Autumn Break – Market Harborough

It’s half-term and our friends, Anne-Marie & Pierre have travelled up from Petersfield to visit us for the week. They have been with us before on hire boats but this will be the first trip on our floating home.  The Plan is to journey East to Foxton and then down the arm to Market Harborough.

A cold but sunny day as we head out of the marina, turn right and head for Welford. One water vole spotted straight away and then the count was on for kingfishers –

I think by Monday, we had spotted 6 at least!


Pierre – a very laid back chap from Bordeaux, is keen to steer.


Group pic – except Viv, holding the camera, as we begin the Foxton Flight, first thing Monday morning.


Nice time of the year – not busy! And no grockles


Pierre steers through some of the locks.




Sharp right turn at the bottom – not done this before – avoid hitting either of the moored boats, past the swing bridge and on to Market Harborough.


Ever elusive those “Martin Pescadores” – they really did get at least 6 sightings and in the end we saw one just posing for us on the side of the canal:


Our destination reached – just around two hours from Foxton, a very rural section with hardly any other traffic and into the basin to turn round.


We came here about 30 years ago on a hire boat and saw a dirty, derelict terminus with broken buildings  – not a nice place but now, it’s been prettified in the extreme with a hire boat base, restaurant, boater facilities (shower, toilets, rubbish, water, elsan & pump out) and mooring. Our friends Colin & Gail on Evenlode (see blogs passim on the Liverpool trip) are moored here for the winter.

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A nice destination and just right for a week’s trip. Here one night and then we mosey back . . .  not sure where we’ll stop – maybe Welford we’ll see!

It’s now Tuesday. The girls have gone into town to browse. Time for me to do some blogging.  After a prawn salad lunch we chugged off to just before Foxton locks. No wind today and so we saw some very picturesque scenes along this lovely, rural canal. So undisturbed by man – no roads, cyclists or disturbances, ideal for kingfishers and boy, did we see so many. Even two at once – getting them on film is even harder but with burst mode set on the camera we got a few:

First one – a bit to the left of middle:


Next one, spotted in the tree, yes we can see you!


Next one – close up on a branch:


Final one – with reflection!


It is a very rural stretch . . .

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The Bread Maker

Having purchased  the new Panasonic  bread making machine – (yes, the wonderfully named, SD-2511), I’m slowly making my way through the book of recipes . . . one of our standard loaves is 50% wholemeal, 25% spelt and 25% rye. But we have made more  . . . even had a go at sourdough. Tonight it was soda bread again – mixed by hand but cooked in the machine – I don’t think it will be around for very long!



Grateful to Paul Hollywood’s website for ideas (like scoring the loaf in 4) and the suggestion of adding more things to it . . . shame I’m not making the cheese any more but the beer is almost ready to be put in the barrel.

October Sun – 05/10/2016

Having enjoyed a walk around the Hemplow Hills the other week, we were keen to revisit this area. There’s a nice website too

Walks Around Cold Ashby and More walks!

We decided to do the short walk as given by his lovely hand-drawn maps:


Park at bridge 31 and then walk uphill to the Hills and down, along what became a horse chase course and back to the canal. The October weather was very kind to us – almost too hot in places:


And the master & his dog:


And back along the canal



Never seen Toby so animated for a walk!


Adagio Brew Boat

It’s that time of the year again, nights a drawing in, temperatures a dropping, so the fire’s on and the boat’s all cosy & warm. Time to brew some more beer – some of that Imperial Russian Stout:


Friday 30th September and by 1100, it was done. Fermenter all scrubbed and sterilised, 3 kg of “black goo” emptied into the bin plus brewing sugar and then the yeast. Airlock attached plus the electric heater (the orange band thing in the photo).



Come Saturday, not a lot happening, come Sunday morning and the “it takes between 24 & 48 hrs to start fermenting”, hadn’t happened. Still, this is a proper brew with proper brewer’s yeast and so we’ll have to wait n see!

Well at 47 hours and 40 minutes a few bubbles were seen. Several hours on from there – we have fermentation! Yes, those ickle bugs (microscopic fungus) are busy converting all that sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide, yea! You too can listen with rapture at the bubbles . . . the sound of beer being made!



Eight Days Out

It turned out to be eight days out in the end.  Six at Bridge 27 and two at Welford/Welford Junction.

John & Christine did manage to get away on the Friday and we nudged up to fit us both in at the “mooring with rings”, a perfect spot.  The weather was great and we had several nice walks as well as meals together. Viv, Toby & I initially did the Winwick Walk ( nothing like the Lambeth one) – about 3 hours in a big circle.

Viv took this photo – old world and the new:


Approaching one of the big “Hises” in Winwick


Yes, all we can do is look in from the outside, Toby . . .


On Saturday, we did a big walk with the four of us – along the canal and then branching out to the Hemplow Hills – a bit of a step too far but quite enjoyable.

On Monday, we decided to pop down the Welford arm to well, Welford and top up with water and beer, of course – at the Wharf Inn. Glad to see they were serving Church End’s Fallen Angel as well as their £6 midday meals. Nice.


It did rain a bit and the stove was on – plus we had one lock to go thru . . . with our nice shiny blacking too!


Not sure why they put this lock in – it was not the original route as evidenced by the old canal in the field to the right . . .


Here we are, snug at the end of the arm.


Back to the Junction for Tuesday and to rejoin John & Christine.


Wednesday, it was time to head back – Poppy Eyebright first.  It was a windy day!


Spot Tilly!!

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A nice trip out – enjoying the late Summer.

Adagio Escapes

Well, was it being back in marina land with all the people living so close or perhaps the break in the weather – don’t know but we have escaped. Poppy Eyebright was due to come too, in fact it was their idea but prescription problems held them up – we may still see them soon, hope so.

So, a test drive for the boat – will it leak? How does it feel?

In fact the boat does feel different – maybe it’s the smooth hull gliding through the water? Maybe the prop being a cm further out? Don’t know but it is nice to be out again. Just an hour’s chugging along to bridge 27 – ideal for so many reasons: peace & quiet, good angle for the solar panels, a wood nearby for Toby and just the hour away. The boat had no leaks and we felt less under stress. Yes, a few days here would be great.


Here’s Bridge 27 – the marina is near Bridge 18, so not far!


View of Adagio, from that bridge


And one zoomed in . . . such a peaceful spot


Adagio Relaunched

After what seemed a very long week, with sanding down, 2 coats of enamel paint plus Gary doing the blacking. Monday came around and it was time to go back in the water. Not a moment too soon as it was weird being 10 feet up in the air. It was very peaceful with no one around you but a bit odd not being afloat. Monday saw drizzly rain ALL DAY! With the bow being lower than usual, the rain poured into the cratch making everything wet, ugh. Then the tractor wouldn’t start. In fact they couldn’t get it started until 3 pm when the farmer’s lads came over with a pick up truck and used chunky booster cables. Then the green boat trailer was slid back underneath and we were away:

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Here’s some video snippets glued together . . .

Nearly the end of the week ashore

A cooler day today – Friday – and the end is in sight! All the major paintwork has been completed.  Gary has done an excellent job on the blacking and Viv & I have had a go at the grey enamel paint above the waterline – 2 coats and it’s not too bad – “a blind man would be pleased to see it” as our old friend in Devizes used to say.


Two coats of black – including the rudder and weed box – got Viv’s national flag flying and yes, we do still live aboard. Weird being about 5 feet higher up and it doesn’t wobble.


This was after one coat.


And this is the finished article – good as new (almost). Two coats of grey. Could do with a third – we’ll see if the weather holds (rain today) and if we can really be bothered! Knowing what a bashing it’ll get in the years to come.


The stern tunnel flashing gets a coat or two of red and we’ve had two extra sacrificial anodes welded amidships, this stops the erosion of the boats metal surface.


Final job is to get that dripping stern gland done and Justin Green from  JG Marine (Braunston bottom lock) is coming over later today to sort that.

Then it’s back in the water on Monday, hurrah. And plan A is to go out for a short sortie with Poppy Eyebright – bridge 27 and beyond!

Day 2 on Hard Standing

Scorchio day with temperatures in the 30’s in the boat – Gary puts on a waterline coat of blacking and we get on with sanding down the grey paint above the waterline – thanks to John for his sander! Viv has a go at sanding down the wood on the cratch . .  lots of rust bits get the Fertan treatment then a coat of red primer . . . all go!

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New bread machine’s a hit

We invested in a nice new Panasonic bread machine and have turned out several tasty loaves – our favourite is 50% wholemeal, 25% white and 25% spelt. Today I had a go at soda bread – mixed by hand in a bowl and then into the machine just for baking ! Brilliant! On our way towards making an Ulster fry . .