Saturday, 25 September 2010

Moving on from Weedon, tackling tunnels with a 60 watt bulb & apologies to the Jaguar owner...

The trees are changing colour and it has been noticably colder when we've been cruising lately, autumn must be here. Let's hope it doesn't bring the dreaded Autumn Blight (the condition in which one's raw water intake becomes so seriously blocked by dead leaves that engine temperatures begin to rise and the normal exhaust is replaced by billowing clouds of white smoke) with it this year... I glare at dead leaves that dare float too close to us now...

It seems strange to think that it's a year ago this week that Wils and I joined the Thames from the Oxford Canal. The living arrangements, priorities (and living conditions!) were very different then, but the sense of total enjoyment hasn't diminshed in the slightest. This year we've ended up following the same route as it happens, though we're behind last year's schedule, geographically, being somewhere near the top of the Oxford Canal, not the bottom of it!

Jem and I are pleased to report that our attempt to conquer Blisworth Tunnel recently was a success, our fitted tunnel light being still out of action we had to resort to other means - turns out a floor lamp fitted with a regular 60 watt bulb angled towards the tunnel roof from inside the front doors makes for more than ample tunnel lighting! Too many times we've been nearly blinded by excessive lights fitted to oncoming boats, but we were hesitant when faced with the prospect of going through with so little illumination... With the interior lights on and our brave and trusty floor lamp firmly rooted in the saloon we set off, and it worked like a charm! Good to know, tomorrow we plough ever onward and tackle Braunston tunnel again.

We spent some time at Weedon before moving today, and we can strongly recommend a visit to the small greengrocers in the square! A large amount of the fruit and veg are locally produced, and the place has the feel of a genuine, family run business, a pleasing contrast to the grim experience of the chain-owned miniature supermarket nearby... Try the plums while they're still in season! DELICIOUS!

We acquired diesel and water at Whilton this morning, and the issue of whether or not we need a new hosepipe, or pipe fitting at any rate, drags ever on - attaching said pipe to the faucet at Whilton resulted in a perfectly powerful and speedy filling of the tank - but also in a thin but persistent jet of water erupting from the connection that was hastily blown by the wind directly onto the shiny Jaguar parked between Wils and the faucet! If that was your Jag and you're annoyed, I'm sorry. But it's only water, so stop moaning.

Tonight we're moored in the wooded stretch just before Braunston tunnel, it's a popular spot by the looks of things... We were lucky enough to come through Buckby locks with a lovely bloke whose name escapes me - he works as a RYA instructor on the sea as well as the inland waterways, he was delivering a boat from somewhere near the Fens all the way round to Nottingham, a long journey by the sounds of it! Nice to have some company on that stretch of locks!

Here's Jem enjoying the weather somewhere on the Buckby flight:


I look confused:


Jem enjoys the prospect of yet another bridge, just after Norton Junction I think:


We've got the stove on this evening to warm our bones, personally I don't know why people bother with any other form of heating, we couldn't be more snug! Although at this time of year it might have been a little OTT to go for the ROARING VOLCANO setting on the air holes... If it got me through that last winter I have no doubts as to its ability to do the same again this year! Anyway, the laptop is losing the will to live so I'll have to leave it there. For now...

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The return after much radio silence...

It's certainly been a long time since anything was written here! The usual commitments personal and professional are to blame. The truth is it's been a bit of a rollercoaster for us over the last six months, not to mention the last few days for Jem and I, which saw us climbing aboard Wils again only two days ago for what we imagined would be our final voyage. After very lengthy consideration and a great deal of heartache we were planning to sell the boat and move on to pastures new.

Less than forty eight hours onboard convinced us otherwise. A major shuffling of all manner of commitments will be required now but our love of this way of life, of everything that living aboard has opened us up to, is far too much for us to abandon just yet. We love this all to bits! So, as of this post (back on Blogger again, where it belongs!), Jem and I consider ourselves canal dwellers still!

Having spent the best part of six months in Milton Keynes, we've moved a little way north on the Grand Union for now, our heads buzzing with plans and logistics, cities to aim for and ways to make the liveaboard life work for us again.

Gadzooks! The laptop is about to die so I have to be brief, but the long and short of it is this - we're staying put and here's to the ongoing adventure - CHAPTER TWO!