At Long Last. 22nd August

Swinford Meadow to Moreton bend

Tilly opening up the curtains in the morning occasionally has it’s advantages. The light streaming in through the gap today needed more than a tug together with my toes. When I peeked through to check the outside the sky was shades of pink and purple, so much so it required me to get up and find my camera. Thank you Tilly.

What a start to the day

Not far to the first lock, Pinkhill. The Lockie was jolly, happy that the weather was looking up for the Bank Holiday weekend and he was going to be off work too.

Our rendez vous

A couple of miles further on and we rounded a bend filled with static caravans then just passed The Ferryman’s Inn was a moored boat, a fat boat. We came in alongside slowly, this fat boat had fatter fenders than ours, I had a touch of fender envy.

Sat out the back was Sue, who shouted inside to Vic to take the bow rope. At long last we were going to meet the No Problem crew. We passed them in Parbold about three years ago when they were still narrowboaters, back then we were both in the process of having new boats built, us Oleanna and them No Problem XL. We’d been on a mission so couldn’t stop for the day, today we’d planned to meet up.

Spotted by a woofer lookout

Tilly really wanted to come outside and say hello too, but that really wasn’t going to be such a good idea as Meg and Penny, two border collies would have also wanted to greet her. After some persuasion I was allowed out the back on my own. A warm welcome all round and we were invited on board for a cuppa.

Blimey, widebeams are weird, they are just so wide! So much space!

Sue, Vic and the girls lived on No Problem from 2002 before up sizing to No Problem XL and retiring from narrowboating. Sue may well have been the first narrowboat blogger, her site is full of useful information, from good places to have deliveries, to a guide to the Nene, to where to buy diesel. It’s all there along with a long list of boaters blogs.


It was great to finally meet up with them and enjoy a natter, having a few nice wild moorings that Tilly might like suggested to us for our trip upstream. All too soon their Asda delivery arrived, so we left them to take it on board before they carried on back down stream.

The river is getting narrower and narrower

Northmoor Lock was to be our next lock, this was on self service, boats having just come down and a hire boat was already refilling it when I got up to the top. What would they do? Oleanna was on the lock landing, how would all their crew get back on board? I said I’d open the gates for them so they could all get back on board before it got too low, Mick came up to help.

We brought Oleanna into the lock as a cruiser arrived above, the chap came down to help with the gates.I closed my gate, walked round to secure the bow rope as the chap closed the other gate and then started to lift the top paddles. There was about two foot of water in the lock when a chap appeared from below, steam coming out of his ears.

Northmoor Lock

‘Why didn’t you wait?!’ he said in a raised voice to Mick. ‘You saw me coming, you looked straight at me and closed that gate!’ It took a while for the chap to understand that that hadn’t been Mick but the other chap who had nothing to do with us, he just happened to be filling the lock for us. Neither Mick or I had seen them coming. He did apologise in the end, but talk about a short fuse. Life’s too short, why shorten it even more!

Hart’s Bridge

A space we’d hoped for was taken so onwards to find a suitable spot. Round one slight bend, there was a hard edge, quite high up but it looked like it should be deep enough. It was and we were soon tied up. Not the best views in the world, but at least one of us was happy.

Wow! Trees, friends, friendly cover, birdies. I had a busy afternoon ahead, a whole seven hours. When I remembered I came back to say hello, one time my accompanying friend wasn’t welcome, Tom closed the doors and then put my friend somewhere safe for me. At 7:15pm I came back, bang on seven hours.

I may be sometime

The afternoon was spent doing a bit more work and then whist things dried I decided to tackle my knitting. Still 3 too many stitches, how many rows should I go back. I tracked back each decrease and eventually came to the conclusion that another ten rows would have to be pulled out! I ran a length of wool through the row I was going back to, one stitch short! Grrr. By the end of the evening I’d found the one missing stitch and managed two rows without messing it up again.

No new properties for sale, sorry.

2 locks, 6.08 miles, 2 very fat fenders, 1 rendez vous with XL, 1 hour constant chat, 2 lovely woofers, 140 over 90, 2 steaming ears, 1 apology, 1 shaded mooring, 1 very happy cat, 1 birdie, 1 English mud bank a touch more Welsh, 14 rows pulled out, 2 rows completed, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.

£849,950. It looked like some remodelling was going on when we passed, maybe those chairs will get some cushions.

Sorry Joa, you’ve lost your touch!