Friday 29 November 2013

Regenerated into 'Chance' rs

I'm telling you it's all one big social whirl around Braunston but, firstly, we have had some technical issues. Our main alternator belt broke and shredded the travel power alternator belt and now we have one forward engine leg mounting bolt sheered off and the other one missing. That's G's parlance - in mine we've got a wibbly wobbly engine.

For some reason this seems to be the only pic I took whilst in Rugby - must of been defeated by all the Christmas/Birthday shopping
 I really liked the tranquility of the moorings at Newbold
 and Newbold Park makes for good dog walking
We had a date in Braunston with our friends, Deb and Kevin. This is their puppy Herbie - how can a 'puppy' be that huge?
 so double that up with a full grown Teddy and you understand why they have a wide beam rather than a narra!
 now Deb and G seem to be having a rather nice time
 whilst Kevin and Baxter are, clearly, being bored to tears
 not to mention being squashed!
 Muttley's absence from these pics is significant - he was really upset with Herbie's presence on the boat which is sooo unlike him, so we had to keep him up one end of the boat (we thought it might be because Herbie hadn't had his pockets emptied - yet)
It turned out that Muttley was really quite ill - although a lot better now, he's still getting us up throughout the night. No vet required - we have been here before. He's eaten the leftover 'gizzards' from one/some of Daisy's mice. It's a matter of keeping him hydrated and giving up on a good night's sleep.

The following morning the four of us had an excellent breakfast on the NB Gongoozlers Rest whilst Herbie was busy eating the handbrake on their motor home and Muttley was busy throwing up all over the boat. Kevin took G to find new alternator belts whilst Debbie and I hatched plans re France.

After lunch Mike and June came out for a visit - they've spent the last 20 years (ish) on their narra in Europe - boy did they get their poor brains picked over. It was so good to meet them, a smashing couple - we could have swapped stories for weeks.

In the morning Leon, from NB The Old Bovine, came round for coffee and then the next knock was Al from Derwent 6 - she was just popping round to say that they were 'in town' but I hi-jacked her for an hour or two and a night out is planned over the weekend as they were moving on for a couple of days.

James and Dougie - we're on your social tails!!!!!

Sunday 24 November 2013

Spectacularly mucked up

In one single day in Braunston we managed to not only be 'not found' by NB Ellen but lost their phone number and e-mail address ... grrr!
We managed to book into AJ Canopies to get our cratch cover repaired (we keep catching the bottom stud in locks) and to have a 'sun shade' (bimini) to fit on our pram hood ready for the sunny climes of the South of France.

We also had a long promised brekkie at the Gongoozlers rest and re- stocked the freezer at the excellent butchers

The sunshine was glorious. I really must finish painting that other shutter
We had an excellent pint at The Admiral Nelson - lovely sofas and a roaring fire where we met up with Mike - a friend of Diana that used to work for us in our shop in our previous existence - he has subsequently bought NB Lady Thelma and moved on to the cut. He's followed our blog since we first took to the water and has been looking out for us.
and then we found Maffi as we approached Hillmorton Locks and then passed Derwent 6 - we should catch up with them this week

There was enough pheasant casserole left for Maffi to have supper with us and Molly happily curled up in Baxter's chair to snooze the evening away
now she is one gorgeous little dog that knows how to make herself at home
Then we moved on to Newbold to catch a bus into Rugby and just about finished the Xmas shopping
Saturday night Simon and Kelly (who bought the Barley Mow at Newbold) held an Irish night with a great busker, dancers and stew and colcannon. I think this has to be one of the nicest pubs we've been in for years. They are into all things boaty and doggy and were pretty amazing as front of house mine hosts. They've only been in there since the end of July and they now provide laundry facilities and you can rent a bathroom. So if you want to languish in a bath (whilst your washing washes) for the afternoon and then have a pint with good home made food for supper; then this is the place for you.

We'll move back to Braunston tomorrow where we are expecting a lot of visitors starting with Kevin and Debbie from WB Avalon in the afternoon. Sadly not NB Ellen though - looks like that will have to be after Xmas now.

Monday 18 November 2013

A nice surprise

Thursday I walked up to the village shop for some essential supplies for the weekend; 'phoning G on the way back to say I'd meet him in the Folly for a lunchtime pint. As soon as I walked in, my dogs were greeted with great enthusiasm by the, unmistakably handsome, white Spaniel/Saluki 'type' cross of Ghost - the dog that lives with Brian on NB Kyle. He was in there for lunch with two other boaters and was moored out the other side of Napton. Although he caught up with the Yarwoods recently, I had no idea he was heading our way. It must be 3 years plus since we last saw him (in Birmingham?) . Needless to say we had a good laugh and catch up, but I then left the fellers to it as I didn't want to sleep the afternoon away!
I thought this was sad, at least it survived a bit longer to be spoilt for awhile I suppose
I couldn't leave the area without one little picture of 'it'
Stopped to water after the bottom lock before leaving on Friday - I popped to the little shop for milk that I'd forgotten and, in doing so, managed to miss NB Oakfield passing up to the flight. Planet G didn't twig so that was that opprtunity missed. Stopped off at NB Kyle for a coffee as we passed and then found Leon on NB The Old Bovine moored; so hovered and nattered for ages until boats approached from both directions and we had to move. Hoping to meet with NB Ellen when we get to Braunston.
My goodness this as busy and sociable area!

Reached Fox's Gate for the weekend and the animals were all dying to get out whilst we split wood and set up the bird feeders
The number of boats that passed by here Saturday and Sunday was incredible - continuing on well after dark and starting very early. To be honest the weather was damp and miserable - as were all the footpaths and I had no inclination to walk the big round trip to the deer park in all that clag. At least I completed a number of jobs that I'd been putting off!
These steps from the towpath onto the bridge have been half built for as long as I've been boating - the verticals have been inserted but never backfilled to provide steps and are - quite frankly - lethal. I don't expect they'll ever be finished now. Where is 'elf and safety when you do need it?

Moved on into Braunston this morning where we'll stay a day or two before taking a trip up to Rugby, then coming back through this way towards the Leicester arm - probably. Perhaps need to keep a close eye on the weather now vis a vis water points.

Saturday 16 November 2013

Another dog fallen in!

Why are people's dogs falling in the water? A Collie fell off of a passing boat this morning - G happened to be standing on the bank, so called it and fished that one out too!

"This water's taller than me". "That's because it's older" (you need to be of a certain age).
Still struggling to walk the dogs with all these thorns lying everywhere
we reached the waterpoint before Napton Top Lock - we struggled with watering too - this hire boat was moored right on the waterpoint and, being a short boat and the proximity to the bend and the lock, we couldn't line up either end to get the dogs on board so G had to take the dogs with him whilst he set the locks - he doesn't like doing that as they tend to want to run back to me. There was no-one on the boat and it turned out to be the same couple who we met at The Wharf Inn in Fenny Compton who had had two accidents and not been told that they couldn't get further South than Cropredy. You start to wonder ( in view of their choice of moorings) if the hire company actually spoke to them at all
Not just the dogs struggling with the brambles but props too - this little lot was fished out of the Top Lock
It was another glorious day and I moored three locks down so we could get a good view of the buffalo
on one side
and rolling countryside on the other
before walking down the flight to The Folly for a pint
I love the pub's selection of salt and pepper pots - last time we were here I bought some 'sheep' pots off of them
left later than intended (still getting caught out by these short days) and walked home by the light of the moon reflected in the water
overnight I'd been driven crazy by a load of dozy 'buzzing' flies which we thought might be due to the proximity of the buffalo so thought we'd move on down the flight to the 24 hour moorings
Except we didn't get very far as they were replacing the balance beam at Lock 10 - we had checked the stoppages in the morning and there was nothing. There was nothing at the top of the flight either but a notice at the bottom ( no use to us or the two boats coming down behind us) said it could be closed for up to a maximum of two hours - we read later.
The workmen had been told that an all day stoppage had been posted!!!! Anyway given that there were, by now, 3 boats hovering in locks and pounds they reversed out and closed the bottom gates for us with a piece of string! You can see the new bottom balance beam sitting on the bank. As it turned out it took them two days to complete the job
Daisy doesn't much like it down here - too many dogs -so gives me the willies sitting on the waterside gunwale and glaring at me through the galley window
I've just discovered the downside of our new whippy tall VHF aerial - it scrapes along the roof of bridge 'oles and flicks brick dust into my contact lenses - ouch. I know there is no need for VHF on the narrow canals, but this is G we're talking about and it is a new toy - it also means he can give me helpful driving advice when he is too far away from the boat to be heard

Monday 11 November 2013

I adore this place

Last time I was here at Wormleighton I had a really interesting comment from a lady who had a connection with this old manorial village - I wonder if she's had enough stamina to stick with my ramblings.
It was perfect weather so I couldn't resist a visit - I had intended to do the big circular and return via Priors Hardwick but the towpath was in such a brambly/thorny state it wouldn't have been fair on the boys (see previous blog)
the mellow brickwork is just glorious

and the bright sunshine made the light and dark contrasts sensational
you just want to get your paints out

even the more modern stuff is fabulous

I'd prepared all the veg and lamb for Sunday lunch before I left and G was cooking it so I was able to return and watch an afternoon Disney movie when I returned - not something I'd normally do but it was nice to just rest up a bit - dinner was fabulous and we ate it all (bang goes a casserole out of the leftovers - what piggies)
and then there was G's completion of the new base station VHF aerial - we played 10/4 rubber ducks today