Sunday, August 30, 2020

Trying to find a mooring in Oxford

Sunday 30th August 2020

Having said farewell to our friends aboard nb MaryH, who we moored alongside overnight due to congestion, we set off just after 10 am and joined the queue for Abingdon lock.

Before we left, nb Frodsham came down the river and moored in front of us. I believe this replica MSC
tug to be diesel powered as there was no accompanying cloud of smoke as it arrived. 

We had an un-eventful trip up to Oxford in nice, but chilly, overcast skies with occasional sunshine. We planned to moor near Folly Bridge in Oxford as we need to go home to babysit our grand-daughters on Tuesday so that Mum and Dad can go to a funeral. On our arrival all the moorings long enough to easily accomodate Jannock were occupied so we did an ‘up and back’ avoiding the rowers, punters, paddle boarders, pedalos and canoeists. Too many of them seem to bob about with no idea that there are ‘big’ boats about and no idea how to steer.

Most worrying was a paddleboard family outing. The dog had a life jacket on, two kids under 10 did not! They may be competent swimmers but a quick intake of breath due to surprise, shouting for help or cold shock could easily compromise that. What’s that you say Lassie “the kids are drowning and you’ve got the only life preserver on?”

No signs to the contrary so we tacked Jannock onto the very end of the line of moored boats. This was against the entry point of a smaller stream so had a shoal adjacent but we managed to fit in, albeit aground, and use the ‘Beale Park Woodpecker’ holes in the gangplank to secure it to the bank.

We then cleaned up, packed all our washing into two smallish bags and set off to get the 280 bus home.

Our mooring for the next couple of days was ///below.dare.smashes

Saturday, August 29, 2020

August Bank Holiday–Covid style

Saturday 29th August 2020

Boat name of the week – Ant on Deck

As befits August Bank Holiday it was flippin freezing. 16c maximum according to the weather forecast. Wearing 4 tops and gloves. I bet the inhabitants of Bournemouth et al are relieved as the ignorant hordes will not invade this weekend.

Having stopped the night at Pangbourne because the mooring at Beale Park had been stopped, and there were plenty of signs announcing that, we were surprised to find a total of four boats moored there.

BPMoor1 BPMoor3

A pleasant run up through Goring and Wallingford to Benson lock where we were unfortunate enough to meet a big boat with a bigger ego. We had entered the Self Service lock with Brenda as lockie and Graham single handing Jannock. To do this we’ve perfected a technique which uses a looped rope on the bows with the slack being taken up on the stern rope. This holds her perfectly.

The widebeam boat steamed into the lock even though we thought that he would not fit. He reckoned he’s fit OK if we took our bow rope to the far bollard, however our looped rope was not long enough to reach this, the highest bollard. He couldn’t understand the concept and wedged in sideways, on no ropes as his missus was unable to get a rope ashore, let alone round a bollard.

A chap from a southbound boat appeared and was as concerned as we were that the widebeams rear deck rain hood would get crushed as the boat rose under the lower gate footway. “No problem, get on with it” was the response. As the boats rose in the lock Brenda was able to transfer Jannock’s bow rope loop onto the furthest bolard and wide beam was able to come forward so the cover didn’t get squashed. At that point, Mrs widebeam managed to get a bow rope around a bollard and pull them across. Once out of the lock they came steaming past us with a bow wave fit for the Waikiki Surf club.

At Clifton lock the apple and pear trees were bountiful. The lockie said that we could help ourselves to windfalls as well as fruit from the trees. Thankyou very much. We stopped at the end of the lock landing and Brenda went to ‘scrump’ whilst Graham went blackberrying.

We continued on to Abingdon where every mooring space was occupied, luckily for us we were planning to meet friends who were already moored there so we tied alongside with their permission.

River wisdom of the day – Stupidity is more contagious than Covid, and assists Covid.  We saw plenty of kingfishers in full colour today.

Overnight mooring location ///scars.agreed.maps

A timelapse video can be seen at

Friday, August 28, 2020

No parakeets ….

Friday 28th August 2020

… but we did see Kingfishers and Llamas.

We set off early as more rain was forecast for today – also no-one had been to collect our mooring fee.

Taking on water

Our run up past Shiplake and Wargrave was un-eventful although we did spot some canoeist camping on one of the islands before Sonning. At 12:00 the rain started just as we left Sonning lock – never mind we were planning on stopping to go shopping for supplies at Reading. Above Sonning lock we saw what must have been the longest lock queue for our whole trip, all trying to get downstream from the Reading reach.

We moored outside Tescos at Reading in what must have been a 62foot gap with a convenient overhanging tree at each end – no stakes or chains needed here then. As we tied up an Anglo Welsh hireboat came past pushing a bow wave that any tidal Thames trip boat would be proud of. It would have looked well suited in front of an ocean liner.

Sonning Lock queue

Reprovisioned, we moved up to Better Boating to fill with diesel. They were busy dispatching hire boats so we had to tie on and wait a while before we could be served. 160 litres later we were on our way to Caversham lock.

We travelled on through Caversham and Tilehurst before attempting to moor out in the countryside before Pangbourne – it was not to be, the river edge was far too shallow so we continued on and found another right size gap between the moored boats at Pangbourne River meadow. Another pay for mooring location but needs must as Beale Park is now no mooring at all.

Our overnight mooring was at /// maker.wisdom.liver

Timelapse video of the run from Marsh Lock to Reading Tesco is at

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Trouble at Boulters lock

Thursday 27th August 2020

Despite our best efforts to seal Jannock off, about a dozen returning Wasps got in. They obviously were ‘going on a bear hunt!’ Can’t go over it, under it or round it, so they just found a teeny hole to go in through and then couldn’t get get out of it either. What with the wasps and workman’s radio blare from the other side of the hedge, we were glad to be setting off just after 9am.

Cliveden Reach

At the first lock, we waiting whilst a wide beam went up in front of us then we followed.

As always, Boulters lock was a pain. With a lock landing that accomodates two boats, we were 3rd in a line of 6 craft and so we remained hovering below the lock, waiting while the lockie filled the lock with craft coming down. He then sent some out to do a re-shuffle which took longer than it would have taken to empty the lock and refill with some from the lengthening queue below in.

Henley Mooring
There were three ‘staff’ at the lock – two for talking plus the working lockie who was continually distracted by the other two wanting to talk to him as well. Must have been a visit from ‘the management!’ A crowd of gongoozlers gathered on the lockside despite the Covid notices to the contrary. As the gates opened for us to go in, the management seemed to dissapear and the blue ‘self service’ signs went up. A crew member from another boat went up to work the lock and was reprimanded for ‘interfering’ by the lockie. He then told the gongoozlers to go away, they had been there for ages. another jobs-worth morning I suspect.

We travelled up past Cliveden, fondly remembering swimming here in 2006, whilst avoiding the paddleboarders and on-coming cruisers rushing to join the lock queue. We were being overtaken by boats ourselves.


At Cookham lock we were next to a family-sized cruiser whose steerer showed a distinct lack of rivermanship. As the lock opened, he showed no sign of setting off so Brenda started taking Jannock out. As we were passing he asked graham “shall I go first then?” He hadn’t even started his very smelly engine. As we travelled down the lock cut he started to overtake, we slowed down as Brenda was concerned that another craft would meet him on a bend. Luckily, when the inevitable happened near the bridge, the on-coming craft had chance to slow and manouvre out of his way. He shot past us and them and them proceeded to tie up on Cookham moorings in the middle of a three craft space. A lot of new boaters sign language was invented today – most meant prat!

Rainbow over Henley

The weather decided to persist down most of the afternoon. Brenda spoke to the lockie at Hambledon about the abundance of apples in the garden. Apparently the EA have sent boxes for their collection. They will be gathered and made into cider – raising funds any way they can?

After we’d left Hambledon lock, with the skies darkening as we traversed the regatta course, we entered a total grey-out thunderstorm so we moored up at the end of the Henley visitor moorings, not something we’d normally do as it involves a fee of £10 but needs must when you want to avoid getting drowned. At least any monies paid will go into council coffers.

Mooring in Henley at ///loving.notes.twinkling – more likely wet.wet.wet ;^)

Video footage – Dorney to Cookham

Cookham to Hurley then camera ran out of memory.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Enormous oyster

Wednesday 26th August 2020

The rain had stopped and the wind had calmed down some-what so we set off upstream at 09:30. A lovely river cruise was orchestrated by the continuing worrying engine noise – more jingling than Christmas!

Windsor Castle

A lunch of oysters was taken while we waited for Penton Hook lock. OK so it was only an Ice Cream Oyster but I’ve never seen so much ice-cream piled into one of these shells before. We then pulled over onto the visitor moorings above the lock for Cap’n to become marine engineer again. His diagnosis was a loose cabin alternator fan rubbing on the casing so it needed sorting.



Brenda carried on playing ‘shall we live in that multi-

The Lucy Fisher

million £ house? shall we have that pretty slipper launch?’ while proper lunch was made. Is envy a sin or what pushes us to strive on? Discuss!  Our lunch today was more food than many eat all day – we are so lucky!
The eFoil under water bits revealed


A pleasant cruise past all that is scenic, and Windsor Home Park and Castle. We moored at Dorney Lake, much to the annoyance of the wasps living in the bank beneath the tree that our stern rope was tied to. We kept all windows and the rear doors and hatch closed all night but still about a dozen had to be removed from within Jannock in the morning.

Filming in progress
 As we passed Boveney Chapel of St Mary Magdalene there were people dressed in medieval clothes and what seemed to be film lighting rigged. After supper, steak pie and a very quaffable red, we walked along Dorney common, passing the chapel. We found out that a ‘short’ was being made about a medieval minister (presumable religous rather that political) and his daughter. It’s sure to have salacious detail! And it’s not very far from Down Place where Hammer Horrors were made.

Tonight’s mooring /// cases.chin.chip

A timelapse vieo of today’s trip is at

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

A damp walk around Kingston

Tuesday 25th August 2020

Only four months to Christmas!

Lovely building in Kingston

It blew and rained a hooley last night. Tied up securely to the bank we had no bother although Graham had to find a drip tray to go under the back window, it’s always been prone to leaking when the wind and rain come from the right direction.

Hampton Court

Then down the engine-ole to continue the cabin battery electrics repair (He wears his pants on the outside, but never a cape ;^) One of the batteries was very hot and emitting gas yesterday after the new alternator was installed. It appeared that one cell in the battery was dead – not sure whether that took the alternator out or the act of the alternator failing took the battery cell out. He suspects the former. Battery taken out of circuit we’ll have to see how we cope with just two left.

The best barge on the Thames

Moored in Kingston meant we could go landside and explore once he’s finished rather than sit in and watch the weather. Apart from the usual shopping centre there wasn’t much of note in the town centre. so back to the boat, lunch and set off upstream having given our mooring spot to a widebeam that was looking for somewhere to tie up.

eFoil- electric hydrofoil surfboard



Although not much rain, there was a gale force wind that made progress unpleasant. This combined with a jingling noise now coming from the new alternator gave us good reason to moor up in the wier stream at Sunbury. Not long after we’s tied up a bloke appeared riding an eFoil – an electric hydrofoil surfboard around all the mooring boys opposite the bank where we had tied up before dissapearing off downstream again.

Our Sunbury mooring ///reduce.tubes.cats

Monday, August 24, 2020

Back to the Thames

Monday 24th August 2020

Herons Breakfast

Today we got drenched, twice, and the second time lasted for about an hour. Two sets of wet clothes each, ten numb fingers for Brenda and we are promised more tomorrow.

Paddington Arm Bee Hives

Graham was up and at-em early, leaving Paddington basin just before 8am. A brief stop for a self pump-out at the offside sanistation on the Paddington arm and on upto Bulls Bridge through all the clawing floating weed. We turned left at Bulls bridge junction and headed down to Norwood top lock. All down through the Hanwell flight there wer boats travelling towards us and a couple of Volunteer lockies to aid us on our way. Graham found one of the Hanwell lock gates to be the hardest gate to open for a very long time.

After we left the flight Graham also noticed that the cabin alternator warning light was on. We continued down through Osterly and Clitheroe’s locks before pulling over on Brentford visitor moorings to swap out the alternator, always a spare handy of course. Whilst there Brenda decided to leave some surplus paperbacks in the sani-station as she remembered there was a book swap there last time we came this way. The BW key fitted the lock but a digital entry code was required as well to open the door. No-where is there a clue as to how boaters are expected to obtain the code. A bloke wandered up and went in the door, a few minutes later he emerged so she asked. He told her that all the local boaters know the code and then told her what it was. Another boater, nearby, also heard and wrote it down.

At Brentford lock, Graham asked the lockie about the situation at the sani-station. He said that he did not know the code but believed that it changed weekly. That is how CaRT stop boater’s loos and showers being used and abused by anyone. Yet Brenda got the impression that the bloke who told her the code was not a boater anyway. We asked how visiting boaters could get the code but the lockie had no idea.

Alternator swapped, a lock share identified, Graham went to set the guaging lock just as the heavens opened. We both got utterly drenched as we descended and then moored up waiting for Thames Lock.

Leaving Brentford looking back

Out onto the Thames and turn right, heading upstream/ No trip boats about so no bucking bronco moments this trip. We travelled through another rain storm up to Teddington lock where the keeper remarked upon how wet we’d got in a very short time. He also offered up the information that tomorrow was going to be worse as we were in the overture to storm Francis.

We continued up stream to Kingston where we moored on the visitor moorings on the North bank of the river, registered with the on-line moorings website for our free 24 hr pass and then sat down to a nice warming curry. We plan to explore Kingston-in-the-wet tomorrow morning hoping the bad weather will pass before we need to set off.

Overnight mooring ///

Timelapse videos -  Bulls Bridge to Brentford 

Brentford to Kingston

Sunday, August 23, 2020

A day in London

Sunday 23rd August 2020

Graham was up early and set off before I’d even risen from my bed. Breakfast was taken on the move because there are no locks on this arm and we had planned a busy afternoon.

It was a pleasant enough cruise into Paddinton despite the extra engine effort needed to plough through total cover duck-weed. A couple of paddle boarders were pleased that we cleared an easier path for them for a while. There are great lengths of moored boats and floating homes along here keeping our speed well down once we had passed Perivale.

It was strange to see plenty of empty moorings in Little Venice but it was just as well that we had booked a berth in Paddington Basin. The good news is that the basin now has a Coop (see previous posts) for ‘free stuff’ and a Brewdog bar. The bad news is the number of paddle boarders and go-boats to try and avoid.

Then off on our adventure – first we visited the Museum of London at the Barbican. Due to a lack of foreign tourists it wasn’t very busy and so we saw everything with ease. Then off to Petticoat Lane, where the market was packing up, to go for an early meal (with cocktails) at the London Steakhouse.

Once we had eaten, we then went to the Shard for our pre-booked visit to the viewing gallery, the second part of our Christmas gift from Matt and Alice – thanks! When you enter the Shard they take your photograph, I presume to sell it to you on the way out like flumes and roller coasters. The photographer says “smile please”. That made us laugh as we were all wearing masks – not even the photo that you’d want really!

Back to Jannock via the Brewdog bar where I had a cup of tea and Graham sampled several different beers. I discovered that I like Dead Pony Club which made him happy as he gave me the rest of his to go and try something else.

The Shard

North East view

Tower Bridge

The railway from Kent

Loo with a view


Our mooring in Paddington was /// deny.wolf.slate

A timelapse video of the run in is at

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Onto the Paddington Arm

Saturday 22nd August 2020

After we set off, our first lock was Denham deep lock where we passed through solo following a single  boat in front of us and assisted by the crew of a boat waiting to ascend. Below this lock is a working

boatyard that has a narrow floating dry-dock. It was occupied by a working boat with all water having been pumped out.

Once past the apparently disused gravel wharf we passed under the A40, a road I’ve used many times to get into London when I was working, now used rarely by me. On through Uxbridge lock and down past the Boat Centre where a narrow boat was being craned out onto hard standing.

At the boat yard by Cowley Peachy junction I pulled in to try

and get some diesel but they were not open. Unfortunately the closed sign was on the office door which is not visible from the canal so we untied and continued on.

We continued down to Bulls bridge junction where we turned left onto the Paddington Arm. We followed a widebeam round the junction but they pulled over as they wanted to walk back to Tescos. We stopped shortly afterwards at bridge 20 and we went to explore Southall Broadway. The warm sun and the bustling street full of shoppers made us feel like we were on a capital H holiday. Add in the Asian supermarkets, the fabulous clothes and jewelry shops, the fabric shops (of course I did! two lots) and the restaurants and street food stalls with their tempting smell and holiday it was. Having bought freshly cooked samosas and jalebis for tea we wandered back towards the boat via an ice cream stall.

Back at the boat and there were a couple of children looking at Jannock, a girl of about 13 with her little

the Famous Jam-ole

brother 10ish. She asked “ is that your boat?” When we said yes they were both very apologetic for looking at it. We told them they were welcome to look and, but for Covid, we could have given them a ride up the canal (with parental permission, of course) She explained that they were from Italy, living in central London and visiting auntie who lived in one of the terraced houses facing the canal. As well as their beautiful manners, I bet they were both multi-lingual.

After a cup of tea we set off again – destination Willow tree park which is an excellent overnight mooring if you want to arrive at Paddington mid to late morning the following day.

Mooring location /// rinse.wash.barn

Timelapse video of journey can be seen at

Friday, August 21, 2020

The hanging Gorilla is still there!

Friday 21st August 2020

No rain today, just reasonable sunshine but with an added strong wind.

We started the day by passing through Common Moor lock and then passing down through all the residential boats moored on the offside. As we approached Lot Mead lock we could see what looked like a CaRT workboat there and so wondered if there was to be another delay to our schedule. However, it was an ex-CaRT workboat and they were waiting in the lock for us to share.

We also shared Batchworth but they stopped at Tesco’s for provisions. On arrival at Stockers we had to turn the lock and didn’t have to wait too long before they arrived to share – all the way to Copper Mill even though they stopped to pick up a butty en-route. The gorilla still hangs from the dis-used building above Springwell although he is now monochrome and his stuffing is starting to fall out. I suspect he’s been there all the time we’ve owned Jannock.

Once through the lock we stopped to fill with water and then moved around the corner from the Coy Carp and stopped again for lunch. Graham spent a couple of hours mending things including fitting the wooden end back onto the tiller as Brenda broke it off today.

On the move once more for a short trip down through Black Jacks and Widewater to moor for the night opposite Harefield marina. A Kingfisher sat on the stern rail of a moored boat did not flinch or fly off as we passed. Best photo chance I’ve ever had of one of these birds.

Our overnight mooring was /// expose.harder.dock

Today’s timelapse video can be seen at

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Assisted passage

Thursday 20th August 2020

It was sunny when we woke up and stayed dry all day – surprising some pounds still appeared to be low after all the rain we had yesterday and during the night.

CloseShaveWe passed this boat moored near Hemel Hempstead – a tree had fallen into the canal just missing the stern. A stiffish breeze was Brenda’s excuse for some excessive bobbing about whilst waiting for locks to be set. Once again we seemed to be following the same inconsiderate boater as yesterday until Kings Langley when the bottom gates were closed on our arrival.

We found ourselves being further held up by an assortment of newbie single handers who seemed to have little idea of the RearFenderwhys and wherefores of actual boating, just how to move their home from A to B. One lady admitted that she’d never hammered a mooring stake in before, but was going to give it a go as the only space available near Grove bridge had no piling. I was impressed by the SSSI that had established itself in this boats rear fender.

Earlier, we had heard of a lock closure, with restricted use for narrowboats only, at North Grove lock (71). CaRT were moving

boats through on ropes to reduce the chance of the damaged top gate failing further. It had collapsed due to rotten timber and being hit hard by a boat. It was open from mid AM until mid PM with a lunch break in the middle. We were 4th in the queue when we arrived and it took one and a quarter hours before we were roped through – engines off and no crew allowed on-board during this operation. We were told it would likely be mid-September before the gate could be repaired.

A busy day with thirteen slow locks and a delay near the M25 ;^)

A timelapse video of this journey can be viewed at

Overnight mooring ///tribal.zeal.sand

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

And then it rained.

Wednesday 19th August 2020

We woke to gentle rain, an improvement to the thunderstorms and floods of the last few days but enough to keep us tied up most of the day and tell ourselves it’s a holiday after-all.

We read, played games and re-organised our schedule out of necessity before finally deciding to set off at 4:30 in the afternoon. The rain was much reduced but accompanied us, coming on harder just as we moored up in Two Waters Park, above Boxmoor lock.

Fisheries lock

Our progress was impeded by a single hander ahead of us who had left all the lower gates open and paddles up as he’d left each lock. This gave us twice as much work to do, closing up and resetting paddles before filling the lock again. Luckily, we’ve perfected a technique to deal with the other top gate swinging open as Jannock enters through the single open gate – it involves Brenda moving the boat across to the far side and shutting that gate whilst I draw the first bottom paddle after closing my side.

Finally tying up at 19:10 meant the catering department decided on a tin of minced beef as the quickest dinner – classy eh?

Tonight’s mooring /// riding.nests.digits

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Covid Limited Cruise–Part II

Tuesday 18th August 2020

Planned Blood bike duties performed, we arrived in Berkhamsted from home and moved back on board at about 4pm. Brenda to do housekeeping while Graham went off back home in the car to leave it there. After-all we will be nearer home at the end of our planned trip than we are now.

On the return run from Thame aboard the Di Blasi, a combination of a very hot day and lots of Buckinghamshire hills caused the clutch to overheat and seize up. Graham managed to free it and make it all the way back to Jannock OK.

Meanwhile, catering department set off to the chippie at Berko station. Bemasked, the customers queued patiently outside. “ one haddock, one rock and medium chips please” – it’s so rare to find rock salmon on offer she had to order it for very old-times sake, uni days in Brighton. She offered her contactless card to be told “ we only take cash” of which she had insufficient. She plodded back to Jannock ‘fish & chipless’

Cap’n Jannock hold the boats treasure chest and so, on his return from the car shuffle, he walked up to the chippie and fetched dinner while the table was laid.

Then he noticed how little juice was left in the batteries so at 8pm we set off south down the Grand Union and continued on to below Bottom Side Lock. It was dark when we moored for the night. All in all not the most positive start to our holiday.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Home for the weekend.

Thursday 13th August 2020

A bit cooler today so we set off down through six locks and Berkhamsted  before mooring below Rising Sun lock. To cheer us, there was a ‘help yourself’ bag of marrows at Gas 1 lock, thankyou, how thoughtful.

As we exited the last lock Brenda had a sad tear in her eye. A toddler, about 2, was watching us leaving the lock. Instead of the ‘normal’ wave he kept sending the new greeting of kissed fingers flung out toward us. Wonderful! but sad that Covid has fashioned his ‘new normal’.

We moored up behind a boat that had it’s engine running to charge batteries. Before we had finished tieing up, it’s owner had come out and appologised. No problem. He then said anything we needed, just let him know. Who siad modern youngsters have no respect? Most do.

Graham fetched the car from Marsworth and we set off home for the weekend. More Blood-biking duties over the weekend.

Mooring /// feast.dribble.nametag

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Shade – an essential DIY need.

Wednesday 12th August 2020

After a night that was more African Queen than Up The Junction ( Arms – pub – geddit?) we got up slowly and enjoyed a fry-up taken on the cratch table.

We then took a little ‘cruisette’ deeper into Tring cutting and moored up in the deep dark shade offered by the large trees there-in. Cap’n Jannock then took on the role of galley-fitter-outer.  In this temperature, the fridge has really struggled so some ventilation holes were drilled into the work surface above to provide better convection of cool bilge air up past the heat radiator on the back. The holes in the floor were drilled many years ago during the last on-board heatwave. He then cut out a bit more of the end panel of the sink unit to allow better side access and install another shelf within.

DIY completed, we set off in sunshine and rain, it is British summertime after all, no matter how odd times are. We pulled over above Cowroast lock for water bemoaning the boats moored at NO MOORING signs for both winding and water points. Once the water tank was full, Graham prepared the lock but as we moved off a storm blew in pushing Jannock’s bows across the canal and jamming her between a boat on the long term mooring opposite and the inconsiderate sod moored in the winding hole. There was no where to go, she was jammed solid. Joining a mooring rope to the end of the centre line allowed Graham to pull her back across against the wind and assist getting into the lock. We got through the lock and tied up above Dudswell locks just as the storm struck full-on. Don’t want to do that again – fair put the whirl into whirlwind.

After dinner, we moved off again and made our way down to Northchurch where we moored below the lock, amongst the houses that shield the canal from the railway and main road.  ///torn.lurching.deserved

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

A day of two parts

Tuesday 11th August 2020

Being nice and rural, we were able to sleep with the back slide and front door open enough to ensure cool air all night – Yay!

However, it was soon a bright, sunny and very hot morning whilst we were ascending the Aylesbury arm and the thirteen locks between our overnight mooring and Marsworth where we pulled over, opposite the entrance to the arm, under a shady tree. /// nagging.shelving.squares  Graham set off to do some car minding and domestics whilst Brenda found a cool shower.

During our ascent, at lock 7 on the arm, Brenda spotted a black rustling thing out of the corner of her eye. She looked but it had gone. As the lock filled and there was little boat movement it returned. Another black stoat/weasel/mink/ferrety thing (delete which beasts were not it) We stayed very quiet and still, watching it watching us. It obviously wanted to cross the lock gates but not whilst we were there, so it retreated into the brambles from whence it came.

Graham found some Damsons during our run up the locks, they made a nice change from blackberries – all delicious.

At 5:30pm, when we completely lost the shade on Jannock, we set off from our ‘sea-esta’ at Marsworth with the outdoor temperature nudging 92F (33C in modern heat) in the shade. It was so quiet towpath wise that it seems everyone but us thought it too hot to cruise. We passed through the first three locks solo but caught up another boat by lock 42. This single hander had passed our shady mooring over an hour earlier. Turned out he was the definition of ‘slow boat’ – be it to China or anywhere else.

Brenda got the benefit of his boating experience whilst sharing the next 4 locks with him – he’s had his boat for 4 years! Graham attended to the locks using the trusty lock wheeling bike. Once out of the flight we moved towards Tring cutting before mooring for the night in the shade of a good tree, ate our dinner and then had 47 drops of rain whilst watching the lightning and thunder wheel around us.

The single hander passed us later going back to Bulbourne on his bike and told us how grateful he was for all our help – bless!  Mooring /// camcorder.belt.mush

A timelapse video for Marsworth flight can be viewed at

Monday, August 10, 2020

Farewell Aylesbury

Monday 10th August 2020

Wildlife of the day :- a black mink under Park Street bridge, Aylesbury

We were surprised by the number of people in and around Aylesbury basin last evening. Most of all by the family groups who were posing for ‘selfies’ and group photos. The view is of Waitrose (closed) and Travelodge’s entrance, the back of the theatre, a couple of boats that were NOT resplendent in roses and castles and plenty of annoying ducks and pigeons. There must be more salubrious photo opportunities in Aylesbury – after all, it’s only a short walk to the Park and the David Bowie statue.

Another hot day – Cap’n Jannock jumped ship at 7am to return to Thame for some blood-biking duties. Then he had a shower after wearing his heavy motorcycle clothing before returning to the basin as 12 o’clock.

WaterPointWe moved Jannock across to the water point and filled up, then moved forward and moored under a shady tree. We remained there for the rest of the afternoon until 5pm but still the temperature wasn’t reducing much then but we set off anyway.

We made slow and frustrating progress through prop-tangling weeds and low overhanging trees. At Broughton lock there was a brief discussion whether to continue on for a further two locks when we noticed the bottom falling out of a large dark grey cloud further up the arm.

We moored on the piling above the lock just as the wind started building up, the air freshened and we heard thunder. We’ll do those locks tomorrow ;^) For the next halfhour we heard the thnder, saw the lightning but not a drop of rain.

Our mooring location was /// remainder.barman.slumped

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Down into Aylesbury

Sunday 9th August 2020

As ever, the Aylesbury Arm is hard going. Admittedly NOT ‘miles and miles of poly round the prop’ – there is a lot less litter about this Covid year. Fewer litterers but the pickers are still about. Instead, round the prop we got weed, big weed, little weed and even last years weed. Luckily, with Jannock’s prop and shaft arrangement, most instances of weed can be cleared by throwing the engine into reverse and back again Overtaking in the reedswhich seems to clear it OK. Therefore not too many trips down the weedhatch unlike another boat who was travelling down at the same time – we ended up having to pass her in the reed section.

As we neared Aylesbury there was less water too. Some sections of the reed tunnel were very narrow, only enough room for a single boat.

Below Broughton lock we met the junior Keens crew and so stopped to pick them up. Once they were settled we set off again down through the last two locks to Aylesbury basin. The heat meant that we couldn’t be as much fun as we’d hoped, the hot life jackets and toddlers are not the best combo.

Aylesbury basinWe had some time aboard with them before abandonning ship to visit the local park and then across the road to home where a paddling pool provided fun and coolth.

Back to Jannock for us two once it was toddlers teatime and we spent the evening sat out in the shade of an office block trying to keep cool. Mooring location was /// couple.slowly.powers

A timelapse video of today can be found at

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Onto the Aylesbury Arm

Saturday 8th August 2020

Another scorchio day so we chose a very late start and arrived at Jannock at about 4pm.

We readied the boat and set off towards Marsworth turn at just after 5pm. Aylesbury Arm top lockUnfortunately it was still quite warm so the steerer was grateful for the cool breeze within the locks generated by the water flowing over the top gates. This also had the effect of making most of the locks ready for us when we arrived with no need to fill first.

After doing nine locks we moored for the night out in the country above Puttenham top lock. It’s a good job the location choice wasn’t made specifically for being quiet. We found ourselves under a flight path and just across a field from a noisy village pub/disco. (No one said Covid was quiet ;^) And then the evening harvesting started.

Overnight mooringA cool breeze joined the party and dinner was taken out on the foredeck. Then Cap’n Jannock got out his power tools and added to the general noise by ‘fine tuning’ the newly manufactured safety gates so that they were secure for our newest ‘crew members’ who are joining ship tomorrow.

Our mooring location is /// hardening.justifies.rate

A timelapse video of today’s trip can be found at

Monday, August 03, 2020

Easy run to Marsworth

3rd August 2020

After a peaceful rural night, today we had the luxury of sharing with a two handed crew who did ‘things’ exactly the same way as we do. They made all of the locks easy. Their lockside lady even got out a bicycle so that she could assist Graham with the setting ahead – excellent!

PitstoneViewAt Pitstone wharf, the sharp bend was made more complicated by two ‘breasted up’ moored boats just before the apex with a loosely tied widebeam behind. The offside willows are growing over the water again so that the two on-coming craft had very little vision ahead of them. Luckily no-one was mucking about or racing so all was safe and mainly serene.

We said farewell to our sharers as we pulled over to stop at Marsworth (teardrop.resembles.skyrocket) They were continuing up the locks, destination the Wendover Arm.

A video of this trip is at

Sunday, August 02, 2020

A numpty at Grove lock.

2nd August 2020

Wildlife of the day  A Red Kite swooped down and took something, probably tasty, from the canal.

Graham started off at silly-o’clock while I stayed a-bed – I blame the drugs!

As usual, it was a pleasant cruise through Milton Keynes with the added bonus of lovely sunshine. There were a few boats about and it pleased us to see more hire boats out. At Fenny Lock we paired with some newby hirers who were out for an extended weekend on a Wyvern boat – the consolation prize for not being able to take their planned holiday in the USA.

Grandad was at the tiller and quite perplexed by it all. Most of the family stayed inside and were leaving him to it. He ttok the ‘Jannock School of Boating’ short course through Stoke Hammond, Soulbury and Leighton locks and was quite enjoying himself so they decided to continue on to wing below Grove lock before returning to their base. They came from Barry in South Wales and had heard about the hordes that had turned up there this weekend, they were pleased to be away.

When we arrived at Grove lock a ‘numpty’ and his crew were busy tying his sailaway boat to the lock landing so that they could go to the pub. When asked he reasoned Grove Boatyardthat this was the only place available to moor. We pulled across and tied to a moored dumb barge opposite whilst the lock was prepared and Graham pointed out that where he had tied up was reserved for boats to use when locking up or down. They then proceeded top pull his boat back and tie it across the winding hole.

This was when the hirers arrived and tried to turn their boat there with great difficulty. We awarded them 10/10 for their efforts when they finally made it round.  ‘Numpty’ could not work out what they were doing as he thought they were just going up a side arm. Graham then pointed out that it was an official turning point and that he should not moor across that either. There were about 4 boats moored after the winding hole so moving back was not practical so once were were in the lock Graham told him that he could moor against the dumb barge like we had which would leave both the winding hole and the lock landing available to other boats. As we entered the lock this is what he did.

Brenda took Jannock in through the open single gate and a child in the pub garden shouted “that’s amazing” and both he and his little brother clapped. There was a lovely ripple of laughter around the garden so she took a bow and curtsied to yet more laughter.

We moored for the night ‘out in the sticks’ (under.burst.economies) below Slapton lock and later the ‘numpty’ cruised past and were very pleasant by now. As they returned the other way later, they even slowed down to pass us.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Down the locks and onto Milton Keynes

Saturday 1st August 2020

It dawned much cooler today, all the better for tackling Stoke Bruerne’s six locks. We had spent a pleasant evening chatting with a couple on a hireboat who were packing up to return their boat and go home today. No social distancing problems here – just normal canal life separated by the distance between the moored boats. They were already thinking about their next family trip and asked us what was our favourite canal. We were unable to choose, and sometimes the events that stand out are the serendipitous ones that could never be repeated. We realised that even the calamities had merit, if only for comedy value. I suspect we made their life more difficult by talking of canal trips that they hadn’t much considered by the sound of it.

Bottom of Stoke Bruerne locksWe descended Stoke Bruerne locks easily, if not slowly, sharing with nb Victoria. Most of the delay was due to boats coming up and the slowness of the boats in front of us. A couple of ascending boats weren’t sure what to do or where to go but the wide pounds gave plenty of room to dance around each other.

Cosgrove LockA group of dog-walkers were going up the towpath towards Stoke Bruerne. They all had greyhounds with them, we’ve never seem so many all together. All were rescue dogs and their rescuers meet up most Saturdays for a group walk. The dogs were all beautifully behaved but it bothered me that so NotMuchRoommany dogs need rescuing once their racing days are over. Is it sport, or just gambling with the dogs being considered disposable?

At one point, north of Milton Keynes, we met a very large Orange thing approaching us. Obviously an ex-liferaft from a big ship but taking up a lot of space when you finding it coming towards you round a corner.

readilyfattestmystifiedWe moored for the night a Linford Park (readily.fattest.mystified) which brought back memories of a holiday cruise taken nearly 40 years ago with our Mum’s and brothers (Gary and Adam) and a very small Simon aboard. We walked round the park, the Almshouses and up into the village. A pleasant evening constitutional.

A timelapse video for the locks can be found at 

A video of the rest of the trip through Cosgrove is at