Thursday, 27 January 2011

Christmas Celebration.

IMG_0003 Having reserved a table for six we trundled our way up into Hillmorton Village to eat at The Stag and Pheasant this evening. Lynne and Paul have eaten there before and they were right it was excellent food. It was tasty, well cooked, good variety but not too much. Paul was pleased to have big chunks of Steak and Kidney in his pie. We all enjoyed the main meal so much we just to try the puddings too, Chocolate Sponge, Spotted Dick and Syrup Sponge all with custard, yum! It was well worth the wait to finally celebrate our get together. Perhaps we will call in there for our new year meal on our return journey.


I know, Graham looks like he’s had too much spotted dick, doesn’t he? Anyway if you are passing Hillmorton we suggest you try the pub for yourself.

I hope it won’t be quite so windy tonight as the boat was rocking quite well last night, also some canoeists went by at great speed and rocked us even more. Tomorrow it is onwards and upward for us all, doing the locks again and perhaps getting fit again!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Convoy Leaving Braunston

On Friday we followed nb Piston Broke along to see it hauled up the ramp on trolleys to have it’s new propeller fitted. With a bit of heating up and coaxing with a hammer the old one came off quite easily. Although the new propeller was only slightly bigger the greater pitch of the blades has made a huge difference.




This morning we took a farewell  walk up to see the progress on the bottom Lock No 1 which they had almost finished pumping out as we arrived. The bottom was all beautifully lined with red brick curving up to the sidewalls. A BW workman was walking along the bottom examining it  and he picked up three windlasses while he was doing so. The strengthening bars have been cemented into the lock sides which will stabilise the new lock gates when they are fitted.


IMG_0001 Lock No1 Braunston

After many happy hours spent near the delightful  hilltop village of Braunston we left in convoy this morning, leading  nb Piston Broke and nb Tranquility northward bound. We are now moored up ‘nose to tail’ so we can easily exchange niceties over afternoon coffee and cakes. We will soon be going out together for our belated Christmas lunch, which we are all looking forward to. I think Graham could only just see where he was going above his coal and vast woodpile all along the rooftop.



It really boosts our spirits to finally be on the move again. We waved to Les on nb Valerie as we passed by and also Brian and Diana on nb Harnser who were on their way down to Braunston. There were some large puddles in the fields that hadn't drained after all the rain we had last week.

Monday, 17 January 2011

New Lockgates at Braunston

On Tuesday we enjoyed a surprise visit by Mike and Do who came up to see us from Gloucestershire. We all trotted over to The Boathouse for a long chat about old friends etc over lunch and pudding, then back to Oakfield for tea. It was lovely to see them and to catch up with news of the holidays that they have planned for this year. Of course life is just one long holiday for us now circulating around the canal system! Since then the six of us moored here have been alternatively visiting nb Tranquility, nb Piston Broke and nb Oakfield for afternoon drinks and amusing banter! Friday was the girls day out to Rugby and I managed to search out some new reading matter. Saturday was rather wet and windy when Bottle and I went into Daventry for supplies. On Sunday I did absolutely nothing except sip water as I had a headache and was off my food all day. Today I felt better so as it was quite warm and spring like we took a toddle up to see the work BW are carrying out on the locks. They had taken the gates off at the bottom lock and the new gates were on the grass waiting to be fitted. it was difficult to get any good shots of this as the surrounding fencing obstructed our view.

IMG_0020 New gates

So we moved on up to Lock No5 which had been drained completely exposing such a  lot of mud it is a wonder that any boats could float over it at all!

IMG_0028 BW workboat BowThe old gates had been stripped of their ironmongery and were lodged against the sides of the lock. The BW workboat ‘Bow’ was resting on the mud nearby.

Just as well it was on dry land and not on the water as the ‘licence’ was out of date, it also stated that its BSS was likewise. I expect they just forgot to display the new one.

We shall have to have another walk up to see if we can catch BW workers in action for you.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Boat Jam.

IMG_0002 Boats fighting the ice

These two boats came by scrunching through the ice on Friday morning. All was fine until they tried to turn right to negotiate the bridge. They both had to manoeuvre back and forth, but got round eventually. The ice slowly melted again during Saturday as it seemed very much warmer.



Sunday was a lovely sunny day and loads of boats came from all directions. There seemed to be a continuous boat jam at the service point on the junction. BW are closing Braunston Locks today so they can work on Lock 1 and Lock 5. They are due to re-open on February 4th, so this is probably why there was a rush for some boats to be on the right side of the flight before closure. Our friends on nb Tranquility rang us from Norton Junction and we walked up carrying our windlasses to help them down the locks. We just made it to a mooring spot as it was getting dark and were invited on board for a welcome drink.

Today we reversed back for water, then turned to go along to the marina for a pump out. Luckily there was one space left for us to moor in near the Boathouse. It is now raining and extremely windy here, so the boat is rocking, a bit! Luckily our other friends on their elongated narrow boat Piston Broke made it along from Hillmorten before the storm set in.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Biding Time.

One of our lovely young readers has commented on our lack of blogging, so here we go! We are waiting here for two boats to arrive with our friends on board. We are hopeful that they will make it next week, for a celebratory reunion. I have been suffering with an annoying cough accompanied by a lot of sneezing recently, not really classed as a cold, but very similar. Since I have had a tip on how to successfully cook jacket potatoes in the ash pan I haven’t had to go out for my jacket potato fix. In fact we have eaten on board all over the festive season. However on Thursday we went to Sainsbury’s and enjoyed a nice snack in their new restaurant, before getting food to stock up our cupboards. On Friday we met up with Lynne and Paul for a bite to eat in Rugby Wetherspoons which was great fun, you can read Lynne's hilarious report about it on her Piston Broke blog.


Well we have been moored by seven other friendly boat crews which has made our time here being iced in go more quickly. As the ice had melted somewhat the fuel boat Gosty Hill set off on Thursday night to his waiting customers north of here. They have been great company and supplied  all our coal and diesel needs while they have been stuck with us. We are already missing them and all their amusing travel stories and canal news that we shared over a few tots of whisky. Indeed they are a great couple and both work very hard to keep us all happy for which we are extremely grateful. Today the ice has been broken up completely by several boats creeping past us. We now have just a few small floating icebergs with all the sharp corners rounded off , so it is not quite so noisy as boats go by.