I had originally intended to turn at the winding hole at New Bradwell, but I had plenty of time and it was a nice day, so I decided I could also do the job of taking the old starter battery to the tip by Bridge 74. This means going on to the winding hole at Great Linford. During the journey, I came round a corner and saw Jaq and Les's boat, Valerie, moored up. I said I'd be back once I'd turned. It was probably the best paty of an hour later when I moored in front of Valerie. Les had gone on the bus to Milton Keynes to collect visiting family, but Jaq was there. She came and had a look at Briar Rose, and then we had tea and a chat on board Valerie.
It was great to catch up with Jaq, as she and Les have had it pretty tough recently. She's fantastic -- and I noticed one particular skill that's very useful on a boat: being able to put just the right amount of water in the kettle!
I left Jaq to finish preparing for her guests' arrival, and went back to Briar Rose for some lunch. Les returned with the family, and we nada a quick chat through the side hatch. A little while later I moved on to Bridge 74, and with some difficulty lugged the old battery down to the recycling centre. It's not far, but that battery was heavy. Back at the boat I did some cleaning, during which time a day boat out of Milton Keynes came by. They must have missed the bit about slowing down. And the bit about not all being on one side.
The next short hop was to Wolverton. The sky had clouded over and the wind had picked up, and I had some difficulty getting into the side, thanks to the wind tunnel effect of the flats. But I slotted myself into a gap between boats, and was soon moored. I visited the handy Tesco for the things on the shopping list, and then took a look at the park shown on the map of the development. It's just the other side of the canalside block, and is the site of the Victorian recreation ground and velodrome. One side is bordered by the shed where the Royal train was built and stored. It's been converted into town houses.
I have seen literally dozens of Wyvern hire boats today, with it being half term. Almost all have families on board, which is good, and many have three generations. Invariably, it's dad at the helm, sometimes with a child assisting. I don't know if the whole Wyvern fleet is out this week, but I'm sure it must be much easier than usual getting past their base at Leighton Buzzard!
8 miles, 1 lock. (64 miles, 43 locks)