Back at Clifton
Back at Clifton
We decided to moor before the Stoke Bruerne locks and walk in to revisit. It was quite full on the mooring but a boat on the end was just leaving so we snuck into his space.
We decided on an early start the following day.....however the best laid plans etc......
There were already two boats ahead of us waiting at the lock so we knew we would have a wait but we didn't bargain for 2 hours!!!
For unexplained reasons the pound about was almost dry, we subsequently discovered that it happens often..........
We were told BW were on their way to sort it out but it took some time. However by about 10 we were on our way again. By then there were several other boats waiting so did at least have company in the lock. However he was a single hander..........Geoff said next time we shared a lock could I please find a boat who had a big buxom blonde as crew to keep him company at the locks!!!
By the time we reached the top it was raining but we then had 1/2 an hour in Blisworth Tunnel. However when we emerged it was still raining and pretty dank so we decided to quit for the day.
Wednesday we carried on to Weedon Bec. There are no locks on this stretch so I am able to get some time in my favourite place in the cratch watching the world go by. Geoff is quite happy on the tiller for these stretches....I just have to replenish his coffee every so often.
We moored just short of Weedon Bec and walked up to explore. We discovered that one of the pubs offered 2 for 1 on all main courses so decided to treat ourselves in the evening...Geoff was especially keen as there was steak & kidney pudding on the menu! However the meal was somewhat disappointing, I guess you get what you pay for, it certainly was one of the poorer meals we have had this season. However I didn't have to cook so that was a bonus.
Thursday we set off a little later than normal as we wanted to stop by bridge 18 and go to the heart of the Shires Craft Centre and it didn't open until 10. After a visit there we carried on up 6 of the 7 Bucky Locks and are now moored just short of Norton Junction. I cannot remember the bridge we passed with this attempt at topiary...I guess it is supposed to be a rabbit of some sort...
These last few days we have been seeing the mile posts all along which are giving us the miles to go to Braunston. They have been declining at a rather fast rate as there are not so many locks now. It just seems to signify that the end of our 6 months is almost up which is quite sad. The plan is to go down to Braunston tomorrow for the weekend and call in to see Darren our boatbuilder on Monday. He has moved from Rugby to Braunston so we shall go right past his new workshop.
Above Marsworth Lock by the reservoir after our long walk to church
Tuesday we were off early for the short trip to Leighton Buzzard as it was market day. We were in town by 10am but the market was nothing startling. We moored just before the town because of the two dogs but you can moor a little further up right outside Tesco's
Two friends together
Geoff was not impressed
The offending article - part of a red track suit!
The trip did improve and it did not rain on us. Parga is getting very used to locking now but follows Geoff like glue. Pats of the run are very pretty and extremely peaceful.
He has learnt to cross the gates!
I'll just supervise from here!
He is so keen not to let Geoff out of range that he followed too closely over one of the gates and managed to slip in, luckily not into the lock. Geoff hauled him out, and Parga thanked him by shaking all over him!
When we last came through Berkhamstead we had been impressed by the big sign on one of the bridges saying "Welcome to the Port of Berkhamsted". Sadly it is no longer there.
It was incredibly wet weekend with muddy towpaths all around us which is not good news when there are two dogs on board. Geoff gallantly walked Parga nearly 5 miles each day to get rid of his surplus energy, all I had to do was clean up a filthy dog on return!
We went to the Parish Church of St Peter on Sunday morning which had a large congregation and huge choir of all ages. We were also impressed by the size of the Sunday School.
Later in the morning we had a visit from friends Brian & Patricia with daughter Anna. After coffee and a tour of Petroc we all enjoyed a good Sunday Roast in the Boat Inn. Really a highlight of an otherwise dank weekend.
To make up for lost time we did a longish day whilst the rain held off (More forecast for Tuesday!) For the first 7 locks we had company which made life easier. At Cowroast we stopped to water etc and also went into the marina for diesel...85p.......The following locks were completed on our own until Marsworth junction. here we turned off onto the Aylesbury Arm and back to narrow locks. How strange they look after all this time, last seen when we came off the Oxford.
We did the first 8 locks to where our guide book told us there was a suitable mooring place.....however there was work in progress on the bank at the obvious mooring place so we had to go a little further up. This was close to a sign we haven't seen before saying the space was reserved for disabled anglers, however no anglers in sight and we shall move if one comes along.
9 locks to go to Aylesbury....will the rain hold off???
Sunday morning we awoke to pouring rain and we did wonder why we were venturing outside.
Maggie made it out on the tube and we had a pleasant few hours in the White bear pub where Geoff and I enjoyed an excellent Sunday Roast......the cheapest so far this year at £6.95.
Monday morning dawned with a much colder temperature than of late....do we detect the first signs of autumn.....must have missed summer somewhere!
Parga is getting used to this boating scene. As soon as we near the shore for me to put Geoff off at a lock he is first off. After one episode of almost falling in a lock he now sits waiting for Geoff when he crosses over to do the offside paddles. I wouldn't say he waits patiently but at least he sits, although he has the odd whimper.
When we were within 3 locks of Kings Langley we made contact with Rosemary & Gordon Dolman. They were friends whom we hadn't seen for years and through other friends they discovered we were going to pass past their back garden! They came to join us for the last stretch to Kings Langley and we moored just opposite their house. The kindly had us round to supper in the evening and we had a good catch up. Gordon is a guide at St Albans Cathedral so on Tuesday morning he took us in and we had a conducted tour. It is so much better going round a church with someone who knows the history. The part of the Cathedral below was built from recovered (recycling even then!)) Roman brick and flint.
Their house has a wonderful garden backing onto the canal.
Approaching the Houses of Parliament Thames Clipper docking on right.
Big Ben was striking 8am just as we went past. There is an exclusion zone right in front to stop invaders!! It is well marked by yellow buoys so there was no danger of us straying.
Thames Lock, Brentford