Monday, June 30, 2014


Tonight I will mostly be composing a poem about how my phone has gone to the bottom of the canal

Friday, June 27, 2014

Moving on from Braunston - Oakfield

I do love it when I meet old friends along the canal.  I missed out on a few visits (Oakfield, No Problem) last year because I Just wasn't well for a while.  So, I was delighted when Oakfield moored up in front of me a Braunston and even more delighted when they were up at the crack of dawn too.  A bit of chewing the phat, a bit of car boot, a bit of fixing the boat (it wouldn't be right if we didn't do that) and then we were off.  They helped us up the locks too which was fantastic and then as we disappeared through the tunnel with Buckby to look forward to they went off and had a pint and some lunch.  I was sorry they wouldn't be heading in the same direction as us, but there we are!

Love to see you (as always) and THANK YOU!

Mooring up–the proper way

I have often heard the argument that boats should be able to pass moored boats at whatever speed they like and the reason boaters get upset is because they don’t moor up properly.  Bank integrity nor wildlife have nothing to do with it, apparently.

The answer to mooring properly came only the other day.  I know this is how it should be done because this particular boat went hurtling past me at quite a pace.

In addition to the bow and stern ropes, one needs two centre lines coming out at angles – one to the front of the boat and one to the back.

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These ropes should be tied to pins

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There is also this neat trick to stop the boat banging in to the side (or getting stuck on the shallow waters)

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I thought it was brilliant!

Thursday, June 26, 2014


There was a lovely sound in the distance and past the side hatch went Comfortably Numb followed by Echoes.  LOVELY!

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Klaxon repair

While Joe, the teenager, was here we did some jobs around the place once of which was to make the Klaxon which had fallen silent roar again.

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The problem was found, the mechanism cleaned and everything put back together but there was a washer left over. 

We went through the advantages and disadvantages of putting it back where it belonged and Joe decided he would put it back. 

Then there was a bit he had put in upside down. He took it all apart agian.

THEN just when he thought it was all finished, there was something else he forgot to do – the frustration would possibly have got to me, but he steadily un did it all again and put it together.

The Klaxon roars and I am delighted.  I was impressed to find that not all teenagers loose their temper and throw their spanners around the place when things get just a bit too frustrating.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Napton to Braunston

This jollying around the canal is turning out to be a brilliant experience.  The other week I was settling in to my working from home day and my sums when Maffi turned up to move the boat. Nothing is ever boring when Maffi is on the boat.  I was just getting in to the sums when the phone rings. The boat wouldn’t go any faster.  I wondered whether the gear box was on strike, but after a quick investigation it turned out the stop cable hadn’t released. I jabbed it with the screw driver soon sorted that out.  We went hurtling (in comparison) down the cut and I was aghast when we didn’t slow down much passed the moored boats – I whizzed down the back and realised I had failed to tell Maffi that it wasn’t what we thought and he did have full, not partial, control over the throttle!

Next we were wobbling all over the canal so I knew Maffi was distracted but it was later when I went to give him a cup of tea I found out what he was doing.  I arrived at the back with a pie and some tea only to find Maffi had decided that his shoes and trousers were making him too hot.  More wiggling of the boat as we came in to Braunston and he obviously decided he should be dressed to enter the village.  Molly took up position on the gas locker.

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What a wonderful morning view the following day.

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It was a real treat to be somewhere different without actually doing anything.  I didn’t see much of the journey, but I will get that chance when I retrace my steps.  I was delighted to be back in Braunston. I had intended to stop here for a few days but with various delays I wasn’t going to be able to. Maffi made it possible and after he had darted off I climbed the hill to see Jenny and Chris – I love seeing them.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Lower Shuckburgh and the VMCC

Yesterday I finally had the opportunity to visit Lower Shuckburgh. A picnic in the church yard followed by a gander at the stocks. Lower Shuckburgh is a curious place.

It was still early so I took a drive through the countryside.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw an old bike.  There was nothing I could do but follow it. Just as I was beginning to worry that I was a real life stalker I came across a bundle of them, and there, in the lanes around Priors Hardwick were members of the VMCC on their Banbury Run, lost.

They were BRILLIANT fun!

Thursday, June 05, 2014

I forgot to say....

...because I know you will be fascinated....

When the AA man eventually arrived at the garage to drop the car off we had to break in to the car.  The key, in the ignition, had deadlocked the doors.

When I phoned Maffi to see if he could bring the spare key it turned out he was helping someone break in to their boat following 'a door closing behind them'.

The AA and the Garage (WP Workshop in Kidlington) managed to break in to my car and finally I was free to go (in a car WP very kindly leant me).  I arrived in Thrupp in time to see Mark Paris grind through the boaters lock and spread a smile across their faces.

What a day!

The chicken the fox and the car

Often when I am trying to work out where a vehicle needs to be in order for me to get to work and move my boat and so forth I am reminded of the old school game of trying to get the chicken, the grain and the fox across the river without the fox eating the chicken or the latter eating the grain.

Needless to say I couldn't see what all the fuss was about - particularly as football was more while they did that, I kicked a ball around and the chicken, fox and grain, never entered my mind.  I wish it had, for I often sit with friends trying to work out what vehicle needs to be where and we get in a right pickle.

So, after working out what needed to be where in order to ensure I could be where I needed to be with the right vehicles in the right place all was good.  It was all arranged so that Mr Paris and I could fiddle with my motorcycle and fit the new part without too much hassle. With everything in the right place I rather triumphantly set off in my car yesterday morning to London.  The right vehicle in the right place at the right time. RESULT.

Except I left my motorcycle keys  on the boat.

I stopped half way to London to look at new mattress' (I seriously need a new one) and thought the clutch was a bit spongey. Being super efficient I called the garage to check I could take it round there on my way home and perhaps book it in next week. No problem.

Super efficient and rather big headed me headed off on my journey again.  Pride comes before a fall and I got to the outskirts of the town to find myself broken down at the traffic lights. A fluster and a flap later and I was able to engage gear and crawl slowly to where I needed to be....and called the AA.

The AA came very quickly and took the car to the garage, via the hospital for an important drop off (another story).  They couldn't take me to the boat because it was out of their radius (and not where my address is anyway).   So there I was with the car in the right place with me in the wrong place and the keys to the bike 40miles away along with the boat and my bed.

The garage offered to lend me a car - which happens to be for sale.  My car has been a right scamp since I got it so buying another car would really be a good thing to do.... I am very tempted - the price is right, but the mileage is too high so temptation will have to hold off until I find the right car.  I don't know anything about cars but it is definitely time to find another one.

The motorcycle and the car are therefore waiting for repair. Sod the chicken, the fox and the grain.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Napton Done! Diary Gone!

Whatever anyone says about CRT they have sorted out the problems on the Napton Flight rather well.  Already Atkins Lock is navigable.  The problem further down the flight, and the restricted opening hours, seems to be working well too.

In other news I have lost my diary....I wonder how much of its contents I will remember of where I am to be when.


Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Atkins Lock and the Yellow Tape

Atkins Lock on the Napton Flight was closed with immediate effect yesterday and staff will be on site to investigate and plan a repair. The heel post of the gate has failed.  I walked up there to have a look so here are some pictures.




Monday, June 02, 2014

Staring down the buffalo

After a fantastic weekend with some of my family (which was as mad, but enjoyable, as ever) and a fleeting glimpse of others I started up the engine and headed north.

The overnight mooring was so beautiful I nearly didn't move on.  A lazy couple of hours and I was soon ready to pull the pins. Under blue skies Boots and I headed onwards winding our way through the countryside to Napton.