Recent Eye Catchers

Crick – Elkington – Crick

 10½ miles, 0  Locks, 0 tunnel transits

So what’s caught the eye in recent weeks?

Cal Guy Jnr has flown back to California (the new school year starts on 15th August).

Just flying over northern Scotland, he had texted from 30,000 feet in the air. No doubt he was looking at a moving map screen, but maybe playing these various board games had helped him recognise the land below.

Before and after his Cleddau training stint there had been aircraft viewed at RAF Midlands Museum at Cosford, with more seen on the ground and in the air on a pre- Air Show Day at IWM Duxford:                     . English Electric Lightning F Mk 1

Vickers Spitfire T Mk 9 

De Haviland DH82A Tiger Moth


Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina

It was at Duxford that a familiar fin flash was spotted……  Note from the Captain: No 360 Squadron was created from the merger of 831 Naval Air Squadron of the Fleet Air Arm (Fairey Gannet ECM.6) and ‘B’ Flight, No. 97 Squadron RAF (English Electric Canberra)     The Captain in Canberra T17a EM of 360 Sqn with the same fin flash.

Not an aircraft, but also seen at Duxford were these medals, awarded to Guy Gibson, second World War hero.

Both at Cosford and at Duxford there were reminders of the Cold War era, of divided Berlin and a section of the Berlin Wall.


Before departure Cal Guy Jnr was deployed on flagpole duties. The thing had to be repaired  – and then tried out. Was it still possible to fly two flags? Which ones should they be? 

Here in the UK the cloak of history is an everyday presence. Regular boaters through Braunston will recognise The Admiral Nelson pub at the third lock up from the bottom.   For anyone vague about said Admiral Nelson think of the Battle of Trafalgar and how the sea battle in 1805 against the Franco-Spanish fleet was won.  Nelson, by then minus one arm and only partially sighted in one eye, led the British fleet to victory.  Before battle action began Nelson famously signalled these words: “England expects that every man will do his duty” to his ships. So there’s a shiver of recognition when every time Cleddau heads east out of Crick Marina this boat is passed.

And in a further connection to that particular piece of history a stroll across the fields to the back of the Chequers Inn   can lead to this discovery,    It’s a plantation, a square of oak trees,    laid out in 2005 to mark the 200 year anniversary since the Battle of Trafalgar. Stand back from the nine oaks   – and spot the centre taller tree, a Nelson Column indeed…

Before escaping Crick Marina for a night last week there was a touch of excitement. “Come out here,” called the Captain. “Bring your camera.”

Boatwif scrambled off the boat. “What? Where?”

“Look BEHIND you,” said the Captain, with some urgency in his voice.

There, piercing the skyline, was an enormously tall crane, a grey structure suspended below it. This was a Water Lodge, being craned out of the water. It had been a floating exhibit at the recent Crick Show.   Within an hour or so it was on the back of a low loader lorry, heading for its new location, in Brighton, apparently…  Marina residents in the know had set up camp under the shade of the trees opposite the service wharf where the action was happening. For those with time to watch it must have made for an interesting few hours…

Out of the marina Cleddau sailed one morning last week, playing a game of chase. Ahead was Oleanna, crewed by Pip, Mick and Boat Cat Tilly. Texts were exchanged to keep the two sets of boaters informed of their respective progress along the canal. Then came this encouraging message: Just plonked ourselves in middle of 2 spaces, happy to nudge up for the right boat.

Onwards Cleddau went, eyes peeled for the familiar craft. Then just after Bridge 27 there she was, in a lovely spot, right beside one of those attractive black and white benches.  A boat was approaching from the opposite direction – did its crew have that same delightful mooring in their sights…? Out leapt Mick from Oleanna’s stern, Pip was swiftly at the bow and with a few tugs of their ropes a bit more space, indeed a good Cleddau-sized space, had been created. Brilliant! 





Conversation, lots of…

What a pleasure it is to natter on and off throughout an afternoon and all through an evening, the chat concluding only when the towpath world was completely black – and items needed to be returned to the boats by torchlight…

There were farewells in the morning (twice)   as Cleddau moved a mile or so further on to wind /turn round so as to head back west to Crick…   Thanks Oleanna  for a delightful mooring and a grand catch up! (Click link to see Tilly’s version of the Oleanna /Cleddau episode.)

Much is being made in the media about the UK’s summer weather. Though the June heatwave is a distant memory perhaps it was the dry February – or the wet March – or the showery July – that has given the grapevines the boost they need.   How many more weeks will they stay suspended, one wonders, before the grapes begin to ripen and fall. Always best to pick them before the local bird population gets blind drunk on fermented fruit and tries to invade the house…(It was only after the fourth incursion by crazed and desperate birds that a solution was found: cap the chimney stack to prevent wobbly birds falling down the flue…)

The Captain is planning a late August boating (ad)venture.  The goal, weather permitting, is another ‘towpath dinner’, glass of wine included, during a return visit to ‘enemy country’.

Watch this space…

2023 totals: 253 miles, 242 locks, 4 swing bridges, 8 tunnels

  •  Do you live aboard?  FAQ now posed 14 times
  • 2023 Monkton Moments*– 8 (Monkton Moment*- a reference to / recognition of Cleddau’s Pembrokeshire connections)

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