Monday, 30 September 2013

Moving Leo No2 back to Stoke Bruerne (Day 2)

Autumn is coming
I was up early and off by 07:35 knowing I would have to work Cookham lock myself but what I didn't bargain on was that the last boat through had left the upper gates open, the sluices up and of course the lock full.  Never mind I had a volunteer operate Sonning for me during his lunch hour so what you gain on the swings you loose on the roundabouts!

I was a funny day weather wise.  Jacket on, then off, then on, then off and I eventually lost count of the number of times I put it on and took it off.  It was a lovely still day but I find myself quite tired so called it a day at about 17:00 at Pangbourne.  I still feel as if I am way ahead of my orginal planned (GU) schedule.

Miles 15: (37)
Locks: 12 (21)

Moving Leo No2 back to Stoke Bruerne (Day 1)

The Autumn colours are coming but
they will be better in a week or so
For all of its life so far, in my ownership and Mick's and Suzanne's Leo No2 has been resident on the Wey, then the Basingstoke and then the Wey again. With my move to Stoke Bruerne the time has come to move Leo No2 to close to my new home and to that end will end up in Blisworth Marina.

I was hopeful that friends may be able to help crew with me up the GU to Yardley Gobion where Leo No2 has her periodic appointment with the 'bottom blacker' but it wasn't possible to fit things in with moving off the Wey at the end of September and the appointment in Yardley Gobion so I changed my mind after consultations with friends and am taking the more circuitous route up the Thames and the Oxford and 'over the top' through Wigram's Turn, Braunston, Blisworth and Stoke Bruerne.  The narrow locks of the Oxford and the 'operated for you' locks on the Thames are very appealing so it was that this morning I set sail from Weybridge, having spent the night on the wall and find myself tonight in Cliveden Deeps just down stream of Cookham Lock.  I don't think that's too bad for one day single-handed.

I was surprised how quiet the Thames is both in terms of flow of water and number of boats - it is almost as easy going upstream and it is down!

Miles: 22 (22)
Locks: 9 (9)

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Lovely video of our Waterway Heritage

Not much more to say really but enjoy.  It is on YouTube and it is here.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Village at War Weekend

Marching past my house to the
Drum Head Service in the Church of
St Mary the Virgin in Stoke Bruerne
I really didn't know what to expect from Village at War weekend apart from the amazing enthusiasm of the volunteers from the Friends of the Canal Museum and the CRT staff in the museum (nothing was too much trouble for them) and the point that amongst the facts and figures floating around was one that mentioned 12,000 visitors last year.

We've had a wonderful summer, weather wise, this year but I anxiously watched the weather forecast in the week running up to the weekend.  It didn't look good but how often are weather forecaster not quite right?

My best friend Sue came from Tenby for the weekend and friends Rodney and Valerie came from Byfleet on the Sunday.

There were lovely old boats everywhere and huge numbers of people in all forms of 1940s attire.  I think the only word to describe it is that it was elegant.  Where have all the elegant clothes gone, not just for women but also for men?  The boats didn't dominate the weekend but were a lovely addition to the weekend as the vast majority of them were of the right vintage to fit in seamlessly with the weekend.

We had a wonderful weekend despite the rain that came on Sunday - it was not as bad as predicted.  Numbers, I am told, were down on previous years mainly due to previous years having enjoyed very good weather.

A lovely weekend all round; I am so much looking forward to 2014 which will be over the weekend of 13/14-September.

There are lots of pictures at these addresses.

  • Mine are here.
  • Friends of the Canal Museum are here (Saturday) and here (Sunday).
  • Towcester News photos are here (Sunday).

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Village at War weekend

Whitby (L) and Darley making a
breasted up approach under
the Stoke Bruerne bridge
In the Stoke Bruerne top lock

It's only just starting but the boats are turning up thick and fast.  Whitby and Darley came down, winded, and then back up again as the mooring line between the Museum and the southern portal of the tunnel starts to fill.  No wonder I have no time to do any housework!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Preparing for Village at War

A day spent preparing for 'Village at War' weekend.  We trimmed the hedge outside the Indian Restaurant the Spice of Bruerne and then spent most of the rest of the time at Lock 15 unearthing the old Ash Box - see below - and tidying up the rampant ivy alongside the side ponds at Lock 15.

The Ash Box.  According to my local contact they were quite numerous many years ago and were there to allow the steamers to empty their ash from their boiler fires.  The ash was then used, in the main, to 'ash up' the gates - to stop them leaking.  As steam gave way to  to diesel power ash from the solid fuel fires was placed in the ash boxes.  I am not sure how may are now left but one thing is for sure, the one at Lock 15 on the Stoke Bruerne flight can easily be seen now.
A Robin was very quick to take
advantage of the fresh soil

Thursday, 5 September 2013

A season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

With apologies to John Keats.  However it did look particularly beautiful from my bedroom window this morning so I hurried downstairs and took a couple of photos to record a rather pleasant scene.