Thursday, 30 May 2013

You know it makes sense

The river has come up another 20 cm overnight and so we will be enjoying the delights of Thrapston for a while longer. 3 of us on the mooring now. We were joined by a boat with no name this morning. Going upstream he'd tried the bridge but the headroom is now 1.6m. We are so pleased we made it through yesterday. Fortunately, we are good at sitting things out - as long as we stay safe and thanks for the good wishes of other boaters. In the words of Chris from NB Tempus Fugit #nicetobenice. Chris might also ponder as to what Jimmy Buffett might say and for those who don't know the answer is 'pour me something tall and strong'.

And it is true, the countryside beyond the river is full of lakes and flashes and beauty and wildlife. Here's a taste of some non-river delights.

Believe me I could go on and on. A river not to be rushed.  

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Hell's Bells!!!

The day started watching  a wide beam in some difficulty in rising water. No doubt he's done this many times before but not today. Roof down and off he went.

We were on the move as well, two hours to moorings just past Islip.  I did the walking of LJ and Alistair checked the roof levels. He would have anyway!!!

As with every day so far, there was some stunning scenery

We had lock buddies up to Islip where they stopped for lunch and we only took on water. 

We were OK on this bridge

But we knew the lowest was ahead. 2.4 in the book but we'd  heard it was lower. This morning we were told by a boat that had been under as they set off that they were 2m and had 'just' made it. We hadn't heard that it was 1.8!!  Hell's Bell's!!!!

The stream was running too fast for Alistair to reverse so we had 'a moment'.  Hopefully no-one was tweeting it.  Slight damage to one top box that got dragged sideways where the bridge just caught the handle on the lid of the BBQ - jutting up under the cover just that 1cm too high! Easily repaired.

Everything behind that was fine. Good to know.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Quiet Tuesday - is lethargy contagious?

With most of the country having gone back to work and those of us not to have to do that  either looking out at the damp or out in it I thought, let's not get despondent. We are just stuck with this weather. A bit of hope that we might get a summer - eventually!

At the very least, there's lots of colour around.

and deep in here is the tiniest duckling that, fortunately, I just avoided standing on yesterday

Today though, it's back to dodging the rain and not doing very much. YES the fire is back on. The Tweet tells me that QISMA isn't alone with that!

Glad to read that Fiona from NB Epiphany is out of the clutches,of the NHS and back on board with the delights,of the G&S ahead. One of said delights is that all swing bridges are closed from 2000-0800 so the evenings and nights are really peaceful. Reminded of this as the Bank Holiday weekend has, as always, raised the level of comments about #boatsthatdon'tslowdown

Had such a laugh yesterday with Tweets about biscuits and floating garden sheds. Thanks to those involved - you know who you are! I know Tweeting isn't for everyone and I'm new to it myself but it can be so amusing and random, must NOT forget random.

Monday, 27 May 2013

When is a blog not a blog

I feel just a bit guilty for not actually writing anything in the blog yesterday. In my defence all I can say is the sun it to me. Not in a sun stoke kind of way but I a 'when did we last see it and I'd better make the most of it' kind of way. A fabulous long walk with LJ before it got too hot, then masses of swimming for him - his absolute favourite thing. Early evening we roasted a chicken on the barbie and it was scrummy. By the time it came to write the log, well...... whatever you were up to I hope your day worked out well or at the very least had a high spot or two.   We saw a bit more traffic, three narrowboats, a cruiser and three canoes. Bank holiday on the Nene.

I also spotted a hot air balloon on a mi-evening 'extra' walk with LJ. Thank goodness he didn't spot it as he just hates them. Usually he can sense them almost before we see them. Bristol wasn't his favourite spot!  This one wasn't heading our way and I just managed to catch it. So to speak.

With the wind picking up and a storm forecast for overnight, Alistair has increased our defences, chain now down as well as the anchor. We're going to sit it out here. Then we will have to make the decision - move on or break into the 'only to be drunk on special occasions wine'. It's going to be a tough one to call.

Friday, 24 May 2013

LJ turns down a walk - shock but not horror

What is there to say on a day so windswept and miserable that when I took him out, wrapped up from head to toe in foul weather kit, LJ turned for home after 200 yards? In his 7 years this is the first time this has ever happened.

So we are sitting in splendid isolation, warm and cosy and grateful, as always, we don't have to be anywhere anytime soon.

We are on a 48 hour mooring, but an EA chap came by earlier and encouraged us to stay put until the weather improves. Happy to do that if we have to.  So pleased we made the effort to move on late yesterday.

For those, like us, who haven't been on the Nene before, I hope a photo of the distinctive locks will be of interest.

It looks a bit daunting but actually isn't AND almost all are electric, always a bonus.

I hope most, if not all of you, have been able to stay dry and warm. 

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Early start, late finish, what's happening

I guess these guys are used to being up and about at early doors. We are just late starters but, the forecast for this afternoon was poor and we knew we had to stop in Wellingborough so we were on the move by 0830.

The Wellingborough outing was necessary to get a prescription. Often all the meds aren't in stock. Always there the next day but, we were hoping not to have this view overnight, or the noise that went with it.

We were lucky in that although Tesco didn't have them at the first sitting, they were able to have them by 1600. With the forecast for tomorrow even worse, we really wanted to move so we dodged a couple of showers and arrived happily to this view, with room for 10 boats, at least, all to ourselves. 

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Chickens Count Hatch Before Your Don't They

As they say, rearrange the above into a well known phrase or saying. Safely through Weston Favell Lock and off towards Billings intending to call in for spare EA key, book QISMA in for week or so in August whilst we are off to family wedding, have a look in the Chandlery and  top up with water whilst we were there - on basis it would seem rude not to.

The above plan required us to pass through Clifford Hill Lock. Not to be. This is where my chicken counting came home to roost. The EA key bought at Alvechurch at the weekend didn't work. Not to worry, just a short walk to Billings where I discovered that they don't sell EA keys, that they Chandlery closed about 4 years ago and the woman I spoke to was so disinterested that there was no way that we'd be going in there with QISMA.

Walking back to QISMA, I cheered myself up with conversation re key with marina where purchased.

Meanwhile back at the, lock, Alistair had phoned the EA. Told that no-one could help us as they 'were all in a meeting'. Fortunately, by now NB Sweet William had arrived. They had the number,of the river inspector and he promised he'd be with us in 15 minutes, bearing replacement key. Sweet William even offered to swop their spare key with us and to exchange it when they got to Northampton. Now how nice was that? Not needed though as the exceptionally helpful Andy Hall arrived promptly. He explained that a bad batch of keys had been cut and he'd replaced the stock at the marina today. He exchanged ours, apologised and got a booking from us for Northampton Marina in August.  All in all a satisfactory ending.  Most.

I don't think I have ever written a blog so long on words and so short on photos. So ....   Some shots of the beautiful Nene and surrounding countryside ...

and tonight's mooring

Monday, 20 May 2013

On the Nene

Passing the reed beds 
Glad we didn't meet any boats

Moored in Northampton at Morrison's 

I do like single flights

Today started with a quick walk for LJ and caught a shot of NB No Problem on the move to the main branch of the GU.

Next we had a delivery, our new light weight aluminium wide gangplank. With huge thanks to Canal Shop online for driving it over from Hill Morton. That is what we call EXCELLENT service. We'll need it on the Nene.

As if that wasn't enough excitement it was straight down to NB Matilda Rose where Jill gave us coffee and Graham gave Alistair a Masterclass on Nene/Middle Levels/Great Ouse. I always think the Middle Levels sounds very Tolkenish. Maps marked up and it was very much appreciated.

As if that wasn't enough, Graham then came down and helped us with the start of the Flight, We haven't seen a skinny lock since last July

All the locks were set against us but we quickly got into a rhythm and pretty much shot down. It seems as if a rest is called for at Lock 10 but we pressed on travelling under the M1.

We finally crossed a boat coming up, thankfully not on the section made  narrow by weeds as we moved down the last stretch. And by 1550 we were on the River Nene and moored in Northampton. 17 locks, 4 miles, 3 hours. A good day's boating

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Missing Dogs

We had planned to stay put on this rather lovely mooring

But it was one of those days when we just thought let's go. We were partly prompted to move knowing that NB NO PROBLEM  and NB MATILDA ROSE were moored at the top of the Northampton flight. Having followed them for so long on their respective Wash/Fen/Neane adventures we really wanted to say hello. We're now moored fairly near. What do you call three boats that blog, not quite lined up together but with no-one in between?

LJ had a fantastic off tow path walk yesterday

and the views today weren't bad either

Before we left we read that NO PROBLEM had moved off today without realising that they were missing a dog. Fortunately all was well. We stopped at the junction to take water etc. LJ was definitely on board when the bow left the jetty but .... by the time the bow was moving he'd managed to get off the stern,without us noticing! 

Fortunately we didn't get far!!  

Thursday, 16 May 2013

The weather was grand until Mr Stigers arrived

I'm assuming Curtis Stigers has arrived in Milton Keynes. Rain has followed him round the country on his current tour so why should today be any different? I don't care. My tickets are in my bag and I'll be on my way in an hour or so.

This is a bit different and went slowly past an hour or so ago

This morning we saw hotel boat Wessex Rose built by 'our' builders (Milburns) but not quick enough to get a snap - sorry Andy!

LJ has had lovely off lead walks whilst we've been in MK. This just yards from our current mooring

And speaking of moorings. These are run by The Parks Trust - what a lovely spot

On the way back I met the crew from NB Corniche. Sorry I didn't get their names. They'd seen us at Swan's Neck on the Avon last year and in Pershore when we were with Goldengirl.  They were probably glaring at us as the went past at Swan's Neck as it's a mooring made for one. Nice to meet someone who dips into the blog and a Yorkshire man from my home town!

How many seasons in one day?

With LJ's haircut arranged for 1500 we had no choice but to move on this morning. Luck was with us  and we only had rain for the last half a mile. Now moored, happily, outside The Black Horse and within sight of the groomer!s - the blue door onmthemleftmof the photo. I am NOT setting myself the challenge of finding one more conveniently located.

We also have the bonus of The Black Horse on our right. A 5* Dog Friendly pub and one not included on the Doggie Pubs website #alwaysbesttocheck.   

It's always strange to be on QISMA without LJ and he's always just a tad overexcited when he get's back. Fortunately, we got the Spring section of the day in the evening and out we went. 

Haircut to pond - all of 20 minutes

I had hoped we'd come across some amazing bluebells. I've loved the photos I've seen on blogs and tweets but not to be. We did find a walkway of wild garlic. Just coming into flower.