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!