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 https;//youtu.be/VM0Zr7Mt3PM

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 https://youtu.be/6g-wCGWhvhE