Thursday, 1 November 2012
Monday 8th October We left Wolverley at about 9am in the drizzly rain and travelled through a few locks. We got to Kidderminster, a typical large industrial town but not too grim, with some nice old buildings handsomely renovated into shops and restaurants.
Sunday 7th October Yesterday we bathed Molly so today we tried to cut her fur with our special dog clippers, especially bits on her tummy and legs that have got very matted, but she wasn't having any of it! So we decided we need to find a groom asap. We gave up trying and moved off at about 9.50am, soon arriving at the Cookley Tunnel.
Tuesday, 23 October 2012
Monday, 22 October 2012
Wednesday 3rd October Having stayed the night at Norbury Wharf we went again in the morning to the shop and bought a newspaper, spaghetti and milk. Then we set off in sunny weather at about 10am. There was some lovely scenery but a lot of wooded areas, which can be a bit boring, as you can't really see the landscape. We cruised above the A5 on the aqueduct looking imperiously over the bridge to the busy road below. As we approached Brewood there was some nice scenery and we decided to stop on the visitor moorings at Brewood and then walk into the village. It's a picture perfect village, very quiet and friendly. I watched as a butcher in pristine aprons helped a disabled man out of his shop and into his motorised wheelchair. The village has a useful butchers, bakery, greengrocers and 3 pubs. We went into the Bridge Inn next to the canal, which was very friendly and we chatted with a local old man.
Tuesday 2nd October We left early this morning at 7.30am to quickly navigate through the 5 locks at Tyrley Wharf then travelled on through some beautiful scenery with Welsh mountains as a distant backdrop. Then we passed through the very deep rock cutting near Woodseaves, which carries on for about a mile and was cut entirely by hand with no machinery. It had just started raining when we arrived at Norbury Junction which has a fantastic wharf with a chandlery which stocks everything you could ever want for a boat. I forgot to say that while we were in Market Drayton our inverter blew up, which is the 'thing' that provides electricity, so we had been relying on our generator. We had been told that we could get a new one from Stourport on Severn and it would cost about £330. Luckily we noticed that they sold them in Norbury Wharf for £299 so we bought one! (and when we got to Stourport the shop was closed so we couldn't have got one from there anyway)! We also got coal diesel and gas there and 2 slices of home made lemon cake in the tea rooms.
13th September - 2nd October 2012 We approached the town of Market Drayton with high hopes, but unfortunately as well as taking in the beautiful old buildings in the high street we noticed the many empty and boarded up shops, rubbish in the streets and run down pubs, none of which looked inviting enough to enter. We did venture into one pub, The Talbot, near the canal, but we were the only ones in there on a Sunday lunchtime and so we didn't stay long. The town seemed forlorn, empty and neglected. So our hopes were dashed - we had been looking forward to Market Drayton so much having heard good things about it but talking to locals revealed that they blame the council for high tax on the shops, and also for allowing several new supermarkets on the outskirts of town which have taken business from the local shops. We had to stay there for my work and therefore we spent 2 weeks moored up and hardly ventured into the town except to get food. So really there's not much to report - we talked to a few regular dog-walkers along the towpath and made friends with another couple of CCers who kept an eye on our boat when we went back to Teddington for a big party – we stayed with our friends Gary and Sandra for the weekend and it was very nice. Going to and coming back from London we travelled on Virgin Trains and I discovered they make me feel very sick - I actually was sick on the way back (nothing to do with a weekend of drinking and merriment!)
Sunday, 16 September 2012
Sunday 9th September Had a lie-in this morning and got up at 9am. We went for a walk with Molly and tried to find the Yankee Candle shop in Church Minshull which was advertised on the canal. We couldn't find it so came back and set off about 11am. It was a sunny day but a bit windy. For the first lock we had to wait in a queue for ages. There were lots of boats going about today. There was a boat coming the other way when we went through so they helped us with the lock. The lady from the boat said they lived aboard and were continuous cruisers and she could never go back to a house again. She had a young dog called Mitch who kept barking loudly at another dog on some nearby moorings. She said she thought the weather was on the turn - it had become very cloudy and windy. I said we were looking for somewhere to live and she said if anything happened to her husband she'd go and live on the Gloucester and Sharpness canal as there are no locks and she likes Gloucester. Anyway we finished the lock and waved goodbye then carried on to Barbridge junction. We turned right and we were on the Shroppie at last! (the Shropshire Union). We were celebrating as we had looked forward very much to travelling on this canal. We moored up and had a couple of drinks at a pub called the Old Barbridge Inn, which was full of boaters. The food there looked amazing but a bit expensive. We watched boats and people going back and forth along the canal for a while then went back to our boat. here
Saturday, 15 September 2012
Saturday 8th September It was a lovely day again as we travelled through an increasingly industrial landscape. We had several locks to go through. At one I met a man who has his own property company and goes out for weekends on his little cruiser with his wife. He was interested that we live on our boat. He said he'd offered to buy a boat in France so he and his wife could cruise off down the Midi but she was happy to stay in Cheshire with her friends and grandchildren. We carried on past a huge industrial building with no windows and we wondered what it could be. As we approached it became apparent that it was a salt factory with big piles of salt outside.
Friday 7th September We got up at 7am and I had some work to do so I started at 8.15am. I did as much as I could then we left at 11.15am. We had the second bit of Heartbreak Hill to do today - 14 locks. Luckily lots of boats were coming the other way which helped us. It was a beautiful day weatherwise and we went through some stunning countryside on the way. Molly was very good, she has now learned to walk in a wobbly fashion across a narrow lock gate. At Malkins Bank there was a row of cottages and one of them had a hand written sign in the window saying For Sale - 100k We finally got to Wheelock village which is a bit of a bleak little place. They do have a huge pet store there and they have everything you could ever want for your pet. We went into the Cheshire Cheese pub which was quite noisy and jolly, then went back and sat outside watching the sunset and talking about spiritualism.
Wednesday 5th September Early this morning at 7.30am we left Stone with some sadness and made our way through the 4 locks. We filled up with water and got some diesel at the boatyard. Then we emptied the toilets (well Dale did). There were another 4 locks at Meaford. At one of the locks I met a nice lady from Rugby and we had such a long chat that Dale was left stuck in the lock wondering when we were going to open the gate. Her fella works at the Euston Marks and Sparks. We carried on to Barlaston, which is a quiet village. We made use of the large Londis store there – we were both hungry so we bought pork pie and home made lemon drizzle cake. When we got back to the boat we had some lunch, then carried on. After another mile there was the last lock before Trentham and at that lock I didn't have to do anything as 4 finnish men on a hire boat were coming the other way and they did everything. I had a little chat with them, they said this was the first time they had been on a narrowboat holiday in England and they said it was very different. They don't have canals in Finland, except one going into Russia. The didn't speak a huge amount of English but we had a nice chat. We remarked on the weather being sunny and that they were lucky and they said "Oh, we know the English weather!" One of them had deliberately not bought a raincoat because he had faith that the weather would be good. Anyway, we carried on through Trentham which looked like a nice town and ended up mooring just before the beginning of the sprawl that is Stoke on Trent overlooking a large nature reserve with horses and foals. It was quite lovely, and a lovely day as well, albeit a bit windy.
Wednesday, 29 August 2012
Saturday 25th August We left early from the pig farm and went on our way. We were aiming for Stone, in Staffordshire. We got through the first lock and went through Little Haywood to Great Haywood where there is a big boatyard and we got new batteries, some Blue, and emptied our toilets and filled up with water. A very nice man in the shop gave us a discount on our batteries so they were £68 instead of £70 each. £70 is a good price anyway! Dale was thrilled to have new batteries – he'd been worrying about how long the old ones would last. Great Haywood seemed quite a nice town – there's a big marina there and lots of boats moored nearby. They have a big farm shop which we should have gone to but didn't. At the next lock – Hoo Mill Lock, the boatyard shown on the map was overgrown with weeds so we couldn't get the diesel we needed. We continued through the last lock and reached a beautiful little village called Weston upon Trent, and moored up opposite a field full of cows. We walked into the village to look for the stores shown on the map to get some things we needed, but the shop was closed for Saturday afternoon and when we looked through the window it had hardly anything on the shelves. We asked a man passing by if there was another shop but he said no - the villagers are upset about it too – so we repaired to the pub on the pretty village green – The Woolpack – to drown our sorrows.
Monday, 20 August 2012
Sunday 19th August It was a bit drizzly again this morning when we set off. We were stuck aground and took a little while to get going but eventually managed to get free. We travelled the short distance to Fradley junction which is very nice and quite 'canal touristy' with a nice pub called the Swan (it was too early to go in) and gift shop, tea shop etc. We turned left at Fradley Junction onto the Trent and Mersey canal. There were 2 locks to get through. A volunteer lock keeper was helping at the first one. He commented on our 'garden' which now consists of 2 large tomato plants and 2 large displays of petunias and marigolds and a herb garden, which have blossomed in spite of me being not that green-fingered. He told me about his potato plants, which have yielded a poor crop this year. He lives in Cannock, and commutes quite a long way to Fradley junction to volunteer. He gets paid expenses but thinks even this may be taxable! He is a retired teacher. At the next lock there was another casual volunteer who has to look after his 100-year-old mother so can't commit himself properly to volunteering. He lives near his mother in Birmingham, but used to live in Harlech in Wales. He tried to talk to me about cricket but I'm afraid I didn't know what he was talking about. The weather was a popular subject with everyone we spoke to today as well, it's very changeable at the moment. I think they're having it very good in London - apparently there's a heatwave. We travelled on through a wooded area - there was one more lock, and luckily someone was coming through the other way which filled the lock for us so we helped them through. The woman who was driving said it had been a very relaxing day for her and said that narrowboating is not as relaxing as everyone thinks. This is very true, it can be quite stressful at times. We continued through the towns of Handsacre which we thought would be a nice little village but in fact is not that picturesque. and Armitage (home of Armitage Shanks the toilet company). We went past the factory with all the toilets packed up outside. Armitage is even less picturesque than Handsacre, so we decided to carry on and stop in Rugeley, the start of which seems quite nice, with the large Hawkesyard Priory and Spode House (former home of the pottery family), dominating the canalside, and the estate consisting of large landscaped gardens and a golf course. We walked up the towpath to see what else we could see and came to the Ash Tree pub by the canal – a family restaurant/pub. We had a couple of drinks in there and decided to catch the bus to go food shopping in the centre of Rugely the next day.
Saturday 18th August We left at 7am from Polesworth because we had quite a long way to go this weekend. It was drizzling with rain. We cruised through Tamworth, which appeared to be quite a nice town which we weren't expecting, it being on the outskirts of Birmingham. There were 3 locks to go through at Tamworth. I got talking to a man on a boat on his way to Coventry. He said Rugeley is quite a nice place. When we got to Fazeley junction there were some attractive old buildings next to the canal, and while we filled up with water we talked to an old man passing who told us that one was a disused chapel and the other used to be a tape factory. They are listed buildings so will probably be converted into something else eventually. He was a sweet old man with a little dog called Dottie which he carried along in the basket on his bike. He called her his 'babby' - she was a cross between a chihuahua and a border terrier and he had named her after his late wife. He had had dogs all his life and most of them were buried in his garden. He was obviously a bit lonely and stayed chatting for quite a while - a very sweet man. We finished doing our water, cleaned the toilets and threw away our rubbish and carried on. We went through Hopwas and Coton which are very attractive villages. Hopwas has 2 nice pubs. Then we continued past a military firing range in a wooded area. We thought we'd have a break and stop at a pub shown on our map in Whittington but the map let us down again, it has been replaced by a large new house. So we went on to a place called Huddlesford and a pub called The Plough. It was a pub that had recently been done up but nice and busy and the landlord was friendly. I finished his crossword for him. We had a few drinks and did some people-watching then continued on. When we got to Fradley which is near a noisy road but is a nice village, the weather had picked up and was quite hot. We decided to stop in Fradley for the night, and walked into the village in search of a shop and no-one was about except 2 little boys so we asked them. After that some people in a car asked us for directions to the village hall and the funny thing was we had passed it so we knew where it was. We got a couple of things in the shop, went back to the boat and Dale cooked roast beef from the butcher in Polesworth. We had high hopes for it, but it was a bit gristly unfortunately.
Friday, 17 August 2012
Sunday, 12 August 2012
Saturday 11th August We got up early and set off up the Coventry canal to go through the flight of 11 locks in Atherstone. We met a few boats coming the other way so that made it easier for us. A couple who were following us through said that their mooring is in Tamworth. They said there's no trouble in Tamworth, it's a safe town and told us where we could moor. This is good bcause we have to spend a while in Tamworth for my work. We managed to negotiate the 11 locks quite quickly, the countryside around them was very pretty with distant farmland views, and we ended up in a place called Bradley Green which was very quiet with nice surroundings but distant noise from roads and trains. Dale made a chicken and potato curry that evening, we watched some of the olympics and tried to watch a film called 'The Ghost' but it was boring and I fell asleep on the settee.
Saturday, 11 August 2012
Friday 10th August There was a broadband signal where we were moored so I did some of my blog this morning. We left about 11.30am to get to Atherstone. It was a lovely day again. There is some beautiful open countryside with rolling hills and distant wooded areas on the way from Nuneaton to Atherstone. We reached a convenient mooring in Atherstone near the town centre. Then we noticed there was a sign saying 'No mooring - British Waterways work boats' but the man on the boat next door said don't worry about it, they haven't been here in years, so we ignored it. Then we walked into the town. Atherstone is an odd town with a kind of faded scruffy prettiness - it seems to be fighting back, there are some nice old buildings and lots of little independent shops, but also quite a few empty ones. The old market place beckoned, but by that time we had been shopping the in large Co-op and had heavy bags, so we went back to the boat and had some macaroni cheese for lunch, then Dale had a sleep and I read the paper. Later on that evening we watched some more olympics, then went to bed early and read our books. We do have an exciting life!
Sunday 5th August - Thursday 9th August Karen and Les arrived at 9am on Sunday morning and we had a lovely time with them for the next few days. This involved travelling up to the end of the canal visiting each of the pretty little villages along the way, lots of drinking, watching the olympics in the evenings, eating lots of bread and butter pudding and crumble, which me and Les love, and barbecueing, with a couple of days of lovely weather to boot. The canal from Market Bosworth to the end at Snarestone is absolutely beautiful. When we got to Snarestone we had to walk 2 miles to get to Measham because we needed food and there were no shops. Laden down with food (and drink), we decided to find a taxi to bring us back which proved quite difficult and involved a half hour wait outside Tescos. Trying to find
Friday, 10 August 2012
On the morning of Wednesday 1st August we carried on up the Coventry Canal for a diversion up the Ashby Canal. We were going to meet Dale's sister Karen and her partner Les for a few days break. Our map told us that the Ashby was very rural and beautiful but we were a bit disappointed with the beginning of it. It was narrow, shallow and difficult to negotiate and we hadn't managed to escape the ubiquitous electricity pylons.
We stayed in Newbold for 10 days, discovering the two pubs, the Barley Mow and The Boat during our stay. The pubs are ok, not that great. One night we had a meal in the Barley Mow which was quite nice. Staying behind us was a friendly woman called Alison. She was on her own and had M.E. so Dale helped her with a few little jobs. She was waiting for her son who was going to accompany her to her new marina in Devizes. She had a long journey ahead! The weather was good while we were there and one day we were standing outside with Alison and another woman walking her dog, whom we nicknamed 'the gatherer' because she talked a lot about foraging for food. She told us there was a dump nearby where we might find some cheap bicycles, so that afternoon Dale walked to the dump. There weren't any suitable bikes there that day, nor the following Sunday when we visited again unfortunately. Most of the people that moored up on their boats in Newbold were holidaying and were very cheerful and pleasant. One day we caught the bus into Rugby and had a good old look round. We concluded it must be quite a poor area because there are a lot of Poundland type shops there. One day Dale accidentally switched the water heater on and left it on all day, and it left our batteries flat. Thus followed a panicky day of using the generator to charge them up again, and hoping we hadn't wrecked them. It turned out that all was well, however. The main happy memory of Newbold was of several hot evenings where we sat at the bow of the boat watching the sun go down, chatting and drinking cider. On the 31st of August I finished work at lunchtime and we set sail again. It was drizzling but not unbearable. We went through some beautiful countryside around Brinklow. We arrived at Rose Narrowboats in Stretton Stop, filled up with diesel and water and emptied all the toilets, which were perilously full! After that we were looking for an out-of-the-way place to moor so we could use our generator and do some washing. We certainly had a lot of washing by then! We stopped in a noisy place right next to the high speed railway, where nobody else would want to stop and set to work doing our washing. I looked out of the kitchen window which was up against some long grass and some of the grass was moving twitchily. I knew there must be an animal there and sure enough spotted a tiny field or harvest mouse eating in the midst of the grass. Not all views on the canal are pretty....
Sunday, 22 July 2012
Friday, 20 July 2012
Sunday, 15 July 2012
Saturday 7th July – we got up early and left at 8am to go through the 6 locks. It was a pleasant journey, peaceful and pretty countryside surrounding us. At the last lock I was busy winding up the paddles when a man came out of a nearby shop escorting Molly. 'Is this your dog?' he asked. She had been nosing around as she usually does when we aren't looking. We found a place to moor and went to enquire about doing our big pile of washing in the nearby marina. The man in the shop there was very helpful and also told us how to get to Daventry (we needed to buy some food). It turned out there was only one bus an hour. We followed his instructions, walking past a narrowboat selling old-fashioned sweets and a narrowboat café which appeared to be very popular. Having dawdled a bit we realised when we got to the bus stop that we had just missed the hourly bus. At last it came (an hour later) and we arrived quickly in Daventry. The friendly bus driver (they are all friendly round here, and people say thank you when they get off the bus as well!) pointed us in the direction of Waitrose. Daventry is a fairly small and quiet town and we felt peaceful and calm walking around Waitrose. Everyone was very helpful. We managed to fit all our food for the coming week into our 2 rucksacks and caught the bus back. When we got back we decided to do some cleaning because our friends Bill and Barbara might be coming to see us tomorrow. After that we went up the hill to the village with Molly and visited The Wheatsheaf - a good scruffy locals pub - the sort we really like - which had a nice staffy called Ruby who quickly made friends with Molly. We had a couple of drinks then walked down the hill home.
Friday 6th July – It was raining this morning so I had a lie in until about 9.30am. Dale filled the boat with water and we decided to set off in the rain with raincoats and umbrella. It was pouring with rain but despite this all the boaters we met waved us a cheery good morning. We went through the Braunston tunnel which is nearly a mile long. We decided to stop before the Braunston flight of locks and wait for the rain to stop. Of course it didn't stop so we walked along the squelching muddy towpaths up the hill to the village with our umbrellas. Braunston is the canal junction between the Oxford canal and the Grand Union Canal and was once an important part of the canal transport system. Many former boating families have links to the village. It is a lovely friendly village with a well-stocked shop, a butchers and 4 pubs. We had one drink in the Admiral Nelson and overheard boaty talk in this nice pub right next to the 4th lock in the flight. At last the rain ceased at about 5pm but by then we couldn't be bothered to work the locks. On the news it said there has been widespread flooding around the country.
Saturday, 14 July 2012
Thursday 5th July – We left Weedon Bec, passing nice countryside on the way. We were heading for the Buckby flight of locks. As we approached the first lock Dale pointed to a boat moored saying "That looks like Kevin and Ingrid's boat!" As we came nearer we realised that it was indeed our friends' boat Columbia. Ingrid poked her head out and waved so we pulled in and moored up. We couldn't go by without saying hello. We stood on the bank with them chatting and drinking tea for about an hour or so. We told them we were going through the locks and they said they would meet us for a drink in a couple of hours at the New Inn. So we proceeded to go through the locks - we shared them with a couple from Market Bosworth, who were on a week's holiday. Today happened to be a nice day, but it was the end of their holiday and it had rained all the rest of it. She said they came for a week every year and it always rained. She said she hated narrowboating, but her husband loved it, so she did it for him. We were working as a team, so it didn't help when Molly was sick and refused to walk so I had to carry her between 2 of the locks. She was all right after that, except for a disappearance at one of the locks. We found here in someone's garden with another little dog. A gang of youngsters were on 2 boats behind us and they helped at each of the locks so that made it quicker for us. We got to the New Inn, the last lock was there and all the people in the pub garden were watching us. The pub said no dogs allowed so of course Molly wandered in. We finished doing the lock, moored up nearby and went back to the pub to have a drink. Then Kevin and Ingrid turned up and we had a great afternoon chatting, laughing and drinking. The sun was actually out that day and I got very sunburnt. I think we were sitting outside for about 6 hours! We said goodbye at about 8.30pm and walked back to the boat, switched on the telly and fell asleep.
Wednesday 4th July – left Blisworth at 8.15am. It was cloudy but the rain held off. Had a pleasant journey with no locks from Blisworth to Weedon Bec travelling through pretty Bugbrooke and Nether Heyford, surrounded by lovely countryside. Got to Weedon Bec. The map said there was a supermarket on the newer side of the village but there wasn't - only a noisy busy junction with some dodgy looking pubs. We were told by a man at the bus stop to go into the old part of the village. So we walked through a bridge under the canal to the other side - a lovely old village with some new development surrounding it. It had a doctors, a dentist, a school, a greengrocers, an antique shop, a post office, a one stop supermarket and two pubs. However there was a doleful feeling about the village I can't really explain. We couldn't get the veggies we wanted in the One Stop so changed our menu and bought some other stuff. Then we walked to have a look at the ordnance depot which was built during the Napoleonic War but is now owned by some private companies.
Tuesday 3rd July - We got up early this morning and left at 7.30am because we wanted to get through the Stoke Bruerne flight of 7 locks before it started to rain! Got to Stoke Bruerne without being rained on and Dale emptied the rubbish. Stoke Bruerne is a proper little canalside town with 2 nice pubs. Pity it was too early to go in. So we carried on to the Blisworth tunnel. It was quite fun going through the tunnel which is over a mile long. Me and Molly had to keep sheltering from the drips coming from above. It's cold in the tunnel and it smells very musty. When we came out we could really smell the difference. We moored up in Blisworth. The people in Blisworth seem very friendly and helpful. I had a long chat with a lady with a cockapoo called Norman. She asked me if we were retired! Do we look that old?? Went for a walk in the village which is small and doesn't consist of much. In the shop the assistant tried to give us a tatty copy of the Lord of the Rings and some old gloves. Walked back to the canal and had sausage sandwiches for lunch. Had a 'power nap' and then did some painting.
Monday 2nd July - We left at 9am this morning and cruised along in the miserable drizzle to get to Yardley Gobion and the boatyard there. When we arrived we were told that they didn't open until 11am so we were an hour early. They were very busy with dry docking changeovers. So we walked to Yardley Gobion - about three quarters of a mile from the canal. Yardley Gobion is a quiet and pretty little village with a pub, a nice church, a shop and a post office in what looks like a private house. We walked to the shop and got some supplies. When we got back to the wharf the chap filled us up with diesel and we got a canister of gas. He said it was very quiet this year, not many boats around at all. After Yardley Gobion, we continued until just before the Stoke Bruerne lock flight, and stopped in the middle of countryside a long way from anyone else. It was very peaceful. I did some painting and then we bathed Molly, dried and brushed her and attempted to clip her with the new clippers. They didn't make that much difference as her fur is still quite short. She was a very good girl though. We had the generator on so we watched Come Dine with Me. Later Dale cooked steak and chips. We saw a programme about how to make Crunchie bars and both wanted a Crunchie. Watched a good thriller called Blackout later.
Sunday, 1 July 2012
Friday, 29 June 2012
Sunday, 17 June 2012
Thursday evening at the Anglers Retreat was eventful. Rosie the parrot cottoned on to Dale's laugh and performed it whenever she felt he wasn't paying her enough attention. A man came in and on tasting his beer, started wretching and ran outside to be sick. (This is no reflection on the quality of beer, ours was fine). When we got back to the boat, it was leaning heavily to one side and all night long Dale was trying to stop himself from falling out of bed. On Friday we took Molly for a last walk around Tring reservoir. I did some work then at about 12.45 we set off. It was blowing a gale and raining intermittently. We met an older couple and went through 2 locks with them. They were hoping to get to Crick and were in quite a hurry. They moor at Cowroast but want to move to Crick as they can't travel anywhere from Cowroast because of the water levels. The lady was nice but the husband was grumpy. Got to Pitstone about 3pm. There was supposed to be a pub there called The Duke of Wellington according to our map but a man told us it had just closed down. The nearest pub was the Old Swan at Cheddington, a mile in the other direction. We asked him where the nearest shop was and he said he was going that way to pick up his daughter so he gave us a lift! We stayed in tonight because Cheddington is too far. Had scrambled egg on toast, Dale watched football and I read my book. On Saturday we got up about 8.45 am. Windy again. We walked to Cheddington to get some provisions because there is no shop in Slapton where we are heading. On the way to the shop which was miles from anywhere as usual, we passed the Old Swan. It looked nice and we wished we had visited it the night before. Got back to the boat, had a cup of tea and set off about 11am. The wind was horrendous. We did a swing bridge then met up with a couple and went through the 6 locks with them. It was a pleasant journey, they were very efficient and nice people. They had been boating for 28 years, their name was Wood and they moored at Yardley Gobion. That's where they were going. Got to Slapton about 2pm, had a little rest then walked to the village to do a recce on the pub which had been highly praised in our map book. Unfortunately the Carpenters Arms was a disappointment. It was empty and forlorn except for 2 young men sitting next to each other staring at what I thought must be a TV but turned out to be a wall, a barmaid, and a man trying to chat her up. The furniture was modern and out of place in the very old building. Although the village was pretty and surrounded by gorgeous countryside, it all seemed a bit lifeless. We got back to the boat in the afternoon and had a little sleep. Got up about 7pm, had cheese omelette and beans and watched Poirot on TV. On Sunday (today) we took Molly for a walk to the lock. Then got going – it's still a bit windy today but brighter. Had to go through 3 locks to get to Leighton Buzzard. I tried to drive into one of them - total disaster! Met a man travelling single handed – he told us the best place to stop in Leighton Buzzard. Met another man who came from Slapton and had had a heart attack. We told him we were disappointed with the Carpenters Arms and he said it had just been taken over by someone from London who had modernised it. He said he'd tell him we were disappointed. Got to Leighton Buzzard and stopped where the man had told us and walked into the town – a pleasant and quiet market town. Went to Waitrose to get food then went to the Golden Bell for a couple of drinks – a bit rough and full of locals but lots of people laughing and we quite liked it.