Monday, 30 November 2009

Today we were pleased to welcome Dave on board for coffee, a chat and a look around Oakfield. He is planning on buying his own boat when he can and was picking up a few tips and ideas on what he would like. It was lovely to meet him and he came bearing gifts too, thank you Dave. Unlike us he has already chosen a name for his boat which is Brassiclint (skint), which should be unique!
Well winter seems to be  here as we noticed this horse sporting a very classy designer jacket. It must have been quite cosy and warm as he appeared to be fast asleep.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

It'll Soon Be Over

Christmas that is, we had a stroll round Leighton Buzzard last night as it was the start of their Christmas.
The lights were switched on and there was a fair.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Landlubbers or cruisers?

We returned to moor here opposite the latest canalside development by Redrow Homes.
The sign informs that,
"Enjoying the view? This could be home. Two bedroom apartments from £155.995 !"
This is a bit of a joke as apart from the canal they look out onto metal warehouses, very nice.
The feature garden is nicely laid out with imitation lockbeams. The place is brightly floodlit every night, which makes it easy to find our way back to the boat.
We had a wander around the town and visited their conveniences which were awarded five star status this year, quite rightly so. The town noticeboard displays photos and DOB of seven ASBO characters who are banned from entering the town centre, I thought this was a good idea.
Overall it is a great, well kept place which we like very much.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Ebley Wharf

Ebley Wharf and Mill

During our travels on NB Oakfield many people have asked us where Ebley Wharf is, as it's painted underneath our boat-name, so I thought I would explain and post a picture of it.
It is on the Stroudwater Canal that runs from Saul Junction on the Gloucester Sharpness Canal to Stroud where it continues as the Thames and Severn via Sapperton Tunnel to Lechlade where it connects with the River Thames. The two canals are now together, known as The Cotswold Canals. If you are interested to find out more about the Cotswold Canals Trust and restoration progress, the website is . Four times a year they publish a small magazine called "The Trow". The magazine takes it's name from the Severn sailing vessels which could navigate up as far as Brimscombe Port where transhipment took place.
It is our dream that one day we will cruise there!
As I found another image I had taken along the canal I thought, 'thistle' do for a fill in, to brighten things up a bit.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Marsworth walkabout

This is the BW building which stands on the junction of the Grand Union and Aylesbury Canals.
The first image shows the boaters facilities in the foreground, water and elsan, with bins nearby.
There is a ramshackle disused cement works on the site which can be seen in the background.
The second image shows the rear view of BW's offices etc. which all look very well maintained.
The third image shows the main building which is a nice substantial stone building with the preserved crane to the right.
There is a planning application for this site for 14 new dwellings and the repositioning of the crane.
Sadly the proposed groundplan does NOT include any of the existing buildings, or the facilities for boaters.
Can we allow this to happen?

Sunday, 22 November 2009


If you remember I said yesterday that Wozie announced Sunday lunch was to be at the local hostelry.
A short walk was taken to the Red Lion in the village by bridge 130 on entering it did not look good, not the décor the amount of people in the bar (1) and the lounge (0).
Ordered the beers and asked whether food was available , yes, retired to the lounge to peruse the menu, well basic is the word and no roast.
Decision made we drank our beers and departed for the longer walk to the White Lion at bridge 132, altogether different, two families already dining together, some tables reserved, we found a table for two and I checked at the bar whilst ordering drinks as to availbility of food, no problem, drinks served and informed that they would come to us to take our order.
Two 'roasts' ordered, one beef, one lamb and the only way to describe them was, excellent, five different vegetables and all the trimmings.
After a suitable respite, deserts were ordered, one cheesecake and one sticky toffee pudding.
A walk to the reservoir afterwards soon got rid of any cobwebs and then a slow walk back to Oakfield and an afternoon siesta.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Cowroast Return

We set off for Cowroast, lucky for us a boat went past just as we were about to release the mooring ropes.
That was a good start, as the locks could be shared, the morning weather was pleasant enough  and the sun did shine, although briefly.
Cannot remember the boats name, it had just had a repaint but the sign writing was yet to be done, they were taking it as far south as possible before a lift out and transportation to the Medway.
With two boats and a good chat the locks seemed to take no time, all seven of them.
The summit water level was down about 9 to 10 inches (about 21 cms for our younger readers) we managed to maintain 'full' speed by staying in the middle.
We entered Cowroast marina, that is very tight and there is an old railway line just waiting to gouge the side of the boat, it was close but we missed it.
Refuelled the generator tank at 0% propulsion, minimum sale 35 Litres and at £0.79 a litre and to think about ten days ago we filled at £0.60 0% propulsion at another marina.
We left the marina to go back the way we had come and thought to moor just a little way a long but it proved impossible, with our draft, tried another couple of times but still the same, Wozie said lets go back to the mooring we left this morning but that was 5 miles and 7 locks.
When we had gone down two locks there was an excess of water, in fact it was going over the lock gates, now how can the summit be so low and there is an excess two locks down. I wonder, should BW set up a 'back pump'.
The journey back was uneventful except it started to rain quite heavily, we made it back by 16:45 in total darkness, a first for us.
We now safely moored and the wind is picking up, so if the weather forecast is correct, it will only get worse, so may be here for a few days.
Well tomorrow is Sunday and Wozie has announced she wants Sunday lunch at the pub (Red Lion, bridge 130). Do not know if they do it or there is a need to book, we shall see.
So if you happen to be in the area and pop in, we will be the two reprobates in the corner, I suppose the pub does have corners.

A good chat but still concentrating on potential

Two views of Bulbourne, BWs yard where lock gates are made or used to be???

This building appears to be being used by a private company, building ironworks for gardens etc.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Leighton Buzzard to "Maffers"

We lurked around in Leighton Buzzard with breaking waves on the canal waiting for a lull in the high winds. What a lovely place to lurk around too! Not only do they have an abundance of individual little shops and a Tesco, but also a Morrisons at the other end of the town.
Anyway we set off early this morning as the wind speed had dropped significantly.
We didn't encounter many moving boats along the route and it was good having the waterway all to ourselves.
We did share many locks with another boat though which made the journey more interesting.
The only gongoozelers we saw was this long row of seagulls. Are they able to catch fish in the canal as they swoop across the water btw?
We moored up at Marsworth for a very late lunch on the boat under the crescent moon with a beautiful sunset.
Marsworth was a key location on the Grand Union between Braunston and London for the old working boatmen which they affectionately referred to as "Maffers".

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Just a Meandering Day

Cookies Café

The House of Coffee
(All freshly roasted and ground, they also supply Cookies Café just round the corner.)

A good hardware store
(Note the delivery van)

Wozie visited every charity shop and selected some reading matter, visited Wilkinsons as I knew I needed something but could not remember what it was, it came to me whilst we picked up a few necessities at a good price.
Returned to the boat and unloaded the rucksacks, then off again this time to Tesco's, now just settling down to relaxing evening.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The Planning Was Excellent


 The carrying out of the plan not so.

We planned to move the short distance, about one mile and one lock, to visit Fenny Stratford for Tesco and Screwfix.
It was all going so well despite the crosswind but it all went wrong at the lock, as I left the lock the wind got up and I was blown into the side, towpath side so that was a bit of luck.
Well it would have been if the piling had been in good condition but bits were hanging off and bolts sticking out, more scratches.
It took all our strength to push her off and move her along the canal to a sheltered place so that we could continue the journey.
In the heaving and shoving I missed the bridge number and continued on, it was not until the next bridge that we realised my mistake, we had missed Fenny Stratford.
Nothing urgent so decided to carry on to Stoke Hammond, it had a pub, next problem towpath had changed sides and so the wind was blowing us away.
Have you ever tried to moor with the wind in the wrong direction, oh it is fun (not) and of course whilst we are mooring a boat comes the other way.
Eventually moored, not a bad spot and walked to the village, pub closed no signs indicating opening times, the village shop was open so picked up a few items there.

This may be the best bit of the village

Leighton Buzzard was the destination, it is market day.
Not so windy today but still not getting the wide locks right with only me in it, practice will make perfect no doubt.
Beautiful sunny weather and the wind dropped even further just as well, we had to pass Wyvern hire base and their boats were three abreast, could only just get our narrow boat through, wished for once that I had had a wide beam they would have of had to moved at least five boats for one to get through and they were also blocking the winding point. (rant over).

Approaching Leighton Buzzard the towpath is for 'long term permit holders only' then a water point then a two boat length with  two hour limit, it was full. So through the bridge, a space, with a ledge under the water, we did move further along and found a bit without a ledge.

The walk into town is worth the effort especially if you find the little side alleys, found a great café up one.

The old fire station

Waitrose and other 'big names' in the town but we will be going to Tesco's tomorrow, it is right near the canal and we know our place.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Great Linford to Simpson

As we have had gales for the last few days we stayed put swaying about on our mooring at Gt Linford. We enjoyed a walk across the well manicured park up to The Nags Head for lunch on Saturday. Although it was very blustery it wasn't bad enough to keep the fishermen at home. A chap in front of our boat pulled out a very large Perch using a fairly small rod. We bunged the windows up, lit the fire and sat sewing and reading for the rest of the day.
Today we set off in warm sunshine and blue sky through the various green park-lands of Milton Keynes and moored up at Simpson. After a late lunch we went for a walk and gathered some firewood.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Tuesday saw us moving on to Stoke Bruerne via the Gayton Junction for fuel, an uneventful journey except for the coming together of us and another boat in the tunnel, it was only a gentle nudge as we had both slowed to 'tickover'.
We managed to squeeze in the last place possible, it was on a bend, luckily there was not any boat movements.

Wednesday was an early start as we wanted to get to Cosgrove, at the lock, at Cosgrove, there was someone on the bank with their arm up in the stop salute, we were already at tickover because of all the moored boats.
Eventually we realised why a very large broadbeam barge had come up the lock and was about to wind (turn round), to give credit where due the steerage of this barge was by tiller and the forward and reverse control was not nearby when the tiller was at full turn, so to watch the athletic steerer run between tiller and speed control was an enlightenment in agility.
We did moor and help him down the lock, which his barge filled.

Thursday we had a walk about near the aqueduct, there were information boards depicting how some temporary locks were built whilst the aqueduct was built, the line of the locks and canal are still visible.
We moved off as shopping was required, a Tesco near bridge 71 was the destination.
Shopping complete we progressed towards 'The Black Horse' (bridge 76) lunch was taken and very good it was too.
The mooring outside had a very large ledge that stopped us getting in close, otherwise we may have stayed the night.
Moved just around the corner but again no possibility of mooring, more ledge, eventually moored just past bridge 77, nice quiet spot, no ledge and to cap it off we had just finished mooring when the rain came down.

A bright start to the day

The aqueduct

This tunnel runs under the aqueduct and is very low.

Monday, 9 November 2009

A Walking We Did Go

The village (Bugbrooke) is not very large so the walk was only a
 short one, pleasant enough and with two pubs and a shop.

Some photo's
This is unusual common in my youth but not now

A pleasant little farm complex

The arch at the other end of this bridge truly is that shape (pointed), it is not an optical illusion. I wonder why.

I saw this lorry approaching from quite a distance and thought it would make an interesting shot, lorry filling tunnel. (got the timing wrong, over compensated for the time lag on the camera).
The vehicle, on the left, driver had even a better view than me as he was some way behind when I aligned the shot he/she did not slow but eventually slammed on the brakes just in time, the lorry driver had no where to go.


Braunston Church

We set off fairly early, on approaching the first lock a boat was just leaving, going in the same direction as us, he said he would wait at the next lock, well after sometime, we had to empty and then refill the lock, we caught him up.
We progressed up the locks in a steady fashion and given his apparent age, he was very sprightly, did his fair share of the work.
Walkers (gongoozlers) got chatting to us, one of them had a Dutch Barge that he was about to ship to the continent, they left and headed off towards the tunnel, a little while later they were on their return, anyway to cut a long story short we ended up giving them a lift through the tunnel, a first for both of them, they did enjoy the experience and dropped off on at the other end happily set off to walk back to Braunston  over the top.

We carried on to Long Buckby, no spaces above the lock full, of BW work boats and long term moorers, so we went down the first lock and moored there. The plan was to eat at the The New Inn (by the lock) but Wozie noticed, on the way down that the kitchen closed at 2:30, it was after 2:30, just.
It was decided to have a snack and go there in the evening, the food is basic, plenty of it and good value.

We left our mooring just as another boat (Penshala, 34' long) moved off we shared locks with them, it went very well considering their length compared to ours (60'), a pleasant trip was taken to Weedon except where the canal and the motorway are within  a few yards of each other, the noise level was horrendous.

This looks idyllic but just the other side of the hedge is the motorway.

A dull morning but it was time to move, we needed water, the water point was only a few boats up, on approaching it another boat was coming in the opposite direction, signalled our intention and eventually he acknowledged but also indicated he was going there to, we made  it together, just enough room for both of us.
A long conversation ensued, as we waited for our tanks to fill, he was a local livaboard and had an opinion on most things, we eventually left, along time after both our tanks were full.
We eventually got to Bugbrooke a journey nearly all at tick-over due to moored boats and a fishing match, now fishermen are not always the happiest of people but this lot were all-right and appreciated that we travelled on the 'wrong side' of the canal so as not to ruin their swims (technical term for where the line goes in the water and where the fish are, hopefully).
Moored at Bugbrooke and had Sunday Lunch in The Wharf, I thought it expensive for the food served.

The plan is to go for a walk round the village.

Just noticed it is coffee time, the walk is delayed.

Saturday, 7 November 2009


This little truck has been beautifully restored and is usually on show at Braunston near the junction. The nearby Millhouse Inn is in the process of being refurbished and re-opens on November 24 th.

The floating cafe called Gongoozlers Rest is moored between the entrance to Bruanston Marina and The Stop House. We boarded her for a toasty cheese sandwich which came with little homemade chips, mmm delicious. You have to be desperately hungry to be able to finish one of their cooked breakfasts though as they include just about everything on a rather large plate. Also it is quite interesting when new customers step down into the cafe, as only being tiny it tends to rock about somewhat. The boat behind appears to be their live-aboard boat called Hepzibah.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Five Days Later

Well, is it really five days since the last blog?

We moved on to Hillmorten to liaise with our engineer, afraid to say the invertor and generator will still not talk to each other, even after phone calls to Holland, the engineer is now fairly certain that the printed circuit board may be at fault.
He has decided to do some research and will get back to us.

Life has settled down to a 'normal' routine, we again met Piston Broke and Harnser.

It was not until later when we had parted that Harnser and I realised we had conversed before on the Canalworld Forum but we both use a non de plume, hence the confusion.

During a discussion  on the forum, 'coal inserts' were mentioned for a Squirrel stove, they fit in both side of the stove and slope towards the grate, this has the effect of keeping the coal towards the centre of the fire and also reducing the fire size. Which will be good.
Visited Midland chandlers they had them in stock at £25 bit steep for two pieces of cast metal but should do exactly want we want.

The chap on the left had been busy, there were a lot more blue bums than the orange ones of his mate.
It is not illusion he is actually a lot smaller than females.

Spring lamb is on the way.