Saturday, 31 October 2015

The Approach of Warwick Wintering

We lay presently at Leamington Spa, with the days getting shorter and the nights growing longer and this seems to herald more than ever the end of our 2015 cruise.

As always it has been a wonderful and eventful year, especially in the company of Janis my excellent travelling companion, while our two little ships that have happily been close together now for four years or more, frequently hugging each other while contentedly breasted up, seem to be aware that they are so near to home and winter moorings at Warwick.  


Steve, Janis and George on the way to Thrupp


It has been an eventful month in that it saw the sad and premature death of my son-in-law and chum Steve, who had only recently been to see us with my grandson George and cruised to Thrupp and back from Kiddlington on ‘Roots and Wings’. When the news came through it was such a shock in spite of our knowledge that he was going into hospital for what was expected to be quite a routine operation. He was a happy, always kind and thoughtful man and will be missed terribly by my daughter E-J and grandson George as well as the many many friends that he had. The number of wonderful tributes he received on Facebook was phenomenal.


DSCN4683  In the lock

The Sun always shines at Napton-on-the-Hill


After sampling the delights of the Kennett and Avon Canal this year as far as Bristol and the glorious River Thames in between the former and the South Oxford Canal, which was all bliss and having recently passed through Radford Bottom Lock on the Grand Union Canal, which is the last lock of more than four hundred this year, it will be good to tie up finally at Kate Boats to taste the sins of civilization again. As we plug into 240 volt shore-side electricity it will be wonderful to blow the dust off the electric kettle and toaster once more and not be forever anxious about the continual state of the leisure batteries and with public transport so close to us I shall be able to indulge to my hearts delight in visiting my family and friends with such ease during the winter months for as long and as many times as I like.



Jolly japes in Jephson Park, Leamington Spa


Friday, 9 October 2015

S’alright for Some


The Skipper has just popped out for lunch to the local Wetherspoon’s pub so I thought I’d grab the computer for a while as he was away. It always takes him all day to write a blog (bless him…He is getting on you know!) but it takes no time for me at all for me to say what I need to.

By the way, do you like my latest font? Don’t know what it’s called as I couldn’t read the words but I reckon it looks better than the old Man’s boring Calibri that he uses all the time.

Anyway what I wanted to say was that I’m getting a bit fed up at being left behind all the time. Reading his blogs have you noticed that he and Janis have taken extra trips this time out? Each time they’ve gone off with their fancy friends in ‘Roots and Wings’ and left me behind at the moorings to my own devices every time, without another thought as to what could happen to me while they were away and you know how bored and sad I am when left on my own.

That Skipper of mine!…. He does really take liberties sometimes.

The latest time it happened was when they all swanned off to Cropredy the day before arriving back yesterday. The Old Man didn’t start right anyway, when we arrived in Banbury and he tied me up under trees blocking any sunshine and as you and I both know the sunshine on my solar panel makes me feel so much better. He did at least think again about his thoughtlessness when he shifted me to a mooring nearer to Banbury Lock and into all day sunshine just before they left.

But…. oooh the smug look on ‘Roots and Wings’s bow as she passed me by made me so mad. If I hadn’t been restrained by my moorings I could have gone across and smacked her.

Still while they were away for twenty four hours I managed to calm down as it wasn’t really her fault, was it?

And when they returned she was facing the other way of course so for the first time this year she and I were face to face so we could enjoy a good chat together. And she shared with me, not in a smug boring way as she could have done, but nicely about her experiences in Cropredy, which I thought was kind of her, don’t you think?

It was lovely to be face to face and be therefore closer than we had been able to be all summer.

She’s alright really. It’s the humans that run her that are the trouble.

Still I need to go now as the Skipper will soon be back and wanting the computer again. It would be awful if he caught me using it. My writing like this would offend his dignity I know it would. But it’s lovely to be able to talk to you and get things off my chest now and again. See you soon I hope.

The Swift Passage of Time and Miles

I have noticed that it is over a month since my last posting from Hungerford and all I can say is how time flies when one is enjoying oneself. But I am also very aware that this is the first month since beginning the blog that I have written so few. I apologise as I do take great pleasure in writing these words as much as I hope you enjoy reading them.


Sunrise pictures at Somerton Meadow



Morning mist at Somerton


Morning’s calmness


However I wasn’t really aware of this lapse till I met and then was reminded by Lisa on NB ‘What a Lark’, who we encountered frequently with husband David while we were on the South Oxford Canal below Banbury, as our two ships ‘leapfrogged’ each other on their way northwards.



The narrow entrance into Nell Bridge Lock, Aynho


But we are now at Banbury after a swift passage (for us anyway) from Hungerford to Reading and then onto the River Thames to Oxford. On our continued idyllic exploration of the Kennet and Avon Canal it suddenly occurred to Janis and I that at our present rate we would soon run out of time for getting back to our winter mooring at Warwick by 1st November and as a result mild panic set in. After a few days spent in Newbury where we entertained Neil, a friend of Janis’s, for a little while, we set off in earnest, using only overnight moorings, towards Reading and the north until we arrived at a beautiful mooring at Kiddlington Green Lock on the canal just north of Oxford.

Here we remained for two nights while my grandson George and his dad Steve paid us a visit and we took them up as far as Thrupp and back in ‘Roots and Wings’. It was a great occasion for me as I hadn’t seen them for sometime.

And now in Banbury Janis’s sister Raeleen from Australia has come to visit us. She will be here for a few days so we shall be busy making sure she sees all the local places of interest before she leaves. In this respect on the day before yesterday we made the most of the beautiful sunshine to cruise to Cropredy, again in ‘Roots and Wings’ (the cruiser layout of her design makes her much more of a sociable boat for visitors than ‘Futurest’s traditional boatman’s cabin layout). We stayed the night there and returned to our moorings below Banbury Lock yesterday afternoon. But Raeleen’s work never seems to be too far away as today she has caught the train to Warwick to meet a colleague for a working pub lunch  giving me the grand opportunity of catching up somewhat with my errant blog writing.

In a few days Raeleen will be leaving and our return voyage to Warwick for the winter will be accomplished after we continue to the north towards Fenny Compton, Napton, Long Itchington and Leamington Spa.

The weather remains very fine for us at present though the verdant Summer green countryside of the past few months is now rapidly donning its colourful Autumn clothing as the days grow shorter and the nights get cooler. I must soon overhaul my ‘Squirrel’ solid fuel fire ready for its imminent Winter commissioning.