There was a lot of rain in the early hours of the morning, and by the time I got up the towpath was full of puddles. I left the boat at 9am, walking back along the muddy towpath to the marina where I got the car out of the car park and headed to Braunston for the Historic Boat Rally. I arrived just before 10, as the show was opening. The morning parade started shortly afterwards, so I walked the route: down to Braunston Turn, where the boats go through, then reverse through the other side of the triangle before heading back, then through the marina, and back to the start position. In places, the parade was the picture of calm; in others, it was chaos.
Chertsey didn't take part in the morning parade because, as Sarah explained, it needed a new thingamy on the engine. Chertsey had prime position in the arm, and on my way back Sarah furnished me with a cup of tea, so I stood chatting to her and Jim. Also there were Amy and James from Lucky Duck, and before long Kath and Neil from Herbie turned up. It struck me at I know all these people only through blogging. I was also delighted to realise that one of the people who stopped to talk to Jim was a former colleague of mine, Rory Maclean, who owns Sudbury, and now steers Jason trip boats in London.
Standing chatting next to Chertsey, it was difficult to judge whether visitor were most interested in the boat, the engine, or Willow the cat, who liked to keep an eye on what was going on.
A look round the stalls didn't take long, but I did bump into a few other people I knew. Then Kath, Neil and I went to the Gonzoozler's Rest for a hot turkey roll for lunch. Shortly afterwards, we met Halfie, who'd just arrived.
After lunch, I headed back to the marina. As I approached, I saw a red kite hovering over the hedgerow; when I got out of the car to open the gate, it flew overhead with a little mouse in its talons.
Once the car was parked, I walked along the towpath to Cosgrove and Briar Rose. The weather had improved considerably, with sunny spells and white fluffy clouds. I set off towards the lock, where a boat was coming up. I took it slowly going down in the lock, as I was on my own, but just as I was leaving the lock a day boat arrived above with a crew of dozens, so they closed the gate for me.
At Wolverton, I passed Waterway Routes moored up (as expected, thanks to a comment on yesterday's blog), but no-one was on board. At the park on the offside just after the bridge, an event was going on with gazebos, food, and music. Shortly afterwards there was a brief but dramatic downpour.
The rain lasted just a couple of minutes, and it wasn't long before the roof was dry again. One of my possible mooring places, by Bridge 75, was completely empty; there are usually quite a few boats here. I decided to carry on, to see whether the park side moorings in Great Linford were free. They weren't, so I turned at the winding hole before Bridge 77 and headed back through Bridge 75 where I moored up for the night, all on my own. Passing traffic has included a little speed boat with an outboard, and a Wyvern hire boat which completely misjudged the slightly awkward approach to the bridge and hit it really hard. It's turned into a lovely evening with a lovely view from the cratch.
6 miles, 1 locks. (7 miles, 1 lock)