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, 31 July 2012

Onwards and Upwards.

Tuesday 31st July 2012.
Cosgrove to Stoke Bruerne.
7 Miles 8 Locks.

I worked through Cosgrove lock on my own this morning letting Jayne save her energy for the Stoke Bruerne Flight which will raise us 56 feet later on in the morning, a boat had gone up about ten minutes before and left one of the top gates open which slowed things down a bit, but the rain was holding off.

Two hours later and we were at the service point at the bottom of the Stoke locks, there were three boats already on the landing stage, the boat furthest from the lock was being washed, yes, washed on the water point, fortunately there are four or five taps along there, the next boat was a hireboat filling with water, then came a broadbeam boat. After securing No Direction I noticed that the man from the broadbeam boat was emptying a large plastic container at the sanitary station, he then carried the empty container back to his boat, I realised then that he had a self pumpout kit and was slowly pumping the contents of his toilet holding tank into the plastic container and emptying it at the sanitary point, to say that he was creating a pong doesn't cover it, Jayne was busy spraying fresh air around, I think his pump out machine broke down because he cleared off, but not before giving the device a good wash out in the canal !! 

Our water tank was full and I was just rolling the hose up when two young lads from the hireboat walked past towards the first lock with their windlasses, sharing seven double locks with a hireboat and a fit young crew is not to be missed so the hose got stowed quickly and into the lock we went.

We completed the flight without a problem, considering the steerer of the hireboat was a first timer he handled the boat well, even managing to keep it to one side in the lock while we went in.

We're now at Stoke Bruerne for two days as tomorrow is Jayne's birthday, so a small celebration with friends in the Navigation is planned.

Back to Rain.

Monday 30th July 2012.
The Globe Inn to Cosgrove.
17.5 Miles 5 Locks.

Volunteer Lockie's on Soulbury locks this morning, two this time so we had little to do, at the next, Stoke Hammond Lock we were third in a queue but we were soon down and heading for Fenny Stratford.

Leaving Stoke Hammond Lock.

We've had two huge downpours today, each one only lasted fifteen minutes but it really came down, I didn't have a waterproof with me when the first one started and Jayne had to pass a jacket out to me but I was ready for the second one. 

The last lock of the day was Fenny Stratford, the lock only drops the Canal thirteen inches but it has a swing bridge between the top and bottom gates which makes it a bit awkward, today the bridge had been left in the open position.

Next to the lock are rubbish bins provided for the use of boaters, when we went past last week the bins were overflowing, today there weren't many bins left.

At least it hasn't damaged the Water tap or Elsan disposal.

Tonight we are moored at Cosgrove again and heading for Stoke Bruerne tomorrow.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Back to the Globe Inn

Saturday/Sunday 28/29th July 2012.
Linslade to The Globe Inn.
3 Miles 1 Lock.

After a busy Saturday helping on Nutfield and Raymond we decided against following them back to the Globe after the Festival and stuck with our original plan of moving on Sunday morning, we needed to stop a Tesco's again as Jayne had decided she would like a Kindle which she is now working out how to use.

We're now moored back at The Globe until Monday morning hoping to take advantage of their 2 Sunday Roasts for £9.95 if eating after 5pm.

P.S. Just back from our 2 for £9.95 Sunday dinners and all we can say is we were not overly impressed.

Saturday, 28 July 2012


Thursday/Friday 26/27th July 2012.
The Globe Inn to Linslade.
3 Miles 1 Lock.

Our plan to stay moored at The Globe Inn  for a second night collapsed about 3 pm on Thursday when the urge to move on got the better of us, off we went and stocked up at Tesco's Leighton Buzzard mooring on the two hour shoppers moorings.

Then on to Linslade where we'll be for the weekend, firstly though we went up to Grove Lock where there's room to turn, not really a winding hole, more of a short narrow arm leading off the main canal, I nosed the boat in, the stern swung around and started to reverse out, halfway through the manouver a crew coming down the lock opened all the paddles, the rush of water made a three point turn a ten point one.

We found our allocated mooring and secured the boat, that's it until Sunday morning.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Moored Outside A Pub.

Wednesday 25th July 2012.
Stoke Hammond to The Globe Inn.
3.25 Miles 3 Locks.

First job today was the short cycle ride to Stoke Hammond Post Office, fortunately the power was back on and I was able to send the recorded letter.

We stopped at the water point at the bottom of the three Soulbury Locks (amond 3 to the old boatmen), the locks will raise us just over 20 feet to the next pound, the water point here is one of the better ones, clean with trimmed grass and exellent pressure, topped up the tank in next to no time.

A fine example.

Water tank full, waiting for the lock gates to open.

We had no less than three volunteer lockies on the locks today and they were very good, opening the paddles slowly and evenly so as not to bang the boat around, always a problem with one boat in a double lock.

A lockie on each lock beam.

We all have to stay cool in this heat.

We arrived at The Globe Inn Linslade and luckily dropped straight into a mooring space, we'll probably stay here until Friday morning as we're shaded from the afternoon sun by trees on the opposite bank.

Moored outside the Gobe Inn, might pop in later !!

The boat moored behind us is the Cookie Boat, it's a scorching hot day, Will and Michelle are inside the boat with the oven going full blast cooking ready for the weekend, they really do earn their money.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Plan Goes Wrong.

Monday/Tuesday, 23/24th July 2012.
Cosgrove to Stoke Hammond.
14.5 Miles 2 Locks.

We got going about 10 o'clock on Monday, first stop was Wolverton for shopping, when we got back to No Direction one of the local boat hippies started chatting, he was working his way around to ask for a lift but I saw it coming and all he got was a drink of water.

The Canal wriggles it's way around Milton Keynes, once famous for having Concrete Cows, there's even an area marked on the OS map named Concrete Cows (map ref SP 822 398), the only other thing I know about Milton Keynes is that they sell an huge number of replacement car tyres there due to the amount of traffic islands.

Monday afternoon after a few hours in the sun we decided to call it a day and moored at Simpson close to bridge 92, mooring OK but we could hear a bit of traffic noise from the A5.

We have friends moored at Kings Bromley Marina who have their boat for sale with Great Hayward Boat Sales as they're moving to Scotland, the boat's been for sale for over 8 months  but last weekend it sold, the boat will be gone and our friends will have left for Scotland before we return from this trip, and we have the spare set of keys, no problem Jayne said on the phone, we'll post them recorded delivery.

So after checking the location of a suitable Post Office, we planned to moor by bridge 106, Stoke Hammond and I would cycle into the village and use the Post Office which is also the village shop, so that's what we did, all going well until I walked into the shop and found it quite dark, there was a power cut, not just the shop but the whole village, so, no Post Office services today and the freezers and fridges were off as well, power will be back on at 5 o'clock but the Post Office section will be closed by then, looks like we'll be staying here tonight  so I can zip back in the morning. 

Staff at Willowbridge Marina wait for us to pass
before craning a boat in.

Up it goes.

Hood, a famous wooden narrowboat moored at Willowbridge

The wider the Canal gets, the wider the boats get,
this Dutch Barge is at Stoke Hammond.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

That's Better, A Bit Of Sun.

Friday/Saturday/Sunday, 20/21/22nd July 2012.Moored at Cosgrove.

We've been at Cosgrove for the Buckingham Canal Society Festival and the weather has behaved itself, both days have been very warm and dry, both days also saw plenty of visitors, especially Sunday.

As we are now the greatest cycling nation on earth thanks to Bradley Wiggins and Co, the first picture is of bikes for sale outside Cosgrove Park Caravan Site shop, for £99.99p there's a lot there, lights, front hub brake, carrier, stand however, they didn't look very strong or straight and had a nasty cheap Chinese look about them, can't really see Bradley on one, as with everything you get what you pay for.

Some of the long term mooring along the Canal look more like
 rubbish tips, but with a bit of effort they could look like this one,
neat grass and flower boxes.

This is the Milton Keynes play boat, don't go near it as it's
usually full of screaming kids.

All made with his chainsaw and he sold most of it.

The picture above is the Cookie Boat owned by Will and Michelle, they make and sell home made cookies, muffins, flapjacks as well as tea and coffee, they had a busy weekend as you can see, the cookie's are only one side of the business as they also trade as the Graphics Boat, producing stickers and labels, they've made us some stickers which we're pleased with and Piston Broke are also happy customers.

The Fudge boat had a good weekend as they left late Sunday afternoon
 to buy more sugar to make more Fudge for next weekend.

This picture (poor quality) shows three German visitors to the Festival experiencing the Boatmans cabin on Narrowboat Raymond, fortunately for them (and us) one of the volunteer helpers, Roger, he's the one on the left, spent fifteen years working in Germany and speaks fluent German although I think he may have struggled to find German words to describe the intricacies of a English wooden narrowboat.

Friday, 20 July 2012

At Cosgrove.

Wed/Thurs,18/19th July 2012.
Stoke Bruerne to Cosgrove.
7 Miles, 8 Locks.

Wednesday was spent moored at Stoke Bruerne dodging the showers, not just ordinary showers these were like a huge power shower being turned on and off.

We went to the Navigation for a meal early evening, dry when we went, tremendous rain whilst eating, and managed to get back to the boat during another dry period before more rain.

The weather on Thursday was much better as we decended the Stoke Bruere Locks. stopping for water at the bottom of the flight we saw what a mess the heavy rain had caused, stones and dirt washed down onto the landing and deep puddles on the path.

Stoke Bruerne Services.
The further south you go the more unusual the boats.

I never miss an opportunity to remind Jayne of her maiden name "Bull".

Approaching Cosgrove, the ornate Soloman's Bridge,
soon to disappear behind overhanging trees.

We are now moored between the Lock and the Iron Trunk Aqueduct, on Sunday there's supposed to be an event organised by The Canal and River Trust  to celebrate the Aqueduct being refurbished but I cannot find anything on their website.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Almost Dry Today.

Tuesday, 17th July, 2012.
Weedon to Stoke Bruerne.
11.5 Miles.

First stop today was Rugby Boats at Stowehill Wharf for Diesel and a bottle of gas, Diesel was 82p Ltr base price.

We've had a goods days boating, it's been T shirt and shorts weather today for a change and the only water falling from above was in Blisworth Tunnel.

We intend to stay at Stoke Bruerne until Thusday morning and then move down to Cosgrove.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Anyone Remember The Drought.

Monday, 16th July, 2012.
Long Buckby to Weedon.
4.5 Miles, 6 Locks.

In case you forgot this picture should help.

We left our overnight moorings, along with the boat we planned to share the locks with at 9.15, the other boat was heading for London and had moorings booked at Camden Town and tickets for the games.  They came from Wigan and had allowed themselves 6 weeks for the journey at a leisurely pace, however a head gasket failure near Fradley had led to a complete engine overhaul, this had used up a lot travelling time and they had 10 days left to get to their moorings.

The extra water in the canal made opening the bottom gate on a couple of the locks difficult as so much water was cascading over the top gates.

The collapsed towpath between locks 12 and 13 is finally
being repaired with new steel piling.

There's something solid down there.

At the bottom of the flight we tied up as by now the rain was very heavy, I walked across to the Chandlers at Whilton Marina for milk and was impressed by the transformation since the the new manager, Bim Simcoe took over, it's all very clean and organised now.

We are moored at Weedon tonight planning to top up with Diesel at Stowe Wharf tomorrow and carry on to Stoke Bruerne.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Out Of Braunston.

Saturday/Sunday 14/15th July 2012.
Braunston to Long Buckby, 4.5 Miles, 7 Locks.

This weekend it's been spot a blogger, Saturday afternoon Sue and Vic ( forgot to take a piccy, doh ) came past glad to be back on the canals after an enforced stay on the River Nene caused by the floods. At dusk a boat went past, Jayne said "Their travelling late", it turned out to be Halfie and family on their way to Milton Keynes, reading Halfie's blog it seems they had slight difficulty finding a mooring for the night possibly because the 48 hour only rule which applies to the moorings opposite the pub at Braunston doesn't seem to be being enforced this summer as there were five boats on these moorings when we arrived on Friday morning which were still there when we left this morning. And then Sunday morning while we were filling with water Herbie went past heading for the locks.

When we arrived at the bottom lock we were third in the queue, while waiting, a Family in a Glass Fibre Cabin Cruiser tied up behind and, after agreeing a method of sharing the locks with a 22 ton narrowboat we went up the flight together without any problems.

Chris waiting for us to enter the lock, he came in afterwards
and left the lock first.

After clearing the sixth and final lock we moored up for a late breakfast before going through Braunston Tunnel. We had planned to moor for the night between Norton junction and Buckby top lock but found all the space taken which wasn't surprising considering it was Sunday lunch time, by a good pub, but we were in luck, as we approached the lock, the gates opened and a hireboat went in closely followed by us, we only dropped down one lock, and are now moored mid-way between lock 7 and 8, another boat has moored behind and we have agreed to drop down the remaining 6 locks together in the morning, trouble is it's going to rain.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Plenty Of Space At Braunston.

Friday, 13th July 2012.
Barby to Braunston.
4.5 Miles, 0 Locks.

Addition to yesterdays blog.

That peice of rusty metal looks happier today, give him a wave as you pass,
he lives between bridges 79 and 78 on the North Oxford Canal.

We set off this morning in the drizzle with the intention of arriving at Braunston about 10 o'clock, hoping that the hireboats would have gone and left a bit of mooring space, needn't have worried though as there was plenty of space on the 14 day moorings by bridge 90 and on the 48hr ones opposite the pub, even at 4.00 pm there was still room behind us for a 70 footer.

Our visitors today arrived earlier than expected which worked out ok, we had a leisurely lunch at the Boathouse which was excellent as usual.

More visitors tomorrow so we'll have to go back to the pub, good job it's 2 for 1.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

A Short Visit From Summer.

Wednesday/Thursday 11/12th July 2012.
Brinklow to Barby. 10.75 Miles, 3 Locks.

Wednesday. After leaving our mooring at All Oaks Wood we stopped in Rugby for shopping, when we were ready to move off the rain started so we delayed things for an hour until it had blown over.

At Hillmorton locks we were following Hotel Boat Duke towing their butty Duchess, the crew weren't very good at getting the pair through locks, one of the top locks was closed for maintenance, which didn't help and it also started to rain very heavily.

We had hoped to moor on the visitor moorings above the top lock, but no luck so we carried on and moored a mile past the M45 bridge.

Thursday. The weather today has been warm and sunny although its 3.30pm now and starting to cloud over. We've had a stationary day today, just cleaning the inside of the boat and a few other jobs, it's been nice to be able to have the side doors open and the cratch cover rolled up.

Tomorrow we hope to moor in Braunston as we have visitors Friday and Saturday.

Flowers are coming on ok despite being very wet.

Unusual object to find leaning up against a post by our mooring, it's the centre hub of a broken drive plate which fits between the engine and gearbox on most modern boats, it's covered in mud so may have been dredged up, if only it could talk, it would tell us about the abuse it suffered going forward - reverse - forward to quickly, about the person with oily hands who removed it and threw it away without any thanks for the years loyal service it had given, then, being rescued from the mud and allowed to rust away peacefully on the side of the Oxford Canal.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Mr Toad's in a Hurry.

Monday/Tuesday 9th/10th July 2012.
Atherstone Bottom Lock to Brinklow.
21 Miles, 12 Locks.

Monday, we set off up the Atherstone lock flight, we found some of the pounds very low, word from boaters coming down the flight varied from gates left open to vandals opening paddles to British Waterways fixing a lock, whatever the cause was we got to the top ok and stopped for a late Breakfast on the visitor moorings.

We intended to moor up out in the sticks between Nuneaton and Bedworth but found our usual spot occupied so carried on to Sutton Stop for the night.

Tuesdays weather forecast was for heavy rain but by 11 o'clock there was no sign of it  so we decided to move on, we are now on the visitor moorings at All Oaks Wood, Brinklow arriving at 2.30 having had a fairly dry journey.

At lunch time today a little Sea Otter boat came up behind us very quickly, it was obvious that the steerer would like to come past, I immediately thought of Mr Toad of Wind In The Willows fame, I slowed to tick over and moved out of his way, As he came past Jayne appeared with a plate of sandwiches for lunch, Mr Toad spotted them and shouted across that he had been looking for somewhere to moor so that he could have his lunch and then disappeared off into the distance and we never saw him again.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

We Have a Dry Day, Almost.

Saturday/Sunday 7th/8th July 2012.Kings Bromley to Atherstone Bottom Lock. 
22 Miles 5 Locks.

Saturday turned out to be a good boating day, we had a couple of very short showers, so short that by the time we had put coats on the rain had stopped, reading Pete and Dave's blog we were very lucky, they're battling floods on the River Avon.
Passing Polesworth we could see the River Anker had burst its banks and flooded the fields, the surrounding houses looked OK though being built on higher ground.
We were intending to moor at the bottom of Atherstone locks but stopped about 40 minutes before by bridge 50, good moorings here with steel armco, fairly deep water and no roads.

Sunday morning we decided to stay on the mooring until Monday as the forecast was for rain, but at 1.30 this afternoon the sky was blue and we hadn't had any rain so we moved up to Atherstone bottom lock stopping at Bradley Green Services on the way, while at the services in a matter of minutes the clouds arrived and so did the rain, but again just short but very heavy showers. 

Friday, 6 July 2012

The Weather.

Friday, 6th July 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

We were leaving the Marina Friday but have decided to delay our departure another day, you know why, it's called rain.

The poor people trying to promote holidays in the UK must be having a difficult time, two of the three hireboats based at Kings Bromley have been out this week and it looks like the third one is being prepared for Saturday, if the hirer's don't enjoy themselves they won't be coming back.

Just a reminder of calm sunny day's, October 2011 at Stoke Bruerne for the Village at War weekend with temperatures in the mid twenties and blue skies, but the Stoke Bruerne Gala weekend in June 2011 was rained off on the Sunday, British weather, totally unpredictable.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Not Looking Good.

Wednesday, 4th July 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.

After three weeks stuck in the Marina for one reason or another we'll be off again on Friday, however, the weather is not looking very good, heavy rain showers over the weekend. We'll be heading down the Grand Union again, this time to Cosgrove for the Buckingham Canal Society boat festival stopping at as many pubs on the way as possible, then the following weekend it's the Linslade Canal Festival.

We seem to be doing a lot of festivals this year, mainly accompanying Nutfield and Raymond  as I'm a member of the gang that keep them going, we try and get to as many events as possible. Another reason we like festivals is that they are good fun and you soon get to know the regulars, we were going to stop at the Blisworth Festival on the way back but need to get back in the Marina a couple of days after Blisworth so we'll have to give it a miss.

But never mind there's always the Black Country Boating Festival in September to look forward to.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Brilliant Day

Sunday, 1st July, 2012.
Kings Bromley Marina.
Yesterday’s Steam Train trip to Scarborough and back was excellent, although it's a long day, we left Tyseley Railway Museum at 7.45 and arrived back at 23.15.
We couldn't fault the staff, train or the food which was particularly good, we had a short
heavy shower of rain while we were in Scarborough but managed to find some shelter.
Jayne practices a Royal wave in Scarborough station.

The most suprising thing about the day was the amount of waving spectators and photographers who were on nearly every bridge and vantage point, at York Station it was like the Royal Train had arrived.
The smoky end.

The fuel tank.

In a comment on yesterdays blog Alf thought we would be going through the Standedge Tunnel, not on the route from Birmingham, perhaps you used a different starting station Alf, our route went from Tyseley to Coleshill - Tamworth - Burton on Trent - Derby - Chesterfield - Pontefract - York - Malton and Scarborough, returning in reverse order.

We were given two A4 sheets printed both sides with notes for the journey detailing everything from tunnel lengths to sights we would see, I found the crooked spire of St Mary and All Saints Church Chesterfield very strange as it looked like it was built with the twist.