Saturday, December 19, 2009

Power on

The new alternator is fitted and working but the next day we could not move because of the ice. Another change of plan is required. We were going to Rugeley for Molly’s boosters at the vet. Now it will be by taxi on Monday. Not allowed to move and break ice in the marina. Not allowed to run engines after 6 either! So we are back on mains for a while.
During a cold afternoon walk with Ann n Molly we spotted Matilda Rose. Jill n Graham kindly invited us on board and we all had a great chat about our adventures and plans over a cup of tea while it snowed outside. The ice on the canal is being broken up by moving boats but back in the marina it is still quite solid and may not melt for a while.

We wish all our readers a Happy Christmas and an enjoyable new cruising year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Power failure

I went to Stafford on the bus to fetch Ann back. She had spent many days down south with our grandchildren to see their school activities over the pre Christmas period.
After a walk together in the morning we uprooted the boat and moved, backing up and turning at the junction to head for the marina. Then the beep beep warning started indicating charge failure. Thank goodness we were not far away. Great Haywood Marine Services to the rescue! While diesel was filling our tank the alternator was being confirmed as being a failure. It is the third failure during the five years we have had the boat. I was told that an average of between 1 and 2 years is about right for an alternator being used every day charging five domestic batteries. If only we could tell when it is about to fail as it happens quite quickly without much warning.

We have a temporary mooring with a mains connection while we wait for a replacement alternator to arrive.

The situation with the waterways lack of care, maintenance and money cannot get much worse and may even get better if British Waterways are to change to a National Trust.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Looking after Molly

I have to look after Molly while Ann is away.
We go out for walks twice a day across that river Trent which is high fast and brown with stirred up silt.
That ancient Pack Horse bridge is so well built it has remained intact for hundreds of years. Just as well because it is the only foot bridge across the river to Shugborough Park. There is plenty of woodland to explore and sticks to throw for Molly to fetch back. So far I have not forgotten to feed Molly at breakfast and dinner. Did I?
Been filling my face ok and not all out of tins either. There are a few good food shops here to visit for fresh veg, bread n milk.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Hot off the press!

Have you seen 'Narrowboat World' today? Ask yourselves what is a 'Mutual Trust'. Chances are that is what British Waterways is to become. If so are we members because we have a licence to navigate the waterways? Does Mutual mean it will be organised by its members? Look out for more news on Monday.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Drifting about

We are not moving very far these days, just a few miles towards Stone for a change of view. Five days later we were back in Great Haywood and found a space among the boats and got the bus to Stafford. The town was being decorated for the Christmas season and winter cheer.
Natural decoration
A few medical issues were sorted out like getting flu jabs at the local surgery. A new bottle of gas was purchased at the junction while we topped up with water. Then Tesco arrived with another load of food and goodies.
Tixel sheep n lambs already!
Then we set off to the Tixel wide moorings which proved to be a bit exposed with that cold wind. Soon moved to the marina for diesel and found another space among those boats at the junction.
Did not pick these !
A few days later we were off again, this time going on through Tixel lock and moored at Milford for a few days. Back at Great Haywood we plucked up courage and found a Dentist. Ouch ! Private treatment proves better value than the NHS. Seems that we have been badly let down by incompetence. We both had a thorough examination and look forward to more visits later !
Tree decoration found on a walk

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Colwich lock?

The lock is open and boats have been through but those that have come up to Great Haywood report ‘no change’. The bottom gates still need two people to operate them. So I wonder what BW tried to do while it was closed to navigation.
Objections are being made about BW plans to close facilities at Marsworth on the Grand Union canal. Apparently the workshops and facilities are to be demolished and a number of houses built on site. What, I wonder, are boaters to do with the contents of their ‘black’ cassettes and not being able to top up with fresh water. I see an environmental problem happening if it goes ahead.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Winter blues

The lack of sunshine is SAD. It may be sunny now but the days are so short. Nothing to talk about but the weather! Thankfully we have not suffered like others near rivers reminding us about our adventures on the Nene. It must be real nasty to get flooded yet again. For us it is another sunny day and the solar panels are putting a little power in. While we are hanging around it seems that engine charging for 2 hours midday and an hour in the evening keeps up with our demands.
Ann walked across from our Tixel Wide mooring and got the bus to Stafford, returning later with more goodies. The local butcher had some venison for sale so we made a stew which cooked on the stove all day. It tasted so good, just pure red meat and very good value.
That lock between us and Rugeley at Colwich should be open soon and many boats are gathering to get away. We keep getting stoppage messages and really wonder about the government’s commitment to the waterways. There are too many failures of the system being reported lately. The winter months are when British Waterways have planned maintenance to carry out but that is not enough it seems. Our waterways need respect and support from all of us. When that major failure occurred on the Shropshire this summer we were surprised how many towns and businesses suffered from the lack of boat traffic. Now we hear about a large hole in the Caldon canal near Stoke on Trent and yet another failure on that popular Welsh canal. Some are putting the blame on Badgers making their sets in the bank!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Biting the bullet

I had the misfortune to possess Vista having replaced a dead computer. Vista was inconsistent, and slow. At first it refused to talk to my trusty Lexmark printer but was persuaded to behave after some Google help! Despite continual updates there was no apparent improvement. Occasional failures requiring reboots and at least one reformat made me think about alternative operating systems like Linux or Mac. My essential T Mobile USB modem worked a treat and could behave on a Mac but not on Linux. I understand that the USB modem supplied by ‘3’ works with Linux.
Vista seemed top heavy and tried to load everything in memory before being ‘strangled’. Much time and effort was used just sorting out the operating system! Now I am not saying that the change I made was the preferred one but was the most economic and worth a try. MS 7 installed in just over an hour and a half and boots up in less than 2 minutes! No time now to get a cup of tea after pressing the button! My USB modem installed OK and was soon down loading the inevitable updates. MS could not find drivers for my Lexmark printer so I found one myself.
I then fed in all my documents and pictures. One nice feature is the desktop background full screen slideshow. I got Google Chrome downloaded because it is better than I E. I begin to suspect that 7 is a simplified Vista! You never know, another bullet could be bitten if Google’s OS comes out next year!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Places to go and things to do

We had time to stop at Rugeley which is just as well because Ann had tooth ache. The local Dentist was able to take a look and provided antibiotics after some treatment. We walked round town doing some shopping but sadly found it lacking. Several shops had closed down including Woolworths which is still empty. Banks, building societies, card shops and low cost stores are open. Morrisons and Wilkins are quite busy. Charity shops are providing worthwhile goods. “In fact I have replaced my winter coat and disposed of our video recorder.”
It was not far to Great Haywood, only seven lock miles but we had to get past Colwich Lock. The lower gates were always hard to open or close because the balance beams are too short. In fact the locks up from Fradley were just as difficult for the same reason. Longer beams would provide better leverage. They all needed two people to operate them. It will be interesting to see what British Waterways can do about it because a bridge across the lock gets in the way of longer beams!
We now have some time in one area to explore due to the stoppages. We are limited to about 9 miles going north on the Trent & Mersey and three miles west on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire. Turning points mark the limit before the stoppage because we need to be able to return to Great Haywood. There are no turns south before that lock so cannot go that way.
We are not too down hearted because boating facilities are available and the village has a Post Office, shops, butcher and even a medical centre within walking distance of the canal.
We got the hourly bus to Stafford. It took a bit longer than usual due to an accident which meant that the driver had to go a different way. We walked across town to the station and got all our tickets for the train home at Christmas. After a bite to eat at a cafe and some shopping we returned to the boat just before it got dark. Shugborough Hall will be having a firework event over the weekend so we moved north to get away. Molly gets so upset with the bangs and whistles, even the TV had to be turned down or off when fireworks were on that as well!
Now we settle down to shop on line, write and post Christmas cards, wrap some gifts and play games! Ann so likes that Nindendo DS with those games and brain training that she could not wait to use it. And wot fun it is too, even I had a go!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Get a move on

Got to use those daylight hours to get to where were going. Sue told us about an unexpected stoppage at Colwich Lock which we must get through before the 9th of November. No rush really. We are getting away early after breakfast and stopping for a rest and sandwiches midday. We have done all those locks at Atherstone and shopped at the Co-op, passed by Polesworth, down the two locks at Tamworth and even passed those lovely gardens in Whittington.
The Coventry still proves to be one of our favourite canals but there are so many other places, towns, villages and moorings which are spread all over the waterway system that we like so much. I am imagining a utopia waterway with all our favourite places and all the nasty boring bits removed. It is something to ponder about during a few otherwise idle moments? No more than 5 locks in a few miles then a long stretch and no wide ones. At least one tunnel which you can see through. Tow paths for walkers, not cyclists and wide enough in places to sit out under the shade of a tree in summer...... I do not know whether to take what we have and remove the bad bits or to make a list of the good bits and paste them together on an interesting track.
By the time we had got to Kings Bromley we had met both Roger n Pip on Windsong and Derek n Dot on Gypsy Rover.
We’ve been moving most days since turning at the end of the Ashby and now stopped for a weekend.
Now what is this? Well, well.......
This 'orable goolie was seen near Atherstone top lock. Ooooooooo!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Daylight / Nightlight

Before we left the Ashby canal we made contact with friends on ‘At Last’ moored near Burton Hastings. We first met them when they stopped to say hello many years ago while on the Coventry canal between Nuneaton and Atherstone. It was good to see them again and have a good old chat on board. We do try to keep in touch with friends on the cut when we are nearby.
Changing those clocks and having to wake up an hour later takes a bit of getting used to. At the end of the day we now have the lights on for an extra hour. What was it called? Daylight Saving? Daylight is free but the nation is now paying for that extra hour of night light. Might have been better to have fallen forward rather than back! Altering our time does not change the fact that as winter approaches the daylight time is getting shorter anyway.
We moved on to the Coventry canal and pushed through Nuneaton early. Stopped at bridge 23 to dump some rubbish and go to the shops. There is a recycling centre nearby. “Old clothes over there, just chuck that lot over there lov”. Oh why did we bother to keep it all separate? Then we went the other way to find the butcher. Good quality at Frank Parker’s no less. Moving on we got diesel at Springwood Haven, this time being able to make our own declaration before continuing to Hartshill.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

More on the Ashby

We moved on a few miles to Market Bosworth visitor moorings and found them empty!
On the way we passed a dredger with one operator getting mud from the canal and depositing it on the tow path. Another operator was using a large rake to spread the wet mud level. “It looked like hard work.”
After a sandwich we walked up the hill to the town in sunshine with the copper leaves blowing about in the gardens.
More boats had arrived when we returned to the moorings. At least most of them are moving most days and we see them returning later. It is certainly slow going on this canal as we have averaged only about 2 miles an hour! Any faster and the boat drags on the bottom or makes a wash despite that dredging! The canal gets better after Shackerstone where there are a couple of miles of woodland to travel through. “Just have to clear the leaves from prop every now and then.”
Having heard that the canal trust had got their spades out of the shed we were disappointed to see what had been achieved. A side pond has been created for wild life between bridge 61 and the turn, but there was no progress north for boats. It is no longer possible to walk along the canal beyond the end of navigation. Having spent a packet on that side pond the trust are now waiting for yet more money to come their way. We found the Wendover Arm more inviting at its end.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Ashby Canal

Our next stop was at Stoke Golding. The visitor moorings were full as we passed so carried round the bend and stopped next to a muddy bank. The canal has been recently dredged but not edge to edge. Only our front end got near while our deeper back end was stuck in mud! It was a bad end to a damp grey horrible day. To their credit the Ashby Canal Association has been getting a fair bit of dredging done. Unfortunately the mud has just been left to dry out as hard lumps of dirt on the tow path.
We kept an eye on the boats at the mooring and when one moved off we reversed into the space and washed the mud off. We were then able to place an order to Tesco who delivered next day.
When it was all packed away we walked up to the village shop during a bright sunny day which was so different to the previous one.

After the two day limited stay we moved off heading for the facilities at Sutton Wharf where we took on water after using the washing machine. There are many moorings on the way but most still have that muddy dredging lying on top of what was a grassy edge. Perhaps one day it will get spread out to make a dry path. We eventually stopped for the weekend at the ‘Battle field’ moorings which was thankfully clear of mud.
It was here that the War of the Roses finally ended when Richard the third was defeated. Henry Tudor took the crown of England and became Henry the seventh. It is quite something to still be able to walk round the fields where the battle of Bosworth took place back in 1485, over 500 years ago!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Parted company

We went home on a bus, taxi, train and car for a long weekend while our friends looked after Molly and the boat. On our return Sue n Vic gave us a refreshing cup of tea before setting off on their long journey north. We cannot thank them enough for their kindness and help over the years that we have known them. Then we stopped at Hawkesbury Junction to top up with water and use the facilities. We simply lost count of the number of boats moving up and down through that shallow lock on October.
Turning on to the Coventry canal we found ourselves following a slow boat to China and decided to stay on the Coventry if it turns on to the Ashby. We headed for Nuneaton but turned at the next winding point and stopped for the night. Next day we got on to the Ashby at a normal speed. Many of the visitor moorings were full so we stopped on a rough edge near Hinckley.

Do we expect too much?

It was not that long ago when many canals were un navigable. Way back when canals were created only horses were available to pull the boats through the water. When diesel engines were put in the boats they were pushed from the back and moved much faster and made waves. There are now more boats moving about the canals than ever before when they were operated commercially. At least the commercial operators showed respect and consideration.
It is perhaps not surprising that the system is suffering from the strain. Pumps now push the water back up the locks so there is enough to let the boats go down. We are lucky at times not to run aground more often. Even when we started 15 years ago there were problems with the water supply. The use of some locks near summits were booked for use and limited to a few days a week. Many others were locked at night to save water.
With limited money and maintenance effort we all may have to realise that limited use will return, if not by design then by failures of the system.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Moving with friends again

Ann had gone off on the bus to Cogenhoe to find them moored on the Nene. A few days later we were together, No Problem and Moore 2 Life. “I knew they were near when I heard dogs barking. Lucy, Meg n Molly rushed up and each gave me a lick!” It did not take long to move on past Nether Heyford and Weedon. The wide canal is weaving its way past the hills of Northamptonshire with a variety of open farmland and woods. Both boats called at Fred Tarry’s for gas, coal and diesel before stopping past the noisy motorway. Next day we continued up the Buckby flight, across the summit, through the bent tunnel and all the way down to Braunston.
We were pleased to see that at least some work has been done at the tunnel to prevent further land slippage.
Sue and Vic went on next day while we took the bus into Daventry. Why do they all come at the same time? This time there were no less than three of them, two for Rugby and one for Banbury. At least the bus companies are running a viable service. We had done a pre winter clearout and donated the majority to charity in town. It was an enjoyable outing in sunshine and we had a snack at the local cafe.
When we returned we paid a visit to friends in Braunston Marina. There were many other boats gathered on the canal which we passed on the way out next day. It was a very windy Saturday as we progressed north to the locks at Hillmorton where we caught up with our friends again.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


There is a new feature in our web site called Slideshow. A collection of Waterway pictures that we have taken while exploring the system over the years. Click on the 'moore2life' link on the right and when you have our web page select the new feature.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lock waiting

We set off two locks below Stoke Bruerne and found two boats about to go in the lock. So we tied up at the bollards and waited. The boats went up in the lock and waited for a boat coming down from the next lock before proceeding.
A single boat swapped places in the lock and waited. We were told they were waiting for another single boat coming down. “Fair enough, better to carry on down two at a time.” By the time the two boats had gone up, that single boat was joined by another to come down! So the single boat that we were waiting for eventually came down. Then at last it was our turn to go up but despite all that waiting, no other boat came up with us. That is the way it is, sometimes it just takes twice as long to get through locks.
Thankfully being September we were enjoying calm sunny weather as nature paused, waiting for autumn.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The state of the waterways

As we travel around the system we are bound to see the deterioration. Soft edges, muddy waters, broken bridges, suspect structures..... In many places the waterway is narrowed by excessive vegetation reaching out to scratch the boat. Been like it for many years with no real sign of maintenance. Some of the old brick arched bridges are in a near state of collapse.
This year several canals have been closed and some undergone emergency repair during their summer use. Even some of the facilities for boaters are ‘on the edge’ of closing. At one place near Milton Keynes the water was off for a while and the waste disposal suspended due to fly tipping. Some Elsan drains have been left blocked for some time. Since the end of August we have noticed more bags of rubbish dumped in the hedgerows.
So it seems there is plenty to do to keep our valuable waterways open, clean and tidy. But does our government have the will to do so? Their own laws and regulations say they should. What must our foreign tourists think of our dirty untidy country side? Will they come again?
Perhaps we should be encouraging those groups of people who do have the will to look after our waterways and countryside. Like the various Trust organisations associated with the waterways and countryside.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Family visit

We were at Campbell Park, Milton Keynes on the Grand Union when they came. Just about 2 hours on the road for them. What a marvellous place to explore between the park and the lakes. “Bring the boys bikes.” The cycle ways are so save away from the roads. We made a picnic and walked to Willen lakes.
There is an obstacle course made of rope and wires strung between several trees. Many children are able to safely climb, swing and jump while strapped to a safety harness. Josh was just tall enough to go on the junior route and we were so pleased that he managed to control his fear and get round without falling.
There was always an adult on hand to help and encourage progress.
After Josh had got back on the ground we found a seat without wasps and consumed our picnic. Then we found some funfair rides for Ben to enjoy. After that it was ice creams all round.
Next day the bikes were out again to explore the park in the morning. We enjoyed their company while they were with us but they had to leave after lunch to get home.

Friday, September 04, 2009

A walk of discovery

At the end of August when everybody is supposed to have a long weekend off it proved to be a bit cool in the mornings. If it is cloudy n damp we may consider warming the radiators. Our fire and chimney has been cleaned out and should now be ready for the winter months.
We went shopping at Water Eaton after Les on Valerie told us about the huge out of town shopping centre there. Plenty of people are crawling around looking and presumably spending some money just like we did.
After lunch we set off on a walk not really knowing where the path would take us. Milton Keynes does it so well, the paths go under roads and heads into open park land. We came across the river Ousel and a seat to relax and enjoy the view while Molly went in for a swim. Following the path took us to Caldecott Lake. We had gone round the back of the huge Tesco ware house and continued with faith that we should eventually get back to the canal. Going under a road with the river and there before us were the locks. Thankfully we got back to the boat before it rained.
Our flower garden has done well this year.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Losing a battle

British Waterways appears to be losing the battle to keep our waterways open. Cutting back on maintenance is going to be very costly in the future so will prove to be false economy as it has in the past. Water loss and emergency stoppages are now inconveniencing boaters. The Llangollen, a popular canal, nearly got closed due to another major leak, the Shropshire Union is closed for the same reason and electric back pumping on the Kennet and Avon canal failed. British Waterways were then obliged to ask the K n A Canal Trust to run their Crofton steam pump to keep the boats moving.
Most canals have a Trust Organisation with a dedicated group of volunteers who are doing their best to look after and extend the waterways. Maybe British Waterways will be asking them for more help in the future.

Starting over

We were reminded about how we started boating on the waterways when a friend came to visit. He had been encouraged by our adventures so he and family were looking for a boat. While doing some research on the internet we discovered that our old boat Moore To Life was on the market again. It is quite amazing how much we have learnt and were very happy to offer advice during their visit. Hopefully we will keep in touch and follow their experiences as time goes by.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Slide show

The Slide Show is a collection of pictures from the 2005 blog. When I have uploaded 2006 I intend to put that one on.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hot days and cool evenings

We were not alone for long at our next mooring having gone down two locks.
Along came Rock n Roll with George and Carol on board and decided to stop. While Ann helped with the mooring I put the kettle on for a welcoming drink. We had been reading their blog and had wondered if they had passed us when down the Wendover Arm so were pleased they stopped. These things are not planned but we have had company since returning to our boat.
Table and chairs were put out on the tow path and we enjoyed catching up with their adventures since we last saw them. Next day was that very hot Wednesday so we stayed inside with the white sheets outside the windows and watched a DVD. Thankfully there was a strong breeze blowing through the boat. That evening the table and chairs came out again so we could enjoy the cool evening.
We were entertained watching huge fish feeding on our unwanted bread.
We parted company heading north for facilities at Leighton Buzzard. We were lucky to be able to share the wide locks with another boat. The family of four were moving the boat for a friend and it was their first lock. They had no idea how to proceed so were happy to travel with us for a while. After a few locks they were able to do it for themselves.
As we approached the town we pulled into a space before the facilities. Our plan to shop at Tesco then top up with water was achieved in good time and we moved on. As usual the 2 hour shopping moorings were all occupied as we passed. At the next lock we were joined by a hire boat just out from Wyvern Shipping Company with a ‘pilot’ on board giving instructions. Only a mile further on, passing the busy Globe Inn, a quiet mooring was found for the weekend. The tow path was in good condition being one of those Cycle Ways. The hedges were well trimmed and grass cut so plenty of room for the table and chairs.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


We stopped below Marsworth locks where Ray n Rose left us on Maddy Rose the next day. It was here that we watched huge fish chomping at slices of bread.
Our friends Terry n Myra arranged to come up to stay with us for a few days so we moved up the two locks with another boat, as it happens, the boater travelling alone. “Just amazes me how active he was jumping off his boat as it drifted into the lock.” We met our friends at the White Lion pub having filled our tank with water. After a refreshing drink on board we all decided to have lunch at the pub and very reasonable it was too.
Then we moved the boat up the locks past the huge reservoirs, a popular place with many people here to enjoy the views and wild life on the water. The reservoirs were created by the canal engineers to provide water at the summit of the Grand Union.
A decision was made by us to travel along the Wendover arm so a sharp right turn under the bridge was required. The Wendover Arm Trust had restored it but it was not open when we last came this way.
It is only navigable for about a mile to bridge 3 where we could turn and stay a night.
We walked over the hill to bridge 4 which got us over the dry section and down to Wilstone reservoir. The Canal Trust have plans to restore it all the way to Wilstone.
We returned to the main line the next day and turned into the lock where a boat was waiting for us. It is always easier and good for the system to go down the double locks with two boats. We stopped in the longest pound before the last lock by the Marsworth reservoirs. After lunch on board we all went for a walk round the huge man made ‘ponds’. The Red walk was supposed to be the shortest but we ended up on a long hike. On returning to the boat we found the water levels had gone down so had to put the wheels out to get us off the mud. “The wheels keep the boat away from the edge.” Terry went to make sure the lock gates were properly shut. So many boats had gone down one by one that the water supply was not keeping up. It was no better the next day so we moved down early through the lock and said goodbye to our friends.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Travelling with Maddy Rose

We moved off early and stopped at the Linford water point just as another boat was moving off. Enough room for one boat at a time here and the water supply was slow. Ann had time to nip off to the local shop for milk and bread. By the time the tank was full Maddy Rose and others were gathering in the queue. It proved difficult to get away due to the wind and passing all those boats! Next stop was at Campbell Park where luckily both our boats found a space.
Milton Keynes is a unique town in that it was designed and built from start to finish rather than developed and expanded like most of our towns and cities. Set out on a grid pattern with separate roads cycle ways and paths. Campbell Park occupies a large square between the canal and the shopping centre. There is a large duck pond which is kept filled with water runoff from the town. On the other side of the canal are the two Willen Lakes where the flood water is pumped back into the river Ousel. It was a sunny hot day when we walked round those lakes taking a picnic lunch with us.
When we returned Maddy Rose had left so we set off to catch them up eventually at Leighton Buzzard. Then we moved on to Marsworth. We had found many more good moorings since we came this way in 2005. Several new marinas are being dug out along the way but the linear moorings don’t seem to get shorter! Many of the boats are for residential use and the local councils are threatening them with charging rates even if in a marina.
Breaking news is that the Shropshire Union canal is closed at Shebdon Embankment being dewatered between Bridges 44 and 48 to stop a leak. Tyrley Locks, Adderly Locks and Audlem Locks are closed until a water supply can be restored.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

A train town and lakes

During a sunny day we made our way across the Great Ouse aqueduct and stopped at Wolverton for the shops.
Much has changed round here with new apartment blocks and visitor moorings but not a place to stay overnight. Wolverton’s claim to fame was as a railway town and is celebrated by a white wall with a black picture of a train.
Some time ago it was restored but now, sadly, it has been obliterated by graffiti. Such is the lack of respect shown by some locals. (Picture taken in 2005)
Both M2L and Maddy Rose moored by Linford Lakes and we set up the table and chairs on the wide cut grass tow path. By the end of the day there were many more boaters here to enjoy the sunshine.
Ann & I with Molly set off next day on a 2 hour walk round the lakes passing the remains of St. Peters Church following the public foot paths as shown on our geo map. Sometimes proving hard to follow due to fenced off fields of crops and wet muddy paths.
We crossed the Great Ouse River, the same that our friends Sue n Vic are travelling on downstream of Bedford where it is navigable. The lakes here were inaccessible being a wild fowl centre with private signs at every turn towards them. We did see Egrets, Cormorants, Turns and Kestrals at a distance. Having got round the lakes we returned along the canal tow path.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Return to our boat home

Gayton Marina had been good to us by offering a temporary mooring for an un specified time. Our grand lady has recovered and is coping with life again. We had got the ball rolling on getting help at home and improving the household. We also travelled about locally visiting many of our friends and relations. Navigation on the roads is so much more than on the waterways with all those junctions, roundabouts, signs and controlling lights. Then there are all the cars and lorries moving so fast. Finding our way around only made easier because we were on familiar ground. Brod offered to take us back to the marina which took just over 2 hours.
After such a long spell of inactivity our two and a half year old batteries needed some TLC. The solar panels had kept them charged up but the capacity seemed reduced. After topping up some cells with water and charging for a couple of hours we hope they will recover.
We topped up our water tank and loaded food from the Tesco delivery before moving on to Blisworth. It was there that we came across Rose and Ray on Maddy Rose.
Next day we travelled together through the tunnel, past Stoke Bruerne and down the locks. We stopped about a mile further on in sunshine and put out the deck chairs. As we sat there enjoying a chat over a cup of tea and a sandwich it started raining. Then it got dark so we went in the boat just before a thunder storm.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A grand old lady

We are in another way of life for now looking after a grand old lady for a while. At the age of 90 she is from a different way of life having lived through the second world war with my father away on those big grey ships serving in the Navy. My parents raised 3 boys during the early years of peace time which they had fought for. They then spent many happy years together touring the countryside and the world.
Mum is on her own now with a cleaner, gardener and food coming to the door to help. We have been attempting to clear out much unwanted stuff. After a week it does not seem to have made much difference ! Some improvements to the house and its facilities are being considered.
We now have grand children of our own and they can enjoy the privilege to have a great grandmother to visit. While away from our own way of life on the boat we are able to keep tracks of waterway life by reading those boater blogs.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Blog visits

We only moved back to Bugbrooke to collect the post and purchase milk n bread at the shop. It was a pleasant walk across the fields and through their Millennium Garden. We just sat for a while to enjoy the peace and quiet by the stream. Molly had found a plastic bottle to crunch and have thrown to fetch. Sadly plastic items are not hard to find in the countryside and the bottle got put in the bin when Molly had finished with it.

Just as we left we spotted Windsong at Bugbrooke! Rog n Pip stopped by next day for a chat and we admired their smart new boat. Then Rock n Roll passed by. Later we walked past a few bridges looking for Geo Cache’s and came across Rock n Roll. George n Carol invited us in for a drink. It is a wonderful social atmosphere on the waterways. We had got to know them by following their adventures on their Blogs. We have also got to know some boaters over the years just by seeing them regularly.
We are now making plans to leave the boat for personal family reasons so please excuse us for not blogging for a while.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Parting of friends

Sue n Vic are going down to the river Nene but this year we are not. We need to return ‘home’ for family reasons. We helped by lock wheeling down to the M1 bridge, all 12 done in about an hour and a half.

Setting off at 8:30 we found most locks full with the top gates left wide open, a lazy boater this time making it easy for us. In past years a serious shortage of water down the flight has required BW to now lock some paddles. The top lock single useable paddle was found later to be left up with the gate open. So we took it upon ourselves to close them.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Moving with friends

We knew they were heading for Braunston and beyond so we were there to greet them. Molly got all excited again and ran off to see her friends Lucy & Meg.
After shopping we moved up the flight together with No Problem.
Going through that bent tunnel is always an event. This time it was passing 5 boats with various odd configurations of lighting. Boats should have one shining up on the roof to show the way and not to blind on coming boaters. One had two at the front shining either side while another had one at each end! “Made it difficult to judge if it was two or just one boat.” At least one boat bounced off the corner of a bend forcing us to stop to avoid a collision in the darkness. The tow path between the tunnel and Norton Junction is much improved but proved to be shallow for some boats to moor.
We stopped at the junction and got the BBQ out to cook beefburgers and sausages and enjoyed the meal inside No Problem with Sue n Vic and a bottle of wine. Then we went to the New Inn to celebrate our 43rd wedding anniversary, enjoying the company of Sue n Vic outside in the evening coolness.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Historic boats

We walked down the canal towards Braunston to watch many boats manoeuvring at the ‘turn’.
An official count indicated that at least 80 or more historic boats had assembled at Braunston for the weekend. There were also a few other boaters trying to get through because I suppose BW cannot actually close the navigation.
Down by the ‘Stop House’ where the canal narrows, the overhanging shrubbery threatened to scratch the freshly painted boats.
It proved to be so shallow that Nutfield got stuck on the mud while towing Raymond. Some boats passed by while the majority just waited.
Then we saw the one and only steam powered boat President as she backed into the marina with Kildare, the butty, alongside. Some of the historic boats had several generations of boating families on board. Original and current owners keeping their pride and joy in very good working condition.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Braunston preview

We walked round Braunston Marina to watch the historic boats arrive and assemble while the white and black paint dried on the bridges and buildings.

The boats are looking at their best again having been freshly painted and brass polished.

The grass has been cut as tents and displays are erected.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Friends and family

Carol and George on Rock n Roll were nearby and Ann met them on the tow path with their dog called Molly. I was inside making a chicken sauce and waved through the window. 

Then Mo and Vanessa stopped by on their way north. Good to chat about their adventures on the Kennet & Avon canal. They had got all the way to Bristol and even passed under the Clifton suspension bridge! “A special trip down the channel and back while the tide was up.”
Braunston is once again packed with boats and we have moved out going south just past the Puddle Banks. On our way out we saw a crane in the marina pulling an old boat out of the water. “It cracked on the way out.” The boat was called Lucy and had occupied space with another just outside Braunston. Both were old wooden working boats in serious decay. The other boat had been taken away for restoration.

Ann’s brother Pete and his wife Deanna arrived to see us on the boat. We took them down to Flecknoe Farm and had our Sunday roast. But before lunch we were obliged to move on past a few more boats because a swarm of bees came a bit close. The day is the longest of the year starting off more like October with dull grey skies but by the afternoon it was hot n sunny. Our guests went off with Ann for a walk while I volunteered to wash up. “Yes I do know how.” When they came back we returned to Braunston and said good bye to our guests.
We were lucky to find a space by the turn having passed many spaces for half boats! Next day we placed an order with Tesco for more food to be delivered at Willoughby. Off we went in glorious sunshine to the turn at Tarry’s bridge 74 and back, like going somewhere but getting nowhere.