Tuesday, 30 April 2013



           IMG_2411 old button                IMG_3101 new button

Our old button fender was disintegrating after nearly four years of rubbing it’s nose against the gate whilst in the locks. We went into Tradline in Braunston to buy a new one but the chap who made them was off work with a bad back. Anyway we encountered nb Panda Julienne and bought one at a very reasonable price from him. We also bought some small tyre fenders from nb Tranquility as we found they were much better than the ‘dead rat type’ side fenders we used to use! We like to support the narrow-boat traders whenever we can, as they provide a very useful service while continuously cruising the canal system.

Braunston 2.


We slipped into an available space on the 48hr moorings opposite The Boathouse pub. Very convenient as we were meeting up with our four boating friends for an evening meal together on Saturday. Most of their menu was BOGOF, or Two for One, so to dine cheaply you really need a partner. Of course we all had to indulge in the luxury of having puddings too. From our vantage point opposite on the canal the place seemed to be packed out and busy all weekend.

IMG_3171Some boats have been here a bit longer than the specified time limit though I think! 

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As I walked by the little floating cafe Gongoozlers Rest very early, the delightful smell of fried bacon made me feel hungry. It seemed to be packed with customers enjoying having their breakfast cooked for them!

IMG_3165I spotted another nice little tug on my way up to the boat shop to acquire one more of their organic loaves before we left..


IMG_3157 tractor

IMG_3164These two little work horses can usually be seen busying themselves in Braunston.

Monday, 29 April 2013



IMG_3137Before leaving Norton Junction we filled with water having done loads of washing. At Watford there are water taps at the top and bottom of the locks. and three through Braunston, which is a luxury! We headed the little convoy of three boats though the tunnel and then down the six locks.

IMG_3140 With boats on their way up and our friends coming up to help us we made it down in good time to moor next to them at the footbridge on the 48hr moorings. The locks were closed for the day on the 25th for adjustments to be made to lock 3. So, there was a rush of boats going up the evening before, and many more coming down the morning afterwards!

IMG_3143My favourite old tugboat “Vesta” was basking in the sun.


Now we are back to the usual English weather of blue skies turning dark with showers, hail and winds every ten minutes! Also the Squirrel has had to be re-lit in the chilly evenings. We can run the central heating, but it is not so homely as a solid fuel stove we find.

IMG_3154The Hartley's narrow-boat was appropriately named “More Jam” with the Boathouse in the background. The six of us met up for an evening meal there before we parted company on our summer cruising. It has been lovely to spend time in good company once again discussing various boating topics, families and world affairs!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Woolley lawnmowers.

IMG_3148 B

I don’t knowif they were meant to be there, or had escaped from the field next door. Anyway, these sheep were doing a grand job of trimming the lawn at the junction cottage.

Norton Junction.


It is always a pleasure to spend a few days here accompanied by the birds who sing from  dawn until dusk whatever the weather is like.


This little Robin sang for ages in the evening sunlight, despite having to cling tightly onto the branch in the gusting winds. We joined up with our four boating friends for a meal together in Rugby while we were moored there. Also we hired a car and motored off to say our farewells to Bottles sister who will be flying back to Australia shortly.

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Mark came by on Callisto and filled up our diesel tank, he said that Kali would soon be having her thick winter coat trimmed. Then he will be busy painting his boat and fitting a new propeller, so won’t be back out on the canal again until June. We were told that the New Inn will be opening it’s doors again in a couple of weeks time, good news indeed for those weary boaters who have come up the locks! As the weather had turned hot over the last few days we have let the Squirrel go out, thoroughly cleaned it and swept the chimney, we also blacked it. Our friends cruised along to join us and we all sat out on the towpath chatting over drinks making the most of the sunshine.

IMG_3122Mr and Mrs Duck were taking their eleven newly hatched offspring exploring along the canal.

Saturday, 27 April 2013



I caught the bus into Daventry to buy a few supplies and was quite bemused to see this skeleton reclining on the back of a motorbike sunbathing! 

Monday, 22 April 2013

Kestrel and Northolt.

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A pair of boats breasted up and came down into Buckby top lock mb Kestrel with butty Northolt. They are beautifully painted and well cared for.

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Perhaps they are also heading down to the Cavalcade.

Sunday, 21 April 2013


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My ears pricked up when I heard a steam whistle, so I dashed up to Norton Junction to see that it was Keith and Andy on their Steam Tunnel Tug “Hasty”. As it is such a lovely quiet boat I could hold a conversation with them quite easily from the towpath

 IMG_3113       IMG_3110

Here they are in the top lock of the Buckby flight heading down to Stoke Bruerne. The last time I photographed them they were at Hawksbury Junction, a short distance away from their home mooring. Since then the fitting out of Hasty’s interior had been completed.

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The bacon was cooking very slowly in the frying pan on the top of the boiler as they descended the lock with another boat.

   IMG_3118     IMG_3117

Then they were away to do the other six locks en-route to the IWA Canalway Cavalcade, Little Venice, Paddington in London May 4-6 .

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Sheeple Chase!


Every morning the farmer came to feed and check over his flock of sheep with their lambs. We will miss their amusing antics, as bleating loudly, they all rushed across the field to greet him.


We used the services at the top of Watford Locks before descending and being helped all the way down by a very friendly, chatty volunteer lock keeper. We were impressed by how neat the whole area around the locks and side ponds were kept by the volunteers.

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There are seven locks, four of them being staircase ones dropping us down fifty-two and a half feet altogether. there always seems to be a storm force wind blowing across here, maybe it is because it is in such close proximity to the M1.

Monday, 15 April 2013


         IMG_3016 MB Trent              IMG_3056   

  Many boats have passed us by by on our lovely mooring here going between Watford Locks and Crick. We could hear the big old wooden mb Trent long before he came into view, going up and returning.

         IMG_3012                IMG_3013

It is amazing how boaters don’t moor out in the countryside much, they don’t know what they are missing. Then maybe their time is limited and they must hurry from pub to pub, or out of their marina and back for the weekend. We have very much enjoyed being here even though we have had coughs, but soon we will be on the move again.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Watford Village 2.

           IMG_3037                IMG_3053

As I had taken my letter to Crick and it had got wet I brought it back and put it in a new envelope. Today I strolled into Watford to see if there was a letterbox there.

IMG_3044There were two at the old post office, although the one mounted in the wall was blanked off. The date stone on the front was 1864 and it was now in residential use.

           IMG_3040                IMG_3038

There were other date stones too, some old and some new. This little car was just like the one my Dad had, but I cannot remember what make it was, unfortunately.

IMG_3042     The old school looked nice, all these houses were in Station Road.

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This one was called the sidings, so perhaps it was near the railway at one time. There were several posters saying ‘No Wind Farm Here’. it seems everyone will need electricity in the future, but they don’t want wind turbines anywhere near them!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Four mile walk.

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It was a nice day when we set off back along the towpath, but before we reached the mouth of Crick Tunnel it began to rain. Sheep were grazing over the ridges and furrows that remain from the medieval farming days.

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After wending our way up a green track we turned left onto the gated road into Crick.

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We liked the way these thatched cottages nestled comfortably together all in a row. This was probably a busy farming community once as most of the dwellings have wide gates leading to a small yard behind them. After walking two miles we fell into the Red Lion for a rest and some lunch. We sat by the open fire and hung our coats over the backs of the chairs to dry out, perfick! The place was just as busy as usual and the mulled wine was still flowing Lynne! When we were ‘fed and watered’ and dried out we left, calling into the Co-op for some milk en-route. What we thought may have been ancient burial mounds in a long line through the fields, were in fact spoil heaps from digging the tunnel! What would we do without our informative Nicholson's Guides with their large scale maps of the canals?