Not been much to blog about until yesterday. We left Windsong at Bugbrooke overnight on Monday and returned to Northampton to visit our doctor an get new prescriptions. We returned to the boat on Tuesday lunchtime and bought lunch for Mum and June (Mum’s friend), to say thank you for running us around. We cruised up to Whilton on Wednesday and moored, (sandwiched between the M1 and the railway – very noisy!), as we were expecting someone to come and see why our Boater’s Phone aerial wasn’t working. Graham Scothern from Really Friendly Business Solutions (acting as BPC agent) managed to effect a fix – thanks Graham.
After a very noisy night ( I didn’t hear the traffic and the trains – I wear earplugs!) we set off a few hundred yards to fuel and empty the cassette at Whilton Marina. Then disaster struck! The water pump suddenly came on and stayed on, and the next thing we knew was that the bilge pump was working overtime and the whole of the engine bay was full of water! We turned off the water pump and pulled onto some moorings outside the marina and made a rapid phone call to Beacon. It was clean water, so at least we knew that it was the water system that had sprung a leak and not the canal flooding in. It turns out that the pressure release valve on top of the calorifier had stuck in the open position, and had dumped most of the contents of our water system into the bilge. Unfortunately there was so much of it that the bilge pump couldn’t pump it out as fast as it was going in so consequently it all flooded over into the other compartments of the engine bay. Neil at Beacon talked Rog through freeing the valve on the phone, and then we got on with pumping the water out of the engine bay – luckily we had a little battery pump, but it still took hours, we finished up soaking it up with old towels. With our fingers crossed, we re-filled the water system, and turned on the engine – the valve remained firmly shut! Phew! Rog will now turn the valve on and off a couple of times every day to make sure it remains free – we think that it was probably lime scale. Anyway, so far so good, touch wood!!
After our fraught morning we did what we had intended to do earlier and then set off to climb the Buckby flight, only to be hailed by someone coming out of the bottom lock,on a hire-boat shouting ‘Haynes, you ugly b*****d’!! Taken aback, we focussed on the person doing the shouting, and realized that it was our old friend Tim Owens whom we hadn’t seen for donkey’s years. (Tim and his wife, Jules, came with us to give an opinion when we were buying our very first boat, back in 1996). Unfortunately, we couldn’t stop and chat as we were just about to enter the lock, but will try and find out his email address and contact him that way.
Meanwhile, Rog had managed to pull a muscle in his calf while making a dive to get back on the boat it tried to get away from us in a fierce undertow as the lock emptied, so it was down to me to work the seven Buckby locks as he could hardly walk. Luckily we were sharing the locks with Jane and Paul on Serendipity (a brother and sister team) all the way up so it wasn’t too difficult. Again we were lucky as we got to the top of the locks, two moored boats pulled away in front of us so there was room for us both to moor. We all swiftly repaired to the New Inn as it was definitely cider 'o’clock! We also went back to eat – both had toad-in-the-hole, delicious!
We said goodbye to our new friends this morning as they were turning up the Leicester section, and we were carrying on to Braunston. It was a beautiful morning with lovely countryside, and we were glad to be away from the noise of the motorway
Braunston tunnel pics
Rog’s leg was a little better this morning, but I decided to work all the Braunston flight, although he did offer to swap over half way. Better to rest it today or else it will be bad for a week! We were hoping to moor for the night at Braunston, or at least long enough to visit the village and go to the famous butchers (huh, fat chance!!) No room at the Inn, (actually there was room outside the pub, but it was no good for the dog) but we did spot Les on nb Valerie, and stopped for a quick chat.
Shortly after that we spotted nb Piston Broke, another blogger, but I didn’t manage to get the camera out in time. We turned onto the North Oxford, and found a nice quiet mooring spot where we will stay until tomorrow.