Wednesday 31 October 2012

Repaint cruise - day 1

We'd originally been due to collect Briar Rose after her repaint on Monday, but the damp, dank, foggy weather last week meant the job was delayed a little.  Consequently, we've spent the past couple of days visiting friends and family in the north west.

We spent last night at a hotel in Market Harborough, but we were up and about early and got on the road at about 7am.  We swapped cars at the marina, shopped, and went along to Baxter's Boatfitting.  We were both quite nervous -- would the two greens work together?  Would we like the raddle red?  Would the renewed signwriting look good?  Fortunately, moments after we saw the boat we were grinning from ear to ear.  It looks incredibly glossy; the colours look fantastic, and the signwriting is fresh and lively.

We unpacked the car and set off.  I was very aware of every branch sticking out from the side of the canal.  While I steered, Adrian started getting the inside of the boat sorted out.  It wasn't as dusty as we'd feared it might be, but everything still needed a good clean.  The view of the roof is now completely different.

We considered stopping below the locks at Stoke Bruerne (as we hadn't yet had breakfast), but a boat was just going in the bottom lock so we joined them.  It was reasonably sunny and relatively mild.  All the locks were against us, but we still made reasonable progress, and moored in the long pound above the fifth lock.  There was still quite a lot of sorting out to do, and we were both hungry.  As we had lunch, the forecast rain arrived, so we're staying put.

3 miles, 5 locks.

Friday 12 October 2012

Foxton Locks

I had a boat test today a stone's throw from Foxton Locks.  So as the test wasn't scheduled until the afternoon, I went up early and stopped at the locks for a walk.  There were a few gongoozlers about, and just a couple of boats moving.

I had lunch at the Bridge 61 pub at the bottom of the locks.  They've got an interesting exhibition coming soon.

The test went well.  The sky stayed mostly blue, although at one point it did rain at the same time, but it was fairly blustery.  I managed to reverse the boat back onto its mooring -- at the far end of a four-boat-long pontoon in the marina.

On the way home, I made an unscheduled stop at Heyford, where Chance was moored.  I'd intended to stay just an hour while the rush hour traffic round Oxford subsided, but ended up staying for dinner next door on Dolce Far Niente.  We'd met Stephen and Jayne at Crick, so it was really good to catch up with their news since then.  I left at about 9pm, making my way along the towpath by the light of my phone, back to the car.  It had been an excellent evening, all the better for being unplanned.

Thursday 4 October 2012

Walhalla on test

The November issue of Canal Boat is out, and includes my test of the extraordinary widebeam, Walhalla.

Monday 1 October 2012

Pinch punch

Although someone somewhere in the organisation of Stoke Bruerne's Village at War festival may be a little confused about the date today...