Yes we have been in a network blackspot again. We spent a sublime weekend in Braunston. Having arrived their Friday as you would have read from my previous posting and we having found a partly shaded spot, once the sun had gone over the yard arm, we were all settled in. The towpath was surprisingly not too busy, so we able to get our chairs out. Friday we went over the Midland Chandlers and bought paint and a few items which were on the required list. We walked up into the village to the shop to get some more salad items, because I knew we would run short in the heat.
Saturday we took a walk up into the village and popped into the Community Café for a cuppa and to catch-up with Jenni, who volunteers there. We sat down at a table and were served a large teapot of tea between us, which was very refreshing in the heat. We enjoyed the tea so much we even had a top-up. Jenni arrived at 10.45 am and we immediately caught up on a few news items. It was so lovely to see her, as it had been sometime. I have been friends with Jenni on Facebook for a long time and whenever we are in Braunston we try and say “Hello”. If you are in Braunston the café is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 10 am, it is well worth a visit. All the money they take goes to good causes in the village and is run by volunteers, so a worthwhile giving them your support. Whilst we were their Keith popped into the butchers to buy one of their amazing large pork pies, it cost him £4.99, and did 7 meals so well worth it and it was jam packed with meat. After we had drunk our tea and sad “Cheerio” to Jenni, I also went to the butchers and got a couple of large Sausage rolls, which were equally as good. It is the best butcher in the area. On our way back to the boat I suggested we go to the pub for lunch, so having stowed away our butchers goodies we headed round to The Boat House for a curry lunch and a pint of Pedigree, which went down rather to well on such a hot day. Being in Braunston and moored at the turn is always good for a laugh as boats do ballet with each other and others just plain and simple get in the way. With the Historic Boat Rally coming up, boats were starting to arrive for the weekend.
Chertsey came past. We had not seen Sarah for some considerable time, so it was to say “Hello” again.
Tench also came past, they are at the event to do their Idle Women production. Alex and Brian had boated all night to get to Braunston, so they were both exhausted.
The steam boat Hastie also came past us, I do so love that boat. The rest of our day was spent sitting outside under the tree for a bit of shade, I got on with finishing another blanket and nattered to passing walkers. These days it is rare to sit out on the towpath, because you either get molested by other peoples dogs or run down by cyclists, which spoils the enjoyment we take for granted on our pontoon at home. A good few years ago you could sit out on the towpath and not worry about others coming past, but these days with speeding cyclists it makes sitting out more uncomfortable. This is of course just my opinion.
Sunday was a day of doing nothing much because it was so warm. I nipped up to the shop to buy some Pickle, because we had none on the boat and it goes perfectly with Keith’s pork pie. I also got him some sweets for Fathers and Grandfathers Day. I got on with more crocheting and he just did his crosswords. During the afternoon he was asked about his rag rugs and the gentleman said he would come back on Monday morning to buy one, as he needed to make sure it would fit the back cabin.
Monday morning arrived and so did the gentleman to buy a rag rug. We hope he will be very happy with it. It was moving day, as we do not like to out stay our welcome and with the Historic boats arriving, we wanted to vacate out spot.
We set off down to the marina and winded before heading back to the turn and on our way.
There were a few boats on the move, many of them being met by us in bridge ‘oles. We always wave people through, because it seems it is easier for us to hold station than them. But clearly some people do not understand you waving them on, so they waved at us to do the same thing. We held station till eventually they got the message and came on.
Our mooring for the night was at Napton junction, where we found a nice shady spot. Both Paddy and Marmite enjoyed being out on a nice quiet towpath, where only a couple of people came past on foot. The passing boats were in larger numbers and once again some of them do not know what tick over is. We were sat out until gone 9 pm because it was so much cooler outside than inside the boat.
Tuesday we turned at Napton Junction and headed back to Stockton marina, where we reversed into the basin and settled in ready for our old Generator to be taken out. The marina is only a small one, but is well turned out and has everything to hand. There was a nice meadow area to walk Paddy and once everyone had gone home for the day we let Marmite out on her lead and Paddy out to enjoy the evening breeze. Both of them have been finding the heat a bit much. Paddy is still not eating properly and we think it is due to the heat. It was gone way past 9.30 pm before we started packing things away and getting back on to the boat.
Today was the day we had been looking forward too. Rob and Nick came and sorted out all they required to do the job and whilst Rob got on with preparing the old generator to be taken out Nick got the teleporter ready.
Now we all thought it was going to be a tough job, but it shows when you have the correct tools anything is easy.
We did have to take the calofier out, but that made it easier to slide the generator along and then lift it out through the engine room doors.
Easy peasy when you know how and have the right tools. I then had the job of cleaning up 10 years worth of oil and grime and of course Paddy’s hair. After tidying up we had to move the boat out of the marina and onto one of their side moorings, so they could move their new hireboat into our place to put in the paving slabs which they were using as ballast. We were more than happy to move and wait to come back in, but a boat then arrived who wanted to wind, in what is NOT a designated winding hole. I sat giggling as I could hear his wife giving the man steering a right earful of how if he could not wind, she was going to be late for work and how he should have winded miles back as she said blah de blah de blah. So he reversed back. At this point were told we could go back to our spot in the marina, as they had finished doing the hire boat, which was now back in the paint shed. Obviously this guy on the boat which could not wind, thought oh great I will give it another go, but he could not wait for us to move and almost walloped us, even though one of the Kate Boat guys asked him to wait. Because of his impatience Keith shouted at him “Please Wait, can’t you see we are moving” the guy still kept coming, which made Keith shout even more that the guy should open his eyes. Anyway eventually he winded and was on his way. I can only imagine the ear bashing his wife gave him. Rob came over before the end of the day to do some measuring, because we would need some welding done, as the generator needed to be fixed down and the brackets for the old generator would probably not line up with the new one. After another very hot day, Keith, Paddy, Marmite and I spent the evening sitting outside. I opened the boat right up to allow a breeze to clear the stale hot air inside. It was clear that sleeping was going to be difficult, because it was definitely the hottest evening we had endured. In between crocheting I had been reading. I began with ‘A little bit marvellous’ written by Dawn French. Oh how I giggled reading that book. It was such a laugh and even I could see some similarities with my own life as a teen and a parent. It is a well written book and worth a read. I then went on to ‘Necessary Lies’ written by Diane Chamberlain. This had me gripped from the beginning. It tells of a woman who becomes a Social Worker and how she helps a family who are poor and because of issues they are made part of the Eugenics program in the 1960’s. I will tell you no more, you have to read it and I dare you not to be gripped. It was an excellent read and so well written, as I said it had me gripped from the world go.
I slept surprising well, considering how hot it was. Both of us slept on top of the bed clothes for most of the night. I only covered up after I woke at about 5 am. 6.30 am I got up and made us both a brew. We were getting our water from a tap by the boat, because of no calorifier, we had no pumped water, which was no big deal. I find of liked it. Yeah I know I am strange. I prefer the easy way of life. After all they used to get their water in their cans, there was no plumbing on board. All water had to carried in water cans and that would last the day, before refilling at water taps along the way. Up at 7.30 am and off walking Paddy in the cool morning air. The morning was overcast and we had a sprinkling of rain early doors. It was a blessing to have a cool breeze for a nice change. Apparently the temperature was going to be cooler all day, which I know for those suffering with asthma and hayfever will be so pleased to have a breather. Having fed everyone on board, I filled up the water bottles and we sat in ready for the wait for our new generator. We had no idea what time it was due to arrive. But as we had paid a £100 delivery charge, we had hoped it would be early, so Rob could get a head start with it.
Early it was 9.15 am to be precise. It came in a wooden crate. Rob unscrewed the box to reveal our new generator and wow it was compact and definitely smaller than our old one.
Rob was all for getting started, but he then got a call-out to a hire boat in Birmingham and from the phone call it sounded serious. Rob apologised that he would not be starting today, which was absolutely fine, we know he has call-outs to do for the hire boats. After lunch we had to move the boat again to in front of their paint shed, because Friday and Saturday is turn around for their hire fleet and we would be in the way of the services. So we pulled Hadar back out of the way. Rob came back later in the afternoon, having been sent on a job which was not as serious as was thought and in fact a wasted journey, because it was just a road cone wrapped around the propeller and even though those on the boat had said there was nothing on the propeller, they had clearly not checked, so it was a wasted day for Rob. We do not have any water still, so we used the marina’s shower, which I could not get any hot water from, so I ended up having a cold shower, which was somewhat refreshing. When Keith went to have his he found a pull cord which turns the electric to the shower on. Note to self. Look around more carefully next time of which there is sure to be. As for cooking and kettles etc I am getting water from the tap near the boat, so we are absolutely fine. We are now on the electric as well, so we can watch DVD’