Saturday, 27 October 2012

Mad Hatters T Party.

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What a surprise, we caught up with our friends on Derwent6 and Piston Broke and were invited around to afternoon tea. Al had made a scrumptious Victoria Sandwich which had only just cooled down when she spread the jam and cream inside. The six of us were soon in deep discussions and splitting our sides laughing, sometimes bringing  tears to our eyes.


Alas it was all too brief an encounter and we said our goodbyes as we were headed in opposite directions. We will no doubt be meeting up again soon though.

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The leaves are changing colour and being blown off the trees fairly quickly now as the weather turns colder. There are some lovely autumnal colours around to marvel at and quite a thick layer of leaves to brush off the boat every day too.

IMG_2264When we went canal-ambling I noticed a large box of windfall apples with a notice saying ‘help yourself’, so I did. I think they are Brambleys so they will make a delicious apple pie, or crumble. We also picked up the Nov Towpath Talk to read about the breaches on the Trent and Mersey Canal at Dutton and Croxton Flash. The repairs will be costly and not completed until early next year, apparently.

Friday, 26 October 2012



A misty-moisty morning at Crick.

As we were getting nearer to our friends on their boat we made contact and planned to meet up together. So we left Yelvertoft and cruised along zig-zag fashion in the wind to Crick where the buses still run and are luckily well used. We made our way into Rugby to meet Lynne and Paul mid-week in our favourite place beginning with a ‘W’. To our surprise they had seen Del and Al pass them on nb Derwent 6 and they came too. Well the six of us had a great deal to talk over having cruised in different directions throughout the summer season. There was much laughter over some of the stories that were told over lunch and we all made our way back in different directions. We hope to all meet up over the winter months again. Meanwhile we all follow each others blogs, but it is so much more exciting to meet up together occasionally for a good rabbit!

Fellow bloggers Angela and John, nb Ellen, called in to see us while walking their little dog Maisie and invited us around for coffee. So we trotted around to the marina to find them and spent several hours chatting over coffee with a selection of delicious homemade cakes!

IMG_2237 Maisie nb Ellen     IMG_2241 stroke me

Maisie knew the warmest place to lie to enjoy her chew, then she had a snooze.  on waking up she popped around on the arm of the chair with a ‘go on stroke me’ look on her face.

IMG_2245 Red Lion Inn IMG_2246 Red Lion Inn

We trundled up to the Red Lion Inn for Sunday lunch of roast beef with a pudding to follow, all very nice, piping hot and reasonably priced. We arrived just after twelve when they open and in quarter of an hour the dining areas were all full with about fifty-ish people. It is a snug cosy pub with three fire-places, but only one real coal fire. Crick is a lovely village with a lively community spirit with four pubs/restaurants, a church and chapel, Co-op and PO Stores and a junior school. Dirft ( Daventry Interchange Road Freight Terminal) is nearby. There is also the hourly bus service between Rugby and Northampton. Although it is a bustling place the towpath moorings by the marinas are fairly quiet, with only the Moorhens to be heard overnight, sneezing!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Along the towpath.


IMG_2247 purple fungus  IMG_2249     IMG_2250

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Fungi, forming circles.

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There is quite an abundance of weird and wonderful fungi in this moist weather. No mushrooms yet though unfortunately. The heron strutted hurriedly ahead of me as I walked along the towpath. There also must be many services piped below the canal bed, the mind boggles about the cement one though!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012



Cracks Hill.

As Sunday was a really warm sunny day we decided to walk the round three miles to Crick to treat ourselves to a roast lunch at the newly refurbished Weatsheaf Inn. All the dark woodwork had been freshened up with light coloured paint which gave the place a light and airy feel. Bottle chose roast beef and I fancied lamb at £8.95 each. It wasn’t that busy so we chose a table and sat sipping our drinks. The meals arrived with the meat and gravy on top and all the vegetables hidden underneath. We had two thick slices of meat each, but they were quite undercooked. Bottle couldn’t cut through his and asked for a steak knife, which wasn’t up to the job either. Needless to say we returned the meals as inedible and said we would pay for the drinks only. A young chap came out (probably the landlord), took our money and said he would be happy to eat those meals, so we thought he was welcome to them, and left.

When I walked down the muddy track to the little shop in Yelvertoft village I went to look at the bus time-table. There was a notice attached to the post which said the council regretted that the daily bus service between Northampton and Rugby had ceased. There was a phone number which you could ring 24 hours in advance to book a journey on the R-R Bus. What a shame that local people did not use their bus service and therefore it had become unviable. It is also a disaster for us car less boaters who often rely on the buses for shopping purposes.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Welford Arm.

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We spent a peaceful night in the countryside here in one of our favourite mooring spots. It has turned rather cold in the evenings so we have been firing up the Squirrel on occasions. Although there seem to be quite a few boats of various kinds on the move there aren’t that many moored by the towpath. Have some of them retreated into marinas I wonder? There are quite a few designated winter mooring sites where boaters have to book and pay extra to moor from October to March. Most of these are empty and we will be using them, unless someone comes along with papers saying it’s their booked spot, then we will move. Of course we will not be breaking the rules of the waterways by overstaying the general permitted mooring times.

Moving on, we had a beautiful bright clear days cruising, meeting many oncoming boats usually by bridge-holes or moored boats! Anyway we found a nice sunny spot to stay just past Yelvertoft Marina.

Friday, 12 October 2012


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These patterned Bracket Fungi were growing on a tree in Bridge 61 beer garden.

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Along at the end of the beautiful pine tree lined footpath I found a giant fungus!


As the weather has been warm and damp recently there are a variety of fungi springing up everywhere.

Thursday, 11 October 2012


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Now we have a posh window covering in the Bathroom portholes which lets more light in but also enables us to look out. We spotted this lovely pattern in a Wilkinson's shop.

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There are plenty of juicy berries around for winter food this year. The Squirrels and Birds have already been feasting on them as some days it has been quite cold. Ah, Winter is creeping creeping up on us slowly now!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


IMG_2217 fb Callisto     IMG_2220 Khali

Luckily we learnt from the discussion forum that the fuel boat Callisto was in the area. A walk along the canal found Mark busy at another boat, so we asked him to stop at Oakfield to deliver some bags of coal for us.

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He also has a boat dog overseer called Khali, she was a rescue dog and sat patiently on the cabin roof in the sunshine waiting to move on. Mark circulates around the Leister canal ring on average every four weeks selling his wares. It was a pleasure to meet him and Khali and to help keep the fuel boat trade lively into the future. As we live-aboard their services are vital to us because we don’t enjoy the luxury of being hooked up to electricity in a marina.

Monday, 8 October 2012


IMG_2149 Slug

It is a short walk along the canal to Foxton Village to catch the bus into Market Harborough where we have been to do our shopping. The buses run every hour now, which is an excellent service. However with the council cutbacks they may soon be running every two hours, or by request if pre-booked. I still think this is good as there weren’t that many people using them when we travelled. Maybe the two-hourly run will carry more customers.

The grass was wet when we came up the locks where I saw this big black slug. Whilst waiting for the top lock to fill up I saw a small furry head pop out of the flowerbed there. Apparently it was a Stoat, it ran back across the grass, then stood on it’s hind legs to look around, before darting back into the undergrowth. IMG_2201 Rabbit

Apparently they like the Rabbits which abound here! Although the area around the locks is immaculately kept by the lock keepers there are still some wild areas left for the wildlife to thrive in.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Foxton Locks.

IMG_2197 Hillbrook Cottage

Hill Brook Cottage overlooks the bottom lock, bellow it is the Bridge 61 Pub and a Shop with a small Chandlery. We like walking around the locks area as there is usually plenty of activity and people to talk to.


  It is amazing how lock-wheelers quickly forget the sequence that the lock-keeper has told them to operate the paddles. Always wind up the paddle-gearing painted Red, before the White one, simples!  Also the gates should be closed before doing this, which doesn’t always happen.

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The Cafe at the top of the locks sells a variety of lovely ice-cream and there always seems to be a mouth-watering smell of Bacon cooking. Freshly cooked hot snacks and drinks are readily available for boaters to enjoy while awaiting their turn in the locks.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Icecream.

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The views from the top of Foxton locks are spectacular, especially the ever changing skies.

IMG_2151 zoomed inHere is the zoomed in version of the top picture through the gap in the tree line. Rainclouds can be seen dropping their contents miles away, then the clouds move and the sun shines through again, sometimes!

Our Daughter and Grandson came to visit us for the day, luckily it was sunny, but with quite a cool breeze now and then. After chatting through coffee and having a warming lunch aboard we took him exploring down the locks. He was fascinated by the boats coming up and helped to open and close the lock gates for them. He saw a picture of an ice-lolly and asked if he could have one. We asked if he had had one before and the answer was no. So we suggested a chocolate ice-cream in a cone thinking it would be less messy. How wrong we were, Grandson only got chocolaty ice-cream chin and cheeks. However Bottle somehow managed to come off worse by getting it over his coat and trousers! We spent a really lovely day together and managed to answer all the questions we were asked by  such an inquisitive young boy!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Back to Foxton.


After being lowered back into the water from our ‘perch’ we cruised along to Foxton. There is plenty to see here as it is always busy with boats and day tripper  gongoozlers. We decided to stroll to the Top Lock Cafe for a bite to eat and drink. On the way up we helped a couple of boaters with the gates, as you do.

IMG_2141 It was well worthwhile as I got some shots of the Swan family joining in!


Then launching themselves into the top pound, ah that's better, away from the crowds. 


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Laptop lapse.

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Sorry for the delay in our updates, but we had to find a new power supply for the computer which took a while. We pootled along to Debdale Wharf ready to have our bottom blacked. Another boat had been done, so we waited a bit before manoeuvring  into position under the gantry to be lifted from the water. The two slings were positioned underneath the hull and Mike raised it to clear the water in order to balance it. Gale had donned her wellies, hat and long waterproof apron to start the pressure washing.

IMG_2120 Meanwhile the other boat was pulled behind the tractor on a steerable trailer to be deposited on to one of the hard standings. Many tiny Muscles had attached themselves to our hull. The pressure wash soon cleared them off and we inspected the hull all round and found it was in fairly good nick. The propeller was a bit slack though, so Steve promptly came out and fixed that for us.

IMG_2132 on trestlesHere Oakfield is now upon the yellow trestles having her bottom plate done. Bottle took the opportunity to rub down the red tunnel band and re-paint it. The cream one will have to be done later on.

IMG_2135 on railway sleepersThe boat was then lowered down onto two piles of railway sleepers, very useful things that we have seen being used in a variety of different ways. The metal steps were wheeled in so that we could climb aboard to cook our evening meal and spend the night on board. We were hooked up to electricity and we were made very welcome during our stay here. As a thank you to the workers I got up early and baked some cakes for them to enjoy during their tea-breaks. Unfortunately they weren’t quite ready when Gordon and Gale came round to raise the boat again and we had to get off. So a bit later on saw me wobble up the ladder to tip-toe along to remove the cakes from the oven!


Boats arrived in the slipway for Diesel and Pump-outs while we were there, they are kept very busy here!


Mike and Gordon carried on with their new building where, sand blasting, boat painting, blacking and repairs can be done regardless of the weather!  Boat owners can hire a hard standing, or one of the new workshops to work on their own boats if they wish. Mike explained that boats will be transferred up here on a remote controlled trailer! We shall look forwards to seeing it in action on our next visit. Luckily it stayed bright and breezy for our bottom painting slot.