Speeding Through Milton Keynes. 17th June

Great Linford to Dairy Bridge 102

Shame we weren’t moored the other way round

Today is the last day on the flat for a while, so I wanted to try to get as much work done as I could whilst going through Milton Keynes. But things just kept happening!

We pushed off at the same time as our neighbours, leaving the wonderful moorings for some lucky person. As we pootled along to the water point I cleaned out Tillys pooh box and gave her a fresh lot of litter. Unusually she obliged by using it just before I cleaned it out, normally it’s christened just as the new litter goes in!

As we filled with water the first of todays many speeding boaters came past. This was a converted butty. We were only tied by our centre line in amongst other moored boats. The chap at the helm obviously clocked us, so cut his speed as he levelled with us, Oleanna rushing back and forth! As soon as he’d passed us his throttle was pushed forwards again as he passed other moored boats. I wonder if he would have bothered adjusting his speed if a, we weren’t outside or b, we’d been an older boat with piles of possessions on our roof!

Breasted up coal boats with Jules at the helm

A little while later Jules Fuels slowed at the bridge ahead of us, breasted up the butty and slowly came in in front of us. Stopping briefly to fill a couple of containers with water before they carried on towards Wolverton today. Their holds seemed to be predominantly gas bottles today. A shame we’d got coal at Rugby boats, but if the weather hadn’t warmed up in the last couple of days we’d have been needing some more.

Along the next stretch I concentrated on the Bank of England’s vault. Grey/gold/silver? A couple of miles along and Mick opened the hatch and beeped the horn twice. Was I needed? I popped up top.

Pulled pins

Ahead there was a short narrowboat right across the cut blocking our way. I’d be needed to hold Oleanna in the bridge hole if there was nobody on board. No signs of movement came. Mick went to see if he could pull the boat in and hammer it’s spikes. Both bow and stern lines had been pulled, the centre line somewhere on the middle of the boat. He stepped on the back, trying to make his way to get a rope, a dog started to bark, Mick tried to squeeze past drying washing, then retreated to the bank. I spotted someone inside, eventually the chap got dressed and appeared at the back door. Between them they managed to pull the boat to the bank, we left the chap to tie up again and slowly passed him.

New bridge ahead

As there was a space at Campbell Park we made use of it for a lunch break. Just as we were pushing off a chap came up to chat about our chimney, windows etc, both of us clinging onto the ropes. Eventually when the chap paused we pushed off and left him to it.

Y

I stayed up top for a while to see the new marina and Y shaped bridge. Large buildings are going up opposite and the marina looks like it’s about half full already, considering we don’t remember it in the slightest two years ago that’s not bad going. The Y shaped bridge is pleasing to the eye and a nice contrast to most modern canal bridges that are concrete clad in brick. The rusty metal railings depict bullrushes if you look closely enough.

Maybe this is where Boris has been hiding

The amount of moored boats through Milton Keynes seems to have increased greatly. Mick slowed whilst passing them and at times had to reverse to let other boats come past. At one such moment he picked something up on the prop. The next opportunity, a couple of bollards, he pulled over to investigate. As he rummaged around in the mucky water boats sped past, very few slowing. The tool box was required the normal implements wouldn’t do the job today. Wire cutters and molegrips instead. A steel cable was the culpret and was eventually coaxed off the prop.

Todays catch

We both waved at the couple who sit in their living room at Fenny Stratford, but nobody waved back, the garden seemed not quite as neat and tidy. A single hander had just set the lock so we joined him and closed up after us both, swinging the bridge back over the lock when all was done.

Fenny Stratford Lock

Mick pootled us another couple of miles whilst I popped a loaf of bread in the oven and carried on with work. At a reasonable distance from the road we moored up and let Tilly out. I made a pizza, finished off knitting the pair of socks. At 10pm two local boats must have been doing a boat swap. They sped past us at a rate of knots first one then the other, we really hoped they didn’t meet each other at a bridge hole.

Baked and on the way to our tummies!

1 lock, 8.72 miles, 1 swing bridge, 1 Y shaped bridge, 166 grey dots, 1 heavy sleeper, 3m steel cable, 2 many moored boats, 2 many bored boaters, 2 many speeding boats, 1 vault painted, 0 riches, 1 step closer to London, 1 loaf, 1 giant GF sour dough pizza, 2 full tummies, 2 socks knitted.

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