Friday, 27 February 2015

Under attack


IMG_5977Last night we heard an almighty commotion on the side of Inca and we got into a bit of a panic as we didn't have a clue what was going on .When we looked out of the front a Swan was attacking the Galley window .

IMG_5981We think he saw his own reflection and thought it was another swan and decided to attack it. It didn't matter what we did he wasn't going to stop, we tried turning off the lights ,pulling down the blinds and even telling it to sod off ,but nothing worked. Swans are big and powerful birds ,so we didn't want to get to close to them or pee them off anymore and in the end just left them to get on with it. After about 5 minutes they seemed to have had enough and just swam off into the darkness….. How Bizarre.

                                                                                                 Happy Days     Scary night

Monday, 23 February 2015

Museum visit


IMG_6334Still in Banbury with number 1 Granddaughter Curly (Abbie) and yet again in Wetherspoons, at this rate i think I'm going to have to buy some shares in the place . We were joined by Keith and Ann from Nb Oakfield who also like the value that Wetherspoons offer. We have now done everyone of their club days and apart from the Sunday lunch which was served still frozen we have enjoyed, Tuesday steak club, Wednesday chicken club, Thursday curry club and Friday Fish club . Now guess who is a skint fat you know what……….. Picture by Curly of the best Nan in the world.

IMG_6340The view down the canal in Banbury towards the Museum which is on the left. This whole area is due for major building work with the construction of a multiplex cinema and restaurants . There was a plan to cover the entire area with a glass roof , but that has now been shelved.

IMG_6342It was then in to the museum which is my favourite word FREE .Carolyn and Curly discovering that its easier to move through water with a boat than on land with a cart

IMG_6355Probably the newest items in the museum are the race suit and helmet worn by Lewis Hamilton.

IMG_6354Look how civilised the Romans were when they were in Banbury.  I wonder if this would work on Inca ??????

IMG_6352.Think of the money we could save on toilet paper….Maybe not.

IMG_6346looking towards the lock from the glass walkway in to the museum.

IMG_6362Tooley’s Historic boat yard which is situated in the middle of the Castle Quays development has the oldest working dry dock on the inland waterways. It was established in 1790 to build and repair wooden boats.

IMG_6364Looking back towards the museum from the lock. You get plenty of Gongoozlers (canal watchers) when you lock down or up here.


IMG_6368We were only going to the museum but guess what, it was market day so time for Carolyn to give Curly some more training in the Art of shopping and spending money. Fortunately there wasn't very many stalls so we didn't spend a penny.   Just the ticket…

                                                                                                                            Happy Days

Saturday, 21 February 2015

2 seconds of fame for Inca



Back in the Summer when we were on the Llangollen canal at Ellsmere a boat turned up and moored on the water point opposite our mooring. Then 10 minutes later a mini bus arrived with a film crew and with them was ex BBC chief political correspondent John Sergeant. He got on the boat and did some filming with us in the background trying to get in shot and on the telly. Eventually when the programme was aired last night you could just see the front half of Inca on the right as John got off the boat and walked away,with the rest of what they filmed not making it on to the Telly. The programme is called Barging around Britain and it is on ITV at 20.00 on a Friday night for another 6 weeks. Watching the programme it looks like he travelled the whole journey on the boat ,but in fact he arrived by mini bus and departed a few hours later in a mini bus. Anyway at least the front half of Inca did get 2 seconds of fame.

                                                                                      Happy Days              

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Working out


IMG_6326We now have the pleasure of having our Granddaughter with us for half term, so our mooring next to Spiceball park in Banbury is just perfect. With all the sun over the last couple of days and the with the solar panels putting in over 10 amps we haven't had to run the engine to charge the batteries, not bad for February.

IMG_6312It wasn't long before Curly (Abbie) had Carolyn doing a workout in the park.

IMG_6297Having a walk around the town and we came across The Ye Olde Reindeer Inn which dates back to the 15th century and Curly reckons it looks even older than me.The girls did mention going in for a bite to eat ,but with there being a couple of Wetherspoons in the town and me being as thrifty as i am we i decided we would try one of  them instead.

IMG_6295What a good name for an opticians , It would be even better if there was a Mr or Mrs Peepers that ran it.

IMG_6328Guess what ? Curly loves jacket potatoes.

IMG_6303Sunset over Banbury and the end to a very tiring day with an 8 year old who seems to have endless energy. Yet again we had a good meal in Wetherspoons and being one of their club days it was only £6 each with a pint included …Just the ticket.

                                                                                          Happy Days

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Cast adrift.


IMG_6261We pulled pins from Fenny Compton at 08..00 and with a six and a half hour cruise in front of us we soon entered Fenny tunnel. Well at least it used to be a tunnel until the roof was taken off it..

IMG_6269Welcome to Cropredy . What came first the canal or the posh expensive houses opposite…...Sod off, If i ever moor here i will not move just to run my engine between 8am and 8pm. We see so much on our travels ,often its signs to say don't moor opposite or outside of this house . A lot of the time they make their signs look like they are official . Why do these people buy a house next to a canal in the first place .

IMG_6272Another boarded up old lock keepers cottage that is empty . The lack of any road nearby would make living in the house extremely difficult although it is in a beautiful setting.With a river on one side of it and the railway on the other, i cant see any way of getting a road to it . The sign on the house says it is owned by boaters ,but I'm not sure if that is true.

IMG_6286After a night just on the edge of Banbury near a very noisy factory that kept us awake all night ,we were lucky enough to pick up this mooring in the town. Its just North of the Tom Rolt bridge, and right next to Spiceball park and only a couple of hundred yards away from the main town and shopping centre in Banbury . Its nearly on the same mooring we had last year when we were here . With our Granddaughter arriving on Saturday for a week it is just the perfect location.

IMG_6281On Saturday morning I was awoken at 07.00 by a noise on the side of the boat. When i looked out of the window i didn't recognise what i was looking at . It was then that i suddenly realised we had been set adrift in the night and had drifted through the bridge and towards the town. A mad panic ensued with me shouting at asking Carolyn to get up and get dressed. We had been tied up with 3 ropes ,one on the Bow one on the Stern, and also the centre rope. The bow rope had been untied and thrown onto the bow while the other two ropes had been left on the mooring pins where we had been moored. The stupid thing is that as the middle and stern ropes had been on Armco pins there was no need for them to untie them as they could have just been lifted out of the Armco. Luckily no damage was done and we reversed back onto the mooring and moored up again.

In all our time aboard this is the first incident of any kind that has happened to us . We hear so many stories of what has happened to other boaters and always considered ourselves to be very lucky. The most bizarre thing of all is that our top of the range guard dog Hamish never heard a bloody thing . Normally the slightest noise outside and he barks like mad .He has failed miserably so there will be no treats for him today !

IMG_6293There is now no chance of the little Scroat/Scroats doing it again as i have now used a chain and padlock to secure Inca to the Armco. Also the padlock has a very loud siren built into it that goes off with the slightest movement of the chain or lock .I did wonder about connecting it up to the inverter so that 230 volts went through it which would give them a nice little shock if they tried it again.

Its not that often that we moor in large towns , but now i will always be using the chain and lock when we do. I think it was only done as a bit of a prank and we are not going to worry that much about it, although if we had been moored on a river it could have been a different story . At the end of the day no damage was done and nobody was hurt.      PS …   No chance of that happening when you live in a house.                                     

                                                                                                                    Happy Days

Friday, 13 February 2015

On the move at last


IMG_6205We decided to wind (turn) and fill with water on the day before leaving Braunston as we wanted an early start . We have been here for 14 days and most of that time we have been iced in and unable to move.

IMG_6222Giving it some welly to get Inca to turn.

IMG_6230Eventually around without using the Girlie button (bow thruster) and with nobody watching it was a text book manoeuvre . But if anybody had been watching you can guarantee i would have cocked it up.

IMG_6232We pulled pins from Braunston at 08.30 in thick mist and headed South towards Napton and the flight of locks. The plan was to get to Fenny Compton and according to Canal Route Planner that was 7 hours and 30 minutes away.

IMG_6240We met Richard on coal boat Towecster coming in the opposite direction, they had just done their run up to Stockton and are now on their way to Hillmorton before heading back through Braunston and down The Grand Union Canal. We topped up with Diesel and coal the day before when they went through Braunston. We have now run out of wood ,so are just burning coal . It costs a lot more money ,but it does make life a lot easier.

IMG_6242With no ice in Braunston we were surprised to see so much of it out in the sticks. But luckily there had been so many boats through that it was broken into small pieces . It did slow us down a bit as i didn't want to go fast and risk taking the blacking off.

IMG_6249After 2 and a half hours of cruising and the mist lifting we reached Napton and the flight of 9 locks. A bit of bad luck and we had a boat was in front of us ,so all the locks were against us.

IMG_6254Finally reaching the summit at Marston Doles and we saw this canoe full of wood , saves storing it on the roof. We thought there would be a lot of ice on the summit as it is so high and exposed, but to our surprise there was none at all which speeded up our journey.

IMG_6258It took us another 3 hours to get to Fenny Compton where we picked up a mooring just before the pub, and with the temperature never getting above 3 deg C all day it was a long and cold but enjoyable cruise. We had to wake Hamish when we arrived and the journey ended up taking us 7 hours and 25 minutes in total. Luckily Carolyn had a casserole cooking on the stove all day , So it wasn't long after mooring until we tucked into the delicious casserole with a bottle or three of the red stuff.


                                                                                                           Happy Days

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Carolyn X 2


IMG_6141Another night out with Keith and Ann off Nb Oakfield at The Boathouse in Braunston. The night was supposed to be a Mexican night ,but it ended up being a very un-Mexican night. Anyway we ended up having a very enjoyable evening.

IMG_6145The joys of life afloat . On Inca we only have a 3.5kg load washing machine and a 3.5kg load dryer .So when we are close to a launderette like the one here at Braunston marina we take advantage of it and get all the large items washed.

IMG_6155These 2 Plonkers work boats came speeding down through the ice on the moorings and after nearly hitting Nb Oakfield they hit the boat behind them. Its not easy steering through ice , but when you have a square bow its near impossible as these 2 showed.

IMG_6175And then came along this this guy in a plastic boat going through ice , although the ice had been broken there were still some very large and sharp pieces and with only having a plastic hull its so easy for it to get holed. A very brave or foolhardy man.

IMG_6188Two Carolyn's, I don't think i could handle that…..One is enough for me thank you !!!! ( I wonder if Nb Carolyn is for sale ? )

IMG_6186What a lovely looking pair . Motorboat Nutfield towing Butty Raymond back to their moorings in Braunston Marina.

IMG_6192Spring is here ,Yippee !!!!!!. I might well have spoken too soon as its still only the beginning of February .

There is still no chance of us moving even though a lot of the ice around us has melted . We walked up to Braunston junction and the canal is still frozen solid South towards Oxford in the direction we are heading. It has to be at least 2 inches thick in places , so there is no chance of us getting through that for the time being.   Oh well the pub beckons again ….Cheers !

PS   If Pam and Terry on Nb Roosters Rest are reading this could you please leave a contact number in the comments below as we need to speak to you  .. I wont publish them. Thanks Gary and Carolyn.

                                                                                                                               Happy Days

Friday, 6 February 2015

Ice breaker


IMG_6117Full moon over Braunston and a very sharp frost .

IMG_6105The following morning this boat broke through the ice , with Paul and Jill from Nb Falcon looking on as he got a bit close to their boat .

IMG_6103The boat hadn't travelled very far and as you can see the ice has taken all the protective paint off the hull and its now back to bare metal.That's not good as the rust will soon start to eat into all that lovely unprotected metal. The owner will have to get some blacking on that as soon as possible.

IMG_6125A rather large volunteer working party doing a good job cutting back the offside near Braunston Marina.

IMG_6128This boat was being worked on in the dry dock at Braunston marina . Its having a full back to metal re-spray including the hull . I'm certainly glad I'm not paying for that.

IMG_6136 Picture taken by Carolyn……   ( No comments please )

IMG_6133That's looking better ,all the pounds are now full and Canal and River Trust workers are now clearing up and taking down all the safety fencing ready for the flight to open.

IMG_6130With all the running water which was used to fill the locks it hasn't had time to freeze like the rest of the canal.

We are now getting very itchy feet again, but we are not prepared to move with so much ice still on the cut . I know we have everything we need here but we just love to be on the move. The plan is to cruise down the South Oxford Canal for a few weeks and hopefully pick up some firewood on our travels as we have now just about run out.

                                                                                               Happy Days

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Braunston Lock repairs


A few days ago before the freeze we had a walk up the locks at Braunston to see how work was progressing. With only a few days to go until they open work is now nearing completion.

IMG_5992With the locks empty it gives you a good insight as to how they are built. Most locks have brick bottoms although there are odd ones that have a wooden base.

IMG_5999Its a good job this boat is moored on that side where it has a good muddy canal bed to settle on as opposed to this side where it has a very uneven and stoney bottom.

IMG_6007Top lock on the Braunston flight and work is progressing well . There has been a lot old rotten wood cut out of the lock gates and some new oak let in to replace it.

IMG_6010Here you can see how the lock is filled The square paddle on the right is raised with a windlass when the lock gates are closed ,the water then fills the lock via the hole you can see inside the lock on the bottom of the wall….Simple !

IMG_6011I bet someone wasn't very happy about losing their chimney in the lock pound.

IMG_6003“Bloody heck you are a big Westie” said Hamish. Unfortunately Hamish suffers from having Cataracts in both eyes and we sometimes wonder what he sees with his blurred vision.

IMG_6017Walking back through Braunston marina and look at all those shiney boats. I bet more than half of them spend 50 weeks a year without ever moving .

IMG_6024How can you walk pass the the Gongggzlers rest without stopping for a bacon, egg and sausage butty . And the best thing is they come with potato wedges….Just the ticket on a cold day

                                                                                                Happy Days