Friday 17th July to Sunday 9th August
Saturday 18th July
The weather stayed fine for us yesterday morning, so we made our way to Market Harborough, arriving there at 10.15.
After a much needed cup of coffee we then walked into town for some shopping and took Alex with us. This meant that I could find myself somewhere to sit; which turned out to be the steps of the local church; whilst Wifey strolled around the local Co-op. We then strolled back to the boat, having nothing more to do in town. Wifey will be going in again this morning for some additional retail therapy, while I stay here with Alex. Suits me, one walk into Market Harborough is enough for me in any one year.
Monday 20th July
Yesterday lunchtime we walked along to the locks and had our usual drink and snacks at the smaller of the two pubs, the name of which escapes me.
Anyway, while Sheila waited outside with Alex, I asked for a Guinness for me, a J2O for Wifey and snacks for us to share. When I asked for the Guinness the bartender said, “We don’t have draught Guinness, but we do have this ‘swishy’ thing”, and went on to explain what he meant. They have what looks like a Guinness pump but, instead of it pouring a drink, it has a small stand on which to sit the glass, after it has been poured from a can. This stand is given a small splash of water, the glass is stood upon it and, after pressing a button the Guinness fizzes and a head appears on it. Magic!!
Now, when I went back for a refill, I asked a different barman about this and he said, “A Guinness keg now costs £150 and is far too expensive for us as a small pub, so we had this installed instead, otherwise we would have to charge £3.80 per pint in order to see a profit”, and I left it at that.
If memory serves me correctly a keg of Guinness holds 11 gallons, well it did in our day working in pubs. By my calculations 11 gallons is equal to 88 pints and by dividing £150 by 88 we get £1.70p per pint as the cost to the pub. They therefore have £2.10 gross profit on a pint. Somewhat less if you take in transportation costs. I see no problems with that, do you?
Today we’ll be going up Foxton locks and mooring a couple of miles further on.
Thursday 23rd July
This morning has dawned bright and sunny, which is just as well ‘cos we’re on the last five miles back to Crick. We have lots to do when we get there, not least of which is shopping and topping the car up with petrol. Let’s hope it stays fine for that five miles.
Saturday 25th July
We enjoyed a calm and leisurely, five mile cruise back to the marina on Thursday morning, and it stayed calm even up to slotting the boat into our mooring bay; in a strong wind this can be something of a chore.
In the afternoon we took a drive over to Daventry to fill the car up with petrol, because I’m driving down to Harlow this morning, where I’ll be visiting Les and then Chris and Marilyn, then on to Alan for the rest of the day. This will be my last visit until November, so I’d better make the most of it.
On Monday afternoon I have an appointment with the Podiatrist, but we’ll probably do some shopping in the morning. After that it will be a case of deciding which day to leave here; probably Wednesday or Thursday, depending upon the weather.
Thursday 30th July
After a recent visit to the Podiatrist in Daventry, I have been advised to increase the dosage of one of my painkillers, so I am awaiting a phone call from my GP and hoping that, once she has written out the new prescription, we’ll be able to collect it and be on our way tomorrow morning.
Friday 31st July
Well, it looks like we’ll be able to set out on this year’s cruise today, albeit somewhat than usual. The weather is fine and there’s barely a breeze so, all we need to do before we go, is get today’s paper and dispose of rubbish. Whoopee!
Saturday 1st August
We finally left Crick at 9.30 yesterday morning and our first task was to run through Crick tunnel. This is not a problem normally, not even that late in the morning, but it wasn’t long before we ran into trouble, in the form of another boat coming the other way.
Now, as most people are aware; even you landlubbers; traffic flow on canals and rivers is the Continental way of driving on the right hand side. Well, we were only about 100 yards short of the exit, when this moron entered the tunnel. The problem was that he entered on our side; obviously thinking he was driving his car, rather than his boat. Naturally I called to him to move over, but I ended up ‘helping’ him by very gently sliding our bow alongside his boat, thereby nudging him over to his own side. “Sorry about that he said, I was just getting myself organised”.
Anyway we finally made it through and arrived at the top of Watford locks, which are a mixture of single and staircase, so require the attendance of a lock-keeper. Naturally, since we were pretty late in arriving, boats were already in the process of coming up, so we had to hang around and wait for them, but we eventually moved through them and arrived at Wilton Hythe marina by 12.30.
In the afternoon we had a go at removing nasty bits of rust from the port side of the roof and applied rust remover. Later today, after we get to the top of Braunston Locks, we’ll apply some primer to those patches.
We’ll probably drop down the locks on Sunday morning.
We arrived at the top of Braunston locks at about 09.30 and, since there was another boat just about to go down, we decided to go with them; these locks are double size. So, by about 10.30 or so, we had moored up outside the marina.
Interestingly, the man on the other boat lives in Germany, not only that, he also lives in Hamburg, which is where my RAF pal Alan lives. Small world!
Anyway, he comes to the UK about six times per year and has his boat moored on the Cambridgeshire Levels, at a marina called Fox Boats. Not only that, but no boat licence is needed for the levels. Although it is still necessary to obtain a licence if you want to cruise the River Nene; this needs a bit more investigation.
We took a walk up to the chandlery later in the day and bought a new and thicker rope for our centre line. We also bought more green paint and some ‘rope’ for the fire door which, although we cleaned the chimney, still exuded smoke from around the door.
Today is a day of rest and will see us in The Admiral Nelson at lunchtime. Meanwhile, I’m off to start breakfast.
Monday 3rd August
After a walk up to the village shop for the paper and some odds and sods, we left our Braunston moorings at 08.30 and made our way to the top of Hilmorton locks, where we arrived at 11.00.
We then got the tin of black non-slip paint out and filled in the primer patches on the port side of the roof. Sheila then inched her way along the starboard gunwale and checked if anything of a similar nature needed doing there and found nothing untoward. So, tomorrow morning; assuming the weather is dry; we’ll remove some of the tat from the roof; ie, Top-box and flower boxes; and we’ll have a go at repainting at least some of the roof.
Wednesday 5th August
My dear Wife carried out some more rubbing down and applied rust killer to that stretch of the boat below the gunwale, which is very low and, since I am unable to bend down onto my knees, is yet another chore I have to leave to her. But, don’t worry my turn will come when we get to painting the roof and other, higher parts of the boat.
Now, does anybody out there read the Daily Mail? If you do then you will be aware of the regular cartoons by Mac. Ordinarily I wouldn’t comment on these; they are usually pretty cute and comical, so nothing needs to be said.
However, in yesterday’s cartoon he showed long queues at the gates to heaven with the caption reading, “Sorry about the long queue Cilla, there are thousands of illegals trying to get in!” Well, I can see the point of this cartoon but, with Cilla having just passed away and literally hundreds of migrants dying trying to reach Europe, I thought this was rather tasteless. Perhaps it’s just me…………….!!
This morning we’ll be moving on to Newbold, where we can catch the bus into Rugby for a bit of retail therapy.
Saturday 8th August
Whilst at Newbold yesterday, we took the opportunity to bus into Rugby for shopping. Unlike Crick, the bus service is much more frequent and two buses run at about 20 minute intervals, so we were there and back in record time.
This morning we cruised the five miles to bridge 26 and, after our usual coffee and read of the paper, Wifey then did some more painting on the port side gunwale. This had to be done today because the moorings at Hawkesbury are on the starboard side. Shiralee is now looking somewhat less patchy and, just as soon as we get to the Ashby canal we should be able to finish both sides below the gunwale.
Sunday 9th August
We set off for Hawkesbury at 08.00, which is usually early enough to get us to the shallow lock, which lies a few yards short of the Greyhound pub at Hawkesbury. Along the way though, just as we came into Ansty at about 09.00, another two boats pulled out ahead of us. Then, a short while later a small cruiser also pulled out ahead of us, making another three boats going through the lock before we got there.
Now, for those of you unfamiliar with Hawkesbury Junction, the approach to that single lock is between a line of boats moored on both sides, so, with four boats lined up to go through that lock, it’s absolute chaos. After pulling in to allow a couple of those boats to go through, we decided to top up with water first, by which time another two boats had gone through.
All this faffing about gave us cause for concern as to whether we would find a space to moor up, but we were fortunate in that some of those boats didn’t stop.
We had intended to get some more rubbing down done, this time on the starboard side but, alas, it was far too hot for us to do so and it will probably wait until we get to the Ashby.
This morning is much cooler and, with heavy clouds no too far away, I suspect we’ll get some rain later, which means there’s not much chance of getting any painting done.
On that happy note I think I’ll post this blog.
Take care folks and enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Dave, Sheila and Alex.