Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Alien wildlife

Ann watched as a Moorhen raised her 3 chicks. They ran on the lily pads and splashed around for a few days looking for food. Then Ann saw a Mink prowling in the reeds. Soon the chicks were no more. Could do nothing to prevent it. The natural balance of wild life will change with the environment and climate. But man's interference has changed the balance unnaturally. Many 'introduced' animals will take over like the Grey Squirrel, Mink and even rabbits have done. Exotic pets are finding their way into the countryside. Rules and regulation will not stop the 'invasion'. Many of our familiar animals and birds are disappearing.

Angry swan

Well this swan seems to be very angry about something!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Ratty Island

Moved on to Elton after filling up with water. Desperately low this time after using the washing machine and several showers during that hot weekend. Only one lock and two miles so Sue & Vic can take Lucy to the vet at Peterborough on the bus. During the afternoon we all walked round the lovely village of Elton. Almost all thatched cottages with gardens to match. An unspoilt English village at its best.


Kenneth Graham (Wind in the Willows) stayed here during the summer months. One of the islands in the river is called Ratty Island.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


We arrived here and moored at the castle mound. A local farmer owns the site and charged us to stay. The castle is no more than a hill with the remains of a moat round it. It was originally built in 1100 by the first Earl of Northampton. Richard 3rd. was born here in 1451, made himself king in 1483 but was killed in battle at Bosworth in 1485. When the Queen of Scots abdicated she was incarcerated here in 1567 and had planted Scottish Thistles which are still here! She was seen as the figurehead of the for English Catholics and executed here by Queen Elizabeth 1st in 1587.

Scottish Thistle

Keep Britain Tidy ?

We had enjoyed a very hot weekend when many boaters were out and about. There were BBQ's, children in small boats, and swimming in the river. The countryside and nature provide a place to relax and usually keeps itself clean. BUT after the 'invasion' we were upset to find so much left behind. Bags of rubbish and BBQ trays thrown into the bushes. A black burnt patch where the BBQ lay on the grass and uneaten crusts of bread left for the dogs to find. The Environment Agency don’t seem to provide any means of proper disposal.

Having picked up the rubbish we took it into town to 'loose' it in the street bins. Only to be told that the bins were not for 'household' rubbish!!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Back to Oundle

Another sunny day to enjoy a picnic on the tables provided before moving on. Our boats were tied together back to front as we manoeuvred out round into the river Nene. Then separated to go through the narrow arch of the '9 arch bridge' and on to Islip Lock. "Enjoy the global warming while you can" I called to Skipper and Crew of a boat just exiting the lock. Many Damsel flies about looking for a mate.

Passed under those low bridges again and Titchmarsh Lock stopping short of Wadenhoe at a grassy edge as other boats were seen occupying moorings at Wadenhoe. Not much shade here so moved through another 4 locks to Ashton the next day. A wonderful mooring just round the corner from the lock on a byway where the river passes the lock and falls down a weir. Many different trees providing shade during several days of a heat wave. A light fresh breeze keeping us all cool inside and out of the boat. Very popular with seven or eight boats coming and going each day. Got our post at Oundle and stayed to enjoy the weekend with football and F1 racing to watch.

Cool dogs

Sweltering heat

Another day of wall to wall sunshine. Temperatures in the 30's. The willow trees have been producing a lot of seed which float down like fluffy snow and the boats are getting covered. A lot of spiders have been making their webs which have captured the seed as well as flies. Tables, chairs and sun brollies have been out on the grass for several days. Sitting out for an hour or so, especially in the afternoon or evening when the sun has gone behind the trees.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Return to Thrapston

For two reasons: Lucy needs a check up by the vet and we like the town and its mooring with water tap.

Lucy is doing well but her leg needs some exercise now. Short walks but not swimming yet. For ten days it has not been used much because Lucy has been confined to 'cage rest'. The hip joint should be ok now much to the relief of Sue & Vic who have both been very anxious. A pin and the stitches will stay in for now.

The trip up stream took about 5 hours going through several locks. A different procedure as they are always left open. So go into the safety of the lock first, lower the guillotine behind and wait for the overflowing river to fill the lock, move out and lift the guillotine. We passed at least eight boats going down stream. The Tesco order duly arrived on time this time by the friendly helpful lady Sue n Vic met last year. All this during a dry sunny day which turned cool in the evening.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Summer time

A Marina !

Left Wadenhoe continuing downstream through the lock. This one is hand operated but like several others is being electrified. A few boats seen on this trip to Oundle. On the way we called in to Oundle Marina, the first major marina seen since getting on this river. Both our boats need diesel and were charged 59p a litre for it. We also got a new starter battery as ours had failed a few days ago. Managed to start the engine using the domestic battery bank and Vic's jump lead. Then moved on to Ashton Lock where several other boats were already at the moorings, including Moore To Life. A Spotted Woodpecker, several Grebe, Greylag Geese with chicks, a few Heron and some Swans were seen while moving on this river Nene.

Mooring at Ashton


Walked into Oundel with Ann n Sue across the river along a path through fields and past well kept gardens. Most buildings are of the local Jurassic limestone which stretches from Dorset through the Cotswolds to Yorkshire. "They did remind me of Dorset which my parents loved".


Oundle is an old market town and now holds a 'farmers market' once a month. We found a café called 'Beans' and sat outside in the shade consuming tea and toasted tea cakes while watching the world go by. Then visited the butcher and Co-Op before returning to the boat.

It's officially summer with a 'high' and calm sunny hot days. Next day Ann Vic and I walked into Ashton. Across a field past the mill and into the village with its old thatched cottages built of stone. Looking for the Peacocks, originally introduced by the Rothschild's who owned the estate.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Flood water has gone down

While at Thrapston a man from Anglia Water came to check the river level. It had been going up and down about 6 inches the previous day as the Environment Agency let flood water down river to the sea.

We have moved on from Thrapston, down stream through Islip Lock and under several low bridges with just over 2M clearance. We had of course removed items from the roof and hoped that the water level had gone down enough.

Past Titchmarsh nature reserve and promised ourselves to stop there on the way back. Through the lock and past the old mill heading for Wadenhoe during a lovely sunny but windy day. Found a good mooring just off the river in the mill race. There are several picnic tables, Ash and Willow trees and the grass has been cut! Just a short walk up to the end of the village street with thatched cottages either side.