Chasing The Amazon Man. 15th June

Mill Lane Bridge 102 to Tiddenlake Footbridge 115C

Stoke Hammond

Alarm set again today, not a too early start, just one to get us going, we pushed off about 8:40 soon arriving at the double arched bridge of Stoke Hammond Lock.

Coming up

This is the proper start of the climb up to the summit pound of the Grand Union, the lock at Fenny Stratford doesn’t really count in my mind.


From here locks are accompanied by lock cottages and quite often a pumping station. Stoke Hammond has both along with a rather wonderful dog rose bush which has a white clematis growing through it.

Soulbury Three

Another mile on and we reached the Soulbury Three. We pulled in below to fill the water tank whilst waiting to see if anyone else was on the move in our direction so that we could share the locks. But nobody showed themselves. A volunteer came down and asked if we were heading up, which we were, so he set the first lock for us and helped on our ascent.

In the middle lock

Ground paddle same side, gate paddle opposite, ground paddle opposite then gate paddle same side. This works well to keep your boat into the side if you are on your own on this stretch of the Grand Union.

Top lock

We were the first boat of the day through the locks, above someone arrived and then a while later just as we finished someone pulled up below, we had a straight run up and then meandered around the bends which lead to Leighton Buzzard.

The globe all rickety and inviting

The Globe Inn was getting itself ready for lunchtime trade, looks like they’ve invested in more picnic benches since we saw Alarum perform in the garden. Back then the tables gradually sank into the earth as it was so sodden.

Leighton Lock

Up Leighton Lock where there is always a Mum with a pushchair watching. Ten boats were in at Wyvern Hire Base, they all looked like they were being turned around for the next lot of holiday makers who would arrive later in the day.

A space was available at the 2hour Tesco mooring, so we slotted in there, wrote a list and went shopping. We’d considered doing a click and collect as the collection point is just on the other side of the hedge from the moorings, but we only needed a few bits so it hadn’t been worth it.

A quick visit to Homebase for a trough for the wild strawberries which are coming on a treat. I suspect the crop from them will only add flavour to our cereal in the mornings, but that’s fine.

More lovely gardens

By now my Amazon order was out for delivery, we had lunch and hoped it would arrive at the Post Office before we had to move on, no such luck though! We pootled out of town in the hope of a shady mooring, the towpath was pretty full most of the way along, but we found one space that would do.

As we tied up I got notification that there were 8 stops before my order would be dropped off. I’d just gathered myself together to walk back into town when my phone rang. It was the delivery driver saying he was at the Post Office and he couldn’t drop the parcels off with them. But it was a Local Collect address on their website! If he couldn’t deliver them there for me to collect, what would happen?

He went back inside to try again, still they refused! By now I was already walking in towards town, I asked where his next drop off would be, not that I know Leighton Buzzard but maybe I’d be able to find him somewhere. In the end he said he’d come back to the Post Office in twenty minutes by which time I hoped I’d be standing there with my bright yellow Sainsburys bags.

Leighton Buzzard Market

Twenty minutes had been a guess on my part so I picked my speed up, I wanted my orders and didn’t want to hold the driver up too much. I got there with a couple of minutes to spare and soon a van arrived the chap pulling up next to me to hand over my orders. The boxes were huge for the contents and biffed and broken. I checked everything was there, they were then thanked the chap for being so helpful.

The big box was stupid, so I unpacked it on the street decanting the contents into my smaller bags, a bottle of booze a present for my brother was also checked over, still in tact. Phew!

Some highlighter pens were on my shopping list but when I reached WHSmith I discovered I’d come out without a mask. My costume designs will have to wait a while longer before I can finish them. I walked back a different way through a park where a little man sat on a very big pencil and kids splashed away in a water park. My route brought me to an old railway track which I then followed back to the canal and Oleanna.

Much of the remainder of the afternoon was taken up trying to ascertain why the Post Office had refused to take my two orders. One of overalls the other some Vermouth my brother had asked for. Using the Amazon chat facility I supposedly got passed onto a human instead of the bot. But the human wasn’t able to type English very well so I suspected they were a bot too. Then another, then another.

They seemed fixated on the alcohol I’d ordered, this was a separate order completely to the overalls. Apparently alcohol is not available with Local Collect, my point was then you shouldn’t be able to select that method of delivery. But more to the point the Post Office had also refused my other order which was far more important. They would only accept it if I worked there!

I must have been online for a good couple of hours explaining to four humans (?) that I’d chosen LOCAL COLLECT so that I could collect it at a convenient time, not have to rush into town and chase after the delivery driver. Someone tried ringing me to explain about alcohol and LOCAL COLLECT. I understood that bit and the requirement for ID on delivery so I sent them to answerphone.

Big or small

Then a fifth person joined my chat. She was most certainly a human being as she was astounded that I’d been on line for so long. So was I and by now I’d had enough and was possibly turning into a troll, whiskers were starting to grow out of my chin! I thanked the last lady, I’d received an apology even though people hadn’t understood my point, but now I was going to do something else with what remained of the day.

We do our best to avoid Amazon normally but the overalls were only available through them. Have to say I will be avoiding them even more from now on, just a shame I’ll be needing more overalls!

In other news today was the day Heather Bleasdale along with another boat were making their way to the River Hull. They left Keadby at 08:00 punched the tide down the Trent. At the Apex Light it was more or less hightide, no training wall visible and no need to stick to the main channel. Here they turned right onto the Humber where the tide took them down under the Humber Bridge to Hull. The last photo she sent was of Bleasdale and Lily May tied up to a barge on the River Hull waiting for the tide to come back in to push them up to Beverley Brook. What an exciting day and what a shame we couldn’t be with them, maybe next year!

5 locks, 6.2 miles, 2 boxes wine, 1 loaf bread, 1 trough, £5.25 for a hose connector! 1 car park empty, 1 generator, 1 life raft, 2 parcels, 1 helpful driver, 1 bot, 4 human bots, 1 helpful person too late.

4 thoughts on “Chasing The Amazon Man. 15th June

    1. Pip Post author

      Hi Simon
      Thank you for the links. I’ve already put up links to your posts on the forthcoming posts, think the first one will be tomorrow. Great to read them and see the photos. Will you be back to do the return journey?
      Cheers Pip

      1. Scholar Gypsy

        I don’t think I will be able to make the return trip. Please feel free to delete my comments from here — sorry to muck up your plans to publicise them!

        1. Pip Post author

          Not a problem, don’t worry, the more people who get to see them the better

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