Thursday, 20 August 2015

Strange that it should lead to.....

Monday 17th August to Wednesday 19th August 2015

It's amazing what one little statement can create on it's own and cause to happen.

Here we were going happily along with the plan to put the boat into Wigrams Turn Marina when a Facebook message to our dear friend Stella came back with a reply about why go to Braunston and then back when we could go up the Braunston flight and stay in Welton Marina?
The ripple that this caused in our thinking created a wave that gathered momentum to the point that we have gone through Buckby, Weedon, Gayton Junction, Blisworth and Stoke Bruerne.

Rather than 5 miles back we have progressed a lot further south.

One minute we were calmy moored in the Napton flight preparing to spend a day peacefully still and not moving and before long the ropes were untied and the first lock was ready.
and yet another view of the windmill on the hill
Arrangements made for Tuesday were brought forward to Monday evening and we were looking at a long travelling day for Tuesday.

The journey down to Braunston was very smooth - along the way we passed by Jacqui and Les on nb Valerie - just time for a brief chat as we carried on; past Wigrams Turn, where we would have been and on to find a mooring just before The Boat House.
very much at Braunston Junction - we veer right and out of shot on the left
another boat was approaching - but far enough away
Linda and Richard had been in contact and we met for final farewell drinks (there is never just one goodbye it seems); we met Janet and Howard (nb Compass Rose) as they cruised in from the south and had a cuppa with them before we would eventually meet for dinner.

It was lovely sitting out on the "canal" deck at the Boat House with Linda and Richard, enjoying a drink and discussing the last month of travelling together - it has been an enjoyable time but finally we would be cutting the elastic.

We love catching up with Janet and Howard and listening to Howard's stories of their adventures - discounting by half the embellishments that Howard always adds, but their trip through the Standedge Tunnel and then across The Wash standout as their highlights.
Janet, as always, reminds Howard of where he has veered off track.
We love you both and may it be soon that we can sit down again to hear the narrations.

So on to Tuesday morning - we more or less had a normal morning and were ready about the usual time for us; a message coming through that we had some help ready for the 6 locks immediately ahead of us - not sure that Muffin would be much help but the windlassing abilities of Linda and Richard would be most appreciated.

In the end we needed their help -  I was left on the boat and with Linda, Richard and Diane as well as the male half of the boat with whom we shared the locks, they all worked effectively to push the rather lazy pair in front of us.
It seemed that 80% of the traffic was heading towards the tunnel and this one pair were p___-f_____g around, with boats queueing up behind - they didn't seem to have a clue.
Anyway we got through; our goodbyes were said; we waved them farewell; our lock-buddies pulled over for a well-earned breakfast/morning tea and we headed for the tunnel.
fare thee well and thanks for a great time
We have been through Braunston Tunnel 5 times previously and I am sure that in all of that time I have only ever passed 1 boat before - this time it was 5 boats travelling the other way - there were no problems, just rather strange to have met this many in the tunnel at one time.

At Norton junction the pair that had caused the delays headed north and we carried on to the Buckby flight - eventually pairing up with a hire boat at the second lock - they pulled over for lunch after two more locks leaving us on our own for the rest of the flight.
The last lock in the Buckby flight and without a by-wash, all of the water that
we had brought down was overflowing
After this we had 15 miles of lock-free cruising - completing most that day with Diane at the helm whilst I was able to work inside - the internet signal was so good that even on the move I was able to download and upload files as needed.
Diane thought that she had a drinking partner until she realised that he wasn't real
Wednesday was more of the same as Tuesday - lock-free cruising; a tunnel (Blisworth), this time 6 boats to pass; 7 locks at Stoke Bruerne; another pair of lazy sods ahead of us - even when we set the locks for them ahead of them they still managed to be a hold-up - we were accompanied by a fine gentleman on nb Touchwood who in an unknowing way up held my theory that you definitely cannot judge a book by it's cover - he single-handed and worked his side very well - between the three of us we operated quite efficiently.
In the small boat category, the winner is....

....Edward Lear

Once out there was more lock-free cruising and Diane resumed duties on the helm; I was back inside for more work and tea-making responsibilities.
Another long day and we moored up in a lovely open area with perfect reception on all-fronts - a rather tired skipper could have done with a foot-rub but we were both a bit exhausted - make a note, Ray, to get that done next time.
The Great Ouse Aqueduct - a lovely edifice to the canal makers

The crazy-haired woman - Guess where we are?

We had gone a bit against our usual travelling rules but in the end the longer than average days will workout marvellously well.

During our day, I had a phone call from our solicitor in Manchester; it seems that the Home Office has in their infinite insanity decided that I am not a threat to the security of the realm and granted an Indefinite Leave to Remain visa for me, so I can stay in the country.
Despite a 3-1 deficit, I do still have some standards and I could never support the England Cricket team (Go Aussies); I will continue to support Wales in the 6-Nations; Australia or NZ for the Rugby World Cup; and Australia to remain on top of world Netball.

35 Miles, 25 Locks, 2 Tunnels
YTD: 750 Miles (1207 km) , 428 Locks, 14 Tunnels, 11 Lift Bridges, 13 Swing Bridges

Totals: 3644 Miles (5864 km) , 2549 Locks, 112 Tunnels, 45 Lift Bridges, 164 Swing Bridges


  1. Well done Ray, you’ve worked hard for that!! Well done Diane for giving all your support. It’s great news for both of you…………and relax.

  2. Lovely to meet you if only in passing. Perhaps next time you can pull over for a cuppa. 🙌
    Jaq and Les