Friday, January 25, 2008

Rain, rain, computers and Bloggers

The Oxford canal at Braunston has turned muddy brown. So much water is running off the fields. It is just as well that the canal system can move the water away. Once again many rivers are in flood all over the country. The towpaths have become saturated and soft with mud provoking many complaints. Went to see Les while at Braunston as ‘Valerie’ was nearby. Good to catch up with his news after passing several times last year.

Next day proved to be a complete contrast weather wise, being right warm and dry. So we set off up the flight joining a boat called ‘Aboatime’. Always makes it easy when going up wide locks.

Then we saw that landslide just by the west end of the tunnel. I think BW must have removed trees and bushes but only a narrow boat can get by because of all the earth still in the canal. The land slide occurred last year and it seems that is the best B W can do for now. For the first time we put our back hood down in order to get through the ‘bent’ Braunston tunnel.

We turned left to go up on the Leicester line of the Grand Union canal and got diesel at Weltonfield Marina for an expensive 70 pence a litre. Such a pity that the supply boat Gosty Hill was down south on the Oxford canal for they were charging 50 pence! Our boat arrived at the Watford locks just in time to get up before they lock up for the day. The lock keeper was kind enough to assist on our way up. Then it was through Crick tunnel before stopping just past the marina. It had been a long day doing over 20 lock miles ending when we saw Mo n Vanessa on Balmaha. Spent several days in each other’s company and even going out for walks.

We have decided that more walking and less computing is better for us when it is a dry day. This is what we were happy with before the computer and internet seemed to absorb so much time. A new computer running Vista has been providing problems and absorbing time trying to get the printer working again. This is why a blog has not been written for a while.

A day out on a bus
The Daventry Dart bus is a 2 hourly service between Long Buckby and Daventry. Having taken the boat down the Watford locks, we walked down to the wharf to catch the bus. After 12 minutes we were in Daventry to see the Dentist do a bit of shopping and get a quick bite to eat. Got on the bus to return but did not recognise the way it was going! The driver did not know where we wanted to get off and after 20 minutes the bus had gone over the canal and beyond. “What should we do”. We got off at Long Buckby and luckily that was less than two miles from the canal so we walked back. Once on the boat the map was studied to see where the bus had gone. It was actually on a circular route passing different villages on the way. Had we stayed on board it may well have gone back over the canal again heading to Daventry!

Another Blogger

We noticed that Gypsy Rover was near us. So we tapped on the boat and introduced ourselves. Dot and Derek were pleased to see us and came round for a cup of tea and a chat. They are a lovely couple from New Zealand who have been touring our canals for a while.

A few days later we went north and they went west agreeing to meet up again soon.

Then the TESCO man arrived.

And we saw these early spring lambs.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Just another year !

We are back on our boat after spending several weeks with family and friends. Last minute changes to our plans were required as we could not get to our pre arranged mooring at Calcutt Marina before Christmas. British Waterways were repairing a culvert and a section of canal had been drained. Ice had formed on the canal in December as we tried to get from Ansty to Braunston so we just had to crunch through it. Once at Braunston we asked at the marina if they could fit us in. Always a problem in the winter months but as it happened a boat was to leave so we were able to go in. A car had been booked at Enterprise in Daventry and they came to collect us the same day. So after all the uncertainties we had our Christmas present and can go home to play with our grand children.

We then set about packing and shutting down the boat systems. Defrost the fridge, pump the water out of the pipes, shut down the fire and clean it out, turn off the gas and isolate the batteries before leaving. With the cat in a cage, our luggage loaded and the dog on the back seat we were off. Our life went up a few gears as we rushed along the roads trying to keep up with the traffic and managed to see family & friends back home. Also saw our Doctor for that all important medical review which is required to keep us registered.

We stayed with Chris n Tracy so that we could enjoy watching the boys open their presents on Christmas morning. Thankfully they did not wake too early. Then we all had lunch together and poured hot burning brandy on the pudding that Ann had made a few months earlier. At tea time we even had some of Ann’s Christmas cake! A few days later we moved up to stay with mum to celebrate my birthday and the New Year.

It was also Ben’s birthday so we stayed to go to his party which was held in a village hall in the New Forest. The theme was based on ‘Lazy Town’ and most of the children dressed up as various characters. It is a children’s program on the TV. Pass the parcel was enjoyed while sitting in a circle before eating at the long table. Ben managed to blow out all the candles on his cake.

By the time we had returned to the boat we had travelled 562 miles in the Ford Focus. More than enough in that short time.