Thursday, 29 January 2015

Good Friends, good food, good time!

… and a good time was had by all in The Greyhound Pub at Wigginton.
Thank you Jaq for inviting us to join you yesterday for lunch with the ‘Airhead Group

Round the table, L-R - Les and JaqChris and Jenni, me and George, and Ken and Sue.

And yes, toilets were discussed, but that’s not all, as George, Chris and Ken all had the Royal Air Force in common, having served in many of the same bases and having mutual acquaintances.

Good friends, good food and a good time!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Visitors, walking and engines!

Visitors ...
 On Sunday Jaq and Les came to Still Rockin’ for the day to escape the marina ‘prison’ they’ve been in for a while now and soon after they arrived Jules, Richard and Ryan pulled alongside, a day earlier than expected, so there was lots of chat and laughter between us all.

Walking …
up the hill to the Chiltern Way on Monday afternoon

 New stiles have been built with handles and a lifting top bar

 We arrive at the top of the hill
 Toms Hill House (shame about the refuse bins!)

looking back up the hill (left) as we descend (right) to 
the lovely village of Aldbury

 Spring is definitely in the air here with Forsythia around the door and anemones in the front garden

 Beautiful buildings
 … and village green
 …. surrounded by the church and post office/store
… and after an exhilarating walk we head home to the canal towpath ...
 … daffodils nearly in flower growing in pots that appear to have no soil in them - isn’t nature wonderful!

Engines …
a change of scene for the day whilst Sam Matts replaced both alternators fixing our problem quickly and very efficiently!

 The washing machine is now on, it’ll take a few days to catch up with the laundry!

We’ve had some great weather over the past few days, lots of sunshine and occasionally quite mild at 12:30 today the weather station was recording 14 degrees on the roof!

Friday, 23 January 2015

Excursions and problems ...

A very short excursion yesterday morning

… just a hundred yards or so and up Cowroast Lock 

… to the water point and sanitary station
 … and to pick up a Tesco delivery, this is just a small part of it as I’d already put away the fridge/freezer items.

This morning we didn’t wake until 8am and the temperature outside was -5, it did however get a bit warmer, by 11am it rose to zero degrees C!

 Sun starting to rise above the trees at 08:15
 11:45 and we hear the ice breaking by this C&RT motor having some problem keeping to the middle of the channel
 … the ice was quite thick too, no wonder he had a bit of trouble
… but he managed to extricate himself and continue to the lock.

No photo’s of our second excursion this afternoon as it didn’t last very long!
We’d decided to take ourselves into Tring, it only takes 5 minutes on the bus.  Les had told us, and the internet confirmed that buses ran every half hour just after the hour from the pub so we set out to catch the 1:30 bus.  
We waited in the freezing cold until 10 past 2, that was 2 buses that didn’t arrive. We decided we’d had enough so we took Molly for a run on the playing field and came home to a lovely warm boat and a cuppa! We may try again another day.

And the problem?  We are having problems with the alternator that charges the batteries.  It is only putting our 22 amps instead of 110!!  Not good!  We’re having to run the engine more for our day to day electrics and the batteries certainly can’t manage a washing machine load.  Beta have been informed and parts are on the way to Foxton Boats who are their representatives for warranty work and are now waiting to hear from Sam Matts as to when he’ll be able to come and fix it. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long or we’ll be running out of clean clothes!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Well, what a day!

That was Saturday, a day of many parts
The three Horseshoes pub at 8 o’clock this morning … WOW!
 … and looking the ‘other’ way towards the first lock of the day, cold, frosty, sun making an appearance, it looked like the start of a good day.
The forecast was for wintery showers first thing clearing by 9am, so we were waiting for the off.  Just before 9 we'd seen no showers and assumed that the weather had already passed through so we pulled pins and set off

By 20 past 9 the snow started, it came down quite heavy and soon there was a covering over everything

10:30 and it was still snowing as we reached Bourne End Locks but the sun was doing its best to shine through

… 11 o’clock and the snow stopped and the sky started to clear

If you need a phone box, there’s one here as we approach 

… Berkhamsted

… with its wharf and totem pole

… and then came the ice, not too bad, just a bit slushy!

It was midday by now and our original plan was to moor here overnight and carry on in the morning, but it was such a lovely day now and we were enjoying ourselves so we decided to continue on our way.

Gas Lock 1 and we found gold and a few tree trunks were quickly deposited into the front cratch!

At Northchurch Lock with its disused water pumping building and a quick look inside
We met the ice again in the pound (water between two locks) above Northchurch

… a bit more substantial than earlier too.

The canal has been rather shallow in many places today (our draught is only 24”) and it was shallow here too and we squeezed past this tree

Alpacas near the railway line as we approach Dudswell Locks
I’d been in touch with Jaq about the mooring above Cowroast Lock and she informed me that the towpath there was like a mud bath but there were good moorings below the lock with a hard towpath.  That will do for us although we needed to go up the lock for water before mooring up.  

There was a line of moored boats below the lock and we couldn’t see what the situation at the lock was, one gate was open but there appeared to be either two narrowboats in there or a wide beam.  There certainly wasn’t enough room on the canal for the moored boats plus our own wide beam and another coming down to pass each other, so we pulled over and waited for them to pass.

We ascended the lock and filled up the water tank and were lucky because this lock would be shut and locked down at 4pm and we'd arrived at 3:30.  

It was 4:30 when we moored up below Cowroast Lock; it had been a long, long day; lunch had been a couple of shortcake biscuits on the go and we were both ready for a cup of tea before putting up the canopy and preparing a hot meal.

Although we were really tired we had had a really good days cruising!