Remedial Painting & Home


A bit of a wet day, Monday. So we stayed put until it cleared after lunch and then set off. Bit unusual for us. An afternoon cruise. It was still a bit drizzly but we chugged on into Braunston, took on water and optimistically waited for another boat to turn up, to partner us through the 6 big locks. But alas, none came. It was a lovely quiet day, so very unusual for Braunston – this national hub of the waterways. So, we did the locks ourselves, nice and slow. A few boats came down and so all the locks were set in our favour. Met a hire boat with a Toby lookalike who was also a name-a-like – Toby! Yes, Toby3 as we had to call him. We ventured into the tunnel – again all on our own, which was nice. On past the Norton junction and up to Welton Hythe to stop for the night.

A misty, murky Braunston

Nice new armco at the Norton Junction

Up through the Watford locks – luckily the first boat and so up we went and on to the marina at Yelvertoft – quick pump out, well it has been 6 weeks! And on to bridge 27 for some remedial painting.

It is a lovely spot – it ticks all the boxes – the right orientation for the solar energy, good phone signal, 4G signal & TV reception plus a pocket wood for the dog and just quiet.

Steve dons his coveralls to do the bitumen painting – what a gay figure in his green crocs, red vest and bandana hat!

Time for some Tai Chi?

This boat, Dane, was sort of afloat when we arrived but it was leaking badly and slowly sank. A shame the owners have left it this way.

We were joined by Gail & Jess on Sleepy Otter, chance to do some catching up over a cuppa. Simon steamed along too – so more cuppas required! Cosy.

Hmm, that mouse from some years ago, ate lots of our stuff, including Steve’s coveralls – hence the odd air conditioning he now has!

Gail gave us some high temperature silicone sealant for the chimney – did the job. Cheers!

Nice, shiny and re-blacked boat – all the “lock rash” covered over.

Recoated blacking

Steve volunteers to go into the gas locker and paint it with more bitumen

Gloomy but worth doing

Here’s the before picture . . .

And here’s the after picture.

We introduced Gail to Paellero – a Spanish spice mix for making paella and she adapted it for her veggie dish. Looks good & tasted good too.

Saturday and back “home”. Breezy but we got in, backwards with no hassle. Time to plug things in, put ropes away, change gas bottles and go down the Wheatsheaf for lunch.


Homeward Bound


On from Springwood Haven and down to Hawkesbury junction or Sutton Stop as it’s known. A day or two here – visit the Greyhound. Meet up with simon again, then on to Rugby to restock.

Busy, noisy but plenty of space at Hawkesbury junction

Steve cycled down the canal to bridge 6 – miles – to visit Tesco’s – a barn of a place. Had to wait (10 mins) for the staff to fetch the bottle of Laphroaig, as the case was empty. Checked there was a bottle in there but I didn’t’ check it was the right one! Got the cheaper and not-so-nice bottle of Select rather than the 10yr old! Doh.

One reason we stayed, apart from eating & drinking at the Greyhound, was to see the Coventry Morris men perform. And very good they were too.

A good “side” as they call them – stick dances and even a sword dance plus some clog dancing from two ladies.

And, how to find your boat in the dark – leave some lights on!

Next day we’re off. Simon has his first go at the junction – a complete U-turn required here!

Not quite round in one but it is his first time. Won’t mentions Steve’s last attempt!

Down the North Oxford Canal now – quite a pretty route.

Tried to moor up  at the familiar All Oaks Wood visitor moorings but it was full – and quite a few of these “continuous moorers” were there. CRT did clear these away last year but it seems a few are back. Starting to rain. We tried 2 spots, trying to squeeze inbetween boats but no go, then the prop got fouled by a polo shirt. Luckily we managed to fit in at the end after one boat left. Not a good day. Simon also couldn’t get in and pushed off – in the rain!

Next day we went off to the Rugby moorings – no pix here, well not very scenic but lots of opportunities to go shopping – M&S (twice), Tesco, FatFace (10% military discount!), TKMax etc – such fun. At least the boat is stocked up. Thanks to Viv’s Sparks card, she had lots of 10% off this and 20% off that, so our fridge is now bursting. Plus some more gin (Jensen’s – a new one and very nice) and another whisky for Steve, some compensation for the Laphroiag! A bottle of Kilchoman (only in M&S and on clearance so 20% off, hurrah!).

Simon had tried Rugby but got stuck on the water point. Forcing him to shop at 0500 the next day in the 24hr Tesco (real fun?) and move off to near Barby.

We passed him and moored at one of our all time favourites – bridge 87, Willoughby – just outside Braunston.

Viv does the very fiddly job of preparing fresh thyme for tonight’s meal (Wok’ed lambs liver with thyme & lime juice – Ken Hom recipe)

Our mooring – alone now – there were 6 boats around us this morning.

Very rural spot

And an abundance of these chaps! Viv made a pot of jam earlier this year and she makes two more pots today! Plus a few spare to go with the M&S ice cream, cream and meringues!

Just seen a boat “A Frayed Knot” go by, shouting, another RNSA member? And I said yes! The first I’ve seen, he said! His blue ensign flying from the back of his boat. Must get a burgee . . .



Elastic Trickery & the crew from Empress


Here’s our quiet mooring for a few days – but what has Toby seen?


There’s the sound of a Rushton Hornsby 2-stroke engine coming our way. It can’t be? It can be. It is . . . Simon & Toby2 on Empress.

Simon’s done about 3/4 of the Leicester ring and decided to moor up behind us.

Time for a celebration – Cava, vino & Thai green curry plus ice cream! And a screening of Dr Strange, in 3D no less. Well, you have to push the boat out sometimes!

Sunday – time for a long circular walk with Viv & the dog. Down to the river Anker (swim, swim?) and round up to Tuttle Hill and close to the spoil heap from the quarry, quaintly named Mount Judd. Nice views back to our boats.

There’s Simon’s  Empress with Adagio round the corner. Lots of solar today – with the new fuse, it seems we are getting much much power now and the voltage seems to go a lot higher, meaning both gauges now increment and reached 100% in the afternoon – brilliant.  Might move on tomorrow or not.

Here’s a view looking back over the marina from bridge 27.