Enjoyable as it has been in Braunston we have to move on. The sun was shining today and it seemed as good an opportunity as any so we headed off towards the locks at 10.30. Even though we have worked through the Braunston locks many times before its been some time since we last encountered a flight of double locks so it seemed quite hard work. We were hard on the heels of a pair of roped-together boats and as no other boats appeared we had to ascend on our own, which means that the steerer (in this case Alan) has to run to the front of the boat to throw up the bow rope so it can be fastened to a bollard and then run back to the stern to do the same. Then we can open up the paddles and fill the lock quickly. Actually the Braunston locks are fairly shallow so that’s not a difficult operation but the gates did seem very heavy. We met three sets of boats coming down which should have been a help but two left both gates open so I had an extra heavy gate to pull shut. I am sounding very whingy but I came down with a tummy bug last night (maybe the prawn starter) and I’m still feeling miserable. I could have swopped places with Alan but by then I was pretty muddy as the towpaths were in a very bad condition so it all seemed too much effort.
We steamed through the tunnel in quick time and without meeting any boats and moored at Norton Junction above the Buckby Locks, the first time that we have found a space there. Usually we have to go through the first lock to the moorings below. They are prettier and more preferable moorings but another boater told us this morning that they were moored there last night and the pound had dropped about a foot overnight. After spending the night with a severe lean twice in the past we try to avoid it at all costs. There was a hire boat behind us when we arrived and both they and the boat behind them told Alan that they found it impossible to get any TV reception. Alan put up our aerial and managed to get analogue on four channels. We offered the loan of DVDs to the hire boaters who had grandchildren who were obviously getting fed up but they decided to go on to Braunston. It was quite late and I imagine they would be arriving in the dark. Several boats passed us in the dark over the week since the clocks went back: seems people are still adjusting their internal clocks.
Its pretty cold tonight and we are low on diesel so the fire wouldn’t stay alight and we have put the central heating on. I have piled on the layers with a thick jumper bought in NZ many years ago (from an expensive ladies wear shop but it does remind me of something a Kiwi sheep shearer would wear) on top of a thick fleece, both brown so I look a bit like a very rotund teddy bear. I just need to add a scarf for the full Rupert look. We will refuel tomorrow at Weedon: on a cold night there’s nothing like a glowing fire. Nothing much on TV anyway as we missed most of Downton Abbey so we will watch another series of the Beiderbeck Tapes. We have loved these ever since they were first on TV in the 80s. Like the Vicar of Dibley, another favourite, they can be regularly re-watched. Alan is making a goat’s cheese souffle which seems a good idea for dodgy tummies (he is also suffering) and there is much furious beating going on with a hand whisk. Being the one to write the blog suddenly seems like a very good excuse!
Today we did 4.64Miles and 6 Locks
Statistics so far:-
2074.04 Miles, 1138 Locks, 118 Swing Bridges, 82 Lift Bridges, 34 Tunnels