Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Making the most of the good weather!

Tuesday 30th September and Wednesday 1st October

Calcutt to Wormleighton

After a couple of weeks of home commitments we are back on the boat.  Actually we are back at home now, catching up with the blog after a week of no or slow internet signal!

Although the morning was quite foggy as we left the south-west, the sun came out and it was lovely by the time we got to Calcutt.  Dave went off to settle up for the engine service (which was done last week) while I cleaned the flue with the holly we brought from home.  A bit prickly on the hands but very effective in the flue!  The soot nearly all fell into the newspaper I had spread in the grate, so it was a quick and pretty clean job.  The worst bit was cleaning the basin after I washed my sooty arm and hands!  I left the branches (they seem to shed the soot, unlike my skin)  by the bins in case anyone else wanted them.

We thought we’d go up the locks this afternoon, so left our berth at 4.30 and hovered at the marina entrance waiting for a boat to come down the bottom lock.  You know how it always seems to be a bridge or sharp bend where you meet another boat?  Well this time the boat coming down was turning into the marina (though he didn’t indicate this!).  If we’d started to go out before he started his turn neither of us could have got round in one – but it all went perfectly.

We went on to Napton Junction, turned towards Napton, then Dave reversed us back to the bank the Braunston side of the junction, where we enjoyed the rest of the sunshine and a quiet night in spite of the Napton road only a field or two away.

lovely sunny mooring

3 locks, less than a mile.

It was a bit chilly on Wednesday morning, but by the time we got to the bottom of Napton locks it was time for the shorts again! 

The winding hole below the locks wasn’t always neat and tidy like this –

1 napton winding hole

we remember once on our old share boat having a tricky time with the bow in the mud where the animals came down to drink.  The boat on the left, incidentally, was entirely moored in the ‘no mooring area’ opposite the winding hole.  On the other side of the winding hole was this plastic boat with a great name.

2 lovely name for plastic boat

The Folly shop was closed (even though the sign said it was open).  The lockie at the bottom lock had started working for CRT two weeks before and was loving it – she spent some of last week on the reservoirs learning about sluices and water levels.  I hope she still enjoys it once the weather turns!  A few locks up we met the other lockie, who was one of the volunteers when we went up Hatton a few weeks ago – we remembered each other, though that may have had something to do with our dogs, who didn’t get on last time!  though they ignored each other today.  We were so busy chatting to other boaters that we didn’t really look at the damage to the wall at lock 10, which is due to be closed for repair in November.  We’ll have a better look and take some photos on the way back down.

The water buffalo weren’t posing as usual.  Meg wasn’t quite sure what to make of them and sought reassurance!

3 water buffalo

Lock 15 (second to top) had some good blackberries, and as no other boats were coming we stopped to pick a bowlful.  Then we moored a few hundred yards above the locks for lunch before winding our way round the loops and bends of the long summit pound.  There have been a lot of boats around today but apart from one ahead of us in the locks these were the first we were following.

4 winding canal

The clouds had come over by mid-afternoon and we decided to stop earlier than usual.  Soon after 3 we were tied up near Ladder Bridge on a convenient stretch of Armco, and Dave had set off with Meg for a walk to Wormleighton.  We had been so busy getting home jobs done before we left that I’d had no time for baking and we had no cake!  So I made some flapjack and a fruit cake before putting the blackberries into a crumble.  I can’t remember such a good year for blackberries.

We had a couple of light showers this afternoon and evening, but it is forecast to be dry for another day or two before the weather really turns. 

8 miles, 9 locks

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