Friday, 21 August 2009

Wednesday 19th August 2009
Today we had decided to go on to Marsworth Junction, stay a couple of nights there and then continue onto the Wendover arm to Tring for a few days before returning to Marsworth at the Bank holiday to pick up my brother and his wife and youngest son before taking them down to Aylesbury, but as all good plans etc....
We set off, George wheel-locking and me at the tiller to go through locks 37 and 38 - walkie-talkies on. Enjoying the quiet as I went along, the lock apparently miles away, bleep, bleep - I'm standing here talking to Moore2Life - 'Are you at the lock?' says I, 'can't see the lock anywhere' came the reply - ' are we stopping?' says I - 'the kettle's on' came the reply.
Ann and Charles had motored past us last week sometime with a quick wave from Charles and the comment that they 'would be back later from Marsworth'
It was great to see them again and we spent quite a few very sociable hours on the towpath during Wednesday and Thursday with tea and biscuits and dog walks and to the shop at Ivinghoe.
long shadows at 6:45pm

and in the other direction a spectacular sky!

Moore2Life left us to travel north on Friday morning. Hope to see you both again in the not too distant future - happy journeys!

Monday and Tuesday 17/18th August 2009
Tuesday we moved on to moor and moored opposite Pitstone Wharf after calling in for a pump-out.
Monday we upped sticks and cruised through Slapton lock once again, collected water ...... glimpsing the white lion once again. This lion is on Dunstable Downs in South Bedfordshire and was built in 1933 to indicate the position of Whipsnade Wildlife Park (I remember that it was usually called Whipsnade Zoo when I was a kid). It is approximately 483' in length and is home to cavies (guinea pigs) and wallabies!
Thursday 13th to Sunday 16th August 2009
Sunday 16th - we woke to a 10 degree list on the boat, the water had gone down so much, we loosened and retied the ropes which stopped us from falling over all the time inside!!
Saturday 15th - another walk .......

... past the keepers cottage - there were loads of ripe Victoria plums by the hedge; I was very tempted to pick a few, but resisted as the owners were obviously in as the windows were all open but I couldn't see anyone to ask - got a very large conscience I have!!

a land gypsy home as opposed to a water gypsy!! - It was in very good condition.

? all members of the same family - assorted ducks.

This boat had drifted from its mooring on the off-side; George crossed the lock and went to find the farmer to let him know - meanwhile I waited on the towpath as 2 boats were coming down the canal. A group of ladies on a day-boat decided to come up the lock and of course as soon as the opened to sluices to empty it this boat drifted and wedged across the canal. George eventually found some-one to secure the boat and I stopped the first of the boats to give me a hand to push the bow out with his boat pole. He said that the same thing had happened the week before with this mooring. The second boat hovered in mid-stream, waited until the canal became passable and wafted past - not a smile, acknowledgement, thanks or anything!

the view towards Slapton lock

the same view taken at 20 to 8pm
Friday 14th - no photo's today - I was too busy! We had decided to stay here so that the weekly wash could be finished, but needed water - no problem! George opened the lock gates for me; in and up I went - did a perfect mooring at the water point ( I have to admit that hubby does most of the driving/mooring as I do not like heights and cannot do the locks) so I was very pleased with myself! I agreed (after a little hesitation) to reverse back into the lock to return to our mooring place (it was nicer than those available above the lock)..... so using the bowthruster and reverse gear I completed the maneuver with not too much trouble - it seemed to take forever for the boat to respond in reverse to the truster. I tell you - I was exhaused when we'd tied up, but pleased with myself too.
Thursday 13th- we pulled the pins and cruised to Slapton, mooring just before the lock (30) and went for a walk..
The Church of the Holy Cross - in existence already in 1223 - was preparing for a local wedding when we visited. With the help of lottery funding the church tower was being renovated.

The Carpenters Arms - 16th century - tiny bar area but concentrate on food - a great menu. Met Bill who was a top turret gunner on Lancaster bombers - he kept us amused for a good hour or so with his stories.

.. also met Flash again - Molly had met him on the towpath earlier -they had a great time dow-se-do-ing in the bar

a better picture of Whipslade White Lion taken from the towpath

sunset at 5 past 8 - is coming earlier every day (naturally!)

Monday 10th to Wednesday 12th August 2009
Upped sticks and set of today - we're intending to moor at Grove Lock later.
Wednesday 12th - took a walk up the canal - lovely countryside here

lovely boats too

peaceful scenes

the Whipsnade White Lion in the far distance

Monday 10th - leaving the Soulsbury 3 locks behind us.
We can see for miles and miles over the beautiful Ouzel valley

Molly enjoyed the ride too

Our eventual mooring above Grove Lock - this is yet another marina-in-th-making! Not a large one this time - just 38 births.
We had a lovely meal in the Grove pup - it looks quite small from the outside but has lots of nooks and crannies inside for eating or just sitting. They have also had planning permission to extend for al fresco eating.

Saturday 8th August 2009
Took these two photos before we set off - we are going up to moor up just before the water point before Soulbury Locks. We're expecting a Tesco Direct delivery in the morning and want to be ready to move on as soon as all the shopping is stored away.
This heron had been fishing opposite Rock'n'Roll just about every day that we've been moored here, but we never saw him/her catch anything.
These 14-year olds were setting off in their canoe with rucksack and coolbox having been helped into the water by their parents. Once they'd gone past the boat I called to 'Mum' and asked her if she was going to spend the rest of the day worrying about them until they got home - 'no' she said 'I'm off to work now - they'll be at home when I get back'. They were obviously used to seeing them off.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Friday 31st July to Friday 7th August 2009

Still moored near Stoke Hammond near bridge 102 - our boatfitter is due to bring us the new front cratch surround at the weekend so we don't want to go too far.

Friday 7th we drove up to Willowbridge Marina for diesel, water and pump out and had to wait whilst 3 boats were put into the water and 1 was taken out. I watched a few of the boat owners practically peeping through their fingers, unable to watch these precarious proceedings!! Once all filled up were winded and returned to our mooring near bridge 102. We've had a call from the boatfitter as he can't make it this weekend and is now not sure when he can rearrange it so we have decided to move on tomorrow.

Thursday 6th - a storm brewing - we could hear the thunder but the rain had not yet reached us.

Monday 3rd - we winded above the lock and cruised back up to Fenny Stratford for water and returned to the mooring - herons around here are '2-a-penny', they were very comfortable with humans so close by.

Friday 31st - We are still at this lovely mooring close to bridge 102 and took a walk today into Stoke Hammond as we need a few essentials and to post birthday cards to my twin brothers.
Stoke Hammond lock (23) is very pretty with roses growing up the arched bridges and lovely gardens around the lock itself, all tended to by the local residents and boaters.
This barge was rather impressive - not sure if this was the name and date or the type of boat - De Witte Seep 1897.
In the garden behind the boat were several very large sculptures including these two bolts.

An impressive mooring spot.