No Direction

No Direction is our 70ft Narrowboat which is now home to my wife Jayne and myself, it was launched on 4th February 2008.

We spend the Winters in a Marina and cruise in the warmer weather.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Peace and Quiet!!

Monday 28th & Tuesday 29th June 2010
Braunston to Piece & Quiet
1 1/2 Miles No Locks

We had a bit of a lie in on Monday after a busy and hot weekend, neither of us like the really hot weather, as we were finishing breakfast Jayne had a call from our friends Val and Pete who fancied a day out and were happy to bring our post over, we gave them the post code for the Boathouse Pub, they rang when they arrived and I walked up to guide them back to the boat, the post included our information pack for the I.W.A. Festival at Beale Park at the end of August, this included the mooring plan which involves boats breasting up (mooring side by side) 6 deep, it looks like we may be on the inside though.
Jayne and Val had a chat while Pete and I had a walk around the working area of Braunston Marina, it was amazing to see the speed with which the Marquees and stands had been cleared away.
At about 2.30 we all wandered over to the Boathouse again for a very late lunch after which Val and Pete left to drive home.

Tuesday was warm again, although we had heavy rain in the night.
After I had filled the water tank and emptied the Cassettes we walked up to the shop in Braunston village for a few supplies, back on the boat I had a check of the engine fluid levels. We then left the mooring and turned the boat around in the Marina entrance,( By now the Canal was getting very busy) and headed back towards the Junction where we turned left and moored in the middle of nowhere about a mile from Braunston, it is really quiet here which is just what we need after the weekend, we will probably stay here until after next weekend, as there has been heavy rain forecast for later on in the week and we don't have to be in Weedon, which is only about 6 miles and 13 locks away until July 17th for the  R.B.O.A . Annual General Meeting.

Not all the boats on the canals are well cared for as the picture below shows.

Sunken Boats

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Hectic Weekend

26th and 27th June 2010
Still at Braunston

Saturday started sunny and blisteringly hot. The Friends of Raymond fundraising stall was set up with all the goodies.

Fundraising Stall

Nutfield and Raymond were readied for the opening of the show, as they were to lead the opening parade carrying the VIPs, including an MP, an MEP and the Chairman of British Waterways.
I was crewing on the Butty during the parade which did a loop through Braunston Marina and back up the canal to the Marina entrance to drop the visitors off.

Thats me on the rope

The afternoon was quite busy with people around, looking at all the attractions in the various marquees and all the working boats.

Queenie was there to pull Narrowboat Angel, for the Horse Boating Society.

Queenie having a break

Travelling along the canal with the Historic Boats came a Punt from Cambridge, they were punting from Cambridge to Oxford raising money for Help The Heroes.

Cambridge Students

We decided not go out for meal but attend the entertainment in the Beer Tent, this certainly proved to be the right choice. I took my own beer as I did not like the stuff they were selling, I also took a proper glass, plastic glasses are not the best for drinking beer. We also took a couple of rounds of  bread and butter to eat with the chips we were having from the catering caravan, these proved to be 'spot on', especially when we heard that the people who had gone to the The Admiral Nelson Pub for a meal, were told that there would be an hours wait for food!!!
We were entertained by a band called The Fabulous Ya Ya's (Contact Steve 07887766839) they started about 8.45 with the words 'Do you like Country and Western Music? at which point I was ready to leave, but then they said Bad Luck, we don't play it, we knew it was going to be a good night when they kicked off with 'Make me Smile' by Cockney Rebel. Everyone had a really good night. 

The Fabulous Ya Ya's

Sunday, it was even hotter, not so many people around but the parade of the Historic Boats continues with one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The England/Germany football match was shown in the Beer Tent, afterwards the lager was reduced to half price to either get rid of it or to cheer up the England fans, but lager even at half price still would not tempt proper boaters.
It all wound up about 5.30/6pm with Steve,Richard,Roger and myself  taking Nutfield and Raymond back over to the far end of Marina to their moorings
Tonight we revisited The Boat House and had a leisurely meal, in the air conditioned section.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Still at Braunston

24th/25th June 2010
Still moored at Braunston

Thursday. It has clouded over a bit today, went to the Gongoozlers Cafe for breakfast, very nice. Did a bit of housework (or is it boatwork) and charged the batteries. We did not do an awful lot today, having a totally idle day!!
The Marina is a hive of activity with all the marquees going up and the final touches being added.

Braunston Marina

At 4 o'clock this afternoon we had to move forward a bit because the Diesel/Coal boat Towcester needed to squeeze in behind us as they are having a Diesel delivery on Friday and it was the only place the road tanker can get to them, having them so close is handy because we need to fill our tanks with Diesel.


Friday.  We had our diesel filled up from Towcester. I started work for the weekend by helping to move Raymond from its mooring in Braunston Marina to the dock ready for the festival, where Raymond and Nutfield lead the parade for the Historic working boats. The Friends of Raymond will be setting up its fund raising stall, hoping for a good weekend.
The sun is very hot, and things are now getting busy, hopefully it will be a good time for all involved.  
The evening saw us all go the The Boathouse (The Mill House) for our evening meal, very nice. Everyone then went to the Beer Tent to finish the evening listening to the band and having a drink.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Has Summer Arrived ??

22/23rd June 2010
Still Moored at Braunston

Tuesday was a quiet day for us mainly spent in the sun watching the boats go by, I got my bike out and had a pedal up and down the tow path for a mile or so to see who was here. We lost the Internet signal at about 4 o'clock, it had been working perfectly in the morning and at Lunchtime, but now there was "No Network Coverage" Jayne rang the help desk somewhere on the other side of the world but just got the usual waffle.
Had a visit from Brian, another member of the Friends of Raymond and he ran through the schedule for setting everything up on Friday ready for the show and which pubs we were visiting. 

Wednesday morning, we have our Internet back, Hooray !!!
It was a bit busier with passing boats today, we had a walk up to the Marina and saw that the Marquees were up ready for the weekend and a lot of painting going on.

Marquees are up ready for the Rally

I had a bike ride along the tow path towards the tunnel to see the Horse boating demonstration which was heading for the weekend rally, the boat had been "Legged" through the tunnel as it would have been done when all canal boats were horse drawn.

"Queenie" pulling theNarrowboat Angel

Historic boats moored outside the Marina

Although the main event is on Saturday and Sunday there is one event on Thursday evening in the Beer tent.

And England won a Football match !!!

After England had scored Jayne texted our daughter Lisa to give her the update, she replied that she along with 100,000 others were in a field at Glastonbury watching it on huge screens.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Midsummers Day

Monday 21st June 2010
Wigrams Turn Marina to Braunston
5 miles No locks

Had a pleasant evening in Wigrams Turn.
Moored at Wigrams
It did not take long for the ducks to notice some newcomers and chance their luck for a bit of bread.

Hello, give me some bread

We waited for our Tesco delivery, it arrived promptly at 10.15, we loaded it into one of the marina hand carts and wheeled it around to the boat. Wigrams Turn made us very welcome thanks Gillian

Gillian at Wigrams

We moved off then after I had done some touching up to the side of the boat. We tied up at the same moorings we were at on Saturday, expecting to spend the night there. I then cycled off to Braunston to check out the mooring situation. When I returned we made the decision to head off to Braunston and moor up for the week at our pre-arranged mooring.

We have had brilliant sunshine all day today, let us hope it continues, especially for our daughter Lisa, Linz, Angie, Christy and Clare who are heading off to Glastonbury tomorrow in a minibus complete with tents, food, beer, wine, suncream and not forgetting the obligatory wellies just in case.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Busy Braunston

Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th June 2010
Norton Junction to Middle of Nowhere
5 1/2 Miles 6 Locks

The weather on Saturday morning was dry but with a cold wind, we topped up the water tank at the British Waterway facilities by Buckby top lock and headed off towards Braunston, into the Tunnel where we didn't meet a boat coming in the opposite direction until we were 3/4 of the way through, it was a hireboat who gave us a gentle whack but no damage done, out into the day light again and the first of today's locks, fortunately there was a lot of boats coming up the locks which made things easier for us going in the opposite direction as they leave the lock gates open for us.
At Braunston bottom lock there is a small shop that sells gifts and Canalware they also bake and sell Organic bread, Jayne popped in to see if there was any left and came back with a Wholemeal Batch loaf which we planned to have for lunch.
Braunston was packed as it always is at the weekend so we carried on to the Junction and turned left towards Napton and moored after about 2 miles in the middle of nowhere, no roads or railways, complete peace and Quiet, it went cold in the evening, cold enough for us to have the central heating on for an hour or so.
Sunday dawned much better, blue sky and sun, as we were running a little low on supplies and with the lack of shops close enough to the canal for Jayne to get access to due to her MS we decided to spend a night in Wigrams Turn Marina and arrange a Tesco delivery.

A visitor for us at Wigrams

This afternoon after we had moored up I had the engine covers up and refilled the Stern tube greaser (Boaters will know what I mean) whilst I had the covers up I decided to remove the weed hatch which gives access to the propeller, although the boat was going well it's always worth checking, so I were quite surprised to find a load of rubbish around the Propeller.

Rubbish removed from the propeller of No Direction

On closer examination the majority of the rubbish was a Tee shirt with the name Yves Saint Lauren on the front.

So if anyone knows this bloke tell him his shirt is in the bin and I would like to talk to him, about how it ended up around our Propeller.
Tomorrow after the delivery will move back towards Braunston.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Old Friends

Friday 18th June 2010
Whilton to Norton Junction
1 mile and 7 locks

Very cloudy today, I fancied some cereal for breakfast, so I wandered  over to Whilton Chandlery who have a few groceries on their shelves, I bought a small box of cornflakes, when I got them back to the boat I noticed that the 'sell by date' was 18 05 10, exactly 1 month ago, as I couldn't be bothered to take them back and as they were only dried produce, I made a start on the box, they tasted fine. 
As we finished our leisurely breakfast, a boat came out of Whilton Marina heading for the lock, what a surprise it was friends of Jayne's that go back to junior school days, they now own a narrowboat which they moor at Whilton Marina, we went up the 7 Buckby locks with them. Jayne and Hazel reminiscing all the way, when the hard work was done we moored up at the visitor moorings and all went for lunch at the New Inn.

Clive, who Jayne has known since the mid 50's

and his wife Hazel

 We have decided to stay here for the night, whilst Clive and Hazel go off up the Leicester Arm of the Grand Union.
It has rained most of the afternoon, and now are going to watch England play. Hopefully if the weather is OK we will be moving up to Braunston tomorrow.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Another Hot One

Thursday 17 June 2010
Nether Heyford to Whilton
4 Miles No Locks

Last nights mooring was really quiet, on the other side of the canal was a well manicured field with a few touring caravans, this morning a couple of them were packing up as we moved off, the sun was out and it looked like it was going to be a hot one.
The canal meanders a little before it reaches Weedon (I fell in here 2 years ago) then on towards Whilton, the main railway line to London runs paralell with the canal for most of it's route and about a mile from Whilton it is joined by the M1 Motorway on the other side, three transport arteries all together, it is a really nice bit of canal to cruise along despite the noise from the motorway and fortunately we will be doing it again in a couple of weeks time after the Braunston Historic Boat Rally  when we head south again. 
The one problem that affects all canal boats when only covering a short distance is battery charging so when we moored opposite Whilton Marina for the night we left the engine running for a little longer until the battery monitor read the magic 100%. we havn't decided what to do tomorrow yet, we may move a little closer to Braunston or stay here for another night, we will decide in the morning after breakfast. (It's a hard life!!!)

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Cruising in the SUN!!!!

Wednesday 16th June
Stoke Bruerne to Nether Heyford
9 miles NO Locks

We left Stoke Bruerne at 10.15 am heading for the tunnel, Jayne inside the boat, whilst I steered with waterproofs on ready for the water cascading down the ventilation shafts. For those of you who might be a bit confused that we are returning through the tunnel, we are making our way back to Braunston. The tunnel was quite busy, we passed 4 boats coming in the opposite direction. Once out of the tunnel we stopped at Blisworth and tied up so I could go up to the shop and get some basic supplies, we also had breakfast. A mile or so later we stopped at Gayton Junction to empty the toilet cassettes and top up the water tank. (Gayton Junction is where the Northampton Arm of The Grand Union Canal goes down to the River Nene) Whilst we were moored up at the British Waterways Service Facilities at the junction, an elderly gentleman on his boat, came down the main Grand Union and tried to turn left into the Northampton Arm, but missed the turn completely, had to reverse back whilst blaming his wife and the wind for his mistake.
The sun was out now and it was very warm, we cruised through Bugbrooke and found a nice mooring for the night about 1/2 mile past Nether Heyford. No metal piling to tie up to tonight so we have the mooring pins in. They are holding well despite all the hire boats zipping past.  

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Taking it Easy

Monday and Tuesday 14th and 15th June
1 mile approx 6 locks

Monday morning the sky looked a bit grey, we stayed on our weekend moorings until about 11 o'clock. The sky then started to brighten a bit so we decided to go down 2 locks to where we could wind (turn around) then back up 4 locks to the water point above the top lock to replenish our water tank. We then moved across to just outside the Museum. We spent the rest of the day just 'chilling out'.

Tuesday, weather was a bit brighter, plenty of hire boats passing, 2 coaches came to the Museum Car Park, this kept the trip Boat busy taking visitors to Blisworth Tunnel entrance and back. I had a fiddle with the engine while Jayne carried on knitting. We popped in for a lunchtime drink at The Boat Inn, got chatting to a couple who were considering selling up and buying a boat, we did not give any advice either way!!!! Back into The pub for our tea, we had the 2 for £9.95, very good value.
Moored at Stoke Bruerne
The Flower Boxes were planted for us by our friend Sonia

The Boat Inn with 1 of the Trip Boats outside

Sunday, 13 June 2010

The Gala Weekend

Saturday and Sunday 12th and 13th June
No miles and No locks

The Friends of Raymond collecting for the upkeep

Saturday - It started a bit cloudy, I walked up to the museum, polished the brass on Nutfield and Raymond, leaving Jayne in charge of the generator charging the batteries!!! No TV signal here and trees obstructing the satellite signal so the batteries are having an easy life. Jayne came up at lunch time bringing fresh baked baguettes with cheese and onion  for lunch. Not too many people around. Insufficient Morris Dancers showed up so the performance was cancelled. Three o'clock saw the village invaded by Pirates.

The Village is invaded by Pirate Ship George

Saturday we had bought tickets for a hot buffet in the evening, which turned out to be most disappointing, and the musical entertainment was good but not to our taste. So it was over to the The Boat Inn to watch the last 20 minutes of the England and USA match, which was also disappointing!!! However once we had gathered in one of the smaller rooms along with other volunteers, and tried to drink the pubs' stock of beer things improved. We were joined by Caz who runs the Chandlery at Harveys of Measham, who did her best to beat us all!!!!!
Our daughter Lisa would have been so embarrassed to see her Parents going down the tow path with only the light from their mobile phones to find their boat.

Sunday started with a bit of rain but soon brightened up, more of the same as Saturday, except when the pirates invaded the village this time the Pitsford Home Guard (Dad's Army) were ready for them
Our friends Val and Pete came down and bought our post and a loaf, we went into the Navigation Inn for a meal, it was very nice.
As we sit here writing this blog at 7.30 pm the sky has gone very heavy and we can hear thunder rumbling around.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Stoke Bruerne

Wed, Thurs and Friday  9th,10th and 11th June
Gayton Junction  to Stoke Bruerne
4 miles approx and 2 locks

We went through the Blisworth Tunnel very wet inside due to rain water coming through the ventilation shafts, at least it was dry outside of the tunnel.
We moored around 12 midday, below the second lock in what is known as 'the long pound' (pound is length of water between locks), ready for the weekend. We had a relaxing afternoon, Jayne made a cake!!!!

Thursday we didn't do much other than reversing a couple of boat lengths back as a space had appeared nearer the event. I emptied the cassettes, a lot more boats are arriving for the Gala Weekend .

Friday I helped move Raymond and Nutfield from the Long Pound up 2 locks to their allocated mooring close to the Museum. We joined more volunteers at The Boat Inn for a lunch time drink. Then had another lazy afternoon before gathering for a musical evening on the Museum Green where there was a beer tent and the mobile Fish & Chip Van arrived to give everyone sustenance.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

A Wet Day

Tuesday 8th June
Buckby Top Lock  to Gayton Junction
12 miles and 6 locks

Welcome to the English Summer, we both got totally drenched, maybe we should have left the locks until later, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
When we had finished Buckby Locks we stopped for a cuppa and to dry out, after an hour or so we decided to carry on, as it had stopped raining, or so we thought. but apart from a heavy shower we arrived at Gayton Junction in the sunshine. We moored about 1/2 mile from Blisworth Tunnel for the night.
Short blog today no pictures, didn't want to get new camera wet.

Yet again no digital signal, I have my doubts about the Country going digital, will it work?

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Braunston Tunnel

Monday 7th June
Rugby to Buckby Top Lock (Norton Junction)
16 miles  10 locks

Left moorings 8 ish, Jayne still in bed but was soon up making tea. Cruised through Rugby watching the Monday morning rush hour from the canal, rather be here than there. First locks of the day are at Hillmorton, 3 here, these will be the last of the narrow locks for a couple of months. Stopped for breakfast above Hillmorton Top Lock.
The Oxford Canal meanders through low fields giving a lovely view across the countryside, before reaching Braunston Junction where we turned left onto the Grand Union then pulled over for lunch. Jayne had lunch and I walked up into Braunston Village for some supplies.
It was then the climb up to Braunston Tunnel through 6 wide locks (wide meaning they will take 2 narrowboats side by side). It was then into the tunnel, 2040 yards long and no lights apart from the headlight on the boat.
Entering the Braunston Tunnel

Inside the Tunnel

The tunnel is wide enough for 2 boats to pass, the worst bit is the first 5 minutes while your eyes get used to the dark. Jayne stays inside the boat when we travel through tunnels, today she did her ironing.

Out into the daylight again and a couple of miles to our planned mooring stop for the night outside The New Inns at Buckby Top Lock, couldn't moor outside the pub so dropped down the first lock of the Buckby Flight. Quick wash and change and into the pub, declined the Desperate Dan Pie, but nevertheless tucked into a great meal and a couple of pints of Old Hooky, me not Jayne she made do with lemon and lime.

Monday, 7 June 2010

A Lie-In

Sunday 6th June
Hartshill to Rugby  17 miles 1 lock 

Jayne fancied a lie-in, so I left her in bed, had quick check of the engine, a couple of mugs of tea, untied the mooring ropes and set off.  After a couple of hours she was up, showered and ready for a breakfast stop, we tied up a mile or so before  Hawkesbury Junction.  

Breakfast Stop on the Coventry Canal

After negiotating the tight turn onto the Oxford Canal we carried on towards Rugby intending to moor for the night at Hillmorton. But around 3 o'clock it started raining, then turned into a thunderstorm, soaking me, not Jayne she was inside!!!
We moored for the night 1/2 mile before the Newbold Tunnel, no digital signal again, so we watched a recording of Pirates of The Carribbean.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

A Busy Day

Saturday 5th June
Fazeley to Hartshill  12 miles 13 locks

We left Fazeley Visitor Moorings 8.30 ish and went through the first 2 locks of the day at Glascote. We then moored up for breakfast, (breakfast always tastes better after a couple of locks!!)
We then had a steady cruise of about 7 miles without any locks through Amington, Alvecote and Polesworth, before reaching Atherstone bottom lock, amazingly there was no queue for the locks.
For those of you who knew us in our yoof you will recognise the Polesworth Moto-Cross track just visible through the trees, where I used to get very dirty, fall off my bike and occasionally win a trophy.

Polesworth Moto-Cross Track just visible through the Trees

There are 11 locks on the Atherstone flight, after the 6th one we moored up for lunch, before going up the last 5 locks, we then moored a little further along at Hartshill for the night.
There was no digital TV signal so up went the satellite dish, if Jayne doesn't get to watch Casualty on a Saturday night there is trouble!!
As we settled down for the evening there was a knock on the side of the boat, which we thought was strange as we were in the middle of nowhere. I stuck my head out of the side doors to be greeted by the local Jehovahs Witnesses handing out the Watchtower. I know it sound like a joke but it's true.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

We are OFF

 Friday 4th June
Kings Bromley Marina to Fazeley 13 miles and 3 locks

Got away from Kings Bromley Marina at about 10.30, through 3 locks to Fradley Junction  which was as manic as ever, turned right onto the Coventry through the swing bridge and stopped for a spot of lunch, after a quick sandwich we carried on down the Coventry, through Huddlesford, Whittington and Hopwas arriving at Fazeley at around 4 ish, we had intended to go further but as the sun had been 'beating' down on us we decided to call it day.
Well that was our first day of the trip, not very eventful but enjoyable.