Monday, 29 August 2016

Painting all done, but a sad sight to see at Hillmorton!

Monday 29th August
On Saturday Kev drove the car to Hillmorton and rode the bike to Willoughby and we had a bite to eat before setting off at lunchtime. It had forecast rain but it was fine all the way to Hillmorton where we managed to get moored on the 14 day moorings above the top locks, and we were close to where the car was parked. While Kev was tying up etc I took Jaz for a walk and just as I was walking back to the boat it started to rain and luckily as I got on board it absolutely bucketed down! It rained all afternoon with a bit of thunder & lightning too!
We had a bit of a mishap under the galley sink! As Kev went into the cupboard there was water all over the top shelf, I had a twin pack of kitchen rolls there and they had absorbed that much water that I had to throw them away. After turning the water off and emptying the cupboard we dried it out and Kev noticed where the water had come from. The water filter had cracked and so water was seeping out from it, we turned the cold water off under the sink so at least we could get water even if it was hot! Thank goodness we had a good internet signal so Kev was able to check if Midland Chandlers had one in stock, and they did. We also have a water filter under the sink in the bathroom which is a different one to the galley one, but Kev decided that he would buy both filters and change them. It was still pouring with rain when he left but he only had a 5 minute walk to the car and was soon back with the 2 filters and fitted the one in the galley.
When the rain had finally stopped I took Jaz for a walk towards the locks and only 3 boats along I saw a sad sight...

Our first boat!
"4EverMoore" looks a real mess and it was very sad to see that the people who bought her haven't looked after her at all, and they weren't on board.
Yesterday Kev managed to get the other top rail painted as it turned out to be quite a lovely day although it had forecast showers, a bit later on in the afternoon we walked back along the towpath to The Old Royal Oak pub and sat outside with Jaz and it was lovely sat in the sun but as we walked back to the boat it started looking a bit overcast and we were lucky to get aboard before it started to rain, although it didn't last that long before the sun came out again.
 These 2 views were opposite our mooring 

The fence  behind the sheep, which I hope you can see is new, a local man was telling Kev that there is going to be a road that will run as far as Clifton Hire boats & the fencing is the marker for it. Further back along the canal there used to be lots of masts that could be seen both from the canal and also by road which I am sure most people have seen several times. Well these masts are no longer there as BT who owned them have sold the land to developers for an extensive housing build! The man said he isn't sure which one it is but one of the farms is going to be sacrificed for this development! It is so sad to see more rural land being taken, I am sure there must be plenty of empty urban place to be had! It makes me wonder why we need all this new housing as I am sure it isn't for the British!
This morning before we left Hillmorton I put a wash on  and also cut Kev's hair and then he jumped in the shower! Once the washing was done and Kev had showered we headed to the first of the 3 locks, it was like the M25! Very busy with boats and we were in a queue but only had 2 boats ahead of us. When we were down through the 3 locks we pulled over to the water point to fill the tank, it took ages as it was very slow, but when we were finally full we made our way to The visitor moorings before bridge 58. We will get some shopping later from the Tesco store here.

Friday, 26 August 2016

A busy week, fellow boaters around for a bbq!

Friday 26th August
It has been quite a busy week, mainly for Kev though as he has been painting. On Tuesday morning he decided to go turn around to face in the opposite direction, the reason being that he wanted to paint the top rails and if we had stayed facing towards Braunston he wouldnt have had chance to do the Starboard side as the towpath is on the Port side all the way to Hawkesbury Junction. When we returned back to bridge 102 we managed to get moored closer to the bridge which was better for going to the car. After lunchtime we noticed a familiar boat moored further along the towpath, it was Del & Al, Nb "Derwent 6"and they came over to see us and said they had moored further back from us as they now have a cat, (The cat had been a present for Al's mum before she died) and with us having Jaz they thought it would be better to keep their distance. I must admit that Jaz is starting to be a really good girl, and she loves being outside on the towpath, she just lays beside Kev's chair and has started to take notice when people or dogs are approaching and when we say wait she actually does!! She is however still very fussy and jumps at people if we don't curb her, but she will get there in the end.
We arranged to have a BBQ with Del & Al at  about 4.30pm and so I popped into Daventry for a bit of shopping beforehand. We told Del & Al we still had some throw way BBq's that we wanted to use so when they came to us at 4.30pm Kev got the 2 bbq's out and lit them, the only thing was that he had forgot to take the outer cardboard off one of them before he lit them!!
It was funny, at least Del's feet got a warming!
We had a lovely evening with them both and a few good laughs too. On Wednesday morning Kev made a start on the painting and closer to lunchtime Del & Al came over to say that they were going to set off and so we said our farewells and hope to see them again probably next year.
Derwent 6, heading towards us.
Two very happy boaters!!
Kev managed to get the top rail finished and we are very pleased with the way it looks, just the other side now!

Our good little girl(well sometimes)
A lovely sky in the evening.
Kev had a phone call from our friends who are checking our home & getting the mail, Otto told Kev that there was a letter that had gone to our old address but it was a reminder that our MOT on the car should have been done on the 4th August! Anyway we had to do something about it so we found a garage close to Daventry and Kev arranged for me to take it in yesterday morning and wait for it. They were very friendly and made me a coffee while I waited and after about an hour & a half the car was ready, £40 all done nothing wrong at all and we are all legal once again.
We now have a new satellite dish which is controlled manually and is working a treat, Kev has a magnet underneath it with a thin cloth between the magnet & the roof so we don't scratch the paint.
This morning we left bridge 102 and headed off to turn around which we did just through bridge 107, Kev got off with Jaz at bridge 103 to give her a bit of a walk and then when we arrived back at our mooring once again, Kev got the centre line and I jumped off and put Jaz back on board while Kev stayed on the boat to head to Braunston and I went in the car to Tesco's in Daventry. I drove to Braunston to meet him and I pulled into Midland Chandlers car park to find R&R moored at the water point there, so that was good timing and we managed to unload the shopping onto the boat. We were quite low on water as the last time we had filled the tank was at Cropredy! Kev went into Midland Chandlers as he needed some more masking tape so he asked if we could leave the car there while we found a mooring, and they were fine about it. There wasn't any moorings where we wanted to be so we were quite happy to head to Willoughby and we were soon moored once again. After we had a bite to eat Kev got the bike down from the roof and went by road to Braunston for the car, he wasn't going to risk riding on the towpath as he got a lot of punctures before! So now the car is parked next to the bridge at Willoughby.
I took this photo this morning when Kev set off to Braunston

The bike is now in the spot where the original Satellite was.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

An Eventful Saturday!

Sunday 21st August
Yesterday was a bit eventful, we had a ride to Daventry to "Road Pro" taking with us the control box for the satellite system, which has now stopped working. We had spoken to other boaters who had the same problem and all, including the people at Road Pro who were very helpful but said that the satellite frequencies had changed and our system needed re-programming but that they couldn't re-program our box as it was now obsolete, they did show us a system which we are going to buy it is a manual system.
We also had a leak on the water pump which Kev had thought he had resolved but it still leaked so he had taken the pump off yesterday and so we took that to Midland Chandlers at Braunston who informed Kev that although the pumps last a long time the diaphragm however becomes brittle and leaks after about 4 years. Kev was going to buy a new pump @ £87, but the man in the chandlers told him just to buy a new diaphragm kit £32! Result a saving of £50!
When we got back to Napton and back on the boat Kev changed the diaphragm and it is now working properly! Kev also had to repair the punctures on the bike as there were several in both tyres! He did change an inertube on one of the tyres though.
After the bike was sorted he decided to ride along the towpath and take it to put back in the car, he hadn't been gone long when he returned with the bike.... Kev was dripping with water! He had been riding along and looked down at his jeans thinking he had got oil on them from the chain, big mistake as he ended up going head first into the canal and the bike was hanging slightly into the water!
As he stood inside the stern dripping from head to toe I told him to get his clothes off and go get in the shower.
Kev's dripping clothes!
Quite an eventful day, so after his dip in the canal he had to have a cold beer so we both had one. Later on in the evening we had a walk to The Folly Inn as there were some bands on as it was "FollyFest"and there were quite a few people there although it took ages to get served at the bar inside and the outside bar had ran out of bitter, as it took so long to get served we got 2 pints each and took them outside. I don't think the event had been organised very well as we couldn't see the band that was on at the time as they were in the same tent as the outside bar so it was quite full. I think the area for the bands should have been separate and that way everyone could see them. 
This morning we decided to move from Napton as Kev wanted to get some maintenance done, so I took Jaz to the car after Kev had set off on the boat. I parked the car at bridge 104 and walk with Jaz heading back towards Napton to meet Kev and as I had passed bridge 108 he rang to say he wasn't far from me and so when I saw him appear on the boat I waited on a straight section so he could pull over to pick both me & Jaz up. One aboard we didn't travel too far and when we got through bridge 103 we were going to moor but there were a few boats there already so we carried on a bit further and moored before the bend at bridge 102. When we had seen Del & Al they had told us that the moorings were good after bridge 103 and we were hoping to meet up with them again. Once we were moored up I left Kev to walk with Jaz back to the car at bridge 104 and i drove it back and parked at bridge 102 to be closer to the boat. Kev had got the Satellite dome off the roof and had started filling the holes were it had been mounted on the roof, he then took it to the car ready to take it to the tip. So he has quite a bit of painting to do, weather permitting.

Looking across from our present mooring.

Friday, 19 August 2016

A pair of selfish single handers, a familiar boat & sadness for another fellow boater.

Friday 19th August
What great weather we have been having, on Wednesday morning we wanted to fill our water tank so we headed to the water point at Cropredy which is at bridge 153. Luckily the water point was empty so we managed to get on it ok, it was a bit awkward as the winding hole is here too and our stern was across part of it. Then another boat came through the bridge wanting water too, so he breasted up alongside of us and then low and behold another boat arrived! Then another came and was waiting inside the winding hole but he decided not to bother and so he just turned around while he was at the winding hole. It took a while for us to fill our tank as we were quite low, but once we were full we reversed and let the boat that had been breasted to us pull across onto the water point, he had the other boat tied to him so they both managed to move across together.
Our first lock was Cropredy.

Passing Cropredy Marina.
Kev walked with Jaz from Cropredy lock to the next lock which was Broadmoor lock and then he put her back on board. Once we were through our last lock of the day which was Claydon top lock we decided to find a mooring and we did so just through Hay Bridge. Kev went on bike back to Cropredy for the car and he parked it at Fenny Compton but not in the Wharf Inn car park as they charge £5 per night! He then came back to the boat on bike and we relaxed for the rest of the day in the brilliant sunshine.
The field opposite where the combine had been working when we arrived earlier.
Yesterday  morning we left quite early, in fact it was just after 7.30 am although we werent the only people on the move so early as 2 boats passed us before we left! 
Heading through the once Fenny Compton tunnel, thankfully no boats coming the other way!
Looking back, it is very narrow.
We passed through Fenny Compton where there were plenty of moored boats but we weren't stopping there so it didn't matter to us. We continued on in the lovely sunshine until we spotted what we thought was a familiar boat & crew!
Derwent 6, with Del & Al
A quick chat.
As Kev was chatting I asked him to put the bow onto the towpath so I could get off the boat with Jaz and while Kev continued to chat I walked along the towpath with Jaz. Kev had to bike back for the car so he told del & Al he would see them later for a pitstop! I got back on board with Jaz and then as we were approaching Napton Top lock it was quite overgrown with trees hanging over the canal making it difficult to see ahead, so I went to the bow and the 2 boats that had passed us first thing this morning were telling us to wait as they were pulling off to go to the lock. There was a boat moored before the moorings for the lock and also a boat at the water point which is close to the lock itself. As there wasn't a lot of room we pulled in behind the boat at the water point, the man at the boat said his wife was at the lock helping people through the lock so once we were alongside I held the centre line while Kev took the windlass and went up to the lock. He came back telling me that the woman who was on one of the boats waiting to go down the lock told him that she and her fellow friend who was on the second boat didn't need any help as they wanted to work the locks themselves! So they were on two boats and both single handing, usually people single handing are grateful for help but not these two! By the time they had pratted about there was a queue of 6 boats including us waiting to got down the lock!The woman on the first of the two boats went down the lock and then tied up and came back to help her male friend down the lock! What a pair of prats! 
Water Buffalo, plenty of burgers there!
Napton Bottom Lock
Finally we were down Napton Bottom lock and were able to get moored round the bend on the 48hour visitor moorings. After I had taken Jaz for a quick walk and made Kev a cuppa, Kev got the bike off the boat roof and set off to Fenny Compton for the car which was about 9 miles!  He did manage his pitstop at Derwent 6 for a 45 minute break and then set off on the bike again only to get a puncture! Please no laughing! Anyway he fixed the puncture and finally got back to Napton around 6.30pm, so I met him at the Folly pub with Jaz and we sat in the beer garden with a lovely cold beer. Kev then took Jaz back to the boat and we went inside the pub for something to eat, and very good it was too!
Today we heard the very sad news of a fellow boater Elaine, who had died last night after a very courageous fight with cancer, our thoughts go out to her very loving husband Paul (Nb The Manley Ferry) RIP Elaine.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

All alone in Banbury, but not for long!

Tuesday 16th August

We have been moore in Banbury for a few days and on Saturday my brother John had hired a car to come & pick my mam up.  Kev was going to go back to Hull on Sunday morning with John & my mam as he wanted to go home & bring our car back and also bring the pushbike too. They all left after a cooked breakfast just after 9am and I stayed with Jaz in Banbury, I had spoken to a CRT man to ask if it was ok to stay a couple of extra days as I didn't want to take advantage or get a fine of £25 a day! Yesterday afternoon Kev got back to the boat just after 6pm, bringing with him a new starter battery that he had bought in Hull & also a new thermostat for the freezer. This morning  Kev went to the car and got the bike and we have put it on the roof with a mat under one of the pedals so it doesn't scratch the paintwork, he put some money in the parking meter and then we left Banbury at 9.20am.

 This house has a photo on the outside wall with the owners on it! Very odd!
We were having a lovely cruise in the sunshine with only a slight breeze at times, there has been a steady flow of boats coming from the opposite direction to us which made the locks easy as they were in our favour  each time we approached them there was a boat exiting, even though we only had 3 locks to do today.
The house here at Bourton Lock is empty but owned by boaters.
We managed to get moored at Cropredy where we will stay until tomorrow, we had a bite to eat and then Kev got the bike down off the roof and has gone back to Banbury for the car. We are going to keep the car with us and just move a few miles each time and then Kev will ride the bike back for it. Kev will be going back home at the end of August as he wants to go to the Freedom Festival in Hull, also we have some coal being delivered to our home in Roos and Kev has a dentist appointment too. I will stay with Jaz on the boat.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Back on board again with a passenger!

Thursday 11th August

On Kev's birthday 30th July we were at Banbury, Kev's daughter Colette & her son Joseph had driven from Bristol the day before  (Friday 29th July) and we all went for a meal in the evening. Colette was going to give me a lift back to Hull as she was going to visit her mum & brother Lee, but we would have to travel back to Bristol to pick up her partner Ryan, who had been unable to come with her on Friday. Anyway on saturday morning before we left Kev at Banbury we helped him through the lift bridge & down Banbury lock where we pulled onto the water point at the services there & this was where we said our goodbyes.
Colette, Joseph & birthday boy Kev!
 Kev was heading back to Thrupp to meet Nigel his friend who was going to spend a week on the boat with him, they would be going back onto the Thames & then returning to Thrupp in time for the 7th August as I was returning the next day & would be travelling on train with my mam. Some friends of ours from our village Ron & Denise were going to be staying in their caravan at a small site at Kidlington & they would pick both myself & my mam up from the train station at Lower Heyford.
I had been at home for about 9 days and had several things to do while I was at home one of which was to attend dear Dolly's funeral, which I have to say was a lovely send off to her & at 98 years of age she had a good life but is stilled very much missed!
By the time I had got back on board with my mam Nigel had already left & Kev and Jaz were waiting outside the boat for us & Kev helped us with our things from Denise's car. In the evening we went to the Boat Inn, were we had arranged to meet Ron & Denise for a meal which was very good.
On Tuesday morning we were waiting for Ron & Denise to arrive as we were going to go for a jolly on the boat, they were a bit later than we had expected and it was well after 10 am before they were aboard. They had with them Duke a black Labrador, they were looking after him for some friends while they were on holiday!
Ron & Denise waiting with us at a lock.

Duke, happily sat on Jaz's spot!
Ron decided to take hold of the centre line while we were waiting our turn at a lock!
My Mam enjoying the cruise.Apart from the locks that is!

We had a pleasant day and we had gone through the lift bridge at Thrupp and turned to head back towards Oxford, the weather was lovely and when we got down through Dukes lock (aptly named that day) as we had Duke with us we turned around and headed back to Thrupp where we managed to get moored ok close to the Boat Inn. Later on in the evening we met Ron & Denise in The Boat Inn for a few drinks but my mam decided to stay on board with Jaz. Also in the pub was someone we knew, it was Maffi with his Staffy Molly, he was moored through the lift bridge and has been there  for a while as Kev had seen him  in the Boat Inn while I was at home. When we left the pub we said our goodbyes to Denise & Ron, they will be away for 3 weeks in their caravan and are going to see relatives in Weymouth but we may meet up with them again when they are heading home.
On Wednesday morning I walked to the lift bridge while Kev left the mooring and when he got through the bridge he managed to get moored at the water point as there was nobody on it. The water was very slow to fill and by the time we were finished there was quite a queue! As we pulled off from the water point we passed Nb Milly M, but I never saw Maffi.
NB Milly M
We had a nice cruise and we were going to moor at Lower Heyford and wanted to moor where we had moored previously after Mill Lift Bridge but the water levels were so low that we couldn't get alongside, when I was walking to the lift bridge there was a boat that had just come through it and they got stuck at the towpath side as the man was trying to get back on board after closing the lift bridge but the level was a good 18 inches down. We did learn that CRT were on their way as somebody had left some paddles open along the way, so we carried on up Allens lock where we moored for the night. This morning we left just after 9am and had quite an uneventful cruise until Somerton Deep Lock, I went up to get the lock ready and there was a boat ready to enter the lock to come down and then as they were coming into the lock another boat came along, so I told the lady on the boat entering the lock to get on board and I would do the lock for them as I was sure the other people on the other boat would come and give me a hand with the gates! Oh no they didn't they all sat on their boat and watched me struggle with the heavy gate! My own fault I know for offering to help a fellow boater, but I always like to think we all help each other! I know people don't always like other people working the paddles for them but usually people help with the lock gates! They still sat there on their boat until we were up the lock and leaving, only as we were passing them did they make a move. Kev thanked them for helping me but only got bemused looks from them all while I said a few choice words!
We are now moored at Twyford Bridge for the night.