Saturday, 18 July 2015

Monty nearly meets his namesake in Kintbury

Saturday 18th July 2015
Hungerford to Kintbury

3.25 miles, 3 locks

 A postscript from last night's tow path dinner - I never did get a photo of any of us having dinner, but Monty was ready and willing and guarding our space whilst the cooking was going on.

We woke this morning to a wonderfully sunny day.  After getting the papers and a few other bits we were off.  First stop was the water point -  a very slow affair - it took getting on for an hour to fill both boats.

Monty and I walked ahead to the first lock - Dun Mill Lock.  On the way we spotted these - no boat or person anywhere near, but I can only assume that someone was planning a swim!

The trip to Kintbury was fairly uneventful until we went through the third and last lock (Brunsden Lock) when we discovered that the pound was very low.  It caused some problems for the boat who had had to wait for the pair of us to exit the lock, but hopefully he 'escaped his grounding' without too much trouble.

As you approach Kintbury this rather splendid house comes into view

With this very inviting swinging chair - just the place for a cup of tea/G & T on a lovely summer afternoon/evening

Boatwif had spotted this fellow blogger (nb Waiouru) in Hungerford and here they were moored in Kintbury - well ahead of us - I spotted them going past us at just past 08:00.  I have just checked their blog for today and have noted that this is the second time this week we have been accused of stalking!!  Maybe I should be worried?!!  It was good to meet you Tom, albeit briefly - I hope the knee heals up quickly.

We were close enough to a tap that, with a couple of hoses connected together, 'boat washing day' had arrived!   Sarah and Paul - do you recognise the mooring from 2003?  The site of the 'forgotten' windlasses?

And very good we look too - as long as you don't look at the other side!!

Whilst the cleaning went on Monty and I went off to explore Kintbury - not somewhere we have ventured into before.  It is not chocolate box, but there are buildings of some interest.  The flowers around the second picture were amazing - it is a series of four cottages, or are they 'static mobile homes'.  Whatever they are they definitely seem to be in competition with each other

It has shops which is more than some towns/villages on this canal that we have passed through.  The butcher was shut by the time we got there, so I have no idea whether it is worth a visit.  The butcher in Hungerford is definitely worth calling in to.  The baker is only open on Wed and Sat mornings and I have no idea how often Teasles is open, but it was still open late Saturday afternoon.

On one side of the butcher is a general store and between that and the butcher is an alley way.  Follow it down and you come across this rather lovely tea and cake shop.  I was too late, but it would have been tempting to stop had it been open.  I do love the sentiment.

Out next stop was St Mary's.

There had been a big wedding that afternoon.  I got the feeling from the flowers that it was quite a natural affair - they are not that clear here, but I really liked them.

The thing that fascinated me most was this rather wonderful tapestry.

We took a detour down a footpath and found the allotments. Some were in better shape that others and I was very taken with the scarecrow and the very old turnstile that does still turn

Finally when we got back to the canal the horse drawn boat was just arriving back in Kintbury.  The second picture is of one of the young guests aboard who had just given 'Freddy' a well deserved apple after three hours hard work.  It went down in one!  The third picture is of Freddy without his working dress and the fourth he is back in his field.  Freddy is 13 who has been doing this job every other day throughout the summer season for 10 years

And Monty's near miss with his namesake - the horse that works the other days of the week is called 'Monty'.  Maybe we will see him tomorrow.

Sunday 19th July 2015
Kintbury to Hampstead Weir

3.25 miles, 4 locks

First job this morning was to pop into the village and get the papers - so that was Boatwif, Monty and I sorted whilst The Captain and Chris prepared for the off.  We walked past nb Wairouru and had a quick chat to Tom and Jan.  When we returned to our boats I was met with the words from Chris 'I have had a disaster'.  Fearing something really dire (broken boat??) I was relieved to find it was just an argument he lost with the sun cream that had 'exploded' out of the tube and gone everywhere!  He had, however, cleared up the mess and there was just a shirt waiting to be washed!!  On such a lovely day extra washing is no problem at all.

As we moved off boats moved in to our spaces - one from the other side of the cut as she wanted to wash the other side today.  I have to say we look very smart on the port side, but don't look at the starboard!  It will, however, have to wait until the tow path is on the other side and we can access it. Into the lock at Kintbury - would we see Monty the horse on the other side?

They were busy preparing the boat for today's trip

But we missed Monty - Freddy was working a second day and he will then get two days off

The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful.  There was some lovely scenery, but the internet here is really bad, so I am having trouble uploading pictures.  The weather was perfect - lots of sun with a nice cooling breeze.

At Copse lock there were many helping hands wanting to 'do their good deed for the day'

On we go past the Guide Boat (Falcon Adam)

Through Hampstead lock with all of us hopeful that 'our' mooring was free.  nb Cleddau was moored near Aldermaston for many years and the spot we had in mind is near Hampstead Weir and was their favourite overnight stop when going down the cut for a weekend.  There is only room for two boats - would it be empty?  Yes it was

 Chris was closely supervised by Monty to ensure he tied us up correctly.

And this is our view from the side hatch

Shortly after mooring we had this visitor - I am sure someone will tell me what type of moth/butterfly it is?

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