Saturday 6th August
We usually have a very clear idea of where we are intending to go on our summer trips, although it is not unusual to find ourselves turning in the opposite direction to 'homeward', when we ought to be getting back. However, this time we aren't sure at all. The reason is the continuing drought. Two of the three routes to the Midlands are suffering water shortages, and locks are being restricted, so we are going to set off, and see where we get to.
|Night time trip boat|
We had needed to sort a few things out, so stayed at home for two weeks after the end of term. Although we got away on Sickle to the Linslade canal festival for a couple of nights last weekend we knew that if we wanted to get away then we had to just pack up and get gone. We rushed around packing things and finally turned up on Chalice at about 9 pm. We threw bags into lockers and cupboards, not really packing things away, just so that we didn't trip over things, and put some pizzas in the oven. At about 11 pm we heard loud 1980's music, and had one of the local trip boats come past the mooring with a party of revellers - although they looked pretty tired by the time that they came by us.
Off to bed, although Alan woke early, and drove back home to pick up the things that we had forgotten - like a plank (if there is a water shortage, we might find ourselves some distance from the bank).
Sunday 7th August
|Passing the Narrow Boat Trust's "Nuneaton" and "Brighton"|
Set off early, the day bright, but windy, and were caught up with by another boat when we got to the first lock. We travelled through several locks with them, until we got to the outskirts of Leighton Buzzard. Unusually it was a busy day for the southern Grand Union, with many more boats moving about than usual. I walked Charlie down through the Seabrook locks, only to have him leap in for a swim just above the bottom lock. To dry him off I decided to walk him down to the Ivinghoe locks - but with one moment of my inattention he jumped back in again - I gave up at that point.
|Through Three Locks|
The rain started as we got to Leighton, and I steered past the empty moorings which had been packed with bunting strewn boats only last week. Alan filled up our water tank while I went and got supplies at the big Tesco, and then we carried on again.
|Charlie through Milton Keynes|
It was still quite early when we got to Fenny, where we often moor on the journey north, so we decided to press on to Bridge 83, another favourite mooring spot. However, a bit of thinking meant that if we carried on even further, then we might be able to make Weedon Bec the following day - so Alan steered as I tried hard to make 'toad in the hole'. This takes a bit of ingenuity on a boat, as due to the slope from front to rear, it's not uncommon for one person to get a bit of dry sausage in a burnt layer of pancake, while the others get a mattress of partially cooked batter. I solved the problem by wedging a fork under one end of the pan, and turning it every 5 minutes until it began to set. It wasn't a total success (as there was a lot stuck to the pan) - but much better than last time.
|in Great Linford|
Alan spotted a space on the short term moorings at Great Linford, so we stopped, as we have often wondered about the place. After dinner we took Charlie for a walk in the parklands. Quite amazing, it's like something out of a Jane Austen novel (although with my limited knowledge of architecture I guess the buildings are probably closer to 300 years old than 200).
Charlie thought it was amazing, but given his propensity for plunging into any muddy ditch for a swim these days, he needed to stay on his lead.
|Back of the Alms Houses and School House 1696 (I think)|
|Great Linford Church|
|in Great Linford|
|School House and Alms Houses|
Back at the boat I spent some time planning for my new courses in September, then fairly late to bed. Once again, I slept like a log.
Cook's Wharf to Great Linford
Miles: 21.4, Locks: 15
Total Miles: 21.4, Total Locks:15