Sunday, 24 January 2010

Oh Dear - Where Did The Blog Go ? - And Aylesbury Arm in January

(Posted by Alan)

Somehow we are nearly in June, and the blog has lain dormant since the start of the year.

There are actually some very real reasons for that, as all should become clear, but we are in danger of seeing it die because it is lagging so far behind real time.

Blogger doesn't seem to easily allow you to go back and include events already passed, and actually get things in chronological sequence.

(Subsequent note: It has been pointed out to us now how you can adjust the dates of blog posts - thanks for that! Very useful, and I'll try and sort out the muddle soon!).

Anyway, we have decided to add some "place holders" for events and trips we have missed up until now, which at least gives us something we can go back and edit and add to, if time magically starts to appear.

After our New Year on Chalice, the next trip out was to Aylesbury in fairly cold weather on January 23rd (outbound) and 24th (return to base).

So this is brief acknowledgement of that so far unrecorded trip.

A chilly start planned from Aylesbury Basin

We hoped that this still fairly presentable abandoned cruiser would not end up further vandalised to the point that British Waterways would order it's destruction. A good boat could be had, with a little effort.

I was very pleased later to get this not particularly well composed photograph published in Waterways World in one of their articles about the future of Marsworth depot.

Sunset as we leave "Peter's Two" locks, nearly back at our home mooring.

Aylesbury and retur
Total Miles: 14.7 , Total Locks: 36

Friday, 1 January 2010

Ice problems

(Posted by Cath)

1st January 2010

Is it really 10 years since the Millenium celebrations?

Alan woke up early, and for some completely unfathomable reason decided to poke a digital thermometer out of the boat window. It registered minus five.

The bed was nice and warm, and I really did not want to try to get up, but at some point Alan got up, riddled and fed the fire, and made coffee. The sun was shining in around the edges of the curtains, but I was warm and cosy and was trying to ignore the new year starting.

Eventually Alan got me to look out of the window, to see the canal covered with triangles of interlocking ice - with small triangles of water between the sheets.

Although a boat came up through the lock at around 9, breaking ice as it went we were not in a rush to get going. We knew we couldn't spend two days out, to do that would risk getting iced in, and I have to be back in front of my classes on Monday. So we decided to wait a bit, let the ice thin up in the sun, go north a bit, and make sure that we could be back at the home mooring by sunset.

We had traditional porridge for breakfast, and then set off to the lock.
Seabrook middle lock

There were quite a few boats about, taking advantage of the sunshine on New Year's Day, but one boater who said she had come from Leighton Buzzard this morning had encountered a lot of ice - "it was quite hard work in places".

We debated how far we would go, but eventually decided to make for the winding hole at Slapton, then turn and run for home.
Alan approaches Ivinghoe Top Lock, with icicles on the bridge.

As I left Ivinghoe top lock I noticed what I thought was a collection of small bushes on the top of Ivinghoe beacon to the east. Then I saw that the 'bushes' were moving and regrouping - what I could see was people out for a walk on New Year's Day.
Cath with Ivinghoe Beacon in the distance.

One problem that we hadn't predicted was the low sun when we were travelling back south - it was right in our eyes, and despite wearing sunglasses, and pulling hats down low to shield our eyes some of the bridge holes were very difficult. The sun was shining off the canal, the boat roof and even other boats - blinding you whichever way you looked.
Approaching Seabrook middle lock - it was virtually impossible to see that there was a lock there from the boat.

Cath shouts directions from the lockside.

We got back to our home mooring - as of today it is our mooring - at about 4:00 pm, and as we tied the boat up I watched the sun setting behind trees - the small specks of red glow winking out like the dying embers of a fire.

We had a great day - we would have liked to be out boating tomorrow, but there are many days of very cold nights predicted, and although much of the ice melted, there was still some around. Better to have had the opportunity to be boating for just one day, than pressing on and finding ourselves iced up.

It was clear, bright and we only felt cold at the very end of the day.
Miles: 5.37 , Locks: 11
Total Miles: 6 , Total Locks: 12