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Friday, November 14, 2008

Nether Heyford to Cosgrove.

Wednesday 12th November.

Nether Heyford to Stoke Bruerne. 7.8 miles.

Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day, so the song goes and we have had a fabulous day. Thankfully the wind dropped, leaving us with a sunny, cool and wind free day. We set off from our mooring at 9.10am and headed off into the sunshine. At this time of the year the sun is always low in the sky, so at times it was difficult to see where we were going, but having had very little sun of late, who were we to complain. We skirted past Bugbrooke, with the railway following the canal all the way to Gayton Junction, where we noticed that there was a film of diesel floating on the water. It had probably come from the boat yard at the junction. We pulled in at the junction’s facilities to empty the toilet cassettes and get rid of rubbish, along with two other boats that were already there. British Waterways were out hedge cutting along the towpath.We then continued through Blisworth, passing Blisworth Mill, which is now apartments. Blisworth itself is a village built from stone and is set around the A43. The canal then takes us into Blisworth Tunnel which is the third longest tunnel in Britain open to navigation, it is 3057 yds long. For us to go through any tunnel we put in our earplugs, because anyone who has met us and Hadar, knows that she has a noisy engine, which is amplified when going through a tunnel. A Rose hire boat came in the opposite direction, crawling a long the tunnel wall. They were clearly taking it at a steady pace.Having come out of the tunnel into sunlight, we then preceded to find a mooring in Stoke Bruerne at 12.20pm, so it was not a long day cruising, but a very pleasant one. Having moored up we had lunch and then walked down to the museum, which is housed in an old stone warehouse, where I bought ‘Troubled Waters’ by Margaret Cornish and we also bought a Measham sugar bowl, which we wanted for our collection. We walked back to the boat and got chatting to a Cynthia and Sam on N.B Guinevere who were moored behind us; they have been on their boat for only 12 weeks and really love it. Like quite a few people we have got to know, they have bought a boat to live on and are renting their house out. We wish them all the luck in the world and hope to see them again someday. They are heading towards Stoke-on-Trent for Christmas. During the rest of the day we watched as boats came and went. By the time the evening was drawing in, it had turned chilly so we shut the boat up against the elements and watched the TV. By 10pm we were ready for our bed, so I closed up the side doors in the galley, and as I did so, I caught sight of the moon shining brightly on the waters surface; it was a bright evening with the stars glistening. The weather forecast did predict a frost so we would see. At bedtime I crawled in to bed before Keith and lay there listening to an owl hooting somewhere in the wood beside us. There is something magical about listening to an owl.

More often than not we see some odd signs or things when cruising, today we spotted this sign on the towpath.Thursday 13th November.

Well if we did have a frost last night, it did not hang around. We did not get out of bed too early, although we were both awake, I was once more listening to an owl hooting, followed by a moorhen calling and then a couple of blackbirds giving off alarm calls, so the bird world were already busy outside. Paddy enjoyed his stroll up through the woods by Blisworth Tunnel. I allowed him off of his lead to go rummaging in the undergrowth. There was plenty of evidence that rabbits had been out during the night, digging in the dirt, so Paddy’s nose just had to investigate. Back onboard Hadar we all had breakfast. I then set about cleaning some of the back cabin brass as it is beginning to look a little tired. Whilst I tackled that task I got chatting to Alan from N.B Aphelion, they had arrived behind us in the dark last night. We got chatting engines and it was a matter of I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours type of chat. Like us they have a National, but what we could not decide was whether it was a DM2 or not. It looked too big and bulky for a DM2, so we, like them, will be doing some investigating. We then went down to the Museum for a coffee, where Alan and his wife Jo were also having a coffee, whilst chatting to Brian Collings a local artist. On the way back to Hadar we saw Mike on his working boat Jubilee, so stopped and had a natter to him, about coal and diesel prices etc. All of that took us till lunch time, which we had onboard. The weather was forecast has begun to close in and we now have rain, so we are glad we decided to stay put today. The rest of the day proved to be uneventful.

Friday 14th November.

Stoke Bruerne to Cosgrove. 7.1 miles and 8 locks
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We woke up to a foggy old morning, but that would give us a beautiful day to be cruising. So having done the usual morning jobs in a lazy fashion, we were ready to set off at 9.40am. Having untied the bow, I walked on down to the first lock by The Boat Inn, whilst Keith bought Hadar down, chatting to Mike on Jubilee on the way. We shall see him again next month no doubt.
Whilst the lock was filling up, I got chatting to two British Waterways maintenance men, who were doing there weekly check on the locks, towpath and bridges, making sure all was well.
We were soon down through the first few locks; I carried on chatting to the two British Waterways chaps as we seemed to be going in the same direction.
They very kindly shut the odd gate behind us as well, which made my life a lot easier.
Down at lock 18, they have added something new by making the side ponds into a habitat for wildlife. They have included viewing platforms to stand on whilst looking for all the wildlife listed on the information boards provided. Apparently it was put in during the summer and is a welcome attraction. Keith remembers when he was on the Grand Union in the late 60's most of the sideponds were still operational and he regularly used them, he says it is a pity they don't reinstate and insist they be used, they can save a lot of water. We made it down through the last lock at Stoke Bruerne and said cheerio to the British Waterways chaps, who were a mind of information.We past working boat Towcester, another coal and diesel boat as we left the last lock and working boats Brighton and Nuneaton who were on the towpath moorings. There is some absolutely stunning scenery along this stretch of the canal, and we could see for miles now that the leaves are falling off of the trees and bushes. With the sun out it was a glorious day. We arrived at Cosgrove and proceeded down through Cosgrove Lock, where we sold two bags of coal before finding a mooring. The 14 day moorings were already pretty full, but we managed to find a place big enough for Hadar and tied up for the day at 1.20pm. I made us a coffee, we stood out side enjoying the last of the afternoon sunshine, when two more British Waterways chaps came along, and these chaps were patrol officers checking on boat licences. So as we always do, we said good afternoon and then got chatting about licences etc. Many thanks to Bill and his colleague for chatting away to us, we found it very enjoyable. We let them go about their business, whilst we got on with some boat jobs.
Whilst sitting out on the back slide, I watched as working boat Ascot another coal and diesel boat went about selling his wares to permanently moored boats. The light was beginning to fade and the temperature was dropping so it was time to close up the boat, but not before watching Marmite take a keen interest in a pair of swans who had climbed onto the bank for a snooze.Marmite was clearly thinking this would be her evening meal. Not sure she had actually thought out how she was going to take one of these on. They soon got fed up with Marmite giving them the evil eye, and moved on up the canal, as I shut the boat up to keep the heat in from the back stove, burning away nicely, now that we are back to using good old house coal. I just love to see the plumes of smoke rising from the chimney. I know it is not that environmentally friendly, but it does give a great affect and lots of heat.

Amusing sign of the day.

2 comments:

Maureen said...

Goats eggs?

Smoking Ducks?

Hahahahahaha! I guess they capture your attention though!

Love the photo of Marmite and the swans. Surprised they let you come that close! Have a good weekend Jo.

Keith and Jo said...

Hi Maureen.
The signs do catch your imagination. I just giggled when I saw the goats eggs one. Now that would be a miracle.
The swans are pretty tame, they were quite happy to come close. But not sure they would have wanted marmite chewing their legs though. LOL