Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Roundbottom ?

We pulled pins at 09.00 0n Sunday from our mooring near Flecknoe and headed towards Napton locks.

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                        Just before Napton junction we saw this chap watching us from behind the bushes. We think its a Muntjac deer.

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                At Napton bottom lock after filling with water i quickly grabbed the windlass and Carolyn brought Inca into the lock. Didn't she do well !.

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The view back towards Napton on the Hill.The church on the top of the hill was originally going to be built on the village green but apparently in the 13th century the Devil carried all the stones to the present site where the church is now built.

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At the top of the Napton flight it is then 11 twisty miles on the summit of the South oxford canal to Claydon locks. If you were to walk in a straight line it is only 4 miles from lock to lock. If you like to be out in the sticks then this is the place for you, there is just mile after mile of nothing except countryside and some stunning views back towards Napton on the Hill. We really did enjoy this section of canal and spent a couple of days getting over the summit.

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                                          We agree…What a waste of money and needless destruction of the Countryside.

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                                             We struck gold on the way .The roof is looking a lot more healthy now.But there is still room for more wood.

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After passing through Fenny Compton you then enter Fenny Compton tunnel. Well it used to be a 1000 yard tunnel until they removed the roof many years ago. It is now just a long narrow cutting.

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                  What a sad sight….. Just above Varneys lock on the way down into Cropredy. All of the owners belongings are still on-board.

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                           On Wednesday after 6 hours cruising we eventually made it down the locks to Cropredy and had a walk around the village.

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                                                                                                                 Red Lion Street in Cropredy.

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                              We came across this road.  I would so love to leave a comment …..But i value my life too much.

We are now on our way to Banbury and should get there on Thursday if all goes to plan as it is only 3 hours from Cropredy.  And guess what Banbury is full of that Carolyn loves ?………Yes that's right …  SHOPS.

                                                                    Happy Days

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Ghosts and echoes

On Saturday after leaving Braunston we headed to a mooring we last used and enjoyed back in April. We are between bridges 100 and 101 and next to the former course of the Weedon-Leamington railway line (LNWR) and are on the Grand Union/Oxford canal section near Flecknoe. We have brilliant views across the Warwickshire countryside. The weather on Saturday was glorious so i spent the afternoon sorting and cleaning the roof while Carolyn sorted and cleaned inside.

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Inca on our mooring….. The towpath here is very good and wide so its great not to have mud from the dogs everywhere. After having mains electric for a week we are now back on battery power and watching every amp we use. I must admit it was good being on mains electric for the week. We even had the TV on in the day to watch the Olympics and all the lights on at night .

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The view from our mooring. This is a very remote mooring which we really enjoy. Apparently there are Ghosts and echoes everywhere around here with abandoned Railways ,lost villages and the Medieval church of St Peter. We have not seen any Ghosts yet but i will keep the camera handy just in case one decides to put in an appearance…….What a good blog post that would be.

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                                                         On Sunday the wind really picked up as you can see by the waves on the canal.

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                            In all the wind on Sunday this boat passed us…What a funny name for a boat…..Just got to find one called Gary now.

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When we were in Braunston we did the usual trip to the Chandlers (A boat shop that sells boat bits at twice the price as a normal shop). I needed a spare air cleaner for the engine as i had fitted the previous spare. The air cleaner was only a tenner but some how i ended spending over a hundred quid. Two things i bought was new aerial cable and an extendable aerial mast for our Freeview TV . The new aerial which is only about 18 inches long has been performing brilliantly and i am really surprised how such a small aerial with no booster gives a perfect picture nearly all the time. We can now get the aerial 3 meters above the boat roof if we are in a weak signal area. The aerial is then connected to a bush recordable Freeview box on which we can record over 200 hours of TV. I have now wired the Freeview box into the boat 12 volt system which saves on electric and avoids having to run it through an inverter .

And if all of that fails we still have the back up of the Satellite.

With high winds and heavy rain forecast for today (Sunday) and a reasonable internet connection so i can watch Spurs this afternoon we will stay here until tomorrow then head out past Napton Junction and onto the South Oxford.

                                          Happy Days


To Tony and Maureen…..Your 13 weeks in India are nearly over. It will soon be time to pack your bags and head back to the good old British weather.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Curly’s visit

We had our BSS on Monday and the Gearbox oil cooler fitted on Tuesday and then on Wednesday daughter Chloe and number one Granddaughter Curly (Abbie) were coming to visit. Justin Green of JG marine kindly allowed us to stay on the wharf until Saturday.

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                                                The view of the old pumping station and the bottom lock from our front room window.

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                                                                                     Wednesday afternoon and Chloe and Curly arrived.

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On Friday Carolyn and Chloe had a day out for some mother/daughter time. Which left Myself and Curly with some Granddad and Granddaughter time.

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We had a walk around Braunston marina and came across nb Raymond and nb Nutfield. They are both very old boats and Curly was very impressed with them and we looked them up on the internet and we found out that you can join the friends of Raymond.

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                                                                             Curly on the bridge over the entrance to Braunston marina.

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                                                                                                  “I love these two dogs”.

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                                                                                                     What beautiful flowers.

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                                                                                                                     Go on jump Curly !!!….. and she did.

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                                                                                               “Granddad can you buy me a Horse” ? ……………..( “No chance sweetheart”).

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                                                                           It was then back to Inca and the building of a Lego boat.

On Saturday morning Chloe and Curly headed back down to Devon. We reversed Inca back to the Braunston marina entry where we winded (turned) and headed towards the South Oxford Canal. We intend to make our way down to Banbury. We have not been on the South Oxford canal so it will be all new to us. There is something really exciting about not knowing what's around the next corner.

                                                Happy Days

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Test passed

With very high winds we sat it out on the outskirts of Braunston. It is amazing how many boats move in bad weather. If you have ever steered a narrow boat you will know that in high winds once the wind catches the side of the boat it is a nightmare to control.
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This boat moored up in front of us on Friday evening and tried to leave on Saturday morning in very strong winds. The problems for them started after they had released their bow rope and then were unable to release the stern rope and as you can see the wind caught the boat and took her into the far bank. Eventually after releasing the mooring rope they unsuccessfully tried to pull away, but because of the angle they were at and the force of the wind they ended up on our bow across the canal. I ended going out and helping one of the crew to get the bow back and eventually they got off.
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                                                                                                    The view to Braunston from the bottom lock .
On Sunday the winds dropped and the sun came out and we had a glorious winters day. We pulled pins at 09.30 and headed around to the 48 hour moorings in Braunston. With the weather so good we had a good walk up the canal and around the village.
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                                                           The view from the bottom lock looking up the Braunston flight of locks.
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                  On Monday morning we moved the 100 yards on to the wharf at JG Marine where we are having our Bss carried out.
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                                                                The wibbly wobbly walkway that Carolyn has trouble walking on.
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And Inca nearly flew through the test. The only problem was that there was no label on the diesel filler cap. So after getting one fitted we passed with flying colours and what a relief that was. We now have 4 years before we need another test.
A couple of months ago when i was doing my engine checks i started to notice small amounts of oil in the cooling water. If you know anything about engines you will know that usually means head gasket or something more serious. Over the weeks it has been getting worse and worse. Then i found out that the oil in the gearbox was disappearing and with no visible leaks it had to be going somewhere. It turns out that the oil in the gearbox gets very hot and to cool it down the oil goes through an oil cooler.The oil is cooled by the engine cooling water, So this had to be how the oil was getting into the cooling water.
After Justin did our Bss he removed the oil cooler and did a pressure test on it and sure enough oil leaked through the seals and into the water side of the cooler.
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                                                                                                                The faulty oil cooler.
             We could have  had a go at fitting new seal inside the cooler but decided to get a new one from Beta the makers of the engine.
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                                                                               Justin in action fitting our new gearbox oil cooler.
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Apart from being the wrong colour the new cooler had metal where the water hoses attached ,where as the old one is plastic. After an hour Justin had it all fitted and tested and all seems now ok.
We Have been told that we can stay on the wharf until the weekend . So with Chloe and Curly coming up for a few days it is an ideal place as there is safe car parking and no muddy towpaths.
                                                          Happy Days

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Sad old Git

While waiting for Tesco to get the iPad we had ordered i was told that i had to go and look around the shops at Brownsover. “But i don't want anything” . …“That doesn't matter you are coming” said her ladyship.

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After passing Tesco and walking Across the bridge over the river Avon we came upon this place.This is the closest i have been to a cinema for 34 years. The last time i went to a cinema was to watch Friday the 13th in 1980. At that time we bought a video recorder which cost over £600 and back then that was a lot of money. I said at the time now we have a video we don't need to go to the cinema again. Then Sky TV came along and we had all the movie channels so i would always wait for the films to come on to Sky. (Carolyn says I'm a right sad old Git ).

Anyway….I did go into a Maplin, The Range, Brantano, and TK Maxx  all for the first time….. WOW what an experience !!!  (not)

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                                                                                              I wouldn't leave my bike here.

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Hedge cutting…. There was a gang of seven men cutting the towpath hedge. 4 of them had hedge cutters then there was one on the flail chopping up the cuttings then 2 men blowing the bits in to the side with petrol blowers on their backs. They certainly were efficient.

On Wednesday good old Mr Tesco came up trumps with my new iPad. It should have been in at 4 pm but Carolyn asked in the morning if they had any news on it and they said yes its here… Result !!

We pulled pins early on Thursday morning and headed for Hillmorton where we needed to fill with water and get rid of rubbish and waste. After 6 days in Rugby we were starting to get low on water and full of the other.

It was really good to finally meet Del and Al from nb Derwent6. We have followed their blog from when they started. We had a good talk at the water point and we hope to meet up with you both again.

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                                                                                      I sometimes wish she could be……..Only joking dearest.

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                                                                                          I know several Pratt's…….!!!!!

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                                                      Not your normal boat on the cut . Not sure what its meant to be but it sure is different.

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                                    The view to Braunston church from our window on our present mooring just outside of the village.

On Monday we have Inca’s first Bss test which is every 4 years (similar to a car mot) in Braunston so we will stay here for a day or two then move into Braunston village then on to JG Marine on Monday morning for our test……GOOD LUCK INCA.

                                                              Happy Days

Monday, 10 February 2014

Let down

We are still moored at Brownsover in Rugby as it seems Carolyn still hasn't had enough retail therapy. You may remember in my last post that i had reserved a new iPad at Curry's. We went to the shop to pick it up only to be told they didn't have it in stock . The shop assistant explained “Our web site was a bit of a joke and did this all the time”. Ok then when can you get me one ? .He checked the warehouse and there were none there and he said maybe next Thursday and then maybe not. I then asked which models of the iPad Air they had in stock as i was prepared to pay a bit more and have a higher spec model. After checking the 8 different iPad Airs they advertised in store they only had one 16 gb model in store and with a lot of apps being HD apparently 16 gb does not offer enough storage space……. Thanks a lot Mr Curry's i feel really let down and will now go elsewhere……..

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                                                                                  Our mooring from the other side of the canal.

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                                                                                                 That certainly brightens up an underpass.

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          With Rugby being famous for egg chasing (Rugby the game) there are a lot of reminders as you travel through the town.

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                                           The other thing rugby is famous for is its cement. And the cement factory really does dominate the skyline.

iPad update

We will be staying here until Thursday. Carolyn was in Tesco and asked if they could get an iPad delivered to store and low and behold they said yes.She paid for it and we can pick it up on Wednesday….. Fingers crossed that Mr Tesco does better than Mr currys.      Watch this space !!!!!

                                                                         Happy Days

Saturday, 8 February 2014


On Thursday we pulled pins at 09.00 and left Braunston and headed towards Hillmorton.The plan is to spend the night at Hillmorton then on Friday morning  move onto Rugby for Carolyn to have some retail therapy.

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                                                             Passing the entrance to Braunston marina then onto the water point to top up the tank.

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                 The towpaths around Braunston are getting worse. Surely on official mooring sites Canal and River Trust could put a hard-core base down.

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                           We passed this gold on route and only had room for a few bits on the roof. It really broke my heart to leave all that free wood.

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As soon as we arrived at Hillmorton we set about sawing up all the wood on the roof. With the cratch full of wood we now have a bit more room on the roof .

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After a very stormy and wet night we woke to the boat tilting over towards the bank. The canal had risen so much that the mooring ropes had all gone tight and pulling Inca over. We do tend to keep the mooring ropes tight so the boat stays close to the bank to make it easy for the dogs to get on and off.

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                                                                 There's so much water its flowing over the top gates at Hillmorton locks.

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                                                                                                                     I guess it does.

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We passed the moorings at Rugby then winded (turned) in the winding hole as Rugby was as far as we where going to go up The North Oxford canal. We then picked up this mooring opposite the park at Brownsover. There is a Tesco a couple of hundred yards away then across a small bridge over the river Avon there is a retail park with loads of shops for her Ladyship.

I am even going shopping myself. I have a laptop that i use all the time but it is so power hungry that i have decided to buy a new iPad. With a Curry's just down the road I have picked out the one i want its the iPad Air 64 gb and i have checked on line that Curry's have one in stock . Its now reserved so i can pick it up in an hour. Just the ticket!

                                                    Happy Days