|Opposite Whilton Marina|
Focusing on a London visit, we have been moving in 10 mile bursts, probably, most days. I read about the boat that made it from Birmingham to London in 69 hours. Not us no rush. There really is not much in the way of traffic on this Canal.
|Inside the Blisworth Tunnel|
And moorings, touch wood, have been available.
Sky colour has changed from grey to blue and back to grey again. Not much wet stuff dropping, only the Canal levels.
Nature’s harvest is ripening for the picking and the blackberries are swelling by the day and make a yummy compôte to cover the morning serve of greek yoghurt, fresh fruit and muesli. Of course the best berries are on the opposite side of the towpath. Passersby are concerned the towpath side berries, low to the ground, will have been peed on by dogs. Yeah right dogs make a bee line to pee on the prickly berry bushes. I see it all the time, not!
|Bitch wanted to meet Della|
So the low Canal level restricts us from moving DB over to the berries, on the other side. It is best we keep to the centre as we cruise and only move starboard direction when oncoming traffic approaches or we let a faster moving craft overtake us. The latter happened, the other day. I became aware that an ‘eyebrow’ fender on the bow was loose and half was dragging along the water, at risk of getting close to the starboard Bow Thrusters hole which needs to be kept clear at all times to avoid any problems when the Bow thrusters propeller is in action. The thought of an eyebrow fender being sucked in and spat out is unthinkable. Gives a whole new meaning to eyebrow plucking! I walked the gunwhale to pull out the floating fender and lift it to safety on the roof. At the same time DB grounded and I felt like I was higher and drier on a lean to port. I mouthed a few un-write-ables, breathed and walked the gunwhale back to stern base.
|Grounded and forgotten.|
I do not like it when we scrape rock bottom or slide at an angle along slush bottom. DB, 68ft of her, either sounds off metallic ‘GROINCH’ or gravelly ‘SCHLURUP’ and we lean either to port or starboard and loose stuff on the kitchen bench has been known to take it out on the floor, the soft close cupboards open menacingly and the daybed drawers reveal their hidden mess. Get the picture!
Meanwhile back on deck tenacious Chris gradually levers DB, using a boat pole from a pole stash in easy reach, back into free float position. I am more than tempted to be helpful but I keep my lips zipped about using the very long and flexible teak boat pole that is safely padlocked out of reach and temptations way. Now I can write about it, living the dream and all that.
|Moored opposite between Milton Keynes and Leighton Buzzard|
Not long after this incident and up and out of the next lock we took refuge, briefly, at a nearby water point while we explored mooring potential on the other side of the bridge. The gap between two moored boats looked promising and Della and I waited, on guard duty, while Chris fetched DB. All good and we were soon in moored position tied onto our mooring rings and floating level. We were keen enough to walk to the pub that was more than a hop skip and jump away. Country roads, OK if you are behind a steering wheel but a little scary to walk when there is no path for most of the way. Della doesn’t like these walks as the sound of vehicles, she can hear but not see, freaks her. So she takes up a comfortable position in my arms and does not squirm or fret to be released! Same for the return to the Canal, shortly after a white wine spritzer for me and a pint of ale for he.
Next day the Blackthorn bush (Sloe Berries) in the hedgerow turned out to be a Damson Plum Tree with a bumper crop of damsons. A search with Google verified they were Damsons and within 2 minutes I had picked a guesstimate of 500gms to turn them from a tart tasting inedible plum into a jar of sweet sour jam. My recipe instruction warned me to avoid burning my finger tips as I removed the plum seeds from the now hot and simmering plums, by using a slotted spoon in one hand and a fork in the other. Perfect. A further 5 minute collection of damsons was gathered for a friend who will make Damson gin.
|Ice cream 'shack' yum yum|
We moved from Slapton to meet mates who came up from London for a day cruise on what must have been the second hottest (30C) day this summer 2015. It was a beautiful day and lots of laughs were had. And we several locks were achieved with us finishing a bridge on from the Wendover Arm in the direction of Berko.