Hire Boat Rush Hour. 4th August

Bridge 100 to Broughton Road Bridge

More and more boats came past including the little green tug we’d encountered yesterday, maybe they’d been for water at Braunston last night. Eventually we found a gap in the traffic and pulled out continuing our journey towards Braunston.

Not a bad view from bed this morning

Below I busied myself cleaning Tilly’s pooh box and trying to encourage her back into the bedroom. If I was stood in the well deck she’d brave crossing the bedroom to peek out of the front window, but otherwise the bedroom was still a place to be very very wary of. There’s a monster in there I tell you!!!


The bangers spire came into view followed by Braunston Turn. Over the junction we could make out that there was a boat moored at Midland Chandlers, but when the water point came into view and that was free we made ready to moor up. Whilst I dealt with the water and rubbish Mick headed into the chandlers to see what they had in the way of switches. Sadly nothing that we could use. The Nebolink can wait a few more days until we find a switch more suitable.

Reading as we go

Onwards now north. I brought the new panto script out the back and as we pootled along the North Oxford Canal I read it through. A pencil should I need to make notes for set things and a blue highlighter pen to underline props as I went. Only one set thing I noted, I need to rehang a door to open the other way. Lots of blue for props and quite a few new chuckles.

This pound is always busy. Today boats seemed to come in threes towards us, just where were they all coming from? We’re normally on a canal or river away from the crowds at this time of year, so it maybe feels that bit more busy to us. We pootled onwards past the nice moorings north of Braunston, these all seemed to be busy.

Barby Straight we only encountered a couple of boats, but the last one must have been really deep draughted as we ended up being on the bottom at quite a tilt. Inside I could hear drawers opening, items falling, Tilly balls all rolling to the port side. The MONSTER’s back!!!! Just when I thought she was getting over the printer!

Lots going on here

Lots of work seems to have taken place near Hillmorton. New sheds with boats under cover being worked on. A little boat was out on the hard with the chalk marks of hull thickness, hopefully the results good for a prospective new owner.

Still pesky those bananas

We pulled into a space above the locks for lunch. During the morning reading the script I’d grown to like panto again, during lunch the emails started again and my top lip started to curl up. A quick response to one of them, the others could wait till we’d moored up for the day.

Time to drop down the three Hillmorton Locks. Time to find a gap in the passing boats! Maybe we shouldn’t have stopped for lunch, all of a sudden we were surrounded with boats wanting to descend the majority hire boats heading back to base. We trod water alongside a moored boat, the boat ahead got caught out by the flow coming from the weir. He decided to stay put on the off side and let us have the next available chamber on the towpath side.

Rush hour at the locks

So many crew at each lock. Some knew what they were doing, others didn’t and I winced at some of the practices. One boat insisted on lifting paddles halfway to empty the lock and then they were going to close the gates despite a boat heading uphill towards them.

Now we were meeting the next set of hirers coming out from the Rugby bases. It was noisy and chaotic to say the least. One boat had young crew sat in the well deck urging Grandad to open the gate ‘It must be ready now!’ as Dad chatted to me at the stern, narrowboating a favorite pass time for his family, costs him a fortune, grandad’s first time, want a boat of their own but wouldn’t know what to do if it broke down, couldn’t afford it anyway. I suggested they should look into a share boat, it works out cheaper than hiring every holiday. Eventually he moved the morse control and headed off to the next lock, his daughter having almost exploded in the welldeck at her Dad not getting a move on!

Into the bottom lock

The last lock down to the Rugby pound seemed quieter, a volunteer helped with the bottom gates and as we left she indicated to the following boat which of the paired locks they should aim for. All could be peaceful again. Time for the final scene of panto.

There was space on the armco closest to Rugby Station. We pulled in, then quite quickly moved along a boats length as we’d disturbed a wasps nest. Tilly was given two hours shore leave, preferring to use the stern and hatch avoiding the bow and the bedroom!

Panto emails kept me busy for much of the remainder of the day. A new print company wanting to charge £200 for a sample?! I’m sure their printing is very good, but we’re possibly looking at two companies doing different elements that all have to look the same, I want reassurance that I won’t end up with a right mishmash of colours. The carpenters were updated with my thoughts, new drawings needed.

Roast Pork, yum

A joint of pork came out of the fridge and an hour later went in the oven. A Friday night roast would help warm the boat up for the evening. As I started to collate a props list together Mick prepared the vegetables. A very tasty meal indeed and Act 1 props all listed. I even ended up with Tilly sat on my knee the bedroom starting to loose it’s scareyness.

3 locks, 10.3 miles, 0 journey on Nebolink, 1 left, 0 switch, 1 monster in THAT bag! 4 balls, 1 temperature gauge, 1 miss timed lunch break, 1 clean pooh box, 6 hire boats all at once, 1 spliff and a can of larger, 2 hours, 1 wasps nest, 5m not 3m, 1 long list of things to do, Act1 props done, 1 heel turned.


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