All We Want For Christmas. 23rd, 24th December

Radford Smelly to The Big Cat, Leamington Spa

Moving into town was the way forward. So the alarm was set and we had our first cuppa with breakfast and cruised the mile and a quarter into Leamington Spa. There were more boats moored up in town than there had been a couple of weeks ago, people had come in to do their shopping. Mick headed off to get the hire car whilst I had a good sweep through Oleanna.

Our mooring turned out to be far better than it would have been back near the lock, here we can get the car to within 100ft of the boat.

The tip!

First port of call, Princes Drive Recycling Centre. Blimey it was busy! Engine oil, old electrical items and our old printer went in the skips. Tilly’s spiny chasey toy (the red flying saucer in the middle) that she’s grown out of sat in the middle of the skip making me feel guilty. Unfortunately they wouldn’t take used antifreeze without an appointment, which happens on Thursdays, apart from this coming week!

Peanut butter!

Next Morrisons for peanut butter and some Coffee logs that we’d like to try. This did mean us sitting in traffic to get into the store, then more traffic to get to the petrol station and even more traffic to get out to just sit in traffic again to return to the boat to drop off the antifreeze. The whole trip, there and back, would have been much quicker by boat!


Time to head across country. 14 miles as the crow flies was a good 40 minutes by road. Soon we could see the Banger Spire calling us up the hill into Braunston village. There were two parcels waiting at the post office, luckily the chap let me show him a copy of a bill on my phone as proof of ID as I’d left my cards on the boat.

Village meats

Then we joined the queue at the butchers. The chap in front was picking up his Turkey, a lady on crutches had a large order and another lady had the wind knocked out of her when she was told the price of her fillet of beef joint! She asked if they could make it a touch smaller, but the butcher explained he could but it would still cost the same price! Hope they know how to cook 3kg of beef fillet.

A pie did manage to get added to our shopping

Our order was as expected, sadly no gluten free bangers.

Lots of plumbing bits

Midland Chandlers only had imperial allen keys and open metal buckets for ash, but we did get a grease gun and spare water hose parts before heading back towards Leamington Spa.

Busy in there today too!

Screwfix provided us with Allen keys, then we joined traffic going into Sainsburys. Once parked we started on our main food shop. Five bags of goodies, everything we wanted and an opportunity to use our nectar points, a good cheap shop.


The only thing left was an ash bin.

Homebase, No, but they did have some Gorilla Tape that is Crystal clear to mend a hole in the pram cover.

Lidl, No.

A Hardware shop in town, No.

They were closed!

A Fireplace and stove shop on Rugby road, No.

Leamington Lights

Time had run out so we returned to Oleanna fully laden but missing an ash bin, we’ll have to order one to be sent somewhere, but we don’t quite know where at the moment. Maybe a last minute note to Father Christmas might work?

24th December

Not an inspiring view at 7:30

Tilly and I had already decided last night that we wouldn’t be staying in town for Christmas. The view wasn’t much this morning when I opened the curtains, it was still dark. After a cuppa in bed, Mick headed off in the car to see if Morrisons would sell him a bottle of gas. Even though they’d just had a delivery this morning they didn’t have the right sized bottle for us, never mind we’ll get some up towards Birmingham.

Yarn heaven again

A quick breakfast and then it was time to return the car to Enterprise. I hitched a lift and then walked up to Wool Warehouse. The yarns that I first used for socks in my Etsy shop is now discontinued, so I was wanting to check out an alternative.

They just had to be bought!

There were far more colours to choose from and Oops! I came home with seven balls. I had to have the red and blue. And I wouldn’t be a boater if I hadn’t got the colourway called Kingfisher. So that’s January sorted.

More graffiti, just by the footbridge

We pootled up the way to the next winding hole, I hopped off at Morrisons for a couple of bits and by the time I returned to the canal Mick was just pulling up to wait for me. Back to Clemens Street Bridge where we topped up the water tank as I gave the floor a good wash. Then we were on our way again, retracing our steps to Radford Semele. We were surprised nobody else had turned up there, maybe they all know about the TV signal.

Christmas Eve wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without sausage rolls

The remainder of the day has mostly been about cooking. First lunchtime sausage rolls.

Pinenuts for the stuffing and cider gravy reducing

Then stuffing, gravy and bread sauce.

Cracking before it sinks

Followed by a Queen of Sheba cake. This will get iced tomorrow.

Braised cabbage

Then the braised cabbage got to sit on the stove top for an hour or so. The smell of it is so yummy! All of this lot will end up in the outdoor fridge overnight.

Then came the maple and mustard ham with dauphinoise potatoes. Yum!

One happy cat showing off her white bits

Tilly had a few good hours on the towpath, only having to escape from a grey hound once. We all agree this is a better place to spend Christmas, maybe not quite as nice as on the Oxford Canal, but I suspect there will be fewer boats moving tomorrow.

How does Santa Tom get through the air vent? He won’t get an ash bin through there!

The stockings are out and we are wrapped up and ready for tomorrow.

0 locks, 4.47 miles, 1 wind, 32 coffee logs, 1 duck, 1 gammon, £112 for a fillet, 2 parcels, 2mm allen key, 1 last pounce, 3 peanut butters, 5 bags shopping, 0 ash pan, 0 gas, 700 grams yarn, 8 sausage rolls, 1 new recipe for bread sauce, 1 vat of gravy, 1 pot of stuffing, 1 pan of cabbage, 1 ham, 8 sliced potatoes, 1 cake, 8 oz of chocolate, 3 stocking, 2 boaters and a cat all excited.