Star Jumps, WD And Thespians. 26th August

The hedge Flecknoe Road Bridge to the view before Norton Junction

Quite a good view from the kitchen sink

Last night we’d had this stretch of armoc to ourselves, but just around the corner there were seven boats nose to tail, we preferred the view we’d had. As we made our way towards Braunston Turn we kept our eyes open for any gaps in the hedge to the north of the canal so that we could drop a pin on our map to remember it, only one and not much of a gap.

How many glasses in one of these?

As we cruised along I tried to drink several glasses of water. A few weeks ago I got an invite from the Zoe covid app to do an antibody blood test, this would show if I’ve had Covid without knowing. I’d arranged for a test kit to be sent to Scarborough and then have been waiting for a suitable time to do the test. On the instruction video it suggests drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water the day before, so yesterday I spent a lot of time filling up the yellow water tank! Today 2 to 3 glasses had to be drunk at least half an hour before doing the test, I also needed to be near to an NHS Priority Post box, Braunston.

Braunston Turn

At Braunston Turn we turned right following a hire boat who quite quickly pulled in. Would Braunston be full of boats or would we be fine finding a space? There was so much space available we easily slotted in at Butchers Bridge our preferred mooring.

All laid out

Now to do the test. I laid everything out and had to discourage Tilly from watching too closely. Then I had to get my blood pumping by doing some exercise before submerging my left hand in a bowl of warm water for a couple of minutes. Far more complicated than sticking a cotton bud up your nose!

Star jumps are a little bit hard to do inside a boat, but I decided to stay indoors rather than amuse those having their bacon butties at the Gongoozlers Rest. Then self inflicted pain! A lancet pushed hard into a finger tip, followed by massaging my hand and finger to fill a little bottle up to a line. One thing they should add to the instructions is that if you have long finger nails then most of your blood will collect on your nail, a trim before hand would have worked better. With my sample done, labelled and packed up we set off to the Post Office.

Is that? Could it be?

As we crossed Butchers Bridge we glanced up towards the bottom lock, was that boat NB Winding Down? It was green, the sign writing wasn’t visible. We walked down to have a look, yep it was, but would we know the people on board?

Hello WD!

Mick called out to the occupants, ‘Hello, do we know you? We used to have a share in Winding Down’. Well we did know them, Paul and Aileen , some of the original syndicate members. Our paths crossed several times in Waitrose at Sandbach on hand over days. A lovely catch up with them and news of other members we knew, the last AGM on zoom and most importantly that NB Winding Down will be moving further north for next years cruising season, so we’ll have to keep our eyes open near Stone in future.


Up the hill we climbed to the Post Office first popping my sample into the post box, then across the road to the butchers.

Bangers! but none for me 🙁

Well, since first noticing a sign saying they do gluten free sausages a few years ago, we’ve asked every time we’ve come in and only once have we had any. Quite a disappointment! Maybe the church spire no longer means Bangers! Yes I could buy some of their normal sausages for Mick, but what would I have!?! We bought bacon, a pork pie, some pork, eggs and some strawberries. Have to say their fruit and veg looked better than it used to, maybe they have a bigger turn over after the lockdowns when I suspect the locals shopped with them more. A few more bits from the shop across the way and we were done.

Braunston Bottom

After lunch we pushed off to climb the locks. A lady waved to Mick from the bridge after opening the bottom gate, she thought he was her husband! With no boat following and two boats coming down the next lock we headed up on our own.

In the pound below The Admiral Nelson people sat out side their boat, turns out they were waiting for a boat to share with. Marvellous!

The Admiral Nelson

Nick Wolfe stood at the stern of Aldgate, he turned to me and said ‘Hire Boat!’ One was pulling into the lock landing below the lock, doing their best to get out of our way whilst being berated for mooring up. Oh blimey! Poor holiday makers! The poor ladies at the bow had steam coming out of their ears as they tried to pull their boat out of the way. They assumed I’d have the same reaction and angrily said they weren’t staying. As we worked the two boats up the lock I could still hear ‘You can’t moor there!’ from below. No wonder some people think boaters are down right rude, I think they already knew what was being rammed down their throats!

New locking partners NB Celtic Girl

Calmly we worked our way up the remaining locks. Three generations of one family out on a friends boat for the day. The lady said they lived on a boat for ten years in the 70’s, it must have been so different then. Then she said that her husband was an actor, so they used to go where the work was. Obviously that started a whole different conversation.

New brick work finished

Meanwhile Mick at the stern was chatting away, acting had been mentioned and the chap said ‘Oleanna’ sounded familiar. The world got smaller over the next couple of locks. Graham Padden had been working at The New Vic in Stoke in 1998 when the Stephen Joseph Theatre visited with their 10 x 10 season. 10 new plays with a company of 10 actors. Comic Potential, Perfect Pitch and Love Songs For Shopkeepers were the main house shows with seven more in the studio, I designed eight out of the ten. He then mentioned that he’d been in Shadowlands with Janie Dee in the West End. His wife and son were also actors. They’d all toured into Chipping Norton too!

Braunston Top

At the top of the locks we led the way to the tunnel. Life jackets and torch at the stern. We soon saw a light coming towards us, this was followed by another three in quite quick succession. Thankfully no-one else entered the tunnel so we got to the kink on our own.

Braunston Tunnel

3:30pm. Would we get to the Watford flight in time to go up the locks before they closed? We’d get there, but if anyone was waiting then we’d not get up the locks today. We carried on up to Norton Junction where there was space for a couple of boats with the lovely view. It would have been rude not to moor up, so we tied the outside up and let Tilly out. She was given a strict time to be home. She obliged.

That bow looks familiar

A little while later the bow of a very new Cowpar appeared at the bridge ahead of us. This was the new Finesse boat that had been shown at Crick Boat Show last weekend. Excuse the looks on their faces as it is a 70ft boat turning at a junction with a bridge hole to contend with. A very nice looking boat with electric drive, there’s a boat test by Adam about it in last months Canal Boat magazine.

NB Grà

6 locks, 6.98 miles, 1 right, 3 glasses, 1 prick, 500 whatevers, 10 turns, 2 syndicate members, 1 share for sale, 0 bangers, 6 rashers bacon, 3 pork loin steaks, 0.5kg beef mince, 1 small pork pie, 1 punnet strawberries, 3 actors on a boat, 1 tunnel, 2 mysterons, 4 passing boats, 1 prime view mooring, 1 bruised finger.

4 thoughts on “Star Jumps, WD And Thespians. 26th August

  1. Dave (Scouts)

    Remember that butcher well, very good bacon, sausages and lamb steaks.. Used it for our stay at the windmill back in new year 2020.
    Hope to visit again October half term on a, dare i say it, hire boat

    1. Pip Post author

      Oo enjoy! We’ve had 2 Christmas birds from them and they rarely disappoint.

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