Saturday, 24 December 2011

Greetings everyone.

IMG  0001 December 9. 2010

This was the snow scene at the beginning of December last year when we were all iced in for weeks. This year is much milder and we are all able to cruise freely about without crunching through ice. Yesterday it was windy and raining all day so we stayed on board and I cooked Ginger Cake. Paul and Lynne came for afternoon tea and Paul was a bit bedraggled having got some new fishing tackle and been fishing for a couple of hours. He was quite happy with his catch however, forty-six fish in total, amazing. Eight of us met up in the pub in the afternoon to chat over drinks and a snack with much jollity.

Tomorrow we will all be in hibernation aboard our own boats with good food and some Christmas tipple to help us over the festive season. We shall enjoy chatting to friends and family on the phone as usual too.




Here are a couple of pictures of a spectacular sunrise we took recently within a few minutes of each other. Luckily it didn't live up to the old saying, ‘Red sky in the morning Shepherds warning’.

We would like to send our warmest wishes to our friends and families here and in Australia, fellow bloggers and all of you who follow our ramblings here on our Oakfield blog.

Have a Jolly Christmas and may we all look forward to a Peaceful New Year.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

A right pain in the…

I had picked up a form from the new dentist in Daventry  I had their phone number.

A filling had fallen out that I knew I would need treatment, then the unbearable pain set in.

So I rang the number and was asked if I had a swollen face or difficulty breathing.

No, just toothache I reply, ok we will try and fit you in she says. I hadn’t heard anything the next day so I rang to ask when they might fit me in and was told they run a ‘Triage’ assessment.

When I asked what that meant she said I would have to wait for someone to cancel their appointment. Finding their advice unbelievable I tried another dentist recommended by our friends.

Their approach was much more positive and friendly. After filling out the form and paying £17 in advance they gave me an appointment for the following day.

I went in, my teeth were all checked, the dentist took x-rays and while they were being processed she cleaned around my teeth.

She told me there were no abscesses or infection present and she would fill the tooth straight away for £30.

Absolutely marvellous and all finished in about half an hour!

So I can highly recommend the Oradi Dental Practice in Daventry they are truly amazing.

Monday, 19 December 2011

All on our tod.


There was a layer of ice over the canal this morning and rain was forecast for the rest of the day with an icy breeze, so we decided to stay put.


However our friends took off without us, so it will be even quieter here now. Iain and Alison came by on Gosty Hill and we called out our Christmas Greetings to each other. There is a jacket potato wrapped in tin foil in the ash pan for me and some left over chicken for Bottles mid-day sandwich,mmm. When all our jobs are done we can settle down by the fire to catch up on reading our forums, books and magazines. A lovely way to spend the afternoon accompanied by the pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof.

Around Foxes Gate.

IMG_0492 B100,o,t,pb twinkle tui

This is the view towards our moorings from Bridge 100, which has been unofficially named by boaters as Foxes Gate. We haven’t seen any foxes here, so maybe someone will know how the area acquired this name?

IMG_0499On the Puddle Banks the sunken boat is still firmly embedded into the bottom of the canal and another one moored nearby has also flooded.

IMG_0498     IMG_0496

Since our cruises over the last two years down the Oxford Canal this house has been taking shape. We have watched the steady progress in creating this lovely timber framed house with the thatched roof and it still seems to be unfinished.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Maffi and Molly.

IMG_0500 Molly the wonderdog

Saturday we had a text, ‘where are you’? It was Maffi who said he would be with us at at 3pm and he was. After five hours cruising from Rugby they must have been frozen, so Bottle helped him moor up and Molly the Wonder-dog bounded aboard followed by her master. Apparently she knows us as ‘the biscuit boat’, so after a drink, a biscuit and much stroking she curled up on the mat in front of the fire and dozed off. We chatted non stop over tea, cake and evening meal washed down with much Guinness until bedtime. This morning we joined them on the Milly M for a farewell mug of tea. Maffi donned all his warm gear making him look nearly twice the size, we had a sharp overnight and it was bitterly cold again today. The sun came out and with Molly atop the boat in her bed with a warm blanket over her they waved goodbye till next year. 

IMG_0502 Maffi MollyWe love seeing them and Maffi always has many stories to tell about all the people he has met while cruising. He has also done a massive amount of litter picking from the canal tow paths and we are encouraged to do the same. It would be nice if people had the intelligence to take their rubbish to a bin but unfortunately many can’t be bothered. So, it was lovely to see you Maffi and we thank you for all your hard work in trying to keep the canals tidy. If everyone did just a little litter-picking it could make a BIG difference.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

‘Three Amigos’ re-named.

This is ‘Gongoozlers Rest’ the little floating cafe that cooks your food in their tiny kitchen at the back. Last year the boat underwent an overhaul and it will also be closed for all of January while the work is finished off.

IMG_0482 Gongoozlers Rest

IMG_0484 new kitchen 

Our three boats, Piston Broke, Tranquility and Oakfield were all moored pointing in the direction of Braunston Junction. One by one we have cruised our way ‘daan saath’ and are now moored all in a row by Foxes Gate a nice peaceful spot surrounded by beautiful countryside. The views are amazing, even the old cement factory in Rugby looks good from here!

We were the last to leave this morning as we had waited for ‘Gosty Hill’ to come with coal and diesel yesterday. We made our way along to Braunston Marina for a pump out £12 for 8½ minutes, got rid of our old oil in their re-cycling tank, also deposited our rubbish and recycled our glass.

While we waited for our water tank to fill outside the Stop House we ordered bacon sandwiches from ‘Gongoozlers Rest’. These came  piping hot accompanied by their speciality mini chips all wrapped in tinfoil, yum! A welcome winter warmer with a cup of tea which we finished just before our tank was full.

Although our cruise down was sunny, the icy wind was pretty chilling, good job we were prepared by adding several extra layers of clothes. We saw Kestrels hovering and Fieldfares gorging on berries.  On arrival our friends gave us a wave and we were invited round for tea and freshly baked Apple Cake, Betty’s bi-annual treat!  Now that Graham is also sporting a beard and moustache, I think we should be re-named, ‘The Three Greybeards!’

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Narrow boat Lucy.

IMG_0475Here we can see either side of Lucy’s back cabin which still retains some of the paintwork.




As I had found some pictures of nb Lucy during her working days in an old magazine I took it to the yard. They were pleased to accept the item as it would all help with information and details of who had worked and lived on her. Today they were preparing to winch her over to the other side of the yard to make space for nb Clent to be brought out onto the bank for work to be carried out.



Here you can see Lucy’s front end as she is being prepared for the gentle move across. Nb Clent is in the foreground wearing a “nappy” in order to stop water ingress.


IMG_0478Lucy sank on the Puddle Banks nearby and was bought and rescued in 2009 by Peter Boyce of Phobox. The holes in her hull were all blocked up and then they were able pump her out and float her up to Braunston Marina. She was then craned out and taken by road to the London Road yard where restoration is taking place.

For more information look at

Monday, 12 December 2011

Friends and Family.

We got our tiny Christmas tree out and put the twinkly lights up all around the boat, so we now we are prepared for the silly season. Our daughter and grandson came for the day on Friday to help Bottle celebrate his birthday. We spent the whole day onboard playing, reading stories and chatting. Of course every time a boat passed by a call of, ’Grampy, boat’ would be heard, so Grampy had to lift the little person up to see it and to wave. I made a tasty Shepherds Pie with vegetables for lunch and Boat Cake for our tea. The day went quickly as we were all enjoying ourselves so much, it was lovely to see them again.


IMG_0029 Tree

As it was also our friends birthday on the same day we had arranged to meet up for an evening meal at The Boathouse. So with the crews of nb Piston Broke, nb Tranquility, nb Ellen there were eight of us altogether. We had only ever passed within shouting distance of John and Angela on nb Ellen, so it was nice to get to chat to them at last. The meals were from the two-for–one menu and none of us could resist having pudding either. The bill was very reasonable and we spent a really lovely evening together. We came out to a sharp frost and walking back along the canal towpath we could see that the water was icing over. However it melted away during the next day. Our friends came around for afternoon tea today as they had smelt the boat cake cooking the previous day!

IMG_0015 Queue at services

Monday, 5 December 2011

Winter’s here.

IMG_0012     IMG_0025

As we have had a few frosty mornings I’ve got the Porridge in. These Jumbo oats are lovely, but I like them chewy and undercooked. Then I add a ‘gert’ spoonful of Honey that I bought while passing through the top lock at Tyreley, mmm nice. I may even use some of the oats for making flapjacks.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Working on the Waterways.

The fuel boat Gosty Hill gently pulled alongside in the sunshine on Wednesday morning to inject our tank with diesel.

IMG_0429 Caleb     IMG_0428 Bosun

Caleb and Bosun were keeping watch as usual from the ‘catwalk’ on the top of their boat. Alison had gone shopping so we chatted to Iain for sometime. Their lovely old working boat, along with the business that they have built up over several years, is up for sale. Iain said he has already had an offer, as long as Alison was included, ha,ha,ha !

They travel during the winter months selling diesel and coal to a great number of customers on the Oxford Canal between Claydon and Atherstone, including the Ashby Canal Arm. This is such a vital and much appreciated service to the permanent moorers and continuous cruisers all along this route. We shall miss their courteous, friendly approach, but whoever takes over from them will naturally acquire all their loyal customers. 


Although we shall miss them we will look forward to seeing them as we continue to cruise around the canal system. So, if you are looking for an interesting, profitable job with accommodation included there is a great opportunity here. Have a look at  if you are interested.

Two years ago in the ice, having just descended Hillmorton Locks.


Wednesday, 30 November 2011


IMG_0420     IMG_0424

Mr Kipling's exceedingly good cupcake sculpture on the roundabout has been re-designed. We took the long walk into Rugby today and the Christmas street decorations are looking nice. Although there was a sharp frost last night it was a bright beautiful day for walking. Rugby was busy and the market stalls were stretched out all along the main street.


As we approached the town we could see that the old cinema on the corner was being demolished. Wonder what plans there are for that space?


The mooring for the water tap here is so difficult to get onto without getting wet feet. The edging has all eroded away and the bottom of the boat grates on the underwater stones as the tank fills up. I think I will point this out to BW/C+RT to try and get some firm edging put in.

IMG_0422 Tesco RugbyI will also be contacting Tesco about their useless trolley barrier. So many trolleys have been wheeled up the footpath and dumped into the canal by Masters Bridge 58. Many boaters I have spoken to have grounded over abandoned trolleys underwater there. We spoke to the BW man who came with his grappling iron to retrieve the stuff and he said they are called to do so regularly.

One positive thing has been done here recently, the Elsan point for boaters has been reopened at last.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


IMG_0414Nothing like free foraged mushrooms for breakfast, is there? Here is the best of the bunch looking like one of natures special sculptures.

I remember a friend buying a whole fish for dinner. Before cooking and eating it though, he painted it and did a few prints from it.

So, you don’t need to be an artist as you can make prints from almost anything. Potato and leaf printing maybe a cheap way to occupy the children during their school holidays.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Brinklow Church.

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St John the Baptist Church built in the thirteenth century has records stored in Warwick County records office going back to 1557. It stands between the old Roman Fosse Way and The Castle Mound which was a Norman Motte and Bailey.

IMG_0408 Victorian Minton tiles     IMG_0406 Brinklow graveyard plan

It has just over 200 gravestones and luckily for family history researchers there is a handy graveyard plan in the porch. The ornate glazed Minton tiles are Victorian and cover the space behind the altar.

IMG_0407 St George Dragon     IMG_0409 Hardman window with 100 faces

St George stands over the slain dragon with the yellow stained glass teeth, eyes and ears, backlit by the sun shining through. The fine stained glass west window was made by Hardman, installed in 1871 and has 100 faces. It was rather high up for me to be able to find the makers symbol for Hardman. These symbols are usually at the bottom of the window.


An unusual and curious feature here is the slope of the floor which rises up almost twelve feet from West to East. There are two stone Ambos or Pulpits either side of the steps that lead up into the Chancel. The archway is inscribed with a Christmas salutation ‘Gloria in Excelsis Deo et in Terra Pax Bonae Coluntatis Hominibus.’

The Oxford Canal was built through the village in the 1790s. The subsequent straightening of the canal bypassed the village leaving a disused arm. A boatyard/narrow boat holiday hire company still thrives beside the main canal. Every time we pass through this area we have to swing a curious little footbridge that leads between the boat builders yard over to the towpath.

We have very much enjoyed mooring at Brinklow as it is peaceful being surrounded by farm fields. The village is interesting with many footpaths and side lanes which we will explore next time around.

Friday, 25 November 2011


IMG_0383 Spring Haven     IMG_0387

Here we are in Spring Haven having our new batteries fitted and our Inverter reset by Kevin of Onboard Energy. He also made up some larger battery leads to replace some of the original ones which were too small. We can recommend Kevin for his friendly reliable service and helpful advice. We stayed here overnight hooked up via our shoreline to the electricity, a luxury indeed. It was so peaceful that we had a very good nights sleep, but it felt very claustrophobic being in a marina. Can you see Oakfield’s smiley face tucked tightly in 2nd from the left? The marina has a beautiful landscaped hillside setting, but as roads are some distance away it is a disadvantage not to have a car here.

IMG_0389 Charity Dock Bedworth IMG_0390

Oakfield was pleased to escape back onto the open canal to freely cruise along on a bright autumnal morning. We passed the interesting jumble that goes under the name of Charity Dock near Bedworth.

IMG_0392There are several semi-sunken old working boats here too. We took a break at Hawksbury junction before carrying on to Brinklow.

IMG_0401 OsloOslo is a new looking R W Davis boat which has an elegant tug-style deck.

IMG_0405Once upon a time these travellers may have been ‘New Age’ I suppose.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


IMG_0358 Brinklow     IMG_0381

While we were filling up with water at Newbold I walked down the road to discover that there was a Co-op. I got some milk because we will be miles away from any shops for a while. At Brinklow we met up with our friends Graham and Betty who were on their way south. Long chats over drinks were in order over the next few days. Friday we all walked into Brinklow for a snack at the cafe which was excellent value.

IMG_0361 Fosse CottageThere is quite a mixture of interesting architecture all along the main street, this one was called Fosse Cottage.

IMG_0362The old Fosse Way runs straight through the centre of the village.IMG_0360There is the Cafe/Delicatessen, General Store, a Fish and Chip shop, Chinese Takeaway and two pubs.  

IMG_0379 Holly CottageThese two little cottages are now one and named after the Holly Tree which still grows in the garden.

IMG_0380Here is an interesting row of cottages, the cosy little one in the middle is for sale. On Saturday Betty and I walked up for her newspaper while Graham did a bit of fishing and Bottle was on the laptop of course. Sunday we said our goodbyes as we headed for Hawkesbury Junction and they continued on down to Rugby. We have just enjoyed bacon with bubble and squeak, haven’t had that for ages!