Wednesday, 23 September 2015

What a difference a day makes

Nether Heyward to Norton Junction
5.75 locks, 7 locks

Yesterday evening we were treated to a wonderful sunset - would it bode well for today?

It did - the day dawned bright and sunny, albeit quite chilly

We pulled pins about 9am, thought about stopping in Weedon Bec to shop, but decided to push on.  Monty and I jumped ship there and walked to bridge 23 to get rid of some of his 'beans'.  This is us waiting to be picked up - a picture I rather like.

As you approach bridge 21, slow down and have your camera to hand.  This is so realistic - take a good look at the hands - they are even grubby enough to be real.  One bottle is Cockburns Port!  Now we came past here last year, admittedly going the other way, so may have missed this, but I don't think it was there.  It certainly does not appear on Boatwif's or our blog and I don't think we would both have missed it.  Boatwif when you go past next week, but sure to have your camera ready with instructions to the Captain to 'go slowly'.  As we passed this I was in the galley making sandwiches ready for our lunch as we had the Buckby locks ahead.  Such was the visual impact that Chris, reversed and called me out with instructions to bring the camera.

The sign said there was a butcher at the Heart of Shires Shopping Village just 300 yards from bridge 18.  There isn't!  I was despatched with money and a bag and whilst it probably is only 300 yards to the entrance, it is probably another couple of hundred yards to the actual shops.  I am sure I could spend some time looking round if I had time to spare, but I didn't and it was unlikely they had anything we might have needed on the boat.  Today we were aware of the railway on one side of the canal and the 'wonderful' M1 on the other - we have spent too much time on it over the years.

Just as we approached the bottom lock at Buckby who should be coming out of the bottom lock but Halfie
 and Jan on nb Jubilee.  They said they were stopping for coffee which we would love to have joined them for, however, we had just had a coffee and with 7 locks ahead of us we reluctantly pushed on.  It was good to say hello, albeit very briefly.  Hopefully we can stop and chat next time we meet up.

I had popped into Whilton Chandlers to ask the price of diesel - it was either 85 ppl or 89 ppl, either way it was far too much and we are not in need - we would have taken a top up if the price had been right.  We have discovered that Mark on Callisto will be near the Blue Lias, Stockton when we go past on Saturday - his price 67 ppl - much better!

 We did stop above lock 12 to go to the farm shop (certainly worth a visit, thank you Adam) - home made (well farm made) cottage pie for dinner tonight with leek and mushrooms.  We moored above lock 8 and had lunch and popped into the canal shop - a few more plaques made their way back onto the boat - another job for Chris!

We completed the locks in reasonable time despite there being boats all over the place, but not going our way.  There were two boats behind us and we did wait after lock 12, but they never appeared, so we went 'solo'.  We are moored just after the bridge at Norton Junction in almost the same place as we spent our first night after meeting up with Cleddau last summer.  That night we sat out for Pimms - a bit too chilly tonight.  Also last year there were just the two of us - tonight there are boats all along the cut in front and behind us.

For the first time since we left Milton Keynes the side hatch has been facing the water and we have a view.

Our excitement for late afternoon was to sort out our very large bow locker - we had two bags of coal to stow away.  We have discovered that the big blue Ikea bags are good for storing heavy things in the bow - they make lifting easier and help prevent rips in the bags.  Next job was to light the fire.  Chris laid it and lit it and then realised he had not swapped the cap for the chimney!!  Action stations - him along the gunwhales to remove the cap, me to open the side hatch window to expel the smoke, dash to the stern, get the chimney, back inside and pass it through to Chris to put in place .  We won't do that again!!

Before I go - two messages to pass on:

nb Sola Gratia with Tim, Tracy and guide dog Oakley will be resuming their walk on 5 October, but before they do there is a big event on at The Bacon Arms in Newbury on 4 October.  If anyone is near there do pop in.  If you see them on their route from Newbury to Reading do please give them a wave and wish them well.

The last thing is very personal and pertinent given the said loss of Mo from nb Balmaha this week.  I have a friend who I worked with for a number of years who is suffering from lung cancer. She is 42, has never smoked and has always kept herself very fit.  She is trying to raise awareness that cancer can strike those who are young.  If you want to know more, please have a look here to see a press release done in conjunction with Cancer Research.  Although the press release says the new drug was working, I am afraid that it is now not working and she is hoping to get another new drug to help her with her fight against this awful disease.  I am so pleased that Sharon and Justin we able to join us for a day on the boat from Godalming to Guildford in August.


  1. Glad you liked the farm shop. Best place for diesel in that area is Rugby Boats at Stowe Hill Wharf. Just under 60ppl at the moment, I understand (although even that sounds expensive after the 49ppl we paid at Hawne Basin!)

  2. Oh b****r we went past there today!! We stopped there last year and nearly stopped today but with 7 locks looming we pressed on! We are far from desperate - just trying to keep topped up. The farm shop is definitely worth a visit - the cottage pie, leek and mushrooms were really good.

  3. This is a great website for checking diesel prices (although you do need to check how up to date they are):

  4. Thanks for that info Adam - duly saved. Also I have found your blog and saved that too! Jennie