Sunday, 26 October 2014


Weekly update - We only spent a day moored in the Foxton zone, preferring the quite rural areas rather than the busy tourist spots. It is funny sitting in the boat listening to what people say as they walk past. "Oh look they've got a chimney and there is smoke coming out" and similar things. 
We departed on Wednesday and travelled about 1 1/2 miles before stopping for the day. 
On Thursday during our daily walk we ended up in Foxton village. We found the Black Horse PH and as it was lunchtime decided to try the cuisine. They had a very good choice on the menu and specials board. Another plus is they are dog friendly. Oscar is settling into the routine at pubs well, knowing that if he behaves he will be given treats. Foxton is a lovely rural village with some large expensive looking homes. We were told that a farm shop is currently being built close to,the canal so that should be good for supplies when it's finished.

We had a lazy day on Friday and then on Saturday we set off for Welford. The trip had a few interesting moments. Due to the high winds some small trees had been blown down and in two places had partially blocked the canal. On one occasion we had to resort to using the pole to push us past an obstruction. Once through Husband Bosworth tunnel we arrived at North Kilworth Wharf. Here we topped up the water tank and also filled with diesel. We only pay the full rate of duty on the diesel we use for propulsion which I have assessed to be 20%. The remainder is cheaper as it is used for domestic stuff like heating, battery charging etc.
At Welford junction we turned left and travelled the 2 miles along the Welford arm for the first time. There is just one lock prior to the wharf which was set in our favour. At the end of the arm is a winding hole where we turned. We had some shopping to do and I also lit the stove. An hour later we returned to the junction and turned left and moored a couple of hundred yards along on the mooring rings. Soon after we arrived we were joined by at least six other boats, so lots of neighbours tonight.

Today was a maintenance day. We have a tarry/rusty residue seeping from between the chimney and the chimney collar. This has made a mess on the roof which now needs to be cleaned. We have tried using WD40, as this was recommended, with limited success. When we get back to Yelvertoft we will have to obtain something better. The second job of the day was dealing with an increasing loss of coolant from the engine. This entailed cleaning and drying the bilge first then running the engine until the leak showed its self. This required some close inspection of various joints in a tight engine bay. Not easy unless you slim and flexible which i am not. An added complication is the necessity to lay across a hot engine.

                                        Not much room in which to work

                         At one point I was upside down to reach the deepest area

Whilst I had the engine bay opened up like this I thought it would be prudent to check all the hose clips  and was pleased to find that it was only the one that was leaking that was lose. This included the hoses to our Hurricane diesel heater which provides us with programmable hot water and central heating if and when required. Again not much room is available for inspection so this is one benefit of camera phones which can be positioned in the small space to obtain a photo of the item needing inspection. By doing this I have been able to confirm that the Hurricane as only been running for 83 hours. We don't need to service this until it has done 1000 hours so some way off yet.

     The fitters must have rubber arms to connect all that pipe work together in this space

We will stay put for a couple of days, making an intermediate stop on the way back to Yelvertoft. We aim to be there on Friday as there is a Halloween party on Saturday which we are attending. By late afternoon all the other boats on the mooring had departed, so now we are all alone. It is now dark (17.30) outside due to the clocks going back. I for one will be happy if this is stopped next year as I prefer the lighter evenings.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Stormy at Foxton

We arrived at Foxton Locks yesterday afternoon and have moored in 'the Foxton mooring zone'. This area is I believe strictly time controlled, due to it being a popular tourist attraction. The area we are in restricts us to two days, and we could only stay a max of 14 days in the whole zone in any one month. After securing the boat for the impending arrival of hurricane Gonzalo, we went for a walk descending the lock flight. At the bottom is the junction where we carried on walking in the direction of Leicester. The wind started to pick up, especially when we reached open countryside and the clouds were begining to darken. The decision was made to return to the boat before we got a soaking. Most afternoons now the stove is lit, so we are nice and toasty by the evening. 
Today we went for Tuesday lunch at the Foxton Locks Inn. This is a very dog friendly pub and even has free treats for dogs when the owners have lunch. 

We have not yet decided whether to spend a further full day here or to depart tomorrow. We shall have to check the weather reports as I don't fancy moving with the winds gusting as much as they are currently.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Windy in Welford

Weekly update - Having spent 13 days moored in Yelvertoft it was time to move on. It was only a short hop to bridge 19 and the water point where we had a fill up. This seems to take anything between half an hour to 45 minutes. Oscar is usually off the boat during this time and not much escapes his attention, especially a dripping tap.

             Oscar testing the water quality

I should state that during our stay near Yelvertoft we visited the Knightley Arms P.H. for our Sunday lunch. I can say without doubt it was the best pub meal that we have had. Once the water tank was filled it was onwards towards a regular mooring spot near bridge 28. Although this is a nice south facing spot we only stayed one day.
Welford junction was our next port of call. There is straight stretch of canal with mooring rings just prior to the junction. We arrived here on the Friday and planned on staying the weekend. The mooring slowly filled and one boat in particular caught my attention. I went and spoke with the occupants and confirmed my initial thoughts. It was Ian and Irene from Free Spirit whose blog can be viewed in my blog list. It is great meeting fellow bloggers especially experienced ones who can give us advice about our new lifestyle. Free Spirit is our second blogger meeting, having met Seyella, also in my blog list a couple of weeks ago.
The weather on Saturday was a bit hit and miss with the rain, however it was really mild. Today we woke to clear blue sky and bright sunshine. The wind however was fairly blustery. Being Sunday it was pub lunch day, so we walked the couple of miles into Welford for lunch at the Wharf Inn. We found our usual table free and Oscar was remembered from last time. Following a visit to the village shop we returned to the boat for an afternoon of relaxing.
Our plan for the next week is to travel back to Foxton and stay there a while. This means an earlyish start tomorrow and the deployment of the tunnel light. This will however be weather dependant. Whatever happens, if the forecast is to be believed, then we don't want to be moving on Tuesday.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

A few maintenance jobs

We have stayed put since Friday, moored close to the entrance of Yelvertoft marina. The weather has taken a turn for the worst with some quite heavy rain, and a blustery wind blowing. Inside the boat however with the stove lit it is warm and cosy. 
Prior to the arrival of the rain I bought a hat for our chimney. This is designed to just balance on the top, and a good gust of wind I suspect, would deposit it in the canal. Currently I have it clamped with a G clamp, but today I took a trip into Rugby and purchased some self tapping screws which should make a more permanent solution.
Yesterday I spent doing a few jobs in the boat. The main one was balancing our radiators so that the heat output is mainly concentrated in the living area and the bathroom, with slightly less in the bedroom and rear room. I have also been reading up on battery maintenance and it can be a minefield. It is however important if you want to get the maximum life out of your batteries, as they can be expensive. Therefore, the engine was run for nearly 8 hours yesterday whilst the travelpower generator, and mastervolt inverter/charger performed what is called an equalisation charge. Fortunately this only has to be done every so often.
One of the benefits of having the stove lit is that you can cook on it, so today sitting on the stove is my tea, beef and ale stew. It certainly smells nice bubbling away in the pot. I will let you know in my next post how it turned out.

Tomorrow we are intending to move as we need water soon and will also fill up with diesel. I have found out speaking to some neighbouring boaters, that there is an unofficial winding hole by bridge 22 so we do not need to go as far as we thought. This move will be subject to the weather.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Bridge 18 Yelvertoft

Weekly update - On Monday we departed Foxton on a general return journey. We stopped again at North Kilworth and then on Tuesday I took a trip by road to Market Harborough. This appears to be an attractive small town with decent shops and we will be visiting it by boat later in the year. On Wednesday we moved again stopping overnight near a previous mooring spot at bridge 28. Unusually for us we moved again on Thursday this time passing Yelvertoft marina before winding (turning) at Cracks Hill winding hole. We did this to beat the bad weather that is forecast to arrive by the weekend. We plan on staying here for the week as family are possibly visiting us next weekend. I have however made a basic error as after this visit we intend on heading back down the Watford Locks to Long Buckby and then continue south on the Grand Union Canal towards the Northampton Arm. I am however facing the wrong way and the nearest winding hole is 3 miles away so a 6 mile round trip which is a days cruising for us. We will only have two weeks or so to explore as the Watford Locks are to be closed at the beginning of November as part the Canal and River Trust winter stoppages for maintenance. We need to be back on the summit level before then for our mooring in Yelvertoft Marina.
Today, Friday 3/10 we walked into Crick and found that the Red Lion pub has a nice atmosphere and that on the first Sunday of each month they have a pie night. The selection looked very good so i am sure we will visit them again. There is also a well stocked mini co-op so it is good to know we have good pubs and shops all with in walking distance for the winter.

                          View back towards bridge 18 and the marina entrance.

That's it for now as we get ready to batten down the hatches for the wind and rain that is forecast. Tomorrow we have birthday to celebrate. Oscar is one year old and we have got him a nice chewy bone for his present.

Totals 14 Miles 1 Tunnel