Friday 10th October
We travelled up to Jannock via the Fish and Chip shop in Towcester, eating F&C en-route to the boat on a Friday evening has become something of a tradition for Soddit cruises now. The food available from this takeaway was excellent – I suspect it was the best bit of F&C shop fish I have had for ages. It didn’t look too big because there was a very thin layer of superb batter coating a nice sized piece of fish. It was not too greasy for eating by hand and the chips were good too. Shame Towcester is such a long way from the canal. Once we were unloaded onto the boat we started to play Soddit and managed 6 games before retiring at 01:30. The beer this cruise was VPA and Fall Back, which is Vale’s special for October.
Saturday 11th October
Ian made scrambled eggs for breakfast and then we were off heading South towards Blisworth tunnel. Knowing how Brian likes to play ‘good British music’ whilst travelling through tunnels I had thought to bring my battery powered PA system along to save the speakers of Jannock’s stereo. This system worked really well as I had pre-loaded the tracks from his favourite CD onto an SD card. We entered the tunnel to the sounds of the 633 squadron anthem, as we passed the only boat we met mid tunnel their steerer was singing along to ‘Land of Hope and Glory’. As we approached the southern portal we could see human forms looking into the tunnel mouth trying to identify what was coming through. Just as we made it to the end of the tunnel Queen started playing ‘God Save the Queen’ – the timing could not have worked out better and we emerged into the daylight to a round of applause from a group of bystanders.
We arrived at top lock just as another boat was entering so we shared the whole flight with them. Ian worked the lock whilst Brian walked ahead to set the next. As we were leaving the penultimate lock in the flight, the lady from the other boat commented about how lucky we were that some nice stranger had set ahead for us all the way down – I hastened to point out that Brian was a member of our crew, she just hadn’t spotted him at the top lock. We stopped below the bottom lock for lunch and fishing at 12:30.
Once on the move again, we passed this enormous tracked tractor seeding a field for next year. Being a home brewer, I hope it’s barley ;^) On to Cosgrove where we passed through the lock solo and continued on to New Bradwell where we stopped out in the countryside for the night. I did a chicken and stir fried vegetable evening meal before we settled down to another 6 games of Soddit.
Sunday 12th October
I was up and had the boat on the move at 08:00 and Brian brought me my bacon sandwich breakfast at the helm a little later. We have been playing ‘leap Tug’ with this lovely Stewarts and Lloyds tug most of the weekend so far, she had passed us last evening and was now moored just around the corner from our overnight stop. On through Milton Keynes with little to report apart from the eventual arrival of the sun to brighten up our trip. Not many other boats were on the move until we got to Fenny lock where the tug, who had caught us up again, shared the lock with us. He left first as I was aware that he was travelling faster than us and so we missed out on sharing Stoke Hammond lock as he went up with the boat already there. We followed after turning the lock.
Ian had arranged for his daughter, and grand-daughter, to meet us at the Three locks for a short trip on the boat at 3:30. We were early and so stopped for fishing, just after a fishing match, at Stoke Hammond. I went of on the Di Blasi and fetched the car from Gayton before we set off again towards Soulbury. Once at the bottom locks we waiting for a while. No sign of either someone to share with or Ian’s daughter so we set off solo. This worked out OK as they met us halfway up and the next boat along was a pair. We completed the flight and said goodbye to our temporary passengers before continuing on to find a suitable 14 day mooring.
This was a very unusual Soddit cruise as the Friday night meal was not the only fish we saw, both of the fishists managed to catch fish from the canal. Ian’s beauty (pictured) was caught at Stoke Hammond. Good job the fishermen in the competition were around the corner and could not see.
Brenda and I should be able to get Jannock back to the mooring on Sunday & Monday next weekend.