Sunday, 21 May 2017

Norton Junction

After the wettest day's boating we've ever done from Crick to Norton Junction, we decided to stay put for a bit.
In the staircase locks at Watford. No sunshine, but that meant no queue because almost no one else was nuts enough to be out in it.

He does look damp, eh?

My hair usually stands up but rain flattens it. Yes I have the umbrella, but the umbrella stand was useless for under bridges, so I resorted to holding it until my hand hurt and I just got wet instead.

We had a couple of days moored up in a lovely spot with a grand view across the fields.

One of the days was sunny and required for drying out and blobbing after a busy week of boating, and the next one was raining again and required for engine repairs.

On the blobby day I did just that - I was very tired and needed a break from this holiday lark! However at about 10.30 I realised that Dave and Jan would be coming through on their mammoth day heading for Rugby (they had sensibly stayed put at Crick while the precipitation took place). So I texted and invited them to stop off for a quick lunch at the UK's answer to Cafe Rata onboard Waka Huia. Invitation accepted so I made bread and Ministry of Food Cheese Scones (the recipe is here:   They are the yummiest cheese scones ever.)

They don't look as good as the ones shown in the recipe, but they taste divine. As Luke, our builder: he loves them.

Bread ready to bake

And I made a batch of pastry so I could make a cheese tart for lunch with Tim and the grandsons.
After the Carringtons had left we decided dinner would be at the New Inn so I could have a night off cooking. We checked out the menu on an afternoon walk a few locks down the Buckby flight. Chardonnay was by the bottle rather than the glass, so David manfully offered to share. Good thing too, as I would have been comatose if I'd been forced to consume it all, don't you think?

But dinner was a hoot. I ordered a chicken burger with salad and chips - wonderful chips, best I have had for ages. Fat, crisp, heaps of them. The salad was good - varied, colourful and yummy.

However the chicken burger just cracked me up. It consisted (bottom to top) of half a bap, a piece of breaded chicken, half a bap. No butter, no dressing, no lettuce leaf, no piece of tomato, and no piece of beetroot (a key burger ingredient in NZ). I had to take a photo once I had stopped laughing. Seriously, I was in stitches.

I discarded the bap, fought my way into the salad cream sachet (had to ask for assistance from a man at the bar - the sachet was harder to broach than the cheese that accompanies crackers in airline meals) and the mustard sachet (I am a quick learner - see previous parentheses), spread mustard and salad cream on the chicken, mixed them together and ate the chicken and enjoyed every mouthful.

We had intended to travel to Braunston quite early on Friday to find a good mooring, do some grocery shopping, buy some meat the the lovely butcher shop and wait for Tim and the boys to arrive on Saturday. However on Thursday morning, when it was very cold in the morning, we found that the Webasto would not start up. Damn!! We phoned Ed for some advice, tried what he suggested re re-setting it; well, most of it as we couldn't pull out one set of wires from its seat. So Ed said he would come and see us Friday morning to attend to the Webasto and to why the engine was struggling to start.

We agreed to meet in Braunston, but changed our minds and stayed put and had him meet us at Norton Junction. There were three reasons and I am not sure which one was predominant:
  • it was raining
  • the engine was taking three goes to star, and they were three long, noisy blasts of the starter motor and engine struggling, and we had a boat moored right behind us - starting the engine at 6.30am would have been unkind
  • we thought it would make more sense for Ed to hear the engine trying to start for the first time in a day, as it always started just fine after the first time.
 So we arranged for him to come to us at Norton Junction - a five minute difference for him but a 2 hour journey for us.

As a reward I warmed up the remaining cheese scones for morning tea, and made more bread and french onion soup for lunch.

It turned out that every one of the glowplugs were kaput and Ed wondered how we had even managed to get the engine started at all. A drive to Northampton to purchase more and for David to get a couple of key grocery items.
Ed at work, being watched with avid interest by David.
New glowplugs fitted and the engine started first go with only one key turn. Yay!! The Webasto was successfully reset, and Ed also changed its power source from the rather too small battery, and attached it to the step down converter already in place.

The last job was drilling and tapping a few holes to fit bolts to replace ones that had broken/disintegrated in the sliders for the pram cover.

As a celebration, after Ed had headed off home, we cracked open the wine. It was such a relief knowing that the engine non-starting was simply fixed, plus having the Webasto functioning again given how chilly the weather has been.

David was tasked with chopping up carrots for dipping in hummus for dinner (the soup, bread and scones were rather filling and lunch was very late). Somehow, sorting out the TV took precedence and carrots and hummus were forgotten. Not to worry, I had grapes for dinner - fermented grapes, but grapes nonetheless! I decanted myself into bed and slept very soundly ...


Oakie said...

Good to see you two, even only in passing. I hear that you met up with Jaq OK. I just baked those cheese scones from your recipe and have to say how good they were with French butter on. It has been about 6yrs since I last made scones and that was my first time ever, so this is my 2nd!

Oakie said...

Follow up to ray dot oakhill at virgin dot net