Sunday, April 09, 2017

Happy birthday to me ;^)

Just after we left our peaceful overnight mooring weIMGP4993 passed nb Frog, the boat we shared all the locks with yesterday, moored up near the Globe Inn ready for the Boaters Market next weekend – talk about prime spot, it obviously pays to get there early.

On the long stretch before the top of Soulbury locks, Brenda spotted her first ducklings for the year. We entered the top first ducklingslock and descended them on our own with no-one coming up either. Once through the flight it was a short cruise to Stoke Hammond wharf where we moored up for the week.

I then returned to Marsworth on the trusty Di Blasi to fetch the car. On my return to Jannock, we had lunch, washed up and went home.


Saturday, April 08, 2017

Boating after a world record Balloon attempt.

Yesterday, Brenda and I assisted the Ballonatic84 crew to enable them to enter theTheTeam Cross Channel Ballooning Record attempt. They didn’t have any-one to drive their recovery vehicle across to France to fetch the balloon back so I volunteered at the 11th hour and took Brenda along for the day out. She was not impressed with the 01:15 start as I had said it would be early but hadn’t explained quite how early. There is an excellent video at

IMG_3077Back to boating, another weekend and another celebration cake. Happy Birthdays to me, Alice and Matt. All we need now is to be able to celebrate a new Guinness World record attempt yesterday.

If we had seen it last weekend – we’d have thought “April Fool!” – a chap skiing down the towpath on wheeled skis. Looked damned hard work.

We shared all of today’s locks with a short (30’) narrowboat named Frog and at Ivinghoe Top Lock, where we caught up an equally short singleton, we managedIMG_3080 three boats in one lock. The steerer on Frog was suffering from a broken toe but we soon set up a routine of using a single gate to exit that make progress good.

We moored for the night between Leighton Lock and the Globe, a nice quiet mooring if you stay near the Eastern end of the sewerage works on the opposite bank. It seems that the West End is the noisy end. Brenda had brought a container of “chicken casserole” out of our freezer at home for dinner tonight. When she opened it she found that it contained Apple, Rhubard and Plum. So, at last we got to try the Army rations we bought at Milton Keynes market several years ago. A chicken curry, a lamb curry and a vegetable biriani. All needed to be warmed in boiling water and then the pouches opened and poured onto the plates. They were really tasty and we washed down with a couple of beers – excellent!


Sunday, April 02, 2017

A long wait!

About one hour of today’s two hour trip was spent tied up above a padlocked Marsworth top lock whilst the bottom pound, where the Aylesbury arm goes off, was rewatered. The CaRT staff believed that both lock 38 and Marsworth No1 lock had their top gates left open all night and junction pound was almost emptied with boats sitting on the bottom. We hope that those boaters we have seen holding onto IMG_20170402_102846the ‘tradition’ of leaving the exit gates open when they leave the lock were amongst those inconvenienced today.

Once the padlock was removed, we shared the flight with a crew of hirers who have fallen in love with canal boating in just two days flat – just as well it hasn’t rained at all ;^)

We moored above the bottom lock, just along from ‘Engagement bend’, and left Jannock there for a week. There were plans to restrict mooring at Marsworth but I’ve not seen any new signs indicating the changes yet.


Saturday, April 01, 2017

Happy Birthday to Brenda!

Saturday 1st April 2017

Berkhampstead to Bulbourne

We polished off the cerials left on-board over winter, a soggy breakfast, and were ready to leave at 9:45. The last boat to pass us was a widebeam that had left the top gates open at both Raven’s Lane and Rising Sun locks. Once through our first lock, we joined another single narrowboat waiting for the widebeam to clear Gas 2 lock so we shared with him all the way to Cowroast. The pound above Gas 1 was very low and the widebeam was struggling. I managed to cycle past them and have the next lock open and ready for them when they finally arrived. The steerer was complaining bitterly about the lack of water so I took great delight in pointing out to him that leaving top gates open causes problems like that. He was not impressed!

If you value your children do not put them in an inflatable canoe immediately outside a lock where two narrowboats are coming out, and you are occupying the lock landing area by the water point. Then when you are asked to move said child and canoe please don’t scowl and make a dramatic performance of dragging her 6 foot towards the water point – and then putting a second inflatable canoe where the first had been. Then as our boat starts leaving the lock and comes towards you, please don’t ask f it’s OK for us to wait while you get yourself sorted. And when told that the second boat in the lock will be stopping on the water point, don’t ask “what boat?” It’s the big heavy steel thing bearing down on your child that has no-where else to go. More scowling will not help – narrowboats are big and heavy compared with your little blow up canoes. They also have no brakes and oh, by the way, why aren’t your young children wearing life jackets? Are their lives not worth the price of one?

Photo0098Once onto the tring summit it was lunch – with Shrimp Banana cake for Brenda’s birthday. Second day of 2017 cruise and we see a brazen kingfisher sat on a branch, bold as brass and didn’t even move. Why did I leave the camera at home! You bet he wouldn’t have hung around had I got it in my hand.

We cruised right up to the Wendover Arm junction looking for a Bulbourne mooring for the night. We know it’s been a short day but we’d got a table booked at the Grand Junction Arms. We turned and then cruised back to the next winding point where we turned again and reversed into a spare 65 foot gap on the piling. That’ll do, just a short walk to the pub. Matt, Alice and Felicity joined us for a celebratory dinner at the GJA and Felicity charmed everyone in the pub. I wish we could all go out to dinner in our jim-jams-a’ la’ Stella McCartney outfit. We had a lovely meal, the menu was varied and interesting, something for all tastes and well cooked.

Having said farewell to our guests, we retired to Jannock and watched the first three episodes of “The Flower of Gloucester”, nothing like a 1960’s kids TV series (and another birthday) to make you feel old.

Brenda & Graham

Friday, March 31, 2017

Farewell Bourne End Moorings

Friday 31st March 2017

And we’re off!

11055 on the hour counter, 13:50 on the sundial and 15 degrees (ish) on the thermometer. We left our Bourne End mooring for the last time heading for pastures new.Sewerage lock

The blossom, particularly Magnolia and Camelia is superb this year. Boating past back gardens means we have had a lovely display, set off by swathes of Daffodils and Primroses.

We have cruised through Berko many times – since the 1970s ! ! ! – today we arrived. The aim was to dine on Fish and Chips from the chippie at the train station. MagnoliaWe chose to walk the long way round in order to see a little of this historic town. History is written in it’s buildings. Our first stop was a diversion, away from the town centre. Go under the railway bridge and you come to Berkhampstead Castle, hailing from 1066 & all that. It has a very early canal connection, the moats was big enough to house many narrowboats and the Black Prince was a visitor. Or is that hunger talking? If you need a nice walk or have crew with too much energy – go visit! You could even take a football with you.BerkoCastle

Then into the town and back via the station to pick up excellent Fish and Chips. Add a tin of mushy peas and a pickled onion and dinner for two is served. Once eaten, back down the towpath to the Rising Sun to wash it all down – especially as they have a beer festival all weekend. They are one of those rare pubs that give a 50p discount on production of a valid CAMRA membership card – RiserHeronexcellent. The beer selection was good, the cider selection extensive, there was free nibbles and the clientelle many and lively. We left quite quickly as they turned the Muzac level up too loud people had to shout to converse, – not conducive to an enjoyable evening. The more shouting and the louder the music became until it reached an un-pleasant level. Shame, as there were a couple more beers we’d like to have tried.

As we left the pub there was a very bold Heron sat on the lockgates right outside who appeared to be happy to pose for photos.