Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Crick and Cosgrove

Up to Crick Marina for a boat test today — but it wasn’t until lunchtime, so I decided to drive up this morning.  I called in at Briar Rose on the way, dropping off stuff and turning the fridge on.  As the boat test wouldn’t be done until mid to late afternoon, I planned to stay on the boat tonight.  It was indeed about 3.15 by the time the boat test was done, which wouldn’t have been the ideal time to drive home, so I went back to BR and within a few minutes was heading out of the marina.  I blasted down to Cosgrove, turned above the lock and returned to pretty much the same spot we used after the show a couple of weeks ago.

The reason for coming down to Cosgrove was that the loo needed emptying, and it’s much easier to do it at an Elsan.  The waste doesn’t actually go down the Elsan, but it means you can give the bucket a good clean and rinse.  We’ve been trying a new base material in the loo, Tesco cat litter made from wooden pellets.  I’m pleased to say it’s been a great success — it was almost completely dry, and the pellets have disintegrated completely.  This is what they look like fresh out of the bag.

It’s turned into a very nice sunny evening.  The moorings, which had loads of space, have gradually filled up a bit. Tomorrow, I’ll go back home first thing, as i have a set of night shifts starting later.

Today: 1 mile, 0 locks.  Tomorrow: 1 mile, 0 locks.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Silent Waters on test

The July edition of Canal Boat was out at the start of the Crick Boat Show, and includes my boat test of Silent Waters by Bourne Boats.  The front cover is one of Andy the photographer’s drone shots.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Spring Cruise: Day 14

Having had the pick of spaces in Cosgrove when we arrived yesterday, by the evening the moorings in the village were full.  We set off this morning at 7.40 and the mile back to the marina took 20 minutes.  We got moored in our berth, and then I set off in the car to meet up with Andy the photographer for a boat test.  It was at Hillmorton, and for the external shots we went down the locks.

I was back at our boat by 1pm, and we picked the car and set off for home.

1 mile, 0 locks.  (103 miles, 62 locks)

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Spring Cruise: Day 13

There was a lot of rain overnight, but we woke this morning with the boat on a slight tilt as the water level in the pound had dropped a bit.  We set off at about 9, in much less rainy weather than forecast.  We we got the short distance to the lock, I could see that the pound below was severely short of water.

As the long pound was already a bit low, I walked up and started running water down through the top two locks.  As I was at the top lock I alerted Kathryn as to what was going on.  She said she’d been bringing Sculptor back from the Crick Show yesterday, and they’d waited more than four hours at Watford Locks.  Anyway, I ran water down for maybe 20 minutes, by which time there was enough in the empty pound.  Another boat had joined us, so we continued down together.  I later discovered that the lock below the empty pound had a paddle up just a couple of clicks, which was enough to empty it overnight.

Further down the flight, the pounds were full to overflowing.  We had to let some water out the bottom pound, because the lock would never have made a level otherwise.  However, we enjoyed our journey down the locks with two ladies who are classical pianists, and who have bought a mooring at Battlebridge Basin in London.  There was plenty of synchronised boating between the locks, which was a new concept to them as they’ve had the boat only a week.

We moored below the locks a bit after 10.30 as we were expecting visitors.  My sister and family were calling in on their way home to Cheshire from a half term visit to our father’s, in Kent.  We piled them with tea and cake, and we walked up to the bottom lock when some boats arrived to go up.  It turned out to be a busy time, as two also came down, and three more arrived to go up.  Before they left, Rachel insisted on demonstrating her trumpet playing on the lockside.  The trumpet, my sister explained, was a ‘gift’ from school for half term!  A lady on one of the boats described the performance as a ‘work in progress’.

Once the family had gone we had a quick lunch, then set off again.  I have a boat test to do tomorrow but it’s relatively close, so we decided to have another night out of the marina.  We carried on past, turned about Cosgrove Lock, and moored in the village.

7 miles, 5 locks.  (102 miles, 62 locks)

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Spring Cruise: Day 12

We set off just after 8 this morning, Adrian bringing the boat while I walked to the first lock.

As usual at Buckby, there was no rhyme or reason as to why we’d find locks either full or empty.  We had both, and then met a boat coming up at the bottom lock.  We started the long lockless pound towards Stoke Bruerne, and met numerous boats going the other way — several of them at awkward places such as narrows. We stopped for water at Stowe Hill, and started the washing machine.  The little house a bit further on, which I think could be a classic 1970s design and Adrian thinks is just awful, has been gutted.  It’ll be interesting to see what they do to it.

We had lunch on the move, and Adrian made a lemon drizzle cake as we have visitors tomorrow.  The season has moved on since we were last here only a little over a week ago.  The hawthorn blossom is mostly gone but the flag irises have come out.  There was plenty of other wildlife.

Blisworth Tunnel was very wet.  We passed two boats inside and caught up with a boat in front just before the end.  We came down the first two locks at Stoke Bruerne with them, and we both moored in the long pound.  A little while later, the rain started.

16 miles, 8 locks.  (95 miles, 57 locks)

Monday, 28 May 2018

Spring Cruise: Day 11 (Day 3 of the Crick Show)

A murky start to the day but the sun came out late.  We had another walk round the show in the morning, went to look at a brand new Braidbar which was moored a few behind us on the towpath, and walked to the Co-op for some top up supplies.  After lunch on board we turned the boat around in the marina entrance, ready for the off.  At 3pm the winner of the Favourite Boat vote was announced. Boating Leisure Services were third, Smithwood were second, and Braidbar came top.

In the widebeam category, Burscough Boats were the winners, with Aqualine second and Elton Moss third.  We set off at 3.15 accompanies by Catherine, Nigel, Grace and Matthew, and reached the top of Watford Locks at just after 4.  We’d passed several boats going the other way, which suggested there had recently been an uphill convoy; we were sixth in the queue to go down, but the first one was on its way, so it was less than an hour before we could set off.

At the bottom of the locks we carried on to Norton Junction.  There was no space for us, so Nigel got off to go to the fish and chip shop while the rest of us worked down the top Buckby lock.  It turned out both local chip shops were shut, so we switched cuisine to Chinese.  Matthew steered us out of the lock and along to a mooring in the long pound.

5 miles, 8 locks. (79 miles, 49 locks)

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Spring Cruise: Day 10 (Day 2 of the Crick Show)

There was an enormous thunder storm during the night, although Adrian slept through it.  I was up early, and started to write my mini boat reviews.  I’d done quite a few by the time the show opened, when we went over to have a look round and spend some money, most notably on some Craftmaster paint for the handrails.  In spite of the forecast being thunder storms all day, it was actually sunny and warm.

We went back to the boat and had lunch on board, and I wrote some more while Adrian had an afternoon nap.  By about 3pm I had pretty much done all I could, so we decided to go back over to the show for an ice cream.  Later in the afternoon it appeared there was weather on the way, and the site seemed to clear of people.  We had a chat with Tim Tyler, and then bumped into Amanda and David, the boat sharers of What a Lark.  After talking for a bit they came back to Briar Rose and we ended up demolishing a couple of bottles of wine (just bitter lemon for Amanda) over the next couple of hours as we chatted and experienced torrential downpours, thunder and lightening.  When the weather appeared to be clearing up, we headed back over to the show site as Amanda and David were going back to their car, while we had something to eat and watched the ABBA tribute band, ABBA Revival, who were excellent.  They started with Waterloo and ended with Dancing Queen, and of course we knew every song in between.

The marquee was a sea of mud, with the afternoon’s downpours having caused havoc on the site.