An excerpt from Wind in the Willows

Nice? It's the ONLY thing, said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING - absolute nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing, he went on dreamily: messing - about - in - boats; messing----'
From 'Wind in the Willows' by Kenneth Grahame.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

And yet more visitors!

Clover (with Fazeley just visible)
fully loaded at the IWA
festival at Watford
It's getting very busy here in Stoke Bruerne!

I walked outside yesterday morning to be 'accosted' by Sue on Cleddau - we had a very pleasant chat as they went into the top lock.  Hope to see you on the way back.

I then saw the unmistakeable shape of Sculptor returning from the festival at Linslade sharing with Galatea so had a nice chat with Ollie Brown and Denise as they made their way north.

Later in the afternoon my friends Mick and Suzanne (and Holly the spaniel) on Aqua Vitae and Rod and Val on Hazell Nut moored in the long pound and came to see me - perhaps more to see how the house was - Rodney has been so helpful with my move here.  In the evening we had a lovely meal at the Navigation.

Today I am taking Suzanne and Val to Tesco in Towcester whilst Mick and Rodney kindly put my bathroom cabinet up.

I am not sure I am ever going to find the time to sort the house out completely whilst I am distracted by the goings on outside my front door!

I did notice when my four friends were with me in the house yesterday that the boys suddenly disappeared to talk to a chap on a Norton Canes boat which was passing!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

A visit and a view from my front door

Raymond and Nutfield singling
out at Stoke Bruerne top lock
I had a very enjoyable visit last night from the team (Trevor, John and Ray) on the Narrowboat Trust pair Brighton and Nuneaton who were able to moor on Sculptor's mooring as Sculptor was away at Linslade.  We had a very enjoyable evening in the Boat Inn whilst the summer storms hammered down outside.  I saw them off through Stoke Bruerne top lock at about 08:00 this morning.  In the meantime they have passed my friends Mick and Suzanne (Aqua Vitae) and Rod and Val (Hazell Nut) so I'll have more visitors tomorrow unless they decide to slip through under cover of darkness!

The picture is of Raymond and Nutfield (again) taken from my front doorstep this evening!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Stoke Bruerne Boat Weighing Machine

The Boat Weighing machine that has stood in the disused duplicate top lock at Stoke Bruerne for 50 years was removed last week to go back to the place of its manufacture and become part of the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea collection. 

The former station boat May, which resides in the lock will be moved further down the flight and the lock refurbished to enable visitors to see how a lock works.

All information is on the CRT website here.

Friday, 19 July 2013

IWA Festival

I decided to have a break from the house and attend the IWA Festival at Watford so on Monday (very early) I left Stoke Bruerne (in the car) and headed to the boat at Addlestone.  The traffic was appalling - tail backs started almost immediately!

Met my friends John and Anne at Addlestone and we headed off to the Thames and had a very leisurely trip to Kingston. Tuesday and it was off down the tidal part of the Thames to Brentford (for the second time just arrived at Teddington and straight into the lock).  An uneventful trip to Brentford and then we attacked the Hanwell flight.  The plan had been to breast up with John and Anne on Angonamo and try and make Hanwell easier.  As luck would have it I just happened to check my battery charging and after three hours it was 45 amps - not good.  Shortly afterwards I smelt the classic 'rotten eggs' overcooking battery smell so the engine and batteries were switched off and John's Angonamo did sterling work in getting us to Bulls Bridge.  On inspection one battery was too hot to touch so I called River Canal Rescue - typical that they don't cover the domestic side of things but they did call and engineer for me,  Ralph came and replaced all four batteries the following day - the hot battery from the previous day was still too hot to handle!

An uneventful (apart from the heat) trip to Black Jack's Lock for an overnight mooring (having left Bulls Bridge around 13:00) and then on to the festival site to moor with Byfleet Boat Club and relax. The batteries are working well.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

It's taking longer than planned to settle in


The Morris teams at the top lock
But that is because there are so many distractions!

On Sunday a number of Morris teams (is that the correct collective noun?) or is it 'sides' arrived at set up on the far side of the top lock.  It was sorchingly hot but they all danced for a couple of hours in rotation and then marched into the pub (the Boat Inn) in strict line to the very loud beating of a bass drum.  I am not sure that Morris dancing is my 'thing' but I did enjoy seeing a traditional English pastime being enjoyed by so many and some of the team's turnout was a credit to them.

Nutfield and Raymond being breasted
 up prior to the Stoke Bruerne 7
Then in the evening Raymond and Nutfield moored (temporarily) right outside my front door as they waited to lock through the Stoke Bruerne top lock.

I didn't get anything done in the house that day I am afraid.

In the evening a had a chat with a delightful couple (Katherine and Tony) who were renting No4.  I talked to Katherine about curtain poles and she suggested talking to the blacksmith at the tunnel mouth. I walked down to see him and he would be very happy to make curtain poles to fit in with the style of the house - great and it puts money into the local economy and not into some amorphous corporate!

Friday, 5 July 2013

The reason I moved to Stoke Bruerne

Well one of them anyway.  The view this evening from my front door is just wonderful.  On the left you can just see the back of Bideford, (Towcester's butty), then there's the butty Moon then Lamprey, Kestrel and Sculptor (the Canal Museum's boat) and a hire boat making a valiant (and successful) effort to squeeze through the only available space.
Without the hire boat 

It could almost be a picture from years gone by!