Thursday, 28 May 2015

Very slow progress

Yesterday afternoon we cruised from Cosgrove down to Stantonbury to meet up with Les and Jaq in the evening. 
An obediently following bunch of cygnets

As we approach the aqueduct David decides to adjust the new toys

It's quite a long way down to the valley - the aqueduct was built in 1811
The stuff floating on the water is seed heads from the willows.

We stopped at Wolverton so I could go off and do a shop at Tescos. I took a granny trolley and filled it to capacity and beyond its specified weight limit - 6 bottles of wine and numerous cans of tomatoes are pretty heavy even before the fruit and vege get stacked in ... There were some very helpful teenagers sitting on the seat beside the boat when I was struggling down the steps, having texted David to come and help lift the trolley down - his phone was on silent ... They were nice kids.
The mooring at Wolverton outside a huge set of apartments
Waiting for the paparazzi to photograph one is so time consuming ...

This was the easy part of the trip
The wind at that corner was pretty strong ...

It was very windy coming through Wolverton and a number of boats had trouble pulling in to moor or staying on course as they cruised at that point. 

By the time we got to Stantonbury we were both tired, so we had an early dinner while waiting for Jaq and Les to arrive. Then we had a late night (well, late for me) and I fell asleep in one of their comfy chairs. Jaq does a very nice line in nibbles - a homemade ranch dressing with crudites and a salmon dip with crackers, plus olives, and a chicken and grape salad that I do have to make at some stage very soon.

Our original intention for today had been to get to Stoke Hammond so that tomorrow we could cruise a short distance to Soulbury and walk into the village – a time of nostalgia as it is where my Aunt Daphne lived very happily from her early 50s until she died in 2007. When I first came back to the UK with my mum in 1988 we stayed with Daphne in her semi-detached home in Chapel Hill. The Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire countryside was my first taste of England and I fell in love with it. It was while we were on an outing to Stoke Bruerne that I decided that David and I needed to come to the UK with Tim and Kirsty as soon as we could scrape up the money, and we had to have a narrowboat holiday. Of such small seeds are life changing decisions made …

So, as I said our intention was to get to Stoke Hammond. That aim got modified as our leaving taking from Les and Jaq Biggs was delayed while they gave me the gen on moorings on the way into and out of London – in on the canals, out on the Thames. So we finally left not much before noon, as Les is nothing if not thorough ;-)

David is aware that I suffer from low blood sugar that affects my concentration and, dare I say it, my mood/temper/tolerance. So his mission is to keep me fed little and often during the day. Those of you who know me know that I am not the world’s most patient person, so once we are underway, I just want to keep going till we get to the destination.

However, I am pretty good at revising plans. A good thing too, as it has happened a few times today. The plan to get to Stoke Hammond was abandoned when we stopped for water, and had showers and lunch while the tank was filling – of course the showers empty it faster than the tap fills the tank, so filling took well over half an hour.

At that point we decided we would stop for the day at Fenny Stratford – a lovely long straight of moorings where we moored up last season with Barry and Pauline on board and had dessert with Jaq and Les.

But hey, plans change when conditions change, so we are now moored up just past Woughton Park in Milton Keynes – it’s not the quietest as there is quite a big road not far away, but it is beautifully sunny so the solar panels are having fun, we have the hatch open and I think the wine may come out shortly.

This early stop was precipitated by going at far less than tickover as the last in a line of 4 boats, the lead being a widebeam that necessarily, I guess, has to travel slowly to make sure they don’t hit the sides of bridges or moored boats of which there are a few. I was impressed by the Wyvern hirers who were 2nd and 3rd in the line. More patience than me – but they probably need to be back at Linslade by either tomorrow or Saturday morning.

And it is fortuitous that we have moored here – I have been able to order an air filter, and fuel filter from Willowbridge Marina and an alternator belt from an automotive engineer next door. We can pick them up tomorrow early in the afternoon – that means we can have a lie in. And I think that, at the moment, we will probably get to Soulbury on Saturday.

I took this photo of the heron in the field with the sheep from our mooring near Grafton Regis a couple of days ago.

Also at Grafton Regis - the hawthorn bushes look lovely

The view that morning from the dining table


Jaqueline Biggs said...

Uor time together was all too brief but lovely as always. We went right by you on the bus to Fenny Stratford this afternoon. The way you two are lollygagging around, one might think you were boaters or something. So I guess you will have a lie-in tomorrow which is so much better than a lay-in or layover. XX

Marilyn McDonald said...

David will be so glad that the grammar lesson stuck with you ...
I'm not sure we will be able to match your pace on the way into and through London and along the Thames - but we are trying to slow down. Not always easy though!
It was great seeing you both again and we hope we'll catch up again before mid-October. Biggs hugs, M&Dxox