Saturday, October 22, 2016

A quick turn round to end the year.

Saturday 22nd October 2016


The sad news is that we will be leaving this mooring in the spring, the mooring charges have been increased by a sizeable sum and so we feel it is time to move further north to get away from the ‘London Effect’. I was especially peeved that we did not learn of this increase until two weeks into the new mooring year, otherwise we could have stayed further North and not had all those Grand Union locks to deal with.

Brenda and I arrived at Jannock and immediately prepared her for a quick run down to Winkwell to turn her around. Although it would have been nice to share the locks we ended up going solo with Brenda on the boat and me locking (& bridging ;^)

Once through Winkwell bottom lock I hopped onto the bows of the boat just incase she needed some help to wing as the winding point at Winkwell has a nasty tree stump on the north side and can sometimes cause a problem. Luckily, my services were not required during that manouvre so I hopped bank opnto the lockside as we re-entered the lock and went back to working us back up the locks.

Once back onto the mooring, I then gave the engine a 200 hour (203 actually) service, emptied the water system and generally prepared the boat for winter. We’ll be researching where to move to over the winter months.


Sunday, October 09, 2016

Autumn Soddit Cruise- Day #2

Sunday 9th October 2016

After a peaceful night at the end of the Wendover arm we set off back towards the mainline after breakfast. If it wasn’t for the planes going into Luton airport this would be one of my all time favourite overnight moorings.


There were some fishermen gathered by Tringford pumping station, it’s a bit like shooting fish in a barrel here as the water is clear and all the fish gather to enjoy the freshly oxygenated water that has been pulled up from the reservoirs. The corner by the mill was bit bit more tricky going this way but we made it round OK. Then along the summit to Cowroast lock to start our descent towards Bourne End and the end of our summer cruise.

No dramas this trip with the run down being shared with several other boats as well as a few locks done solo. Once back at our mooring, I left Ian and Brian to tidy up the boat (and do some fishing I expect) while I went back to Slapton to fetch the car ready for our trip home.


(posted a bit late as I’m trying to catch up)

Autumn Soddit Cruise–day #2

Sunday 9th October

We awoke to a cold but sunny morning and set off back towards the main line asIMG_2765 soon as breakfast was finished. The first hour and a half had no locks to do so they crew relaxed before the hard work of the day started.

At Cowroast we shared with a very short narrowboat who was just passing down to the next pound. Therefore we did Dudswell and Northchurch solo. We were following a pair of narrowboats who inturn were following a very slow widebeam boat. Luckily, the latter decided to pull over and moor up after Dudswell bottom lock so things got better after that. We decided to stop for lunch after Bushes lock but the bank was shallow and we grounded as we moored. The crew started fishing while I prepared lunch but as time went by the boat was leaning over more and more. Obviously the water level in the pound was going down so we moved further along the pound to find deeper water.

After lunch we finished the Northchurch locks and caught up the short narrowboat, that had passed us as we lunched, at Raven’s Lane lock. We shared Rising Sun with him as well then he stopped for water by the garage. Down the last three locks to Jannock’s home mooring at Bourne End where we tied up and I went to fetch the car from Slapton whilst the guys tidied up and did more fishing.

A good weekend with no visits to casualty.


Saturday, October 08, 2016

Autumn Soddit cruise–day #1

Saturday 8th October.

Well, the trip to the boat on Friday evening was a new experience for us, it’s not often you have to chase your dinner around country roads for a few miles ;^) We had planned to use the Fish and Chip van that is advertised as being at Ivinghoe from 3 till 8:30pm on a Friday. When we arrived at 7:30 we found it just moving off down Station road towards Cheddington so we gave chase. On arrival at Cheddington Green we joined a queue of about eight people already waiting for the van to arrive. The wait was worth it as the food was excellent. We then went to Slapton wharf and loaded all our stuff aboard Jannock before opening the barrel of XT3 and playing five games of Soddit.

IMG_20161008_121733Saturday morning was cold and misty with occaisional drizzle as the intrepid crew made ready for the off after a breakfast of bacon sarnies. I started the morning by walking back towards the winding point and re-attaching a loose boat to the bank. One mooring stake was missing but i managed to secure it by using a large branch out of the hedge banged into the ground. Once on the move the drizzle stopped but it remained cold in the wind. We passed up through Horton, Ivinghoe, Seabrook and Marsworth locks before stopping for lunch near the Red Lion at Marsworth. Fishing was done whilst lunch was prepared with a few poor examples being caught.IMG_2764

Then into Marsworth bottom lock to start our solo ascent up the flight. We then had to wait at the second lock whilst northbound traffic descended and again at the penultimate lock. Finally out the top and a sharp right turn into the wendover Arm. This arm is quite shallow in places but the water is so clear that you can see all the shoals of fish swimming alongside the boat. It’s only when you see this that IMG_20161008_181523you realise that boat traffic does not scare the fish population.

Right down to the current end of navigation where we turned round and moored for the night at the very end. Ian caught a decent sized roach here although most of the fishing activity would best be described as ‘whitebait’.

Once dinner was done with we had another six games of Soddit before calling it a night and going to bed just after midnight.


Sunday, October 02, 2016

And on to Slapton Wharf

Sunday 2nd October

It was still raining when we awoke but managed to stop before we set off. Straight into Linslade lock and then past Wyvern Shipping to moor outside Tescos for more essential re-provisioning.

We had planned to use Aldi but just inside the door we found that they were out of stock of the breakfast cereal we wanted so we reversed the trolley back into the trolley park and went to Tesco instead.

We then travelled through Linslade out to Grove lock where we had to wait for a boat to descend before going up ourselves. Above the lock, a hire boat pulled out in front of us so we shared Church lock with them. It was only their second lock since they left the Wyvern base so they were grateful for some advice on how to work it efficiently.

We then travelled on to Slapton lock where we shared with them again and re-enforced the learning. The lady was keen to learn and soon picked up what was required. They planning to stop to visit the Carpenters Arms for lunch so we both moored up on the piling just beyond the winding hole. They managed to use their piling hook for the back of the boat but were confused as to why they couldn’t get it to work at the front. The piling had finished and the concrete edging had nowhere to fit the hook. Once I had pointed this out they soon found a mooring stake to use instead.

I then went to Soulbury on the Di Blasi to fetch the car whilst Brenda tidied up ready to leave Jannock for a week when the Autumn Soddit cruise will occur. Hopefully there will be no nasty accidents this time.


Saturday, October 01, 2016

Disaster averted

Saturday 1st October 2016

G got up at ‘sparrows’ and did a double car shuffle from Lower Heyford to Soulbury. Disaster was averted as he brought some tea bags back with him when he returned to Jannock – we were running out and not sure if ten would last us for the whole weekend. Luckily this was all accomplished before it started raining which it did for most of our trip through Milton Keynes.

As we rounded the first corner after loosing off we found a floating tea shop. Such is modern life that not only was the craft registered as a floating trader but also proudly displayed a top notch food hygene certificate in the window. 10am is too early to go for tea and cake.

A little further on at the Lionhearts Cruising Club, they were preparing for their MacMillan coffee morning event and we were invited to stop and join them. It was still too early at 10:30 as they were not going to start until 11am so we declined.

We saw on Facebook that son Matt made a cake for his work MacMillan coffee morning event yesterday. He won the Best Baker award (we took the proud parents award, even though it is not a real thing)

We stopped at Willowbridge marina during a brief break in the rain for our annual ‘last fill up with diesel before home’ and their base rate was 70ppl.

As we approached the bottom lock of the Soulbury three we were pleased to see a boat casting off to enter the lock. We were not so pleased to find 6 or 7 assorted kids watching, getting in the way and playing lockside outside the pub whilst their parents ignored them. One took to running up and down the side of the lock jumping on and off the bollards. One slip of the foot and smashed teeth would be a better outcome than falling in alongside two boats. When asked to move out of the arc of the balance beam, one wise guy (7-9 ish) commented it was all right as he could swim. So that’s OK then – ‘No Parent’ families!

Finally stopped for the night just after the Globe Inn having travelled the last hour in drizzle. No sooner had G tied Jannock securely to the piling than the heavens opened for a very heavy rain storm.

Sorry, no pictures today as the weather was not conducive to using a camera.


The big ship sailed down the Alley Alley OOO ….

Friday 30th September

… on the last day of September – what was that all about? Does anyone play the game any more? Are we history? Discuss!

Today we made good progress in a good amount of sunshine – but it was a two fleece day for me. Through Blisworth tunnel with ease and onto the lock mooring above the top lock at Stoke Bruerne as one boat came up and another joined us for the trip down the flight. After a few minutes of some of the silliest questions I have ever been asked (outside of infants class) about canal boating I offered four tourists a ride down through the first lock. “What time does the trip boat go?” as they were looking at it. “I dont know” I replied. “Why not” came the response. “Because we have just arrived here. ”Arn’t you a trip boat too?” “No, it’s my home!” “Can you take us for a trip?” “No, I’ve my own journey to get on with and we wouldn’t be insured!” “Why are you holding that rope?” “To stop my boat floating away” “Why are you just stopped here?”  I’m waiting to go into that lock but it’s occupied at present” “How many bedrooms?” led onto “What freight do you carry! Perhaps I should have said “Coal – we keep it in the bath!” (Slap wrist) The offer of a ride in the front well deck, down through the top lolck was met with “ but how will we get back?” The response “It’s about a 1 minute walk” was met with real surprise. They got on, had their trip through the lock and got off again and just left – no thankyous. Obviously rude as well as daft!

IMG_2753We shared the whole flight with a lads week hire boat from Wyvern Shipping – what an interesting bunch. The steerer was a New Zealander over for 3 months and the reason for the trip. The old fella who stayed within the cabin for the whole flight has apparently just ordered a brand new narrowboat – I assume he’s just going to live on it in one location as he wasn’t keen on assisting with the locks. The other two worked hard and we gotIMG_2755 down the SB flight in good time passing a few other boats on their way up.

Below the flight we came across a fallen tree that was right opposite a moored boat – typical. The combination of the two caused a severe navigation restriction. Shortly after that we saw a whole ‘gaggle?’ of pheasants who were IMG_2756not sure what to do about this approaching blue steel monster and so just ran along the towpath in front of us.

Today has been another Kingfisher day – I think we’ve seen more this year than ever before. Supper in the Black Horse at Linford – not cheap but very good quality.