Sunday 23rd January 2011
Alan woke up early, and got up to check the fire, then took Charlie for his first walk of the day. I have to admit that I snoozed on in our warm bed for a while.
Once fortified with coffee I got up to make porridge, which we ate outside, as we headed on north to the first winding hole.
The weather forecast threatened rain from midday, so we wanted to get on fairly quickly.
Brand new top gates at Leighton Lock - Good to see it now has gate paddles.
We turned, and headed south again, only to see the runners from yesterday heading back in the other direction again. Once again they had set off at 8 am, and by 10:00 the faster ones were heading back through Leighton Buzzard on the way back to Northampton.
One of the charac- teristic double bridges from this stretch - for a brief time in history, a narrow lock was added alongside the original broad one, as a water saving measure.
It remained a cool, and damp day, but we never saw the promised rain. Charlie spent a lot of his time - when not walking between locks - standing on the front of the boat like some figurehead and watching the world go by.
It was an uneventful trip, but it was so good to be out on the boat again.
Boater and dog.
I've been reading Richard Mabey's book 'Weeds', about our relationship with "plants which are growing where we don't want them". Alan and I were talking about the season and agreed that we are probably in the middle of winter now. Even though we are a month after the solstice it is probably the coldest and greyest that it will be, with few signs of the spring to come. I did see bunches of hanging hazel catkins, but they never seemed to be where I could take a photo. However, by Seabrook middle lock there was still a bit of colour around when I looked for it.
Mosses on the coping stones.
Lichen on a blackthorn tree.
We arrived back at the mooring around 3:00 pm. Our weekend trip was less than 18 miles, and only 20 locks.
Footnote by Alan (who hopes he didn't muck up Cath's post too much by inserting a couple of extra photos!)
We have always tended to think of "Chalice" as a bit of a fair weather boat. It's only form of heating is a small solid fuel stove, located at the very front end of the cabin - there is no form of radiators or other "central heating". However experience is showing that despite the boat's length that stove can heat the whole living space in really quite cold conditions. We get maybe a 5 degree temperature gradient between the toasty warm sitting area at the front, and the cooler bedroom at the back. So we are increasingly happy to venture out now in mid-winter.
Not much heat gets to the steerer though - not like a traditional boat that would have a stove in the back cabin right alongside. I'm tempted to see if a normal style heater from a car or van could be added to the engine cooling circuit - I rather fancy having hot air blasted up when steering on a cold January day!
Never too late
3 days ago