Mending. 13th June

Nightingales Bridge to Stoke Bruerne Top Lock

Another very wet morning. We weren’t going to be going anywhere! Tilly however was encouraged to take a morning nap as the weather app suggested that it might dry up later on, then we could at least get to Blisworth where we might find a shop for a few bits.

As I sat down to breakfast and to catch up on the latest blogs I picked my computer glasses up. These are old prescription reading glasses that are just perfect to view the lap top with. They are quite old and a lense has a tendency to fall out. Today however it wasn’t the screw that had come loose, it was still there, just where it connected to the other side of the frame had snapped off! Darn and blast!


My bifocals are not good for the computer, I’d have to do something about this. Father Christmas had been a jolly good chap this year and bought me a tube of super glue. This alone would hold things together but some reinforcing would be wise. With some black button thread and Mick to help hold things in place, I tied the joint together then applied some glue, letting it soak into the cotton and hopefully the joint. After a minute I tied a few more knots around the joint sealing it all with more super glue. The end result is a fully operational pair of glasses once again. may now have to dig out the other old pair that have a loose lense and see if I can mend those also.

Our spritzer bottle for the composting toilet has recently lost it’s spritz. We use this with diluted vinegar in it to spray the urine separator on our toilet with the hope that the vinegar will help to keep the pipes clear. However the spray was starting to be a bit feeble. Mick took it apart. The spring that makes it spritz fell into four pieces. We’d been warned not to have a steel urine tank as gradually the vinegar would work it’s way through this, it looks like it had eroded the spring.

A spare spring was found in an empty hand wash container. Now our spritzer spritzes again. Not bad for £1 from the handyman shop in Ellesmere eighteen months ago.

Which way?

By 11:45 the rain was easing, we needed to find a shop, mostly for some cat food, a variety and flavour that Tilly would actually eat rather than be put in the bin after a day. The wine cellar is currently half full of rejected boxes of cat food and very little wine! Mick doned his waterproofs and pushed off, leaving me indoors adding detail to my Boozer model bits.

Gayton Junction

At Gayton Junction a boat had just pulled up and positioned itself right in the middle of the service moorings. Mick couldn’t be bothered to ask them to nudge up so we could off load our rubbish so he carried straight on, the mountains of rubbish having to wait a while longer.

Round the bend towards the tunnel

The moorings at Blisworth had space for us so he pulled in. A walk into the village proved fruitful for cat food, but little else. After lunch there wasn’t sufficient time for us to go through Blisworth Tunnel and to reach the top of Stoke Bruerne locks before the last boat in at 3:15, so we didn’t rush.

North Portal

The boat was put into full tunnel mode, I came up on deck having suggested an early afternoon nap to Tilly and we pushed off. Blisworth Tunnel is just short of 3km long and is the third longest navigable tunnel in the UK, ninth in the world. It is straight, very straight therefore you can see all the way through. The interior goes from arched brickwork to a long section of concrete hoops in the central section, back to brick again towards the southern portal. The tunnel suffered over the years altering shape, it became unnavigable. In the 1980s major works were done to rebuild it, the method used was a try out for the Channel Tunnel.

The other end
Nearly there

Just before halfway through we could see another boat had entered at the south portal. Was this the trip boat that sticks it’s bow into the tunnel then reverses out? Or were they coming towards us, if they were they were going very very slowly. The tunnel was wetter than usual, no surprise there and we gradually came to meet the on coming boat. The speed they were going at it would take them an hour to go through!

The South portal

We had risked arriving at Stoke Bruerne where there might not have been any moorings left, but it turned out there were no queues waiting for the locks in the morning. We had a choice of where to moor and later on we were joined by three more boats, one having reversed past us at 22:45.

Mikron van hiding at Blisworth, wonder if it has a name?

We could hang around for a couple of days and share the locks southwards with NB Tyseley the Mikron boat, but that wouldn’t get us a Saturday newspaper or our wine stocks replenished. Hopefully the weather will improve, Mikron are loosing donations due to the bad weather. They had to perform a ‘radio’ version of their show the other night at The Admiral Nelson due to lack of space indoors for the full show.

0 locks, 4.4 miles, 1 straight on, 1 spring sprung, 1 pair glasses mended, 1 boozer exterior finished, 10 hanging baskets, 2nd sock new and improved version started, 9 pouches of edible food again.