I really struggled to keep the fire going yesterday, so I wasn't surprised that by this morning it had gone out and the boat was quite chilly. I blamed the lack of wind -- when it's so still, it can be difficult to get a draught going -- but as the fire was out I took the opportunity to sweep the flue, just in case a build-up of soot was restricting the flow. Then I had to try to clear all the resulting bits off the baffle plate inside the stove, which is a messy job. The fire has been much better today, but it's been breezier too which has probably helped.
It was a beautiful sunny morning with a forecast of showers from lunchtime onwards, so I set off at 8.45 retracing my steps of yesterday.
This morning, there was lots of water cascading over the gates of the bottom lock at Stoke Bruerne. As I went past an overspill weir near Bridge 56, water was going over, straight into the River Tove below. Bearing in mind that water is short and restrictions are in place, I think something is amiss with the water management system if any of it ends up in a river. All the other weirs were a bit higher, some with planks in, so no water was being lost.
Near Grafton Regis, I saw a Barn Owl flying over a field of oilseed rape. The photo isn't great because the owl was moving, so was I, plus I was steering.
At Bridge 63 is what the Pearson's guidebook describes as "the stark ruins of Isworth Farm". Well it's not in ruins any more. If it's one house, it's enormous; but the number of vehicles around makes me wonder whether it's been converted into a number of homes.
After about an hour and a half I reached Thrupp Wharf, but instead of turning into the marina, I kept going. About a mile further on is the ornate Bridge 65, which marks the entry into Cosgrove.
I carried on past the largely empty moorings to the lock, but rather than going down I winded. It's not an official winding hole (that's below the lock), but there's plenty of room to get a boat of Briar Rose's size round. I returned to the visitor moorings, where I chose a nice straight bit of piling opposite the long term moorings and with a view of the church.
After I'd tied up, I was just washing some marks off the cratch cover when I saw a familiar boat coming round the corner. It was Caxton, with new owners Paul and Elaine. We had a brief conversation as they headed towards the lock and a family gathering in Milton Keynes. As I haven't worked any locks this trip it was too good an opportunity to miss, so I quickly grabbed a windlass, shut up the boat, and headed down to the lock to lend a hand and another few minutes of conversation.
As Caxton left the lock, two boats were arriving to go up, so I stayed and helped them, then two more boats went down, so I helped them too. On the way back to Briar Rose, I went to find the shop at the huge caravan park alongside the canal, to get a paper.
This afternoon, I've used offcuts from the vinyl flooring to make linings for the cupboards under the galley sink and the bathroom basin. I then took the final offcuts down to the rubbish point, and went to have a look at the horse tunnel under the canal.
The rest of the time has been spent sitting in the cratch in the sunshine reading the paper. The predicted showers didn't show up until about half an hour ago, and they've not been very heavy. There have been quite a few boats in both directions, including a massive cream widebeam which has been moored outside Thrupp Wharf.
6 miles, 0 locks. (11 miles, 0 locks)