Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Well that’s it the rivers are now behind us
We came down the River Nene  in small hops some days only 3 hours cruising the weather is just too hot for long hard days. (at our age ???) for some reason the return down the R Nene was a lot easy that the going up maybe we have become use to the locks this time we decided to adopt a different system of Locking instead of dropping Noreen off so she could prepare the lock, most of the locks are Guillotine and the rules state you have to leave the guillotine open that meant we could motor straight into the lock Noreen and I then climbed the ladder I secure the boat, Noreen fills  the lock I open the gate and off we go the only set back is before you leave we have to empty the lock and lift the guillotine however once the rhythm was established we sailed through them. Arriving in Northampton on Friday and as Maryanne was coming over and bringing Thomas with her we decided to moor in the marina, with Thomas on board its saver. A BBQ was organised for sat night evening but in true Hodgkinson fashion as soon as I put a match to the fuel it thundered then it rained for two hours, the impromptu indoor BBQ was a great success if not hard work.
We were expected to meet Keith and Carol at Gayton Marina on the Grand Union on Monday but disappointingly Keith is not so good and had to stay in sunny Hyde. Kath and john have taken a few days off and gone home to catch up on the family, so we decided to stay here in the Marina for the week, we can rest up, the boat can be prepared for the return leg and Thomas and I can get some serious fishing in, so Buggerlugs and Orion are moored on the visitors moorings and we are just chilling out. Monday next we will start the return leg; there are lots of routes we can take via Birmingham, via the River Stour or the River Trent but caution tells me to not push my luck and return the way we came which is the shortest and has the least locks.
Other than the above we are just chilling out and thankful we are not travelling through the torrential rain, thunder storms or oppressive heat here we can relax and prepare for the return.

Speak Soon


The Marina supply these trolleys, you can even take them to Morrisons 
for the shopping  its just along the tow path (as long as you take a chain and lock) 
But for walking around to our fishing spot they are perfect 

First day we had 30 fish of which I caught 2 
and 5 crayfish??
Thomas is going to be a natural 

Monday, 22 July 2013

Watch your Diesel Tanks

Hi Quick Update

We arrived on te River Nene on Friday night  this was good timing as Friday nights have become Weatherspoons night just for medicinal purposes you understand? 
Sat I did a lot of maintenance on the boat, the Middle levels leave a lot to put right whist conducting a full inspection I realised I was down to ¼ of a tank of diesel as there are no boat yards tat sell diesel I thought good old Google and a few calls later I found a garage quite close  that would sell me at a good price so after lugging 50ltr of fuel ½ a mile across country we decanted 40ltr into Buggerlugs. We did this in full few of everyone passing by as you would. Then we went shopping for the afternoon. The following morning (yesterday we set off down the Nene thinking I had enough fuel now to get me down to the Grand Union, fortunately for us I decided last night to dip the tank to my surprise and horror I was down to less tan ¼ of a tank which would have meant I had used 50ltr in one day, as that would be impossible the only explanation is I had been DONE by diesel thieves. In broad day light on a busy mooring (Next chandlers I buy a locking cap) Horses and Stable doors come into mind. First time ever I think I should have taken advice from Midland Swindlers as they suggested that I get one in the spring. However again using Google we found a boat club that would sell us some diesel so, another 137ltr in the tank that brings the total to aprox £180 in fuel in three days! nobody ever say to me that boating is cheap???????
This morning Because we needed fuel we set out early 07.45 just as the mist was rising I always think tat is a very magical time of day so quiet, peaceful and cool,
its now 16.30  and Noreen has found a great mooring, We have traveled through the heat of the hottest day of the year and we are knackered we have both showered and both need to shower again. I can only say that we are serious seasoned travelers and have experienced heat in many countries and on many continents but this heat in this country is something so rare that it has overwhelmed us all. We are now both in the recumbent position Noreen is reading I am writing!!!  Awaiting the sun to go down 

Friday, 19 July 2013

Hi Everyone
We are now off the Great River Ouse and have crossed the middle levels to Peterborough. Crossing the middle Levels was relatively easy in fact we did it in under ten hours Yesterday was a maul getting off the Ouse as we had to wait for the tide that took three hours but you can’t rush these things can you look what happened to King Chanute ?? I am not sad to be away from the Ouse though the river was wonderful, the scenery was as you would think monotonous though it held its own charm and fascination  and of course we visited the fens at their best the weather was perfect. One aspect of the Ouse I did not like was the constant war between Narrow boats and Cruisers Now this is not my own opinion for as you know I do not express them too easily, but the opinion portrayed by many boaters it would appear that the larger cruiser ( large is an unfortunate word they are just wider than Narrowboats) anyhow they seem to have an impression that everyone on the river should give way to them, I soon dispelled that line of thought by keeping a straight heading and not giving an inch the myth of condescending attitude soon faded when they see 19 ton of steel heading towards them at. At a lock one of these boaters ask “could we go in front of you as we go faster than “”these things”” pointing at Buggerlugs, my reply was short and succinct in the form of that Buggerlugs was not a thing and if she wanted to go ahead of me then today was not her lucky day, She replied that she would have to report back to the “Captain” I ask if the captain was a good swimmer she or the captain did not return ,,  now was I not polite.
The thing that amazed me was the sheer audacity, the attitude of superiority, some of these boaters exhibited. And the fact that other boaters in smaller craft are letting them get away with it. I have no idea where it has come from, but believe me down on the river Ouse it is rife and a real war is emerging I am just sorry I will not be there to join in the fun???
We are now set to negotiate the river Nene to it conclusion as it joins the Grand Union Canal. It will be nice to get back on the canal were the pace is a little slower bridges are numbered, you can moor were you think fit, your map actually tells you where you are and everyone is equal.

Its a good job Buggerlugs and Orion get on, as we spend a lot of
"Buttied Up"along side each other, as mo orings are very few and far between

Last night on the Ouse was also my Birthday which of course meant a BBQ
moored up alongside a pub (its a hard life
Noreen at the helm leading us off the River Ouse
Cruisers keep to their own side when Noreen is at the helm I should really have warning lights and maybe a siren???

The last stretch of middle reaches very beautiful with the setting sun 
but I had just done 8 hours,but somehow scenes like this seem to lift the spirits

It was some time before I understood this sign it reads

Please Ensure slackers are closed before 
leaving the lock 
I was never sure if the slacker phrase depicted a person of immoral value, a piece of loose clothing  or a piece of equipment ??
As I say Darn sarth its very odd 

Sunday, 7 July 2013

St Ives Cambridgeshire

We have had a fantastic weekend in St Ives, the last few days has proved this is why we go boating, I know it doesn't happen a lot and in England you have to cope with what God sends you but when it does happen with temperatures in the very high 20s its fantastic,  Friday night it was off to the riverside pub sampling the real ale with lots of other like minded folk and Boaters alike finishing off with a rather good fish super what else can a man want Saturday we awoke to a blinding sun coming through the ports and we were soon up and off discovering; St Ives is a really nice little fen-land town with plenty of character and charm, moorings however are again in very short supply luckily we arrived on Friday before the rush and managed to get a spot on the town wall, its not easy getting on and off as the wall is about 5ft high but we are moored up. After discovering what was on offer in the town, Lunch and afternoon tea we went off to Mass before we had dinner, then it was time for the serious things of the evening, gin and tonic’s on the poop deck  with Kath and John until at least 10. 30pm we thought then it had cooled enough to hit the sack,what a glorious evening it was. Sunday started with about three hours of early morning fishing I did quite well with a mixed bag of Perch, Roach and Chub, after a quick shower we were off to hit the antique shops but honestly where do they get those prices, needless to say my Lancashire bargaining techniques of “How Much!!” Did not seem to impress our southern brothers (miserable load of buggers) We then sat down with a few beers to listen to the Brass Band that had turned out to welcome us?? And had set up on the green aside the boats
So we hammered the Aussies in the Rugby Test, We won the Tour de France and Murray did it at last and what a great Game it was, and we at last got rid of the so called cleric  Abu Qatada What a fantastic British weekend  If we continue with the rate of jingoism I can foresee an economy up turn, unemployment coming down, all the bankers being sacked and  Britain leaving Europe. Now what a wonderful summer that would make. The economy must be improving, people have money to waste I sold some paintings today. 
You see we don’t need politicians, they just confuse the issue all we need is some decent weather, and win the ashes isn't life so easy ?????????”   

Tomorrow we are off to St Neots (we hope I have to back up out of this creek when we came in for water nobody informed us that it is now a dead end) 
Speak soon 

First sight of St Ives after the Lock

Entering the Town through the Arches

Buggerlugs tied up for the weekend 
watch the paint work!!!

Noreen and Kath for afternoon tea and Strawberries

It was nice of the Brass Band to turn out for us

Another view of the town 

Thursday, 4 July 2013

The wonders of the waterways

This is just a quick note We have left Ely behind and headed south turning at Popes Corner onto the Old West River taking us hopefully to Bedford via St Neots and St Ives. the river now gets quite narrow in places not as narrow as the canal but by these standards its narrow in places and shallow, Moorings are getting very spaced out and are a very rare sight luckily we joined a club called GOBA (Great Ouse Boating Association) for £20 we can use any of their moorings which has proven to be to our advantage
At Hermitaget  Lock the river becomes tidal as the New Bedford River flows into it. You have about two miles of this tidal river which is something very different as the photo shows.
Tomorrow we hope to take on water at St Ives lets hope we can get in as the river boaters are not as accommodating as us canal Dwellers they seem to hog everything and think nothing of mooring up on water points
Time to get the last hour of fishing in

Grey seal and Cub
You do not get these on the Leeds and Liverpool and considering we are only 
about 25 miles from Bedford it is wonderful to see these were on the tidal river 
just one of the barriers to stem the flooding tide