Saturday, 30 September 2017

Kilby Bridge to Foxton Locks

Before leaving Kilby Bridge I made a loaf of ciabatta - it was a good thing it rained in the morning as it meant I didn't have to get up at the crack of dawn to get the ciabatta ready to rise: I could stay in bed until a decent time. My only concern was that John was going out and I didn't want to leave freshly baked bread anywhere outside on his boat for him to discover later, as I thought (conceitedly, no doubt) that the bread would get nicked by some hungry passerby, or by a flying fish or a by the local swan family who were always looking for free food.

Luck was with me though, so I delivered half a loaf of still warm ciabatta to him (John, not the swans, fish or passersby) as we were about to set off. I only gave him half a loaf as he would have complained that a full loaf would have been too much, and anyway, I thought half a loaf is better than none, and David and I like it too, so we shared! Do you accept my reasons or are you declaring them as excuses? Too bad, it's all gone now anyway from Waka Huia, although John may not have munched through all of his half yet.

We pulled over to the services area and did a pumpout using a CRT card purchased a couple of years ago and carefully kept - what amazed me is that David knew where to find it - our usual style is to put things in a safe place never to be found again.

Pumpout accomplished, we filled with water (important not to confuse the two) and emptied the elsan. As there was a boat waiting to share the locks with us, we pushed off with John on board to give us a hand for the first couple of locks. And as we found out yesterday, we left behind the hose reel at the service area and a mooring chain at the mooring - John found the hose reel but not the chain - I also asked him to search for our lost minds but no sign of them has been discovered at this point.

Plenty of water in these pounds and the locks are pretty heavy. David and I have been making use of the rope and hook we bought at Tewkesbury Lock - David dangles the hook down as I come to a stop in the lock and I loop the rope over it so he can pull it up and pass it around the bolllard and hand it back to me. That helps me stay close to the side, but sometimes it doesn't work so well - the water flow in these locks is pretty powerful, and it is good to have the rope so I can at least partly control where the boat gets thrown ... And it doesn't seem to make much difference if the nearside ground paddle is lifted slowly or fast - sometimes I saty put on the side and sometimes the boat gets thrown around. Each lock seems to have different waterflow characteristics.

We did 6 locks all told that day, and I really buggered up the approach to one of them. It was full so had to be emptied and I was too close to the gates. The water comes out in such a rush that even a 17 tonne boat has no power to combat it. The boat was pushed from one side of the approach to the other and back again, in spite of my using the throttle. Bang, crash, wallop. It is no wonder I am sympathetic to hirers who stuff it up ...

We moored in a lovely spot and had a late lunch that morphed into chardonnay o'clock and then into leftovers for dinner (David), cheese/grapes and a couple of plums (me), watching a movie and then an early-ish night.
Lunch of ciabatta, boiled gammon with dijon mustard, avocado and tomato, plus thousand island dressing - yummy. Can we get gammon to cook in NZ? I need to find out - it is lovely and as easy to cook as corned beef.

The view from the boat in the late afternoon.

We had considered staying on there another night but I am pleased we didn't**.

I was quite impressed with this partial rainbow with its fainter echo off to the left.

We got up early yesterday and moved on through the remaining 5 locks.
David about to set off on the bike to do the locks

And away he goes!

Lovely autumn light
And the leaves in the water - so far they are not in prop-clogging amounts, thankfully.
We thought this was the last lock, but instead of being Kibworth Top Lock, it was Kibworth Second Lock. David had loaded his bike on board and secured it (while I was waiting for him to open the gate so I could exit, dammit) so he had to walk to the last one ...

When I was still labouring under misinformation from the husband that this was the last lock, I did wonder why he couldn't wait till we moored up to have a pee ... See the bike already folded up to be loaded onboard, and David looking for all the world as though he's looking across the hedgerow?

The countryside around here is beautiful - we think it rivals the Cotswolds.
We moored up not far from the path through to Fleckney. **The mooring wasn't as nice as at Newton Harcourt, but it was five locks and two miles closer to Foxton ...However we discovered that the Coop and the chip shop in Fleckney lived up to Julia's recommendation and the walk there and back was pleasant - even though the cattle in the field looked peaceful and I am never too sure of their intent!

I baked more ciabatta and a chocolate brownie for our visitors today. The grandsons are coming to stay overnight with us while Tim and Dana go into London for a party. I am pleased to report that David has managed to leave the chocolate brownie alone and no natural shrinkage has occurred yet.
I sent this photo to Olek to let him know what I had made for tonight's dessert - now I look at the photo, the chocolate brownie doesn't look that fantastic. No wonder he didn't reply! It will look better on a plate, sprinkled with icing sugar and dolloped with whipped cream though.

I made a Jamie Oliver fish and rice dish for dinner - David tells me it was lovely but I am not a fish fan, so toast for me. Another movie and an early night - the nights are getting darker earlier so it feels like we are going to bed much later.

Another early start, and while it was actually not that cold, I got thoroughly chilled on the stern - not enough clothes and no gloves. Doh! Hence I was pleased we only had a couple of hours to do - it is fine weather but very autumnal. A task I must complete before another morning start is finding my 3 pairs of gloves!

Low autumn light and chilly.

That doesn't look very warm, does it? But it definitely looks autumnal!
Just looking at it makes me chilly ...

Near Saddington

We are now moored at Foxton on the 2 day moorings. I was surprised to see there were fewer boats than I expected and David thought there were more than he was expecting...

We should only be here for a few hours, as when the boys arrive we plan to take them up the locks - well, more correctly I am hoping Tim will steer the boat and the boys will work the locks with David and the volunteer lock-keepers. (Change of plan - the boys have arrived, the weather has got colder and they don't want to do any boating ...)

However I am still on cooking duties:
  • toad in the hole for main
  • chocolate brownie for dessert
  • pikelets with maple syrup for brekkie
  • cheese tarts for their trip back to Scotland tomorrow

1 comment:

Jennie said...

Well I have learnt something today, Marilyn - I had to google to see what a pikelet is! Jennie xx