(posted by Cath)
Alan got the boat ready on Tuesday afternoon - taking some of the bags, getting the fridge cold, lighting the fire - while I tried to get a few things sorted at home. David had real problems getting himself organised and it was quite late when we finally got on board with all of the other stuff.
We stowed everything away, and I cooked dinner, after which I went to bed, as I was quite tired. I have spent the last week fighting a chest infection, and for the first few days of the half term I needed a lot more sleep than usual.
I fell asleep quickly, Alan came to bed soon after, but was clearly disturbed by an intermittent knocking noise that seemed to be coming from the direction of a boat moored across the canal. Eventually, at some small hour, he got up, got dressed, and went out to find out what the noise was. I became aware of him clambering along the wet gunwale, and as our neighbouring boat is away from its mooring I knew that if he slipped he'd be in the very cold cut. I have to admit that I found myself thinking, "No, please don't fall in, I really don't want to have to leave my nice warm bed."
Well the knocking noise proved to be the fender that normally hangs between us and our neighbouring boat. The fender was just into the water, and any water movements made it bang against the side of our boat - it doesn't usually happen because the other boat is normally there.
We set off soon after nine o'clock, with hot porridge for breakfast. It was a damp morning, the tops of the Chiltern hills hidden in the mist. There are the very first signs of spring appearing, a tiny white-flowered wild flower poking a rosette of leaves through the cracks in the brickwork around the locks; catkins on the alder trees and the hazel bushes; and a tinge to the colour of some of the bare branches as the first buds appear.
Most of the morning was just damp and misty, but we had occasional periods of drizzle and rain. We headed north, through the Seabrook and Ivinghoe locks, then onward into Leighton Buzzard where we stopped to get some food, and I tried to persuade David to get a pair of jeans in Tesco, as I was not sure that all the pairs he had brought would last through the trip.
Just south of Linslade Manor we saw the Canal World Forum boat Pinmill travelling south - a chance for a quick greeting and a wave, and they headed on towards Aylesbury.
Soulbury, three locks
David at Three Locks
Alan is still recovering from his cataract operation, so I have to do most of the locks - with some help from David.
We finally got to Fenny Stratford at about 5:30, moored up, and had Cottage Pie for dinner, once again I fell asleep early, and slept like a top.
Cook's Wharf to Fenny Stratford
Miles: 14.6, Locks:15
Total Miles: 14.6, Total Locks:15