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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

No more waiting at Marsworth

These are the last of Jaq`s boxes that daughter in law Joanne has just arrived with. The situation as i type is only 1 box remains un-opened with all the others having had a home found for their contents.
So now we can once again get under way and the decision has been made to go into London. It seems to be the right decision as we have just learnt friends are flying in from Paris and wish to stay a few days before flying back to the States. So we will all share what is the cheapest hotel/restaurant in London and i will act as the  guide for 2 American tourists plus my darling wife.

Are Swans vegetarian? I ask because for the last few days a pair of Swans have  been playing tug of war with a plastic bag. Trying to get a clear picture is difficult, as they stop the game thinking i`m
going to feed them.I have just this minute taken a night shot.  Anyway the mystery of the bags contents are now clear, chicken innards, as the bag has almost come apart. In true C.S.I. fashion this was  confirmed when one Swan brought up from the murky depths a chicken carcass and the pair of them took turns pecking and holding what was  
left of the meat on an almost bare carcass.
It seems after a Google search that Swans are in fact omnivorous and will make a meal of land and water based insects and the odd small fish but are mainly veggi.

Tina asked for a pic of the cross bed but i forgot....sorry Angel. The two pieces just slide out from

under the mattress and rest into a lip on the bed and drop into an `L` shaped piece of wood below the gunnell. It is Tina the same as the dinette table fixing on nb Valerie the design of which as you know I copied from your boat. The bed is complete with a 6`x2` inlay that sits on the bed during the day but at night becomes a 6`x6` bed.

Just been reading through the Dec. issue of Waterways World and two things caught my eye. First in early 2012 Mercia marina are offering a holiday of 4 days in an on site lodge then 4 days on a boat for around £1,035. This is an April price and i think they might have been nervous to quote a summer school Holiday price. Still it might suit the people you see on the front of hire boats, usually ladies, that look totally bored while the men are on the tiller beers in hand.

Next thing catching my eye was an article(click here) on Standard narrow boats new 50` Cygnet, just another new boat report but it has a sales gimmick offering a years free insurance and 100 litres of  fuel plus other bits and bobs some of which i would expect with a new build.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Marsworth on sea! Would it work?

Arriving at Marsworth I was surprised how empty the moorings were. In the picture below just 2 other boats here alongside the reservoir. Here now after a week, don`t worry 14 day here, the boat count has risen 50%. This is a convenient spot as our boxes will be easy to deliver when they arrive at my son`s house in Luton as we are adjacent to the car park.

All three of the reservoirs close by are very low and the Startops one pictured below has revealed 2 mud banks something i`ve never seen in all the years i have passed this way.
Perhaps if the water shortage remains BW could import some sand and turn this into a beach. Punch & Judy, candy floss and perhaps even a pier. Maybe a charge to the public for using an inland seaside resort will help fund canal restoration, do it all over the country. If the rains come and fill the reservoirs they could change to underwater shopping centres or a submerged version of `Centre Parcs` Maybe if the water levels never recover BW could drain the canals and people unable to afford bricks and mortar could by a boat and have it craned in anywhere on the system. BW collects a ground rent and can re-locate boats when owners want a different view or change employment location.

Mmmmmm back to reality and after a few days along came Del & Al on Derwent 6. So coffee and catchup gave me a break from fitting drawers in the galley cupboards.

Grandaughter Jordan stayed one night as school was closed one day for teacher training. I think Jaq enjoyed having a female aboard as her gran kids are all boys.

The White Lion here at Marsworth is up for sale. The sign reads freehold £325,000 but i`m reliably informed by the former tenants the price the owners want is nearer 500k. I just hope it doesn`t end up as flats as the ground the pub occupies is quite large and a canal view will push prices up making the seeking of planning permission very tempting for a developer.

I will finish up by posting a picture of a Welsh love spoon. Jaq was over the moon to receive this from a blog follower, you know who you are and once again many thanks to you. It has our names at the top and below our wedding date. When you next visit you will see it hanging in a special spot chosen by Jaq.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lots of pounds(£) and low pounds(H2O)

For many years even before life aboard the boat i have wanted to visit this bridge below, just check my surname and you`ll see the connection, but never got around to doing it until a few days ago.
Apart from some metal fencing enclosing electrical installations and some bushes not much has changed since it was pictured 40+ yrs ago.Bridego bridge above in 2011 and below in 1963 and the scene of the Great Train Robbery where 2.6 million pounds in used notes came off the overnight mail train and down the embankment onto trucks.

The train was 1st stopped across the fields from church lock and moved a short distance south almost adjacent to Slapton lock.
On the map the top circle is the trains first halt, the lower circle is Bridego bridge the scene of the robbery and circled to the right is an excellent mooring very close to bridge 118 if you fancy a look.
Not all the money or the perpetrators were caught but some of those captured received 30yrs.
Well i`m glad i crossed that off my bucket list.

Setting off further south with the memory of the notice on Braunston lock flight stating water levels on the Grand Union South were at an acceptable level we moored in the picture below between locks 35-36. This was in the dark as our intended mooring in daylight was after lock 34 but 7` out from the

towpath we grounded and spent nearly an hour back and forth until a boater from the long term moorings walked by and used my pole to get the boat into not deep but enough water to move on but even that took 20 mins. So having found the edge after the next lock just deep enough to force the boat in we stayed the night and awoke to find BW letting just enough water down to float me off and put some depth in the previous pound.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Slap my wrists

This rubbish being loaded into the tipper at Wolverton is i guess the result of the IWA mid October clean up of the canal between Fenny Stratford and Wolverton.

Just love this time of year with the towpath changing colour almost daily.

Another sad sight so soon after the burnt out cruiser at Stoke Bruerne. This was to the north side of Milton Keynes near  Linford and the guys on the towpath are doing a great job of laying a new hard surface.

This is the view from nb Valerie looking towards Fenny Stratford lock. I would say at a pinch 2 more boats could fit in here 3 if all those BW boats hadn`t been there. Now we arrived in the dark here as Jaq had an appointment the following morning with the Chiropractor after suffering a kink in her neck that gave her vertigo. (all ok now)
Now the point i`m trying to make is these are 24 hr moorings and was all that was available and as you can see we have only BW for company. We decided to make use of the local shops and get on board not just food but diy bits from BQ.
 We overstayed by 36hrs but the reason i did was because of those BW boats, anyway after 6yrs i got my first letter, from a mooring warden, telling me what a bad boy i was and a report is on it`s way to the  local BbbbbbbbbbWwwwwwww, sorry shaking with fright, office.
Anyway we moved through the lock and moored 500yds down on the 14 day moorings. It was only the fact that BW could have moored their boats there that gave me the `if it`s good enough for my landlord......` attitude. No they decided to go 500yds and through the lock to moor on the 24hr.

Ok folks tell me i`m wrong if you want i`ll publish any clean comments slating me.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Progress report

Arriving at the last pound of the Stoke Bruerne flight the towpath has badly fallen away despite BW trying to keep the water at bay with plastic sheeting. The situation is worsened by the close proximity of the lock. I see the stoppage to repair this is listed as 30th Jan-24th Feb and is listed as a contracted heritage repair to the wall. I just hope the end of the holiday season and the reduction of traffic through the locks will stop this getting worse.

Another sad sight  at the same location.

Just a short distance and we came across the remains of a tree poking out of the hedge. It was clear
others had been there before but we still managed to find a large  amount. As  can be seen the gangplank was needed to bridge the shallow water when loading the logs. One puzzle was where had the tree come from? Behind the hedge was a narrow corner of a ploughed field and no sign of a stump or hole. My guess was the farmer had cut it down as it made it awkward for the tractor in the tight corner. Perhaps the stump was still in the middle of the field and the canny farmer knew if he dumped the tree near the canal it would save him the bother of clearing it.

This picture taken soon after the wood was loaded is now out of date as today i spent a few hours cutting up another very large find. We just love to burn wood all day and keep the expensive coal for the long overnight burn.

So a few days stopping as when we want is the life we love and a lot of time is still being spent doing alterations. The latest is we now have a cross bed measuring 6` x 6`. My old 4` bachelor bed was fine for just me but now we can stretch out..........bliss.

We now find ourselves south of Milton Keynes and Saturday a visit from some of the grand kids (why did i not take pics) was lovely after not seeing them since May owing to our long stay in the USA.

What we intended was a trip into London after loading Jaq`s boxes, awaiting customs clearance, but my worry is if it should freeze and we are unable to get past the stoppages and remain trapped till March. So perhaps a re-think on the London trip.

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs