NB Muleless

NB Muleless
Moored at Alrewas Sept 2013

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!


We spotted another boat with an unpronounceable name!


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


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


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!


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.


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


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


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


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


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).


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!


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.


We noticed we were being watched from above!DSCF5665

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


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!


Meg and Penny came too!


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.


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)


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.


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!


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!


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.


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


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.


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!


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


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


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.


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!


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


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?


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!)


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!



  1. Brilliant blog Della. I dare not be seen with your two boats (Seyella) with the state of my roof. I think I should cover it with wheelbarrows for now to hide the top. Gawd, the flowers are now gone but you can imagine what was underneath all those blooms plus all the leaves... Don't moan at me if I hog a water tap and don't laugh at me in my willies and full waterproofs with scrubbing brush in hand! I need to keep up with the Jones's.. Or I could cover the roof in wheelbarrows and not bother with a water tap! :)

  2. Hahahah@Willies! I don't have any of them! Boots then!

  3. Thanks for putting the blog on facebook . When you are in Braunston we'd love to meet up with you. Keep us posted on estimated dates! Nicki, Nick & Ewan x

  4. Hi Della, thanks for the info re the hurricane and the link to your relevant blog entry. I think I will take a drive over to calcutt and have a word with them. As for the change of lifestyle, yes we are loving it