Tuesday, 30 April 2013

A day out - Napton

Braunston - Napton - Braunston : 17 miles, 2 locks
To date : 241 miles, 130 locks

The other day when we saw Jane and Ian we arranged with them to take their guests out for the day on the boat.  Today was the day.

We were up early to turn the boat around and fill up the water tank.  While Mick was out at the water point he called out to come to the side hatch.  I was welcomed by a big lick on the face!  It was Lesley from nb Yarwood with Fletcher and Floyd the black labs.  Nice to meet you Lesley and nice to meet the boys too.    We had a brief chat and all went on our way.

Our visitors, Beryl and Anne were on board at 10am and we headed off.  The plan was to cruise to Napton for lunch at The Folly.  The wind was up and it was quite cool but the ladies braved the elements to stand at the stern or sit in the cratch rugged up in hats and coats.  It was a lovely day out, also including up and down one of the Calcutt locks.  The trip back seemed to take forever with lots of moored up boats to pass.  I guess that's the difference when you cruise late in the day.  We were tired by the time we moored up again back at Braunston.

Photos of our day out :
1. This ducky family visited us several times a day in Braunston
2. The Gongoozlers Rest boat cafe - for you Maggie
3. Anne and Beryl
4. This friendly dog escorted us to and from the pub with a game of "throw the stick"
5. Fabulous inglenook fireplace at the Folly
6. The Folly Inn, Napton
7.- 9.  Beryl and Anne having a steer
10. Beryl

Monday, 29 April 2013

Around Braunston

Some lovely views, houses, and other buildings around Braunston!  Mick, Barry and Carol went for a walk to a nearby village while I worked the other day.  Also some lovely buildings there.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

A day in port - Braunston

This morning while we had breakfast we had a message from Jane and Ian who we met a few years ago when we stayed in their gorgeous little thatched cottage.  They were going to drive to Braunston to visit us.  The cottage is worth a look too : Little Thatch.

We made a quick visit to Midland Chandlers after breakfast to make sure we'd be back in time to meet our visitors.  We'll have to return tomorrow as there were quite a few things we needed... fenders in particular... we've lost a few of late.  On the way back I noticed the name on the boat behind us... nb Festina Lente.  I knew I'd seen that name somewhere but couldn't think where.

We had an excellent catch up with Jane and Ian.  We haven't seen them since our first week in England last September.  Pity I didn't think to take a photo.

This afternoon I sat down to do some work while Mick went off to look at boats in the marina.  He returned with visitors in tow... blog readers Andy and Sue.  The name of their boat?  nb Festina Lente.  So I've read their blog too.  I even remembered the photo this time.

This evening we met Barry and Carol at The Boathouse up by the bridge.  Gotta love their two for one deal.  I think we laughed louder than the group of youngsters at the next table. Great night guys!

A few for today :
1. Looking back from the bridge
2. Andy and Sue with nb Festina Lente
3. Clouds gathering


Saturday, 27 April 2013

Hillmorton to Braunston

Hillmorton to Braunston : 7 miles, 0 locks
To date : 224 miles, 128 locks

It was a bit of a slow start to the day today.  Mick's been a little off colour the last couple of days and went back to sleep at 7.30 when I got up.... and he slept til almost 9am!  Unheard of!!

We noticed a little moorhen busily carrying straw up and down past the boat.  We stood and watched where he went and right opposite our side hatch window we saw him pass a piece of grass up to his mate who was in a nest among the grass.

We had a nice chat with John and Joan on nb Tagine Queen moored behind us (Yvonne, I passed on your message).  Another very happy Crown narrowboat owner it seems.  While we stood chatting a pair of frogs swam by.  Pity I didn't have the camera out. Then, a walk around Hillmorton which was an interesting little spot.  There was a lovely old working yard and dry dock plus some great buildings.

Carol sent a text to say they were at the bottom of the locks getting water so I walked down to help them through the three locks.  While they were coming up the last lock I walked back to the boat so we'd be ready to follow behind them as they passed by. 

Exciting for us... destination Braunston! We love to visit Braunston and have done so on each visit to the UK.  For Barry and Carol it was also something to look forward to as they'd get to catch up with the folk they met last Winter while they were in the Braunston Marina.

An interesting historical snippet for this area is the sight of old ridges and farrows in the fields.  This was an early farming method where each "ridge" was used by a separate farmer.  Apparently the practice ceased in the 15th and 16th centuries when fields were enclosed by hawthorn hedges as this was a more profitable method of farming.  Amazing to think the ridges and farrows are still visible today.

Being a Friday we expected Braunston to be fairly busy.  It probably wasn't the best day for a late start.  In fact, it was lunchtime by the time we left Hillmorton.  We decided if there was no mooring before the junction of the Oxford and Grand Union canals we'd head right along the Oxford, turn at the winding hole and moor along there.  We thought perhaps if we continued past the junction into Braunston there'd be no moorings so late in the day and we'd be forced to go through the locks.  We wanted to have a good look around Braunston first.

We did turn along the Oxford and it was very busy on that stretch too.  Along the way I saw a couple of familiar boat names... nb Piston Broke and nb Lady Esther.  We saw mooring for one boat not all that far in but for both of us it would have been a bit further again.  Mick and I decided to let Barry and Carol take the mooring and we'd take a punt on finding one closer to the marina. 

So back to the junction we went and I got off the boat at the bridge turning back onto the Grand Union Canal and walked ahead to look.  I couldn't believe my luck that there was a single vacant mooring.  Perfect.  Just as we pulled in the heavens opened and we got wet.  I was frantically trying to get the pram hood up for some protection when a couple walked by.  It was Angie (and husband) from nb Lady Esther.  "I sent your mooring pin covers!" she said.  Lovely to meet you at last and be able to properly thank you for the kind gift at Christmas.

By the time we were settled it was dry again and Barry and Carol had walked around from their mooring around the corner so we could go have a look at the marina.  The showed us where they moored the Winter before and we checked out the little store and the fender maker.

Lots of photos today :
1. Last night at dusk
2. Collecting straw
3. She in her nest (you can just see her red beak)
4. He straining to pass her the straw
5. Nice old building at Hillmorton
6. Canal bridge at Hillmorton
7. Shutters made from narrowboat door panels
8. Locklines - poetry on lock gates
9. And an example
10. Canalside beer garden
11. This property had great enamel signs on display... plus a pigeon house
12. Christmas tree farm
13. Very pretty garden moorings around Barby marina
14. - 17. Countryside with old ridge and farrow
18. nb Lady Esther
19. Turning into the Oxford looking for a mooring
20. And back to the junction to turn towards Braunston
21. nb Piston Broke
22. Another magic faraway tree... just waiting for leaves
23. nb Winton's Folly in the winding hole
24. Quite a large family
25. Tonights mooring
26. And from the stern