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.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

It's Busy Here

Friday/Saturday 30/31st July 2010
Moored at The Linslade Canal Festival
No Miles No Locks

Friday.  We had a very quiet morning, a few more boats arrived for the Canal Festival, one that arrived early today was Historic boat Corona who's owner Trevor Maggs is in his late seventies and brings his boat to these events on his own, that includes operating the locks !!.

Trevor Maggs on Corona

One boat that was moored at the festival site but not by choice was this "Dutch Barge",  as you

can see it's bit wider that the normal boats you see on the Canal, the problem was it would not fit through the narrow section, probably the site of a old bridge.

Narrow section that stopped the Dutch Barge

The Narrow section is wide enough for boats up to 14 ft wide to pass, the Dutch Barge was about 13 ft however there was an underwater obstruction, possibly one of the edging stones had fallen in, British Waterways were sending a J.C.B. to clear it but that won't be till next week.

At around 3 o'clock I cycled back towards the Soulbury Locks which we had passed through in No Direction on Wednesday to meet Historic boats Nutfield and Raymond who were coming from Cosgrove, I found them after a couple of miles, borrowed one of their Windlasses (a tool for operating a Lock) and cycled back to Leighton Lock to get it ready for them, this was the last Lock on their journey, there was a delay at the lock as there were 2 hire boats just entering from Wyvern Shipping whose hire base is a short distance away, as with all hire boat operators they have to be sure that the hirer's are capable of controling the boat and operating the Locks safely so an employee goes with them for the first couple of miles to give instruction, when he is happy that they can handle the boat he leaves them to it and usually cycles back to base, when Nutfield and Raymond arrived at the Festival site I helped with the mooring and that was about it for Friday.

Saturday.  Started with rain showers, I walked up to where Nutfield and Raymond were moored to help with the setting up and then discovered a wasps nest in the Canal bank by each boat, the organisers allowed us to move to another mooring space which turned out to be a better spot all round.

There is a small Wharf along this stretch of Canal with narrow gauge rails running to it, they were used in the days when sand was excavated from a nearby pit and transported in hand carts along the rails to waiting Narrowboats.

1936 Restored Narrowboat "Stanton" alongside the narrow gauge rails, 60 or 70 years ago this is how it would has been done.

The weather cleared up and the crowds appeared, it was the best fund raising day we have had for Nutfield and Raymond this year, Robin was manning the Sales stand and I was in Raymond's cabin showing members of the public how working boat families used to live.

Jayne made her way over to the main area where there were over 100 display stands mainly Rural crafts such as wood turning and basket making plus the usual food stands, the Police and Fire service were also there.
The organisers had asked all visiting boat owners to display an information sheet about their boat where people walking past could read it, we did that and Jayne spent most of the afternoon at No Directions side hatch answering questions about living on a Narrowboat.
At 5 o'clock the festival closed and we started to pack everything back onto the boats, tomorrow the crew, Steve, Robin and Neil will start the 2 day journey back to Blisworth where the boats will be on show again at the Blisworth Festival next weekend, however, we will not be at that one as we start cruising again tomorrow heading for Little Venice in London.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

At Linslade Festival Site

Thursday 29th July 2010
Old Linslade to Linslade (Confusing I Know)
2 1/2 Miles 1 Lock

Back in March we bought a new whistling fast boil kettle made by a Company in Birmingham called Simplex, they are made of copper and are available in plain Copper or Chromed, we had the Chrome version.

Our Simplex Kettle.

I had noticed that the washers under the dome nuts holding the handle on were going rusty
so took a picture and Emailed it to the address on the instructions, it was bounced back un-delivered, I went onto their Website and found that the address had changed so re-sent the Email to the new address and that was bounced back, yes you guessed it, they have closed down, Jayne then Emailed the chandlery where we bought it and they offered to swap/repair it which is fair enough but we have decided to remove the offending washers and replace them with stainless steel ones ourselves, Jayne also Emailed the parent company of Simplex, GB Metal Spinnings but so far has not had a reply.

Left our Mooring this morning and went passed the Globe Inn just as the Cheese boat was about to cast off, they followed us and we shared Leighton Lock with them, we were both heading for the moorings outside Tesco's at Leighton Buzzard, the moorings have a 2 hour limit on them so a space is usually available which it was today.

2 Hour moorings outside Tesco, the ducks congregate here as all the Moms with children bring bread to feed them

Jayne had prepared a shopping list and as it was very close to the Canal she went shopping on her own, I had a call after about 90 minutes to say that she had got the trolley as far as it would go before the wheel locking device activated, I think this wheel locking device is supposed to stop people taking Tesco trolleys and throwing then in the Canal, in that case it doesn't work.

There is never enough food storage space on a boat, so we have had to come up with some ingenious ideas like this

The Fascia panels under the kitchen units are removable so that tins can be stored behind them

Spare draw under bed

 After lunch we cruised the short distance to the Festival site, Jayne called Malcolm Chaney who is organising the mooring space to get an idea of where we were to moor, we got there and tied up, he was measuring the mooing spaces with one of those wheels that surveyors use so the mooring position was very accurate.  When I checked which direction the Satellite dish would need to point I found that it was blocked by a small tree, the only one, I did consider getting the chainsaw out but found a long extension lead so was able to move the dish towards the back of the boat and get a signal, tomorrow the Historic boats Nutfield and Raymond should be arriving, they are being brought down from Cosgrove where they were on display last weekend.

A Bit Further

Wednesday 28th July 2010.
Stoke Hammond to Old Linslade.
2 Miles  3 Locks.

We cruised the 1/2 mile to the water point at the bottom of the 3 Soulbury Locks and filled the water tank, we timed it well,  just as we finish another boat went into the Lock and we shared it with them, it was another Colecraft which the owner had bought 6 years ago as a sail away shell which he planned to fit out himself, unfortunately 3 months after starting the fit out he had a Stroke, thankfully he recovered and finished the fit out. After the second lock there is a winding hole (Area to turn a boat around) where he was intending to wind so we left him and went up the last lock on our own.

Signs provided by Milton Keynes I.W.A.

We moored at Old Linsdale about 500 yards before the Globe Inn, not far from the scene of The Great Train Robbery which took place in 1963, I can remember reading the headlines on the front page of my Mothers Daily Sketch, which it was my job to fetch for her, along with 10 Park Drive cigarette's from the local shop every morning before walking to Junior school.

I had a bike ride down to the site of the Linslade Canal festival which is taking place on Saturday to see if anything was happening, just a few signs saying "Mooring Reserved"

We had a good clean of the inside of the boat this afternoon and that was about it for today, we were going to move on Friday but that may change to Thusday as rain is expected on Friday and we would rather be moored up than cruising.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

All Systems go

Tuesday. 27th July 2010
Moored at Stoke Hammond
No Miles No Locks.

We had planned to stay on the mooring today so that I could fit the new parts to the generator and give it a thorough test, so after Breakfast I removed the rear board over the engine compartment,  then the acoustic casing came off the side of the generator, I fitted the new Impeller into the pump and then fitted the pump back onto the generator, fired it up and bingo we have a functioning generator again, I ran it for 3 hours checking the water flow at regular intervals and all is well.

The generator, with cover removed, working hard again, the water pump is that little rascal on the right, being driven by the belt

 While all this was going on Jayne was in the kitchen baking another fruit cake, the last one came out of the oven a little burnt on top, so after consultation with my mother who is 82 years old, so has been baking for a quite few years, this one was covered with greaseproof paper and it worked.

The un-burnt cake.

Jayne has also downloaded the Grand Union Canal guide off Waterscape which is useful as it shows the location of all the water points, rubbish bins, recycling points and free ( some marina's charge)  Elsan disposal points along our route.
We will probably move a bit tomorrow to just past the 3 Soulbury Locks,as there is a water point there and we need to top up the tank..

Surprising Milton Keynes

Monday, 26th July 2010.
Cosgrove to Stoke Hammond.
14 Miles. 2 Locks.

We left our weekend mooring about 9.30 this morning and headed for a Tesco that Jayne had found in the Pearson Canal Guide book that she uses,( I use a Nicholson Guide as I prefer them)  about 300 yards from Bridge 71, we only bought supplies for this week as there is another Tesco store at Leighton Buzzard which we will pass on Thursday and that one has moorings outside so it means less Donkey work for me. ( Of all the Supermarkets, Tesco's is the last one I would choose but these 2 are close to the Canal)
I left Jayne to stow the shopping and got going again, the next 6 or 7 miles through Milton Keynes was a pleasant surprise to us, the canal has been treated very well by the developers and I did not see anywhere which looked overun by housing or industrial estates, I am sure they were there but were well away from the Canal and there were plenty of trees to shield everything.
One thing we were on the look out for was a sighting of our old boat "April Rose", we knew it was in or around Milton Keynes as about 6 months after it was sold on Brokerage by Whilton Marina we had a letter from British Waterways telling us that we owned a boat which was at Milton Keynes without a current Licence, we phoned British Waterways and told them to contact Whilton for the new owners address, 3 months later we had another letter from British Waterways and it said," Your boat is still at Milton Keynes without a Licence", this time Jayne rang and didn't hold back, we never heard anymore about it.

April Rose, our 42ft Colecraft

We went up Fenny Stratford lock, a rise of 13 inches and stopped at the British Waterways facility, there were 2 boats already there,so we just emptied the Cassettes and were off again to Willowbridge Marina to collect the spare parts that had been delivered there and to fill up with Diesel. 
We can recommend Willowbridge as not only were they willing to accept a package and hold onto it for us, the Red Diesel was 72p/Litre (basic price) , there is rubbish disposal and there are recycling bins, I already had it marked in the guide book as "OK" after reading another blog,  Seyella's Journey,  they called in there about 2 years ago and gave a good report.
We then carried on through Stoke Hammond Lock and moored for the night.
We had a bit of drizzle this the morning but apart from that it was a good day all round.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Back Cabins and Shopping Lists

Sunday. 24th July 2010.
Moored at Cosgrove.
No Miles No Locks.

Sunday.  No much to blog about for Sunday, the weather was warm again and I spent the day on the Working boats Nutfield and Raymond mainly showing visitors the Traditional back cabin on "Raymond",, of all the Historic boat gatherings that we attend, I think "Raymond" is the only one where members of the public are invited to come aboard and sit in the back cabin to see for themselves how the working Boat families used to live.

Inside the back cabin

The Buckingham Canal Society Lock Ransom continued, with some novel way of raising money,  this is a new one on me.

Blow a Didgeridoo for 50p

Jayne called Willowbridge Marina to see if our spare parts had arrived for the generator, they have, so we will pick them up on Monday if we get there before they close or if not on Tuesday.

Jayne has also been going through the Fridge, Freezer and Cupboards making a list for Monday when we hope to pass a Supermarket and re-stock.

Sunday, 25 July 2010


Friday/Saturday 23/24th July 2010
Moored at Cosgrove
0 Miles 0 Locks

Friday.  I had a walk up the towpath today towards Milton Keynes as far as the Aqueduct over the River Great Ouse, it looks a solid structure and has stood for nearly 200 years however this was the second attempt as the original was washed away when the river flooded.

In the other direction by the Lock you can still see the Narrow Gauge rail tracks that were used to transport Stone from a nearby Quarry to the Canal Wharf.

Straight ahead is the disused Buckingham Canal which the Bucks Canal Society hope to restore

A sign of past Industry

At 6 o'clock the Historic working boats Nutfield and Raymond arrived and I helped tie them up, after a chat with the crew that had brought them down from Braunston I left them as they were anxious to get over to the pub.

The reason that we are here over the weekend is an event organised by the Buckingham Canal Society, it is called a Lock Ransom, the idea is that boats arriving at the Lock have it worked for them by members of the society and are invited to put a donation to Society funds into the collection buckets, it seems to work well, their aim is to restore the Canal from it's junction with the Grand Union Canal at Cosgrove through to Buckingham, the first few hundred yards are still there, being used as moorings.

Volunteers operate the Lock

Saturday.  These events attract a few boats that are know as "Trade Boats", these are boats that sell various things, including.



This one sells ice cream, gifts and Chandlery equipment

The weather was hot sun this morning and a bit cloudy this afternoon, at 6.45 this evening 44 portions of pre-ordered Fish and Chips arrived, collected from a local shop by car, we sat up by the Lock and ate ours before returning to the boat later.

 We are struggling with the Broadband here, it's taking ages to get anything done.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Mechanical failure & Mobile Phones

Thursday 22th July 2010.
Moored at Cosgrove.
0 Miles 0 Locks.

This morning after breakfast we had a walk down to the shop on Cosgrove Park caravan site and bought a few supplies.
 Another boat arrived for the weekend and asked if they could moor alongside us which was OK, very often at boating festivals boats moor side by side sometimes 4 abreast to save space along the Towpath, the important thing is that the sterns are in line so that people can get across.

Jayne had cooking fever again, so she was in the kitchen, making a fruit cake, the result was good but a little burnt on top, ovens fault of course.

The electrical power on a Narrowboat is supplied by Battery Banks, these vary in size from boat to boat but they all need charging, No Direction has 3 methods of doing this, first they can be charged from a Mains connection which is what happens when we are moored in the Marina, secondly they are charged by the engine when we are cruising, just like a car charges it's battery whilst being driven, and finally they can be charged by a generator when we moor for a few days.
The generator fitted to our boat is a Fischer Panda 3.5 Kw, it has a 300cc Diesel engine which needs Canal water to keep it cool, this water needs to be sucked from the Canal through filters, circulate around a heat exchanger and returned to the Canal, the pump that does all this has a rubber impeller inside driven by a small belt, this morning I started the generator and checked that the cooling water was circulating by looking at the transparent top of the main filter, unfortunately it was not !!
After cleaning the filters there was still no water flow so I removed the pump to check the rubber impeller and this is what I found.

The Impeller wheel, whats left of . It is about 50mm in diameter

We don't carry a spare, although the manual suggests that you should always keep a couple on the boat so it must be a common failure,  Jayne called the main agents and asked for two to be posted to Willow Bridge Marina which is just passed Milton Keynes where we had already planned to call and fill with Diesel next Tuesday,so hopefully the spares will be there and I can repair the Generator, meanwhile we will have to run the main engine to charge the batteries, which will use about 3 times as much fuel as the generator does.

About 6 weeks ago I had a call from Vodafone, with whom I have my phone contract, they said you are due for an upgrade, I don't want or need a new phone, the one I have is complicated enough, but they gave me a choice of 3 which I could have on my existing contract, I have had the same contract for years and only pay £15 a month ( £180 a year ) so when I checked and found one of the phones on offer retailed at over £300 I ordered it, I had already checked on the Internet and found that I could sell it for £150, so, if I only pay £180 a year and they are willing to give me a phone that retails at £300 how much mark up is there on a mobile phone.???. 
 So, I have a Nokia N97 mini in the cupboard which will get sold when we return to the Marina, but today I had another call from Vodafone, and they said "Hello, you are due for a upgrade" I was going to say thanks, but instead I told them to check their records.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

New Territory

Tuesday/Weds. 20/21st July 2010
Stoke Bruerne to Cosgrove.
6 1/2 Miles 7 Locks

Tuesday.  We had a quiet day on Tuesday, Jayne walked down to the Canal Museum to ask why we hadn't received any membership info, after joining the Friends of the Museum last month and I had a tidy up in the boat.
After lunch the Girl Guide Narrowboat Tuptonia went past heading down the Locks.

The weather forecast for tonight is heavy rain and sun tomorrow, that's OK with us.

Wednesday. At around 9.30 we moved the 200 yards towards Stoke Bruerne top lock, there are 7 locks on this flight lowering the Canal 40 feet.

Jayne, on the right chatting at one of the locks

 We were joined in the lock by a Hire Boat from "The Wyvern Shipping Co" the steerer was very good, and we could see immediately that it was not the first time he had handled a Narrowboat, they were impressed with how clean and well equipped the boat was when they picked it up.
We shared the rest of the flight with them and both boats moored at the water taps below the bottom lock.

Happy Hire Boaters

We topped up our water tank and got going again towards Cosgrove where we will be enjoying the weekend with the Buckingham Canal Society at their fund raising event.
This is the furthest we have been down the Grand Union Canal so everything now is new territory.

The much photographed  Solomon's Bridge, Cosgrove

After going down Cosgrove lock we moored up, I had a walk back up to the lock and found the entrance to Cosgrove Caravan Park which has a well stocked grocery shop and is within walking distance for Jayne so we will go there in the morning.


Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Cruising Again

Sunday/Monday 18/19th July 2010.
Weedon to Whilton then Stoke Bruerne.
15 Miles no Locks.

Moored at Weedon by the road bridge

Sunday.  We had a visitor on Sunday, Jayne's friend Annette, she had driven over to see us and hopefully have a short cruise on the boat and as we needed to wind ( turn around ) she was in luck, the closest point where we could wind was Whilton Marina about 2 1/2 miles away, after reaching the Marina and winding we moored up outside for an hour or so for 2 reasons, the first was to pop into the Chandlers/Shop to see if they had any bread ( no ), and secondly we had passed a small fishing contest on the way up and this slows progress, so hopefully by the time we returned they would be packing up, I seem to remember that contests finish at 1.00 o'clock and this proved to be right because as we past them they were packing their gear away.
We got back to Weedon and moored a little further along the Canal this time, Jayne and Annette had decided that they were going into the Heart of England pub for a very late lunch so I had no choice but to go as well !!.
At about 5.00 pm Annette left to drive home and we returned to the boat, I don't know what was going on that evening in or around Weedon as we saw Paramedics and Fire Appliances roaring round with all the lights and sirens on we also had a Police Helicopter hovering not far away, it all lasted about 45 minutes and then went quite.

Monday. We had a few things to do today while travelling, the first was to fill the water tank at the water point by Weedon Beck Bridge, we had a bit of a wait as 2 boats were already there, Jayne decided to put a second load of washing in the machine as the tank was filling, seemed to take ages, the water pressure at the tap was very low.
The next job was to fill the Diesel tanks, they were nowhere near empty but we like to keep them nearer the top that the bottom. We had spotted Red Diesel at 67p a Litre ( base price ) at Rugby Boat Sales last Thursday when we pasted going back to Weedon, we were going to fill up then but I decided to leave it until today which proved to be a bad decision as when we got there there they had virtually run out and were not getting a fresh delivery until Tuesday, so it would have been cheap Diesel if they had any or if I had done as I was told by Jayne and filled up last Thursday !!

The well looked after Caravan field opposite where we moored last week

The next stop was close to Nether Heyford so that I could cycle to the shop for Milk and Bread, you will notice that we use a lot of Milk and Bread mainly due to our addiction to a nice mug of tea and a taste for Fresh Bread.
After I returned from the shop we had lunch and then set off again, the sun was really hot by now as we cruised towards Gayton Junction were the Canal branches off towards Northampton and the river Nene, there is a British Waterways facility block at the Junction where I could empty the Cassettes. After that job was done it was time to sort out the waterproofs ready for the trip through Blisworth Tunnel which is always wet due to water coming down the ventilation shafts and other land drain points.

Blisworth Mill, now smart Apartments

Into the tunnel and the first of the 4 boats we met coming the other way did not have a headlight, not very good that, the only thing that caught my eye was our headlight reflecting on the glass in their front doors, they said that the bulb had failed. We moored up on the visitor moorings about 300 yards before Stoke Bruene Canal Museum, we will stay here until Wednesday, Satellites OK for the Television but the Broadband is poor.

Jayne is always telling me that I drink too much tea, it's 9.30 on Tuesday morning as I write this blog and I am on my third mug !, however a chap, of a similar looking age to me, has just Zig Zagged past us on the towpath drinking a can of "Special Brew", which would she prefer ?

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Itching to get moving again

Thurs/Fri/Sat. 15/16/17th July 2010.
High House Wharf to Weedon.
1 1/2 Miles no Locks

Thursday.  After a very stormy night we had more of the same during Thursday, I cycled the mile or so into Nether Heyford and found a "One Stop" shop for Milk and Bread ( Milk was 82p, ref last blog ) in the afternoon we just had a tidy up and I cleaned the boat roof, still very windy and occasional very heavy downpour, the caravan field opposite our mooring it now empty, Caravaning in high winds is probably worse that controlling a Narrowboat in the wind.

Friday.  We had decided to cruise back to Weedon today and moor on the disabled mooring by the road bridge as our friends Val and Pete were coming for a visit, bringing Jayne's prescriptions and our post, they arrived about 2 o'clock and after a coffee and chat we went to the Heart of England pub right next to the bridge for a meal as it was a Marstons Two for One job, we had a long wait for the food to arrive as they seemed short of staff, there appeared to be only one waitress serving, never mind the meal was ok and it was cheap, not the sort of pub we would choose for a quite drink but useful for a meal.

Saturday.  Last night wasn't as noisy as we had expected being so close to the road and the weathers improved a bit, the wind has gone that's the main thing.
So off we went to the Globe Inn for the R.B.O.A. AGM,( If anyone reading this blog lives on a boat or is considering it then visit their website or better still join ! ) . The meeting started at 11.30 prompt and all the usual AGM business went smoothly, we finished just after 1 o'clock and then had Lunch.
In the afternoon we were given a presentation and slide show provided by the Chairman and President of the Association of Boat Safety Examiners who showed us some scary slides of dangerous wiring, gas fitting and solid fuel stoves from boats that they had carried out safety checks on, it all finished at around 3.30.
No pictures on this blog which makes me feel a bit lazy, but there's not much around here to take pictures of, I had intended to look for what was left of the Weedon Royal Ordnance Depot which was once served by an arm from the Canal but time disappears quickly on a boat.
Things should improve next week when we will be heading off futher down the Grand Union Canal to Cosgrove for the Buckingham Canal Society Event on 24/25 July.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

On the move again

Mon/Tues/Weds. 12/13/14th July 2010
Buckby top Lock to High House Wharf
5 Miles 6 Locks

Monday. At the end of the last Blog I said "that's Jayne finished in the Kitchen for 2 weeks", well I was wrong because the next day she made a Fruit Cake which was another success.  While all the cake making was going on I serviced the Generator, well changed the oil as that's all that needs doing to it at the moment.

Some of our weekend neighbours arguing over a bit of grass

Tuesday. Time to get a little closer to Weedon where we need to be on Saturday for the R.B.O.A. AGM so it was off down the remaining 6 Locks of the Buckby flight. The paddle on the towpath side bottom gate of Buckby bottom lock is the hardest one I have used on this trip, but you never know there may be worse to come.
While we were descending the last Lock Jayne popped into Whilton Chandlers for some milk, we then tied up below the Lock opposite Whilton Marina as it had started to rain and got heavier so we stayed the night.

Entrance to Whilton Marina

Whilton Marina is where we bought our first steel Narrowboat from in 2004, April Rose a 41 foot Cruiser back Colecraft built in 1983.

Jayne and April Rose in Bancroft Basin Stratford October 2006

Wednesday. Rain has stopped now but the forecast is for more rain so after Breakfast we set off, although we need to be in Weedon on Friday and Saturday we planned to go through there today, wind ( Turn round ) and moor in the country until Friday morning and then cruise back early, we did stop in Weedon for a quick trip to the shop for Milk as we are expecting visitors at the weekend, the shop is at the local BP garage so I didn't expect supermarket prices but I nearly fell over when I saw 2 pints of semi-skimmed milk at £1.29, Jayne only paid 89p on Tuesday at Whilton,  I left without the milk.
So we are now by Bridge 28 opposite the Caravan field facing back towards Weedon, we have had torrential rain this afternoon so we tied up at the right time. 

Sunday, 11 July 2010

A very short cruise

Fri/Sat/Sunday. 9/10/11th July 2010.
Above Buckby top Lock to below it.
1/2 mile 1 Lock.

Friday. What a hectic time we are having, Friday morning topped up with water and dropped down Buckby top lock, it is always best to go through this Lock in the morning as in the afternoon or evening in good weather you have a large audience sat outside the pub just waiting for a mishap, in fact they are so close you have to squeeze past some of the tables when moving  from one end of the Lock to the other.

A good veiw of proceedings.

The boat pictured in the lock looks likes an old Challenger Syndicate boat named Centurion, the crew opened the paddles to empty the lock and then battered the righthand gate open with the boat, fortunately no one was standing by the Balance beam, unlike the other gate otherwise they may have had a few drinks to replace or worse.!!

You can work this one out for yourself !!!

Saturday.  On Saturday morning, as the noise from the A5 Trunk road was louder that we expected we moved another 300 yards down towards the next lock opposite open fields with a few Sheep in them.

Archimedes and Ara, two of the seven boats

 I had read on Narrowboat World that 7 working boats were on their way from Paddington Basin to Atherstone carrying Gravel and that they would be passing us at around Midday so got my bike out to see if I could help them through the Locks, the first 4 boats were ok, plenty of helpers so I carried on a bit further and found nb Victoria with steerer Mike on his own so after closing the top gates of the lock he was leaving I cycled up to ready the next one, Victoria was very slow approaching, Mike thought that something was fouling the Propeller, it got so bad that we had to pull the boat into and out of the lock on ropes.

Pulling Victoria out of  the Lock

Once in the lock Mike had a go at trying to clear the prop with the boat hook (Unlike a modern boat, this is the only way) while I filled the Lock, he seemed to think that it was a car tyre fouling the Propeller.

Mike attempts to remove whatever is around the Propeller of Victoria

Mike then went inside and lifted a couple of floor boards to check the driveshaft from the engine to the Propeller and found that the rubber coupling in the driveshaft had split in 2, whether this was caused by the fouled Propeller or it had just broken due to fatigue, either way the boat was not going anywhere under it's own power until the coupling had been replaced.

Victoria being assisted by nb Sunrise

The Last we saw of Victoria, breasted up with a Modern boat, hopefully by now the coupling has been fixed and she can continue on her way to Atherstone.

Sunday. After Breakfast Jayne decided that a bit of cooking was needed so out came the ingredients for one of her specials, she hasn't got a name for it but it includes Quorn mince, Onion, Peppers, Mushrooms, Vegetable Oxo, 2 tins of Tomatoes, Mixed herbs, Seasoning and a pot to throw it all in.

Into the Pot

Cook it for ???, it's a secret

And put it in Tupperware boxes or Freezer bags ready for the Freezer

We can then re-heat when needed and have it on a bed of Wholegrain rice, and it tastes very good.
Thats Jayne finished in the kitchen for a least 2 weeks now.

This evening we watched a Football match that we were looking forward to but were left disapointed by the way both teams played, never mind it's all over now and we won't have to listen to the sound of the Vuvuzela Plastic Trumpets anymore unless they are adopted by Hireboat crews to go with the Pirate hats.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Shopping and more shopping

Tues/Weds/Thurs 6/7/8th July 2010
Braunston to Buckby top Lock
4 1/2 Miles 6 Locks.

Tuesday.  When we arrived in Braunston Jayne decided that she needed yet more shopping so another Tesco delivery was organised, she walked up to the house close to the A45 bridge, knocked on the door and asked the nice lady the post code for this spot so that it could go on the Tesco order, what a cheek I thought !!!   Anyway the driver found us and the shopping was loaded onto our folding truck and taken the short distance back to the boat, the boat is now packed with food.
The rest of Tuesday was spent just relaxing till the footie came on.

Wednesday. Up fairly early as The Boat House started playing music from the outside speakers from 7 am!!, must be ploy to clear the visitor moorings ready for the next lot.
We moved a short distance to fill the water tank and empty the cassettes, then it was off up the first lock. As these are double locks we had a look back to see if there were any other boats approaching, and we could see Nb Mr Toad not far away so we opened the other gate to let him in. We travelled up the 6 Braunston locks with Mr Toad, he then followed us through the tunnel, which was a lot drier than before. Once through the tunnel, we pulled over for breakfast. Scrambled egg and mushrooms on toast, Jayne peeled the mushrooms and I did the rest!!!. We then moved off to Buckby top lock, found 48 hour mooring just before the water point.
The most important thing being that we had a satellite signal to watch the footie!!!
I was supporting Germany, although our daughter Lisa has drawn Spain in her office 
sweepstake and stands to win £25 if Spain win on Sunday.

Thursday. Jayne again decided that she needed a fix of actual shopping not internet shopping. So we found a local taxi to take us into Daventry,  A-2-B Taxis, we had a nice morning shopping and when Jayne had had her fill, rang him and he took us back to the boat.
We had friends from Kings Bromley Marina, Deb and Tony come to join us for an evening meal at the The New Inn which we all thoroughly enjoyed. Jayne caught up on all the goings on at the Marina.

Monday, 5 July 2010

On the move again

Sat/Sun/Mon, 3/4/5th July 2010
Back at Braunston
6 1/2 miles no Locks

After a peaceful week moored by bridge 99 we decided it was time to move. On Saturday Jayne spotted a hire boat passing with a huge Teddybear sat on the front, it was something to do with a childrens Hospice.

At least he's not steering

Moored by Bridge 99

So this morning (Monday), we went up to the first winding hole ( a wide area where you can turn round ) which was by bridge 107, about 2 1/2 mile from our mooring, turned and cruised back to Braunston, we are now moored opposite the Boathouse, Jayne may force me to go over there tonight and drink a pint of beer, we may also have something to eat.

Blog Part 2

Yes, we did go over to the pub, had a couple of pints and a nice meal, but decided to go early which turned out to be the right decision, any pub with a kids play ground outside is to be avoided on warm summer evenings.
We can also watch the hire boats go past looking for somewhere to moor, there are 2 "Canal Club" boats moored outside the pub tonight but the 2 Willow Wren hire boats with the happy sailors standing on the roof surrounded by Lager cans seem to have carried on, hope they noticed the A45 road bridge, it's quite low. !!!!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Lazy Days

Weds/Thurs/Friday 30th June. 1/2 July 2010
Approx 1 mile from Braunston
No Miles No Locks

We have had a lazy 3 days here by bridge 99 enjoying the view from the boat over an area of thick un-touched vegetation which sounds like it contains plenty of wildlife although we don't see much of it.
The Jungle opposite No Direction

One group of visitors that we have had everyday is a proud mom with her 9 Ducklings.

    Happy Family

On Wednesday afternoon Narrowboat Tia came past, Tia is the boat which travels the Canals around this area selling environmentally safe products for washing up and cleaning, we asked if they could refill our empty Ecover bottles which we had been hanging on to, so they stopped and moored in front of us, filling our old bottles which saved wasting more plastic bottles, Jayne also bought a couple of other things before he left.

On Thursday I got my bike out and cycled back to Braunston to get rid of a bag of rubbish in the British Waterways facility and re-cycle some glass, I also had a shopping list so it was up to the local shop in the Village. The shop is also a post office so I was entrusted to post a package  containing a cardigan which Jayne had knitted for our Nephews newly arrived Daughter, Lexie, I also posted 2 birthday cards which Jayne had written for a couple of Friends who she thought would be 50 next week, however she later found out that they were only going to be 48, so an embarrassed phone call was made to tell them to hang onto the cards for 2 years.!!!

We were expecting a downpour in the night which didn't arrive, just a light shower.

Friday was a bit cooler, we went for a short walk so Jayne could exercise her legs a bit, then I got my bike out again as we needed some salad for the weekend, so it was off to the local shop again.
When I was at work I did not get involved with the shopping but since retiring and having the time I am very keen to learn all the wisdom and pitfalls of shopping that come naturally to Jayne , so I was given advice on how to select a healthy lettuce, squeeze the lettuce gently, if it feels soft then it is full of air, go for a firm one, so in the shop squeezing the Lettuces a nice firm one is selected, on returning to the boat I unpacked the Tomatoes/Spring onions/Radishes and as Jayne was quick to point out a nice firm CABBAGE, never mind Jayne made a nice Coleslaw out of it.
Our flower boxes are doing well, must be the Canal water that gets poured over them every night.