Saturday, 13 September 2014

Braunston to Bugbrooke

Today has been great!

We started off at about 8.30am and made our way through the Braunston tunnel – it is 2 boats wide, with good roof height and, at 2042 yards, is  shorter than the 2926 yards of the Harecastle. So none of the collywobbles I feel in that one.

At Norton junction we stopped to wait for two boats coming up the locks, and along the towpath going as fast as her legs would carry her, was Lyndsay from nb Edna May. We had met her and Steve at Alrewas, the second time we had to get RCR out (that bl**dy huge alternator shaking loose the little nut that held the arm to make the starter motor work), and we’d seen them again early one morning, moored up, still in bed – well not for long, as I tooted and Lyndsay looked out the window and waved.

Hopefully we will see them when we make our way back towards Barby – Lyndsay has promised cake! I have told her I love cherry cake, chocolate cake, coffee cake – my hopes are up! It was great to see them this morning – Steve came along too and helped open the gate for David.

We shared the 7 Buckby locks with two couples on a Diamond boat: Tony and Kay, Neil and Bev. (Tony and Neil are brothers.) Tony steered and the rest of the crew were lockwheeling the current lock and David went ahead and set the next one if there were no boats coming or helped boaters up and got them ready for us. Tony and I decided after the first one that we would give it a try going in at the same time (breasted up without being tied). It was a runaway success so we did it for the rest of them. It saves so much time and it’s fun and feels great when it works! Fortunately, Neil ran ahead at one point and filmed our approach and entry into one of the locks – when he sends it to me, I will attach a link.

Below one lock was a young man on his boat, and he was drifting across the cut – he said he had lost his hooks and pins and only had one chain to attach him to the Armco. David was quite concerned and thought he was a bit doolally, certainly not that safe to be on the boat alone really. After we left the gates open for two boats exiting the lock below us, David came back to see if he could help him. The guy didn’t want to move so he could use the middle and front ropes, or just the middle rope and keep tight against the side. So David left him to it, turning down the offer to lend him a chain (when did he think he’d be able to return it?), and as David came back towards us, the guy unhooked his front rope, and with two boats int he middle of the pound approaching the locks, into the lock he went – smack bang in the middle, then lots of faffing to get to one side, threw his rope up, went up the ladder, and waited for one of the other boats to nudge him and hold his boat against the side. We lost sight of him after that, but were a bit worried. There was no boat name, and Tony noted that the boat number was not on the side we could see. So if you are in/near Braunston and you see this young man, can you make sure he is OK and now has purchased chains or pins?

We stopped for water near Weedon Bec (aren’t these place names just the bomb?) and it was a long wait – two boats in the queue before us. So I got the undercoat out and now the acne is white. It is good to use the spare minutes during the day for these tasks as by the time we moor up for the day, I am past getting on to maintenance really. We had lunch while we waited as well (slowish tap) but the wait could have been longer except that the guy filling just before us came and suggested we use the second tap (we had abstained because two taps equals half the flow) as they have a 1200 litre tank!!! and it could take another half hour for them to complete. We each showered to make sure we were clean before re-filling – helps with monitoring the amount of water we have available onboard and how long we can go without refilling – nothing like 1200 litres capacity tho!

We came past Nether Heyford (another yummy name) and are now moored quite close to Bugbrooke (see what I mean?) I remember Bugbrooke from our first ever narrowboating holiday back in 1990 with the kids and my Aunt Daphne. I am looking forward to walking into the village on our way back to Barby in a week or so.

Dinner is ready to cook – toad in the hole, brown onion sauce, potatoes, cabbage with ginger, carrots. So best I go and get it done – David can’t help as he is loading (after the horse has bolted) the OS maps on to my phone. I am now mapped from Slapton to Whaley Bridge. Well done, the IT department, I say … 

Tony, Kay, Bev and Neil just came past. I invited them in for a drink - too late! They are already have the bottles out!

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