Friday, 30 November 2012


IMG_2355 Barby MarinaBarby Marina still looked unfinished when we cruised past. Some boats were moored around the edges because the pontoons still haven’t been built up. It looked like the facilities provided consisted of three large red wheelie bins! We said hello to David and Liz as we cruised past them on their permanent mooring along Barby Straight.

IMG_2357 Tarrys bridge 74

Just past Tarry’s Bridge 74 the little row of once derelict outbuildings  have now been completely renovated. We have been keeping an eye on progress whenever we have cruised past.


……and we think they have done  a superb job. Maybe next time we will be able to photograph the little  train and vintage lorry standing in the garden!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Moving on.

IMG_2333We left our lovely mooring in Braunston as we were draining the bottom of the water tank and needed to refill it. We will miss the sheep as they gently wandered too and fro all day nibbling at the grass. Most of them had colourful bottoms, which meant the ram had been busy creating  next years lambs. However we will not miss the quagmire that is the towpath and comes over your boots in places. It is truly amazing just how many people and dogs trample along the towpaths everyday.

IMG_2353Here is a nice example of  of what the canal artist is capable of producing. We wonder if it their dream to cruise along that canal someday, as we also hope to.

          IMG_2322 Snowberries                      IMG_2327 dinner on

It was great to smell the steak slowly cooking all day in our cast iron pot on the Squirrel, yum. I will also be putting some jacket potatoes wrapped in tin foil to cook for 2 hrs down in the ash pan, double yum..

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Plenty of water.

IMG_2350 plenty of water

There was a waterfall over the lock-gates when I went up to the Boat Shop for some more of their delicious organic bread. They have been running this little place for sixteen years and during that time have made £5,000 for various charities of their choice.

        IMG_2351 nice ironwork                        IMG_2348 Datestone 1647

They don’t make ‘em like that anymore, do they ? This solid arched iron-work window has been in Braunston Wharf for over 200 years, amazing! Reminiscent of the children's tv programme, Play School, don't you think? I like the mix of coloured stone that was used to build this house. The date-stone inset on the front of it says 1647.

IMG_2328 field flood

  An new lake had appeared in the field by bridge 90 and was increasing by the day. The Seagulls, Canada geese and Ducks were making full use of it too.

IMG_2340Brighton and Nuneaton came past and moored breasted up just beyond bridge 89.

IMG_2342They had made use of one of the wooden posts driven in to support the soft edging, put in about a year ago. IMG_2344The sheep had to learn to tiptoe around all the puddles as the rain drained down from the fields and the water level rose.

          IMG_2329                     IMG_2338 more rain

We had some clear skies with a thin layer of frost appearing overnight. Between the sunny intervals, we had some dramatic grey stormy skies.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Sitting tight.


IMG_2309Hey, wait for me!

There are so many lovely circular walks around this area which provide great pleasure for us and many others. We were however literally ‘sitting tight’ yesterday as the water drained into the canal from the surrounding fields and roads raising the boat about four inches. We are pleased to see that the water subsided overnight and we are rocking on slack ropes again.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Guess where?

IMG_2305 B89Here we are on one of our favourite moorings where we have been happily iced in along with our friends in winters past. As there are three water taps along through Braunston we took the opportunity to do as much washing as possible before we moved on. 





Surprisingly few boats are moored hereabouts and only three Long Term Permit Holders remain near Gongoozlers rest.

IMG_2314       IMG_2313

IMG_2306 With all that non-stop heavy rain for 24 hours midweek the canal turned muddy and rose about four inches with quite a flow on it carry debris along.  Unfortunately Bottle had to brave the weather to go into Screwfix in Daventry to buy some new mcb’s. We had sniffed out an electrical smouldering smell coming from the control panel at the stern and turned everything off to investigate. When the switches were removed two of them had melted together. It is amazing how this could be detected from the our chairs in the front of the boat, noses are wonderful things! Meanwhile I went off to Sainsbury's for a few things. We both returned quite soggy and muddy from trudging through the quagmire along the towpath. The mcb’s were duly replaced and we stoked up the fire to dry our sodden clothes and boots. Then we settled down for a rest with a nice warm drink with our favourite Pecan Danish pastries as a sort of reward.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Weather Prediction.

IMG_2311 frosty

We have had some frosty mornings  that have quickly evaporated in the morning sunrise creating a hovering mist for a while. It seems almost impossible to predict when the canal will freeze over this year. In 2009 it froze on December 19th, in 2010 it was December 26th, and has already frozen over once this year in February 2012. So I wonder if it will freeze over for a second time, or maybe it won’t again until 2013, who knows! All we can do is keep our supplies topped up and hope for the best.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Norton Junction.

   IMG_2299                  IMG_2296 Braunston 48hrs

Why is the tastiest food always just out of reach?

While we were here Mark came by on his fuel boat ‘Callisto’ and kindly topped up our diesel and coal supplies. We spent a very pleasant few days here in the good company of Del and Al on nb Derwent6. Al and Wozie went off food shopping together to Daventry while Del did his boaty jobs and Bottle did his chairobics! The next day all except Del, seemed to be ‘off colour’ with a bug of some sort. This put us off our food, we had no energy and our joints ached. After a day of only sipping water we began to feel normal again, but still not hungry. We had heard through the grapevine that the New Inn maybe re-opening again shortly which is good news!IMG_2300 The Boat ShopOn leaving we turned right at the junction with another boat coming up behind us from the south. Once through the tunnel we shared the six locks down into Braunston with them which made things much easier. The Boat Shop  is now very well stocked with new canal books and also does instore fresh bread. I took in all the books that we had read for them to sell and they reckon to raise about £200 every year for charity. This year it is for the Macmillan Nurses which is  a very worthwhile cause.IMG_2303 Braunston ChandlersAs usual Braunston seems to be a busy place with hire-boats moored everywhere and  some awaiting to be worked on.IMG_2304 Braunston BoatsTwo boats were in the workshop, with one new-build nearing completion. We pootled past on tick-over and were lucky enough to moor for 48hrs by the marina.

The neighbours were quiet souls, as you can see in the picture at the top!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Variable Weather.

IMG_2293 sunset

Although we have had nice sunny spells with some spectacular sunsets, the fields and towpath are somewhat waterlogged. It rained continuously all day on Sunday so it will need more sun and breeze to dry things out a bit. One big bonus is that the rain has washed the outside of boat off, so less cleaning has been required. It’s just a matter of sweeping all the fallen leaves off now and again.

IMG_2295     IMG_2267

It is just amazing how quickly the skies change when I go out to get some weather photos. The Squirrel is now fired up and will be glowing non-stop until the warmer Spring weather comes,ha, ha!  We have had early morning frosts and things feel bitterly cold when it is  windy. I wonder if winter will be upon us earlier this year?

We were pleased to hear that The Cotswold Canal volunteer logging team have sold £30,000 of logs to date. This is a huge boost towards the restoration funding, jolly well done to them all!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Toll House.

IMG_2265 norton toll house

The little Toll House  that stands guard at Norton Junction is expanding at the back.


When we passed by we noticed that the new stonework was was being done in the same nice golden colours of the original stones. The old Shepherds Hut is still there in the garden amongst building materials. IMG_2291 Toll House N Jnct

It looks like the new extension will probably double the accommodation space. We really like this iconic corner of the Grand Union Canal and were pleased to see the Toll House was obviously well loved by it’s present owners.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Long Buckby.

IMG_2275 long buckby

Across the fields, A5, M1 and the railway between the wind-turbines we could see Northamptonshire's second largest village, Long Buckby. It has the only village railway station in the county too! We thought we would make our way there for a mooch about.IMG_2288 lb libraryThere was an octagonal shaped Library and numerous little streets and alleyways to be explored. There were two Chapels, a Church, and Infant/Junior Schools, a Co-op  a pub, pharmacy, butchers, fish and chip, hairdressers, several eateries (Balti, Indian etc) and other specialist shops.

 IMG_2276 Long Buckby     IMG_2277 No3

The Co-op used to overlook the main thoroughfare but has moved and expanded, the old shop is now a fitness centre  .

Down the side streets we found a mixture of old thatched cottages and smart town houses.

IMG_2278 No3     IMG_2283

Some of them had date-stones above their doors with a rose emblem in the centre.

IMG_2284     IMG_2286

This one overlooked the square and we particularly liked the cast ironwork around the balcony above the porch and below the French windows. It’s the sort of house we used to build as children with those shapely wooden bricks we had to play with. This nice old house had it’s own little courtyard entrance, shame the pub was build in front of it shielding it from the sun.

IMG_2282    IMG_2285

We thought these were a nice pair of knockers too!

IMG_2290 laceyOn our way back ‘Lacey’ ran towards us for a bit of fussing, she is twelve years old, but still acts like a puppy. We learnt from her owner that Buckby Wharf had Lime Kilns. Further up the canal there had been a  Brewery and opposite was the pub, next door to what is now The Canal Craft shop. These have all been turned into private residences over the years.

It’s amazing what local history can be gleaned from chatting to local people, isn’t it?

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Orange Wednesday.


Well, it has been fairly busy with boats passing in both directions, mainly at nice slow speeds too. Anyway Bottle contacted Orange to acquire their two-for-one offer cinema tickets. So we briskly walked down the towpath to catch the bus at Buckby Wharf just before Bridge 13. I was quite excited as we boarded the bus for the hour and a half journey to Coton Park on the outskirts of Rugby. One ticket was £6.50 and the other one was free, amazing value! We waited in the queue with people eagerly holding buckets of popcorn, bags of sweets, sandwiches and giant cold drinks. I wonder why filmgoers feel the need to munch their way through such a spectacular film? We had our snack before we went into watch the film ‘Skyfall’ which was fantastic! A brilliant plot with chases and fights on trains and in the underground tube, in various cars and motorbikes. Spectacular special effects that made me jump, with the Aston Martin DB5 appearing in the rugged Scottish landscape towards the end.