Sunday, October 11, 2009

A lot of catching up to do.

I have been very busy with lots of things and so updating the blog has been ignored and Sue from No Problem commented about it when I told her she'd missed Jannock at Braunston.

So here goes:-

Friday 25th September.  

We arrived at Jannock about 11 am and took her down the Stockton flight to Blue Lias where we winded at the end of the arm and moored alongside Harnser for the Cutweb rally weekend. Friday evening was spent in the pub having a meal and social evening with fellow club members, some of which we had not seen for a while so a lot of catching up was in order.

Saturday 26th September. 

I appeared to spend most of Saturday morning rushing around getting things sorted for the weekend and taking everybody's money, the joys of being a treasurer! After lunch Bob from Sambuka arrived and so some of the rally attendees spent the afternoon learning how to do Samba drumming etc. In the evening we have a very entertaining solo performance by Kate Saffin about a boat of ill repute based on the Oxford canal, followed by a ploughman's meal and an especially speedy version of the Cutweb raffle all culminating in a performance by the Cutweb samba band (thanks to Andrew D for recording this video).

Sunday 27th September.

The morning started with the charity auction followed by Sunday lunch in the function room. In the evening we rounded of the rally with a Bingo quiz read by Glen assisted by Brenda. 

Monday 28th September.

We left Blue Lias and shared the Stockton flight with Harnser, but we got split up at Calcutt locks by a boat out doing a training course. Brenda was of the opinion that the trainer could do with some training, let alone the student. We met up again and did a communal self-pumpout at Braunston before we left Harnser at the water point and made our way to U.C.C. where Jannock was booked in the dry dock for a blacking. As we passed under the bridge in Braunston we met the Irons' coming the other way on Quidditch, they had left the rally on Sunday morning with firm plans for a route back via the G.U Leicester section and the Soar but had decided they were short of time so had turned about to retrace their trip along the North Oxford, Coventry and T&M.

Sunday 4th October.

We are a lock missing. We left Jannock below the bottom lock last weekend and appeared out of the dry-dock above it sporting a shiny black bottom and gleaming tunnel bands. We joined a hire crew in an ABC boat. they were apologising to all cut users for some of their less than professional cruising over the weekend. They'd even had one moored boater throw a mooring stake at them as they passed. The problem was that no one at the boat yard had told them about the 4mph limit or even slowing down past moored boats. They had figured it all out for themselves from the angry shouting they attracted. They complained that all the boatyard told them was how to do a lock. They were totally un-aware of boating rules and etiquette and even had to work out how all the on-board appliances worked for themselves. I am amazed that there wasn't even a manual on board. Once up the flight we passed through a surprisingly dry tunnel and then down the Wilton flight and on to Weedon where we stopped on 14 day moorings until next weekend.

Saturday 10th October.

I got up and cast off at 7am whilst Brenda spent some time catching up with consciousness. After Blisworth boatwash tunnel we teamed up with a day-boat crew and descended the locks with them. Oh that all day-boat crews were as skilled and sober.! They had met up for a family re-union, coming from all over the country, and got the weather to suit. It was a glorious day and Brenda took photos to prove it, so why did she not have her camera handy when I spotted a large kingfisher sunbathing on a bush? The sunshine made the best of his magnificent colours - and he knew it, sat there showing off as we passed. As we approached Cosgrove lock there were boats in all directions, 2 of them widebeam and one winding. On the lock landing there has been an outbreak of bollard-rash, the worst we've seen and one boater said she'd hurt herself getting off her boat as she'd crunched into one. They are taller than standard rope bollards and each has a red band around the top. A local residential boater said the only reason for them being there was " that BW had too much money and not enough to waste spend it on. A cynic then, any thoughts anyone? As we approached the Grafton Street aqueduct there were 2 women and a child in a pushchair on the offside looking very perplexed. I realised they were trying to work out how to get to the towpath side. I suggested they board our back deck and we ferried them across with a little push from the bank. Not only did this solve the problem but it seemed to be the most exciting thing they'd done in years. Brenda pointed out that they must have very boring lives; the response was "oh yes! we are from South Africa!" Now, I might be wrong but I believe that recent events in South Africa can not be described as boring. We moored up at 4pm and I went to do a car shuffle on the Di Blasi calling at Ikea on the way back to exchange so items that we'd bought last Thursday. The mooring out in the wilds of Stantonbury Park farm were very peaceful.

Sunday 11th October.

A later start today at 8:30 but still Brenda remained a-kip. The run down through Milton Keynes is very slow, working out at below 3mph, due to the number of bankside moorers about. We passed Thorn and Persephone moored near Black Horse bridge resplendent in their new grey livery. When we arrived at Fenny lock there was a short Wyvern boat tying up to get the lock ready, as I had walked ahead from the bridge I had the gates open and Brenda put Jannock in before he'd even got his boat untied. Another short Wyvern boat was approaching from the North and so we managed to squeeze them in as well. Three boats in one go - I wouldn't try this with these craft on a lock with a deep fall, but Fenny was OK. We stopped at Willowbridge Marina for diesel and two 13kG gas bottles. They allow you to select your tax rate here and then charge the extra duty as a separate item. It obviously helps them keep track of what they owe the taxman. Base price was 60ppl for domestic use. At Stoke Hammond I hopped off armed with my windlass and moved the car to Soulbury where I had the bottom lock empty and open when Jannock and another boat arrived. We shared with them up the three locks following a single Wyvern boat with no-one coming down.