Thursday, 22 March 2018

A different world on the other side of the tunnel!

This morning we were joking about how the weather is ALWAYS awful on the other side of any tunnel we’ve been through and today was no exception. We woke to a gloriously warm morning at Stoke Bruene so I didn’t light fire as yesterday we had to open the windows & waste all our heat as it was far too hot indoors. As we got towards the end of Blisworth Tunnel the temperature appeared to drop rapidly and indeed it was rather sunless & chilly. Therefore I lit the fire while we were cruising along.

Frosty Yardley Gobion

Firecrest arriving, bottom Stoke Bruene locks

Knitting before going up Stoke Bruene locks


We’ve spent the last couple of days cruising with Cheryl & Eric from nb Firecrest. Cheryl & I became virtual friends on the knitting forum Ravelry several years ago by chatting on the narrow boats section of the group about our plans to move onto a boat, we met each other face to face at Fibre East, Bedfordshire’s wool festival in 2013. Funnily enough, we both chose the same firm Braidbar Boats to fit out the interiors of our boats. Cheryl popped around to do some spinning once we’d moored at Stoke Bruene yesterday and we had to pop to her boat for tea and cake too.

Spinning nb Burnt Oak
Tea on nb Firecrest, nb in front

Cosgrove horse tunnel
Last Friday at Yardley Gobion, while I was waiting for my sister Louise to pick me up to take me to Birmingham to watch my nephew Jack in his university dance show, we were kept company by a field of ewes and lambs. While at Yardley Gobion we strolled to Cosgrove & walked through horse tunnel, which was adorned with beautiful icicles.
The day we left Yardley Gobion we had a very harsh frost and yet more ice on the canal albeit very thin.

Ford near Castlethorpe

Friday, 16 March 2018

Spring today and winter forecast for tonight!!!

During yesterday’s cruise we stopped off for a coffee break in Wolverton to see ‘Firecrest’, Braidbar 160. Cheryl & Eric’s boat is all electric, which means they are able to cruise silently, powered by their batteries, which are charged by a generator. We have arranged to go up Stoke Bruene locks with them next week.

Near Yardley Gobion

Today we are basking in glorious spring sunshine in the beautiful Northamptonshire countryside, near Yardley Gobion.  However, tomorrow the met office is promising rather different weather. It’s the first time this year I’ve been able to put the washing out to dry. The workforce are out and have just trimmed the hedge along the tow path, luckily John saw them coming as I’d just a few moments before put my bird feeder up, so it quickly came down while they passed and is now back up ready for the poor birds tomorrow. 

We’ve been a bit lazy with the camera this month but have got a couple of shots of a buzzard, kingfisher and lion.

At the beginning of the month we stayed at Marsworth for about 10 days as we were iced in. We strolled into Tring, discovered the farm shop at Wilstone and Puddlestone Distillery that makes three types of ‘Campfire Gin’. We had a taste of the gin & just couldn’t decide which one to buy, so we got all 3!!!! Plus, we had several visits to The Red Lion, as well as for the Wednesday knitting group.


Once defrosted we moved onto Leighton Buzzard. Maggie picked me up & took me to Flitwick for an evening at the Bedfordshire Guild of Weavers, Spinners &Dyers. It was lovely to see all my old friends and meet the new members too. I also attended ‘Knit & Tonic’ at The Black Lion and we just had to pop in there to visit their gin palace last Friday, more than 80 gins!!!!

We had a trip to London to hear Edmund play in the London City Orchestra last weekend. The concert was at Regent Hall, Oxford Street. When we came up from the tube station we both wanted to duck back down there & run away, million of people, we’re just NOT used to such crowds any more and then on our way home there was a rather large political protest in Regent Street, with LOTS of police & mounted ones too and lots of shouting!!

The Whipsnade lion
View over to St. James the Great, Hanslope

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Snuggled in Marsworth

We had a few days of excellent cruising last week in the beautiful sun shine, to get to Marsworth ready to snuggle up and wait for the ‘Beast from the East’ to drop by and as predicted the beasty is here.

We travelled up from Apsley over two days. Sainsbury’s mooring at Apsley was completely empty so we were able to load up a trolley & get right to the boat. I put the shopping away once we’d gone up the next lock to get water. We both got pretty cold steering so took it in turns to do the locks to keep warm, it was delightful with the sun on us though.

Aylesbury Arm

Monday we walked along the Aylesbury Arm and back again. We’ve not walked so far in a good while. The ice was patchy on the canal and a few flakes fell as we were walking. It was interesting to see lots of old wooden boats in different states awaiting restoration at Bates Boat Yard. The last time I was in Aylesbury was May 1994 when we hired a little 4 berth boat as we only had 2 kids then, aged 7 and 4 years old. Aylesbury Basin is VERY different now with huge new buildings, back in the 90’s the Aylesbury Canal Society (ACS) had moorings there. The ACS now has a rather nice club house and mooring at Circus Fields a way out of the centre of the town. We were almost back at the boat and we could see the sky was falling over the Dunstable Downs and just as we got in the snow fell. 

Icicles, Bear Brook, Aylesbury
Bates Boat Yard

Tuesday we did a much shorter stroll up Marsworth flight and along the restored stretch of Wendover Arm and I think the last time we went up there was in 2013 on another hire boat holiday. We bumped into Lynn & Alf, Ada’s new parents-in-law and Rossi the dog.

Last evening we were at The Red Lion for knitting, usually we have to squeeze in to get to the bar and find a seat, however, the ‘beast’ had kept just about everyone at home.

We’re guessing we’re going to be iced in here until after the weekend, however, we did see 2 boats ice breaking on Tuesday, one was moored opposite us, gosh, the noise inside here of the ice breaking was deafening. The sun sets have been gorgeous and we’re still waiting for more than just a tiny sprinkle of snow.

Inside sunset reflection
Sunset through the port hole

Aviary, at Anglers Retreat

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Visiting and knitting and bits in between the wedding

John & me in the front seat



On the day Brad & Arlene were delayed we decided to go ahead with our original plans, to spend the day gongoozling along the Regent Canal & Paddington Basin and then go to ‘Wicked’ with Lyn & Kevin. While we were standing on the bridge looking at all the boats in Paddington Basin & right beside St. Mary’s Hospital A&E, Edmund just happened to be taking a patient there. It was so lovely to see him & Ella, sit in their ambulance & press their ‘available’ button, which immediately said they needed to blue light to an unconscious patient, so a very brisk good-bye. We’d arrange to meet up the following week on our way back from waving Brad & Arlene off on Thursday, as both Ella & Edmund needed help with their knitting.

Paddington Basin with A&E window top left



Thursday lunch time as planned we met Edmund & Ella at Ladbroke Grove & we had pizza in Portobello Road and a knitting tutorial, which we carried on in The Elgin Arms, Ladbroke Grove. Edmund’s boyfriend Josh just happened to be on his lunch break & joined us for a pint too. It was quite shocking to see the burnt out skeleton of Glenfell Towers from Ladbroke Grove.

Pam Sandra & me

Last Friday by Apsley Marina

Sandra and Pam from Hitchin Stitchin popped in to see us while we were at Apsley, they didn’t bring any knitting though. The day before I’d managed to do some knitting in the warm sunshine by Apsley Marina.

We had a mega trip to the launderette at Apsley as we’d used up all our towels & bed linen with our wedding guests. We got the machines going & John settled to read his book & I was puzzled as to where my knitting was…….Oh NO, we’d shoved it into a hot wash, luckily my sock with it’s 5 needles stayed in it’s bag, however, the pattern had turned into paper mache & had embedded into the sock and the ball of wool, it was fine and I just unpicked the sock & wound the yarn into a hank, shook it to get the bits of paper & it looks fine.

Our niece Alice & her boyfriend Mason came today for a ride & we went down 4 locks winded (turned around) & came back up the same 4 locks to moor right near Alice’s house. 
Mason steering

Hunton Bridge lock


Monday, 19 February 2018

Ada & Dale’s wedding



It’s over a week since Ada & Dale got married at Hunton Park Hotel, Kings Langley, with their Star Wars theme. The tables were named after planets featuring in the films and along with flowers, there were lightsabers as centre pieces. The lightsabers were enjoyed by all after the meal. It’s a lovely old house with the ceremony in the orangery there. Luckily, the house was perfect for photos, which was just as well as it poured all day long, so we weren’t able to take advantage of the beautiful gardens and grounds. They had a three tiers wedding cake, Dale’s mum Lynn made the bottom chocolate cake, plus the sugar flowers to match Ada’s bouquet, Louise made the middle red velvet cake and I made the small (we’ve only got a little oven) top lemon drizzle cake. Heather (see her Overells Oddities on all social media) made Ada’s and the bridesmaids origami flower bouquets. We haven’t got the official photos yet which is a shame.

First dance

Waiting for the bride

Alf (Dale's dad) & Magnus

There were 5 children, 8 years old and under, so Ada & Dale had a play room with ball pond, play mats and tunnels for them. It wasn’t just the kids that enjoyed the play things though.

Nikita Lance Heather Magnus
Nathan John Lance & Magnus

Ada trying to squeeze her dress throught the tunnel

Quite a lot of the guests stayed at Hunton Park on the wedding night, which meant we were able to meet up at breakfast time.

The evening before the wedding Ada stayed at my sister Louise’s house along with Heather & Nikita. As we were moored at Hunton Bridge a few minutes walk from Louise’s I joined them for a pizza & Prosecco supper, Samantha came too. Three of the husbands went to the pub.

Girls pizza & presecco night

Our friends Brad & Arlene flew in from Canada for the week of the wedding. Arlene & I have been pen-pals for 45 years. They arrived a day late as their internal flight to Toronto International airport was cancelled. They’d booked ticket for the four of us to see ‘Wicked’ in London, which they sadly had to miss. They managed to stay an extra day and as I’d already booked us all uncancellable rooms at a hotel at Heathrow so we spent 2 nights there and took a double decker bus, they only have single deckers inCanada, to Hampton Court Palace and yet another damp & dismal day. They spent a couple of days on the boat with us and we cruised a few miles and did 12 locks.

Brad & Arlen at Hampton Court

We drank Heaathrow Premier Inn out of beer

 We are now just waiting for a lock to be repaired at Berkhamsted so we can head north to Colecraft Boats to have some adjustments made to our front door & side hatches.

Cactus wedding favours in our pots from Heather's wedding