The Boathouse

October 31, 2010

For some reason (probably my addiction to Strictly Come Dancing) yesterday went without a blog so I’m working in retrospect. We were promised Saturday as our fix of sunshine before the clocks changed and it didn’t disappoint. Now that I have returned to Braunston with freshly appreciative eyes after visiting some frankly more dodgy places this year I feel as if I am feasting on beauty everywhere I look. The Autumn colours are at their best, the fields are green and grazed by sheep and cattle instead of huge swathes of ploughed mud and the villages are satisfyingly picturesque. Let’s make the most of it before the winter descends!

We caught the Amos bus over to Rugby to buy oil for an engine change. It was packed, with the aisles crammed with standing passengers by the time we got there. All the regulars were speculating about what might be happening in Rugby, apparently it wasn’t normal. We made a quick dive into the shops and then caught a bus back. We are looking forward to a good wander around Rugby but Alan has a tendon injury to one heel and is hobbling painfully so can’t walk far at present. The return trip was with Stagecoach and that was interesting as it took a different route through two very pretty villages: one was Barby and I’m not sure the name of the other. We came into Braunston through the back door.

We went to an early evening drink at the Boathouse as it was the nearest. When we were last here at the beginning of last year we had walked into the Boathouse and straight out again because Alan had scanned the taps and decided there was no real ale on offer. Whether or not that was correct they now offer Marstons and Alan had some pints of excellent Pedigree. We didn’t eat but the food going past looked good and its a two for one offer so we will try it out one night. We were there before dark so the view over the fields was great; the last evening that will be possible with the clock’s going back.

The Boathouse

Sunset

Lazy Evening

Statistics so far:-

2067.25 Miles, 1132 Locks, 118 Swing Bridges, 82 Lift Bridges, 34 Tunnels

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A slow start

October 29, 2010

Having arrived back at the boat late afternoon yesterday we decided to walk to the village to get some shopping and a Chinese takeaway. When we got up there we discovered that the Chinese takeaway shop was either a figment of my imagination or somewhere else entirely so we went to The Plough. We had made a resolution not to visit a pub for some weeks after a period of overindulgence but needs must! Anyway Alan very much enjoyed his two pints of excellently kept Adnam’s Broadside and a steak and ale pie. I decided to give the lamb casserole another chance. We had eaten at The Plough once before nearly two year’s ago and were served a black and dried up version of lamb casserole that had given us a very bad impression of a pub that we know is generally rated quite highly. Luckily this wasn’t the case last night and the lamb casserole was much improved.

Alan has been suffering from a very painful heel and his hobbling up to the village and back last night hadn’t done it any good so we put off plans to explore Rugby today. Instead I caught the very reliable Geoff Amos bus to Sainbury’s and staggered back with a very overloaded wobbly wheeled shopping trolley. As it was a day of chores after lunch I took the still surviving trolley laden with washing down to the laundry at Braunston Marina. I noticed that they were advertising for sale NB Mr Bunbury that had moored next to us for four years at Cowroast.

Its been an immensely busy day on the canal with boats passing almost constantly and I noticed on my way back to the boat that every possible mooring space was taken. It will be interesting to see if things quieten down after the end of half term, though most boats don’t seem to be school holiday dependent.

In the mean time Alan drilled the hole for the power monitor that we are going to fit when we change the batteries. We have religiously measured the voltage every morning ensuring that it was over 12.3 volts, this did not do a lot of good as the batteries still only lasted a little over 2 years. Anyway the battery monitor will do away with that little chore and let us know how much charge we really are putting into the batteries.

Statistics so far:-

2067.25 Miles, 1132 Locks, 118 Swing Bridges, 82 Lift Bridges, 34 Tunnels


Back on the boat

October 28, 2010

We have had a few days up North to celebrate my dads 88th birthday. We had a great time and it was nice to see all of the family. Now we are back we have to get down to the serious business of doing all of the long neglected chores. So it is an early night and then down to the serious business in the morning. Only one pic from our visit and that was of high tide near where we were staying.

High Tide

Statistics so far:-

2067.25 Miles, 1132 Locks, 118 Swing Bridges, 82 Lift Bridges, 34 Tunnels


Braunston revisited

October 26, 2010

Our batteries have been concerning us for some time and they need to be replaced. We decided that Braunston was a suitable place to do this and other similar chores. I guess that’s another reason that Braunston is a popular stopping place because it has a good selection of chandleries, marinas and boatyards facilities in close proximity.

On route to Braunston we had a brief crisis when the connection to the water filter under the sink came apart and water flooded out, through the cupboard and under the fridge into the corridor. After it was sorted there was a lot of mopping out to do, and we also discovered that the water had run right through under the bed and the tanks under the bed. There’s little enough room at the best of times so when everything was taken out from under the sink and there were wet towels and mopping up clothes everywhere it was quite chaotic.

Alan left me drying things out (not a selfish action, it gave a bit more space to put things) and went off to see the chandleries about batteries. He returned to say that he had found Braunston Chandlers very helpful and late afternoon we returned to the shop to order the batteries and a battery monitor. Because we are changing to another brand of battery we need extra cables and they were able to make them up for us and did so while we were there. When we fit the batteries we can moor outside the shop.

This all took a fair bit of time and while we were in the shop we were chatting to another boater with two very patient and well behaved dogs who sat quietly while they waited for us to finish. We walked up the hill to the village with them and decided to all have a couple of pints and a good chat in The Wheatsheaf. So a good end to a busy day.

The junction

Canal at Braunston

Pump House

Busy Canal

Statistics so far:-

2067.25 Miles, 1132 Locks, 118 Swing Bridges, 82 Lift Bridges, 34 Tunnels


Braunston

October 25, 2010

The stretch between Hillmorton and Braunston is as pretty a bit of English countryside as any you could find. The sun was shining, the grass was richly green, the spire of Braunston Church was a welcoming beacon on the horizon. There were more boats moving on the canal than we had seen in a month further north. Was this a last gasp before battening down the hatches for the winter or are there more people moving on continuously this year?

Braunston is many people’s favourite stopping place on the system but we had never been in that club in the past. Maybe it was always overcrowded as we moved through, we had one rather poor meal in the Plough, it was the depth of a grey winter last time we were there: these little things can add up to a less favourable impression. But this time we really did feel that we were coming back to a well loved friend. Of course the beauty of the approach had softened us up, and as we moored up we thought ”Yes, its good to be back”.

Park Street

North Oxford Canal

Braunston

Today we did 6.57 Miles

Statistics so far:-

2067.25 Miles, 1132 Locks, 118 Swing Bridges, 82 Lift Bridges, 34 Tunnels


Hillmorton

October 24, 2010

We moved on down to Rugby where we wanted to shop at the nearby Tesco. The moorings that we had used a year ago before the water point were pretty full and looked unappealing so we went on under the bridge and managed to find a spot on the town centre side where there were lots of ropes tied by previous moorers that we could put our ropes through. I noticed that in the past year a large housing estate had been nearly completed where there was wasteland last year.

Its such a luxury to have a supermarket so handy to the canal, especially as our shopping trolley wheels are on the verge of imminent collapse. I feel very guilty because I am a very strong supporter of local shopping but its just so easy to do it all in one place.

After the shop we moved on down to Hillmorton and in typical fashion it started to rain as we went through our first locks for yonks. It was just plain miserable so we cut short our movement for the day and moored in the very pleasant moorings at the top of the locks. We weren’t that keen on Hillmorton last time we were there below the locks: a cruiser moored behind us was set adrift and caused all sorts of problems so it didn’t give a good impression. This time it seemed a real haven from the rain. We walked up past the church and could see why people like it so much.

Piston Broke are in the boatyard at Hillmorton at present after being stretched and we went round to admire the work and say hello. Paul & Lynne weren’t there so we’ll catch up with them in a few days. We need to get on to Braunston to get some bits and pieces sorted out ourselves.

Lock to nowhere

Hillmorton Canal Centre

Today we did 4.14 Miles 3 Locks

Statistics so far:-

2060.68 Miles, 1132 Locks, 118 Swing Bridges, 82 Lift Bridges, 34 Tunnels


Newbold Quary

October 23, 2010

We started off to walk down the towpath to Rugby but were diverted by the Newbold Quarry Park. The centre of the park is an old cement quarry that has been flooded. The side we entered wasn’t very exciting with a high wall of railings and scrubby stuff blocking off a view of the water. (When we got round to the other side we could see why the railings were necessary: there was a precipitous drop down a cliff into the water.) We wandered round the paths around the park including one that took us up some steep steps to a fine view over the canal and beyond. Opposite the cliffs the path skirts the edge of the water and there were tufty ducks, a pair of grebe, coots, moorhen and seagulls to watch, along with a pair of swans and one cygnet. It seemed that the swans had decided that it was time its offspring left to fend for itself because it was driven away each time it came near them: we guessed there are many parents nowadays that might wish they could do the same! Apparently the quarry is one of the few protected habitats of the native white clawed crayfish, the only crayfish native to the British Isles. They have been almost wiped out nationally by the North American Signal Crayfish and the crayfish plague that they spread but are themselves immune to.

Newbold Quary

Down by the water

Statistics so far:-

2056.54 Miles, 1129 Locks, 118 Swing Bridges, 82 Lift Bridges, 34 Tunnels