Tuesday 30 March 2010

Dinky Toy Matilda Rose

When we stopped at Gayton Junction Services this boat, NB Victoria, breasted up for a while. She is a 1931 Royalty Class motor and makes our 66 ft boat look minuscule.
We moored up at Blisworth only to find The Royal Oak closed on the Monday and in the process of closing down totally. The guys in the village shop directed us back to an hotel which was amazingly dog friendly and had the most adventurous menu I've seen in a long while (at reasonable prices),; we didn't get to eat there, but will make a point on our way back to the Northampton Arm.

Left for Stoke Bruerne at 9.00am in full wet weather gear although the rain stopped and didn't start again until we were moored. However, Lesley and I left the Blisworth tunnel to take the dogs over the top but managed to miss the path, picking up on a local bridleway instead which just became deeper and cackier with every step taken. We were then harassed by a herd of cattle, became completely lost and came close to ending up back in Blisworth. We, eventually turned up at Stoke Bruerne around 2 hours after the boats a journey, of what should have been 2 miles!!!!!!!

Just look at the state of us; not G, he just muscled in on the photo.
After some considerable cleaning of people, dogs, clothing and footwear we had a quick recce and shall be investigating the museum when it re-opens tomorrow.
Very pretty - even in this horrible weather.

Seriously free range....

....as in ambling about on the side of the road
Weedon; lovely village, but the village is jam packed with cars.
Superb greengrocers

Monday 29 March 2010

Out and about around Daventry

This is history now, but had a lovely time with Derek & Sheila off of NB Clarence when I returned from Mum's.
We did a bit of retail and then trundled off two by two.
New lock gates.

How did a boat become this?

Sunday 28 March 2010

We now have a wireless free internet boat

Now to all you techies out there, that probably means all sorts of complicated clever things. To me, however, it means I can sit at the dining room table (OK dinette, but I'm feeling a bit posh after an excellent Sunday lunch at the Five Bells) and type this blog, instead of scrunched up in an armchair with an over stuffed belly.
I've thoroughly enjoyed the village of Bugbrooke, apart from all the brownstone the area is networked with footpaths, streams and very friendly people.
We are off in the morning to pastures new - the village of Blisworth and a couple of nights in Stoke Bruerne. Lots to see and do and loving this warm, spring sunshine. Do I sound a bit smug? ah, that'll be the Yorkshire pud then - or was it the Belgian chocolate bombe?

Thursday 25 March 2010

We are at Bugbrooke now....

..and it is a lovely, and very pretty, village. Sadly, I have not enough signal to show you the photos or the ones previously loaded onto draft blogs.
A choice of 2 pubs which, unfortunately, don't really work for us. The nearest is open mid-day but likes dogs to be parked outside in the smoking area!!!!!
The other, in the centre of the village, welcomes dogs but only opens in the evening.
I'm sure we'll manage and the village shop still exists - that's a bonus these days.

New cratch cover fitted and we're on the move

Daisy, the boys and ourselves totally delighted to be back in the countryside proper
Floyd not at all sure what to do with this pup who was sticking his nose in private places and was even tinier than Daisy.

New cratch cover with 10" cat flaps on both sides

Wednesday 24 March 2010

I know I'm guilty of...

....not blogging for a while. Yesterday we had an amazing signal and we loaded all the photos.Today the signal is so bad that I can't get the photos back to blog round them - we're about 5 miles away; that's all! I give up until things improve - Caxton is 25 yards away and they have a signal.

Thursday 11 March 2010

Timing is all

I will be nipping off to see my mum as we are still having to lurk in the vicinity of Braunston until, at least, Monday whilst waiting for new cratch covers (both us and Caxton). So I will leave the blog (and the computer) in G's tender hands.

He should have a lovely weekend-9 hours of rugby Saturday and the start of the grand prix season on Sunday, with no wife to nag about jobs that need doing and a boat that I've stocked with disgustingly fattening treats; he can fill his boots and drain the batteries dry with impunity.

My only worry is that he might have such a good time that he might not tell me where he is when I come back!!!

Wednesday 10 March 2010

Dear Lou & Blue on Indigo Dream (cc Boots)

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. You really haven't got this sorted have you? If there is no liver cake it's because you are so well behaved that she thinks you don't need further rewards (silly, silly boys).

Did you have no idea that she was off to see Cesar Milan? Do you not realise that Jan Fennell & Cesar Milan are the two people in the wholest widest world that you should never ever let them near, we really do despair of you.

You do realise, don't you, that the minute you pass that test that you'll be signed up for intermediate obedience. For goodness sake, it'll be agility next - will you never listen to our advice? Now will you please get with the growling and peeing?

Yours, in despair, Baxter & Muttley.

PS Mum's off for the week tomorrow, so we're staying with Dad & Lesley. Mum tried to drown Floyd and Fletcher today, but they forgave her when a packet of porky scratchings was produced in the pub. I don't know about you guys, but we're not always sure what's going on. It can be confusing sometimes.

Tuesday 9 March 2010

Why do men...........?

Whilst reading this, please bear in mind that when MR is moving I'm on the towpath walking with the dogs.

So, why do men agree a time to pull pins and, when you are in that final, lo crucial, 15 minutes feeding the cat; knocking up soup for lunch; chucking some washing on; etc., etc., suddenly stick their heads in the cabin 12 minutes earlier than agreed announcing that they are leaving NOW, leaving you scrabbling for poo bags, dog leads and dogs, hopping up and down on the towpath with one boot on and no gloves to hand.

Why do men ask you where you want to moor and then give you at least 5 reasons as to why your choice is not a good idea.

Why do men, when asked to stick the washing in the tumble dryer at the next lock, insist on putting your best, non-tumble dryer top, in the tumble dryer so that it comes out too tiny to stretch round a size zero model.

He did finish off the dinner though whilst I was next door on Caxton nattering with Lesley (and open the wine).

Monday 8 March 2010

One of the many things I love about boating....

.......is that days rarely turn out as you expect.

Nipped round to NB Old Bovine to have a quick look at the new boatman's cabin style table in the galley. Absolutely lovely as is the whole boat; my 'quick' look turned into a good hour or so. Whilst we were nattering, fellow bloggers NB Ubique came past but I didn't have my camera to hand.
Daisy was intent on aerial acrobatics in the sun.
I was quietly relieved to see her return to earth as she's not very good at coming down again!
Before crashing out exhausted.
Then we had a phone call from Linda & David from NB Critical Point, their boat is out of the water being stretched at the moment (it's the in thing round here you know) and they were suffering boat withdrawals, so they drove for 2 hours to come and see us and the newly elongated Caxton. We were quite a long way from the nearest road, but I walked down to meet them and G saw them safely back in the dark.

After lunch today we moved both boats up towards a road as Lesley will be returning tomorrow with ballast for Caxton's nose.

Saturday 6 March 2010

Good old clear out.

Daisy decided to join me and do some painting but just couldn't decide which brush to choose - besides, she knows she is more beautiful than any picture.

Spent the rest of Thursday out in the sunshine for as long as possible, before having to go back in to do indoor chores. Look at the state of this poor bridge.
There are no tracks or footpaths over it, nor any obvious sign that the farmer uses it. What will happen to it and how does the funding work?Do farmers maintain or make a contribution where they require access?
Spent a good hour splitting wood in the sun; trying to stack it as high as possible to save my back. As fast as I chopped it, one of the dogs would run off with it, only to be set upon by the other one. So, after I'd finished, I had to run up the towpath to retrieve my scattered logs.
Worried that we were about to get iced in again we decided to wind and return to Braunston to service the boat. All the way in I continued to take the boat to bits, looking for my missing art stuff - didn't find it but did clear out a lot of things we didn't need, but by the time we moored up behind Caxton the boat looked like this!!
Joe soon returned from storing the caravan so we decided to stay the night and go to the Weatsheaf for Chinese food. The pub is cold and tatty but the Chinese takeaway operates out of the kitchen and will serve you a meal in the pub - this is first class Chinese food at terrific prices.

This morning Lesley set off to see her mum and the fellers drove the boats back out into the country. I, in loco parentis, set off with the four dogs. Floyd & Fletcher were as good as gold although, initially, Floyd gazed wistfully at Caxton in the hope that Lesley might suddenly reappear - he's such a mummy's boy. He soon settled down and resumed ripping Muttley's head off.

Spent some time watching a hare in the field opposite, each time I see one I'm freshly amazed at the size of the things.

I have never, ever seen so many boats in one day as I've seen today, not even on the Llangollen in the school holidays, unbelievable. I guess some of the congestion will ease when the tunnel re-opens.

Friday 5 March 2010

Left Braunston again to meet up with Gosty Hill

Woke on Tuesday morning to ice on the cut (that makes a change) and quite thick fog, but the sun soon burnt through and we winded in the marina entrance and tied up for a quick planning meeting with Lesley before heading off out of Braunston to make sure we met up with Gosty Hill for coal and diesel. Ian and Ali were as good natured and entertaining as ever. We couldn't work out when we'd last seen them - it's been ages since we were last on their patch.
Again, it was the sort of weather that you just had to be out in with camera in hand.

Wednesday not such a good day, weather wise, but turned out rather special as G took on my routine duties so that I could, finally, get my paints out. That, of course, was not as simple as it sounds as we spent at least 2 hours pulling the boat to bits looking for various component parts. Still haven't found what we were looking for but we did find the 2 o/s peak district maps that we couldn't find when we were up there last August (and a hell of a lot of stuff we don't need - we really must do some off loading). Anyway, I knocked off the first full picture since we moved on board and jolly nice it was too - not the picture, but the doing of it.

Wednesday 3 March 2010

'Anonymous' has chosen my blog now

Anonymous has just posted the following comment,
"Live and let live and I bet we of said shanty town have been on the cut a lot longer than you snobs".

So, having condemned no-one, merely put a description under a captured photograph, I decided to refer to the dictionary.

In alphabetical order:
Anonymous; of unknown identity, having no individual or unusual features.
Shanty; small, crudely built shack (perhaps anon would like to take another look at the photo).
Snob; a person who has exaggerated respect for high social position or wealth and who looks down on those regarded as socially inferior.

Not a lot of opportunity for either high social position or wealth when you live on the cut. Who do I consider socially inferior? Just those that don't pay their licence fees. If that makes me a snob then mia culpa.

Tuesday 2 March 2010

Eventful day in Braunston. Caxton is swimming

Set off bright and early, in stunning weather, for Braunston - the dogs and I on the towpath and G whistling away at the birds (mainly the feathered variety), at the risk of getting him shipped off to the funny farm, he can mimic various species so well that they often return his calls.
Through the shanty town (there is room to get one boat past) and the church tower comes into sight.
Always a beautiful junction, in weather like this it is simply stunning.

We serviced the boat and headed off for moorings in search of Lesley and Joe and to watch Caxton being returned to the water after her stretch. Lesley and the dogs spotted us first and gave us a rapturous welcome - even Lesley cracked a smile! Floyd and Muttley immediately set about doing what they do best; wrestling and kicking each other and then ripping each other's heads off.

Now onto more serious matters; Caxton's return to her natural habitat. I naively thought that the crane would just deal with Caxton, but one boat was lifted off here into the workshop after Caxton was lifted onto the lorry and then the guys put new plating onto the stands ready for
the crane to lift another job onto here for re-plating. It was fascinating and loads of people came to watch, including bloggers and blog readers and we all introduced ourselves and formed a small, but reasonably orderly, audience in the sunshine.
Now here is Caxton's part of the drama.

Caxton looks fabulous but it was very scary and I could hardly bare to watch.

You can't see it from this photograph, but she has been put into a very congested part of the marina which will call for some very clever manouevering with their extra 5 foot - I wonder WHY they put him in back to front.

We were measured up for our new cover, tidied ourselves up a bit and all toddled of with Brian from NB Kyle for a bite and a pint. Absolutely exhausting this gongoozling.