Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Tuesday 26 November 2013

That was the week that was...

You will have seen if you are readers of  the Still Rockin blog that Joe and  went to see Carol and George last Friday at their mooring in Droitwich Spa.   Their new boat is being built by the same team that built Yarwood,  Lambon Hull for the shell and Barn Owl Narrowboats for the fit-out so we were keen to see how things were progressing; we also wanted to hear about the whys and wherefores of their decision and what the future cruising plans would be.  What a great day it was and their new boat is already lovely to behold; just so spacious.
 L-R  Fletcher, George, Joe and Carol on top of Hartlebury Common overlooking Stourport 
Come Saturday we were expecting visitors aboard Yarwood, Joe's daughter Abby and her partner Wardy were coming to stay for the night and both dogs were eager to make them welcome - take advantage might be a better way of putting it...

Floyd taking full advantage of visitors, Wardy and daughter, Abby

Making himself even more comfortable - you will note that he is not a shy boy
On Saturday evening we wandered into Harborough and had a couple of drinks at the Sugar Loaf (our Boaters Friday Night watering hole) before heading for the local Thai restaurant and enjoying a lovely meal.   Sunday with a late cooked breakfast in side of us we drove our visitors down to Foxton to view the wonders of late 18th century civil engineering, i.e, the Foxton Lock Flight and the remains of the inclined plane.  A coffee ( Yes, a coffee, not a beer) at Bridge 61 to warm the cockles and then we returned to the boat and our weekend visitors escaped.  We watched the final 2013 F1 Grand Prix.
 Repair work on the Foxton flight, wrapped against frost
 Repairs to the brick work revealed the next day
 Repair detail

And, fanfare....
Tonight we erect the Christmas lights!!

There might be a few more...but it is a start

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Drained Locks

So following on from the saga of the failed/replaced water pump - my last post - Thursday was a haircut day for me followed by the  Friday Boaters Night Out at the Sugar Loaf pub in Harborough where the winter moorers of Union Basin have their weekly get together.  Come Saturday C&RT had opened the drained Foxton Lock flight to public viewing so we went along to have a look see.  There were two points of access to the emptied locks but the queues of people waiting to climb down the scaffolds into the locks were just too long for my short patience so the 'look see' was from a distance...

Looking down the drained and fenced off lock flight

All the side pound were drained
The culverts that feed the locks from the side pounds
The middle pound between the two flights of staircase locks - this be the lock entrance that catches many/most boaters out with the water flows slamming the bow into the entrance wall.

There were at least a dozen side fenders lying in the silt here

There were an awful lot of sightseers about all fascinated by spectacle of this bit of remarkable engineering.  Well done C&RT for allowing people to have a look. 
Having seen what I had come to see I walked the two dogs back to Harborough and Joe went off to Braunston to get the micro switch for the errant water pump.

And come Sunday we went into the town for a birthday lunch at the local Thai restaurant.  The buffet for £7.95 was excellent value and I am sure that we will be going back to sample more of their fare.

Monday 18 November 2013

Dead pump

We arrived back in Market Harborough on Tuesday afternoon having spent a week visiting with family.  Wednesday we shopped at the big Tesco store in Corby and on Thursday the water pump gave up the ghost.  Joe was in the shower and had just smothered himself in soapy foam when the pump failed and he was left with meagre water left in the kettle in which to rinse himself - my suggestion that he took a dip in the canal basin so we had enough water for a cup of tea didn't go down well - no humour and, no tea!
A quick look at the map to determine the nearest chandlers and we were off to Braunston for a replacement pump.  With the pump purchased (£87..ouch) we walked up the lock flight to the Admiral Nelson for lunch.

 The chandlers at Braunston bottom lock and no Nb. Henry H moored outside any longer.  Greygal's minute narrowboat Henry H had become a fitment/feature moored outside the chandlers while Wharf House Narrowboats remodelled the interior but with the fit out completed Henry H has been taken to pastures new. The Christmas edition of Canal Boat Magazine has an article on the fit out which will be a good read I am sure.

 Braunston bottom lock

A welcome roaring log fire, perfect for dogs, in the Admiral Nelson at Braunston where the mutts enjoyed their packet of pork scratchings and Joe and enjoyed our lunch and a pint of Timothy Taylor Landlords --so civilised.
Back at the boat later that afternoon Joe changed the water pump and then dismantled the 'failed device' to find that a micro switch had died and this he has now replaced,  New pump £87, new micro switch £3.  Ah well, we have a spare pump anyway.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Family visits

We are now in Essex visiting my Mother.  We drove done yesterday arriving just after lunch so supper last night was fish and chips as has become the custom on the first night of my visit. Today it was the library run, shopping, banking and tomorrow, opticians and a hospital appointment Mum has at Southend General.
Tonight we are off out with my brother Bob and family for a meal together, another custom that has grown out of our visits.

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Do it before not after...

Yesterday morning I walked down into Market Harborough to sign on with a local GP.  I had asked the Basin Management if I could use their address (office) and they had readily agreed so off I went with my medical card clasped in one hand and their address on a scrap of paper in the other.  When I found the clinic it was one of these modern multi surgery affairs with Pharmacy thrown in and a dozen people sitting in front of  computer screens all bashing away. The place was heaving - usual Monday at a Doctor's surgery - with people queueing, people sitting in rows of chairs staring at screens and others milling about, it put me in mind of a cattle market but one with a smile on it's face...
Anyway, at the desk I stated my wish to sign on with the practise and was asked if I had moved to MH permanently to which I replied that I was here for five months. I was offered a three month temporary patient status unless I could provide proof of address at the Basin which of course I couldn't.  On getting back to the boat I did what I should have done BEFORE going to the surgery, research!  What a dumb- cluck I am.  Looking at the Association of Continuous Cruisers site I found that an address or proof of address is NOT required to access GP services and that we with this itinerant lifestyle can be treated like the Homeless where the surgery uses it's own address.  I now have to go back and try again and I am not looking forward to dealing with a Doctor's Receptionist who will clearly think they are right and I am wrong, a nuisance, deranged, waste of space and general irritant!

Sunday 3 November 2013

Everywhere and nowhere baby

Just listening to Johnnie Walker on Radio BBC2 while we wait for the F1 Grand Prix and caught Adam (Nb. Briar Rose) reading the News...had to cut you short Adam just in case you gave the F1 result....
Jeff Beck's Hi Ho Silver Lining was playing....memory lane on a Club (Disco in my day) dance floor...

Arms, moors and wharves

 Market Harborough Arm basking in autumn sunshine
What is now known as The Market Harborough Arm was once the planned route of the Leicester and Northamptonshire Union Canal.  The original thinking was to build a canal from Leicester with its links to the River Soar and the River Trent and therefore the Humber and eastern ports, to Northampton on the  River Nene with links to The Wash.  The added bonus was that the Grand Junction Canal was also being planned from London to Braunston in Northamptonshire and this included a link to Northampton!.   
The realisation that  'We have a network*'! -  (*with reference to the lyrics of the C.W. McCall hit Convoy) must have lit little oil lamps in the investors brains.   By 1797 the canal had been built as far as Debdale where the venturers ran out of money.  With further capital raised however the L&N Union Company extended the canal as far as Market Harborough and this section opened in 1809.   And that is where it stopped, until a new route and a new company, The Grand Union Canal Company, now known as the Old Union, built the canal on what is the current route linking Foxton with Norton Junction in 1814 and left Market Harborough to its Arm.
 Yesterday I set off to walk to Foxton with the dogs but instead of tramping back along the tow path I walked 'across the top'.  The canal/arm sets a sinuous route as it follows a contour into Market Harborough, saving the canal builders the cost of building locks to go over the top, but I saved us miles and time by doing so.

 A Public Footpath sign/route post discarded at the edge of a field
 You can see the way maker in the background but the footpath has not been reinstated by the farmer after he/she cultivated his field.  Walking through the rape however disturbed a hare and both dogs enjoyed a fruitless game of chase.

 Not a single field had the Public Footpaths reinstated...naughty, naughty Farmer!

 Coming across the top of Foxton Moor, formerly the hunting grounds of the Dukes of Lancaster,  you pass HMP Gartree built in 1963 and a high security class B prison for male lifers.

 HMP Gartree has provided accommodation for Ian Brady, Reggie Kray, Tony Martin and Antony Sawoniuk.
I dropped down to the canal towpath after crossing the summit, stopped for a chat with Chris and Richard of Nb. Mandalay who were moored along that stretch and then walked on into Foxton.  I wanted to photograph a former coal wharf, (there are four former coal wharves along the five an a half mile stretch of the Arm) because it still has a very interesting installation...
 This the remnants of Foxton Wharf - canal side.
 And this is one of the features I wanted to share with you. A Pooley flat bed scale for weighing bags of coal.

And here is the other. A weighbridge as you enter/exit the former coal yard. A  Henry Pooley and Sons Ltd Weighing Machine.  The company started making these weighbridges in 1835.

 Formerly owned by the Saddington Family ( Saddington reservoir - village just along the cut towards Leicester) they operated a forge on this site and soon opened a coal wharf when the canal came through in 1809.

Having got the photo's I walked on  the bottom of the locks where C&RT are preparing for extensive winter works and had a pint in Bridge 61 before taking an alternative route back over the Foxton moor and into Market Harborough.

And back to the canal and the basin we went....

Saturday 2 November 2013

Winter Moorers hit Town

The inaugural Winter 2013-2014 Moorers social took place last night with thirteen of us trooping down into town from the Union Basin.   The Social Secretary, Gill, had booked a table at The Sugar Loaf which was just as well because the place was buzzing at 5pm as we arrived.  Joe and I left after a couple of hours because we had been caught on the hop by the early-doors start and the dogs had not been afforded a last minute 'comfort break' before leaving them and the boat.  As it was, the dogs were fine but we didn't want to chance our arm, or the boat, to what might have been....

This Wetherspoon pub was once Thomas Goward's grocery shop. Founded in 1810, Goward's traded on this site until 1910, weighing out provisions and cutting sugar by hand from a conical-shaped sugar loaf.
In a warehouse behind the shop, Goward's staff blended tea, ground coffee, chopped sugar, ground spices and washed and polished dried fruit for sale in the shop. In 1871, Goward lived over the shop in a large household, which included his wife and three daughters, three of his shop men and two domestic servants. He later moved out to a villa in Victoria Avenue. - From the Wetherspoon web site

Here be most of the crew, missed but to be caught on camera next time was Joe, photographer, and Sue..though her arm features!  A lovely evening and a grand crowd!

Friday 1 November 2013

First night

First night/day in our winter mooring and we have been hit three times by the hire boats as they are shifted about the basin and got ready for winter...it happens
An acknowledgement/apology would have been appreciated though...know what I mean?

Joe went off this morning to catch a train to Peterborough via Leicester, to get our car and I cycled back along the towpath to Foxton, five and a quarter miles away, cycled back, that is ten and a half miles of running for two Labradors who are now out cold.

We have spoken to a number of the other winter moorers here and tonight we are all going into town for a pint, or two, and a meal;there is a table booked for thirteen - I just hope they are all wearing name badges because the old memory is going to fail me I am sure.