Trip reports 2001

 

Monday 1st January 2001

Our plan today was to move the boat up to the top of the Buckby Locks and moor by the New Inn. At 10.30am I flashed up the engine, which started fine and started smashing the ice at the stern with the boat pole. It was about 2 inches thick. Getting out was going to be a problem. The boat owner opposite us had a Dutch barge and seeing our difficulty opened up her own engines and the ice smashed with the force. This was a big help and enabled us to reverse out of our mooring and turn One Moore for the entrance. We crashed through the remaining ice and 30 minutes later turned onto the cut proper. On route the engine suddenly lost power and then was ok again. This pattern was to be repeated all day. The ice on the cut was still thick but broken, other boats had been passing through. The gates were even more difficult to move, due to the ice in the locks not allowing the gates to go fully home and the lack of grip for my feet on the ground. The temperature had risen to 10 degrees or so and it was not cold. The thickness of the ice was going to take some shifting even with the rise in temperature. We continued up the locks with care. Badger, with Mandy at the helm and Glen on lock duty were sighted at the second lock from the top on their way back home. We stopped at the top lock at 1.30pm and established that the pub was not open for food that night. We had 2 hours to get to Watford staircase before they shut, if we were to get all the way back to Crick that night, we had to get past the locks by 3.30pm. We decided to press on. The engine was performing ok at this point. We turned onto the Leicester section and all was well. There was still plenty of ice around and we crashed through it. Suddenly we lost all power again. The engine was ticking over but only just moving forward. We crossed our fingers and pressed on. Just before the lock the engine died all together. It started again and after a short rest, power came back. Up the locks we went and at the top stopped for dunny dump and water. All now seemed ok. As we left the top lock the same thing happened again. We were able to go forward but only just. Then the engine stopped again and we were left at the mercy of the wind, which pushed us across the cut and we run aground.  This time there was no starting the engine. I fiddled with the wires, found a loose one on the starter motor and bingo the engine started. We proceeded, slowly all the way back, through the tunnel to Crick. We arrived at 5.00pm and were very glad to be home. We moored on the cut moorings, as to actually get into the Marina would have been a major feat. Paul from the marina helped us get tied up and suggested that the problem may have been water in the fuel. Another chum of mine said that the diesel may have been frozen and was not getting through to the engine properly. In the evening we walked up to the Red Lion in Crick and who should we meet propping up the bar, where else J, but Malcolm Nixon. We had a few wets, as you do and Malcolm joined us for pudding. A great time had by all.

On a completely different subject, we had a good find in the last few days. We needed some more coal for the fire and Wendy found some very good compressed hexagonal coal nuts that stayed in much longer than the larger ones we were using and made very little ash. It’s called ‘Pureheat’ and is made by Aimcor. It’s excellent.

Tuesday 2nd January 2001

At mid morning we moved the boat back into her mooring within the marina, tied up and left for home, via Whilton Marina to collect our other car and purchase another couple of bags of the Pureheat.

Another great Christmas cruise.

Winter 2000/1

Engine Service / Bathroom Wall Replacement

Sunday 23/4/2001

Up late as usual. Frosty on the TV, Archers on the radio, various checks and away at 12.45pm. It’s cold and quite windy. Wendy and I share the steering. We R and S at Rushey Lock. We should have taken on water here as well but Niclosons is incorrect and we take on water at the next lock, Radcot. All the locks are very well kept and colourful with flowers. The lockkeepers though, are still less than chatty. Not much in the way of other boats around. The river twists and turns. The views are extensive, due to the low banks. This is cow country, there are thousands of them. At 6.00pm we moor up at Radcote. There is a large field , just before the bridge. We have been advised where to moor by another boater. We want to be by ourselves, as Wendy wants me to run the generator, so that she can use the heated rollers for her hair. We eat on board and watch the TV. Picture once again excellent.

Crick to Braunston 2001

Braunston Northampton – First May Bank Holiday 2001

Wednesday 2nd May 2001

We left mid pm and drove to Braunston. After loading up the boat at the loading mooring, we chugged out of the marina at about 5pm and headed up the Braunston flight. The weather was cool and dry. Some of the gates and paddles are stiff and heavy and Wendy and I share the steering and locks. We decide to stop at the top of the Buckby flight although there are no canalside moorings so we breast up on a BW dredger. We eat on board and to bed fairly early.

Thursday 3rd May

We rise leisurely and head off down the flight with another boat. A new traditional style boat owned by a retired couple who were out for the summer. A lovely boat. The ladies set the locks and the men steer. We stop at the bottom lock and pop into Whilton Marina to enquire about a boat they have for sale called ‘Kit’, which is a 60ft Nb with the layout we are looking for. It is already sold, so point in viewing but we leave our details in case it comes onto the market again. Off we go again. There are no more locks today so I steer and enjoy the canal. The canal here follows the M1 (or the other way around) and the hum of the traffic is always in the background. There is the occasional roar from the trains that rattle past. The canal passes through wooded areas and open fields. Our stop for the night is Bugbrook. This is where we bought One Moore, or Togobo as she was then. We moore on the Wharf Inn pub moorings. On the opposite side of the canal, on the towpath, is Draco and Thorn. The time is about 3pm. Up goes the TV ariel and a good picture is obtained. At 5pm ish Mike and Kristina Wooding arrive with various dogs and cats and board Draco, followed by Guy and Connie who board Thorn, a little later. Wendy and I shower and head up to the Wharf Inn for dinner followed by Guy and Connie. An excellent meal is had by all. The Woodings join us later and after a few wets, its back to One Moore for just the one, which turns into just the several. At about 1am Wendy decides that she wants to go to bed and politely tells the assembled drunken crowd to go home, well, piss off actually. All aboard understand the message completely and stagger back to there respective boats. We all sleep soundly.

Friday 4th May, 2001

The plan has been set for engine start at 9am and we almost make it, leaving at 9.15 am. Draco is away first, followed by ourselves and Thorn bring up the rear. Its dry and sunny. There are no locks so I, once again steer and enjoy the coutryside. Wendy tidies up inside and sits in the bow. There is no hurry today, we have plenty of time, so I slip on the headphones, tuned to Radio 5 and sit back to enjoy the trip. After a couple of hours we reach the junction with the Nothampton Arm and stop to dump the dunny and fill with water. This is important because it’s the last one and the only one arm. Its now hot and sunny. All 3 boats take advantage of the facilites and help ourselves to other peoples cast offs in the skip. Guy takes the knobs from a discarded gas cooker. Spares like that you can’t buy anymore. After an hour or so we set off for he flight, which is only about a 10 minute chug. We pass Alverchuch Marina on the way. At the top lock there is a single handed boat that is across the cut. We wait for him to get organized and in the wait Connie on Thorn manages to get caught by the wind an turns right round in the water. Eventually its our turn to enter the top lock. Single locks now and with a single hander ahead the going is slow. Thorn is in front of us and Draco behind. Wendy walks on to see if she can help the man on his own but returns having had her advances rebuffed. The locks are not difficult and are close together so we back set for each other and proceed slowly. About ¾ of the way down some people appear and help with the locks. They are a welcome sight. Apparently they often help out, sort of hobby. The locks now spread out. We travel through the huge bridgehole that supports the M1 and on toward Northampton. The canal is now full of weed and I have to keep stopping and putting the boat in revers to get rid of it. We pass the infamous Lock 16. This lock is a favorite for the local thugs to throw stones at the boats. As we continue we see the Northampton Tower in the distance. There are houses to our right and large fields to our left. Burnt out cars are in the fields, cant imagine how they got there, no obvious roads in view. The final lock, 17, takes us down onto the Nene and into the Northampton basin. New houses and well maintained moorings are to our left. Under a bridge, bear right and we see the others. Thorn has moored with Slow Motion, Julian and Tina’s boat on the small island opposite the huge Avon Building. We moor as well and then are joined by the others. 5 boats all breasted up. Its late afternoon. We eat on board in the evening and thenWendy and I have a walk up to the town center. We also visit the nearby Morrisons Supermarket and buy provisions and find the Indian restaurant for the following days evening meal. We end up at the nearby bar that had been provided for the weekend by the rally organizers. A jolly evening is had by all and we return to the boat at about 10.30pm, leaving the others in the bar.

Saturday May 5th 2001

We rise late and visit Morrisons for breakfast, which is excellent. Wendy is impressed with Morrisons, the quality of the food the layout of the store and the helpful staff.Then its back to the boat. We decide to join Julian on ‘Slow Motion’ for a trip up the Arm, which is very low for water. The idea is that you collect bits of fabric from various points on route and then present them to one of the organizers to prove that you have completed the task. The very end of the arm is blocked off with a huge pile of earth and Julian is very upset that he cannot get all the way up. A wonder up the town again to the Market in Northampton Square in the afternoon and buy a few bits. In the evening we visit the Indian Restaurant (name escape me).Janey Young, Sean and Dave and Lesley join us.

We have a passable meal. Mine is very hot and a bit runny. Most of the meals are acceptable, but not the best Indian I have ever had. The desert of ice cream, which looks like a pile of nipples on a plate is fine and causes much amusement. Its then back to the beer tent and the evenings entertainment. This turned out to be a band singing 50’s songs and they were not very good, so we all returned to the boats for a few late night wets on Draco and fill in the quiz form. Dave and Lesley sleep on Draco and Sean returns home. Janey left us after the meal.

Sunday 6th May 2001

A late start. The day was spent mainly relaxing and attending the auction. This consisted of all sorts of tat that had been brought by boaters to sell. We of course got carried away and bought some items including a stool, a brass door knocker, (which I will give to Brian P for Christmas as it has the name John Peel on it and Brian is a fan), a hat for Mike Wooding to wear, and some things or Wendy to paint. A chug for us up the arm again, this time on One Moore. We were joined by Mike wooding and Dave and Lesley. We got as far as Julian had on the previous day and I was pleased with my performance in handling the boat, particularly one pick up of the fabric which was attached to a jetty in the river. The wind was blowing hard and controlling the boat was quite difficult. In the evening we BBQ’d and then went to the beer tent for the entertainment which was very good. A sort of folk group with jokes. There was a raffle and the various prizes for quiz winners were also given out.

Monday 7th May 2001

A very early start, to beat other boaters up the locks. Slow Motion was first away at about 7am followed by us and then, Simon single handing his 70ft Nb the rest in the fullness of time. The weather was fresh but dry. Julian seemed to race away and we appreciated him back setting the locks for us. Just before lock 14 we see Dave, with head and arms deep in weed hatch. A sports bag has got round his prop. We move on by and continue up the locks. As we eat our breakfast of sausages in rolls, the sun starts to pop its head out. We now approach the section of canal where the locks are more evenly spaced and Wendy can walk from one to the other. Late morning we reach the top, where 2 BW men help us through the last lock. We chat, as you do. We stop at Alverchurch Boatyard to enquire about boats for sale but there are none in our spec. A little further on Julian and Tina have stopped for lunch. We press on to the junction, the dunny dump and water. There is a small queue, so we wait for a while. Eventually we are able to get to the point having been bashed by a hire boat while manovering and bashing the boat getting water. All very undignified. Anyway after and hour or so we leave Gayton Junction and head off, in glorious sunshine through Blisworth and through the tunnel, which is of course is cool and wet. We meet another boat coming the other way and once pass we enter the sunshine once again. It’s a short skip to Stoke Bruerne and hundreds of people enjoying the comings and goings of boats. The top Lock is empty and we go straight in. We are on our own, Wendy sets the lock and I steer the boat. Wendy is helped by an onlooker to shut the gate. We proceed down the lock flight, boats are coming up so our passage is easy and fairly quick. The canal winds through the countryside. We pass Yardley Gobion, (where Shy Talk was originally moored) and on to Cosgrove. On route we have seen many no mooring signs, due to the Foot and Mouth outbreak but there are plenty of places to moor. We have been surprised that there are people walking the towpath, even though there are very clear signs that some are closed. We arrive at Cosgrove at about 4pm and moor up opposite the pub on the towpath. It does not look too inviting and we decide to eat on board. It’s been a long day. For some reason, can’t remember why now, I pushed the little cleaning button on the Paloma water heater and after that the gas pilot light would not come on. After much dismantling and cleaning and reassembling of the heater it eventually lit and all was well. We had a shower, watched TV, had a few wets and then to bed. A very enjoyable day.

Tuesday 8th May 2001

We awake to glorious sunshine. And are on our way at about 10 0’clock. There is a short trip of a few minutes to the water point and we are able to turn just before the lock in the junction of the Old Stratford and Buckingham Branch, which is now a mooring home to many boats. So we are now heading back the way we came. At the bottom of the Stoke Bruerne flight we wait in the second lock for a Nb that has just arrived. It’s always easier with two boats rather than one. Turns out this American couple have just picked up their hire boat and this is their first lock!!. We help them through and they are good pupils. The rise up the locks is enjoyable, the men set the locks and the ladies steer the boat. At the top we are invited to join them for a drink at the pub and we quickly accept. What turned out to be a quick drink, turned into a long drink. After a couple of hours or so we really had to make a move , we still had quite a way to go to Bugrook. Our American friends decided to stay put and moor here for the night. The weather is now overcast and quite cold. Back through the tunnel we go, past Gayton and on to Bugbrook. I have the hammer down for the last half hour or so because its now raining hard and its cold. We arrive at about 7 pm and moor on the towpath, a few boats up from Thorn and Draco. We watch Corry and then visit the pub for dinner. By the time we got back it had stopped raining. A smashing day.

Wednesday 9th May 2001

We start early today and head for Braunston. Nothing much to report, just an enjoyable days ghugg. WE are on our own up the Buckby Flight which slowed us down a little and we had a slow decent to Braunston because we had a hire boat as a companion where the lady did not take part in the steering or locking procedure. The chap was basically single handing the boat all the way down the locks. At Braunston we turn into the marina unload and go home by car. A very enjoyable weeks holiday.

Friday 18th May 2001

Ravern and One Moore left the marina at 10.15am and headed up the flight together. There was a short delay at the bottom lock but otherwise the rise was fairly speedy with boats coming down at each lock. Through the tunnel and a sharp left turn onto the Leicester Section of the GU. At Watford Locks there is a queue and we wait for 3 boats to go ahead of us. One a very old boat and butty which I helped them pull through the first lock and into the second. We go in with a 30ft ish trip boat that is on its way to the show. The rise is fairly speedy with helpers from other boats. Dave has gone on ahead of us and as we exit the tunnel Raven is already moored and Dave indicates that we should moor up behind Ravern. The water here is quite shallow and Ravern is about 3ft from the edge. We however moor right up close and will not need our plank. A short time later Draco and Thorn arrive and moor up behind us. They too cannot get right into the side. We are very happy with the moorings considering we thought that we would not be able to moor until well after Bridge 13. There are moorings that we could have pre booked but at £2 per meter of boat length for the weekend, plus the show entrance fee, it was thought by all of us that it was too expensive. Its now about 6pm and I head for home by car, leaving Wendy on the boat. The others are all staying so she will be well looked after. I have to work tomorrow.

Crick Boat Show

Thursday 24th May 2001

The day started with a visit to the Doctor for me. I have been suffering from heartburn for some time and I wanted it checked out. The Doctor proscribed some drugs and suggested that I make a appointment to have a specialist look at the problem with a camera down into my stomach. That was followed by a trip to the dentist in the afternoon. I had been suffering from toothache and had already been the previous Tuesday when some antibiotics had been proscribed but the problem had not got any better and I wanted it sorted before I went away on the boat for the weekend. The solution was to remove the tooth which he did. I did return to work briefly but as I could not talk to well went home. We left for the boat at about 4pm and drove to Crick, where we left a car and then went onto Braunston. We met Dave Hearman as we arrived on his way to the Mill House. My mouth although sore, was considerable better than earlier in the day. The original plan was to move our boat round the corner to the Mill House and meet up with Draco and Thorn. We decided to leave the boat where she was and walk to the pub. We met up with the others and had a meal and jolly time. Wendy and I left at about 10.30pm and walked back to the boat. I had been taking antibiotics and pain killers so drinking was in moderation and an early night seemed like a good idea.

Saturday 26th May 2001

James gives me a lift back to Crick after I finish work and Wayne comes for the ride. We arrive about 8.00pm. Wendy has spent the day painting and reading. Some of the group have gone to the pub for dinner, so we eat on board and then join the Woodings for a nightcap. Bed 11.00pm.

 

 

 

Wednesday 12/9/2001

Arrived at Braunston early ppm in the pouring rain. Moved the boat across to
the loading mooring and loaded everything from the car onto the boat and
then returned to our mooring. Eat on board.

Thursday 13/9/2001
I woke up early, excited I suppose, and we had tea and coffee as usual.
After breakfast we moved the boat to get diesel (32 pence per liter) 120
liters and Gas and filled up with water. All systems go. We eventually leave
at about 11.30 am. It is cool but dry. The trip to Napton, to meet up with
the CIBC GIGers went swiftly. We arrived at 3.00pm and went to meet some of
the others already there. At 4.30pm, after putting up the TV ariel (there is
a problem with the powered one) Mike took me to collect my car, that was
left in Braunston, so that I could return to Evesham. Guy also needed a lift
to collect his car from Nb Thorn's moorings and then continue to Northampton
to collect the marquee and transport it back to Napton for the weekend
festivities. I eventually arrived home at 6.30pm.

Saturday 15/9/2001

James ran me to Napton, where we arrive at about 7.30pm. James returned
home. A quick sausage sandwich or 3 and then went up to the Marquee for the
evening entertainment with Buz and Sam and little Mushroom, which went down
a storm. Of course there were the odd few beers consumed during the evening
and a jolly time was had by all. The raffle was well supported and I think
most people won something. Wendy and I left the others to it, at about
11.30pm. I understand that the 'party' continued long into the night.

Sunday 16/9/2001

We rise late, as I think did most of the group, breakfast and auction, which
was most entertaining and profitable. Wendy sold some of her canal art and
bought a few more bits to paint and we came out in pocket.  Boaters games in
the afternoon proved to be very testing for some and too energetic for
others like me. I was pleased to watch. I was fascinated by a model
steamship, called 'Fair Constance'. Built by Guy Morgan. A beautiful scale
model. Guy moved her remotely around the cut. Quite a sight. In the evening
more entertainment this time supplied by Guy, with his excellent quiz and
then Buz and Bruce with more music and fun songs. We left at about 11.00pm.
Slept soundly.

Monday 17/9/2001

First day of our holiday. Some people had drifted way on the Sunday and by
lunchtime, Monday, we were away too. We left Napton and pootled for a couple
of hours, down the flight and along the very twistey turned canal, until we
reached Bridge 144 and the top of te Claydon flight. We moored up. Slight
problem with the boat behind us running his generator, that is until Wendy
went to speak to him. It went off!.

Tuesday 18/9/2001

Wake up early, but stay in bed. Its raining and not very nice. Mid morning
and we are away. Slight disagreement with a single handing boat, that pushed
in at the top of the locks but soon sorted and he agreed to let me go first.
There are quite a lot of boats around in both directions. We stop in
Cropredy and have an excellent lunch in the Red Lion pub. Sausage sandwich
for me and prawn for Wendy. We then walk to the Spa shop in te village,
which is very well stocked. Good service as well. It's now raining again and
quite cold. We arrive at Banbury at about 5.30pm and moor up on new moorings
by the new Quay shopping center. Very god moorings. A TV picture is not
available on any channel, so we make do with the radio. I spend about 2
hours trying to get my laptop to talk to my phone so that I can get my
e-mails. I have been having considerable with this recently and before I
came away I had to format the hard drive and reinstall windows 98 instead of
the Millennium that this laptop does not seem to like. All WAS well, or so I
thought. Anyway in the end it worked. One problem I found is that my
inverter gives off an IR signal and stops the laptop recognizing the phone.
At 7.30 we wander into Banbury town center and eat at Lin Hong Chinese
Restaurant. Food and house wine very good. Back at the boat, more radio,
nightcap, bed.

Wednesday 19/9/2001

Got up very late, 10.00am. Its cold, wet and the outlook is not good. After
breakfast we wonder into Banbury and shop. A pair of walkie talkies from
Argos, new shoes for me, visit an old chum that runs a photo minilab in the
town, new headphones for my radio, visit umpteen mobile phone shops looking
for a new phone for Wendy - unsuccessful - and M&S for provisions. Lunch and
then off at 3.00pm. It's now drisseling and cold. At the lock I rescue a
swan that has got stuck in the top gate. I pushed it out from the rear with
my pole. After it came out it looked round as if to say thank you, but
looked a bit indignant. Guess it did not like having a pole up the jacksie,
even if it did save its life. We stopped for water and dunny dump and then
on. We pass through Banbury, factory's all round. Once out in the
countryside there ae many bridges, all of which were up so our passage was
uninterrupted. We moor at Bridge 177 for the night. Its 5.00pm. Great TV
picture, all 5 channels. Tonight we will eat on board.

Thursday 20/9/2001

We woke early today and bright sunshine showered the boat. It's warm too.
After breakfast and some engine checks we leave at 10.00am. Kings Sutton
Lock is just a few minutes away. It needs filling up. We wend our way under
the M40 and on down to Nell Bridge. Many years ago, Wendy and I put an offer
in for 2 houses, that are canalside by this lock. Our offer was rejected. It
looks much the same now as it did then. On through Aynho, Clifton and
Somerton. This is a very pretty canal. Sheep, cattle and horses are in the
fields. There are cuttings through woodland and then the canal opens out to
views of the countryside. The bridges are very low in places and one of them
catches us out and the chimney gets caught. The lock paddles are well
maintained and easy to raise and lower but the gates are heavy and take some
moving. There are some other boats around, mainly going in the other
direction and most of the locks are with us. The sunshine comes and goes. It
's nice just to watch the world go slowly by. There are long narrow
sections, with high reeds either side of the boat.
I decide to have another go at getting my e-mail working properly on the
laptop. I can send to the group and receive from the group but not receive
the e-mails I send. Various tests prove unsatisfactory. It then hits me, my
e-mail address is wrong. Sure enough, problem solved, e-mail address
misspelt. We arrive at The Rock of Gibraltar Pub at 5.50pm. Good pub
moorings. The TV picture is acceptable on 4 only. We walk to the pub
for dinner. Rack of lamb for Wendy which was excellent 9/10 and fillet steak
for me. I like steak medium, just done, this was how I ordered it. It
arrived medium rare. I eat it anyway. 6/10. Back to the boat for 9.00pm.
Another boat insisted on running its engine till 10.30pm. If Anglo Welsh are
reading this, please advise your hirers that it is not necessary to run you
engine when moored up and you have the light on!. We would have told them
but the boat was moored across the cut and a long walk from us.

Friday 21/9/2001

Wake late, get up even later, what the hell we are on our holidays. Its hot
and sunny and going to be dry today - all day, well that's what they say.
Eggs and bacon for
Breakfast, Cheese for Wendy. Do a bit of filming and take some pictures.
Repair the rather dented chimney, general check and clean and away at
11.45am. We pass the huge satellite scanning dishes and wonder what is being
picked up by them. Small light aircraft buzz around all over the skies.
After a few minutes we hit our first lock of the day, Bakers Lock. Once
through the canal joins the river for a short time and then we lock back
onto the canal again. This lock is wide on the inside, don't know why. Its
then on to Thrupp through a pretty section of overhanging trees and bushes.
Narrow little bridges are also in evidence from time to time. At Thrupp we
stop for RSW and get chatting to a couple on a beautiful Nb called Lady
Jane. They are out for 10 months and have basically been living on board for
the last 3 years. Its then on again. Wendy lifts the bridge and I make the
sharp right hand turn down the canal. Through the outskirts of Kidlington,
which is full of factory units. There are other boats around and we have to
wait at the next few locks. Another lift bridge, this time is my turn. We
see Kingfishers and Herons and of course many ducks, Moorhens and swans. We
spy an old Dolphin Cruiser like the one we had when we first started boating
all those years ago. After Dukes Lock we debate as to whether we should go
onto the Thames via Dukes Cut but decide to continue on to Oxford. We pass a
long stretch of long term moorings, with water, but not a single boat. Then
a long stretch of traveller type boats, right up to the lock.Once through we
pootle on at tickover speed. We stop just after the electric lift bridge at
a shop for a paper and some fags and then continue to the end. At Isis lock
there is a winding hole for 50ft boats or less and a short section don to
the very end in Oxford, where there is another winding hole for 30ft boats
or less. We decide to moor up and reverse back the 100 yards or so to a
space on the towpath. We are helped in by another boater. Set up the TV and
get 5 wonderful stations including 'Six TV' an Oxford station. Didn't know
such things existed. In the evening we wonder into town for a curry, which
turned out to be very average. Oxford was thronging with youngsters enjoying
themselves and beggars. Back around 10.00pm.

Saturday 22/9/2001

Get up late, again and walk the 30 minutes or so to Sainsburys for
provisions. We breakfast at Alders restaurant, very nice, shame about the
service. The town does not seem  very busy for a Saturday. Back to the boat
and away at 11.45pm. Through Isis lock and onto the Thames. At the junction,
there is no sign to direct us to Lechlade, so a quick look at the book tells
us to turn right. The water is so clear now. We pass a huge field full, and
I mean dozens, of horses of all sorts of sizes, colours and types. Wendy
wonders if it is a sanctuary. At Godstow Lock we buy the necessary licence.
We need 4 days, which at 12 UKP per day, is more than a 15 day at 45 UKP.
The lockkeeper is not a cheerful happy chappie like the BW ones. The weather
is still being kind to us and we continue in warmth. The river, reminds us a
bit of parts of the Avon. The next lock is unmanned and we do it ourselves.
For some strange reason, the signs instruct us to close the gates on exit
and leave the lock empty. Can't think why?. On the Avon the rule is to leave
exit gates open. At Eynsham Lock we come across another less than cheerful
lockkeeper but its nice to have all the work done for you. A couple of
hundred yards on and we stop for a late lunch and I write this log. At 4.00pm we crack on and an hour or so later pull up at The Ferry Inn,
Bablock Hythe. The moorings are good, even though we have to use our plank
to reach the side. Dinner in the pub, which is very microwaved, and sort of
ok. TV picture is excellent and we return to the boat at 9.00pm to watch it
before bed.

Sunday 23/9/2001

Up late as usual. Frosty on the TV, Archers on the radio, various checks and
away at 12.45pm. It's cold and quite windy. Wendy and I share the steering.
We R and S at Rushey Lock. We should have taken on water here as well but
Nicholsons is incorrect and we take on water at the next lock, Radcot. All
the locks are very well kept and colourful with flowers. The lockkeepers
though, are still less than chatty. Not much in the way of other boats
around. The river twists and turns. The views are extensive, due to the low
banks. This is cow country, there are thousands of them. At 6.00pm we moor
up at Radcote. There is a large field , just before the bridge. We have been
advised where to moor by another boater. We want to be by ourselves, as
Wendy wants me to run the generator, so that she can use the heated rollers
for her hair. We eat on board and watch the TV. Picture once again
excellent.

Monday 24/9/2001

Good fry up for breakfast today. Check boat for defects, find none and off 10.45am. The river twists and turns, so of them quite sharp. Through Buscot and St. Johns Locks and into Lechlade. We travel through the village, it’s raining now, and onto the winding hole, which we miss and end up in the trees trying to turn round further up. Having winded we moor up in Lechlade just past the bridge in another large field. It’s now raining hard. We watch 2 Swans getting it together, or rather not in this case as the femail gets away. What a violent act. Its now 2.00pm. As I can’t get my e-mail to download, computer batteries run out and the mains inverter, gives off an IR signal that interferes with the connection, we walk the short distance to the village center. Lechlade is not very large but has a good selection of food type shops and pubs and restaurants. It also has many antique and bric a brac shops. We spend some time in these and bought a couple of things. Back to the boat, now bathed in sunshine, downloaded my e-mails and off to the Trout Inn for dinner. 5.45pm.We arrive at the lock at just gone 6.00pm and the lokkepper s off duty. As the locks are always left empty, we have to fill it ourselves before proceeding. About 100 yards from the lock we turn left into a small marina and the Trout Inn moorings. There is no sign, good job we phoned earlier for directions. The moorings are high and concrete, not very Nb friendly. The food, service and general ambience at the Trout is excellent. Faggots for me and sea bass for Wendy, all washed down with a very nice bottle of house red. Back to the boat at 10.30pm. It’s quite cold outside but we are nice and snug by the fire.

Tuesday 25/9/2001

We wake to fog and a very damp morning. Big mucky breakfast, well, we are on our holidays. General checks and off at 11.00am. Still foggy but now quite warm. The river twists and turns and there are some very nice sections, almost like cuttings with trees either side. There are good views of the countryside. There are few properties but many pill boxes, left over from the last war I suppose. We pass through the various locks and at one we meet a rowing crew of 3 going to Teddington. Today they intend to row to Oxford and be in Teddington on Saturday. Brave lads. Mid afternoon sees the sunshine come through and extra heat with it. What a super day this is. We pull up at 4.45pm and moor at the Rose Revived Inn. High grass bank moorings. We are meeting some chums here tonight for dinner.

Our Chums did not turn up as planned, so it was just the two of us. Surf and turf for me which was quite nice and chicken and ham pie for Wendy which was awful. Nice bootle of house red, which we finished on the boat.

Wednesday 26/9/2001

We wake to pouring rain, although its quite warm. We decide to stay in bed and eventually get up at 10.00am. After the usual checks we leave at 11.00am. It’s stopped raining. We move quite quickly through the countryside, there are not many other boats around. We pass some large houses with lawns that roll down to the Thames, very nice. By mid afternoon, we arrive at Duke’s Cut and we turn off the main river towards the Oxford Canal. There is a shallow lock at the end with a rail bridge over. A train goes over and the noise is deafening. Back on the canal we lock up and it starts raining again. We stop at Bridge 232 and walk into Kidlington. The town center is about 15 minutes walk and the variety of shops is very good. We shop at Tesco for provisions. While we are away from the boat it has stopped raining but starts again as we pull away. We follow another boat up the cut, through the next lock and then we moor up at the Jolly Boatman in the pouring rain. It’s 5.30pm.The food at The Jolly Boatman is very good. Steak with a peppercorn sauce for me and seafood platter for Wendy. Nice pint of Guinness and an excellent bottle of Australian red wine. Good finish to a very pleasant day, despite the rain.

Thursday 27/9/2001

We leave early, 10.00am, well early for us and continue up the Oxford Canal, in glorious sunshine and its quite hot. We stop at Thrupp, which is only a few minutes from our overnight mooring, R.S.W. and give the boat a wash. She has got very mucky in the lastfew days. That takes about an hour and when we start to pull away, guess what, yep it starts to rain, hard. Never mind on anyway. The section from Trupp to Heyford is very nice, long stretches of treelined canal and views over the countryside. The locks are well spaced and it’s easy to relax on the back of the boat enjoying the views and listening to Radio 5 on my walkman. We enquire about shops, we want a paper, and are told that there are none within easy walking distance of the canal, so don’t bother. A few minutes further up the cut, we spy the man that sells diesel and coal from the boat by the turn in Braunston. As we are getting a little low on Pureheat we buy a bag £6.00. Stop for a sandwich before the lock at Upper Heyford. We moor up for the night in a field, towpath side jut after Bridge 198.Wendy wants to wash her hair and use the hairdryer, so on. the generator is required and we need to be remote so that we do not disturb anybody. Time 5.30pm. We will eat on board tonight as we are miles from a pub.

Friday 28/9/2001 (Pay Day)

We wake to fantastic sunshine and it’s hot. I have got my shorts on!. Have breakfast, the usual checks on the boat, take a bit of video and some photo’s and have a play with the dog. Have not said much about Dog in these reports mainly because he is so quiet and good natured, we hardly know he is there. He sits on top of the boat as we go along and loves to feel the gentle breeze running through his hair. His little face is always a picture and always seems to have that contented look on it. Today he and I play ball he loves it, but he has trouble catching the ball. I must get a smaller one, he will find that easier. We leave at 10.20am and proceed gently up through Somerton, Clifton and Aynho, where we stop briefly to allow a boat that is across the cut to get control of itself and let us proceed. Wendy takes the helm for a while and I enjoy the ride, up front from the seats in the well deck. We pass Kings Sutton and almost too soon we arrive at Banbury, our weekend stopover point for the I.W.A. AGM. As we approach the town center we spy Draco but no sign of the Woodings. A voice from one of the boats asks if we are here for the Rally and when we confirm we are, points to where we should moor. It’s mid afternoon and lovely weather. The TV picture is much better than above the lock. A short walk up the towpath and we find T,J,G,C,M,K,B and D and Dave, who I had not met before. After the usual hello’s and a few comments on my new growth of chin hair, all in the best possible taste you understand, we head for Somerfield and provision shopping. On the way back we are invited aboard a Steve Hudson boat all in the name of research. Most interesting. The evening was a great success with all of us (11) attending one of the local curry houses followed by a pint in the Mill before Wendy and Retired for the night. I think one or two or the others stayed up later.

Saturday 29/9/2001

During then night the forecast rain and gales came so loud they woke me up. Mega lye in for me. And by mid day the weather has improved somewhat and at 1.00pm we walk to the town and take a film in to developed at a new speedy processing shop. We require the 30 minute service, as we want the pictures returned before we attend the I.W.A. AGM. I am interested in the quality of the work and the system they use to produce the pictures. The booking process is lengthy and when we return after 30 minutes the pictures are not ready, some problem with the paper. Not a good start. We attend the AGM and are surpised by the number of people there. The various votes are taken, including one to increase fees. There are a number of awards presented and an interesting and humerous talk given by Chris Cobern. All together, an interesting and informative couple of hours. At 4.15pm we return to collect our pictures, which are now ready and free, as they were not available on time. Quality is very good. Back to the boat where we are joined for a bevy or 3 by B,D,M,D,L, and K eventually returning from another mammoth shopping trip spending all of M’s money. It’ warm and sunny. The evening is eventually spent at the Church House Restauant (I think that’s what it’s called) at the top of the town. We hadto search the town a bit to find somewhere that was doing food on a Saturday night. A jolly time is have by all. Back via the Banbury Social Club, entry £1.oo and cheap beer. We arrived as the comedian was in full flow and very funny, although most of the jokes very un PC.Back to the boat at midnight’ish. A great day.

Sunday 30/9/2001

A lazy start, nothing new there. Walk up the boat jumble at 11.00am and return with a few bits. We debate whether to stay in Banbury as the weather does not look promising or continue on to Croperdy with the rest of the CIBC gang. In the end, as it has brightened up a little we set off at about 2.30pm. We RSW just below the lock and travl slowly through the boats breasted up through the town. There are hundreds people around

all admiring the boats, many of them taking advantage of the free boat trips. It’s nice to see so many families and youngsters taking an interest. The rain comes and goes and we soon reach Croperdy and catch up with the others. There are lots other boats moored and we have to go about 200 yards past the lock. Crap TV picture.Wendy has cooked a nice piece of slow roast beef, spuds, carrots, onions, and dumplings with tiramisu to follow. Luvly. The plan was to eat and then join the rest at the pub. Best laid plans and all that, you know what it’s like, good food, nice warm fire, all cosy and it’s blowing a gale and chucking it down outside. We stayed home.

Monday 01/10/01 ( Does that date mean something? All 0,1 )

Rude awakening at 06.50, a BW green working boat goes hacking past. I get up and make the tea. We are supposed to leave early’ish today, fair way to go. Anyway by the time Draco, Thorn and Percyfone have come to life etc, it’s about 10.30 when we get away and still quite early for us. The passage is slow, we have a single hander up ahead but the weather is good if a little windy. I get to use my new walky talkies in earnest and found them to be very good. Mike and Brian have them as well, so we can all talk to each other, assuming the conditions are ok and you get used to the Norman Collier language. Crew are spread out along the locks to ease the way. Once at the top its away for a nice clear route and excellent views. Fenny Compton came and went and a short time later, Wendy suggested that I put on waterproofs as there were a few spots of rain. ‘No need’ say I, it’s only a small shower. At that moment the heavens opened, stairods and high wind to go with it. We stop under a bridge, I dive in to get changed and Wendy tries to hold the boat. A few minutes later, all rain gone and brilliant sunshine again, although it’s still very windy and it remains like that for the rest of our trip. At 5.00pm we moor up between the two lock at Marston Doles. . Not long after we stop, B,D and C come through the upper lock on Thorn followed by Percyfone. They are going on to Napton, either top or bottom depending on time and then on to Stockton tomorrow. TV picture excellent, having fixed the booster ariel that I though was duff, it seems it was only a damaged connector. As I am connecting up, a voice says ‘ah, another lister!’. That’s clever I thought, how does he know my engine type, it’s not running and you can’t see it?. :-) Turns out to be George on Nb Jubilee the IWA boat returning from Banbury. (Play on the word lister). Showers and generator out (Wendy hair ). We are meeting with some chums tonight, so eating at the pub.

Tuesday 2/10/2001

We met up with our friends last night and had a very pleasant meal and a glass or two at the Red Lion, Hellidon, which is about 10 minutes car journey from the cut at Marston Doles. Today started with rain early on but by the time we left at 9.45am it was fine bright and warm enogh not to need a coat. The Napton flight was quite busy with boats going in both directions and made slower by a Nb in front of us insisting on being the only one in a pound at any one time. Comments like ‘It’s not a race you know’ and ‘we all want to save water don’t we’, did not impress the 4 or 5 boats kept waiting by this pratt. Water was not a problem on this flight I can assure you. At the bottom we stopped to dump the dunny and then set off for the final leg to Brauston. A nice gentle pootle. We arrived at 3.00pm having packed up on route, had lunch and are now waiting for our Son to pick us up and take us back to Evesham. A smashing holiday.

Summary.

Miles – 164

Locks – 102

Days out 21

Defects – Zero (Yippee)

Weather – Mixed but mainly fine

Hostility – None

TV Reception – On the whole pretty good.

Best Meal – There were some good ones but nothing exceptional

Worst Meal – Ferry Inn, Thames

Worst Bit – Getting soaked in downpour just after Fenny Compton yesterday.

Best Bit – Not sure both canal and river were pretty nice. I have to say that the Napton Gathering and the Banbury IWA Gathering of CIBC members will live in my memory for a long time and thanks to all those involved in both venues for all the hard work. Our holiday was that much more enjoyable as a result.

The End

Tuesday December 25th - Christmas Day

Our day started with a mid morning trip to Cheltenham and Christmas dinner with our 2 sons James and Brian at Wendy’s Father’s house. Everything had previously been prepared by Wendy and the turkey with all the trimmings were lovely. A good family time was had by all. We then traveled to Charlton to meet Brian’s girlfriends parents, for a Christmas drink and then off to the boat, arriving Braunston 6.00pm. We decided to leave the car unloading until the next day and settled down to getting the boat warm and an evening of Chritmas night Corry and Only Fools and Horses. Splendid.

Wednesday December 26th Boxing Day.

I woke up early and make the tea. We had decided to be away by 10 so we had to leave our mooring by 9.00am. The normally short, 5 minute journey from our mooring to the loading dock took about 30 minutes due to the thick ice that had formed on the water. Going backwards is never easy on One Moore. Breaking the ice as we went was not the best of starts, although the weather was at least dry if cold. Getting water was the next issue. All the taps were either off or frozen. We made our way out of the marina and up the cut, being pushed by the ice, from side to side as we went. The second water point was unfrozen, goody, we stopped and filled up. At this point the sun came out and it was a very nice, if cold day. At 11.00am we left Braunston Turn and headed up the North Oxford. We tried to go slowly past the moored boats but a bit of speed was essential to try and keep the boat in some sort of straight line. I wondered if there was a technique for steering in the ice?. As we moved further way from the junction the ice was getting thicker. I decided that the ice would be thinner near to the edge of the water. This was correct but the concrete shelf just below the waterline made steering eve more difficult. Now I must try and get back to the middle. At this point, another boat came the other way and our path was clear. Wendy and I shared the pootling. We soon arrived at Hillmorton Locks and had been joined by 2 other boats following One Moore’s ice moving facility. Some other boats were going the other way, 2 of them netter’s, I found out later. Sorry, not sure who you were, no doubt you will enlighten me. There were not many boats around but every one coming the other way was most welcome. We traveled on through Rugby and arrived at Newbold at 2.30pm. A very good run considering.

Draco, Raven, Thorn with Percyphone, Duplin, were already in attendance having arrived some days before. The afternoon was spent relaxing in front of the tele, incidentally, excellent picture on all 5 channels and preparing for the evening visit to the pub. Assembly was at 8.00pm and the walk to the Barley Mow took no more than a few minutes. Laughter and merriment were in full supply all evening and the bash finished in the nearly hours aboard One Moore, with specialist whisky’s supplied by Guy.

Thursday December 27th

My head hurts. Wendy I wake up at 9.15 and the day starts gently. The shower and special gel that was given to me by Kristina the night before had little effect, my head still hurt. Never mind, a relaxing day today. The weather has improved and it’s much warmer than yesterday. A few showers spoil an otherwise pleasent winter day. A short walk at 2.00pm to try and trace the route of an old canal loop that ran right through Newbold. Many of the original bridges are there and a tunnel, now sealed, are clearly visible. The brisk walk does me good. I feel fine now. In the evening some of us, exceptions being, Wendy, the Woodings and Mr Morgan, visit the pub and are joined by Jeff who arrives for a quick one that turned into a long one. Loops, boat builders and a number of topics are debated and we leave after closing time full of even more Christmas cheer. A late night whiskey on Raven is regrettably rejected, I am ready for my bed. Splendid day, once again.

Friday December 28th - Pay day!

Today we are on the move. It’s been a bit windy over night and the boat has been rocking merrily A late start once again, well there’s nothing to hurry for. We leave the mooring at 11.15ish and head towards Stretton Stop, our turning point. The weather is great. Clear blue sky, a bit windy and cold out of the sun but a wonderful winter boating day. Raven leads the convoy followed by One Moore, Draco and Thorn with ‘P’ brining up the rear. The canal is mainly made up of lots of cuttings with small clear sections. I imagine how it would look when all the trees are in leaf and in the autumn when the leaves turn. Must be very colourful. Approaching Stretton, a thick green slime covers the canal, very fine duckweed I think, Just before then turn it runs out. We turn at Rose narrowboats as planned, round in one. How it when one maneuvers beautifully, there is nobody to see it. Am writing this on the return journey to Rugby Have passed Raven moored up, guess the crew have gone exploring and Draco and Thorn heading for the turn. We stop at Newbold, where we started to get water and wait for the others. One and a half hours later Draco appears through the tunnel and we join the convoy. The light is now starting to go and we arrive in Rubgy, at the mooring between the Rugby Wharf Arm and The Brownsover Arm, to be precise in the dark. After a short planning meeting, we all decide to eat on our respective boats, that night and meet up in the nearest pub later. The stew had been on the boat stove, cooking away all day, and it tasted wonderful. Chocolate log and cream followed. At 9.00pm Wendy and I wondered up to the Meeting place. This was a Harvester, not a pub, but it was the only one around. Most of the others were already in residents and not impressed. No beer, except Guinness and Larger. They did have wine but were unsure of it’s location! The staff seemed not at all interested in serving. The evening went well, in spite of the Harvester’s lack of, well everything really. A plan to go the movies then next night was put into full operation, by telephoning the Rugby Cinema and booking seats, for 9, at the deluxe cinema. The film, Lord of the rings. We left at chucking out time and returned to Ravern, for just the one. All that is except Guy, who had had a trying day and went back to Thorn to sleep it away. The drinks flowed and the nibblies got nibbled, and the conversation sparkled. Excellent.

Saturday December 29th

A late start, nothing new there. After breakfast Wendy and I walk, yes walk, into Rubgy. This little stroll turns out to be and uphill climb and we decide to get a taxi back. Rugby itself is a pleasant enough town. We did some shopping in the sales, had a look round and then after a late lunch at the Caf’e Uno, which was very good, got said taxi back. Connie had arrived by this time. An epic journey from the south coast. The weather had been less than kind in the last 24 hours, snow had fallen and there was some concern that Connie would not make the trip. Now all was well. At the pre planned hour of 5.00pm we assembled for the trip to the cinema. Places were delegated in 2 cars and we arrived in good time for the 5.30 deluxe showing. Tickets were collected from the box office and we went to find our seats. Horror, our seats were taken!. Cries of ‘your in our seats’ were heard. ‘Oh no were not’ came the reply. Well it is the panto season. Seems our seats were for the 9.00pm showing. Mike and Kristina soon sorted out the cinema’s error and we watched with excellent view. A fantastic film, which I recommend to all. The 3 hours soon passed and a meal followed at Frankie and Bennies, an American type restaurant near the cinema. Service 10 out of 10, food 5. On the way back to the boat, we spied a Folding Christmas tree that somebody had tied to a bridge. I untied the tree and took it to One Moore for safe keeping!. Late night drinkies on board Draco and the usual merriment.

Sunday December 30th

The snow had now reached the midlands and our journey to Braunston was cold, although the cut was not frozen. The sun shone and it was a very enjoyable pootle. Only one incident. Some prat came through bridge 66 just as Thorn, with Percyphone in tow, was approaching from the other side. This boat had already been signaled that a boat was coming the other way but chose to ignor the warning. Thorn was forced to scrape along the bridgehole. Fortunately, no serious damage done. It was late pm wheen we arrived in Braunston having rewatered and dumped dunny on the way. I returned to Evesham by car, leaving Wendy on board. I have to work tomorrow.

Monday December 31st

Worked all day and arrived back in Braunston at 6.00pm. The evening started with a communal dinner on board Percyphone. Starters, main courses and puddings were provided by all who attended and a magnificent feast, was consumed. I think we had the odd drink or two as well. Mike made sure the fire provided enough heat and his expertise even ran to a fire drill, twice!. Janey and daughter joined us later in the evening and we saw the new year in, at the Mill as planned. The crew and chums of ‘Fairfar’ (hope I got the spelling right) were also in attendance. Wendy and I left shortly after midnight and carefully walked the towpath, in freezing conditions, back to One Moore. Our first new year celebration on the boat and a brilliant one.