Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Which route would you choose–Wednesday 23rd September

What a change from the last two days, we awoke to the sun shinning followed by a short rising mist and then glorious sunshine so we made an early start to make the most of the lovely weather.


As we went through Braunston passing the Toll House, Gongoozler Cafe boat, and the marina entrance there was hardly a stir from the moored boats so we carried on up the first of the 6 double locks.


At the 3rd lock we met up with a Canadian couple who were just about to start off after mooring in the pound overnight so teamed up with them for the remaining 4 locks. They were in a Black Prince hire boat and were doing the Leicester Ring in a couple of weeks so have a few long days ahead of them. We met boats coming down the remaining locks so the crew had an easy time of it.  We negotiated Braunston Tunnel without encountering another boat coming the other way. I had forgotten how you can see the other end of the tunnel but encounter some interesting twists in it which make sure that you keep your mind on steering the boat.


We turned left at Norton Junction onto the Leicester Arm of the GU, passing under the new foot bridge which I saw being made last year in the C&RT yard next to the junction. Looks a good sturdy job. Today we saw another Kingfisher our second on this trip where earlier in the year we never saw one in 6 weeks.


We were soon at the bottom of the Watford Flight of locks which comprise 2 single locks, a staircase of 4 locks, and a final single lock. The staircase has side ponds to save water and you have to ensure that you open the Red paddle before the White otherwise you could be in trouble. We just had to wait for one boat to come out of the bottom lock then followed another boat up the flight. At the top there were 6 boats waiting to come down. Normally they allow 6 boats up and then 6 boats down to avoid boats waiting too long.


We moored up for the day just beyond the locks and enjoyed the afternoon sunshine. Later Tiana and I went for a walk back down the canal to get a paper from the M1 Watford Gap Services.

Here there are 3 modes of transport which go through the gap and are all within 100yds of one another. WHICH WOULD CHOOSE TO BE ON!


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Rain Rain - Tuesday 22nd September

Yet again the weathermen got the forecast wrong. Yesterday they said today would be nice but after a good start the rain showers came along, although there were a few nice spells and the evening turned out to be sunny. Anyway before the rain came Tiana and I went to get a paper from the local store and came back via the locks where we came across the Parish Church.  Although the outside needs some attention the inside is quite large and in excellent condition although I gather the roof needs attention. They have a service every Tuesday morning at 8.00am and the parish is one of the largest in the Rugby area extending out to the A5. It will grow of course when the 600 or so houses are built on the old radio station site. The Church was cut off from the main village by the railway over 100 years ago but is still thriving.




During one of the dry spells we decided to set off and it promptly started raining again but we stuck with it and kept going. We were most surprised to see that there was only one boat moored at the popular Onley moorings near the prison. Indeed as we neared Braunston very few boats were moored in the usual popular spots.


At lunchtime we moored up about 1 mile short of the village and as the forecast for the afternoon was dry we decided to walk into Braunston after we had eaten. We had a nice walk in but as we climbed the hill to the Church the clouds rolled in and the rain started and did not stop until we got back to the boat.

We purchased a few items from the village store and a nice cauliflower from the Butchers plus a  steak and kidney pie although this turned out to be a disappointment and not half as good as we get from our butchers in Knowle.

On the way back we called in at the C&RT visitor centre in the old Toll Office which controlled the traffic between the Oxford and the Grand Junction canals. Tiana was a hit with the staff there and received lots of fuss from both the volunteers and full time staff.

Monday, 21 September 2015

A Ray of Sunshine–Monday 21st September

After early morning rain we had a brief dry spell so I was able to take Tiana for a walk and buy a paper. Then it turned damp with heavy showers so we decided to stay put and carry out a few jobs on the boat and sort out why I could not get Live Writer to update the blog. The afternoon was spent reading and crafting.

By 4.30pm the sun had come out and it was a completely different day. On a walk back down the canal to Kent Road bridge I noticed the Bull Rushes growing on the offside, they were several metres deep well beyond the canal bank and several hundred metres long right up to the winding hole. They make lovely show.


Whilst the boat was moored in the shade we had a great views over adjacent fields with lovely blue skies all evening.


The Ray of Sunshine is Tiana our latest Guide Dog Pup. She is a black Standard Poodle from outside breeding stock and thus an unknown quantity as far as guiding is concerned. She loves being on the boat and is very well behaved until she spots another dog to play with, so this is an area we are working on. Poodles have completely different traits to Labradors and so we are on a steep learning curve, its seems very strange not to have a dog who gulps the food down but one who eats very daintily.



Meeting with Ecco–Sunday 20th September

This morning we had a lie after a very hectic few weeks and watched 8 boats go past towards Hillmorton before we set off slowly hoping to be able to dovetail with boats coming down the locks.



We were lucky and the Volunteer Lockie told us that 12 boats had gone up and only 2 had come down, a complete reverse from yesterday.

There was plenty of space above the locks so we moored up and walked back to the Canalchef Bistro at Badsey Wharf for coffee and cake. It is the first time that we have found the time to call here and were amazed at the canal memorabilia which they have on display.




After lunch I took Tiana a walk along the canal to Hillmorton Wharf and up onto the Crick Road where you can catch buses to Northampton or Rugby.

Back on the boat I decided, as it was such a nice day, to polish the starboard side and as I was doing so Sam and Harry arrived with Ecco and Pepper. Ecco was our last Guide Dog Pup who developed a serious blood condition and had to be withdrawn from the scheme. We rehomed her with Sam a couple of weeks ago and we know she is in very good hands. We had a lot of fuss with Ecco but when the time came for her to leave she walked off with them without looking back so we know she is happy with her new family.


Whilst polishing the boat I heard the distinctive sound of a steam powered boat and along came Nb. Laplander


After dinner I walked down the locks with Tiana and met a lovely couple from the USA who were on a boating holiday, they had been to Coventry and were on their way to Warwick.

Autumn Cruise - Saturday 19th September

This morning we left home in bright sunshine but soon encountered mist over the motorway and surrounding fields. We were heading for Sherbourne Church Flower Festival near Warwick. The home of the Smith-Ryland family and where June’s great aunt used to live. The festival was based on Classic Books and included Wind in the Willows, The Railway Children, and Treasure Island. It is a magnificent church built in 1864 and has a jewelled font as well as ornately decorated organ

After the visit we headed for the boat and arrived about lunch time. We had taken most of the clothes and supplies to the boat yesterday, buying the food from the local supermarket in Rugby. After checking over the boat and filling with water we headed off around 2.30pm towards Rugby. The canal was very busy with boats travelling in the opposite direction but when we arrived at Rugby there was plenty of mooring so we stopped so that I could go to Tesco for some fire lighters, it looks as though the evenings could get colder according to the forecast.


We motored on through Clifton upon Dunsmore where at the boatyard they were just starting up a steam powered narrow boat with clouds of steam billowing across the canal. Passing the allotments, which this time unusually looked a little uncared for we spotted this apple tree which was laden of lovely bright red apples.

Apples - Copy

We moored up next to Rugby Golf Club and had some fine views over the course. Several golfers stopped and chatted across the fence as we all enjoyed the lovely weather. Later I took Tiana a walk up to Kent Road Bridge and back but the towpath was quite wet which shows that they must have had more rain here than we had had at home.