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.