Friday 31 May 2013

Work again

A later start today, so before I left for work there was time to say hello to the marina swan, and top up the water tank.  I was also able to confirm that the boat test planned for tomorrow is going ahead, so I'll be back on board again tonight.

I couldn't face the drive down the M1 again, so decided to get the train from Wovlverton.  The route passes and crosses the Grand Union several times.  I saw it at Old Linslade, Grove Lock, and Berkhamsted among other places.

Thursday 30 May 2013

Work and lunch

It was already light when the alarm went off at 4.30 this morning.  I hoped the water pump and the shower pump didn't wake up the neighbours in the marina.  It was raining as I went to the car, and drove down the M1 to work.

But I still had a boating fix.  I'd arranged to meet Doug and James on Chance in order to take them some oil and air filters they'd asked us to buy for them at the Crick show, so in my lunch break I got on the tube to King's Cross, and found them moored up opposite King's Place, the home of The Guardian.

They'd laid on lunch, which was kind of them (photo nicked from their blog).  All too soon it was time to go back to work.

This evening I had a very slow and frustrating drive back to the marina.  There's work again tomorrow, and I'm not sure whether I'll be coming back here or going home afterwards.  It all depends on whether a boat test goes ahead on Saturday.

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Return Trip - Day 3

The moorings at Nether Heyford are very peaceful -- you can only just hear the trains, which is a bit of a rarity down this stretch.  This was the view from the window, with a rather threatening sky.  I decided not to include the huge pylon!

It hammered down with rain overnight, but by this morning it had stopped.  There was just a bit of moisture in the air, and it was dank and misty.  We set off about 8.30.  It never really seemed to get light, but the vegetation is very green at the moment.

It was about an hour and a half before we saw another moving boat.  At Blisworth tunnel I approached rather carefully after meeting a boat right at the portal last time.  Sure enough, as I lined up there was hooting from the tunnel and a Willow Wren hire boat emerged closely followed by an ex-OwnerShips.  They both told us it was very wet inside, but to us it seemed relatively dry compared with recent passages.  We passed three boats in the tunnel, the first of which seemed to be going very slowly, much to the annoyance of the two following.

At the top lock at Stoke Bruerne a pair of boats was coming up.  By the time they'd risen, another boat had arrived going our way so we paired up.  Holly is owned by a nice couple, and we chatted a lot as we went down the locks.  The two boats did some synchronised boating to move from one lock to the next.

In the lower half of the flight we met pairs of boats at several locks, making life easier.  At the bottom, we moored up to have lunch.

We set off again at 2pm, and very shortly afterwards the rain started.  It was pretty persistent, by at least there wasn't any wind.  There were a few boats on the move, mostly hire boats from Willow Wren, Gayton, and Napton, and none of the steerers looked particularly happy.  I guess I looked more or less the same myself.  Of course we met a couple of the boats at tricky places where there were offside trees narrowing the channel.

We got back to the marina about 3.30, and the lack of wind made it pretty easy to get into our berth.  By 4pm we were tied up and connected to the shore power.

It's been great going to the Crick Show by boat.  Adrian was a bit bored for the first day and a half while I was busy looking at boats, but we had some great evenings meeting old and new friends.  All in all it was a very social time.

Adrian has gone home ready for work tomorrow.  I'm also working tomorrow, but I'm going from the boat as it's quicker.  Also, I might be doing a boat test on Saturday, and the midlands is much closer to that too.

15 miles, 7 locks.  (28 miles, 21 locks {that's one mile more than the trip to Crick, because of going to the winding hole!})

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Return Trip - Day 2

The forecast was right and we needed our wet weather gear today.  We set off in the rain and murk at about 8am, heading first for Norton Junction.  We spotted No Problem just beyond the junction towards Braunston.

We turned towards Buckby Top Lock, aiming for the water point.  We haven't filled up since before the Crick Show, we wanted to do some washing, and we know the tap at the top lock is a fast one.  When we got there we found a boat moored on the water point; it appeared his permanent mooring was just opposite, so I guess he'd filled up with water last night and then couldn't be bothered to move back.  We knew the hose pipe wouldn't reach, so I knocked on the roof of the boat to ask him to move.  He stuck his head out and said we'd have to breast up, as he wasn't dressed yet.  We did so, even though it was tricky, and then treated him to the Travel Power and high engine revs as we got the washing machine under way.

Filling the tank didn't take as long as we'd expected.  It's a big tank and a fast tap, and we have been careful.  I went to set the lock, and as I did so another boat came off its moorings and joined us.  It was an ex-Challenger share boat with a family on board.  Mum and the two sons were on lock duty, which meant I could go ahead each time and set the next lock.  From the middle of the flight, we started meeting boats coming up, which also helped.

I made a quick visit to the farm shop by the penultimate lock, and bought stir fry pork, lamb chops, and some veg, so we can eat for the next couple of days.

Once down the locks I had a phone call from Waterways World, who organise the Crick Show, about my photo used without my permission in the show guide.  They apologised profusely and offered a fee, which I asked them to increase, given that we were discussing this after the event.  When I'd complained, I'd given them one of my cards, so the guy on the phone asked how I was involved in waterways journalism; I asked whether he ever read Canal Boat magazine, and apparently he doesn't.

We were cold and wet so we stopped at Nether Heyford and had lunch.  This afternoon, I've written the last of my mini boat reviews, and tinkered with a nearly complete full review, to take account of the fact that the boat won the Favourite Boat vote at the show.  All afternoon it's been raining to a greater or lesser degree, so we're glad we decided to stop when we did.

7 miles, 7 locks.  (13 miles, 14 locks)

Monday 27 May 2013

Crick Show - Day 3/Return Trip - Day 1

I was up fairly early this morning, and wrote six more mini boat reviews while Adrian carried on sleeping.

At about 9.30 we went over to the show site to speak to a few people before the crowds were let in.  I also went into the show office to complain about the use of one of my photos in the show guide without my permission.

About an hour later, I bumped into Bob and June from Autumn Myst, and we had a catch up and they came to have a look at Briar Rose.  It was good to see them again (the last time was in Droitwich in September), and hear about their travels down to Bath and back.

Adrian and I had another wander round the show, then had lunch sitting on the bank by the marina in the sunshine.  We then decided to turn the boat around, ready for the off, so boated up to the winding hole, then returned to our mooring facing south.

In the afternoon, I had to take photos of the presentation for the winner of the Favourite Boat vote.  It went to Emily by Navigation Narrowboats of Nantwich.

Once that was done we headed off, aiming to beat the rush and the holdups at Watford Locks.  It was a lovely afternoon, although rather windy, and this is a very nice stretch of canal.

There were a two or three boats ahead of us, and we were soon on our way down.  The gates in the staircase are very leaky.

We made rapid progress down the locks, thanks to there being about half a dozen volunteer lockies on duty.  They were resetting the top lock, the top of the staircase, and the individual locks at the bottom, to speed everyone on their way.

Waiting at the bottom lock was a very grumpy crew of a Canal Boat Club boat (or Canaltime, as we probably still know them as).  They were irate that people kept coming down the bottom lock without letting them up.  I went and asked if they'd booked in with the lock keeper -- and immediately wished I hadn't.  They didn't believe there was a lock keeper; they disputed that there was a booking system; they thought that boats coming down were wasting water; they were shouting and swearing.  I helped the boat in front of us down the bottom lock, and reset it for us; the Canaltime people brought their boat right up to the gates in protest.  We later discovered that they'd sworn at the people on the boat in front -- a nice couple who'd been working on the IWA stand at the show.  There must be something about Watford Locks that brings out the worst in hire boaters.

Once down the locks we carried on to Norton Junction, tucking into a space within sight of the junction.  Tomorrow we'll fill the water tank, which must be getting low after all the time at the show, and head down the Buckby flight.  The forecast suggests we'll need full wet weather gear.

6 miles, 7 locks.

Sunday 26 May 2013

Crick Show - Day 2

It's been a fantastically warm and sunny day today, and the show has been busy.  I started the day by writing up some of the mini boat reviews, while Adrian went into the village to the shop.  We went over to the show site about 10.30, and I spent some time talking boats with the editor.

We came back to the boat at lunchtime.  The scaffolding bridge, next to which we're moored, is a very popular place for people to take in the views down the canal.  We've been looked at and photographed no end.

In the afternoon we had an ice cream, then met up with Neil and Kath from Herbie.  We went back to their boat along with the Halfies for tea and cake.

This evening we'd invited a number of boat builders and owners whose boats have been tested recently, onto Briar Rose for a drink.  I think we had about 12 or 13 people on board at one point.  By the time they'd all left we couldn't be bothered to cook, so we wandered over to the show site and had something from one of the food stalls.  We stayed to hear the Fleetwood Mac tribute band who were playing in the beer tent, and met up with the Herbies again.  They came back to BR for a drink afterwards.

Saturday 25 May 2013

Crick Show - Day 1

After I'd blogged yesterday, Andy and Helen from Wand'ring Bark called round for coffee and a rest, having spent their day setting up their stall at the show.  It was great to spend some time chatting to them.  In the evening we went to The Moorings with the Braidbar owners group, where we had good food and excellent company.

This morning I was on the show site at around 8am, and we started looking at boats as soon as Andy the photographer arrived.  During the course of the day, we looked at 22 boats; now all I have to do is write the up.

Our Eberspacher boiler has been playing up recently, so Adrian went to their stand for advice.  They recommended contacting Boating Leisure Services at Heyford Fields Marina.  As it happens, the guys are here at the show, so Dave come over to the boat with his diagnostic kit, and ended up taking our boiler away to be fixed, and installing a loan one that he just happened to have in his van.  Great service!  Adrian also did some other shopping, including a new chimney, and oile and air filters from the Beta stand.

At the close of the show, there was a small celebration at the Braidbar stand, to mark the firm's 30th anniversary.  There was a cake and champagne.

Later we joined the Ahabs and the Halfies in going to The Red Lion in the village for dinner.  You have to put your name down for a table when you arrive.  The menu says they don't do fast food, but we felt the three hours we waited was a bit excessive!

Friday 24 May 2013

Crick Show - Day -1

Last evening turned out surprisingly sunny so we went for a walk along the towpath and up Crack Hill.

There are great views from up there, including the show site.

This morning was cold and very windy.  We walked into the village to go to the shop, then mid morning went over to the show site to have a look at preparations for the show.  The conditions were far from ideal for putting up tents and marquees, and many people seemed to be struggling.  The layout of the show is very different this year, with most of the site now on what has previously been the car park.  We chatted to a few people, and finally met Captain Ahab of Wand'ring Bark.

This afternoon we've stayed on the boat keeping out of the weather.  It's been exceptionally windy, but we haven't had the heavy rain that was forecast.  Lots of boats have been past - some of them moving very quickly.  I know it's windy and you sometimes need a bit of extra power to stay in a straight line, but some helmsman have taken no account that they're passing a line of breasted up boats.  We're on the outside, and have been thrown around all over the place by some of them.  Among the boats was President and Kildare, who announced their approach with a steam whistle. They were churning up the water, but still didn't rock us as much as some of the more everyday boats.

This evening, we're eating at The Moorings, with the Braidbar Owners Group.

Thursday 23 May 2013

Crick Trip - Day 3

We set off at 8am in sunshine.  I walked up to Buckby Top Lock, and turned it after a couple of boats had left.  Once we were up we stopped on the water point to fill the tank.  Then it was along to Norton Junction for the turn onto the Leicester Line.  The run to the bottom of Watford Locks always seems longer than we remember.

At the locks, I went to book in with the lock keeper, and he said we could come straight up after the boat in front, as there was no-one waiting to come down.  The boat in front was a hire boat, who for some reason hadn't started up the locks; when told they could go, they set off on the boat without setting the lock.  I went and emptied it for them, then worked them up.  The lock keeper had set the next lock, and worked that for them.  Eventually, they had to get off and wind a paddle or two themselves.

Our journey up the locks was pretty quick.  But the weather had worsened, and it was cold.

At the top of the locks, it started raining.  We did the short run to the tunnel, which is very close to Bridge 10.

The tunnel is nearly a mile long, but Crick is straight after it.  The moorings were in a state of confusion, as the temporary bridge across the canal was still being built, so we moored up and would move into our proper spot later.  During the next couple of hours, we had rain, hail, and sunshine.

Eventually the bridge was finished, as we and the other Braidbar boats moved into our slots right by the bridge.  In the middle of all this, when cold rain was falling, Jo and Keith on Hadar went past.  We are on the outside, breasted up to Ice Breaker.

Later in the afternoon, I went onto the show site and saw a few people I knew, including the owners and builder of the boat I tested last week -- so I was able to have a few questions answered.

It's been really cold this afternoon, and we've lit the fire.  Tomorrow, the forecast is pretty bad.

6 miles, 8 locks.  (27 miles, 21 locks)

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Crick Trip - Day 2

We set off at 8.15 this morning.  It was grey, fairly cold, but reasonably still.  It took about 45 minutes to get to the bottom of the Stoke Bruerne flight.  There were no other boats in sight so we set off up the locks on our own.

We met boats coming down at three locks, so it was fairly efficient, and we were at the top in no time.  Then it was the familiar trip through the tunnel, dodging what water cascades I could, but still getting pretty wet.

At Gayton Junction, we found a couple of familiar boats moored: Matilda Rose, and No Problem.  We moored up and went to MR for tea and biscuits and a catch up chat.  The last time I saw Jill and Graham was more than a year ago; I saw Sue and Vic last September, while I was crewing for Chance through Droitwich.  We were there for about an hour, setting off again just before 1pm.  We then had lunch on the move.

While we'd been moored up, loads of boats had gone past, including Muchgigglin, who we shared locks with down to Marsworth Junction a couple of weeks ago.  As we neared Tarry's coal yard at Furnace Wharf, Muchgigglin was just leaving the service wharf in front of us.  The day was getting much brighter, and the sun was coming out -- although it still seemed pretty cold and a bit breezy too.  We decided that as we were making good progress, we'd carry on as far as we could: if Muchgigglin were going up the Buckby locks, we'd go with them, and if they weren't we'd stop at the bottom.  They were going up, and seemed pleased to have us as locking partners again.  We had a few things to catch up on, including their evening at Paddington with my colleague with the famous voice.

We made quick progress up the locks.  Tone and Julie had a friend staying with them, so there was always someone to go up and get the next lock ready.  By now the sun was so bright it was being a problem!

We stopped six locks up, in the long pound below the top lock.  The water level was pretty low, but the back-pumping scheme has been working and we're afloat at the moment.  I suspect there's a chance we could be aground by the morning.  It's quite a nice spot here, with a nice outlook; the sound of the M1 and the Virgin trains is in the background, but not too bad.

20 miles, 13 locks.  (21 miles, 13 locks)

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Crick Trip - Day 1

I finished my fourth night shift this morning, and drove from work up to the boat, arriving about 9.15.  After unpacking the car and putting things away, I made a list and drove to Tesco at Wolverton to do a big shop.  I called in at B&Q on the way back, to get a pack of screws.

Back at the boat, I started a few jobs.  First I installed a telescopic aluminium pole on the cratch, so we can put the freeview ariel higher.  Next I blacked the Squirrel stove, and it looks much, much better.  Then after lunch I washed and polished one side of the boat.  I used Bullet polish, which is a carnauba wax spray and was recommended by Julie from Muchgigglin when we shared locks a couple of weeks ago.  It's fantastic stuff, and is very quick to use.  One side took around half an hour.

There was plenty of activity in the marina.  A pair of swans with four cygnets came in; the was a tern diving and catching small fish, and there were swallows darting about.

The owner of the marina was around with the pump out tractor, so I had our tank emptied.  You don't get a rinse at all, but it is cheap.  Then I set off for Baxter's at Kingfisher marina for diesel.  The journey takes about 40 minutes; I took on 108 litres, but the price has dropped to 87p.  I also bought a bag of coal, in case it gets as chilly as they're predicting this weekend

On the way back, I moored near Bridge 62, so I could wash and polish the other side.  The boat really does look a lot better.  I then started a chili for dinner, which I left on the hob very low.

As I was about to set off back to Thrupp Wharf, a boat called Tumbleweed went by, and the helmsman said they read the blog, which was nice.  The journey back to the marina was uneventful, and getting back into our berth was fairly straightforward as there was no wind at all.

I'd been back about an hour when Adrian arrived, having driven up from work in Portsmouth.  It was about 6.15, and fairly pleasant, so rather than staying in the marina we headed off.  We've come just a mile to a nice spot just past Bridge 62, which I've used a few times before.  It's very peaceful and the birds are singing; but more than anything it's just nice to be out on the cut.

Fuel trip:  4 miles, 0 locks.

Crick trip:  1 mile, 0 locks.

Sunday 19 May 2013

All set for Crick

It's the Crick Boat Show next weekend.  We'll be setting off on Wednesday, and should arrive on Thursday.

Friday 17 May 2013

Chimney cover

Having quite enjoyed painting my water can, I've turned my attention to our rather grubby galvanised chimney cover.  I've painted it Dovedale Green, with a cream line in the groove near the base.
With a bit of luck, there'll eventually be some weather warm enough that we can stow the chimney away, and use the newly painted cover instead.

Wednesday 15 May 2013


The weather forecasts have played havoc with the planning for the boat test we wanted to get done.  It was originally meant to have been done last week, but the rain and high winds meant we postponed.

We re-arranged for today, but yesterday the forecast was terrible, so we postponed again - so after work last night I went home rather than staying on board Briar Rose.  But by today, the forecast was much better, and after some to-ing and fro-ing we decided to go for it this afternoon.  We rather sprang it on the owners of the boat, but they were very accommodating.  It meant dropping everything at lunchtime, jumping into the car and heading north.  During the journey, I went through every sort of weather: sunshine, rain, and even hailstones.

We met the boat at Atherstone, and worked it up a few locks for the photos.  Fortunately the sun came out and the clouds were white and fluffy rather than grey and heavy.

I'm spending the night on Briar Rose, in order to break the journey.

Monday 13 May 2013

Early start

The alarm went off at 4.30 this morning, and a few minutes later I wondered whether the boat next door could hear the water pump and (even louder) the shower pump.

By 5.15 I was in the car and heading for London.  Amazingly, it turned out that a colleague knows Tony and Julie from Muchgigglin, with whom we had such a good time sharing the locks on Friday.  He's even due to see them in London this week.

I got back to the marina at about 4.30 this afternoon, and put a coat of varnish on the cabin porthole liners.  Since I've been back, there's been a series of squally showers and it's turned really cold.

Sunday 12 May 2013

May Cruise -- Day 5

We heard them before we saw them.  We were still in the process of getting up, when we were aware of the sound of anglers stomping down the towpath, towing all their equipment behind them.  When we opened the curtains, there was a fishing match setting up, with one fisherman a few feet in front of the bow and another a few feet off the stern.

We had a cooked breakfast as it was Sunday, then I walked down to Stoke Hammond lock while Adrian brought the boat.

It was quite sunny, and at times felt warm.  But there was also a cold breeze.  When we got to Fenny Stratford lock, two boats were coming up so the bridge was already swung out of the way.  On leaving the lock we saw a family of geese with their goslings.

After Simpson, we passed through a huge fishing match, which went on for the best part of a mile.  As we went traversed the long lock-free pound through Milton Keynes, counting off the bridges, we saw two wide beams on the move.  Adrian also started cooking our Sunday roast, and when it was ready at about 1.30, we moored up opposite The Galleron at Wolverton to eat it.

We had just a couple of miles left, and they were done in the rain.  We had to turn Cosgrove lock, the final one of the trip.

It was a bit miserable as we turned back into the marina, but at least it wasn't windy enough to make it difficult to get into our berth.

Adrian then headed home; I'm staying for another couple of days, because the rearranged boat test is due on Wednesday.  Tomorrow and Tuesday I'm at work, so I'll drive to London -- and it's an early start in the morning.

15 miles, 3 locks.  (57 miles, 36 locks)

Saturday 11 May 2013

May Cruise -- Day 4

Yesterday's mystery duck has been identified as a red crested pochard, thanks to comments from Irene, Sheila, and Debby.  It was not, as suggested by my cousin Jonathan on facebook, a river parrot -- although that seems like a good default guess for future mystery birds.

This morning, a boat went past while we were having breakfast, so as we weren't ready to leave we let him get a bit of a head start before we set off.  It was about 8.20 when we headed for the first lock under blue skies.

After the first couple of locks is a longer pound, then I jumped off to open the swing bridge just past Pitstone Wharf.

We met boats coming up at the next lock, the top one of the three Seabrook locks.  They passed on a message that the boat in front would wait for us at the next lock.  It turned out to be a professional boat mover, Richard, and we shared all the way down to Leighton Buzzard.  We got into a good rhythm, and I ended up walking all the way to Slapton Lock, which is three miles or so.  At Slapton Lock, we met the hotel boats, Snipe and Taurus coming up.

Later, we saw another hotel boat, Takara, that we've seen several times over the past couple of days

At Grove Lock, the wind was exceptionally strong, and we struggled to get away from the side and into the lock.  We stopped on the shopping moorings at Leighton Buzzard, and Adrian popped into Tesco while I got lunch ready.  After lunch, we set off again -- the first time on this little trip that we've done more than half a day's boating.  At Wyvern Shipping, the number of hire boats moored up has reduced significantly since yesterday -- down from 30 to 15.

At Leighton Lock it started to rain, and as we passed The Globe, where  Lois Jane was moored up, it became really heavy.  There was a pause in the rain, but as we came down the Soulbury Three Locks there was another downpour combined with strong winds.  The lock keepers were a great help, and the boat we shared with, a Canal Breaks boat from Hillmorton, did a bit of synchronised boating, which was probably wise in the conditions.

We moored up for the night at Stoke Hammond.  While we've been here, there have been squally showers interspersed with sunny spells.  It really can't make up its mind what it wants to do.

12 miles, 15 locks.  (41 miles, 33 locks)

Friday 10 May 2013

May Cruise - Day 3

Last night, after dinner on board, we braved the elements and walked the hundred yards or so to The Globe, where we had a drink and dessert.  Last time we passed, it was closed for refurbishment; now it's very smart -- probably more of a restaurant than a pub -- but still comfortable and welcoming.  It was also pretty busy, given it was a wet Thursday.

This morning we were off by 8.30, and shared Leighton Lock with a family who were reluctantly returning their Wyvern hire boat after a ten day trip to Market Harborough and back.  At Wyvern, there were about thirty hire boats in, which struck us as rather a lot.

At Grove Lock, we shared the lock with Muchgigglin, which had moored below the lock.  It's a boat we used to see a lot when we had our share in Debdale and were based at Stockton Top.  We got on very well with Tone and Julie, who, it turns out, live not far from us, and also had a share boat at one stage.

We got into a rhythm of sharing locks with them, and chatting as we did so.  It made for a very pleasant and speedy passage through Slapton, Horton, Ivinghoe and Seabrook locks.  The weather, though, didn't show much improvement on yesterday.  In fact, the wind was at times very strong, and made boating a challenge.

At the swing bridge at Pitstone, a single hander had somehow opened the bridge, and left it.  Julie managed to get across onto it from the boat, and closed it.  We helped the single hander up the final two locks, so we could continue sharing.  Coming down were three little boats all sharing one lock.

At our final lock of the day, the sun finally made an appearance.

We stopped at the water point at Marsworth Junction, ans began having lunch while the tank filled.  When it was full, we winded in the junction and began retracing our steps.  We travelled just a couple of hundred yards, and moored on rings just before Bridge 129.

In the afternoon, we walked back to the junction and up the Marsworth flight, along the start of the Wendover Arm, and back through the reservoirs.  Last time we were here, the reservoirs were verging on empty; today things look much more healthy.  There was also quite a lot of wildlife, with a duck I'm struggling to identify, and a clutch of more everyday ducklings.

As we walked, the wind was ridiculously strong at times.  But with the sun out it's been quite warm, and we've even got the side hatch open.

10 miles, 12 locks.  (29 miles, 18 locks)

Thursday 9 May 2013

May Cruise - Day 2

We woke to bright sunshine, and a bit of a breeze. The thinking was that if it wassn't too windy, we'd set off and see how far we got before the weather closed in. It didn't seem too bad, so we left our mooring at a couple of minutes before 8. I saw a tweet from BBC Weather this morning saying enjoy the blossom on the way to work - it may not last the day. So I had to take a photo of some trees in full bloom as we made the long plod through Milton Keynes.

Just before Fenny Stratford it started to rain. As we approached the lock a boat was just coming out, so they left the gates open and the bridge swung out of the way. We we joined in the lock by a couple on a 40ft boat, who'd set off from the moorings at Simpson. We did the lock in the rain, but shortly afterwards the sun came out again and by the time we got to Stoke Hammond lock, it was really quite nice. A boat had just left the lock, so it was empty for us. This is one of the locks which used to have another alongside, hence the double bridge.

Last time we came this way, Adrian took quite a shine to the converted pump house to the left of the lock. Today he decided he still liked it.

We we're making good progress. The wind was very changeable: one minute it would be calm, the next there'd be a huge gust from one side or the other; it was manageable though, and as we had a locking partner we thought we'd go up the Soulbury Three locks while the going was good. Yet again, a couple of boats were just leaving the lock, and two volunteer lock keepers were standing by to help. Consequently, we flew up the locks.

As lunchtime approached, and as the forecast had suggested, the wind really got up. Along the Jackdaw pound it was a real struggle to keep going in a straight line. We had a couple of abortive attempts to get into the side near Old Linslade, but ended up mooring just past the Globe Inn at shortly after 1pm. Last time we came this way the pub was closed for refurbishment, and it certainly looks very smart now.

Adrian has been working all day, just popping out to help with the locks. He had a conference call after lunch, so while he did that I've been doing a few other jobs. Our window cills need revarnishing, so I've made a start. I thought I'd better experiment on something relatively out of the way, to check whether materials and competence were up to the job, so I rubbed down, washed, treated, and varnished the porthole liners in the engine room. They'll need a couple more coats tomorrow, but look good so far. Once I'm happy with them, I can do all the others.

The rain arrived a bit later than forecast, at about 4.30, but I'm glad we stopped at lunchtime. Tomorrow is supped to be dry with less wind.

14 miles, 5 locks.  (19 miles, 6 locks)