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Monday, October 31, 2011

Braunston Locks

Braunston Marina

With the change of the clocks at the weekend it is going to take a few days to become accustom to the difference. More so for Paddy. Unlike at the spring change where suddenly his dinner and walks are an hour early, to have them an hour later this time of year is very confusing  for him.

We were fortunate this morning in that the boat Slipstream that was moored behind us overnight wanted to share locks, which was great, no having to wait for someone to turn up. With 3 men on-board we soon had the locks dealt with, and Jo found a mooring just past Butcher’s Bridge, where I pulled in and we moored up behind Aldgate. Maffi and Molly arrived just as we were mooring up and Jo made coffee and tea for the 3 of us, and we chatted and put the world to rights. We then headed for Midland Chandlers to pick up a few bits and pieces, and on our way back popped into Tony Redshaw’s to pick up some green paint for the engine.

Lunch was breakfast mushrooms on toast.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Surprise Visitor

We had a surprise visit today from Maffi and Molly. He is moored down in Braunston, and upon discovering via facebook we were moored at the top of the locks he decided to walk up and see us. We haven’t seen Maffi for a few years now, and it was nice to catch up with him. We had a lot to chat about and fortunately the weather was mild enough to stand out on the towpath and chatter and sup coffee. I walked back down the locks with him and his dog Molly, as I wanted to call into the Chandlery at Wharf House Narrowboats. Maffi picked up some more rubbish to add to the dustbiner which he had been filling on his journey to see us. He uses an Easy Reacher, which is available from Argos for just £9.99.


Next time we are near an Argos which will either be at Rugby or Coventry, we will have to get a couple.

Hopefully he will still be around when we come down through the locks Monday morning.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Crick to Braunston Top Lock

Braunston Top Lock

A very foggy start off from Crick, a real thick one too. However once through the tunnel it was absolutely clear, and warming up nicely. We arrived at Watford locks with 2 boats going down before us, with the first one just starting down as we arrived.

The boat in front was off created a tsunami down the towpath by opening the paddle at the wrong time, sending all the gravel down the hill. Terry the lock keeper was not impressed.

At Norton junction we turned right and headed towards Braunston tunnel. We met only one boat coming the other way in the tunnel, and pulled into the moorings above the top lock, where we will be spending the weekend. I Have a couple of jobs planned for the weekend. The crew on NB “Do Lalii Ali” announced as they passed us, as we were mooring up, that they read this blog, unfortunately I do not know their names, but we say “Hi” to you, and hope you enjoy the rest of your trip.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Welford Junction to Crick


At last, some rain. We had quite a lot overnight, which considering we were moored at Welford Junction this was a good start to topping up the local reservoirs, although it will take months of rain to get back to them being full. We set off this morning amidst drizzle, which although it wasn’t going to do a lot to fill the reservoirs, at least it was something. It lasted for most of our journey today, but did let up whilst we moored at Yelvertoft to take on water and to have lunch. Once the tank was topped up, which didn’t take long as it is a fast flowing tap here, we set off again for Crick. The water level is about 3” down, and this reflected in our mooring at Crick, Paddy is not going to like the jump to the bank this evening when I take him for his walk.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Foxton Top Lock to Welford Junction

Welford Junction 2

The intention this morning having completed all we needed to do in Harborough was to set off. However we discovered that the torch we had bought yesterday was faulty, so I caught the 9:00am bus from Foxton and returned to Wilkinson’s in Harborough. They replaced it with no problem, but I did test it first before leaving the shop. I caught the next bus back to Foxton at 9:45am, and Jo was ready and waiting when I got back to the boat, with the boat already for the off. We had lunch on the move of a sausage roll and one of Jo’s home made mince pies each (I hate to tell her it isn’t Christmas yet!).

It is definitely Autumnal with the leaves on the trees changing colours. We arrived at Welford Junction, and moored up and the boat next to us bought a bottle of toilet blue.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Last Trip to Harborough


Our final trip into Market Harborough today started with catching the 9:00am bus from Foxton. Our first stop was Specsavers to pick up our new glasses. Jo has chosen for one of her pairs some new stylish frames, just for a change.

Jos Glasses

Once they had been fitted for us and adjusted we then headed for the dentist, where I had my 2 fillings done. However the dentist is not too hopeful that one of them will actually last, he still thinks I will need to have it crowned. He had asked on my check-up last week if I would have it crowned, but as I can’t afford it at the moment a filling will have to do for now, this month has been an expensive one, what with dentist for us boat and new glasses for us both, pheww!

We did a bit more shopping in town, including a new coal scuttle for getting the loose coal out of the hold for when we need it. Whilst I was in the hardware shop paying for it I noticed some small enamel plates like we had been looking for, so when I got out of the shop I told Jo and she wen back in and bought a couple, at £1.49 each a bargain. For anyone who knows Market Harborough, the hardware shop in the high street, near Joule’s Yard, is a brilliant little shop, with things stacked high, and not much room for more than about 4 customers in there at the same time!

All shopped out we walked up to Union Wharf for a cup of tea with Jill and Don, on Idunni, who very kindly gave us a lift back to Foxton locks.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Albino Squirrel.

A couple of weeks ago we were watching Autumn Watch and they had an Albino Squirrel on the program. Neither of us had ever seen one in the wild, but that has changed over the last few days with the appearance of an Albino Squirrel at Foxton Locks.Snowy turned up on Wednesday and seems to put in appearance first thing in the morning and again at luncthime. It is incredible that is has survived because they are normally predated by others and of course there is always another animal looking for a meal. We feel fortunate to have seen such a rare sight. I have named it Snowy which seems apt. Jo

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rebuilding a Water Pump

Well I thought I had cured the water leak, until yesterday Jo noticed water still appearing underneath the pump. So whilst she went to Harborough by bus, I took a closer look, and noticed water seeping from around the casing, where the 2 halves of the pump assembly join.

So yet again I took the pump out and stripped it down, cleaned it all up and put it back together again. I then refitted and reconnected it. This time it wouldn’t prime, so out it came again, stripped down, another clean out and back together again. Reinstalled, reconnected and this time it did prime, phew!

Overnight it hasn’t leaked, and neither has it been firing off like it has done ever since it was first installed, which I had thought was the PRV (pressure relief valve) leaking, which I had previously changed but did not cure the problem. This is all a bit strange, as, if it had been leaking before, there was no previous sign of this with water underneath it when we have checked under the cupboard. Oh well, at least it has cured both problems, which is always a bonus.

Jo had here eyes tested yesterday and as with me she has to have new glasses, which also should be ready for collection next week.


Thursday, October 20, 2011



Yesterday Jo took Marmite and Paddy to vets4less for their annual injections. Miles of Paws 4 Walking give Jo and the animals a lift to and from the vets, a very handy service. Marmite wasn’t too impressed when she returned, but Paddy couldn’t care less.

This morning we have fixed the leak from the main water pump. Yesterday’s efforts failed, as we discovered just before bedtime, which was too late to deal with, so we turned the pump off, and shut down the 2 stop-cocks overnight. Thinking about it, we suspected that the ‘O’ rings were the problem. Fortunately in the new spare pump were 2 new adaptors and on comparison with the old units, the old ‘O’ rings seemed to be thinner, so I fitted the new adapters, and hey presto, all fixed.


This is the adapter, and the ‘O’ ring can be seen at the left end. All we have to do now is find some replacement ‘O’ rings for when they fail in the future again, as a pair of replacement adapters costs £13.60 and as there is nothing wrong with the adapter itself, just the ‘O’ ring it seems daft to buy the whole thing at that price.

Jo has just set off to catch the bus into Harborough to have her eye test.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

TV Reception Problems On-board?



I today fitted this signal booster to amplify the digital terrestrial TV signal on Hadar. I am very impressed with it so far. It operates on 12/24v DC and is designed for use in cars/caravans/boats. It also has 2 outputs for 2 TV’s.

If you are having problems receiving digital terrestrial signals, or suffering from weak signals when not close to a transmitter, or have a long aerial cable run from the aerial to the TV, then this is what you need.

It is available from Maplin’s, from their website and at £24.99 is not going to break anyone’s bank balance.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day in Market Harborough

We had a busy expensive day today in Market Harborough. We caught the 8:00am bus from Foxton, and headed for the Indoor Market for a coffee in the Café. Then we did some shopping. I booked an appointment with Specsavers for an eye test later in the day, as mine had run out and I needed some more glasses as I am down to my last pair, they don’t float!

We then headed to the dentist for our annual check ups. Jo sailed through hers, but I need 2 fillings, so was booked in for a further visit next week. He did say that one of them may not take and I may need another crown, more expense, so let’s hope the new filling, when he does it, lasts.

We walked to Union Wharf to collect mail, and see a few friends, then returned to the town for a quick lunch in the Indoor Market Café of sausage baps. Jo bought 2 lambs shanks from the Market butcher, at £2.99 each they make a good wholesome meal, Jo uses them in a stew, slow cooked in the boatman’s cabin stove.

Then we returned to Specsavers for my eye test, which showed that my eyes had changed slightly, so 2 new pairs of glasses were ordered. Jo booked herself an appointment for her eyes to be tested, but seeing as I had taken the last free one today, she has to return on Thursday for her test.

We mysteriously received a copy of Canal Boat magazine in our post, strange that, seeing that neither of us had ordered it. I have emailed them to see why we have received it. Not that we don’t mind freebies, but if there are further issues forthcoming they will fill our post box up once we start to use it, which isn’t that big, and there won’t be room for our important mail. Also in our post was the new aerial cable and signal booster I ordered from Maplins. It is specially designed for cars/caravans/boats and is powered directly from 12/24v. I will set it up and see if it improves the signal to our TV’s, especially the one in the boatman’s cabin. If it works well other boaters may be interested in it.

We caught the 2:45pm bus back to Foxton, and returned to the boat, then Jo got the trolley out and crates to go and wait for our Tesco delivery, which arrived spot on at 4:00pm.

To say we were both pooped at the end of the day is an understatement. At least my back had stopped complaining throughout the day, which has been giving me jip the last few days, probably from shovelling the loose coal in the hold during our coal delivery at Welford on Friday.



Sunday, October 16, 2011

Prop for Sale

Old Prop

‎22"x22" prop for sale, the rotation is right-handed and the prop shaft is 1½" diameter with a 1:12 taper and a 3/8" keyway. £200.

If you are interested or know someone who is please email us at


Friday, October 14, 2011

Coal, then Welford to Foxton Top Lock

Map picture


Foxton top lock

After breakfast we prepared Hadar ready for our coal delivery. This meant securing the top sheets up, and then tying the side sheets down to give us good clear access to the hold. Then we waited for the lorry to arrive. Jo decided to have a slightly early lunch which as it turned out was a good idea, as at 12:15pm Chris and Tom arrived and soon had the sacks of coal emptied into the hold. Teas and coffees all round and the coal paid for, the pair of them headed off for their next delivery in Market Harborough.

We set off for Welford lock, where once we were in the lock we were able to get the sheeting sorted out, which is easier to do in a narrow lock as we can get to both sides to retie the top strings.

What has been a lovely sunny afternoon saw us arrive at Foxton where we winded at the entrance to the top inclined plane arm, and having failed to get close enough to the bank between the top lock and bridge No.60 we carried on past the bridge and moored up just the other side of it, which is a good deep water mooring. The pound is down in level at the moment, thus why we couldn’t moor between the lock and bridge, where we usually have no problem. Jo says at least we are nearer to the bridge close to where Tesco’s deliver to us, which we have ordered for Tuesday afternoon.

We look forward to a restful weekend here.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Downton Hill to Welford Wharf

Welford Wharf

A damp morning, not actual rain, but very low cloud forming a very fine drizzle, which gradually eased as we arrived at Welford. At least the wind had dropped to nothing. At Welford lock we noticed the installed temporary back pump and piping to pump water back up past the lock. Apparently they have had to back pump to keep the arm above the lock in water.

We had lunch at The Wharf Inn. after lunch we walked up to see how Welford reservoir is doing, the photos say it all really.




The tree is well and truly high and dry

Talking to one of the fishermen at the waters’ edge, he reckoned his lines were in the deepest part and it was only 3ft deep!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Change to Galley Doors


Jo has recently painted red the fillets on the starboard galley doors. When they are open and exposed to the weather, the fillets are exceptionally vulnerable, and were showing the effects, which varnishing could protect but not disguise. Painting them red has made a vast improvement, they even match the fillets in the boatman’s cabin. She has today painted the port side to complete the set.

Jo has also painted the inside of the portholes in the galley and bathroom.


They were cream, the same as the galley walls, but for some time we have been thinking of changing them to red to match those in the engine room & boatman’s cabin. They look a lot better, especially from the outside, as they now match the outside panel which is red.



We have also been in the hold today making final preparations for our coal delivery this coming Friday at Welford. This delivery will be loose coal,  which now we can no longer sell it, and it is just for our use, we have decided to buy it loose, rather than bagged, no point in us paying the extra for it to be bagged. We are going to see how it goes. We are hoping that being loose it will fill the hold more efficiently giving us more spare space for storing other things. It will also look better when we attend the “Village at War” weekend at Stoke Bruerne next year, as I doubt very much that coal was bagged in plastic bags during the War!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Crick to Downton Hill

Map picture


Downton Hill

Yet another windy morning, but not as windy as yesterday. Someone found out the consequences of mooring on the outside of bends, I don’t think they will be doing that again.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Stowehill to Crick


A very windswept day has made for an interesting journey today. Having travelled to the bottom Buckby lock, we moored up, turned the engine off and waited for a boat to share the locks with.  We didn’t have to wait long, and we shared with nb Woodsey, and made good time to the top, where we parted company, as they were heading for the Oxford Canal.

We swung onto the Leicester arm at the junction and were soon moored up at Foxton bottom lock. Jo headed off to find the lock keeper, and soon returned to say that the boat that was now coming out of the bottom lock was the last one down, and we could follow the boat in front of us up, which we duly did, avoiding getting the bow drenched at the staircase locks from the leaky gates, by allowing the boat in front to stay more than a lock in front of us, and emptying the lock they were leaving into the side pounds before actually fully entering the lock to allow the level to drop, and thus reducing the cascades of water to a minimum.

Our efforts to moor up before Crick tunnel were fruitless due to shallow moorings, so we carried to Crick and have moored up behind Bruce Coleman on nb Boston, who very kindly made us both a cup of tea, and we sat and chatted about out summer adventures.


Thursday, October 06, 2011

Blisworth to Caravan Field Mooring.

Map picture


Caravan Field moorings

A windy start to the morning steadily got windier and windier. We got to Gayton junction and pulled into the sanitary station for water and toilet emptying. Whilst we were there, Peter and his wife on Blackberry Way pulled in behind us, also after water etc. so we had a quick catch up whilst we waited for our water to fill. All sorted, then came the fun and games getting Hadar off the mooring in the now quite strong wind. Jo had to take the bow line back off and onto a bollard so I could power out against the wind, which we eventually managed to do.

We were approaching High House and where we wanted to moor there was a fishing contest in progress, so we carried on passed David and Elaine to the Caravan Field mooring, as it is locally known. It is in between bridges 27 & 28, between High House and Stowehill Wharfs. We have moored up using the recently purchased Rond Anchors, after looking for them for many years. They were very popular on the River Thames for mooring on the banks when I was boating on there, and despite their small size, and ease of fitting (you just stand on them and press them into the ground) they are very effective.

Rond Anchor

We will wait and see if they hold us for the whole weekend, as we are now staying here until Monday. After we had moored David texted us to let us know that they were going into Northampton by car if we wanted to go with them. We were hoping to do that or to go to Daventry, so we said yes.  We duly walked round to their mooring at the agreed time, and met them. We were soon parked up, and we all headed off for our various destinations, agreeing to meet back at the car at a set time.

One thing Jo wanted to do was to get some new shoes she had seen on-line, so we eventually found Deichmann, despite Jo thinking the shop wasn’t in the Grosvenor Centre, but after walking around the whole of Northampton’s shops it was, lol.


They are what she has been looking for to go with her 1930/40’s costume. David and Elaine have invited us to dinner tonight, so as a thank you Jo bought Elaine some flowers from the market.

We returned to the car park and met up with them, and they duly drove us back to their mooring, and we set off back to the boat. We are looking forward to a great evening with them tonight.

Despite the even stronger winds, Hadar has not moved from her mooring.


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Blisworth Pocket Park

Map picture


We set off from Stoke Bruerne this morning and headed to Blisworth. We had nb Stanton following us in the tunnel, which was full of smoke, cough, cough. We pulled in and moored opposite Blisworth Mill and had lunch.


After lunch we walked up the towpath back towards the tunnel to find the Blisworth Pocket Park, which we found alongside the tunnel portal.


They local group have done a lot of work so far, but there is more to do. The path nearly joins back onto the towpath, and about half of it has been completed with granite chippings. A lot of the undergrowth has been cleared and new trees and shrubs have been planted. We know that further work will be carried out this coming weekend, with lots of spring bulbs to be planted.


There have been some bird/bat boxes fitted to some of the trees.


This fungi has established itself to an old tree stump.


This is very near to where the readied path finishes, before the final 30 or so feet connecting back down to the towpath which needs levelling and the wood planks fitted ready to take the final surface.

We continued up the towpath above the tunnel, and joined the road back into Blisworth.


Many of the buildings in Blisworth are thatched and very individual, it is a very pretty village.


This is the world famous “Royal Oak”, one day we will pop in and have a pint!


Jo spotted this fossil built into a brick wall.


Blisworth Church.

We continued our walk over the canal bridge to have a look at Grafton House which is in the process of being renovated, we look forward to see how it progresses.


Saturday, October 01, 2011

Village at War (Saturday)


Jo and I took an early walk around the site so we could get some photos before it got crowded, which it did.


This was the Black Market area, with all the stalls selling contraband, and lots of lovely 1930/40’s clothing. I managed to get a new waistcoat, and Jo got her snoods for her hair.


The Americans were well represented with these superb vehicles.


The model tanks are here again, I loved watching rumble around the site last year.


The Home Guard were patrolling the towpath.


The local bobby was interested in our load of coal, and whether it was legal!IMG_5686


Lola Lamour was entertaining the crowds and a few took to the dance floor.






Even Monty was around.



And so was Churchill.

It has gone really well today and we hope it will be even better tomorrow.