NB Muleless

NB Muleless
Moored at Alrewas Sept 2013

Sunday, 23 November 2014

A trip to Warwick and Leapfrogging Bloggers!

I really must try harder! I am leaving it way too long between blogs!!!

We left Onley on 8 Nov, got caught in some rain on the way to Braunston, and grabbed the first mooring we saw – again opposite the Boathouse Pub!

Sunday was a much nicer day – a boat moored on the pub side had his washing out!

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We did the trip up to the butcher and on the way back called in on Geoff and Mags on NB Seyella who were moored up near the marina.

After a short visit (we couldn't torment poor Meg with our meat for too long!) we headed back to drop off our purchases before heading over for Sunday Lunch at the Boathouse!

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Just look at that clear sky!!

Monday saw us on the move again – up to the elsan/water point to empty/fill the appropriate tanks!

Just as we were setting up Geoff came up on Seyella, having seen Mags off on her trip up north, and breasted up to us whilst waiting to use the facilities – he was running a wash load so was in no rush.

We chatted as we pumped out (!) and when we were done moved along to let Seyella in, and I made tea to refresh us all whilst Geoff did his thing! Meg was missing Mags already!

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Narrowboats getting friendly at the water point!

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When we had all finished, we set off in opposite directions – but we soon turned round in the marina entrance and followed Seyella – turning left at the junction and heading towards Napton.

We very shortly came across Seyella, this time Geoff had turned round and moored in the sun, ready to return to Braunston to collect Mags on her return.

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Geoff took a picture of us as we passed – we arent really that shiny, its an optical illusion caused by the bright sun!IMG_2332_thumb

We will catch up with Geoff and Mags again later on!

We moored just before Wigrams Turn, ready to start our journey down to Warwick.

On Tuesday we headed down towards the Calcutt Locks – and guess who were sorting out their newly cleared roof – Sue and Vic on No Problem!

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We pulled on to the water point (as usual!) and Sue popped in for a “posh coffee” and a chat – Meg didnt want to be left out!

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When we were ready to go, Sue wanted to do some locks – so helped us down the three locks!

A rare picture of Sue doing locks!!

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As we left the middle lock we recognised the boat coming up the bottom lock!

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It was Tom and Jan on NB Waiouru!

Greetings were exchanged as the boats passed in the pound – we will catch up with them properly over the next few weeks!

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We waved Sue off as she returned up the locks to catch up with Waiouru!

We moored for the night opposite the New Willow Wren training centre.

The next day we headed down the Stockton Locks – last year when we came this way it rained on us, this year we had bright blue skies and sunshine – what a difference!

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We moored up by the Two Boats Pub, and popped in for some refreshment!

On Thursday we headed off to the Bascote Locks – the first two being the staircase pair!

As I arrived at the top lock to prepare it, a lady came up from the next lock where her boat was ready to start coming up the staircase – we chatted amiably about who should have the lock first – both of us saying we werent in a hurry so the other could go first! Eventually it was decided that we should go first and the lady returned to her husband on their boat to say they would wait.

Gary brought Muleless into the lock and I shut the top gates. As I started to wind the paddles there was a frantic waving from the lady below and she hurried back towards me. I quickly closed the paddles and waited to see what was wrong!

When she had told her husband what we were doing, he had said we could both use the lock at the same time and pass in the middle! It hadnt occured to either of us that we could do that – but it did work!

The other boat entered the bottom part of the lock and closed the gates behind. Then as I let the water out of our lock and into theirs, Muleless went down – and they came up!

When the locks were level we opened both gates – and the boats moved past each other to get to the other ends!

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We then shut the central gates again and they let water into the top lock – as we let it out of the bottom – and they went up, and we went down!

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We havent done that before!

The next two locks were quite mundane after that!

We moored up above Welsh Road Lock – and the next morning Gary rescued a Go-kart tyre that had been left hanging on the piling!

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He then went and readied the lock for us – saving me a job!

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It was another fabulously sunny day – even if it was a bit chilly!

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We made our way down the last 6 locks and moored up below Radford Semele Church. From there we walked to the Asda store for some shopping. We havent been near an Asda for several months, and there were some things we wanted to get.

On Saturday we set off through Leamington and on the way spied loads and loads of logs!! What a shame we dont have a wood burning stove – but we know some boats who do!!

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We went past Morrisons, Lidls and Tescos but didnt need to stop. We went right through to Warwick, headed up the two Cape Locks (filling with water at the bottom) and turned round at the junction of the Saltisford Arm and reversed onto a mooring spot!

On Sunday Yvonne and Roy were coming over to meet us and brought grandsons Riley and Freddie to.

We had decided to walk down to Warwick Castle and grounds for a look round, but as we didnt want to pay – we didnt go in!

The Castle from the gate – and from the bridge!

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There was a nice view the other way down the river too.

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We then headed over to the park where the kiddies could play!

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And then on to the crazy golf!

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I’m not too sure who won – there was a lot of cheating going on!!!

Yvonne and Roy then headed off with the boys to get some dinner, and we carried on mooching around for a bit until we came across ‘Spoons!!!

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We decided to treat ourselves to sunday lunch and even had an icecream sundae each!!!

As we headed back to the boat very full up we spotted these wall paintings.

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We looked in on the Saltisford Canal, but as it started to rain we didnt linger.

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On Monday we decided to head back to Radford, and this time we stopped off at both Tescos and Morrisons and arrived back at our spot below the church just as dark was falling.

We had contacted Mark on Callisto (the fuel boat) and knew he would be at Radford, and just as we were sorting out the shopping he pulled alongside, and managed to top us up with diesel before it got too dark! He then moored up right behind us ready for a 6.30 am start the next day!

On Tuesday we were expecting more company! Gary did a few jobs on the boat – including touching up some scratches, and I gave the boat a clean through!

We received a text – and Gary went up to the lock to meet the new arrivals – and point out some logs that needed collecting!

Some time later (I was beginning to wonder where they had gone!) two familiar boats came round the bend.

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They were soon moored up – one in front and one behind us and we all had a lunch break!

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The main event then started – chopping up all the wood that Gary had helped them pick up!

Vic and Geoff set too with a vengeance!

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Gary wanted to get in on the act too!

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It didnt take too long and everything had been chopped into manageable pieces ready for the stove or storage on No Problems roof!

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When all the wood had been stacked on the boat there was just the sweeping up to do!

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Just then Mark on Callisto arrived – we were quite surprised that he had made it back – we didnt think he would arrive until the next morning!

Geoff soon had Mark topping him up with diesel

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and then Sue and Vic needed coal and diesel!

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In the meantime, Gary was making a friend! And he claims he is not a dog person!

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Geoff and Mags opted for a quiet night in, but Sue and Vic were up for visiting, so they popped along after dinner for a few drinks and lots more chatting!

Tuesday was another log sorting out morning – this time Geoffs haul!

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Mags and Meg looked on from a safe vantage point!

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Once the wood had been sorted out and stacked it was time for more posh coffees and hot chocolates all round whilst Gary showed Geoff and Vic around our hybrid system!

Eventually it was time to leave, and we waved off Sue and Vic

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and then Geoff and Mags – thanks for the “royal wave” Mags!

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Have a great Christmas and New Year guys, and we hope to catch up with you again soon next year!!

Friday, 7 November 2014

Winter has arrived!

It is now the time of year that CRT close certain locks and parts of canals to work on them – and as we cant pass whilst they are worked on, we have to plan our movements accordingly. Up until christmas we will be “hanging around” between Napton, Braunston, Brownsover and Warwick.

After leaving Banbury on 24 October, we made our way back up the South Oxford Canal.

As we passed through Cropredy Lock, I was able to take a photo of the lovely lock cottage without its scaffolding, at last!

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We spotted another boat with an unpronounceable name!

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At Elkington Lock there was evidence of preparation for winter works.

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The canal side is looking very autumnal with lovely colours – and bare trees!

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We were passed by “The Herbies” on the summit, and then caught them up at Napton Top Lock whilst they lunched, and then they passed us again as we watered up! I shouted to Kath as she walked to the lock – “the famous Kath from Herbie” I said, and she replied “dont believe everything you read!” – as if a blogger would not tell the truth!

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Our final trip down the Napton flight this year was done in brilliant sunshine. We had moored just below lock 14 for the night and were treated to clear blue skies in the morning.

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As we approached lock 13 we could see the pound was quite low – even though there hadnt been many boats through!

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There was only one paddle working on the bottom gates – it had been fine just a couple of weeks ago when we passed through!

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Further down the flight there were more preparations for the works that were due to start on 3 November!

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You can see why a new balance beam is needed on Napton Bottom Lock.

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There is an open day on Saturday 8 November to see the work being done on this lock – we were going try to get there, but dont think we will make it. Preparations are well under way (picture courtesy of Sue – No Problem).

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We were due a stay in a marina to equalise our batteries – Cropredy had been full so we ended up back in Wigrams Marina again where we moored on our usual pontoon! Yvonne popped in for coffee and a chat (and to deliver our post) too.

After leaving the marina we had to return to Napton. On the way we saw some “canalside services” – but dont think they will get used very much!

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We were lucky to get the very last mooring spot at Napton and when we were sorted out we walked up to the locks, passing NB No Problem on the way. A quick chat to Sue reassured her that we had been able to moor, ready to meet up later in the Folly.

We walked up to lock 10 – the one with the major rebuild of the lock approach during the winter works – and discovered that work had already started.

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A chap was in the field next to the lock controlling the “drone”.

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Click HERE to see his video on YouTube – you can see us walking around the lock! and THIS is another video he took of the lock cottage and bottom lock!

Later that evening we met Sue and Vic in the Folly – and a great time we had too!

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Meg and Penny came too!

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On Saturday, after saying goodbye to Sue and Vic, we set off towards Braunston and yet again the sun was out and the sky was brilliant blue!

On the way we came across NB Waiouru moored up, Tom popped his head out to say hello, but we couldnt stop as we had a boat right behind us – we’ll catch up with them again sometime over winter.

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On Sunday something really strange happened. We had done our shopping, waited for a cloudburst to pass, seen a terrific rainbow (that the picture doesnt do justice to)

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and then moved up to fill with water, empty bins etc.

Whilst at the water point a boat came past, a lady on the front saying “Hello Della – it is Della isnt it? Gordon is on the back!” I smiled, and started thinking frantically of any Gordons that do blogs! The boat was not a familar name, and as the back of the boat went by the chap on the back said “Hello” and it took me a few seconds to register – it was my first husband Gordon (and his wife Pauline at the front!).

We had a very quick exchange of words – it was their friends boat and they were just on it for a week – and then they were gone!

It is a few years since we had last seen each other, and Gordon and Pauline now live on a sailing boat in the Med! So they were the last people I thought I would see in Braunston!

By now we had filled with water and were ready to go.

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We turned the boat and went in the direction Gordon had gone – expecting to see them moored up by the Boathouse Pub – but they werent there – they had already left Braunston and we didnt know which way they had gone!

We headed up the North Oxford and as it was now nearly 4pm we moored up at Willoughby Wharf!

Now what are the odds that with 2500 miles of canal that we would be at Braunston at the same time! If it hadnt been for the earlier cloudburst we probably would have missed them!

So Gordon and Pauline – if you are reading this – sorry I looked blank and I hope you enjoyed your week with your friends!!

The next day we headed to Hillmorton, passing Wharf Bridge where someone had pulled all these bikes and bits out of the canal!

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As Muleless went down in the top lock we marvelled at the new top gate – with no leaks!!! Hopefully there will be lots more about after the winter works!

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We moored below Hillmorton Locks after filling with water as usual!

The next day we headed to our destination for this trip - Brownsover – more shopping needed! When we arrived we were expecting “Callisto” the fuel boat, so we had lunch and made a shopping list, as just as it started to rain Callisto appeared.

First he stopped at two other boats moored to sort them out.

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Marks dog “Cally” sitting patiently on the roof, hoping for biscuits!

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We soon had our diesel tanks topped up – we wont be letting them get low over winter, so will probably see quite a bit of Mark and Cally over the next couple of months!

We visited Tesco as usual (I swear there is a hole in the wine cellar – I keep finding it empty!!!) and had a trip to The Range where I bought an EasiYo Yoghurt maker. After reading about it on NB Valerie blog I was sure it was something that I needed!!

We had a quick check of what was going on on the old Wickes/Homebase site.

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Nothing left of the old buildings – and they have done some pile driving – I wonder if these are for the new buildings or to hold the canal in place!

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We left our mooring, and filled with water at the tap by the terrible edging!

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I nipped up the bridge and took a birds eye view pic too!

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We turned round again and headed back towards Hillmorton. As we motored along it was really quiet, so it was time for me to practice steering again! Gary didnt take any pictures of me(!!) but I successfully steered past Clinton Cruisers (even though it was a tight squeeze) and through the bridge! Normally I hand the tiller over as soon as I see any other boats or obstacles!

As we headed along by the golf course a familiar boat loomed ahead and I instructed Gary to take a photo.

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As we came alongside, Geoff of NB Seyella popped out, and as we shouted hello, we decided to moor up just in front of them, rather than head a bit further on to the bottom of the locks. For this I handed the tiller back to Gary!

Once we were moored up and sorted out (stove on, satellite dish up) we popped in to Seyella for a proper catch up with Geoff, Mags and Meg their dog! It was great to meet them properly at last!

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The next morning Geoff was ready to leave before us, but we had agreed to meet up again at Onley later on.

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Eventually we were ready to go, and moved on the water point at Hillmorton to top up the tank as usual – this is one of the slowest taps on the system!!

Then we made our way up the locks – has anyone else noticed how banana shaped the top lock beam is?

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Just above the locks we passed Seyella – as Geoff had pulled in to chat to Tony and Jacque of NB Timewarp! (as Tony said – is the collective term a grumbling of narrowboaters!)

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It wasnt long before we reached our destination of Onley, and by now the wind had turned quite strong. We moored up and Seyella were close behind us. We had invited Geoff and Mags round to us, but as the wind was so strong and cold they took a rain check – we will be following them for a few days so will have another chance.

This morning the forecast was for lots of rain and more wind, so we decided to stay where we were for the day – I dont think we will get to the Napton open day tomorrow!

Geoff and Mags had decided to move on to Braunston, so we will definitely catch them up later!

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