Friday 1st August
A lazy start today as we’re not going far. We pottered up to Heyford Fields marina to discuss the arrangements for next week with Gary. The bottom is being blacked, but he will also look at the rudder bearings and the Mikuni, which failed at the start of summer. We had a chat to one of Tixall’s owners too – we met them at Leighton Buzzard – they moor here and Tixall is coming out of the water a couple of weeks after Chuffed.
We cruised on to Furnace Wharf, where we turned, and had lunch in the quiet soon afterwards. We went back down to Bugbrooke in a shower, where we turned again and moored up beyond bridge 35, ready to go into the marina on Sunday.
We strolled into Bugbrooke to find the bus stop for Dave’s trip back to the car tomorrow, visited the shop, then strolled back for a quiet evening in.
Saturday and Sunday 2nd and 3rd August
Dave set off at 9 for the bus to Northampton, while I set to and washed the roof, cleaned off the runs on the offside and washed the towpath side. Meg hung round looking bored till she found a ball and appealed (successfully) to passers-by to play for a while. I went to chuck a bucket of water into the hedge and she thought I was throwing the ball – cue a soaking wet dog and some vigorous shaking! It didn’t seem to bother her in the slightest. I had just cleared up outside and gone in to make coffee when the heavens opened. Ah well, at least I’d finished.
Meg and I went for a walk via the shop, getting back just before a thunderstorm. Dave arrived in the marina car park, his trip to Packet Boat and back having gone exactly to plan, and hurried back along the towpath in the rain. We relaxed with the papers as another storm crashed overhead, and finally as the weather cleared Dave and Meg went off for a walk.
As the sun came out boats were on the move again. Two hire boats went past a bit too fast – the first crashing through the trees as they had got their line wrong, then the second, coming the other way, rather than stopping while the first boat extricated themselves, kept coming, and though he had slowed down by the time he reached us was even further in the trees and his expensive rod bag was swept off the roof. He then executed a precise and gentle reversing manoeuvre to recover it, so he was clearly not short of skills, just chose not to use them to avoid trouble in the first place!
In the evening we thought we’d stroll down to the Wharf to eat. However, the car park and bars were overflowing so we walked up to the Five Bells where we bought our pints (excellent) before discovering that they only re-opened the day before and the kitchen was not operating yet! So, hoping that the Wharf would have calmed down we went back, only to find that it was even more packed, with a 60th birthday party in full swing. So back to the boat for a store-cupboard meal.
On Sunday we cleaned up, moved the boat to the marina, and had an easy drive home in the sunshine.