Saturday, 30 May 2015

Woughton on the Green to Stoke Hammond

It was a strange sort of a day yesterday. We knew the weather was due to pack up and so we decided to stay put at Woughton on the Green in Milton Keynes. It was a nice mooring the night before last– pretty quiet except for a main road behind the luxury flats overlooking the canal. Of course, as soon as we’ve decided that I start getting antsy and want to move on…

So instead I went off on foot to the Netherfield shops to the Coop and the post office. The best things I can say about Netherfield are:
·      You can get there from the canal on pathways without having to set foot on roads at all
·      The Coop is well stocked and the staff are friendly and helpful
·      The pharmacy staff are friendly and helpful
·      The people in the post office are also friendly and helpful
Apart from that it’s a bit of a sad place. Two people have told me this afternoon that the housing there is what was built as temporary housing for the people building Milton Keynes and that was back in the 50s and 60s, I believe. So it’s loads of scruffy looking flats with no balconies, all in lines. Therefore it’s all council estate. There were lots of working age people at the shopping centre looking unhappy, and I saw the Immigration people there photographing people, looking for illegal immigrants I guess.

I know it’s my prejudice, but I wasn’t keen to stay at the same mooring on a weekend night, in case it got rowdy and a bit obstreperous. So when I got back to the boat with my shopping, we moved on. We had planned to visit Pollards, a hardware shop in Fenny Stratford so we moored up before the lock and set off, with David leaving me to lock the boat while he got rid of the rubbish at the service area. We found Pollards using the mapping function on the phone – that is such a good app! And in we went.

Had either of us brought the measurements for the chain sections we need for securing the solar panels to the brackets? (Nothing will stop the determined thief but we will satisfy the insurance company if we have taken steps to secure them against theft.) Answer: NO

Have either of us brought one of the screws that we need another one of for the slider for the pram cover so we can find the right sized one? Answer: NO

So back David goes and I start on the list with the owner of the shop. Do they have U bolts (called D rings here)? Answer: NO

Do they have a piece of dowelling we can use as a flag pole and clips to hold it on to the swan’s neck of the tiller? Answer: NO to both

Do they have Locktite to ‘glue’ the bolt on the U bolts: Answer: YES, but it’s £15 for more than we could ever use in a lifetime if we’d started back when we were 20. And Yes, they do at £5 for 3ml of the stuff that can be undone using standard handtools – WTF?

Can they supply me with 4 x 450mm of chain? Answer: YES as long as I wait while the woman who had been serving me and the young chap (who came to help me when she got diverted to some other customer who had a list as long as the M1) went back to serve someone else – one length he could do fast – 4 was not a happening thing. I waited a few minutes, but then my patient gene was stretched and snapped. So I texted David that I was coming back to the boat empty handed. AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

On we came, through Fenny lock and on to Willowbridge Marina. The rain came down, the sun came out, the wind blew, the sun came out.

We had ordered the filters (fuel and air) from them the day before and a spare alternator belt from a neighbouring auto electricians. So, list in hand, in we went.
·      D rings: YES
·      Chain: YES
·      Screws: Yes
·      Engine oil: YES
·      Filters: YES
·      Tiller extension: YES

We decided that we would move on and moor above Stoke Hammond Lock even though we were both tired. David fell as he jumped off to take the middle rope when we were due to moor. That gave us both a fright.

The rain started in earnest as we tied up and it was a bit of a struggle to get the pram cover up and secured. As happens (this could be Taranaki in this respect) the rain stopped and the sun then shone brilliantly! Lots of hire boats came past on the way into the lock after we moored – they were not fair weather boaters!

The view from the galley across the cut into the red sky after dinner last night

The lovely grandsons trying on new clothes for our niece's wedding in August
The new caddies I bought at the shop partway down the Buckby flight - just went in for icecreams ...

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