Saturday, 28 November 2015

We’ve not been idle

… whilst whiling away the time at Bourne End.
One of the jobs we’ve been working on ...

 … was tiling above the original tiled area above the hob, that wall was just painted wood and not at all easy to keep clean
Finished!  George did the tiling and I did the grouting and we’re very pleased with the result.

The reason for whiling away time? Our plan is to spend Christmas/New Year at Cow Roast but we obviously don’t want to be there too soon.  There’s easy access to water, rubbish, elsan etc.,  there in case the weather turns even colder and we’re unable to move on immediately.  After that it’s anyone’s guess.  We will travel north but not too far, always bearing in mind the stoppages that will then be to the south of us.  At some point we’ll have to decide when to turn around and head towards the Thames again, we’ve a dry dock booked for 3rd week of April at Uxbridge.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Blue skies

After a wet miserable morning
 … at midday the sun came out
… and a 3pm it was beautiful!

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

And the man watched

The canal here at Bourne End is a bit shallow by the bank in places and as we arrived on Sunday I suggested that we moor further up near the slight righthand bend but George thought otherwise.  We moored up on the second try.  Yesterday morning George got me out of bed after he’d showered to move the boat as we were so tipped the water was not draining from the shower tray!  Guess where we moved to?
 From here ...
 … to here.  Just a 100 yards or so to the slight righthand bend!
After a few boats had passed us George noticed that a boat ahead had come loose from its mooring.  The red/green boat had just pulled in and put its pins in and the boater went inside his boat, he cannot have not seen the other boat across the canal!  Anyway, George went up to secure the wandering boat as the boater came out, and George mentioned that he was going to secure the boat.  The man said that he didn’t like touching other people’s boats as it’s not always appreciated but did say that he would help.  I’ll let the pictures tell how he helped ...
 Did you see him holding the rope?

George spent most of the rest of the day chainsawing and chopping the wood we’ve collected over the past few weeks and stacking it into the wood box on the roof and inside the bow. It should last us a month or so, it all helps.
Sunrise at 7:50 this morning

For sale … Narrowboat Windsong click on the link for details.

Monday, 23 November 2015


-5 when we went to bed on Saturday night, -6.7 when we got up yesterday morning!
Ready to start the day just after 8am.  Ice on the puddles and frost on the grass.  That’s George in his red cold weather coat setting the first of 9 locks today.  That’ll keep us warm!
 Two locks done and we’re at Apsley sanitary station getting rid of the rubbish while the water tank is filling, it took ages.
I’m walking again today and setting the locks, George is still on the water point in the distance and the sun has made itself known.
 Molly hates to be cold but will not stay inside SR where it’s warm.

Not many pictures today, too busy! Most of the locks were against us and we soon found out that we were following another wide-beam boat.  The Grand Union Canal was busy today with boats passing and at one point there were 5 boats waiting at a lock for us to come up.
Boxmoor Top lock, it was here I suggested that if there was a space above Winkwell swing bridge we’d pull over and go the the Three Horseshoes for Sunday lunch.  As it happened there wasn’t but no matter we’d planned to go up two more locks after that so we could easily walk back to the pub.  It was about 1:30 by the time we’d moored up at Bourne End; we had a cuppa, got changed and spent a very pleasant couple of hours over our meal and back to our cosy  warm boat for the evening.  It’d been a cold, busy day but a good one!

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Calm before yet another storm!

Yesterday here at Apsley on the Grand Union Canal dawned cold, dull but calm.  What a blessing after all the wind and rain we’ve all experienced over the past days.
 … and the reflections were nearly as sharp as the real thing.
 Opposite our mooring
 See the aeroplane in the water?
 … and the upside down pedestrian leaving the bridge?
 Look at that! 2pm and the sun has come out to play, not seen that for a while!
 The Paper Mill public house looks good on a clear night
 7 o’clock this morning and another storm
Wet snow on the rear canopy!
Hope you are all safe and warm wherever you are.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

A short cruise

No point staying at yesterday’s mooring as the bow was too far away from the bank to get the logs off to cut, so we set off just after 8 this morning. We were not going far, just under a mile and 3 locks (which happened to turn into 4!)
First lock of the day at Nash Mills and the builders have a problem as part of the security/safety fencing has fallen but they managed to rescue it before we passed by
 After all the years it’s taken to build these apartments it’s good to see that some are now being lived in

 We stopped inside Nash Mill’s top lock for 15 minutes to use the water tap which is situated at the head of the lock to fill the tank
 This is a strange, tall craft, he must have the same problem with arched bridges that we have

It was our intention to moor above Apsley bottom lock but were disappointed on rising up the lock to find that there were none available, nor was there a space on the Sainsbury mooring either.  We descended the lock again in reverse to a space by Navigation Bridge, it’s not ideal but allows us to do a bit of shopping and for George to attend a dental appointment in Hemel Hempstead.

I got soaking wet visiting Dunelm for some new throws for the sofas but George managed to stay dry when he visited Homebase.
 Our view from the deck
Just after 4pm the wind is blowing a hooley and the last of the brief spells of sun is catching the scudding clouds.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Not quite what we’d hoped for!

Yesterday at Cassiobury was cloudy with bits of blue sky and rather windy, great for drying the washing!  The towpath was busy with gongoozlers and groups of young teenagers carrying backpacks passed in the morning and returned later in the day.

The plan for today was for an early start stopping to collect the boaters gold we’d seen below Cassiobury top lock and continue on to a particular mooring this afternoon where the logs could be cut (chainsaw) and chopped ready to store until dry(er), all before the forecasted rain came.
5:20 alarm this morning, so we’re off to a good start
 7-am as the sun is rising we’re ready to go

I’m lock wheeling, not really no bike, shanksies pony then, but no pony, ok, I’m walking today to set the locks and setting the locks as I go.

We stopped below the 2nd of today’s locks and collected as much wood as George could carry and placed in the bow of Still Rockin’, all going to plan so far.
 Grove Mill and Mill House from the waterside
 Bridge 163 is a particularly nice example of a turnover or snake bridge which takes the towpath over to the other side of the canal
 Still Rockin’ has come through the turnover bridge and negotiates the tight bend to where I’ve prepared Lady Capel’s Lock

Things started to go wrong at the bottom lock at Hunton Bridge; George is letting some water down through the next lock up because ...

the water in the pound in-between is very shallow (the bottom being too close to the top) and George is struggling as the prop scrapes on the bottom of the canal

He’s now come to a grinding halt and I’m letting yet more water down in an attempt to re-float the boat, so it was hardly surprising when the prop picked up rubbish and required a visit into the weed hatch ...

…  for a garden pond pump with 20 feet of wire which needed cutters to free it.  Evan after that SR was still on the bottom so lots more water was let down but still to no avail ...

… so George took the rope and bow hauled ...

… Still Rockin’ into the lock; from leaving the bottom lock and 
entering the top lock (bearing in mind the pound in-between is only 150 yards) took us nearly 40 minutes!
And to add insult to injury it started to rain - too early!

 The gardens around North Grove Lock has lots of colour still,
Rose of Sharon (Hypericum), mop-cap Hydrangea,
No idea what the plant with these black pompon seedheads is,
Pale yellow roses, even daffodils about to flower,
Skimmia Japonica heavy with berries.
Still Rockin’ approaching
 … the last (8th) lock of the day at Kings Langley.

It was nearly 1 o’clock by the time we arrived at our planned destination near the winding (turning) hole below Nash Mills Lock.  The mooring has a hard standing ideal for cutting wood but unfortunately the spot was taken; we pulled in in front of him with the stern on the towpath but the bow quite a way out and decided enough was enough, we were tired and hungry and although the rain had stopped wood cutting was not an option today.  We will move on again tomorrow.