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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wistow to Kilby Bridge.

Tuesday 24th February.

Wistow to Kilby Bridge, 2.8 miles and 7 locks.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Wistow, which ended with the most splendid sunset, as seen through the galley window.Marmite was so impressed with the view she sat watching the sun go down. I actually think she was more interested in the sound of the Canada Geese, which were in the field across the canal.

Tuesday morning and I lay in bed listening to the bird song at 6am. It seems that we are both waking earlier every morning, but it does have its plus points, because you get to hear the dawn chorus and see a brand new day before everyone stamps all over it. Having got up, Paddy got a lovely walk along one of the Conservation tracks, and whilst we passed a coppice of trees a woodpecker began to knock seven bells out of a tree trunk. It was incredible how loud it was. I wonder if they get headaches?

We left the Wistow mooring at 9.25 am and headed for Kilby Bridge. The seven locks were double locks, although there was no one moving to share them with, which was a real shame. We were in total seclusion on this stretch of our journey, just us and the sound of the trains to our right. Some of the lock gates were heavy going, so I got a real workout. We arrived at Kilby Bridge at 12.25 pm and winded at the winding hole near the sanitary station. We then found a mooring on the 14 day moorings. We were greeted by Alison the wife of the mooring warden Micheal, she invited us over for a cup of tea later in the day when Micheal got home from work, which was very nice of them, they have made us feel most welcome.

Wednesday morning would see us going into Leicester, to find the T-Mobile store, because my mobile broadband usb stick, which is less than a month old, has packed up grrrr. We caught the X4 bus outside of the Navigation Inn, which took us into St Margarets Bus Station. From there we eventually found the T-Mobile store, but it soon became apparent that they could not swap the broken modem for one that worked, even though it was less than a month old. The store's policy does not allow them to do this, so we were told our options were to let them send it away for repair, or wait for a jiffy bag for us to send it away, neither of these options were entirely great as we really do not have the time to hang around as we tried to explain to the man in the store. He was doing his best to help so he then let me ring customer services to see if they would allow us to swap modem, but I had no luck with them either, but then what can you expect when the call centre is in India. So then the gentleman suggested we went to a Carphone Warehouse repair shop who does all their repairs, as he reckoned it would not take more than a day or two for them to repair the modem. We were directed to the bus, which was actually the same one we had come in on, so having had some lunch at a Chinese Buffet and a look around we headed back to the bus station for the 1.15pm bus, which either never arrived or went to the wrong bay, it left us and several other people waiting another hour for another bus to take us to near Wigston, which was on the bus route. We eventually made it to the Carphone Warehouse Shop where we were told that they do not repair modems, only phones, and T-Mobile should know this. Obviously not was my reply. I have to say at this point I was livid. Keith was much more composed. A very nice man was a little insensed that they had put us through all we told him, so got onto T-Mobiles customer care. In the end the only way for us to resolve this nightmare was for Keith to take the modem back into the Leicester T-Mobile Store and for them to send it off. We left the Carphone Warehouse shop feeling deflated and in need of a cuppa. But as in life nothing is ever straight forward, as the bus we hoped would take us back to Kilby Bridge did not materialize so we had no option but to walk the three and half miles back to the boat. By the time we got back it was 5pm and we were both well and truly worn out. I was in bed by 9.30pm because I had a dreadful headache, Keith came to bed after watching a zombie movie.

It is now Thursday and Keith has gone back into Leicester on his own, I am doing some Spring cleaning whilst he is gone. Oh and of course typing this piece for the blog. I will let you know what happens over the modem. Hope you all have a fabulous day.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Foxton to Wistow

Monday 23rd February.

Foxton to Wystowe, 7.5 miles and 5 locks.

Listening to Hfm this morning, the local radio station for Market Harborough, there was a competition to guess who the mystery voice was. Both Keith and I guessed it immediately from the first clue, so Keith emailed the radio station with the answer. The presenter announced us and that we were on Hadar moored at Foxton. In fact he mentioned us twice, it would appear he was quite taken with our website. We left Foxton at 8.30am, it was cold windy with sunny spells, an ideal day for some cruising. So we continued north and then swung north west which would take us towards Leicester. We past by NB Alligator another Roger Fuller boat, it was built just before ours, there was no one home. So it was onwards past Debdale Wharf, which was all quiet as well. We then had Saddington Tunnel 880 yds long, which was completed in 1797. It is said that the tunnel is home to many bats these days. I think we will have woken them up from their slumber as we thumped on through. The landscape is raw and yet beautiful at this time of the year. We did the first of the five locks of the day. By the time we reached Pywell's Lock the 4th lock, we were greeted by plenty of water flowing over both sets of gates.

Even whilst we were going down in the lock, water was continuing to flow over the top gates. At 11.35 am we arrived at Wistow and moored just after bridge 78 near the site of the Medieval Village of Wystowe, where we could stand and marvel at the magnificent scenery around us. We had a lovely view of Wistow Church.Having eaten lunch we thought we would go and find the Wistow Model Village, which is situated in the Rural Centre. So we walked back to bridge 78, where we followed the Conservation Walks map. It took us past Wistow Church. St Wistans which has a long history, with much of the church dating back to Norman times. There are not many tombstones in the church yard and none past 1873 due to the fact that there were worries over flooding. Many of the stones there are family plots and one such family lost four of their children in the space of just a few years which is really tragic. Just a short distand up the road on the left is the Wistow Rural Centre, which has a Farm Shop for any provisions you may need. We needed a lemon for Pancake Day tomorrow. There are other small outlets and a cafe, but with the price of a cup of coffee being £2 we gave that a wide berth. To find the model village you need to walk through the garden centre. The village was built some 20 years ago and it is showing its age, with windows broken and bits falling apart. But over the years it has raised over 13,000 for a local hospice, which is remarkable. The village even has its own canal and flight of locks, they are looking very neglected and need BW to come along and replace all of the gates ha ha ha. Whilst walking around the site, I spotted this sign on one of the outlets. It made us both laugh.This person obviously is not bothered about what the woman looks like LOL. We strolled back to the boat where we enjoyed a nice cheap cup of coffee and a caramel wafer, it tasted so much nicer for not having spent £2 on it. It has been a wonderful day, but now we are both cream crackered, so will put our feet up and enjoy a nice quiet evening inside, watching TV as we have an excellent signal here.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Foxton.

We have spent the weekend at Foxton and it has been absolutely lovely. The weather has really helped because Saturday we had wall to wall sunshine, which bought the gongoozlers out to play. With all our boat jobs done, we took a stroll up to the Museum to have a look around, it is well worth a visit for £2.50 an adult and £1.50 for concessions. We then had a nice cup of coffee at the cafe by the bottom lock, which was very busy. As we sat drinking our coffee it really did amaze me how little parents take notice of what their children are doing. There were lots of very small children wandering about, and some were walking very close to the edge of the canal. It would not have taken much for one of them to have fallen in, either by slipping or being pushed in by a roving dog or another child. Parents really should keep a better eye on their children.The Foxton Locks Inn was also really busy. It is still undergoing work and at the moment they are having a function room built on.Even though we had come down the Foxton Flight it was still nice to walk to the top to enjoy another coffee at the cafe at the top lock and then have a walk around the Foxton Inclined Plane and the boat lift. The Foxton Inclined Plane Trust is working hard to raise the money to restore the lift. They hope to restore it to full working order, but it all takes money. In 2008 the Foxton Locks Partnership completed a £3m lottery funded project which has resulted in the lift site being removed from the 'Monuments at risk' register.Sundays weather has been a little chillier, with a strong breeze blowing and no sign of the sunshine until late in the afternoon. We did have another walk around the locks. Mainly because it was actually too nice to sit on the boat. But like with all good things they must come to an end and back at the boat we then made an attempt on the brass work, which has not been cleaned for a while. It took quite a lot of elbow grease to make a dent in the grime, but I dare say after a few goes it will be nice and shiny again. The next task will be the paintwork, which is in need of some attention before we go into dry dock in April.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Welford Arm to Market Harborough.

Wednesday 18th February.

Welford Arm to the top of the Foxton Flight of locks, 8.6 miles and 1 lock.


It was a grey foggy morning, so there was very little to see scenerywise and not a day for taking photographs. The low cloud spoilt the view along this stretch of the canal. We left the Welford Arm mooring at 8.40am and headed back onto the main line heading for Husbands Bosworth through wooded cuttings and under red brick bridges. Being shrouded in the fog made us feel very secluded, that was soon broken with the appearance of a Canaltime hire boat coming towards us. With this week being half-term we expect to see a few hirers. There had been a couple of the Canaltime boats moored down the Welford Arm. We were continuing north east, when we saw the bow of a boat we recognised from last summers BCN’s Explorer cruise, it was the bow of NB Gerald No13 with Roy at the tiller. We swapped hellos and destinations with each other before we headed into the Husbands Bosworth tunnel, which is 1166 yds and was opened in 1813 and Roy continued on towards Norton Junction. Through the gloom of the weather we could just about see to the outline of hills, so hope that on the return journey we will get to see them in their full glory. We arrived at the top of the Foxton Locks at 11.45am and moored up.
After lunch we had a very welcome visit from Mo and Vanessa from NB Balmaha, they had walked up from the bottom of the flight to come and see us, which was really lovely of them. Marmite was clearly pleased to see them both as she showed off her fetch and catch talents. People rarely believe us when we tell them she will fetch and catch like a dog. Mo and Vanessa have seen it with their own eyes, so can vouch for her talent. We enjoyed a couple of hours chatting over a cuppa. It was so nice to catch up with them both. It gave us all the chance to swap stories about life on and off of the water.

Thursday 19th February.

Top of Foxton Flight to Market Harborough, 6.6 miles, 10 locks and 2 swing bridges.

We slept incredibly well last night, so were awake nice and early to be at the top of the Foxton Flight for the locks to be opened at 8am.Bill was already opening paddles when we arrived, so the top lock was set for us. We had a nice steady run down the locks as they are some of the easiest to work on the system, as we approached the bottom of the flight, Vanessa came along with her windless to give us a hand to get through the last two locks. We then turned on to the Market Harborough Arm, where we would unload several bags of coal for Mo and Vanessa on NB Balmaha. Vanessa then made us all a nice cup of coffee , which we enjoyed on the stern of their boat.Mo and Vanessa then headed off down the Leicester arm, whilst we carried on to Market Harborough and the basin where Canaltime have a hire fleet. We were lucky enough to get a mooring in the basin, which allowed us to connect to the landline for 50p and stay overnight for £5, which is great because I can get all our washing done. Having moored up we were then asked for coal from a couple of other boats. Our hold is now looking very empty. After having lunch we walked down into Market Harborough to do a food shop at Sainsbury’s, whilst at the checkout, we were approached by someone we never expected to see, and that was David and Margaret from NB Adraestea, we had last seen them in Crick. They had actually come to do a food shop by camper van and very kindly offered us a lift back to our boat, which was really lovely of them, as the walk up the hill did not fill either of us with delight, we had contemplated getting a taxi back. Back on the boat the big wash began, I even had the tumble drier going. I managed to get all the washing done by the time we went to bed.

Friday 20th February.

A cold misty morning greeted Paddy and I as we set off for his morning walk. After breakfast we left the basin mooring and headed out onto the towpath for a mooring, we then set off with our trolley to Welland Valley Foods, to stock up on dog and cat food supplies. It was only a short walk from Union Wharf where we are moored and has everything needed for pets. Having stowed the pet food away in the hold we then walked back down into the town to have a proper look around. Market Harborough has a lovely indoor market and café where we had a coffee and a scone. The town has everything you can possibly need, and is well worth the walk. Back onboard the boat we had some lunch and I thought I would fill the water tank after all the washing we did last evening, because on the towpath moorings there are water points all the way along. Be warned that these water points are incredibly slow, so if you are in any sort of a hurry they are not the water points for you. It took 2 hours to fill our tank and in that time I had some fantastic conversations with people from other boats and towpath walkers, so that was a definite plus. It was noticeable though that the temperature was dropping the whole time I was stood outside in my shirt sleeves. When the tank was finally full and the hosepipe stowed away in the engine room, I was glad to be back in the warmth of the boat, which is where we will stay for the evening.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Welford Junction to the Wharf.

Tuesday 17th February.

Welford Junction to Welford Wharf
.

Our destination today was the Welford Arm, so just a short hop, skip and a jump, but a scenic one never the less with only 1 lock.

We arrived at Welford Wharf just an hour after setting off, winded and then slotted ourselves into the wharf alongside NB May Bee. There is only enough room for two boats on the 48 hour mooring, but for longer stay moorings there are plenty of places further back down the arm. Having tied up, emptied the toilet cassette and made a coffee, Bob from NB Glenfield walked up to see us, so I made him a cup of tea and we got down to some chatting for a while, before he headed back to his boat to get her ready for the off. We were approached by the owner of The Wharf, Darren and asked if he could buy five bags of house coal from us. So having unloaded the coal and delivered it to a shed, we then went into the pub for a Ham, Egg and Chips lunch, which was really yummy, as good if not a little better than what we have eaten at The Old Plough in Braunston, so well worth visiting The Wharf Inn. Darren and Jenny behind the bar made us feel most welcome. We then took a walk into the village of Welford, which has a lot of history behind it. The church and its grave yard are very pretty. Some of the headstones are very ornate in their scroll work, most of them being made out of slate. There is a Post Office in the village which also has a small shop for essentials, but the shop does not take cards, so you must either take cash or a cheque. Tis whole area is steeped in history and well worth a visit. We have had a most enjoyable day.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Norton Junction Leicester Arm, to Welford Junction.

Monday 16th February.

Norton Junction Leicester Arm, to Welford Junction 15.2 miles and 7 locks.


Having enjoyed a good nights sleep and a nice couple of days here, we were up early to make an earlier start than normal, as we wanted to get up through the Watford Locks, in case it got busy during the morning with boaters beginning to move now the ice was melting. After a couple of days we feel the need to move, I guess we get the rovers itch. Although being in one place has its appeal for later in life, right now we just want to be moving as much as we can.Just before we set off NB Glenfield went past us heading for the locks, so we did not hurry ourselves on leaving the mooring. When we arrived at the flight of locks, NB Glenfield was just going into the first of the locks, and we followed on behind with NB Osprey behind us. We cleared the first two locks and then had the staircase of four locks to negotiate.The last time we did this flight was in January 2005 and we were coming down the flight, having collected our old boat NB Misty Lady from ABNB, where we bought her from. She was our home whilst Hadar was being built. The convoy of three boats working up through the staircase, worked like a well oiled machine, everyone made it to the top in quick time and who should be there at the Sanitary Station filling up with water. It was none other than NB Derwent6 with Del and Al, who were very pleased to see us. I like so many others read a lot of boaters blogs, and I there are some we have not met yet, but we look forward to the day when we come across them on the system.Today it was Del and Al’s turn and what a lovely welcome we got. I can sometimes get a feeling for what people are like from reading their blog and I have to say Del and Al are exactly what I expected. Genuinely lovely bubbly people, who are clearly enjoying life afloat to the full, just like us which is wonderful. As they filled up with water we pulled in to allow NB Osprey to pass and to unload some coal for Del and Al as they were down to their last bag.We enjoyed several minutes with them chatting about the Leicester Arm and the weather before we bid them farewell, leaving them to get on with their washing, as Del was running out of pants (I will leave you to make your own mind up on what would take their place). I so hope we meet up with them again soon so we can spend longer with chatting over a coffee or something stronger. Del and Al you have now been elevated into Boaters We've Met, yes you have made it finally LOL.
We saw our first lambs of 2009, they were huddled against mum for some warmth. I cannot say I blame them.We were fortunate to see quite a bit of wildlife today, but then the surroundings were scenic. In all we saw kingfishers, kestrels, a pair of buzzards, a squirrel sunbathing and best of all was a little egret out in the field with the sheep.The little egret is becoming much more common in this country. This was the first one we have seen, only wish I could have got a better photograph of it.
We ploughed through Crick Tunnel and then through Crick and past ABNB where we bought our old boat from in 2005. We were now into new territory for us both. We saw NB Adrastea moored up, so no doubt we will see them again in a couple of days. The conditions on the canal were somewhat hit and miss, in some places there was no ice at all, and in others it was from ½ inch to 2 ½ inches thick. We were thankful that in the thicker places a BW workboat had been through before, but it did make the corners more difficult to negotiate. But Hadar took it all in her stride and with such lovely countryside to enjoy, we were not that bothered by the ice. Our day ended just before the Junction with the Welford Arm, which is where we shall be heading next.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Progress is being made.

When we moored up just on the Leicester Arm at Norton Junction, there was absolutely no way that we could make any headway through two inch thick frozen snow, so we were more than happy to stay put with NB Meand'er, NB Beez Kneez and NB Glenfield.
Not even the poor Moorhen knew which way to go. it had a confused expression on its face LOL.
But what a difference a couple of days makes. With the temperatures now on the up, the ice is beginning to slowly melt. Not only that it has begun to rain. Progress was made when the BW work boat Carnaby ploughed past on its way to Watford. After that NB Shadow with Halfie and family onboard came alongside to buy a bag of coal, they were overtaken by NB Lorien, so it seems the flood gates are now open with boats moving. We on the other hand will hold back as there will be a queue at the Watford Locks. The problem then is not knowing what conditions are like above the locks. So we are not planning on making a move today, we will let others go and then we can hopefully make a clear run.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Leicester Arm here we come.

Friday 13th February.

Braunston to Norton Junction, Leicester Arm. 4.4 miles and 6 locks.

Last night it snowed for a while and we had thought we would not be moving today, but the snow turned to rain and then stopped, so we were much more optimistic that we would be able to make a move.
When we got up the sun was shining which bode well for us setting out up the Braunston Flight. Even the ice on the canal had disappeared. So with Paddy walked, breakfast eaten and tea drunk, we donned our coats and slipped our mooring. Just after leaving our mooring we saw Les on NB Valerie, he was moored near the Elsan Point at Bridge 91. He advised us that we may have problems getting onto the Leicester Arm as the ice is very thick, we said we would give it a look and make a decision once there. We wished him well and headed onward towards the Braunston Flight.
The main obstacle for me was keeping my feet at the locks. I reckon I could have given Todd Carty a run for his money on Dancing On Ice at times, because it was slippery under foot, where the snow had been compacted into ice, but I took everything at a slow pace and making sure of my footing at all times. With the flight cleared, we then headed through Braunston Tunnel and out into yet more bright sunshine. After the tunnel there are lots of signs out which say No Mooring, it is because Morrisons are doing a lot of towpath work, along this stretch of the canal, almost to the junction.
We arrived at Norton Junction, having not had much of a problem with ice, but that was all about to change as we entered the mouth of the Leicester Arm.

The ice is indeed thick, but with warm bright sunshine now directed onto it, we are hopeful that the ice will begin to melt and we are not the only ones as other boats have been here a couple of days and are hoping to head up the arm. So we shall see what the weekend brings before making any further decisions.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Near Wormleighton to The Bridge Inn, Napton on the Hill.

Monday 9th February.

Near Wormleighton to Stoneton (bridge 126), 2.1 miles which took 2 hrs 50 minutes!


Last night we were hit by more snow until 8pm, it then stopped and the temperature dropped.
When we woke up it was dry and cold, but soon the drizzle began set in, so we were hoping that the ice on the canal would begin to melt. Having walked Paddy, I went stick collecting along the towpath and on the way back John on NB Maximus invited us for a cup of tea, so at 10.45am we locked up the boat and joined John and Madeline onboard their boat for a cup of tea and great conversation. We have mutual friends in Brian and Diana on NB Harnser and they also come from Suffolk, it really is a small world. Whilst chatting we all decided that we would try and make some headway towards Marston Doles and moor up below the locks, with the weather warming up we had hoped that the ice would be soft enough to break through.
After lunch we readied Hadar for the off, leaving the mooring first as we thought we would make better headway. It proved more difficult that we expected, because not only did we have the ice we also had a shallow canal to contend with, we eventually got off the mooring by reversing up alongside NB Maximus.We had only gone a few metres, before we were stopped by the ice. We then spent over ¾ of an hour trying to crawl 200 metres, Madeline and I even got poles out to smash the ice, but it was just not making a lot of difference. We were all set to moor back up when NB Dawn Mist came stonking past us, carving a channel for us both to use, so we thought we would follow them, which seemed like a good plan at the time.NB Maximus followed NB Dawn Mist and we followed them. All seemed to be going really well for a short distance.Then NB Dawn Mist got bogged down in the ice, so NB Maximus took the lead, but it was such slow going and the afternoon was getting away from us time wise.As we approached Stoneton, Keith and I took the decision to stop as it was 4.30pm, and the drizzle had turned to rain, which was coming down quite hard and getting cold. So we pulled in before bridge 126, below Stoneton Manor and its sheep farm, where ewe’s were huddled together in the barn listening to music from a radio. NB Dawn Mist stopped to buy a bag of coal off of us as they had no heating at all. They then ploughed on behind NB Maximus. The evenings weather took a downward turn, it was not long before snow was falling heavily again, not only that but the wind had got up as well. So we snuggled down inside the boat for the evening in front of the TV, before heading off to bed very tired.

Tuesday 10th January.

Stoneton to The Bridge Inn, Napton on the Hill, 5.3 miles and 9 locks.


My morning began at 1.15am when I was woken up by ting, ting on the mushroom vent, it sounded like in my dreamlike state as if I was being summoned at a hotel reception desk, it was then followed by several loud thuds on the cabin roof. This turned out to be snow falling off the branches of the over hanging tree we were moored beneath and was being blown about by the strong winds blowing outside. Having lain awake for sometime I decided to get up, so I would not disturb Keith’s sleep. I crept into the saloon, where I sat with my drink listening to the wind. Marmite was pleased to see she was not the only one awake and greeted me with a yawning meow. My thoughts then turned to the sheep in the barn opposite and I wondered if they had been listening to Late Night Love, through the wee small hours of the morning. Funny the things you think of LOL. Marmite wanted my full attention, whereas Paddy was fast asleep in his bed. By 2.50am Keith was also awake, so there was nothing for it but to make us both a cup of tea. Keith went on Facebook, whilst I wondered if I would ever get back to sleep, or should I just stay up. I crawled back into bed as did Keith eventually and we both did drift off back to sleep until 7.30am, when we made a move to get up.As I opened the galley window to peek out, it was clear we had another good sprinkling of snow, but the canal was not that frozen so we decided we would make a move towards Marston Doles and take it from there.
We soon came upon John and Madaline, who had tried to move, but became stuck all over again, so they pulled in once more to wait and see what would happen. NB Dawn Mist overtook them to open up a channel in which we then used and John and Madaline then followed us.It all worked brilliantly and we all made it to Marston Doles. John and Madaline stopped for water and we carried on behind NB Dawn Mist who kindly set the Napton Locks for us. We also had other boats going in the opposite direction, which made the lock work easier, as it was pretty slippery at times.The views coming down the Napton flight were stunning in the wintry sunshine, and we had a splendid view of the Windmill. Working our way down the flight, there was no lack of water, and at times it flowed over the lock gates. One of the overflows was blocked so we notified the BW men at the bottom of the flight and they went up to unblocked it.At the bottom of the flight we used the sanitary station to empty the toilet cassettes, threw away rubbish and took on water, where upon John and Madaline caught us up. They moored up to go to the shop for some food and we pressed on to Napton Bridge and the Bridge Inn, which is where we will stay for today. We are going for a meal at the Inn later. The last time Keith ate there was in 1968, so a few things will have changed since then I hope. John and Madaline passed us and carried on, as they have to be back at Brinklow so needed to make up time, we wished them well and hoped that we would see them again soon. It has been a lovely days cruising, much easier going than yesterday.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Marmite has a new home.

Marmite has found herself a new home. It comes in the form of a cardboard box, which used to hold four bottles of Elsan Blue. When we had a visit from Alison and Ian on working boat Gosty Hill, we purchased three bottles of Elsan Blue from them as we were using our last bottle.
No sooner had I removed the bottles from the box, Marmite claimed it for her very own. She now likes to sleep in it, so this morning I have put one of her beds inside it and she seems pretty pleased, not only that it is a place to hide away from Paddy.
Help I cannot get into my box..... Someone give me a hand?
We have a fabulous view across the valley. Which was bathed in a pink light from the sun setting last night. Even though the snow is beginning to melt on the towpath, it is hanging around in the fields around us and NB Maximus.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Another day in snowy paradise.


Yesterday morning yet more snow fell, it continued to do so until lunch time. During the morning we welcomed onboard Alison and Ian from working boat Gosty Hill for a coffee and a chat, they had been moored in front of us overnight and were heading back to their mooring.

The snow just transformed everything around us, it looked so tranquil. Looking across the valley all you could see was a serene landscape.
As the day drew to a close, we were joined by NB Maximus, they brought with them the most fabulous sunset.
This morning we have woken up to being iced in, so we will stay put for the time being. One thing we always make sure of, is that we have a good food store onboard. We also have a full tank of water and plenty of diesel, so it is not so important for us to move at the moment, although I think we both feel we want to be moving off, as we get that roving itch.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Just what we have been waiting for.

We were both awake throughout the night, maybe in anticipation of what the forecasters promised us or we just could not sleep.
At 6am I got up and made us a cup of tea, which we enjoyed in the warmth of our back cabin bed. Both of us could not resist a peek out of the back cabin doors and yippee we got what we had been hoping for, snow, snow and more snow.
By 7am we were up and dressed. Paddy and I were off the boat with my camera in hand, snapping away at the magnificent winter scene. Keith and I just love the snow, it brings back many happy childhood memories for me living in the countryside.
We reckon we were blessed with around 3 to 4 inches of the white stuff. Not only have we taken many photos, we have also taken a short video, after all who knows when it will happen again. There is no telling how long the snow will last, knowing this country all of five minutes, so we are going to make the most of it whilst we have it. We hope that where ever you are you are safe and warm.

Cropredy to Just past Wormleighton.

Wednesday 4th February.

Cropredy to Just past Wormleighton, 9.1 miles and 9 locks.


The day could not have begun any better than it did, because as I walked Paddy I saw the pair of foxes I had seen the other night, but this time they were much closer. One of them even stopped to stare at me for a few seconds before disappearing into the undergrowth. They are such majestic creatures, with a beauty all of their own.
We decided that we would make a move, as conditions under foot were much better, even though we had, had a heavy frost overnight and the canal was once again frozen. So at 9am we set off to firstly take on water, empty a toilet cassette and get rid of rubbish.Although the conditions were better, I did not take it for granted that it was still slippery in places, and so great care was taken at the locks. We got to Elkington Lock and Keith had to enter the weed hatch, because there was something around the prop.There is nothing worse than having to delve into icy cold water, but it had to be done.
We were very fortunate to have all the locks with us, which made my life a heck of a lot easier.We cleared all nine locks, finishing with Claydon Top Lock at midday, with some stunning views across the countryside, still covered in snow.The weather was splendid for cruising, with wall to wall sunshine and no wind. The surrounding countryside looked so beautiful covered in snow.We were given a bit of entertainment by a Canada goose, which was walking up the canal on the ice in front of us. The problem the goose had was there was no where for it to get into water, so it was strolling on the ice. Even though we were coming up behind it, it carried on walking or should I say sliding because at times it looked like it was drunk, for a further 100 metres before climbing off of the canal, allowing us to pass it by and carve a channel of water for it to swim in.As we approached Fenny Compton tunnel cutting, we noticed that workmen were busy at work, cutting back the undergrowth and trees. It really looks so much better and you can actually see the towpath now. There were plenty of logs piled up, but unfortunately no where for us to pull in and take them.At times we were breaking ice up to ½ inch thick, but in other places it was completely clear. It was a really enjoyable days cruising, with some coal sold along the way. We finished our days cruising at 2.40pm at our favourite mooring place between Knotts Bridge 130 and Ladder Bridge 129 on the Oxford Canal, with magnificent views across the valley to Napton Windmill.