Monday, 27 April 2009

It can't be sunny every day

Well of course it can't but I really feel that I ought to show a balanced picture of Life on the Cut.

Today, as across most of the U.K. it would seem, it has rained continually. We travelled 5 miles and 6 locks to Banbury - in the rain - and didn't see another boat on the move until we got to Banbury. We passed through the lovely little village of Cropredy - a little tourist hot-spot.

The land does need the rain though - a couple of days ago we went for a long walk across the fields and some of the ground was badly cracked as it was so dry.

In actual fact, as long as I'm warm and dry, I don't mind the type of soft rain that we have had today. Just like the weather can affect our moods I think it affects the mood of the countryside and I like that! On a more sensible note, working through locks in the wet can be slippery and, therefore, hazardous and needs to be approached with caution.

I really like Banbury. The canal is a central part of the town and maintained to a high standard. Boaters are made to feel really welcome. It has a good under-cover shopping centre with well known chain stores but what I like about it most of all are the original streets and alleyways and individual shops that remain. We need to take Maggie to a vet to have her booster injections.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Not for sale

Comfortable, well maintained canalside residence with magnificent views of the stunning Warwickshire countryside.

Wake up each morning to the 'soothing' sounds of ducks quacking, geese honking, the yellowhammer "chee-ee-ee-sing", cows mooing, sheep and lambs baaing and ..... baaing and ....baaing, buffaloes ....................... BUFFALOES?

Well I don't know what buffaloes are doing in Warwickshire either but they are definitely here and ............... NO! I had NOT been drinking!! Well - only coffee!

Monday, 20 April 2009

Warm Weather

Put up the bunting, hoist the flags, celebrate and party!
Today, I have allowed John to let the coal fire go out!!!!!!
Considering the price of a bag of coal these days, we will be quids in!

Forget that - he's been up to the pub and blown the lot on a pint of beer!
And Maggie was there with him egging him on!

This is the life

Being on our boat today - the weather being as glorious as it is, the location (still at bridge 103 on the South Oxford!) as perfect as it is, a brood of 12 tiny ducklings pecking away at the green on the boat, two hares in the field opposite and, a first for me, 2 tiny balls of lapwing fluff on long spindly legs running about in the growing cereal crop (I know not what) with mum keeping a watchful eye - IS what this life is meant to be all about.
Bridge 103! Yes, today, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives!
View of Bush Hill from our mooring.
John says I am waxing lyrical but .... I don't care!!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Mission Accomplished

Just to say that, today, "April Love" was finally sold and has chugged off towards Brinklow with her new owner. I suspect that she will never again look as good as she does today. The surveyor said that it was amongst the best maintained and cleanest boat that he has ever had to inspect and that the new owner had got a real bargain.

Becky's mum and Keith drove up to collect them and take them back to Staines. Judging from the amount of stuff in the car I suspect that top speed was about 30 m.p.h.!

It has rained most of the day and the towpath where we were was getting muddier and muddier so we have moved towards Napton to one of my favourite spots - by Bridge 103. We have lots of sheep and lambs for company and, hopefully, we will also get a glimpse of the barn owl we saw hunting the last time we moored here.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Easter Sunday

We tackled both the Buckby and Braunston flights on Easter Sunday. It was heaving with boats - both private and hire boats. Other than those reliant on their savings, what recession I ask myself! We arrived in Braunston along with a million, billion, trillion others!!! Still, I'm really pleased for canal based businesses and canal side towns and villages.

"April Love" is now in the dry dock being blacked and surveyed in readiness for being sold.

Our friends Rodney and Derek are up here in Crick Marina and we are meeting them for a meal in a pub tonight - we are going to try The Plough in Braunston village as they will allow dogs in the public bar.

Anyone who knows Rodney and Derek will "enjoy" the fact that they attempted to take Rodney's boat out for a cruise but broke down after about 10 minutes! Oh, Rodney!!!!!

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Destination in sight!

We are now sitting at the bottom of the Bucky Flight of locks opposite Whilton Marina. Ben had a long day fixing the last problem with "April Love" but after soldering wires and replacing a start battery we were up and running. We have had two long cruising days to get where we are now. And the last two days have been wet and cold. Stoke Bruerne on Good Friday was unbelievable! There is a lot of mooring space between locks 5 and 6 but it was all filled up! We squeezed in at the very top and breasted up.
Braunston tomorrow - only 13 locks for me to do!!!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

It never rains but ......!

Since Rodney left us to go home, things have been really busy. Ben and his friend, Vince, met us on Thursday 2nd April at Hayes and together we made our way to Denham for the evening's mooring. Each day we have set off fairly early (well, for us anyway!) making our way towards Braunston. Vince stayed with us until we reached Tring on Tuesday. I was REALLY grateful that he was there as anyone who has travelled the Grand Union from Brentford knows how heavily locked it is especially the section from Brentford to Tring!!

1st problem: Ben noticed a knocking sound on the prop shaft. Clearly it wasn't going to rectify itself so we called into Cow Roast Marina where a REALLY helful chap sorted it out! It did cost us 1/2 a day's cruising time, however. The next day we reached Leighton Buzzard and stopped to do some shopping. We had made good time and felt that we were nearly back on track.

2nd problem: Starter Motor on "April Love" wouldn't start!! We are still here and John and Ben have cycled to a boat yard 5 miles away where we hope it can either be fixed or replaced.
When Teresa came to collect Vince on Tuesday, Becky came with her and stayed - I hope things radically improve so that she is glad she did!!
Whatever happens, we must now put in some long hours if we are to get to Braunston in time.
Fingers crossed for a genius to be employed at Willowbridge Boatyard.
Still seem to be very few boats on the move where we are anyway. Wyvern Shipping have about 30 hire boats in their fleet and only three are still moored up! They must all have gone towards Stoke Bruerne and Braunston!!!!

Father and Son chatting - about amps probably!!!

Becky steering "April Love" down the Tring flight.

I'm going to take Maggie for a walk now and top up on my vitamin D3!!