It is almost 2 weeks since last blog, and we seem to have been waiting around quite a bit!
As I mentioned in the last blog, we were lurking near Napton to have access to the car for a trip to Crick.
We had a trip up to Brownsover to visit Tescos, and on the way saw some different ways people had decorated their boats!
The moorings were full at Brownsover, and we took almost the last spot along by the waterpoint – and struggled to get in close to the bank – as did everyone else along that section.
We visited Tesco and topped up the cupboards, and the next day went to the cinema to see “Noah” in the afternoon, and then nipped back to the boat, untied, turned round and headed back towards Hillmorton so we could get a more open and easy access mooring!
On the way we passed NB “African Queen” – obviously Humphrey Bogart fans!
We passed Waiouru (no sign of Tom and Jan), we are beginning to think they have taken root!
At Hillmorton, we had a fantastic sunset!
The next night we moored back at Braunston, and in the morning we were passed by Historic Narrowboats President and Kildare on their way to Crick"!
We then headed off to moor at Napton for the bank holiday weekend, and on the way we had to wait for this very wide widebeam to pass us!
We passed this boat adorned with a coat of arms . . .
and Posh Fox’s older brother!
We found a spot on the 14 day moorings at Napton, and not long after we arrived every available space had been taken, and boats were mooring along the rough part of the towpath behind us on pins!
We had booked a table for dinner on Friday evening in the Folly, and on the way to the pub we even saw boats moored on the water points (one of which was covered up and out of use) and on the lock landing and service wharf!.
The reason for all these boats mooring in the wrong places is the restriction on Napton Locks due to a lock wall collapsing on the approach to Lock 10, and CRT Staff manning the locks during the day and closing them after 6pm (or 4pm weekends). We walked up to the lock to see what was going on.
Yvonne and Roy met us in the Folly for dinner as they had brought the car for us to use. We had a lovely meal as usual, and a nice catch up with them.
On Saturday, despite the rain, we had decided to visit the Crick show. We arrived on site at about 11.30 and were surprised how busy it was. We parked the car on the grass, that was already very wet and muddy and paddled our way into the show area.
No photos I’m afraid as we were too busy! We stopped by the MGM show boat “Posh Fox”, and said hello to everyone, we managed to find Nick and Wendy Thorpe (our shell builder) and had a good catch up with them, and stopped by the Hybrid stand to have a chat to Graeme. We also managed to buy a stockman coat for Gary, some new centre ropes and extra fender lines and a new horn. We couldn't find a few things we wanted, but had a good look around and enjoyed a drink in the beer tent and a pasty from the craft tent (cheaper than the ones in the food arena!). We also had a chat with the guys from Calcutt Marina who supply the Hurricane Heater, as we were concerned about the noise it was producing.
At about 5pm we had popped back to the car for a drink and sandwich we had brought with us, when a huge black cloud came over and a terrific thunder storm crashed overhead, with buckets of rain and huge hailstones. For a while we couldn't see out of the car!
At this time, we still had a couple of bits to look for, so we moved the car closer to the entrance gate and almost had to swim back into the showground! Piles of hailstones were everywhere and the whole area, including inside some of the tents was now sodden! I dont think the straw that had been laid down had much chance of doing anything!
We left shortly after 6 having made our last purchases. We think that will be our last trip to Crick for quite a few years!
On Sunday we had a familiar boat moored in front of us “Caxton” – but not Paul and Elaine of course – her new owners!
We used the car for a trip to Asda for essentials (wine, beer, cider, icecream, etc) and then relaxed in the evening sun!
Monday, after a trip to some DIY stores, and finding a folding table in The Range for towpath use, we had been invited to Yvonne and Roys for a roast dinner, so we had a lovely meal with them and some of the other members of the family, and chilled out for a while before Roy dropped us back at the boat, and took the car away again.
We had planned to head off towards Oxford straight after the bank holiday, but after talking to the guys from Calcutt, we now had to wait until 2 June so that we could collect a couple of parts (covered under warranty). So as we wanted to fill with water and charge the batteries, we set off towards Braunston. Unfortunately Braunston was full (due to quite a few boats left Crick having moored there) and not wanting to head up to Hillmorton, we headed back down towards Napton and moored not too far from Braunston by bridge 99.
Wednesday rained all day, so we stayed where we were, but we did see President and Kildare again as they passed us.
Thursday we headed off, turned round and moored back in Braunston (which was now fairly empty). We treated ourselves to dinner at The Admiral Nelson, as we still hadn't eaten there.
Garys Buffalo Burger and my “whale” and chips! Excellent food.
On Friday whilst Gary was doing some maintenance he chatted to the crew of Oakfield, and Tom from Waiouru (who hasn't taken route in Brownsover!), and later, on the way to the butchers we bumped into Tom again, and I invited him and Jan for drinks that evening. (Sorry guys on Oakfield, we will catch you another time, Gary didn't think to invite you as he was busy in the engine bay!).
So later Tom turned up on his own as Jan wasn't feeling well. We had an interesting couple of hours and sent Tom home to check on Jan – hope you feel better now!
Saturday after topping up with water, we turned round in the marina entrance (Gary is getting really good at this now!) and headed back to the junction, passing Sanity Again complete with washing out, we had a wave from Sheila, but no sign of Bruce.
We headed back down towards Napton and moored at Bridge 102, and as it was by now quite pleasant we got out the chairs and our new table, and of course I had to put some washing out too!
On Sunday the weather was glorious, and we found ourselves moored on the M1 again – loads of passing boats!
View from the side hatch
I managed to catch 3 moving boats in this shot!
It was another day to get the table and chairs out, and of course some more washing!
We put our new centre ropes on and Gary fitted the new horn (no photo yet), and after baking in the sun for a while, we headed off to get closer to Calcutt ready for Monday morning, trying out the new horn on the way!
The moorings at the top of the locks were full, so after filling with water (you know us, can’t miss a chance), we turned round and headed back to the junction and turning left, found a mooring just after bridge 108, just before the turning point at bridge 107 ready to turn round in the morning.
So this morning saw me walking up to the turning point to check for “traffic” and when we had a clear spot Gary made another brilliant turn!
We moored up at the top of the Calcutt Locks, and Gary went in to the marina shop to collect the parts for the Hurricane heater.
As all you narrowboaters out there already know, there isn't much room in the engine bay, so you have to get in some funny positions to work!
Several hours later (!) and no, I didn't have to call the fire brigade to get him out, the job was done! We now have a super quiet Hurricane heater!
After Gary recovered with copious cups of tea and a sandwich, and lots of bruises, we headed back over to Wigrams Marina, having decided to do an equalisation of the batteries before heading towards Oxford tomorrow.
STOP PRESS: Latest news – CRT stoppage received – Structure failure at Lock 14, which will be closed until further notice!!!!
Drat, more waiting around – someone is trying to stop us getting to Oxford!