Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Weltonfields to Crick and exciting news!

As we were moored at Weltonfields, we kept thinking what a lovely Marina and how it answered so many questions we'd been having. So we thought, hm. Was the very same visitor mooring available as permanent? The same, none other. So we asked. It had been reserved for quite some while, but the boat never showed up. They would check. We were called just after 1pm whilst on the way to Crick. The mooring is ours if we want it. We do!

We moored in Crick, walked the three and a bit miles back to get Reg, drove to Hillmorton Wharf and gave notice. Elizabeth called Weltonfields on the journey and it's all done! We now have a beautiful new home home and don't need a moving lorry. All we do is tie up in a new place in the winter.

V exciting.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Weltonfields visitor mooring at Welton Hythe

Oh how we like Norton Junction.  Cows on both sides of the cut, visits by ducks, the views over the harvest, the setting sun on deck.  Ah.  But leave we must.  We pulled away this morning around 9am, made the turn north into the Leicester Arm of the Grand Union Canal and stopped (wait for it) around 9:30.  We had booked a visitor mooring at Weltonfields marina, opposite where we were moored the last few weeks in July.  Though we have and love and use our dear BFG, we do like to get on electrics while we can.  Much (much) quieter to do the laundry. BFG makes a Big Freindly Generator Noise Very Loudly.  A local power point is  q  u  i  e  t. So we paid our way, plugged in and by the time of writing, have done 5 loads of laundry including two lots of dying clothes (one to blues, another to purples - in case you wondered.)  

Pete walked off to get Reg from Norton Junction's car park, then collected both Elizabeth and Josie for the annual vets' visit.  Then he dropped both off back at Weltonfields and drove to Brige 6, parked and walked the 1.5 miles back to Bella.  Tomorrow we'll wave to Reg on the way by, travel to Crick, then walk back over the tunnel to collect him.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Still outside evenings

We can hardly believe that on the last Bank Holiday weekend of the summer, we can still sit out on deck. Marvelous.

Welton Hythe to Napton to Hillmorton to Norton Junction

We're back at Norton Junction now, having had our holiday and then almost a week in HillmortonWharf and having gone from July, through Elizabeth's birthday on August 6th to today, August 25th.

Our friends met us at Welton Hythe on August 3rd, we travelled together through Braunston tunnel to Braunston locks and on to Napton for Elizabeth's birthday party and we had a brilliant few days shared journey.  Braunston locks was a hoot and an excellent demonstration of tillerwomanship.  The birthday was fabulous.

After Napton, we were back in Bronny for a few days to take in the Admiral Nelson music festival, a real pleasure. We decided to go on to Hillmorton just because it was close, but couldn't wait to get out again.  We set off in the evening of Friday the 16th and moored by Barby Hill.  On the 17th, we made our way to Lovely Norton Junction just west of the junction Bridge.  And here we are! For those who are curious, one car hop was done by Elizabeth driving from Welton Hythe to Braunston and then walking to the locks whilst Pete drove Bella through the tunnel, one hop was Elizabeth driving to Hillmorton then taking the bus back to Braunston, then one hop was done by taxi from Norton Junction back to Hillmorton to drive again to Norton - knitting done on each hop.

Pics: The misty dawn was from our Braunston mooring, just north of the junction on the Oxford. The inside the cabin view is because we liked watching the moving water outside of our windows (our home moves through the water).  Some are just the lovely evening cruise. One is the cows on their bridge - in CRT speak, an accommodation bridge to accommodate a herd of cows moving from one of their farm's fields to another. And the shot of the fuel pump is our diesel filling from nb Towcester, our marvelous travelling fuel seller.  At the end is our privileged view of the August harvest, complete with 2 combine harvesters, one grain trailer and one bailer.  It is amazing to see these four machines clear a field this size in 3 hours. Amazing.

From Foxton to Welton Hythe

Foxton is a fabulous place to be.  It's busy in the day, but at night when the locks are literally locked off, the place feels like ours alone.  The occasional walker comes from a boat or the restaurant and goes on the towpath, the opposite side to our mooring.  We have the stunning views and Josie can chase bunny rabbits to her heart's delight.  But leave we must.

We left on the evening of July 20 after Pete had a work day.  3 miles later we were in lovely Kickelwell Spinney.  The next day, we 'booked it' doing the whole stretch to Welton Hythe, just short of Norton Junction.  In the old days, this wouldn't have seemed a long journey, but with the new style of short hops to the next mooring, this seemed odd.  A whole 7 locks and 18 miles!

We feel we discovered Welton Hythe moorings last year ending the same journey in the pouring rain.  This year, it was sunny and shady.  This year, the shade was what we needed!!  We were on the towpath side, opposite Weltonfields Marina.  We admit to moving to the marina side one night to use the electricity and rush through 8 loads of laundry (!).

Catching up! Mid July through August

My word, it's been a busy time.  Well, not really busy, but busy with getting on living this new life style.  In our first four years aboard Bella, we worked and travelled, topping over 900 lock/miles in one year.  But that was when we were both more consultants than not and moored up for one of us to hop on a train to a meeting or event.  Where the home was didn't make much difference as long as we could find a train station.  Then our worked changed focus and thankfully for so many reasons, Pete's work ended up on the water and Elizabeth's work was more focused on a few locations, including the studio in Braunston.  Last year, year 5, we were largely moored in our home mooring, first to have the BFG and associated electrics sorted and then, to learn what it would be like for Pete to work 5-8 days a week (a few times, more!), locked to a particular geography.

This year, we decided to return to the travelling and working profile, but completely differently.  Since the end of May, we've travelled on our days off and then learned to travel on one day off so that the other was really OFF.  We are slowly working through Pete's patch and the working slowly through is just wonderful.  We are being able to take in what we just rushed past before and it is a real treat. So many more places now feel like home.

So - where were we?  That's right, Welford.  We left there late morning on the 13th of July and travelled around the corner to the main Leicester line from the Welford Arm. We stopped in another heavenly place for brunch, then set out again to Foxton spotting a stunning Kingfisher on the way.  We had arranged for one of Elizabeth's favourite moorings, the top of the Foxton flight opposite the Lock Cottage.  Space had been made for us and it feels such a privilege to slowly move to that special place as others queue for the locks. A little gardening was needed for Elizabeth to cut back the branches, but we were as ready as ever for dinner on deck.

We so enjoyed our week in Foxton, including replacing our home-made deck dining table with a dear round folding table we can use on deck or towpath.  The real bonus is that the table was a set with two chairs we thought we wouldn't really need.  But one fits perfectly on top of the BFG's hat (the raised deck to fit the generator), making a cruising seat (out of the arc of the tiller) for the person not at the tiller! Such a bonus.  Elizabeth particularly had been needing some kind of a back rest in order to sit on deck whilst cruising and after nearly 6 years, had not come up with a permanent solution.  Suddenly, one sale priced garden set to get a more stable table solved a 6 year old conundrum. Happy E!  Grins arrived also with the arrival of Hector, readying to go down the flight.  Twice, Hector has been our guest room. What a hoot to see him out on the cut. (oh - and the old deck table is now our headboard.)