Friday, August 31, 2012

Y Front Blog

Why a 'Y-Front' Blog?  Coz i'ts going to be brief!

OK now where were we.....We left Caxton in the capable hands of Bro Russell and his Missus, Tracy. 

It was nice to drive a car again after a few months even though the drive to Macclesfield was in grotty weather!  Had a great time in Macc, caught up with Elaine's relos, went out with her friends and got drunk!

The pic below was taken at the Cat and Fiddle pub on the Pennines, it was bloody freezing.

We left Macclesfield on Tuesday to drive back to the boat, we both wondered how we would feel leaving a house and heading back to the boat; we both agreed it was nice for a change plus it it always good to catch up with family and friends, but home was now the boat and we missed her!
On the way back we stopped to check out Aston Marina in Stone where we are wintering from October for a few... months. It was fantastic ... I think the restaurant/bar and farm shop will send us broke though !

Russ found a fantastic mooring for us to find the boat at Upper Heyford; it was so nice we stayed the next day as well - although the weather must have followed us down from Macclesfield as the weather on Wednesday day time was atrocious !  I did a bit of varnishing inside the boat on Wednesday while Elaine unpacked and sorted out some paperwork - then at the end of the day the sun made an appearance again so we walked up the hill to the Barley Mow pub for a swift pint!

We left Upper Heyford on Thursday morning at first light, which to us was about 10.30 am!  We had a nice little cruise with very few boats on the move.

Haven't seen any of these since we left OZ ...
A small part of the canal is shared with the River Cherwell, at the end of the canal is a strange shaped lock ...

Why is it this shape you ask, well....... don't know, but El looked good on the beam though!
We passed ' NB No Problem'; I waved at Sue but I think she thought I was my brother!  We were soon in the very delightful village/hamlet of Thrupp, we passed the good ship 'Bones' -  I thought of ramming the port side of it to even up the dent on the starboard side!    

We tied up at the water point to fill with water and empty the nasties.  Maffi's boat 'Milly M' was moored opposite, he stuck his head up and we had a quick exchange of pleasantries. We left the mooring under the watchful eye of the Maffster, so I was very careful on the tight turn not to destroy his bridge or ram anything !

We got a very nice spot on the 48 hour mooring, right next to the Boat Inn.
John and Ali came walking past (from NB Triskaideka) so we arranged to meet later at The Jolly Boatman pub, both pubs in Thrupp are dog friendly.

We had a really good night discussing all things boaty and bloggy, especially how important the blog ratings are.... OK, I lied about that bit!  We both agreed it is not a competition, it's just a bit of fun to keep in touch with our thousands of world wide readers.......  :-) 

We were the last to leave the pub at closing time.

We were invited back to their lovely boat for coffee, it was the strangest coffee I have ever tasted, it was red and tasted like wine!  After a couple of mugs it was 1.00am and time to stagger down the towpath, with the borrowed torch, back to our boat.

Elaine was up very early as we were expecting Mr Tesco to make a delivery.  I stayed in bed a bit longer because last night's coffee gave me a bit of a headache!  Mr Tesco arrived on time, once again great service - you really can't get much closer for a delivery!

After the food et al was stashed away we decided to catch the bus into Oxford and do some sightseeing. We were both feeling a bit lethargic, so for the very first time we caught the open top sightseeing bus. 

The dogs enjoyed it for about 15 mins then fell asleep, I think they are getting a bit bored with this sightseeing lark  ...

Alice in wonderland sweet shop 

We even had the excitement of the bus side-swiping a taxi; that's our driver back at the cab sorting out details ...

Loved this pub, this is where CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien went for a swift one after work!

So, in summing up, really enjoyed the trip back to Macc - really, really enjoyed getting back to the boat and cruising again - really, really, really enjoyed Thrupp and going out with the Triskaideka crew and drinking their red coffee!  Really, really, really, really enjoyed our day trip to Oxford.    

So now we are bang up to date, tomorrow we are going to reverse back through Maffi's bridge and head towards...............

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Service Will Be Resumed Shortly

We are off to Macclesfield by car shortly, so if you see Caxton going down the Oxford Canal towards Oxford, it will be Russell and Tracy.

We will be back Tuesday.

Hopefully our 2 readers wont miss us too much, I would hate to slip down the blog ratings.... :-)


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Geoffrey Jumps Ship

Mr 'Get Knotted' delivered the bow rope fenders to us this morning, while we were filling with water opposite The Cape of Good Hope' pub - really excellent service  - he made such a good job of them.  We will just have to buy some saddles and fittings and get them fitted.

This is his workshop next to the pub.

The boys soon assumed the cruise position ...

We did a fair few locks today - most of which we shared with a very small boat 24ft (Bumble).  The lady was nice on NB Bumble but as she was doing it single-handed it did give us a bit more work to do !  

Earlier in the day we shared a lock in Warwick with a couple of lads -  had a bit of a chat and went along our separate ways.  When we stopped for the night at Long Itchington, they caught us up and again slowed down for a chat.  Out of the corner of my eye I suddenly saw Geoffrey (cat) leap from the gunnels (near the bow) of our boat onto the bow of their boat ... it was about a 3 foot gap!  (Even Elaine won't jump that far !!!!)  Geoffrey is over 20 years old!  If I hadn't seen him he would be on his way to the Kennett and Avon canal!  We had no idea how he had gotten out there in the first place - all the windows and door were seemingly closed - we can only think that he must have snuck through out legs (at the stern) while we were chatting !

Pictures below of Geoffrey being handed back to Elaine ...

Well, with all that excitement over we went for a walk down to the village to find a nice pub for dinner - the first two were very nice but a bit, no a big bit exy, so we ended up in The Duck on the Pond pub, it was bit of a dump, plus the food was a bit ordinary (and they got the order wrong), mind you it was cheap! 
Long Itchington Church
Queen Elizabeth 1 stayed here in 1572 and 1575!
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Sam and I had a good night in the pub last night ...first time we have been to a pub without Elaine and Bombo; Elaine stayed on the boat as her feet were hurting and Bombo stayed with her to keep her company!

Back to today, next door to the 'Cape of Good Hope' pub is 'Get Knotted', a chap that specialises in ropework and fenders etc, so we had a chat with him and he is going to make up a couple of rope fenders to run lengthways underneath the cratch cover to offer it some protection when coming into locks etc.  The poor old cratch cover is beginning to look a bit worse for wear !

As Elaine's feet were still hurting we caught the bus into town, dogs allowed of course!

Of course the main reason to head into town was to send off for our new Aussie passports and sort out UK drivers licences.  I have a full licence in Australia, as in I can drive any truck apart from a road train but the UK doesnt recognise the Aussie truck license ... the word must have reached here that Aussies are such crap drivers! They will transfer EEU licenses no problems, so looks like I wont be driving a truck in the UK.  Ah well :)

We had a quick walk around Warwick in between a few heavy showers, it was also a lot cooler today.

Impessive Warwick Castle - we couldn't get too close as we had the dogs with us ...

We walked down Mill Lane ...

And took another pic of the castle, from afar ...

Very nice garden at the bottom of Mill Lane ...

Back up towards the town centre passing one of the entrances to the castle ...

There was a nice church in the market square.  As you can see the sun had now come out so we had afternoon tea in the square.  They had a special on - so we had a pot of tea and cake for 99p!  Bloody bargain!  Whilst we were sitting there Elaine spied a shoe shop next door and popped in ...... 30 mins later it was back for my wallet and she later came back with 2 new pairs of shoes (actually one pair of sandals and one pair of new wellies - Elaine :))

To put the new shoes to the test we walked back to the boat, it was only about 30 mins away! 

We passed this old gaol door tucked away in an alley ...

The picture below is for our friend Sue in Sydney ... the English allotment, next to the railway of course!

We dropped the shoes etc. back on the boat and had a cuppa while Elaine researched what a Sloe berry looked like (we had found a bush in the morning that we thought were sloes) - turns out they were more likely wild damsons but not yet ripe, so no picking to do yet !!  Shame - so we all had to go to the 'Cape of Good Hope' pub instead!   I forgot the camera, but we will take a pic on the way past tomorrow. We both really liked this pub, no airs and graces, just a good old pub with very friendly staff and locals and dog-friendly of course!

We had a good chat with an Aussie who comes over every year for the English summer, to travel around on his narrowboat.  When he is back in Perth he heads off bush with his camper trailer, not a bad life!

We will head of tomorrow, not sure where to yet.  Brother Russ and Tracy are having the boat over the long weekend - we are having their car and heading of to Macclesfield, we are really looking forward to it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hatton Flight

I would like to start like a lot of the other boatie blogs as in "up at 6.00am and boating by 7.00am" etc.  However, after now living aboard for nearly 5 months, we have to admit its a lost cause! It just ain't going to happen!

So ...  we were up just before 10.00am and were moving by 11.00am! Mind you, we didn't go to bed till 1.00am, which seems to be the norm for us; we like just chillin' in the boat, having a drink and listening to music, occasionally watching a bit of TV ... I must say, I thought Aussie TV was crap but UK TV is even worse!

It was a warm overcast day, so was just perfect for attacking the 21 locks of the Hatton flight.

First we went through the Shrewley Tunnel - the towpath is a separate tunnel, I would imagine its a wee bit dark in there.


We were motoring along on our own so we were a bit worried we would 'Nigel-No-Friend's going down the locks, but no, a boat was waiting at the top for a partner, woohoo!

An added bonus is that they were a couple of young' uns - the chap was like superman on speed and was running  and down setting up the next lock and then back to open the gates!

Lots of water spilling over the gates ...

We thank the crew of NB Alberta for a very efficient passage plus a good chat!

When we got to the bottom there were a lot of police cars and vans, plus lots of policeman; they have been searching the canal for a missing chap.
They even helped with the opening of the gates!

The divers were heading into the lock after we left to search it ...

Poor bugger has been missing for 3 weeks, lets hope that they find him.

We emptied the cassetes at the Saltisford Elsan and decided that we would call it quits for the day. Poor old Elaine was buggered, she is even threatening to learn to drive the boat!

Very shortly Sam and I are off down the Cape of Good Hope pub; El is staying on the boat soaking her feet in witchcraft potion (she damaged a tendon in her foot a few months before we left Aus and these long days stir it up again !) 

Tomorrow we have to get into Warwick to find a post office, so will check it all out in the process !
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