 2 hour moorings. Round the corner under the bridge to use the facilities while Sue & Ann went to the first class Launderette in Linslade. Our post has not arrived yet so we decide to move on down to Grove Lock where we were told of a new turning point. Returned the next day to find the Tesco moorings almost full of boats. Sue n Vic found a space after removing a shopping trolley from the canal. We backed up under the bridge and stuck our pins in round the corner. Had to wait for yet another day for our post. Busy now that it is close to Christmas. After all we did post 40 cards ourselves.


Milton Keynes

We were all very impressed with the canal going round this town. Clean and tidy with good tow paths and cycle ways. All lined with an avenue of trees. We stopped near Willen Lakes and walked round them. They were created to prevent flooding. When MK was built the planners realised that covering vast areas of land with concrete would cause flooding of the river. So the flood water goes into the lakes first then is slowly released into the river. On our walk on a mild day early this month we found a bird hide. There are two lakes. This one is for the wild life and we saw many varieties of birds from ducks to waders. The other lake is used for water sports.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Henley 1997

The first Inland Waterways Association boat gathering on the Thames.

It was a treat to travel through Henley on the river in our Nomad of Erehwon. All those posh boats being out numbered by narrow boats of all types with colourful paint work and decorations. The riverside between Henley Bridge and the next lock down stream was occupied by narrow boats 3 or 4 abreast over a distance of two miles. Found our spot. We are the third boat out from shore. Just happen to be alongside boats we knew from Little Bedwyn on the Kennet & Avon canal. We are about 10 minutes walk from the show ground and we go there to get our wrist strap identity tags. This gives us free access to the show. We had paid £25 for the mooring which included access and lots of local information.

Friday is boaters day so off we go to look round. Lots of stalls with things to buy and trade tents with information about things to go in boats. We are looking at detail for our new boat. What engine? What fridge? What shell. We get a look through some of the boats on show.

Then after a bite to eat we watched pleasure craft all lit up travelling up and down the Thames that evening. They had come to see the most unusual sight of narrow boats on the royal river. The big advantage of being moored on the outside is that we get a grand view of the river and the passing boats.

The next morning we set about putting our flags up. Most boats had already decked themselves over with flags and balloons. Walking along the tow path we saw the pretty sight, all the decorated boats so colourful. Many boats going by to look and lots of public walking on the tow path.

The Lavender boat comes by each day ringing a bell and calling 'Bring out your dead'. Porta - Poti emptying time. All done by volunteers and we gave them a big thank you for their services.

We listened to 'Keepers Lock', a group singing traditional songs and stories about the canals. In the evening many boats travelled up and down decorated with lights. It was a wonderful show that night on the Thames. A bag piper was playing music all evening on one of the boats not far away. What an effort every body puts in to make a memorable night.

It rained next morning so we listened to the local radio broadcasting live from the show ground. They report that 4000 people are living in this temporary village of boats.

IWA Henley 1997

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Christmas Pudding


A TESCO delivery was made at the arranged time and place, having placed the order with them on the net the previous day. Stock for the next few weeks.  Including, this time, ingredients for a Christmas pudding.  The exotic stuff includes mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, apple, carrot, luxury mixed fruit, nuts, orange & lemon rind and some strong beer!  All mixed together with a wish and left over night.  Then put into two basins to be 'steamed' on our diesel fire all day.  For many years Ann's Christmas puddings have been a tradition in our family.  On the day it would have a twig of holly stuck in the top and hot burning brandy poured over it.  Then served with brandy butter.  Many years ago a silver sixpence may be found in your serving!


Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The Caen Hill Flight, 1996

We had to book passage several weeks earlier as there is not enough water to keep the flight permanently open. The Caen Hill flight starts at lock 44 and ends at lock 29. That is 16 locks, but the controlled decent and ascent is between Lock 50 at the top to lock 22 at the bottom. Which is a total of 29 locks which we have to do without stopping.

We got up and had breakfast early. It is cloudy but not raining on the day we go down the flight for the first time. Pairing up with Rakes Progress at the top gate of Lock 50. The BW man arrived at 9 and checked our boats for size and let the first two in. Then it was our turn. The crew do the hard work opening the paddles and gates of the locks. At least 10 boats are going down today.

Breasting up with the much larger Rakes Progress was not a good idea. Nomad simply had no control relying on skillful aiming by Shirley. Most of the time it was perfect with only an inch of clearance both sides!

There are some more locks to go

By 11 o'clock we were half way down and met the first pair of boats coming up. Here we separated and the boats coming up went between us. Managed to make coffee on the way. You may think that it would take all day, especially if you could see all those locks at the same time. But with all the willing help we get to the bottom by 1:30 p.m. Once at the bottom we had time to rest and watched the other boats arriving behind us. The new pumping station is built but still waiting for the electric pumps. The pumps will push the water back up to the top. Then more boats will be able to go up and down without having to book the passage next year.

Picture of us all

Taken by Sue

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Yardley Gobion Posted by Hello

An English Village

One of the pleasures of canal life is to be able to visit so many villages. Stopped at Yardley Wharf and walked up the hill to get there. Yardley Gobion is in my view typical. A quiet road, now bypassed, with a triangle of green at a junction. There stands the original water pump set above an ancient well. The villagers would have met there to fill their buckets and tubs. The original cottages all built of stone with a roof of thatch.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Mr. Finch is about down this way. (Leighton Buzzard). An ex SAS man looking for free accommodation in boats on the canal. He is often seen but difficult to catch. Been in jail many times but is so good they let him out early only to carry on invading boats.
Had hoped to leave the boat somewhere down here but the marina’s are all full. Obviously not a good idea to leave the boat unattended now.

Puppy behaviour

Went over to ‘No Problem’ cos it was Vic’s birthday.
Molly came too. She gets on well with Lucy. Molly is very active, jumping & running about. Thankfully coming back when called. Lucy lets Molly drink her water and lie in her bed. Molly was sniffing around a lot and found a chewy bone in Lucy’s bed. Next thing we saw Molly creeping out the door with the large bone in her mouth! She had gone past our boat before we could call her back.
Ann baked a birthday cake for Vic and we all enjoyed an evening of celebration.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Winter warmth

A number of people ask “Isn’t it cold inside?” We now have a fire which burns diesel. The majority of boaters burn coal or wood. Our fire uses 0.2 litres an hour and keeps the inside at about 20 degrees centigrade even when it is below 10 outside. The fire also heats 3 radiators which helps spread the warmth to the other end of the boat. Our previous boat was insulated with polystyrene and the fire managed to keep the inside about 10 above the outside temperature. This boat has foam insulation which is much better.

Blisworth Tunnel

We have passed through Blisworth Tunnel. One of the longest canal tunnels in England at 3057 yards or about 1.7 miles. First opened in 1805 and partly relined in 1984. It took us 35 minutes to pass through the black hole, a portal, into Stoke Bruerne and the south on the Grand Union canal.


Have been having a problem with the ‘R & D’ coupling bolts. Fitted as standard with our Beta 38 engine and PRM 120 gearbox. It was back in August when Vic noticed that a few nuts had come off !! We were changing the engine oil at the time and put the nuts back on. Thought no more about it, silly, till the drive got all noisy and ‘fell apart’ in November. Thankfully Sue & Vic on ‘No Problem’ pulled me out of the bottom lock at Wilton. Got some more nuts and bolts at Wilton Marina and put the coupling back together. I have to tighten them after a long run now.
Bugbrooke Post Office Posted by Hello

Shops n post

When we got down to Bugbrooke we walked across the fields to the shop. Sue needed to post a parcel and we were happy to find the Post Office still open. As I waited outside with Molly and Lucy the dogs, I saw the post men on their bikes returning to the sorting office. One postie had a cart full of post to be delivered and wished me good day as he passed. We do rely on the local post offices when we need our letters sent on.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

TESCO delivery

Placed a TESCO order on the Internet using my new ‘Mobile Office Card’. It took 1 ½ hours to search for items to put in our ‘basket’. Delivery set for the next day at Norton Junction on the Grand Union canal. It all arrived between 10 and 12 as arranged. The van came all the way from Rugby. Saved carrying all that heavy stuf on our old trolly.
This is Molly helping us down Buckby Locks Posted by Hello

A puppy for us

Molly has arrived. Mel on the ‘Coal/Diesel’ supply boat told us of a puppy at the re homing centre at Braunston. So we went to get her. Molly was found in Rugby by the dog warden. She is a Jack Russell cross with long legs and ears. Our very first dog was a JR called Candy. Molly is mainly white with some black & tan patches and is less than 6 months old. We had newspaper down for the first few nights but we did not have any accidents. Ann took her out every hour to ‘be a good girl’.
Tara the cat kept out of the way for a while. Molly looks up at the cat and Tara looks down at the dog. If Molly gets too close the cat growls! If they are both on the floor there is some confrontation when they try to pass. Do hope the puppy will calm down later on.

Computer virus

My computer got a virus from some where. Friend Sue was amazed that I got it, and such a vicious one at that. Like winning the lottery? It prevented me getting on to the internet and also stopped my Virus Checker from finding it. Luckily my Firewall prevented it transmitting any personal data. Had to re install the operating system and all my own files. Luckily I had just saved it all on to CDROM’s.

Internet access

Got a ‘Mobile Office Card’ from Orange which plugs into my Laptop computer. It uses GPRS or the fast 3G if it can. Now able to get better value data. So am ‘expanding’ into Blogger territory. I hope to ‘post’ the news letter up there in hyper space so anybody with internet access can read it. Just type in:- Should be able to put more pictures on it to see. While you are about it try our friend Sue’s Blog at . Lots of items from us who travel about the countryside on the canals.

Improvements to electrics

Not moving about so much this month. Just up and down the Oxford canal between Napton and Rugby. Been back to Calcutt so that S & V can get their engine checked over. I helped Vic with some extra wiring from batteries to fuse box as advised by the engineer. Fridges need a good ‘strong’ supply and had been complaining. Also the radio had mysteriously gone off and on together with one of the lights!

Sunday, November 14, 2004

First picture

Us Posted by Hello

Well this is'us' taken in 2000 at Aynho Wharf where we started our adventures.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


We live on a Narrowboat called 'Moore 2 Life' and travel round the English countryside on miles and miles of CANALS.