Category Archives: A Regular Little Houdini

Inverting Again. 11th December

Cropredy Marina to Broadmoor Lock

New berth numbers going up in the marina

Sainsburys took their time in getting back to me yesterday, but this morning I woke to an email and message from them. The Banbury store had not followed the correct process. Anything with the delivery date or following day as Use by dates should have been flagged up on the paperwork. This would have given us the chance to return anything. As it wasn’t mentioned we got our money back for the ham and some humous. So it’s always worth commenting on such things.

Much of the morning was taken up with A Regular Little Houdini conversations. The production manager rang about something else so I got chance to put forward my new idea, then a lengthy chat with the new director. We came up with a solution that once we get to Vienna we may be able to improve on to get the Wow factor. Another chat with the Production Manager and all was agreed.

Festive inflatables

Mick in the mean time readied Oleanna for the off. A final load of washing was done, the dirty washing drawer now empty, again. He topped up with water and flattened down the pram cover.

Then it was time to unplug the hook up. He flicked the switch in the electrics cupboard, but the inverter didn’t come on. This should be seemless, no interruption in power, but the inverter wasn’t working!

Was open inverter surgery required?

He tried all sorts, the big breaker switches were turned off and on, the cover came off, he checked for loose connections, the volt meter came out to check for voltage. He unplugged the cable going to the Victron Monitoring system, the inverter started to work. Plugged it back in, it stopped. It was unplugged again.

Curtain storyboard

By now it was the marinas lunch time so we had lunch ourselves, I finished off a new storyboard all about curtain movements, scanned and emailed it to all concerned in Vienna and Wales. At 13:55 we untied and pushed back, only to come forwards again into the next berth which is a service mooring.

Byebye marina

A top up of diesel and five bags of coal, then we were finally ready for the off. Our plan was not to go far, the stoppage at Claydon flight is only a couple of miles away and due to reopen at the end of play on Friday. So the first available towpath mooring would do us. These however were all taken, so we rose up Broadmoor Lock and found a space there. With only half an hour before cat curfew time Tilly was allowed out to survey our location.

Broadmoor Lock

Mick spent some time on the internet looking for a solution to the inverter problem. He plugged our laptop into it, had a look. The settings seemed fine, so he plugged the monitoring system back in and all was fine. He then altered a setting which means if the inverter is not needed it will turn itself off but will wake up to check if it’s needed at regular intervals, this will save us power.

Some of those red berries would look good on a wreath!

Tomorrow the forecast is for rain much of the day. But if we wake to favourable conditions then we’ll carry on up the last two locks hopefully before it starts to rain. Fingers crossed.

Just what am I meant to do with half an hour?!

1 lock, 0.36 miles, £6.30 refund, 1 reverse, 1 left, 1 fault on the monitoring system, 1 last load, 5 bags coal, 55 litres diesel, 1 very helpful dutch chap, 1 inverter set to turn on and off by itself, 1 problem not solved just gone away, 30 minutes! 1 sock completed, 8m by 3.1m Taft CS Weinrot.

Hunkered Down With The Washing Machine. 10th December

Cropredy Marina

Bored

The day started windy, it then increased to being windier, to WINDY, to BLUSTERY, to Buffettingly BLASTING wind, with a touch of rain added in for good measure!

Before we left the marina we were wanting to top up with diesel and coal which would mean manoeuvring to the service point which is only a short distance away and at a right angle to our mooring. But the strength of the wind was very off putting, so we changed our mind. Mick headed over to the office and handed over another £15 for an extra night. At least this meant we could carry on with washing things.

Bored!

Around midday there was a lull in the elements which was handy as we had a Sainsburys delivery. Our mooring was very handily positioned for the driver and he pushed his trolley with six crates of goodies down the pontoon to the stern of Oleanna. With Tilly locked in the bedroom we were able to unload the crates at ease.

Blimey that’s a lot!

I’d just finished cleaning and rationalising what was on the kitchen counters. Now they groaned under the weight, we’d decided to get some Christmas booze in. With 25% off when buying six bottles it was worth doing. Finding space to stow everything was a bit tricky but it all got tucked away in the end.

That was meant to last Mick a week!

Checking the Use by dates on the fresh produce I noticed there were a few things with short dates. Two packs of ham and some humous running out tomorrow, a complaint was needed. I entered a facebook messenger conversation which took ages to get replied to, photos were needed of the dates and paperwork. Still no reply when we went to bed, we’ll see what they come up with.

Valves

The kitchen tap has developed a drip, quite an annoying one. It can be stopped with the precise positioning of the hot water tap. So last week we’d ordered new valves for it, no washers nowadays! Getting both hot and cold valves we were covered. Today was a perfect day to do such a job, except we don’t have a 2mm allen key to be unable to do the taps! We’ll have to cope with the water torture a little longer.

Shh closers

One of the soft closers on our pullout kitchen cupboard in the galley had broken the other day, so we’d ordered two more. This was a lot easier to sort as the closer just slots over the top of the cupboard door hinge with a bit of umph it locks into position. Job done.

Pulling it out

My knitting was checked for size, sadly just a touch too big, I amended the pattern and pulled it right back to where the rib started. Fortunately by the end of the evening it was further on with just two fingers left to knit, then the second glove.

Shortly before sitting down to enjoy some left over Salmon en croute I received an email with a new version of the script for Houdini. Magic tricks added and a rewrite of the opening of Act 2. This is the most problematical section of the play. A quick read of the stage directions, oh bugger! Curtains that have taken quite a lot of sorting out now need to do a lot more than had been planned for. A rethink is required to accommodate edits in the video footage. Can we achieve the required effect without use of solenoids?

BORED!!

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 immensely windy day, thrice bored cat, 1 empty wee tank, 5 bottles wine, 1 bottle prosecco, 6 boxes wine, 7 bottles beer, 1 wine cellar overflowing, 1 veg shelf now stocked with beer, 3 more loads washing, £15, 1 stove lit, 5th version, 2 extra swipes, 1 big rethink.

Christmas Cut. 5th December

Tom Rolt Bridge to Slat Mill Lock

The last push this morning as we wanted to be pushing off. About time too !!!

There is a lack of post offices where we’re heading so last night I’d packaged up presents that needed to go in the post, printed off a few cards all that was left this morning was to find addresses and take them to the post office in Castle Quay.

Time to move onwards

Whilst I was busy Mick cycled down to Morrisons for some of their peanut butter. Three jars were purchased (it’s the best in our opinion, only made with peanuts and nothing else), sadly their gluten free aisle isn’t what it was last year and there was no gf black pudding!

Once the post had been posted and a couple of things picked up from other shops there was one thing left to do. I took a deep breath and walked into The Cutting Bar for my annual haircut. I’d considered going elsewhere after last year, but here I could just walk in without an appointment. Only wanting a straight line cutting it should be cheap and I was determined to not let them put loads of gunk on my head..

Waiting

There was a short queue, but after about ten minutes I was directed towards the sink. Here the lady who’d been sat on the desk gently washed my hair, she took so long I’d have been able to do it twice and have a shower at the same time.

Before

Then another lady took over. I felt like I should say, ‘Bless me, for it has been twelve months since my last hair cut’. But instead I just asked for it to be cut as short as possible but still able to go back into pig tails. My lovely hair dresser in Scarborough knows what this means, this lady though added a couple of inches on, most probably hoping it would encourage me back sooner, little does she know!

Not quite a years worth on the floor

I was very quick off the mark when she reached for the blow drier and a hair brush. I’d noticed this year there were signs saying you could have a rough blow dry for £2 extra. This would be enough to get rid of the damp before going out into the cold again, but hopefully not involve all the brushing and curling under to give me a lions main. I had made the right decision, thankfully.

After. It can be Christmas now.

No products, no curling, no extra body. Phew! My ordeal was over for another year. At my reckoning it was going to cost me just over £20, so imagine my surprise when she said £15.95 please! Who was I to argue? This was £3 less than I thought it would be before the blow drying. Then the penny dropped as I walked out the door, I’d been charged the Senior rate! Excuse me, I’m not even 55 yet!! Blimey has my face become that haggard!?!

As I got back to the boat, Mick had just started to reverse back to the water point. I was picked up and handed a windlass to lift the bridge. We filled the tank and put on winter cruising clothes, time to make a move.

Dink and Malc’s

Last year as we left Banbury we came across ice outside Dink and Malc’s house, today it was clear. As ever a friendly wave from inside the conservatory and a big thumbs up from Malc as we passed. I wonder how many times he has to wave a day in the summer months to passing boaters.

Rising away from Banbury

Up Hardwick Lock, under the M40 and on to Bourton Lock. Here the lock cottage looks much the same as ever. All the windows shuttered up, wonder what it’s like inside.

We’ll try

We decided to pull up before Slat Mill Lock in an Herbie Award winning mooring. But before we reached there we crunched through our first bit of ice this winter. No body had been this way for a while we thought as we broke the cat ice ahead of Oleanna.

The award winning mooring

Up ahead on the end of the straight was a moored boat, we wouldn’t be on our own, but there was still plenty of space. We tied up and opened the doors for Tilly. At last! A new outside!!

A muddy moo

The evening was taken over by a phone call (whilst stood on one leg outside on the towpath freezing) to a new director for A Regular Little Houdini. Josh who offered me the job has sadly had to stand down as he has not been allowed to take time off Emmerdale to get the show up and running in Vienna. So this evening I had a lengthy chat with Tim the new director who will also be lighting the show. He is very much playing catch up.

Floating 1

Have to say it’s nice to have someone taking the lead. Communications between one member of the team have been somewhat lacking. I got a response to an email three weeks after I’d sent it. Constant badgering for information isn’t what I’d signed up for, so I have to admit I’d slightly given up. Hopefully now Tim is in the picture things will start happening, they’d better as the set goes into the theatre in a months time!

2 locks, 3.38 miles, 0.21 backwards, 1 lift bridge lifted twice, 3 parcels, 3 jars peanut butter, 6 inches shorter (bet you can see the difference this time Tom), 1 boater feeling older than she is, £5 saved, 1 confirmed, 1 turned down, 2 waves, 1 patch of ice, 1 new director, 16 emails, 2 fingers crossed things start to happen now.

3.99 Miles And 2 Locks! 24th November

Jericho to Kidlington Green Lock 43

We’ve moved!!!!!!

Leaving College Cruisers behind

It’s all very well being excited, but my day didn’t start well. I was a bit peckish in the middle of the night, so went to my bowls. Three weeks ago Tom had forgotten to give me my morning ding ding and I had two very empty bowls when She came home. Last night he’d even stolen my bowls, there was nothing what-so-ever to even lick!

So I had to be creative. I found a couple of things that smelt nice so gave them a lick, but they fell on the floor making a clanking noise waking them up! Tom stole these as well, saying it was for my own good as I must have caught what She had had. I hadn’t caught anything, well not that I’d noticed! If I had it certainly wasn’t tasty with a tail, because I’d have remembered.

I do not waste my time. They do!!

This morning I waited eagerly, my tummy rumbling, for the ding ding. But Tom forgot and he wasn’t even going to Liverpool! She didn’t do anything about it either!! So I had to spend much of the remainder of the day trying to sleep with the growling monster in my tummy making increasingly louder noises. When I couldn’t sleep I did get to watch the outside moving from inside. They had a few attempts at tying it up, but rejected these after a while. I thought the trees looked good, but no, who am I!

After breakfast I dug out my walking boots, the towpaths up ahead would be muddy so I traded trainers for boots for the first time in ages. We pushed off just after 11am our aim to reach a suitable mooring for Tilly to explore for the remainder of the day, see we’re not as horrid as she makes out.

Fishing at Aristotle bridge

We waved goodbye to Oxford. We won’t miss the trains through the night, although we’ll still have the railway for a while. We won’t miss the boat behind us running his generator till midnight! We won’t miss all the wheelie suitcases rumbling past. I won’t miss the narrow outside and lack of friends.

One for Bridget

At Aristotle Bridge one boat sat on the moorings where it’s been for ages, surrounded by fishermen. If we’d wanted to pull in we’d have caused quite a stir, but we’d only just pulled away so slowed to pass them all and say hello. From here on the towpath is closed as it is being improved.

Topping up whilst the washing machine works hard on my painty clothes

A gap in the works gave us the opportunity to pull in at the services just after Elizabeth Jennings Way. Another boat was filling so whilst waiting to use the tap, our washing machine already going, we disposed of the packing from the printer, ash, general waste and emptied the yellow water.

Our first lift bridge, usually left open

Once the fresh water tank was full we pulled away and were soon under our first Oxford Canal lift bridge, Bridge 238 which is left open.

Approaching Wolvercote Lock

Wolvercote Lock was easier to access than normal. The last boat on the moorings here must be off on a jolly at the moment. I wound the paddle and emptied the lock a touch for the levels to equalise then pushed open the bottom gate. This end of the Oxford Canal the locks only have single bottom gates. On deeper locks this can make for hard work, but at only 4ft 3″ the gate moved easily.

C&RT work boats tied to rotting felled trees!

Less can be said about the lift bridges! The bridges out from Oxford have a reputation. Last year I got their measure, but a year is a long time and things have been tinkered with and worn since.

Perry’s Lift Bridge 234 would not unlock. Was this the one that you needed to put your weight on and give your key a quarter turn to the exact spot? No, nothing seemed to work for me. I called Mick to have a go. A cyclist came by and was asked if this bridge had a knack. Everything was tried by all three of us, still locked. The cyclist headed off to find his mate. If you’ve ever been this way you will more than likely have met the chap who appeared, he’s often around helping or making comments about how shallow the canal is along the Agenda 21 moorings.

It just wouldn’t unlock

With the expert local knowledge he lifted and jiggled the lock. Apparently the post that the lock locks into can move, so some sideways lifting and jiggling got it aligned again at which point it unlocked. Hooray! Everyone was thanked as I sat on the beam to hold it open and Mick brought Oleanna through.

I should have had more pie to lift this bridge

The next bridge, Wolvercote Lift Bridge, I knew would be problematical, it nearly always is. No lock on this one just a lot of hoiking to do. I crossed over and grabbed one of the beams above my head and tried with all my weight to get it to move, nothing. I tried the other beam and got it to acknowledge that I was doing something. After being ill the other day I didn’t feel like being a monkey and working my way along the beam to the end and with no handy passersby I had to call for assistance from Mick.

Open and sat on as Oleanna passes underneath

Here the bridge landing is high and overhanging so it’s not as simple as just pulling up with a rope. Our extra fat fender had to be deployed to help preserve the cabin paintwork. Mick then could join me and give the towpath side of the bridge a lift until I could get my weight on top of the beam to open it. I remember last year there being a strong wind which kept lifting me off the ground.

Wolvercote Junction. Left to the Thames, straight on to the north and Christmas

Wolvercote Junction next where if you turn west you end up on the Thames by King’s Lock. I’d half expected the canal to be high here and Dukes Cut Lock to be partly under water with the Thames being in flood. But all looked fairly normal. We carried on with our course northwards and into Dukes Lock.

Oooo Aaarrgh!

Soon followed Drinkwater Lift Bridge. This bridge is closing in the new year to have work done on the bridge approach walls and the bridge will have a manual hydraulic lifting system added to it. This bridge is used more than the other two we’d come through today, as quite a lot of boaters bypass them on the Thames. Here reading the instructions on the lock have always worked, especially the quarter turn of the key. Once unlocked it’s a quick dash across as the bridge is keen to open. Then on closing it needs some persuasion and to be quick at getting onto it to add your weight to be able to lock it again. With all this in mind it is easy and I managed it without too much bother. Just a shame it’s not Wolvercote bridge getting some attention this stoppage season!

Last one of the day and easiest

Now we had about a mile to go before Kidlington Green Lock came into view. The piling edge below the lock was empty, we found our nappy pins and moored up doing our best not to slip on the muddy towpath. It now being 3pm there was only an hour left before cat curfew. Tilly had been offered some food, a small amount before heading out the back doors, but this was totally over looked.

Hooray!!!!!

At last!!! A whole new outside, yet strangely familiar. There was plenty to sniff and check out. I made full use of my hour exploring, showing myself twice on the cat walk before heading off in a different direction. This is so much more like it! Then when I came inside there was a great big box to sit in, this made up for not being allowed to stay out later.

What’s in here?
A cat, what did you expect?

The joint of beef we’d bought yesterday went in the oven and came out smelling wonderful, it tasted good too!

2 locks, 3.99 miles, 3 lift bridges, 2 pesky, 1 easy, 2 cyclists held up, 3 willow trees ducked under, 1 work boat tied to rotting wood, 1 hour of shore leave, 1 empty wee tank, 50% rubbish disposed of, 1 full water tank, 1 amended Houdini drawing, 1 pair socks, 1 days cruising, 2 smiley boaters, 1 happy cat again.

Dusty! 22nd November

Jericho

This is now the longest we’ve ever been somewhere other than when we chose to moor up in Newark four years ago and that was mostly for medical reasons. Tilly is so bored! Even when I put her collar and cat tags back on this morning she only had half an hour outside before coming back in yawning at the lack of excitement.

First boat to go past this morning, backwards

In the last five weeks I’ve only been to Isis Lock and back, hardly a cruise. The prospect of getting moving again is quite an exciting one. Last night we had our first sign that things along the canal were improving. A couple of hours after dark we could hear the sound of a boat engine. As the stern came alongside we could hear ‘Hi Oleanna, we’ll see you in the morning’. NB Dusty had arrived. They headed to the lock, winded and came back past us to College Cruisers for the night.

Here she comes!

This morning it was obvious that Dusty was being restocked. We could hear the clanging of gas bottles, then a coal delivery followed by diesel. Mid morning they reversed their way back towards us. Katy, Jock and Billy their dog on the roof. We were remembered from last year and I was asked how panto had gone. There was plenty of time to have a chat and catch up.

NB Dusty arriving from the north

Mick undid an empty gas bottle, Jock replaced it for us lowering a new heavy bottle into the gap in the gas locker to save Mick’s back. Bags of coal were loaded onto the roof. The boat in front of us had a delivery of something too before they reversed back to fill our diesel tank. Glad we’d waited until today as the price had dropped by 1p a litre with the new delivery, and it was far far cheaper than from College Cruisers.

Heading to the next customer behind us
TV monitor dimensions

Feeling better today I got on with a bit of work. Dimensions of a TV monitor had come through so plans needed amending for A Regular Little Houdini along with letting the production manager know which fabric I would like for some curtains. I’d received samples whilst I was in Chippy, so now I needed to dig out the card I’d used in the model to compare colours. In the afternoon there was a phone call from Vienna to choose paint colours! Not an easy thing over the phone translating them into paints available in Austria, but we got enough sorted for the base coats to be laid in before I arrive in January. The set is starting to be built.

Mick headed off with a bike to collect a new printer from Argos, our old one having got cartridge confusion and now can’t print in black. The hunt for a suitably sized printer had taken a little while as the cupboard our office lives in is only a certain size. The box it came in though was ridiculous. Yes the printer is white, but is all the packaging really needed? Every surface was covered with a protective layer of plastic, instruction books had their own cardboard protection and plastic bag.

Thoughts turning to transporter bridges again

We now need to dispose of our old printer and all this packaging, most of which will be able to go in a bin up the way, but the cardboard will wait until we reach Lower Heyford to go in the recycling bins there. At least once the polystyrene has gone Tilly will make use of the box for a while.

The box is twice the size of the printer

NB Dusty had come down the River Cherwell section on Wednesday to Shipton Weir Lock, it was still in the red, but they had managed it without too much problem. We’d be going against the flow so it should be easier heading upstream. When they came through Thrupp there was some space to moor. So this evening we have been making plans for our escape, including a supermarket delivery. Fingers crossed that space is still there.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 better digestive system, 1 light head, 546 x 956, 3 moving boats, $100, 1 cat with cat tags, 28 minutes shore leave, 125kg coal, 36 litres diesel, 1 gas bottle, 83p, 1 giant box, 1 small printer, JS016, 4 yellow reaches, possibly 8th brick, 2 boaters and 1 cat making plans.

Panto Postcard 3, 2019. Saturday Escape.

73.75 hours

Hertford College Boat Club to College Cruisers, Oxford Canal

A very long week in Panto land, but a productive one.

Lily working with the Pippins

Two buses got me back to Chippy by 11am on Monday. The cast take over the stage now for much of the day, but lunchtimes and the evenings it is free.

Josh taking set ups

Monday we had a photo shoot for publicity photos for the show. We set up the Square setting as that was the most complete, actors donned their costumes and ‘set up’ photos were taken by Josh Tomalin.

Cutting in the woodwork on the boozer

The set being mainly sliders means that I can pull bits out to paint and then slot them back in whilst another scene is being rehearsed to dry without the possibility of actors getting covered in paint.

All wrapped up, ready to go

On Tuesday I took advantage of not being able to get to much on stage and sorted sending my model box out to Vienna. This took so long to fill out the forms on line. I could quite easily measure the box but weighing it was more problematical. The Front of House money scales came to my rescue, the box weighing 2kg which is £220 in £1 coins!

That’s me driving for the first time in three years!

In the evening Jo (the props maker) and I tried out the Dames car on the front of the stage whilst the technicians and Mark (Lighting Designer) hung lanterns around us. By the end of the day there were working headlights and I’d managed to paint my panto anaglypta in the boozer.

Highlights
Shadows

Wednesday was a filming day. The panto has some sections which are shown on a projection screen. So these were filmed in front of green fabric so that suitable backgrounds can be added. Then footage for the car chase was looked at with the actors in the car. Lots of fun.

Green screen filming

On Thursday I spent quite a bit of time getting dotty in the Bank of England Vault. I ended up getting carried away with the dots so had to paint every third one of them out. It being Halloween the actors had decided to spend the day in fancy dress. We had a strawberry, mustard, The Joker amongst other things.

Dotty vault

Friday was a very messy day. A panto isn’t a panto without a slosh scene. Last year this was tame compared to this year.

Susie mixing the smash
Actors getting covered

A huge bowl of Smash was required, costumes are made with ease of cleaning in mind and a large tarpaulin covered the stage floor. Various consistencies of smash were tried out, thinner worked better and tended not to clog nostrils up quite so much. On the set side of things I am going to need to glaze a lot of it as there is no knowing where the smash will land.

Pepper keeping me company back at my digs

In the evening I worked on the front edge of the stage, one last curve needed marking out. I was back to measuring and scaling up from my model, then joining the dots, followed by painting as good a curve as I could over mouldings. This involved adding a bit, loosing a bit, adding a bit etc whilst Mark and the chaps focused the lights on stage.

Ready to start the stagger through

Saturday morning, time for a stagger through of the whole show for the actors and a chance for everyone else to watch and see what is missing and needed for the technical rehearsals next week.

The boozer, just needing it’s dressing adding

This went well, a couple of scenes scripts were still in hands and we had to stop and start for scene changes, these will be worked out next week.

About to start at 3pm

Once the actors and props were clear of the stage it was time to get to work. Mark had done his best to get most of the lights focused, but still needed a bit of dark time. Jon (Sound Designer) was also around positioning speakers and microphones, a lot of people when you need a clear stage to start painting the floor. But everyone was understanding and accommodating.

Phil finishing the second coat of the base colour

The cavalry arrived in the shape of Phil, a scenic artist from Bristol. She has come to help out for a few days and was thrown in at the deep end helping me with the floor. We soon discovered what a small world it was from Skye to Hull to Bristol.

Base coat on by 4:20
Blues drying waiting for second coats at 5:10

The heating was on full blast to help the paint dry. We gave first, second and to one particularly annoying shade of blue a forth coat of paint before we broke for something to eat at 9:15 leaving the paint to dry on it’s own. Half an hour later we were good to go with a coat of glaze. This was on and drying with twenty minutes to go before the last bus left Chipping Norton for Oxford. Much better than last year when I finished at 2am and couldn’t escape to the boat until 6am.

Glazed by 22:35

Meanwhile

This morning, Saturday, when I’d turned my phone on I received a message from Mick. Yesterday he’d been up to Osney Lock to check on the flow above the lock, any possible moorings and if it would be possible to turn into Sheepwash Channel and then up onto the canal. More rain and strong winds were forecast for this morning, should he push on or stay put. The message said, ‘Just setting off now to beat the wind and rain.’

More Panto

By the time I’d had a shower he’d negotiated his way past numerous rowers on the Thames to Osney Lock. Finishing breakfast he’d single handed Osney Lock. This involves a lot of walking round as the lock landings are on the offside and control panels on the towpath side.

The next stretch would be the hardest. The narrow channel meaning the flow would be strongest. Osney Bridge to negotiate and then the turn onto Sheepwash. Changing from going upstream to downstream with a right hand bend the currents couldn’t be predicted, there was even an Eddie there to confuse matters. Mick made the turn, passed the disused swing railway bridge and then turned onto the lock landing below Isis Lock. This was conveyed just as I reached the front doors of the theatre.

Panto

In the now pouring down rain he worked Oleanna up the narrow lock and at last he’d escaped the Thames. Two weeks later than originally planned, but safe back on the cut. No photos of this expedition as Mick was quite busy and it was raining somewhat.

2 locks, 2.31 miles, 1 right, 1 left, 1 red board, 3 buses, 1 car, almost 2 weeks in 1, 1 scenic cavalry, 1st glaze, 2nd tomorrow, 1 day off, 3 2 1mph, 1 boat escaped, 1 designer escaped, 1 lazy day planned, 1 escape pod to be put away!

Moving! 18th October

Newbury to Greenham Lock

Hunting round for a printers to do copies of my plans I noticed a group of possibles behind the marina opposite. I chose one to aim for and set off with my tracing paper roll under my arm. After I’d crossed the canal the roll had to be tucked inside my fleece as it had started to rain. They were wrapped in a plastic bag, but all the same I didn’t want to end up with a wrinkly set.

Newbury Salmon ladder

In what seemed to be someones garage I opened the door and enquired if they did A2 copies. No came the answer from a chap hidden behind numerous toner cartridges, but there was a place in Aldermaston. That was no good to me, they’d be closed on Sunday when we might just pass through. They could however do me a couple of copies that covered the whole drawing, that would do me.

Modern printers are like old TV sets they take forever to warm up and get going. A test copy was done, which took forever to appear at the far end of the garage. This was fine and he set about doing my copies for me. once this machine got going it didn’t hang around! They charged a minimum of £7.50, was that okay? Just over 30p a sheet that was great, an A2 would have been around £2 a go!

Ambient! My lasagne the other day was ambient too

Now with a bigger roll I looked like I was hiding a shot gun under my fleece. I met Mick at Sainsburys where we stocked up on perishables. Back at the boat we had lunch and then pushed off.

Dante modelling a new woofer life jacket

Okay so we didn’t go far, just around the corner to wait for the marina service mooring to become free. Then we pushed over doing ‘an Andy’ to get the stern in against the strong wind. Newbury has no C&RT water points, but here you can top up your tank for £2, if you spend enough on other things it’s free. We managed 50 litres diesel and a bag of coal, so we got the H2O for free. I put a load of washing on to make the most of it.

When the new rulings come in for Diesel the chap said they wouldn’t sell to passing boats anymore. How many other places will go the same way?

Impatient locals

This all took time and it was nearly four by the time our tank gave it’s boom to tell us it was full. So we pushed back over, mooring just before Greenham Lock. All was good, with empty and full tanks as required and a clean pooh bucket, happy boaters.

Whilst Tilly explored this stretch of narrow land between canal and river I drew up a template for the pattern in the Boozer for Panto. This recurs on several bits of set, so being able to draw it out quickly will be a great help. With this then cut out I could start putting things away.

Work corner

For months now the corner of our dinette has had a model sitting in it along with boxes of paints and my model making box. It is normally tied away better than in this photo. I’d hoped that the Production Manager for Vienna might manage to pick the model up this weekend, but we are too far off his route, so it will be sent by courier instead, we’ll have to put up with it for a while longer. Everything else though could be packed away again and stowed under the seating until next year.

Mine!
It’s all mine!

Tilly woke up just as I was putting the cushions back and made sure that she claimed them by rolling all over the place and running along the dinette sideways, those poor cushions!

Our forth and final meal from the left over pork this evening. Left over stew, just about anything that I could find went into this in my cast iron pot which was left to bubble for a couple of hours. With a large jacket potato each it was very tasty. The joint may have been large, but it did us five main meals so that’s just over £1 a go. Not bad.

A photo for Frank

Earlier than advertised the Michaelmas Fair firework display started. We tried looking out of the hatch but we were too far away with too many trees in the way to see anything. Oh well, we just listened instead.

0 locks, 0.24 miles, 52.4 litres, 1 bag Glow, 1 full tank water, 1 empty wee tank, 1 clean pooh bucket, 24 copies, 1 chicken, A1 template, 1 corner reclaimed, 1 set loaded ready for Monday, 3 yellow boards, the rest still red, 2 free days hooray!