Sunday, 13 May 2018

Perfect Sunday morning

We were only saying the other day we've never seen swans carrying cygnets on their backs, so here's how our Sunday started. One poor little cygnet was trying to hop on and just as they passed the boat he jumped onto mum's tail. We had the pleasure of meeting this family the other day when they popped past for a snack.

Plus, our neighbours right opposite with their brood of 8 moorhen chicks keep us amused. The parents come to get the porridge we've put on the bank. We guess it must be quite a squash in their nest as they spend a good bit of time in there. This morning all the little ones were out & about and one parent appeared to doing some major house work before they all got back in.


Last Wednesday we had a lovely helping our friend Annie back to her mooring in Marsworth after her weekend trading at Berkhamsted floating market. We rarely get to do locks together as one of us is on the boat. And we didn't take any photos.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

First ducklings of 2018.

Today we moved a short distance from Linslade to Leighton Buzzard and saw our first ducklings of 2018, much later than our last two springs in the north west.

We have been at our house getting it respectable to put on the market in a week or so, exciting times for both Ada & Dale and us too. We really will be of not fixed abode soon.

The Art Boat

We have been moored in Linslade quite near The Globe pub for about 12 days and this bank holiday weekend has been very hot and busy along the tow path. We went to the floating market at Berkhamsted on the train yesterday and met up with our friends Yvonne & Mike. While we were there we met Annie from Marsworth who sells cards from her boat, plus Jan on The Art Boat who we had cruised with through Soulbury 3 locks, as John knows those locks well, Jan & I chatted on our boats while he did the hard work. 

Annie's Card boat
The Leather boat

We went to Ashridge to see the amazing bluebells that carpet the woods and we just had to have our photo taken beside the Duke of Bridgewater’s Memorial, sadly it was closed, as a child my parents said 6d was too much to go up to the top.

These little fish in the shade of our boat

Monday, 23 April 2018

Happy St George's day

Happy St. George's Day from Stoke Hammond, Buckinghamshire.  
Going to pick dandelions for wine later.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Travelling for a week

We’ve been travelling south for a over a week. We’ve had good lock partners for the journey. Firstly, nb Fleur de Lys, one of our boats elders, a 23 year old Braidbar boat, her new owner’s had her a couple of years. Secondly, nb Annie – hello Angela, who reads our blog.

It’s amazing to see all the fields so badly flooded and the rivers & streams so high. Blisworth Tunnel is always a bit leaky even when there’s not been a lot of rain, so we were prepared for the deluge from the air shafts!!! The end of last week was very damp and misty and pretty chilly too. This time last year when we were in the north west and sitting out and had seen lots of ducklings. We’ve seen geese & a swan sitting on their nests but no wee ones, yet.

So misty the crane's lost it's top

Cosgrove approaching aqueduct



We spent the weekend at Cosgrove and as Saturday was SO glorious we took the opportunity to de-mud the boat, inside & out. And it’s the first day we’ve not lit the fire this year. We’ve not moored at Cosgrove before and have been wanting to visit the route of the temporary canal that was built to carry the traffic until the aqueduct over the River Great Ouse was completed, which collapsed shortly after opening and had to be rebuilt again.
Sunday we strolled along the short stretch of the Buckingham Arm that is in water. Alot of work has been done to prepare more of the disused part ready to be refilled with water. The new A5 duel carriage way cuts the course in half. We completed the walk along the River and under the horse bridge at the viaduct.

Tempory canal course

Horse tunnel beside aqueduct

Lock gates temporary canal

Buckingham Arm
Buckingham Arm

When we lived in a house I was obsessional about my compost heaps, so the last couple of years have been very tricky throwing all our peelings etc away. We saw a little liquidizer in Aldi, which was the answer. I now save the compostable stuff in my lovely new genuine Buckby bucket, liquidize it & tip it on the bank. You often see boaters kitchen waste in the hedges which I think looks unsightly, where as my tippings aren’t visible at all.

I’ve had a bit of a knitting frenzy these last few weeks and have finished John’s jumper and 2 pairs of socks for me, plus I have a third pair with hand spun wool are on the go. Our Canadian friends are expecting twin grand children later in the year, so that’s a bit more knitting too.

We have just arrived in Fenny Stratford after a sunny but chilly cruise through Milton Keynes.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Easter in the north west

I wrote this blog at the beginning of the week, however, where we were moored at Long Itchington there was very little signal, using the internet reminded us of dial up days!!! So as we’re now in Leaminton Spa the reception’s just fine.

Rainbow Long Itchington
Magnus the mud monster

On Hesketh Bank
We hired a car and went to Heather & Jason’s for the long Easter weekend. The journey there was VERY slow as we set off so late Thursday afternoon, the M6 was solid just about the whole way and we did an average speed of 25mph!!! Enterprise the car hire people offer a pick up service, which we’ve not used it before as we’ve been within walking distance of them, however, they were 2 ½ hours late picking us up, they didn’t charge for the second driver as a good will gesture.
 Ada & Dale arrived at Heathers early Good Friday morning. We walked on Hesketh Marsh that runs along the banks of the River Douglas, we didn’t see any narrow boats going along it on their way to the Lancaster Canal though. Nikita was very upset at the amount of rubbish that had been washed onto the marsh, so we filled my collapsible shopping bag and she carried as many plastic bottles as she could. Magnus as usual picked up as much drift wood as he could for us to burn. Saturday we went to Chorley as Ada & Dale think they’d like to move there and the kids did an Easter Egg hunt at Botany Bay’s outlet shop. Plus, we just had to have a pint at one of our favourite pubs The Bob Inn, in Chorley market. The tide was in at Southport when we went there on Sunday and the kids picked up shells. We had a lovely warm sunny weekend, apart from Monday when we had snow and rain for the drive home, but the roads were clear & we made good time. I think the Midlands must have had a lot of rain while we were away as the tow path appeared as deep as the canal and the River Itchen had burst it’s banks.

Hesketh Marsh by River Douglas
Driftwood fire

Nikita's marsh rubbish

The chaps from Colecraft have been and fully assessed our side hatches and front door and will do the work at the end of May. So we’re off for a bit of spring time cruising.

It was lovely to have a brief chat about boating and more importantly spinning, this afternoon with Billy & Jane on Betaine Spirit, 168 as they cruised by.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

A different world on the other side of the tunnel!

This morning we were joking about how the weather is ALWAYS awful on the other side of any tunnel we’ve been through and today was no exception. We woke to a gloriously warm morning at Stoke Bruene so I didn’t light fire as yesterday we had to open the windows & waste all our heat as it was far too hot indoors. As we got towards the end of Blisworth Tunnel the temperature appeared to drop rapidly and indeed it was rather sunless & chilly. Therefore I lit the fire while we were cruising along.

Frosty Yardley Gobion

Firecrest arriving, bottom Stoke Bruene locks

Knitting before going up Stoke Bruene locks


We’ve spent the last couple of days cruising with Cheryl & Eric from nb Firecrest. Cheryl & I became virtual friends on the knitting forum Ravelry several years ago by chatting on the narrow boats section of the group about our plans to move onto a boat, we met each other face to face at Fibre East, Bedfordshire’s wool festival in 2013. Funnily enough, we both chose the same firm Braidbar Boats to fit out the interiors of our boats. Cheryl popped around to do some spinning once we’d moored at Stoke Bruene yesterday and we had to pop to her boat for tea and cake too.

Spinning nb Burnt Oak
Tea on nb Firecrest, nb in front

Cosgrove horse tunnel
Last Friday at Yardley Gobion, while I was waiting for my sister Louise to pick me up to take me to Birmingham to watch my nephew Jack in his university dance show, we were kept company by a field of ewes and lambs. While at Yardley Gobion we strolled to Cosgrove & walked through horse tunnel, which was adorned with beautiful icicles.
The day we left Yardley Gobion we had a very harsh frost and yet more ice on the canal albeit very thin.

Ford near Castlethorpe