Monthly Archive: August 2010

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Flags, flowers and a flotilla

Sunday, 22nd August: Cogenhoe Lock to Northampton: 6  miles, 6 locks         Picture if you can those scenes of a great ship’s homecoming, passing the Isle of Wight maybe, the ship shepherded by tiny craft towards her berth – now hold that scene in your mind until the next paragraph. Despite no need for an early start (since there was to be only a short distance today) the Captain could not resist setting off towards the blue sky, blue water and warm...

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Breakages and brokerage …

Saturday 21st August: Irthlingborough to Cogenhoe Lock: 13 miles, 10 locks         Apart from the slight leak from the waste water pipe under the bathroom washbasin (a broken seal) and a broken tree, thankfully the breakages have not been ours. Last night, at the lock behind us, I fell into conversation with a pair on a boat they were moving from Leighton Buzzard (Southern Grand Union) to Norfolk, onto Brandon Creek, off the Great Ouse. Shortly into the trip they...

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“Just the Diamonds now.”

Friday, 20th August: Moored at Irthlingborough (rope-hauled boat 80 yards to and from water-point)       As planned and as promised the gasman came to call… chatted, serviced the boiler and left, all in less than two hours.  I had slid off the boat when I heard he was on his way lest I be subjected to another gasman confessional… Two months ago, after much badgering of our gas servicing supplier, the three times cancelled servicing of our domestic boiler...

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Down to earth at Irthlingborough

Thursday 19th August: Denford to Irthlingborough: 7 miles, 4 locks  .     It would not normally be a choice of mine to cosy up with a team of footballers, but here we are at Irthlingborough moored right behind Rushden and Diamonds Football Stadium, on a long bankside mooring, obvious to any stray gasman who should chance to drive into the car park tomorrow…       This afternoon we walked from the moored boat up into the town. The footpath took us out to the...

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A great day for paddling

Wednesday, 18th August: Oundle Marina to Denford, Northamptonshire: 9.9 miles, 6 locks         Last night’s blog was dispatched under cover of darkness, but with slightly less drama than on the previous evening. Ken sat at one of the Oundle Cruising Club’s picnic tables, patiently waiting to catch space on a very busy network while I shuffled to and from the boat replenishing his coffee mug.       As we pulled away from the bank this morning I glanced down and...

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Flower baskets and mellow stone

Tuesday, 17th August: Fotheringhay to Oundle: 7.5 miles, 4 locks       You might be surprised to see Fotheringhay Bridge appearing again: well, last night it fulfilled an unexpected role. In days of yore (that is about sixteen years ago when first we had this boat) communication with the world beyond canals and rivers was via the one “brick” or mobile phone we had; it used analogue technology and had a relatively short range. Now we cruise with two mobile phones,...

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Flypasts – and flow fast

Monday 16th August: Ferry Meadows, Peterborough to Fotheringhay, 15.75 miles, 6 locks       We sat on the front deck last night as the sun was setting, much relieved at the eventual departure of a little cruiser which had repeatedly done over laden and raucous music-blasting trips around the lake. Still a kite was being flown above the meadows and the sky and water warmed to glorious golden and pink colours. A mother duck supervised her brood from the neighbouring...

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A day in three parts

Sunday 15th August: Peterborough to Ferry Meadows, 3.5 miles, 1 lock       Our Captain’s preference on Cleddau cruises has always been for Boating Days or for Visiting Days, never the two coinciding. But a resolution has been made to allow for greater flexibility on our return route, hence our day in three parts…   Part 1: Morning: Domestic: a trip upstream to the large supermarket by the river, shopping, some tidying and carpet sweeping, watering, disposing of rubbish, attention to...

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A periscope, please

Saturday,14th August: Upwell (Middle Level) to Peterborough, 22.9 miles, 3 locks       As you enter the Middle Level at either end notices instruct you to book passage 24 hours ahead for your exit point.  This is probably a means of balancing water levels.  We were asked to sign ourselves out at Stanground (Peterborough) today, but as the lock keeper sagely said “it’s not that they are worried about boaters being lost forever in the reeds it’s more concern about...

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Straight lines and sou’westers

Friday 13th August: Ely to Upwell, 23 miles, 2 locks       “Be quick, we’re losing the tide,” said the lock-keeper at Denver Sluice. So we surged forward, down the tidal stretch, avoided the oh so slowly departing boat coming from Salter’s Lode Lock, turned left – and a minute or two later another memorable phrase: “That’s the best one we’ve seen all week.” There is a feeling of relief and success when tidal waters and tight lock turns have been...