Friday 24th Sept.
We travelled to Jannock via the Southam chippie for our supper - excellent. We then loaded our stuff onto the boat, opened the beer and the playing of Soddit commenced. Four games were completed before bedtime accompanied by the sound of rain on the roof of the boat.
Saturday 25th Sept.
A traditional Soddit breckie of bacon sarnies, tea and OJ was followed immediately by the arrival of a diesel boat Towcester. As Jannock was getting low I purchased 170 litres at a cost of £175.00p declaring 60-40. We then set off towards Calcutt where we were 4th in the queue for the bottom lock. We shared through that one but our partner went to join the now single boat waiting in the next lock as their previous partner had moored up. Once into the middle lock we waited to see if one of the boats now coming through the bottom lock would join us but they waved us on ahead so we continued up the flight solo. We then joined a long procession heading for Braunston. There were frequent stops when someone ahead had to wait for an oncoming boat through a bridgehole and we had varying reports of twenty to fifty boats ahead of us in the procession from oncoming crews. We stopped for lunch prepared by Ian and more non-contact fishing just after bridge 99 and watched many more boats pass us. On then to Braunston and a right jam-ole (excuse the pun). Once through the junction, with a quick glance left to see Allsorts moored up, there was a long queue of boats all the way to the marina entrance where a boat was winding. We started moving and then a boat at the water point pulled out in front of us and then winded in the marina entrance as well. Past that and we had to hang around while another boat did a 98 point turn opposite UCC. All this time there had been a Willow Wren hire boat just behind us but when we finally got to the bottom lock they were nowhere to be seen. We waited for a while but the boat waiting to come down persuaded us to continue without them. As we were departing from the lock we were admonished for not waiting for them by a woman off of the 3rd boat in the queue that now existed for the lock. It would appear that she was intent on sharing with her friend so would be putting the hireboat through solo ahead of them. We agreed to wait at the second lock and then shared the rest of the flight with a crew of novice Danes. They were a much better crew by the time we left the top lock. Into Braunston tunnel with Jerusalem, Land of Hope and Glory and the 633 Sqn theme issuing from Jannock's stereo. After a rousing passage through a remarkably dry tunnel we moored at Welton wharf for the night and were complimented for our choice of music by the Danes as they passed. I prepared a chicken dinner with fresh veg from Brian's garden and then we settled in for 5 games of Soddit before giving up for the evening just after midnight.
Sunday 26th Sept.
I was up and out on the Di Blasi by 6am to do a car shuffle to our destination. On my arrival back at the boat the other two were still asleep so I put the kettle on and made tea. Brian thought that I had just got up to go and move the car - Ha! After breakfast we moved down to Buckby top lock which we passed through solo and then joined another boat, that had been in front of us, for the remaining 6 locks. Between locks 11 and 12 I was asked by a fella on the towpath whether he and the girl he was with could experience going down a lock on a boat as she'd never done one before. I let them onto the front welldeck once I was in the next lock and they descended down with us to the bottom lock where they got off. The whole bottom lock area was swarming with a well mixed collection of foreigners (possibly students) of which the couple I had given a lift to were part. I felt sorry for our lock partner as, typical of performing to an audience, he completely messed up his entrance to the lock. Once we were through the bottom lock we found the same fella winding an ABC hireboat in Wilton marina entrance. It turned out that they had hired two boats for a daytrip for all these studenty types and didn't have time to pass through any locks. Meanwhile the weather remained dry, grey and cloudy but we were sure it would start raining soon. We stopped before Stowehill bridge for lunch and then moved forward onto the water point to fill up once we'd finished eating. As soon as we started off again the rain started too. Light drizzle at first getting heavier and colder in the biting northerly wind. Brian retired inside to keep warm and help finish up the beer whilst Ian and I braved it out on the back deck. After the glorious weather we had yesterday this was a disappointing end to the weekend. On arrival at our destination we soon decamped into the car and headed home. Another wonderful weekend proving that fishing is a non-contact sport aimed purely at teaching maggots to swim. The final Soddit score - Ian won 5 games, Brian and I both won 2 each. I think in future I'll ban this futile fishing lark and try to get more games of Soddit played.