Tuesday 26 December 2023

Christmas Cruise: Day 4

An alarm at 3.45am, as I had work this morning.  It was a ten minute walk along the towpath to the car, which we had moved into Cosgrove on Christmas Eve.  It was clear and cold, with bright moonlight.

I came back to the marina after my shift, and Adrian had walked along to meet me.  We walked back to the boat, passing these characters in Cosgrove.

After lunch we set off back to the marina.  

The lock needed turning, and we had an audience of walkers to watch us come up.  

Unlike every other day this short trip there wasn’t a breath of wind.  Even the marina was still, which sometimes means it’s harder to spin round to reverse into the berth, but actually it all went extremely well.  An hour after setting off, we were all secure in our berth.

We have nothing planned for this afternoon; tomorrow we head home — me via work, and Adrian via his aunt and uncle in Kent.

1 mile, 1 lock.  (3 miles, 2 locks)

Monday 25 December 2023

Christmas Cruise: Day 3

Christmas Day, and the wind had finally dropped.  We treated ourselves to a cooked breakfast, then as it wasn’t raining, set off.  We were very shortly crossing the Wolverton Aqueduct.

A little bit further on, we turned around in the wide section at Galleon Wharf, and headed back.  We were very shortly crossing the Wolverton Aqueduct.

We moored up a couple of boat lengths along from where we’d been, mostly to get away from our neighbour’s generator, which seems to be running most of the day.  As we had coats and boots on, we headed off for a walk round the Ouse Valley Park, walking all the way to the railway viaduct.  On the way back, we passed the ponies, in a field up by the farm.

At lunchtime we started cooked our Christmas dinner: rolled turkey breast, massive pigs in blankets, roast potatoes, carrots and parsnips, stuffing balls and brussels.  With a bit of juggling, everything fitted in the oven and got cooked.  This afternoon it has been raining on and off; we’ve been binge watching series two of Vigil, three episodes yesterday, one so far today, and two more which will almost certainly be completed later today.

We hope everyone is having a lovely Christmas, and if it’s not a good time for you, we hope you are at the very least having a peaceful one.

1 miles, 0 locks.  (2 miles, 1 lock)

Sunday 24 December 2023

Christmas Cruise: Day 2

The forecast for today was for 40mph winds, so we were always unlikely to be going anywhere.  We also had a visit planned, from my second cousin Catherine and Nigel.  Grace was at work and Matthew was being a teenager and had gone back to bed!  We started with tea and then moved on to mulled wine, along with some of my mince pies and Catherine’s Christmas rocky road.  We haven’t seen them since the end of our trip in September, and it turned out we had a lot to catch up on.

Afterwards, we had lunch then went out for a walk.  It’s been very blustery but at least it’s been dry.  Our walk took us round part of the Ouse Valley Country Park, with nice views of Wolverton Aqueduct on the way back.

Lots of people are out and about walking the towpath, and all seem very cheerful and Christmassy.  Merry Christmas to all the readers of this blog!

0 miles, 0 locks.  (1 mile, 1 lock)

Saturday 23 December 2023

Christmas Cruise: Days 0 and 1

Adrian wasn’t working yesterday, so came up to the marina first thing.  He did a stock take and then went shopping at a packed Tesco in Wolverton.  He’d also brought quite a lot with him.  Then it was a matter of getting the boat warm.

I came up this morning after my night shifts.  Part of the M1 was down to 20mph on the variable speed limits, due (according to the signs) to an oncoming vehicle.  I didn’t see one, but the slow bit lasted for several miles.  It had been very blustery in the night, and was still very windy this morning.  We debated whether to head out of the marina or not, and decided it was probably safer not to.  So instead we got in the car and headed off to Canons Ashby, which is decorated for Christmas.

The decorations are on the theme of King Arthur, because one of the house’s former owners had written an opera about him, with Purcell doing the music.  They were quite imaginative,  especially the enchanted forest and the dragons in the kitchens.

We’d got there not long after the house opened, so got a fairly early slot, and it’s not that big — so we ended up having a rather early lunch too.  We also went across the road to the church, one of only four in the UK that are privately owned, apparently.

On the way back, we had a walk up Buckby Locks, and talked to the owners of a boat going up.  We also decided the wind wasn’t nearly as bad as it had been, so we headed back to the boat and set off.  Although it was fairly breezy in the marina, outside it was fine.  We went down through Cosgrove.

We went down the lock, and moored towards the aqueduct.  It’s pretty calm here, and we’re not being blown about like we were in the marina.  The forecast is worse for tomorrow though, and we have visitors in the morning, so we may not go anywhere at all.

1 mile, 1 lock.

Friday 8 December 2023

Stargazer on test

The January Canal Boat is out, and includes my boat test on Stargazer, by Knights Narrowboats.