Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Brick Home.

Day 4 in the Big Bother house.

That was a frantic few days.
Our trepidation as we neared the house on Saturday, turned into abject despair as we opened the front door.

Our son and his friend have been the victim of a serious allergy for the past year.

This takes the form of Hooveritis, Polishandclothitis and combined with the dreaded Whatsthemowerfor, they were in a terrible state........ as was the poor old house!

A years worth of dust and muck has taken us three days to clear, and when it eventually stops raining, I will be able to release the wandering tribe of Pygmies who are lost in the jungle that used to be our lawn.

This really highlights the problem with housework, you do it all, and a year later you have to do all over again.

Crunchie, who seems to be quite a clever animal, has made her mark in the house already.
The other two cats - who have the combined intellect of a frozen pea - are letting her take over.

I am going to put some of the highlights of our last years cruise on here as soon as I dig the pictures out. That should be interesting.

Wish we were there.

Until next time...........................


Sunday, 28 March 2010


Space...Lots of space.

A three hour motorway journey and meeting our other two cats didn't seem to bother Crunchie in the slightest.

I, on the other hand did not like that at all. Far too fast. Three miles an hour to seventy is a big jump.
It is good to catch up with our friends though and find out what has been going on over the last year or so.
There is so much room here as well as electricity and water, we don't know what to do with it all!!

We have given ourselves a target of a month to get everything sorted out and get back to Ubique,....... which should be plenty of time.

Until next time.............................


Friday, 26 March 2010

Boats To The Right Of Us,
Boats To The Left Of Us,
Boats To The Front Of Us.

Not really into the valley of death, just a Marina!!

This is strange, very, very strange.

We are now all tucked up in a Marina waiting to be collected in the morning and taken back to the brick house.

Neither of us is a very happy bunny just now, D is absolutely full of tears and I am acting like a bear with a sore head.

These boat parks are quite something though.

They are packed to the gunwales with boats, all no more than a couple of feet from each other, this is just static camping on water in here.

An advantage to be had though, is that electricity is delivered to your door via a little orange lead and there is a water point right on the bow... Now that is a luxury.

We will be back.

Until next time............................


Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Crick And Onwards.

This is it then!

Crick turned out to be one of the worst reception areas for phone and Broadband that we have come across in our travels so far, hence the gap in Blogging.

Maybe the church had had enough of it as well and showed its disgust by flying the flag upside down!!!

As a point of interest this way of flying the flag on land is considered an insult to the crown and is still punishable as an act of treason. Ooooo.....

Still, they don't mess about with their signage here either.

Spring is still springing.

A little black lamb tucked in there, getting ready to be "That Sheep".

Another trip through the Watford staircase,

Then onwards to and through Braunston.

We are now in the process of taking Ubique to a mooring as we have now got to go back to the brick home.

Despite all the efforts of our friends, the problem that we have has not been resolved and we will have to go back...... Not so good!!!


Until next time..................................



Saturday, 20 March 2010

Winwick To Welford Then Back To Crick. 2 Locks. 2 Days.

A night on the border.

Yesterday found us wandering aimlessly along the canal and really enjoying the trip.

There are so many Pheasants around here you could almost wish for a Twelve Bore to get them on the plate!

Yet another completely redundant telegraph pole left all alone in the middle of nowhere.


Mr Titchmarsh can sometimes have a lot to answer for. His encouragement of using the colour blue in the garden doesn't always turn out for the best.

Sore thumb and blot on the landscape could adequately describe this venture into the TV garden makeover genre.

Now here's a tree to give all the little ones nightmares, the more you study that picture the worse it gets.

A few hours along the canal and we reached the turn onto the Welford arm. One and a half miles long with one lock near the end. We just had to go there to see what it was like, no other reason was needed really.

It was very rural and quite similar to one of our favourite places on the broads, Neatishead.

If you can call a lock "cute" then this is a cute lock. A great location and a bridge to boot.

Only a rise of three foot six making for a very laid back locking procedure.

At the end of this lovely stretch though, we reached our Nadir.

Once we had turned around (Winded) the realisation that this was as far out as we are going to be going for now suddenly struck home. This is now the start of our journey back to the brick house.


We spent the night on the Northhamptonshire/Leicestershire border, getting moored up just before the rains started. Those rains really matched our mood last night.

It was still raining this morning,

but I have great faith in the saying "Rain before seven, fine before eleven"

Lo and behold at eleven fifteen we were on our way, albeit through the wind but no rain.

Back to the Daffs, these four caught my eye on the towpath as we were passing. They are so small I just had to pull in and get a picture. That is an AA battery I put there to give some idea of the scale.
They are certainly putting their bigger brothers and sisters to shame at the moment.

We just got to Crick and moored before the heavens opened up once more. Lucky!!!

Until next time...........................


Thursday, 18 March 2010

Norton Junction To Winwick. 3 locks, 1 Staircase And Another Tunnel.

Breaking new ground today!

Yesterday evening was a proper picture. A lovely end to another painting day.

Here we are then, and these ones are wild.
The lack of Daffodils at the moment is making the early evening news around here. Get to Norton Junction and you can see at least two.

A tankful of water this morning, then it was off onto the Leicester section of the Grand Union. It was not long before Watford Gap was reached.

The M1 noise experience was amplified by the addition of the high speed rail link.
The locks here seem to be from another world let alone a bygone age.

The Watford staircase.
The lock keeper appeared and said "are you ok with doing this?"
Yes says D.
Then he cleared off!
This is unlike any staircase we have done so far as there are pounds off to the side of every lock. Each lock must be filled from the adjacent pound via the red paddles and the lock above must be drained back into the pound via the white paddles.
A little rhyme to help is:
Red before white, everything alright.
White before red you will wish you were dead. (Of embarrassment)

Climbing up,

These locks do look a long way up in between each one.

The Crick Tunnel was next on the agenda. Wet in there, very wet.
Not a patch on the Blisworth for wetness though but still enough to leave mineral stains all over the new paintwork.

There is always light at the end of the tunnel...........thankfully.

Look................ another one.

Crunchie update:

She can swim!!
A soggy soggy very embarrassed cat is licking herself dry in front of the fire at the moment.
Lets hope that is her lesson learnt.

Until next time.............................


Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Norton Junction.

At last!!!

We are classing today as the official first day of spring.

The sun was out, the wind had dropped and we could actually have the doors open for most of the day.
Although we are moored in what is nothing more than a BW working boatyard it has been great.
Lots of painting and polishing going on, we will soon have the winter ravages sorted out if this keeps up.

Tesco duly delivered our order quite early but then it was a hard decision not to get straight back out there chugging along in the sunshine.
We did need to make a start on these jobs though!....Sensible......Sensible...just keep saying its the sensible thing to do.

Lunch in the cratch (front of the boat) today accompanied by a very well behaved Crunchie, that is until two swans came visiting for their food.

Honestly, I shouldn't laugh, but you have never seen anything as funny as these two creatures meeting each other. Swans hiss and flap, Cats hiss and flap, then they both scarper as fast as they can.
Not too much time elapses though before the swans are back and the cat has turned her back to them as if they don't exist.

Until next time................................................


Monday, 15 March 2010

Braunston To Norton Junction. 6 Locks and 1 Tunnel.

Throbbing Diesel, Turning screw....we are on the move again!

Heading from the organised chaos that is Braunston,

We were soon through the first of the six locks for today.

Bright, breezy but beautiful.

Still lots and lots of water through here, getting the top gates open when it is like this can be a bit of a problem........Well........for one of us anyway.

The works at the tunnel mouth are far from over though, they are putting in drainage along the towpath here. This was a quagmire before so this should make a lot of difference when its finished.

The entrance to the tunnel still has a long way to go before it is back to normal.

I think you could just squeeze a Wide Beamer through here at the moment, if you were brave, very brave.

I love the High Tec signage at the other end.

Well.............we are at Norton Junction and we now have something called Broadband, this is a strange phenomenon that seems to make the Internet work properly.
Using this new found technology we have ordered supplies and victuals from a certain Tesco's who have promised faithfully to deliver same in a horseless carriage by the morn.

One day Thomas, one day!

Until next time......................................


Sunday, 14 March 2010


A decision made.

Getting very fed up with hanging around now, this is not why we are out here at all.

Therefore, instead of just waiting around for the sword of Damocles to fall we are going to be dodging around a bit. If it all goes pear shaped, then so be it.

A very fair amount of boats moving around now. It seems that even though we spoke to the "BW Horse" the other day, they have actually opened the Buckby Locks at ten thirty yesterday morning........... Left hand, Right hand who knows?

The boat approaching above is a hire boat from the fleet that we like to call the "Yellow Perils". They are actually from the Viking afloat hire firm, but we will stick with our name, it seems more fitting!

Lots of water here at the moment, so much so it is running over the gates.

Crunchie doing what Crunchie does best, apart from eating, that is.
She is coming along nicely as we are introducing her to the outside world very gradually.
Our aim is to get her sat in a basket on the roof at the stern where she can watch the world go slowly by with us during the day.

Until next time............................


Friday, 12 March 2010


A picture of something that seems to be a bit rare at the moment.

Daffodils..............I know they are in a pot and that is cheating, but they are the first ones we have seen this season.

The expected flood of boats through here has not yet occurred as the Buckby Locks are still closed and will reopen on Monday. This is straight from the horses mouth, ie: the staff of the BW office here.
This office is open from Ten till Four............ but only on Fridays...Nice!

An unusual planter here, a recycled washing machine drum. Good drainage though.

A carpet of Snowdrops with a few Crocuses growing near the Gongoozlers Floating Cafe.

A "Gongoozler" being somebody who takes an active interest in watching the goings on of a canal, but not participating.
I couldn't believe that that word is actually in the dictionary.

As you can tell we have been wandering around, this led us up to the top of the Braunston locks to see the finished work at the tunnel mouth.
Unfortunately the towpath was closed above the top lock so we couldn't get there anyway, it was then the rains started so we have retreated, rather damply, back aboard Ubique and to the comfort of our fire.

I have two more people to add to my Blogroll, they are: Heth on Takey Tezey and Nb Zulu Warrior, just click on the links to visit their sites....... Its all good!

Until next time.......................................


Thursday, 11 March 2010


Lots of shiny brasswork again.........much better!

It now seems that the tunnel has been open for a day already. Not too many people seem to know that, judging by the boats waiting here.

The line continues around the corner and away.

Another icing up of the canal this morning, but after the first boat came through it was all gone once more. This pattern should be coming to an end soon, fingers crossed, touch wood and all that.

The late afternoon/early evening sun is very welcome but that sky has a certain look about it.

The Swan was winning this race easily.

We have recently braved the bus into Daventry again for supplies, and yet again we met people off the canal........... Busy old place this!

Until next time.......................



Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Back To Braunston!!!!!

Here we are again to watch the chaos.

Braunston has the look of a waiting room about it today, there are boats everywhere.
This is all because the Braunston Tunnel will be reopening on Friday and nearly everyone on this side will be wanting to get to the other side.
Strangely exactly the same thing will be happening at the other end of the tunnel.

We have been very lucky to get a mooring here, when we arrived and saw how busy it was I thought we had left it just that little bit too late and we would have to be going away again.
Unbelievably though, we are back on the single mooring near the flying lorries bridge only this time facing the other way.

Ice free for two mornings on the trot now...............Heatwave!!!

Polishing the winter off of Ubique tomorrow, weather permitting that is.

Until next time.........................


Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Napton Narrowboats To The Country Side.

An hour long trip to get a paper.

Yesterday started with the usual icing in but this time it was half past seven when the first clown came smashing through.
It was a hire boat though, so you do have to forgive them as it is their holiday after all.

We then had a trip up to the bottom of Napton locks just to get a paper. There is little else we can do at the moment as we are waiting on important news from friends and family back home. We cannot set off anywhere else just yet.
That brown lump in the picture above is actually a Deer, we have been out a year and this is the first one we have seen. All those woods and country side we have passed through and where do we find one? ........In the middle of a field.

Once we were going back the effect of the freezing wind really did bite at us, back to looking like Eskimos again. The sweeping landscapes made up for it though.

A mixture of Ponies and Shetlands with acres of room to roam in

This is a very bad picture of the art of Hedge laying.

What looks to be just a heap of wood laying over has been cut through nearly all the way, then bent over and weaved into the next clump which has had the same treatment. This will then all grow into a hedge even though it is nearly severed from the ground.

Chainsawing and odd jobs for today but no movement, maybe tomorrow!

Until next time..........................