Friday 6 April 2012

Norton Junction to Gayton Marina….

Yesterday was a better day, weather wise – it was still cold and damp but at least it was dry!  After a quick chat with Al and Del on Derwent 6, we said our goodbyes and headed of to the top of Bucky Locks to await their opening at 10 o’clock.  While we waited we took the opportunity to fill the water tank.  The lockie arrived and unchained the top gates at about 9.45, and we set off down the locks in company with nb ‘It’s 5 o’clock, Somewhere’.  Heather and David were great company and we seemed to go down the locks very quickly.  I have to say that the Buckby Flight are certainly not one of our favourites – the gates are so heavy that it sometimes takes two people to open and shut them.  However, it makes life a lot easier if the crew of the boat you are sharing with knows exactly what they are doing, as do we.  There was no rushing around or dramas like you sometimes get with other boats, just smooth lock-working and smoother entry and exit to and from the locks.  We were down by about 11.30, and we parted company as they were mooring to await friends.  I was starting to feel very chilled by this time, so went inside for a warm up while I made some coffee.  We decided that we would crack on and get to Gayton Marina.  Passing Heyford Fields Marina, we spotted fellow bloggers nb ‘The Maisibert’ moored just outside, no sign of anyone on board though.


We arrived at Gayton Marina at about 3.30 and got settled and plugged in.  As we were there in good time, we decided to pack up and come home, rather than spend the night in the marina.  So here endeth the first cruise of the season. We will be back sometime next month when the house move is accomplished, but where we will be able to go by then is still a mystery!  Ta ta for now!

12.5 miles and 7 locks

Wednesday 4 April 2012

Hubble, bubble, toilet trouble….

We decided yesterday that we would probably stay put today, and it was a good decision.  Apart from a short break of about half an hour this morning, it has chucked it down continuously all day.  We managed to make use of the break in the rain this morning and walked down to the services at the top of Buckby Locks to get rid of rubbish and empty a cassette.  The rest of the morning was spent trying various remedies to our toilet problem!  The Dometic Vacuflush loo that we had such high hopes for has been playing up for over 12 months now, with varying degrees of severity.  The bloody thing will now not vacuum up properly – the pump just keeps on pumping and you can hear the leak of air going in all the time it’s trying to vacuum up.  I spent quite a long time on the phone to a really helpful bloke called Mike at Lee Sanitation, who are the only people who seem to actually know anything about this loo.  He suggested lots of various remedies, none of which have worked.  The next thing is to buy a set of new caps for the cassettes and new ‘O’ rings for the docking station.  We will order them when we get home.  At the moment the loo is still useable, but we have to turn it on and off at the fuse-box whenever we want to flush it.  Lets hope it stays that way until we get to Gayton.  If the new caps and ‘O’ rings don’t work, then we are ripping the bloody thing out and buying a Thetford!  We don’t feel inclined to go to the expense of having it serviced (it costs £100 to service each cassette, and we have 3, and goodness knows how much for them to come out and service the docking station!) just for it all to happen again in a year or two.  The whole system has now been dis-continued by Dometic so that tells you something!  Lets hope we don’t end up in a shower of s**t over Northamptonshire!

Downtown to Norton Junction….

We had, what for us is an early start yesterday morning, leaving our mooring at Downtown Hill at nine o’clock.  The weather forecast had changed so the weather was not too bad, cloudy but dry,  with rain expected later in the day.  We had an uneventful morning, not much to photograph on this stretch – maybe if the sun had been shining it might have looked better.  The only thing of interest was this boat, ‘moored’ in the middle of a field as we approached Crick.



Exiting Crick Tunnel – it was FREEZING inside!!

We briefly considered mooring opposite Crick Marina and calling it a day, but it was only just past midday, so we decided to continue on and get down Watford Locks and moor somewhere between there and Norton Junction.  It was 1 o’clock when we arrived at Watford, to see a boat just going into the top lock.  We thought we’d been lucky and would be next in the queue, but it was not to be!  When I booked in with the lockie, he was just telling a BW workboat moored at the bottom that he’d be next!  Drat!!!  We tied up and I put the kettle on.  We started down the locks just before 2 o’clock, and waited in the first pound for two more boats to come up before we continued down.  We exited the locks at just a few minutes to three, with at least another boat coming down behind.  There had been a knock-on effect from Braunston Locks earlier in the day as there had been a problem and they hadn’t opened until 11 o’clock.  There were 3 boats already in the bottom 2 pounds waiting to go up – one of which I suspect had sneaked through as I’d heard the lockie telling him at 2.20 that he was too late and would have to wait until the morning!  Unfortunately we didn’t gat to hear the outcome as we’d long gone by the time the lockie came back down the locks.


Waiting at the top


On the move again


Entering the last lock of the day – the blue boat in the pound is the one who ‘sneaked’ up.

By this time the rain had started and we had to resort to wet-weather gear.  We started looking for a decent mooring spot straight away, but there just wasn’t anywhere, so we carried on to Norton Junction, quite expecting it to be full, but there were several spaces, and as we approached we saw fellow bloggers nb Derwent 6 were also there.  We had a very quick chat, but as it was pouring with rain we didn’t linger – we promised a chat later when it had stopped raining, but it hasn’t yet so we still haven’t had a proper catch up.


Moored at Norton Junction, nose to nose with Derwent 6


12.9 miles and 7 locks

Monday 2 April 2012

Foxton to Downtown Hill ….

We were second to go up Foxton Locks this morning, following nb Callisto, the coal boat.  We had fairly quick trip up the locks, surprising as they are our first locks this year, Rog driving and me working the locks and by the time I’d done the third one I was already knackered!  We had a little help from one of the volunteer lockies after that, and Rog and I swapped places half way up.  John from nb Triskaideka appeared when we were almost at the top, having been dropped off by Ali who went shopping.  We had a little chat and then he went on his way to walk back to Debdale to see how they were getting on with the preparations for their blacking.


Foxton Top Lock, with it’s pretty daffs


View back down the locks

It was a nicer morning than we expected, sunny and cloudy with a chilly wind, but quite warm when you were sheltered.  We filled with water at the top of the locks then went on our way.  It was very peaceful, with the birds singing. Once through Husbands Bosworth tunnel we decided to head for Downton Hill as it’s a lovely spot to moor


Entering Husbands Bosworth tunnel

We arrived about 2.45.  If the weather is as bad as they are forecasting for tomorrow, we’ve not far to go to the moorings by Crick Marina.   I expect we’ll both be asleep in front of the telly by nine o’clock tonight!  It’s all this fresh air!


Stanford Reservoir in the distance


Moored in splendid isolation (just the way we like it!) at Downtown Hill

9.8 miles and 10 locks

Sunday 1 April 2012

An unexpectedly sunny day…

We awoke this morning to an unexpectedly sunny morning, and a hard frost.  The boat was freezing as we hadn’t left the stove alight, but soon warmed up after Rog lit it.  Cassie and I went for a long walk, and Rog prepared to wash the winter’s dirt off one side of the boat.  We had been unable to do it in the marina as our pontoon was only about 10 feet long.  Meanwhile, I washed the ports, inside and out, and the side hatch windows.  Once that was done we sat in the sun with coffee and then had an earlyish lunch so that Rog was ready to go with John and Ali to do the car shuffle.

They set off about 2 o’clock heading for Debdale and I settled down to catch up with reading blogs and writing my own.  All in all, a very relaxing day, although Rog will tell you otherwise as washing the boat has never been one of his favourite activities, he’d much rather be fishing!!  The sun has continued to shine all day, however the wind is chilly.  Don’t know what the forecast is for tomorrow, but I’m not holding out much hope of it remaining sunny.


Nb Triskaideka setting off with Rog on board – it seemed weird seeing him disappearing on someone else’s boat!

0 miles and 0 locks