Tuesday, 26 September 2017

The Magnet Still Exists!

Tuesday 26th September 2017
Grove Lock Marina to Below the Three Locks at Soulbury
6.5 miles, 5 locks

First, briefly to the weekend which was a great success.  It was lovely to see our daughter and her youngest son, Jamie aged 5 on Friday.  George (9) was out with his Daddy at a gymnastics class.  They arrived home as we left, so it was a hurried 'hello' and 'goodbye'.  Shoes were bought, so we now both have dry feet, appointments kept, we spent Friday night in the house (our house insurance insists we spend one night there every 60 days) and we were off to Bedford on Saturday.  At 4pm we, along with around 40 other friends and family of the birthday pair, boarded The John Bunyan boat for a cruise along the River Great Ouse.

Complete with a very talented jazz trio

and a cream tea - the scones were really good.

Why were we there?  To celebrate a double 70th birthday - Sue (Boatwif from nb Cleddau)

and Ken (The Captain)

The trip took us all to a place called Danish Camp

Where we disembarked and made our way up to the terrace for a good view of the boat (see first photo)

Before we went inside for a dinner which was followed by dancing before a coach took us all back to Priory Marina.  A fantastic day and many thanks to them both.

After a good nights sleep we headed all the way back to Bromsgrove to collect Monty and then went back to Grove Lock Marina. Chris drove just over 400 miles in the three days, but it was worth it.

We had intended moving across to the other side of the canal on Monday, but it was pouring with rain and we did not feel like doing battle with the reeds, so we paid our money and stayed in the marina making good use of the electric hook up to get the washing done.  To be honest we were both tired and were glad to have a day off.

What a difference a day makes - this morning the sun shone and it was delightfully warm.  Before we set off, Martin, a resident cat, thought it would be a good idea to visit our boat, until he saw Monty!  I have to say that Monty has learnt not to chase cats, but he can give them a good evil eye.  At one point Martin had his front paws on the button fender in an attempt to board,

but he did eventually decide that discretion was the better part of valour and he retreated

 As we got to the lock by the marina who should come along the towpath on their bikes but Darryl

and Pam - our companions from last week.  Thank you both for your help today and safe travels when you move on.

As we progressed along the canal we were taken back to memories of France last summer - Le Somail was one of our favourite places on the Canal du Midi

After a quick stop at Leighton Buzzard to pop into Tesco for the paper we went down one more lock and came to The Globe only to find that the magnet is still there under the water level

and it pulled Tentatrice in - Chris assures me he did not have the power to stop her, especially as there was a Tentatrice sized hole on rings right outside the pub!  Years ago, Sue and Ken had nb Cleddau moored on this canal and we did quite a few trips with them and it was always when Chris was steering that the magnet at the Globe drew Cleddau in.  We stopped here two years ago when the two boats were travelling together only to find the place was not what it used to be.  We thought we should give it another go and I am glad to report we both had a really good sandwich for our lunch.

Monty and I walked for a while when we set off again - autumn colours are beginning to become apparent

The views were rural and it was utterly peaceful - no traffic, just birds singing in the trees, the boat engine turning over, the water rippling under the bow and the occasional train way in the distance - bliss

They are certainly doing a lot of dredging along this canal.

There are three locks at Soulbury and it is good to see that the Pumping Station

is being restored

There were boats coming up as well as us and a hire boat with a crew from Vancouver Island, Canada going down.  That is one of the real pleasures of this way of life - meeting people from all over the world and having brief conversations before you go your separate ways.

How's this for a paint job?  I love it

and this is the other side

Just below the locks are moorings with rings with just enough room for us.

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