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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hungerford to Newbury.

Monday 16th June.

A beautiful morning after a night of rain, it was looking good for my friend Yvonne’s visit. I took Paddy for his morning stroll, returning to enjoy breakfast and a cup of tea, before doing a few jobs on the boat.
I took the opportunity to take some photos of Hadar at the wharf moored behind NB Beau and in front of the trip boat Rose.Hungerford is a lovely town, I had only known Hungerford from the news, when they had a shooting there some years ago and it was on the news, and despite the fact I grew up and lived most of my life only an hour away I had never been to the town until now,Hungerford has a nice high street which was busy being a Monday morning. The A338 runs through the town, but the buildings built in the 18th and 19th-C are set back from the busy road, so it feel spacious, some of the buildings have a beauty all of their own. On the second Tuesday after Easter 99 commoners, are summoned to the town hall by the sounding of a horn. Two Tuttimen are appointed, they have to visit the homes of the 99 commoners to collect a ‘head penny’ from the men and a kiss from the women, and in return they give oranges. The new commoners are then shod by having a nail driven into their shoe. The ceremony dates from the medieval times and you can see photos and read about the history of the Tuttimen in the Tutti Pole Café.
Yvonne arrived just before 10.30am, we had walked up through the town to meet her, only to see her walking down the other side of the street to see us hahaha. Having caught her up and arrived at the boat we spent the morning showing her around, enjoying a good chinwag and coffee. We last saw Yvonne in 2004, so we had plenty to talk about. She has been my best friend for over 25 years.After the chatter we spent sometime walking around the Antique arcade, which is absolutely fantastic, we managed to find a pair of lace plates for £2.25 a real bargain. Lunch was taken at the Tutti pole café, which was excellent. We then had a final stroll around Hungerford before heading back to Hadar for another coffee and a slice of cake. Yvonne left us early evening. It was a fantastic day with a dear friend and we look forward to seeing her again soon.
So a new week has begun really well for us. Tomorrow we head back to Newbury and our journey now takes us to Birmingham for the August BCN run.

Tuesday 17th June.

Hungerford to Newbury. 8.7 miles, 10 locks and 1 swing bridge.

We said goodbye to Hungerford at 6.40am, the sun was out and the high street was busy with the early morning rush hour. Rather than going up a further five locks to wind, Keith reversed Hadar under the wharf bridge to a winding hole 100 yards back down the canal. Hadar is easy to reverse, even though it was a little shallow in parts and she was turning mud in places, still some 20 minutes later we were facing towards Newbury and on our way. We had 10 locks and 1 swing bridge at Newbury to do, what was surprising was there were only two other boats on the move all morning and they were coming up the locks, which helped as I did not have to set them ready for Hadar and Keith.Being early the wildlife was out getting breakfast, we saw a field with a number of rabbits out enjoying the lush green grass, not a bit bothered by us chugging past.On the way into Newbury we went under the Newbury bypass, many will remember that being all over the news when it was being built, because of all the protestors camping in trees to stop the bulldozers knocking them down.
We had a companion for some of our journey. A Common Tern was following the boat hoping we would turn up something for his breakfast.He was not worried about getting close to us as he would fly by diving down to the water.
The Common Tern is a beautiful bird, now a common summer visitor to these shores. We arrived in Newbury at 12.10pm and found a mooring above Newbury Lock at West Mills. I made us some lunch and a coffee, and then afterwards we went into the town to sample the delights of Newbury high street. Keith and I visited the Museum, but only a couple of rooms were open, due the fact that they were refurbishing all the others so there was not much to see. Never mind maybe they will be open properly next time. Newbury is actually really lovely, with some picturesque buildings. There are all the usual shops and more importantly a Tesco Metro for provisions. We will enjoy a quiet evening onboard, I have a rhubarb crumble to make, from the rhubarb my friend bought us yesterday from her garden mmmm. So see you tomorrow.

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