Saturday, October 14, 2017

Chancing Friday 13th

We saw the wind had picked up a bit from yesterday, but still decided to make a move from here at Pitstone.
We went round the corner and found the two locks were in our favour, a good start to Friday 13th. The good news about the wind, was that it was behind us.

 These locks were easy and when we looked back two boats had joined us, not so lucky for them.
We cruised on towards Marsworth which was busy with moored boats.
When we got to the Aylesbury Arm, we saw they had built Apartments on the old Waterways site and also they had built a new disposal point alongside..
The sun came out and we got to the bottom of the Marsworth flight of seven locks, and again they were all in our favour.
After the first lock you can see the reservoir and it did look quite full, which is good news.
At the top of the flight the top lock looked in poor repair and was leaking so bad we had trouble opening the gates..

At Bulbourne we passed the Wendover Arm and then stopped and topped up with water where a small gap had been left by boats to get in there.
Obviously some boaters can't read.

We then headed towards Cowroast, passing Tring Station. It was really leafy and pretty through here and we had to keep clearing the prop, but for a change there was plenty of water.
I wonder if this fella has to pay car tax.
We found a nice spot to moor just before the marina and even managed telly, all the signals have been great down the GU.
So on our travels this week, again we have seen no one monitoring moorings....
We just chilled in the afternoon, it had been a good Friday 13th for us (touch wood)..

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Pitstone with a top tailor

We left at 9.00am and went through Church Lock at Grove.
They were warning us of dredging going on again at the top and sure enough we saw them filling up another field of mud and clay from the canal.
We love this part of the Grand Union where the hills are in the distance and the lion is watching us creep by.
We got to the next lock at Slapton and then went on the water point for a top up.
A hire boat passed us as we could hear the tank slurping away, telling us it was nearly full..

We pulled out behind them and met in the next lock..
You get chatting as you do, them asking questions about living aboard and us finding out what people have done with their lives..
It turned out that Del was chatting to the guy who had made Freddie Mercury's pink suit in the video "Great Pretender". he had also made the blue suit in the "Barcelona" video, his name was David Chambers.
David and Helen always hired boats because they could get away from it all and as he said "He doesn't have to clean it" He also liked the fact that no one could get hold of him as he never had a signal on his phone.. He had made suits for people from David Bowie to Terence Conran and was getting sick of travelling to New York and making suits for Harvey Keitel, it wasn't fun anymore with all the airport security.
It still amazes us who we meet in locks, and reminds us of what the canals have to offer.
We parted with them at Ivinghoe locks and made our way onto Pitstone via the swingbridge, with the Ivinghoe Beacon in the background..

It was a bit annoying that we couldn't moor on the moorings close to the bridge because of all the fishermen doing a competition, but we got a nice 'on our own' mooring just past the boatyard.
We chilled in the afternoon as the showers came through, lit the fire, and snuggled in.. 
Football and Bake off on tonight so we are sorted..

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

In The Grove

After a bit of a lay in, we decided to leave. We had trouble getting off as the canal had got very shallow overnight.. We got to the lock and met a guy from CaRT who was letting water down for us all. While he was helping us up he got a call saying that the top lock gate at the Soulbury three had failed and he needed to go and check it out..
That's not good news for us if we decided to go back up the GU..
We moored outside Tesco's and while Al went and got Derwent6 loaded with food Jule's came by on the coal boat and supplied Del with some coal and a gas bottle..
We then got rid of our rubbish we had accumulated over the last few days and then set off again just as it started to drizzle with rain.
We took a steady cruise up to Grove Lock and then decided to moor up for the day.
There has been a lot of dredging work carried out round here and it has been a massive help.
We relaxed in the afternoon and then walked down to The Grove Lock pub for something to eat..
It was nice food, but a little on the expensive side, but it went down well with a few beers.. We then walked back and watched some football and the next installment of our favourite drama at the moment Liar..

Sunday, October 08, 2017

A weekend at Leighton Buzzard

So we have stayed put here at Leighton Buzzard for a few days.
Al went down to London to visit her friend Joy and they ended up going to Maxwell's in Covent Garden. On the way they got caught up outside the BAFTA building in Piccadilly and saw the Actor Adam Sandler (who was in the Wedding Singer).
They also got caught up outside a screening of  Journey's End and saw Sam Calflin who was in the Hunger Games.
They had a lovely time. Del met Al at the station where they walked up to The Wheatsheaf and saw a band in a pub..
We have just chilled here for a few days as Al wanted to see Strictly (of course) and Del wanted to see the Grand Prix and the football. We have been spied on by a guy with a drone, hope he got some good shots.
We have everything we need here, with a big Tesco's just up the road, but plan to move on Monday.

Noisy here

We didn't have a good night due to the wind rocking us around. Del had prepared Derwent6 by taking things off the roof except the satellite dish which we needed for telly.
On inspection things were ok but the guys doing the dredging had started their noisy machinery at 7.23am. At 7.30am the barges were going backwards and forwards with sludge.
At 10.00am it all stopped and they must have gone to breakfast, so it was an opportunity for us to make a move, also the sun had come out.
We got going after doing a few checks and made our way round to where the dredging was taking place. They had just started again and the guy on the dredger maneuvered the barge so we could get through.
We managed it ok but where the mud had been brought to the surface we lost steering and when into the bank. After a bit of messing about we got going. You could tell why they had to do it, the rudder was difficult to move as it was in mud and we had to idle most of the way to the next lock.
We moored up just before the lock and was happy with our days work.
Al then went into Leighton Buzzard and checked out the shops and Del did the brasses.
It was a relaxing day for us then, with the football on in the evening. Al had cooked a lovely minty lamb chop dinner, yum! Lets hope we stay awake through the football!

On to Soulbury

After last night we had a bit of a lay in and decided to set off at 9.00am. Our voices were a bit worse for wear and our ears were still ringing, but we managed to slowly make our way to the Aqueduct.

Then onto Wolverton Station.
It seemed a lot colder this morning with the northerly wind making it feel chilly, maybe it was because we were a lot higher than everyone else.
It wasn't long before Derwent6, for the first time this year, had smoke coming from the chimney.
We made our way around the outskirts of Milton Keynes and were pleasantly surprised at some of the improvements..

New signs under bridges and some sculptures making things more attractive and les rubbish in the canal..
But, and there's always a but, we had to do a hell of a lot of it on tickover. There were so many more moored boats, and fifty fifty with narrowboats and widebeams, with a few fibreglass boats in between. We tried to get in at Campbell Park and had no chance, who is monitoring the system. We have done this part of the system loads of times and it never used to be like this..
We came to one bridge and a boat came steaming through and then saw us. He ploughed straight into a tree and then struggled to get out of it with us stopped and watching him.
Sheepishly he went past us and Del had to say something. "Too fast mate, go on the M25 if you want to go fast" all he got back was a grin from his wife and the bird from him. That won't help his damaged boat, Pratt!
There are some very pretty sections round Milton Keynes and we do still enjoy the Grand Union.

We soon got to Fenny Stratford Lock with its swingbridge in the middle of it, right in front of the Red Lion pub, but no problems here.


We carried on to Stoke Hammond and one of the prettiest locks on the canal, it always looks neat and tidy.

We planed to moor up here but due to the low levels and the weather prospects we thought we would try and get a bit further, this meant we would have to do the Three Locks at Soulbury.
We waited for someone to join us and then another two boats came up behind us who were together. We got through the first lock then helped a single hander down who was struggling in the wind.
We got through Ok after that with the locks in our favour. We then passed CaRT doing some dredging, in fact they were emptying containers into a farmers field, and then we had had enough and moored on one of our favourite moorings even though it was a bit noisy with CaRT close by and moving barges of sludge every half an hour.

Here we battened down the hatches, took the stuff of the roof, waiting for the predicted strong winds to hit us... They weren't wrong!!!