Friday, August 28, 2015

Restricted Operation

We started moving early this morning in order to compensate for delays caused by the stoppage at Buckby lock 12. The lock is back in operation but delays are to be expected. There was a short queue (4 boats) at the top of the flight (lock 8) and we found another queue of five or six boats waiting for lock 10. The queue for lock 12 was eight boats long by the time we arrived around 1 PM. One of the top gates on the lock has failed. Canal and rivers trust engineers have braced the gate and CaRT staff are very carefully easing boats in and out of the lock by hand (no engines permitted).

They are allowing two boats to go down at once but only one boat up at a time, so the queue to go up the flight has reached nearly 24 hours with parked boats nearly as far as the eye can see from Wilton Marina:

Despite all the delays we still reached Blisworth before it got dark.

And, yes madame, we were moving at minimum speed (engine at tickover). Your boat will move when even a rowing boat passes it if the thing is not tied up. No, the centreline only does not constitute properly, even if you are in the queue for the locks.

Moored at Blilsworth Mill

Total distance is 13 miles, 6¾ furlongs and 7 locks.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Designated Mugs

Designated Mugs

You know which one is yours:

Short distance today.

I bought some excellent steak pies for dinner from Village meats in Braunston, and strawberries for pudding. Then we went to the Boat Shop and awarded ourselves a brass plaque for traversing Blisworth tunnel (a trip we've done more times than I can count) and some ice creams.

We'll see how the stoppage at Buckby is progressing when we get here tomorrow.

Moored at Bridge 9 near Norton Junction.

Total distance is 4 miles, 5¾ furlongs and 6 locks.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

On the Puddle Bank

We made our way from Marston Doles to Braunston Puddle Banks today. I got wind of an emergency stoppage on the Buckby flight via Canalworld. After checking the Canal and River Trust website it was confirmed. Nothing moving at all since lock 12 has a broken gate. Moored on Braunston Puddle Banks Total distance is 8 miles, 6¼ furlongs and 8 locks

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Build Your Own Marina

It would appear this boater has decided to build his own personal marina. With the aid of a JCB. I'm not sure what the Canal and Rivers Trust view is on this.

Judging from the state of the bank, the "marina" was dug through the bank, the boat sailed into it and the bank replaced behind it.

Moored at Marston Doles

Total distance is 11 miles, 4¼ furlongs and 5 locks

Monday, August 24, 2015

Late Finish

We started really late, due to rain, shopping (we've just discovered fleece blankets) and a general inability to get going. However we were woken comparatively early by the movement of bins and goods outside the shops in Castle Quay. Next time we'll stick to the much quieter mooring by the park a few hundred yards away.

It seems really hard to find old-fashioned wool blankets. We've all decided the duvets we have on board are too warm for the current weather. I don't like the hospital style blankets that are more holes than substance (actually about 50%), so we've bought some fleece blankets. They're still much lighter than old fashioned woolen blankets but very cosy.

The result was we were still moving after sunset, stopping just as it became too dark to see as we moored.

Moored at Claydon Bottom lock.

Total distance is 6 miles, 6¼ furlongs and 7 locks

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Back to Banbury

Today we left Banbury, picked up the rest of the crew at Aynho Wharf and returned to the centre of Banbury.

I was thinking of going as far south as Somerton deep lock but most of the locks in this are are quite deep as well. The rain was another reason for not going all that far.

I was pleased to finally meet Maffi in person this evening in Banbury. I've been following his blog since forever. He is about to set off on a long trip.

Moored in Banbury.

Total distance is 12 miles, 2 furlongs and 9 locks.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Day Out in Banbury

We moved down fromn the Spiceball park mooring to the town centre, went shopping twice - once in the Castle Quay Centre and again at Morrison's. Then we moved out of the town centre for the night. I then sat down to try to work out how to claim the discount offered with Morrison's checkout voucher and concluded it's the most complex one I've seen from the big grocery stores. Asda: refund the difference immediately when you pay if you could get the goods cheaper elsewhere. Tesco: issue a voucher for the difference if you could get the goods cheaper elsewhere. Morrison: Customer must register for a Match and Save card. 10 match and save points added to the card for every penny you could have saved if you have bought the goods elsewhere. When you have saved 5000 points you will receive a £5 voucher. Also since I spent more than 40 pounds, I was given another voucher, which if presented with three other vouchers collected in different weeks during the month of August between 31 Aug and 6 Sep will entitle me to a £15 voucher to spend in September. Even if I was a regular Morrisons customer I doubt if I'd bother with the vouchers. I think I'll stick to Asda. Moored at Haynes Lift Bridge Total distance is 2 miles and 1 lock

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Smell of Banbury

The Smell of Banbury

Banbury, as well as the cross, is known locally for the smell of coffee that comes from the Kraft foods factory. We first detected the aroma in Cropredy, six miles away.

Moored in Banbury
18 miles 15 locks

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Marston Doles

After a pleasant night on the pontoon in Braunston Marina we fuelled up at Union Canal Carriers and continued our trip. Union Canal Carriers supplied the last hire boat we holidayed on before Syncopation was built. Almost as soon as we had moored at Marston Doles the dog managed to find a ditch with smelly mud at the bottom and had to have his paws washed before he was allowed back on the boat. Since he won't voluntarily allow anyone to put his paws in a bucket the process is a little undignified for him.

Moored at Marston Doles.

Total distance is 9 miles, 4¾ furlongs and 8 locks.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Night at the Marina

Two of the crew left today to go to work and attend meetings, so we made our way back to Braunston Marina, renting a mooring for the night with a shoreline electrical connection. A shoreline allows us to connect to the mains electricity to run the boat systems and charge the batteries without needing to run the engine for the four or five hours required to top them up after a normal night aboard.

For Syncopation, a gas free boat, overnight battery use includes boiling the kettle for cups of tea as well as the more normal TV watching, so the shoreline is essential if we don't want to run the engine.

Moored in Braunston Marina

Total distance is 6½ furlongs and 0 locks.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Moored in Braunston

We meandered down to Braunston Puddle Banks, stopping for a trip to the chandlery at Braunston Bottom Lock, where I bought paint and spares for the toilet.

The paint is for the roof. As time progresses, it has developed a couple of rust spots and the surface is chalking slightly. The new paint is the same colour as before, Craftmaster Off-White.

The toilet parts are to replace the seal and ball valve, since the current valve fails to seal and we've reached the point where the toilet spends most of the time switched off.

Passing the Admiral Nelson pub, Braunston.

Moored at Braunston Puddle Banks

Total distance is 4 miles, 5¾ furlongs and 6 locks.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Day 2

Today we traversed the Buckby flight, mooring just after Norton junction.

Moored near Norton junction, bridge 10.

Total distance is 8 miles, 4½ furlongs and 7 locks

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Summer Hols

As usual, we started off later than I planned, but this has something to do with the fact that we are boating with cars, a trip of approximately two weeks with the cars placed at strategic points to permit family members to meet their work commitments.

Moored at Heyford Fields

Total distance is 5 miles, 2¼ furlongs and 0 locks

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Testing of a new autonomous electric shuttle at North Greenwich today.

There's very little available on the internet about this - I've only found a  month old article in the Mail Online.

Paradoxically, even though they've done away with the driver they seem to feel the need to hire half a dozen marshals for this test. Somewhat like the red flag man required by the Locomotive Act. Or perhaps they're there to make sure nobody tries to make off with the autonomous vehicle.
And they've converted the cycle lane on the Thames path, moving bikes and pedestrians together on what was the pedestrian lane near the Emirates Airline.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Pink Flock

I saw this in the car park near work. It's a Mini in a non standard pink flock finish.

I had to touch it. I wonder how easy it is to keep clean?