Thursday, 22 July 2010


It was a real pleasure to finally get to meet Ali and Richard, whose blog Smudgers is such a lovely read. Their littl'uns are great fun and Eleanor makes very good pizza!
Back at Braunston, I saw Tony from nb Universe again, which was very nice, especially as he brought me freshly foraged horseradish. It packs quite a punch and there's a lot of it, so I will try to find lots of ways of preserving it and using it in food. Thanks too Tony, for posting a picture of that delightful BW boat I'd spotted at Norton Junction. Now I'm back there, I went to take a few photos myself. You never know, BW may want to get rid at some point!
Well, the sky is an incredible yellow grey, the rain coming down in silvery sheets - quite spectacular. Unfortunately, I dismantled a section of my rainwater harvesting system and it's all running happily into the canal instead of my tank. Never mind, I expect there's plenty more where that came from ;-)

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


I'm having a wander over to Warwick at the moment, having stopped up in Braunston for a couple of days, where I got to meet up with Tony from nb Universe. A really nice encounter which I hope we can repeat on our various travels. That's the lovely thing about boating - you can go off exploring and see people you like further along the water road.
I'd been away last weekend, arriving back at Rugby by train on Sunday, but then found no bus service to Braunston and my boat. Luckily it was a beautiful sunny day, so I went to the library and photocopied a bit of the ordnance survey map (apparently you are allowed to photocopy only one A4 page of an OS map, but my hand slipped and I pressed A3 instead, which fortunately covered the whole area I needed ;-) I found a disused railway to follow. To begin with, it was a public footpath and easy to walk, but then that part ended and thick brambles and face-high nettles followed. I was too stubborn to turn back so threaded my way through at a snail's pace. Took ages but it felt like being an explorer and I emerged, not too stung and scratched at this bridge over a motorway where someone had written a poem..

'A branch shorn of leaves. A raven perching on it. This autumn evening'

Back on the towpath, I couldn't believe this bridge was still in the same state since I last saw it - must have been in 2007?

Before leaving Braunston, I managed to gather plenty of lime blossom - the last I think, before the flowers turn to fuits. It smells wonderful drying on the boat!

Now I'm at Long Itchington on the GU Warwick section or whatever it's called, having shared plenty of locks with the same pleasant couple on nb Silkwood. Always useful to share the work with people who work well as a team and are nice to chat to. I couldn't resist pausing to take a photo of this boat I really liked the look of,

though I'm kicking myself for not having a camera to hand at Norton junction for a seriously gorgeous old work boat moored there. I'll be sure to get a good photo when I next go past!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Tunnels & staircases

The Foxton locks were so much easier than I'd anticipated! All those arrow shapes on the map look a bit daunting but I didn't realise they are narrow locks and the friendly lock-keeper tells you what to do (red paddles first, followed by white) and they are easy. I was also able to cut the engine and just pull the boat into each lock, which was a peaceful ascent. I did the same coming down the Watford staircase locks today and it makes me feel just a tiny bit less guilty about my diesel burning :-(

The weather was still gorgeous and with roses draping themselves over anything that stood still, it all looked like a picture postcard. I saw this mangle - just the thing for my clothes washing, though I'd need a butty to fit it in.

Loads of people at the pub on the Foxton junction and spilling out of the tea-shop. I did the tourist thing and looked in at the canal museum and bought a lolly before heading out into an emptier and more beautiful landscape at the foot of the Laughton hills. Lovely.
One thing that did make me angry though, was passing a canalside residence (I'd say a house except that several families could have lived there), complete with smart new stables, garages, huge 4X4, horse-boxes, etc and seeing a sign on a tree saying 'No mooring in front of the property'. Well, I gave my opinion as loud as I could but think I just scared the horses..
I got tempted to explore the Welford arm - it just looked so green and secluded and it is! I think it's only a couple of miles, with one little lock at the end but I'd recommend a visit. Welford has a 'pocket garden' conservation area, turning a roadside bit of land into something special. I loved this carved fox :-)

This boat name and location made me smile.

Then on to Crick, its amazing thatched houses, scarecrow celebration (shame I will miss it - if I stood still, I might have won a prize) and scary tunnel. I'm getting better at these as it's my third over the last couple of weeks and I have the Braunston one coming up, but I must admit, my heart is in my throat every time I plunge into that dark dome!

Friday, 2 July 2010


Just some photos of things I saw over the last couple of weeks..

The fields of wheat look great right now, slowly turning golden. I saw lots of rabbits snuffling away in there as I walked past. Later, foxes too! Foxton is certainly well-named ;-)

A moment later, this boat was almost engulfed in curious cattle, licking the cabin sides.

I watched house martins swooping in to feed their young at a lock-cottage (was out boating with the Herbies) but not one bird would come near when I had a camera in my hand of course! I think their nests are just amazing, like cob houses.

Braunston boat festival - very hot, lots of people, socialising and some great boats.

My own personal boat lust... all that hold, that basic chunky simplicity, yum.

Smeeton Westbury - a village worth wandering across the fields for. At its centre is a big dip, filled with the loveliest allotments although the scarecrow is armed and dangerous.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Beautiful gift

I've been meaning to put up a picture of this wonderful gift I was given a few weeks ago. I love it completely! I can almost play a couple of tunes now.... with both hands!!!
What I also like is being out in the countryside where no-one can hear me practise- ha!
Thank you, my love x