Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Government support

We are cheered by the news that the government has reinstated the grant to BW which was 'lost' last year. This had caused BW to drastically cut back on staff resulting in low morale and an uncertain future. During the election campaign it has been revealed that some MP's have a poor regard of the canal system and it's users and even think it is in decline! How wrong can they be? You have only to read Boating magazines to see how many restorations, improvements and marina's have happened in recent years. The 'opposition' party have plans to sell off BW owned property to pay for a reduction in civil servants. They had previously praised BW for investing in property to increase income. BW get £25 m from this investment so the grant would have to be increased by this amount if the government intend to keep the canals open.

Nesting and a mouse

While at Marston Doles Ann has been watching two Moor Hens helping each other hatch eggs on their nest. They swap over several times during the day. The one in the water is looking for food to give to the bird on the nest. The nest has been built on thin branches and reeds about 2 feet above the water. Passing boats make waves but the nest is OK.

Moved on to Bridge 130 where that mast is. Molly was very interested in her bag of dried food out front. Ann put her hand in to get a titbit for the dog. There inside was a field mouse! Do hope it is the only stowaway and has not been there too long! The mouse was released into the hedge and disappeared.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Braunston Blacking

Before leaving for our winter trip to London and back we had booked a 'slipping' at Braunston Boats by the bottom lock. On our return we asked about when to bring the boat up. As the forecast was rain on Monday and the slip was empty the boat was pulled out a day early. A tractor and trolley did the job as we watched from shore. Inside the TV had been put safely on the bed and other items put on the floor. The bottom of the boat is normally 2 feet under the water but now it is almost that far above ground ! The great advantage here is that we are provided with a platform and steps to get on and off the boat. It was strange being on at boat which did not sway. It just bounced slightly in the middle !

Out of water

By the end of the day the sides had been pressure washed and one coat of bitumen applied. Much of the original blacking came off in the wash as it had been applied on loose mill scale. This being a new boat and the first time out of water since the survey a year ago. The next day Justin painted the second coat and a day later we were back in the water.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Easter Holiday

Have moved up to the Northampton Arm where we said good by to our friends on No Problem. They are heading down the hill past Northampton and on to the River Nene. We have spent Easter at the top and will head on to Braunston later. Getting on with building two small cupboards in the galley.

When we left to get water at Gayton Junction there were frequent boats passing on the Grand Union Canal. The 2 week holiday has been a popular time for the hire boaters despite the early date. The mild weather has bought them out. There are no locks for 10 miles to Whilton. On the way is one of our favourite villages, Bugbrooke. There, a Millennium Garden is worth a look on the way to the shop.

Got our diesel at Whilton Marina despite the high price of 45p/litre. Would have waited to get it from Ivor on his boat at Braunston but a boater told us he had gone up to Rugby.

We waited in the lock for another boat seen approaching. There are 7 locks to do and it helps if you go up in pairs with the extra crew. It is much quicker and it saves water. On our way up we wondered why several hire boaters came down one by one within sight of each other. Must like hard work? Next day we moved through the tunnel and down to Braunston.  Saw that Ivor was charging 42p/litre.

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