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  • clivenmel

May 9th

Normal 0 false false false st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Friday 5th June - Needless to say when we got up on Friday morning it was raining!  According to the weather forecast it was due to have passed over by 9.00am and then remain clear.  Well it didn't!  So we stayed put, well for the morning at least.  Eventually the rain did ease off, around lunchtime and we finally set off.  We had quite a few locks to negotiate on the way but as it wasn't raining and they were reasonably well spaced out it wasn't too bad.  At one point during the afternoon we saw a very big, dark cloud which appeared to be heading our way, from behind.  We could see in the far distance that it was raining but we managed to stay ahead of it for quite some time until finally, late afternoon, it caught up with us!    Cruising along in the pouring rain we finally arrived on the outskirts of Leighton Buzzard.  Under normal circumstances we would have moored up a lot sooner but we had a letter which needed to be posted that day and needless to say there is never a post box around when you want one!  I had kept checking when we stopped at locks where there was a road bridge just on the off chance that there would be one but no such luck.   Therefore we moored up on the short term visitor moorings in Leighton Buzzard.  These moorings are for a maximum of two hours giving boaters the chance to go and do some shopping at the canalside Tesco and other shops up in the town.    I left Clive with the boat and set off into town to find the post office then remembered that most Tesco's usually have a post box at their entrance so I went there instead and was in luck.  Also I got the letter into the box before the last collection, which was great.  As I was in a Tesco's I thought I might as well do a bit of shopping, we needed more bread and a bottle of wine and a couple of other things, then I set off back to the boat and discovered there was as short cut through the hedge and as I was walking towards it I realised it was exactly where we had moored up as I could see Lady Arwen through the gap, brilliant!  We were soon on our way again but didn't go far, we spotted a decent mooring just after a lock and pulled in, very grateful to get inside where it was warm and dry!   Saturday 6th June - It was raining yet again when we woke up!  However we had no choice but to move on as we didn't have a TV signal where we were in amongst the trees and Clive wanted to watch the Grand Prix qualifying, which was due to start around 12.30pm.  As we were cruising along I spotted something in a field full of sheep and got the camera out.  Can you spot Reynard the Fox, lurking in the long grass - I don't think the sheep has seen him! We hadn't been travelling long when we arrived at the Soulbury Locks.  Now we have actually been there before, but not on the boat!  Back in January when we were locked in the frozen canal just South of Milton Keynes our friends Helen and Steve Gilson came to meet up with us and we went in their car down to the pub The Three Locks for lunch.  This pub is right next to one of the Soulbury Locks.  When we were there in January the locks were closed to boats to have necessary maintenance and the pounds and locks had been emptied - it looked very different when we arrived on Saturday!   Immediately after the pub there were some moorings and as it was now 12.00 noon we decided to pull in to see if there was a TV signal - no such luck, absolutely zilch!  So we carried on up through Stoke Hammond lock and a few minutes later reached the turning circle where we had turned the boat in the ice back in January so that we could moor up for the duration until the canal defrosted!  So, we were now back on familiar territory.    As it turned out Clive never did get chance to watch the qualifying!  He decided that he would watch it on the BBC iPlayer once we had got settled for the night, but unfortunately not - we had a great dongle signal but the iPlayer seemed to have a technical fault and we couldn't get any programmes to play let alone the qualifying!  Poor Clive!   The place we actually moored up for the night was also very familiar.  Those of you who read our blog regularly will remember that back in January when the canal finally thawed out we cruised through Milton Keynes and moored up on a curve of the canal opposite a large field where there were Short Eared Owls.  This is the same place we moored on Saturday evening, unfortunately we saw no sign of the owls, but I'm sure they will still be around.   Sunday 7th June - We got up bright and early and it was raining cats and dogs!  The plan was to get to Wolverton in order to go shopping at Tesco's.  We cruised on in the pouring rain and arrived in Wolverton at about 9.45am.  We moored up, grabbed the shopping bags and set off to Tesco's and the rain suddenly stopped just as we were crossing the bridge over the canal!   Hooray!    We had made arrangements to meet up with our very good friends Barry and Shirley Collings in Cosgrove.  They have recently bought themselves a lovely campervan and we were really looking forward to seeing it.  In Cosgrove, right next to the canal, is a very large caravan site and this is where we were meeting up later that day.  It had been decided that we would have dinner with them in their campervan on Sunday evening and then they would come to us for lunch on the boat on Monday, so I wanted to pick up supplies for that.    We quickly did our shopping and got back to the boat then headed off again - we needed to get settled somewhere with a good TV signal so that Clive could watch the Grand Prix!  We finally arrived at the outskirts of Cosgrove where we had moored up once before.  We pulled in, put the TV aerial up and tried to tune the TV - zilch!  Oh dear.  So down went the aeriel and we cruised a little further down the cut, over the Ouse Aqueduct and then found another space so pulled in there.  Up went the aeriel and bingo - 92 channels!!!  The only trouble was we were a long way from the entrance to the caravan park!   So Clive, now a very happy bunny, got himself settled in front of the TV and I went for a walk to see if I could find some moorings nearer to the caravan site entrance.  I did, a perfect mooring right next to the little short cut through to the caravan site.  So, back to the boat then I made some lunch for us both and as soon as Jenson had done his stuff and brilliantly won the Turkish GP ( isn't he doing well, bless him!) we upped sticks and set off again.  I trotted down to the lock and got it set and very soon we were moored up.   We arranged to meet Shirley and Barry at the reception office of the caravan site at 7.30pm which gave us chance to have a wash and brush up.  It was great to see them again - although we have kept in touch by email, text  and phonecalls, we haven't seen them since they took us back to their house in January.  Their campervan is absolutely lovely - a bit like a narrowboat really, but not quite as long!  We had lots of wine and nibbles then a lovely dinner and had a thoroughly enjoyable evening, then we said goodnight and Clive and I walked back to the boat.  I am very sorry to report that as we were having so much fun I completely forgot to take any photographs!  Must rectify that next time we meet them. Oooh I almost forgot to tell you something!  You will recall that I have been on a mission to find a plastic, water-filled, parasol base to no avail!  Well I got an email from Shirley and Barry last week telling me not to buy a parasol because they had four and we could have one of them.  Also they just happened to know that Ikea are currently selling plastic water-filled bases for £4.99 and would we like them to get one for us - absolutely!  We then received this photograph asking us to choose a parasol:   We picked the blue one in the middle as we thought it would match the boat better than green or yellow! When we met up with Barry and Shirley they had brought the parasol with them and the parasol base - sorted! All we need now is a reasonable sized whirligig washing line and the trio is complete!  Monday 8th June - We were in sore need of a pump-out and knew that there was a boatyard a couple of miles further up the canal so we had arranged for Shirley and Barry to come to the boat after breakfast so that they could come for a cruise with us.  They duly arrived around 10.00am and we set off.  It actually took about an hour to reach the boatyard - Barry kept Clive company on the stern and Shirley and I sat inside and had a really good natter, it was lovely.  Once we had done the pump-out we turned around and cruised back to Cosgrove and Shirley and I got lunch ready.   Of course when we arrived back at our Cosgrove mooring we were facing the wrong way!   We spent the whole afternoon just enjoying each other's company and then I made a lasagne for dinner and finally at around 9.45pm we said our fond farewells and Shirley and Barry headed off back to the campervan or, as Shirley calls it, The Pod!  (as in escape pod!).   Hopefully we will see them again in the not too distant future as we are going to be in East Anglia now until August so with a bit of luck we will find another place where there is a caravan site next to the canal where we can meet up again.   Tuesday May 9th - when we woke up this morning it wasn't raining!  After breakfast and whilst I was washing up, Clive pulled the boat about ten yards further forward so that our hose would reach the water point and then he filled up the tank.  Once that was done we were ready to set off but of course we were facing the wrong way!  The nearest turning circle was actually the other side of the lock so I walked down to set the lock but when I got there and looked at the amount of space there was in front of the lock where a disused arm went off in the other direction I realised there was ample space for Clive to turn the boat without actually going through the lock.  When he arrived on the boat I pointed this out to him and he made short work of pirouetting Lady Arwen around till she was facing the right way - excellent, we were off!   We didn't actually set off until 11.45am - I hadn't realised it had got so late!  Still we aren't in a rush as usual.  It didn't seem to take very long before we arrived at the Stoke Locks.  There was one boat a lock ahead of us, he knew we were there but didn't bother to wait for us, charming!  Then we met a boat coming down, then two more boats coming down - it's like the North Circular down here!  However by 3pm we were through the fifth lock and we decided that was as far as we wanted to go today, so here we are again moored up just below the village of Stoke Bruerne - this is the fourth time we have moored on these particular visitor moorings!  The last time we were here was in January when we went to the folk club with our friend Malcolm.   We had a late lunch when we arrived then decided to wander up to The Boat Inn for a wee drink.  As we were walking up the towpath we noticed signs stating that these moorings were reserved from tomorrow for the Stoke Bruerne Canal Festival, which is this coming weekend!  There are already a number of old working boats and butties moored up here, so we had better make a sharp exit tomorrow as it will be like Piccadilly Circus for the next few days! 

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