On Saturday morning we left our mooring below Long Itchington, teamed up with nb “Tamarisk” for a very pleasant journey up through the 15 locks on that stretch.
Our timing up the Stockton lock flight was a bit unfortunate as we passed two boats teamed up and going down. We knew both boats! – Chris and Jennie on nb “Tentatrice” and Tony on his new Hudson boat “Lydia” We’re really sorry not have been able to have more time to catch up with both but it was great to see them all the same.
At the top lock we (nearly) bumped into steam boat “Adamant” as it seemed very impatient to get into the lock before we, and “Tamarisk”, could get out – very strange!
Changing from the Grand Union canal onto the Oxford canal at Wigrams Turn the scenery changed to open countryside with a very autumnal feel about it, with all the ploughed fields, despite the lovely bright sunshine.
Our destination on Saturday was Braunston and the meeting up of three boats for some fun and laughter. It wasn’t long before “Aylmer” with Jan and Tony on board turned up and then a moment later “Waterlily” arrived with Pauline (the cup cake queen of the canals!) and Neil. This pic shows all – when Pauline and Doug get together it’s Bedlam!
In the afternoon we had wine and an huge array of nibbles courtesy of Jan and Tony on “Aylmer”. Enjoying the sunshine on the rear deck is Tony, Jan, Pauline, Doug and Neil.
The evening saw us on the opposite bank of the canal in the The Boat House for a meal together and then …….
………. back to “Chance” for coffee and chocolates (and more alcoholic beverages). The state of intoxication of some by the end of the evening was to be the cause of great hilarity when Neil chose the wrong pair of shoes when he left to go home. Not only did he put them on and walk back to his boat but he took them off and put them in the wardrobe! The shoes which Neil should have put on were left for Tony, who concluded that his feet must have swollen while he was enjoying himself on “Chance”. James offered a shoe horn but that was to no avail either. Feeling a bit like one of the Ugly Sisters in Cinderella, Tony just could not get the shoes on. By this time hysteria had set in, Pauline (realising what had happened) retrieved the stolen shoes from Neil’s wardrobe and brought them back to their rightful owner. Most of us were close to wetting ourselves at one point and we must have woken half of Braunston! (for which we apologise!)
After a very efficient rise up through the locks we were soon entering the Braunston tunnel and, once through that, …………
………. we briefly moored up at a ‘secret’ location to enjoy bacon toasties and coffee on board “Waterlily” and then to indulge in a bit of sloe picking.
Onwards after the sloe picking and turning onto the Leicester section of the Grand Union, we were at the Watford Locks in no time.
Even more efficiently than they did the Braunston locks, Pauline and Doug got us to the top of the Watford flight in a trice. This is Pauline at rest for a split second for a photo shot.
This is James, taking a well earned rest from steering the boat!
The lock keepers on the Watford flight keep things very pretty – in the distance, “Waterlily” is leaving the second lock on the way up ………
…….. and heads into the depths of one of the staircase chambers.
With Monday’s mooring destination of Crick within a stone’s throw, the canal surroundings are now taking on a distinct autumn feel.
All three boats are now safely moored for the night outside the Crick marinas – this evenings activities start with Gin and Tonics on board “Waterlily” followed by a meal at The Red Lion in Crick village. So far we’ve all had a ball this weekend.