Friday, 25 March 2011

The sky at night - Braunston fashion!

24th March at 18:40

Needing fuel and water - NB Gosty Hill

Friday 18th March we decide to move onto the Grand Union above the junction
 leaving our peaceful mooring between bridges 101 and 100 ...
... we pass by some rather ropey boats ...
... this one used to float ...
 ... and was moored just here - what a mess the owner has left behind!
 This is the point where the old canal used to run - you can just see here that it's still watered ....
... through the hedge you can see the farm where the old canal has been filled in ....
... and beyond the farm where there is another short watered stretch.
 Although the puddle banks at Braunston have been greatly tidied up, they seem to attract quite a few craft that need more than a little TLC ...
 - the weight of the stern on this one appears to be pulling it down much lower that it should be. 
 Braunston Church and that sale-less windmill in the distance ...
 ... and the junction - we went to through the right-hand bridge and backed-up for water then reversed into a mooring slot a couple of boats behind Moore2Life.
The sun has had it's hat on for a few days now so George and I have spent time catching up on jobs - spring cleaning inside and out, getting rid of 'stuff' not being used (you can be sure we'll want some of it back soon!), and washing all the curtains.
Wednesday 23rd we moved and moored up again just opposite The Boathouse pub.
 We knew from Geoff  and Mags on Seyella that  Iain and Alsion on NB Gosty Hill was heading this way and hoped that he wouldn't turn right at the junction onto the North Oxford - Lucky us - he didn't.
 ... at a quarter past six they appeared alongside us - Iain brought her in close without so much as a kiss!
Brilliant - full tank once again - thanks Gosty Hill! We so much prefer to give our trade whenever possible to the canal traders. 

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

A Good Road, a Bad Road, a Long Road then Rest and Play!

Monday 14th March 10 to 8 ...
... a hard frost ...
 ... minus 6 degrees ... 
... beautiful sky reflections.
10:15 the frost has gone and we're just about ready to Rock n Roll
The boys getting rid of the rubbish as we climb Radford Lock
 Fosse Locks - note the unusual detail on the gate balance beams (handles to open lock gates)
 Welsh Road Lock Cottage
 Looking back at the bottom lock at Bascote you can clearly see how the now disused narrow lock on the left of this picture acts to allow the excess water flow into the pound (water between two locks) below ..
 ... and forwards to the 'staircase' .. the overflow from the locks above can now be seen on the right here.
 The bottom gate of the top lock serve as the top gate of the lower lock - if you see what I mean!
 The boys climb the steps to access the gate paddles (look like candlesticks in the pictures) ... and ...
... open the middle gates and we drive gently into the top lock together (George's photo) ... and then
 ... wait patiently (gossiping) for Seyella and RnR to rise - that's all the locks done for today - they were all against us except the first 3 this morning but with a good team it's no problem!!
The Toll House Bascote Locks  - toll houses are usually on junctions where 2 canals owned by different companies meet - so I'm not sure why tolls would be paid here - anyone out there know??
 RnR stopped to collect water at the point just before bridge 27 and I walk on with Molly to find Seyella where Mags had kindly offered soup and hot rolls for lunch!
 Here's George arriving now! We shall stay here overnight.
A strange sight through the next bridge (26) ...
... although the old stone clearly states No.25 - built in1867!
 We took a walk later and really could not figure out which end was front and which was the back!
 Not even sure how it was steered, or powered ...
... both the ends had 'holds' and there were 4 portholes in the rounded centre!
 Itchington Bottom Lock Cottage built in 1799 - This cottage can be hired and the current occupant was telling us that it was as nice on the inside as it looked on the outside. 
 Long Itchington Holy Trinity Church taken from the towpath.
Seeing this strange craft on on leaving our mooring the following morning did not make anything any clearer!
 A fuel boat arrives as we enter the enter Cuttle Bridge and Geoff pulls over for coal, gas and diesel. 
 The Two Boats Inn was built in 1743 and at one time had a forge and stables for the boat horses - it now does an excellent pint of Abbots Ale (George says).
 Stockton Locks - bottom sluice gates - it's quite unusual to be able to actually see these inside a lock, they are usually under the water level or set much further back in the recess - when the gate paddles are wound up/down they lift and lower the rod you can see here to let the water out of the lock.
 This one is for the lady on Seyella
 Looking down Kaye's Arm above lock 12 at Stockton ...
 ... and an assortment of old boats and butty's above lock 12.
(Butty - English dialect 'a friend or workmate'- an unpowered boat towed by another boat either horsedrawn or motored,)
 Bridge 23 is on a very tight turn when travelling from the east - something has hit it with some force to effect this damage - to the boat too! 
 Back into the 'thick of it' Geoff preparing to take the rope from Seyella as Mags guides her into lock 11.
 looking back at locks 12 and 13
 Geoff loads a couple of rolls of boaters gold on his boat while George is setting lock 6
 A chimney with a door??
 Lock 4 - Meg is having a well earned rest!
 Yet another well preserved and extended lock cottage
 Two very handsome gentlemen await Mags and I.
 That's Stockton Locks done - 10 up to now today - Calcutt to come.
 Adamant - last seen by us at Braunston Boat Rally a couple of years ago ...
 ... and other boats, butty's ...
 ... dutch barges ...
 ... long tugs ...
 ... and short ones moored above the locks.
 Boaters gold too but Geoff has enough for now.
 Passing Ventnor Farm Marina on our left ...
 ... and Calcutt Marina on our right!
 The pound between locks 3 and 2 are a good 15 inches low
 George goes up and opens lock 2 top gates to drop more water into the lock and pound to allow Seyella and RnR to enter
 The reason for the low water becomes clear - workmen are doing some maintenance to the coping at Calcutt Marina services wharf.
 Just after 3pm now - the sun is still trying it's best to break through those clouds, but it didn't quite manage it all day.
 Napton Junction where we turn left, leaving the Grand Union and joining the Oxford canal travelling north.
 Lower Suckburgh Church ('built in 1864, is attractive in a Victorian way'
as described in Nicholson's Guide)
 The first spring lamb twins ...
 ... I've seen this year!
Open countryside as we travel in a north-easterly direction towards Braunston.
It was nearly 16:45 as we pull in to moor for the night just past bridge 101.  The day started with a good road as the locks were ready for us, and then it was a bad road, when we suddenly found them against us yet we couldn't see anything ahead of us; it's been a long day too, but playtime is nearly here.  Geoff and Mags and Meg too are coming round for dinner as it's their 28th wedding anniversary today as well as the fact that we will be splitting up and going our separate ways in a day or two, George and I and Molly too will miss them tremendously!