Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Forager's dinner in Braunston

We've just been in Braunston for a few days having a wonderful time meeting up with friends from Sweden. Yasmin and Robert stayed in the Old Workshop B&B, just inside the boundary of Braunston Marina, and it is a fantastic find! A few hours cruising from Blue Haven in Rugby, a lovely night in Braunston, out on the cut the next day for a trip to Napton and back with a stop for lunch, then back to Braunston for dinner. We pulled away this morning, with Yasmin and Robert ready to drive off to Stanstead. Just a note from Yasmin. As she was sitting looking around Bella last evening, she finally said of our 6'10" wide boat, "this is massive!!"

So the forager's dinner. Last night we had risotto with chestnut mushrooms picked by Pete from just beside our Blue Haven mooring and parasol mushrooms picked by Helen while she was walking the dogs on Sunday morning. Pud was blackberries picked by Yasmin and Robert on their walk around their B&B and apples from the garden opposite Blue Haven, given to us by Helen. We are so enjoying learning where we can find the most wonderful food! Thanks to Helen and Dom, we had a stunning puffball mushroom last week. We thank them loads for letting us know the mushrooms we can eat (!). No poison; we are writing this post after the feast.

Monday, 15 September 2008

September 15 and in Rugby for a little while

Well, we're back in our mooring at Blue Haven, after a wonderful weekend in Braunston. We moored up at Marston Doles, the top of the Napton flight of 9 locks on Friday afternoon at which point, the heavens opened. Elizabeth and taxi went to salvage Reg and they had quite a puddle wading trip back to Bella, moored just south of the top lock.

Blessedly, Saturday started dry and the wonderful Barometer needle kept creeping to the right - high pressure and dry. By the time we moored in Braunston early afternoon, it felt almost like summer. Heavenly. We stayed there two nights which included a wonderful surprise visit from Dom and Helen and we spent much of the evening chatting and sipping - them in our deck chairs on the tow path and us on the bench on the deck. Their dogs, Trio and Defa, needed protection from our delightful Josie, kept on deck by a dining chair across the gap between the stern railing and the bulkhead. Must get a fence...

Now back in Blue Haven, still dry and moored in our old spot, we want to get back out! Since we were last here on May 25, we have travelled 625 clicks, with probably just under half of those clicks being locks, and managed just over 543 engine hours (some of those while moored to charge batteries). So with over 300 miles behind us on the open canal, we hardly want to stay moored in a marina! And, we are immediately next to Bluebell; lovely boat, but not the open field, while our other side is the quayside with lovely grass, but it is up a hill, the top of which is above the level of the roof of Bella. So, no open field there either. We won't be here for long! We're back to plug into electricity while our generator is up the spout, to just check in, to do some work elsewhere and to welcome our friends from Sweden early next week. But we are wondering where else we could moor while they are here.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Out of Claydon on our way to Napton

As we write, we are on the move. Elizabeth and Pete swapped locks again to finish the Claydon flight, and both are frustrated that the next 11 miles are completely lock free!!! Not fair. Pete is back at the tiller with camera to capture bridges, and Elizabeth is at the desk doing some work for the Women's Resource Centre, writing her journal and, yes, the blog. Yes, she writes most of the posts. But we never are completely sure!!!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

We moved home again - to Claydon

We've now left Cropredy and the Brasenose behind for a while. In a day which started wet but ended up in a fine Autumn breeze with hints of sun and lots of blue sky, we travelled north again. Elizabeth helped with Cropredy Lock and then took Blossom to Reg for a spot of car hopping again. She drove to Claydon (discovered there is no Post Office), then cycled back to Pete, Bella and Josie, happily moored up at Bridge 150, Broadmoor Bridge before Broadmoor Lock. We don't think this is where the prison is... Pete had coffee ready, then we all (except Reg, of course) starting working our way north. It is good to be on the move again!!! And now that Pete's back is better, Elizabeth and Pete started swapping lock work again. Elizabeth forgot how much she enjoyed the slow rise of Bella up the lock. It is a wonderful sensation to drive into a lock and only see the sky and slimy walls and then to gently have the scenery come into view. Causes one to smile! We're now moored up on thin band, but at least connected, on the pound between locks 19 & 18 in the Claydon flight. For those of you who don't know, or couldn't recall, the 'pound' is the water between locks. And no, we don't know why. As soon as we were moored, Elizabeth re-located Reg and found a Post Office in Upper Boddington. As quintessentially English as its name.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

For the Fairport Convention fans...

Just for those of you who read this who care (and deeply), our Cropredy watering hole is the Brasenose. Just last evening, we heard the latest publican tell someone, "Have you heard of Fairport Convention? almost all their early music was written in this very room!" Clearly a local claim, but it is still fun to have our current local having been seen on the cover of an early Fairport album :-)

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Cropredy now

We're living in Cropredy again, as we did the third week in August. It is fun to live in so many different places! Yesterday, when we prepared to cruise, we joked that it was moving day. But unlike any previous moving day, there was no removals van and team at the door and we had no unpacking to do when we arrived at the new place. We just start the engines, untie the lines and set up home somewhere else! Pete only just caught a Kingfisher leading the way - do see www.flickr.com/photos/pete_gray for a view. As ever the weather is, well, weather. But on our shopping stop in Banbury, we bought a barometer just to be able to do a little forward hoping.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

September finds us still in Twyford (Adderbury, Kings Sutton)

Well, the month finally matches the weather. We are in Autumn now and we just wanted to let you know, if you don't already, one of the reasons trains hoot. In our walk from here to Kings Sutton, we travel over a mile of footpath in a preserved meadow for ground nesting birds. Through the meadow is a train main line with a level crossing. This level crossing has no electric barriers, other gates, warnings or other safety features. It is accessed via a footpath stile on each side and the walker is greeted with, "Stop, look and listen." We realised that what we need to listen for is the hoot of the train! Odd feeling, us urban types, just walking over a train line. I am sure many of you have done this before, but it is new to us!

Oh, and we got Reg back from his servicing today. All clean. This is how to keep a car clean; keep it serviced. We are now preparing for the car hop routine again of driving about halfway to our destination, cycling back to the boat, travelling close to the destination and then cycling back to collect Reg. Watch this space.