Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Legs and Boots

Hi There

Well there was a time that when Nicky said she was going to get her 'legs and boots' on to go out for the evening (and sometimes if I was lucky) when we were just staying in . . . . .  then it certainly did it for me. Now though, I'm not sure if her version of  'legs and boots' on the wrong side of middle age actually works for me like it did.

But anyway, enough of Nicky and her decline  slide  march  graceful plumet towards fifty and onto some boaty bits.

Well, since we've got back to the boat at the beginning of August we've barely stopped. We were due to meet our friends Steve and Angela who had hired a boat and set off on a gruelling journey (well for us anyway) to meet up with them that saw us travel down the Ashby Canal, some of the Coventry Canal, the North Oxford Canal, a bit of the Grand Union Canal and then down some of the South Oxford Canal to Cropredy. In those nine days we travelled 29.75 hours, 67.75 miles (that is normally a months worth of cruising for us) and 23 locks.

During this time we'd also become Mr and Mrs Sociable and met up with Paul Smith and Sally, Paul runs the website 'Living on a Narrowboat' ( http://livingonanarrowboat.co.uk/ ) that I've got and still get loads of information from and is certainly the place to visit if you're a would be or existing boater. We'd then also met up with Clinton and Sharon from narrowboat Tacet that they'd recently brought and spent an afternoon and evening with them.

Oh for a rest, not, as we then travelled with Steve and Angela back to Rugby so it was back up the South Oxford Canal, some of the Grand Union canal and part of the North Oxford Canal and in these three days we'd travelled for 18.25 hours, 39.75 miles and 22 locks and that's more than half a months worth of cruising for us.

Anyway, that aside, we had a good few days with them and needless to say we ate and drank too much during this time.

Here we are in convoy, with Steve in front on his hire boat 'Wild Goose'.

Steve and Angels's daughter Chantel at the Hill Morton Locks.

Group photo of us, Steve and Angela in the middle and then Brandon and Chantel.

Steve and Brandon in The Folly pub at Napton where we had a really nice meal and Angela in the background and at the bar where you'll normally find her !

And yours truly with Steve and rather empty pints of Old Hooky. Two photo's being taken at the same time, hence the looking in different directions.

It's bad enough around hire bases/marinas when they moor their boats two abreast and even worse when numpties then decide to moor right opposite making life more difficult than it needs to be.

And whilst on the topic of numpties, don't moor a wide beam right next to a bridge and definitely don't more a wide beam right next to a bridge in a narrow section of canal. Luckily the oncoming boats were kind enough to hold back for me or it would have been interesting.

Certainly busier down south than we found it up north. . . .

Early morning at Braunston and looking towards the junction with the Grand Union Canal.

So having seen Steve and Angela off, we headed back down to Braunston where we were getting our boat serviced by a friend of ours Chris. Chris was the chap who fitted our solar panel system a couple of years back and we've stayed in touch with him and his wife Marilyn since then and try to catch up if we are in their area or if they are in ours with their caravan. He also sorted out an electrical problem we had and took a look at our hot water cylinder that had started to leak, but unfortunately it was on its way out so we decided to change it that he duly did the following weekend. Just as well though as once we'd got it out it was actually worse than we'd thought and would no doubt have given up completely at some point and flooded our boat. What a job getting it out though as you had to take the wall down to get to it and in order to take the wall down you had to take the stairs out as well, but six or seven hours later that was job done.

I'd certainly recommend Chris, whose fits out boats from shells as a living, services engines, obviously installs solar power systems where we had come across him and pretty much anything else in between. He lives around Peterborough, but does travel and the likes of Braunston is within his commuting distance. Actually thinking about it, he came up to Audlem in Cheshire where we were based to fit our solar panels so maybe he would travel further depending on the job. From some of the experiences we've had previously with work done on our boat and given the choice, I'd only want Chris to work on our boat and should you be looking for anybody then give him a try. His mobile number is 07899 905548 or E-mail him at cs.services@live.co.uk .

Sunset overlooking Napton Reservoirs up by Calcutt Top Lock where we'd stopped on the way through to meet Paul and Sally again and this time being well fed and watered on their narrowboat James.

Make do repairs on one of the Napton Locks, no doubt to be worked on as part of their winter stoppages program. Unfortunately they've only got one gate paddle working, assumingly to reduce the impact on the weakened area of the lock and therefore takes an age to empty.

Nice scenic set of locks at Napton with some nice places to moor in between as some of the locks are spaced quite a bit apart. We stopped for the night between bridge 116 and lock 14 where there is space for about three boats before you get to the mooring bollards.

During this time we also had visitors who stopped with us for the night in the shape of our friends Lloyd and Sue from Jersey. We weren't sure if Sue was going to like our chosen lifestyle of living on a narrowboat, but she absolutely loved it and can fully understand why we enjoy it so much.

Lloyd in control, even though my mother-in-law can do way better than his poor effort of steersmanship. We'll just have to get him back for some practice.

And Lloyd and Sue having a rest partway through walking The Boys.

For those friends that we can't keep in touch with in person, then there is always Skype. This is our friend Bod in Oz. The old bugger was fifty a few months back and had an eighties style disco birthday party and dressed up in his Saturday Night Fever gear. Unfortunately though, whilst being an old bugger, he's also a bit of a baldy bastard so needed a wig to carry off his transformation. Must have liked the feeling of hair on his head once again though as he wore his wig whilst on Skype. Could be worse Bod, I could have done a close up photo to embarrass you more. . . . .

Well, that just gave me an idea. . . . . .

And what about this little bit of treasure that we picked up from a car boot sale in Jersey for two quid. It's The Narrowboat Game, how good is that. Only played it twice with Nicky so far and lost both times, but I put that down to it being more a game of chance than skill and it is nice for her to beat me occasionally I suppose.

We moored at the top of the flight of locks that would take us back down to Cropredy the other night and made the best of bright evening to take The Boys out for their last walk of the day. As the evenings start closing in we'll miss the option of this final walk as it's sometimes the nicest part of the day to be out.

Thirsty work all this walking. . . . .

In all, August came in at a record month for us having cruised for 65.25 hours, covering 146.50 miles and 54 locks and we're now back down at Cropredy and onto new territory as we head down to Oxford over the next three to four weeks.

That then brings you all up to date with what has been happening and where we are and so in signing off,

Day 607 in the Badger Sett Narrowboat - 1273 miles and 533 locks further on from when we started.

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