Fri 21 May 04
We arrived at he boat about 2-30 on Friday afternoon, packed away all the paint tins from the week before and dropped down to the lock to load everything from the car on to the boat. We finally set off about 4pm, we had a reasonable journey down the flight and continued to Napton Junction in a heavy hail/rain shower, when we remembered we had not filled the water tank, so we decided to spent the night at Calcutt and top up with water there.
While Diana was filling the water tank I set to lighting the Dickinson, only to find the burner pot half full of water, I hoped it had leaked in down the chimney, but no luck, the water heating coil was weeping. I striped the oil lines from the bottom of the burner and cleaned out all the crud and water, lite the burner and hoped it would evaporate the water from the leak during the next 3 weeks.
Sat 22 May 04
Saturday and I woke early to a foggy morning, I mean early so I crawled back into bed for a few hours. When we surfaced it was shorts weather, the stove was still burning with white marks where the water was leaking and we set off towards Braunston. On the Puddle Banks we caught up with a small boat that was literally all over the cut, meeting and passing boats on both sides and sometimes head on, one Moorer opposite the Mill House described it as a dogged car. We stopped in Braunston so Diana could nip to the shops for the bits we had forgotten, then it was up the Braunston flight, stopping just short of the tunnel for a late lunch. As we were meeting friends who were coming from Debdale Wharf we turned up the Leicester arm to meet and help them down the Watford Flight Sunday morning.
When we finally found somewhere deep enough to moor the boat that was already there ran back and asked me if I would leave a gap of about 55ft as his friend had just gone to wind and would like to moor their facing the other direction. The friend turned out to be Jenny B with Tony and Jenny Brooks onboard so the early evening was spent sinking a few glasses of red wine until the sun went down when it was back to the boats to eat.
Sun 23 May 04
Sunday and we were on the move before 8 to leave Harnser at the bottom of the Watford flight and walk up to meet John and Joan at the top to assist them down. We found them filling the water tank and chatting to the lock keeper. This turned into an interesting meeting as he came from Norfolk, lived in Bury St Edmunds for a time, knew the Ipswich IWA Chairman and the final straw, had been on a coach trip to Standedge Tunnel with John and Joan many years earlier although nether of them recognised each other.
We were the first boat through the flight which we did quite quickly with me setting the locks ahead. When we passed Tony he was looking at the charging circuit of the other boat that was moored with us. The run down Buckby was a bit frustrating at times as boats coming up were turning locks just as we were leaving the previous lock. We stopped for ice creams at Whilton Marina which now carries even more stock than when I visited last and there diesel was 32 p/lt which I didn't think was to bad. We moored for the night at Blisworth with us all eating on Harnser.
Monday 25 May 04
Another fine day and we started with a walk into the village to get some provisions and a paper, leaving the moorings around 10 am. The next stop was Stoke Bruerne for water, unfortunately just as we were about to leave another boat came down and took all the locks that were set in out favour. we only met one boat in the flight so all the locks were against us, at 4 pm we moored at Cosgrove and ate onboard Fringilla.
Tuesday 26 May 04
Bit of a late start at 10 30 am stopping to eat lunch in Milton Keynes. In the afternoon we stopped by bridge 90 B as John and Joan had arranged to meet Sheila Lockwood for afternoon tea. Sheila collects and sells old Waterways magazines on behalf of WRG. It was such a nice day that we decided on a BBQ just above Stoke Hammond lock.
Wednesday 27 May 04
Today was a bit overcast and as we walked the dog we saw a very slow single hander coming up towards the lock we we decided to push off before he arrived rather than follow him to Leighton Buzzard, but as they say all the best laid plans end in tatters. At the Soulbry Three we caught up with the Navy boat Emma waiting for the bottom lock to fill, John and Joan joined them and we followed behind. We had just left the first lock when the single hander arrived, so we waited in the second lock and helped him up to join us, we then worked him up the other two locks when he then informed us he was going to stop for coffee. As we were going up the flight Colin from "Patty Anne" appeared with his camera returning from an early morning stroll, he had moored a little way below the locks. We caught up with the Navy and John at Leighton lock and followed them to Tesco at Leighton Buzzard to replenish stocks for the following weekend.
The sun popped out every now and then and warmed things up during the afternoon as we headed on to moor a short way before Seabrook middle lock for the night.
Thursday 27 May 04and the Weekend
I worked ahead setting locks and operating the swing bridge on the bike. One of the things I noted was that there are two mooring bollards by the swing bridge on the off side, which should be a great help to single handers. We stopped at the BW yard at Marsworth to fill the water tanks ready for the weekend and the continued up to the Wendover Arm. When we arrived at the Wendover Arm we found that it was pretty full beyond Gamnel Bridge and we had to wind in the feeder and come back to just before the sewage outfall to moor. Debbi and Simon on "Tiami" managed to breast up beyond the bridge but Simon had to get a new gangplank about 14ft long to get ashore with. We found Arun moored well down the arm but no sign of Terry. Anne is moored just astern of us with Vital Spark and Colin passed on his bike, deciding to leave his boat on the Main Line. We met up with Terry, Anne, Debbie and Simon in the beer tent Friday night. The local bitter is £1-80 a pint.
The Festival went very well with some very good weather, and I understand that the entry was well up on last year. In addition to the people we met in my last posting we also came across Sue but only found Roger while we were packing up, George "Bungle" was there dishing out loads of love and care on Sammy. Simon, and family from Clara. On a visit to the pumping station I bumped into Charles Lynnes from the Cotswold Canal Trust and Guy and Connie decided to stay with us on Harnser.
On Saturday evening 10 of us went to the pub at Bullborn for a meal, I think I may have got it wrong when I said the landlord was leaving on Monday, I think it could well be the end ofJune, but they are going. On Sunday evening after the BBQ Connie, Guy, Diana and myself walked along the recently lined section of the canal which should be opened in time for the next festival. Here we got talking to a member of the Wendover Trust who persuaded me that I should fork out £4 to visit the pump station the next day. This turned out to be very worthwhile with Gavin giving us lots of information about the pumps, reservoirs and the pump station its self.
Tue 1 June 04
We left our moorings at 8-30 on Tuesday morning only to sit in a short queue at the head of the arm, but once that had cleared we had a reasonable run down to Marsworth where we replenished the water tanks. This was followed by the compulsory stop at Tesco in Leighton Buzzard before mooring at The Globe, Linslade. boats were moored back well past the sewage works but there was loads of space right outside the pub. We booked a table and had a very good meal with John and Joan. Most of the other boats that were there were heading for Fenny Stratford and they had booked a large table to eat together as they were all traveling in convoy.
Wed 2 June 04
Wednesday and we set off at 8-30 again, well of all the Fenny crowed in bright sunshine. We stopped to buy diesel from the working boat Ascot at Black Horse mooring unfortunately his price had risen since we passed last and it was now 32.5 p/Lt. We moored for the night just south of Yardley Gobin.
Thur 3 June 04
Thursday and its my birthday and also Mike Wooding's so we exchanged greetings by text before setting off. We had a fantastic run up the Stoke Bruerne flight with most of the gates wide open for us just to drift in and where this wasn't the case we met boats coming down so we could leave the gates as we left and at some locks we did both. We stopped to fill with water out side The Boat public house before doing the tunnel, this was warm, wet and generally foul, we were quite pleased to get out into the sun again. Just prior to Stow Hill it started raining quite heavily and this continued for the rest of the day. We moored for the night at Weedon with John and Joan
coming to my birthday party complete with cake.