Category Archives: Ice Cream

Self Catering. 3rd April

Lockdown Mooring 2

Time to wake my sourdough starter up this morning. I let it warm up when out of the fridge and then gave it a feed popping it on the proving shelf, high up to do it’s stuff. It bubbled up, but not as far as it has done in the past, so I may need to keep feeding it for a couple of days before it’s really good for baking again. A shame really as I was keen to get a loaf baked so that a hefty hint could be put in for a cooked breakfast one morning soon, poached eggs so need to be on a slice of toast! At least it will give me time to work out which recipe to try next as I now have no sorghum flour.

Mid morning an email I’d been hoping for popped into my Inbox. Will, the producer at Chipping Norton was getting in touch regarding this years panto, Rapunzel. If the health of the world improves over the next few months they will be forging ahead with panto. Would I be interested in designing it? A different contract to normal due to the virus and uncertainty as to whether the show will be able to go ahead which is totally understandable. They are hoping that by August they will be able to make a decision, if they give it a green light then it will be full steam ahead.

Rapunzel at Chippy

I have said that as soon as a script is ready I’d like to make a start, even if it doesn’t go ahead. Something creative to keep my mind busy would be appreciated. Anyway I’d only be able to get so far with it before needing model making materials, cereal boxes are just a bit too flimsy.

Heading to pick up the shopping

Mid afternoon it was time for Mick to head off and pick up our shopping, blimey I’d forgotten how bright his cycling coat was! Off he headed down the towpath to join the A51 towards Sainsburys. I took advantage of having an empty table and stuck the model for The Garden together and took photos.

Just the right amount

It looked like we’d got the amount of shopping just about right for the Brompton bag and a rucksack. All our shopping had been put in plastic bags, I think this is standard practice at the moment due to coronavirus. A shame that whilst other pollutants decrease in use that plastic bags are making a come back.

I was ready to disinfect things that needed to come inside. Other items were left in a bag on the stern under the pram cover, they’ll stay there for three days before being brought in. Having the pram cover is great at the moment, we can leave anything out there for long enough should anything have been picked up on coats or shopping.

Tilly Tumbles on the towpath

My sister-in-law Jac called and we had a long catch up about her escape from Australia last weekend. Getting a flight home had been one problem, but because she has an Australian passport she also needed a form to be filled in by the equivalent of our Home Office for her to be allowed to board the plane to come back to England. This took quite a bit of doing and it was just as well it arrived back just in time as her passport was double checked at the airport.

Cute cat

She’s settled back at home now. There were no guidelines for quarantine from the government on her return, so she’s not being kept in the garden room for two weeks. Instead she’s been thrown into the mass of extra accountancy needed by the company she works for to claim things from the government. She’s not sure how long her work will continue for but at the moment there is plenty to keep her busy.

with Murder in her eyes

The London Leckenbys were looking forward to an Indian take away this evening. That is the downside of being out in the sticks on a boat, no take aways and no chips. This of course is good for us, but boy would I like some nice chips! Tilly on the other hand doesn’t need to have her food delivered, as she’s moved into catering for herself. Today I have witnessed the devouring of two small friends who’d been invited home for dingding! They were just an appetiser as she still insisted on us feeding her!

Courgette and Greens pilaff

This evening after we’d eaten, we headed to the National Theatre to enjoy One Man Two Guvnors via YouTube. A very funny adaptation by Richard Bean of The Servant of Two Masters by Goldoni, set in the 60’s. James Corden certainly earns his keep. It is still available to view until next Thursday. The only down side was an interval of only 30 seconds, far too short to get a glass of wine and some chilled medication, never mind a dash to the loo! However there is always the pause button.

Our view this evening

0 locks, 0 miles, 4 miles by bike, 4 plastic bags, 0 boxes of wine this time, 1 model totally finished, 6 moving boats, 1 returning boat, 1 new panto, 4 fingers crossed, 0 chicken left, 2 self catered meals, 1 play, 2 sides split.

Nice To See You. 21st March

Nantwich to Calverley Bridge 104

Late last night there was a lady on a facebook group having difficulty getting medication delivered to her boat somewhere in Nantwich. The pharmacy couldn’t deliver and local taxis wouldn’t due to insurance. We could easily help, so I left her a comment and message. This morning my phone was turned on early, but there was no reply. Still no reply as we had our cuppa in bed. Mick headed off on a bike into town for our Saturday newspaper and hopefully the few bits we’d not managed to get yesterday. There was still no reply by the time he’d finished. Hopefully she succeeded by other means.

A crow picking up Mick’s hair.

Mick had wizzed round the shops this morning and returned with a box of white and a box of red amongst other things, but still no rice to be had. We finished breakfast made cuppas and settled down at 10am infront of the laptop.

Duncan, Mick’s nephew had set up a video call for the family this morning. Gradually at 10am people joined the meeting, only one absentee today. Wiltshire, Lewisham, Sheffield, Eastbourne, Nantwich, Littleborough, Helensburgh and Dhaka, Bangladesh were all connected. Sadly Richard in Dhaka didn’t have enough bandwidth to have a picture, but he did manage to hear every seventh word people were saying and at one point we could hear the local call to prayer.

Curtesy of Duncan

It was lovely to see everyone and hear what people were up to in the confines of their homes, a good catch up and I suspect the first of many.

Padded trousers were needed for cruising, the air not quite warm enough without the sun today. We pushed off just before 11 passing two boats at the water point, our washing machine whizzing round, we’ll fill up tomorrow at Calveley.

Two years ago we got to know this stretch quite well. We knew where the Kingfishers used to hang out, but sadly they didn’t show us their wings today. We kept our eyes open for landmarks. The green double decker bus. The long line of high rise cars on the hill shortly before Hurleston Junction. But hang on! Where was the killer bunny? Psycho Peter Rabbit couldn’t be seen.

The bus

Just on the other side of the A51 is Snugburys a very good chilled medication establishment. In one of the farms fields they have straw sculptures the last one we’d seen was Peter Rabbit who towered above everything. But he is long since gone, I believe a bee is now in his place, sadly not visible from the canal.

Hurleston Bottom Lock

At Bridge 97 we arrived at Hurleston Junction the start of the Llangollen Canal. Barriers on the bridge stop you from walking up the flight at the moment as this is where the bottom lock has been rebuilt. We were a touch surprised to see that the lock was full of water, the bottom gates leaking and giving it away. The flight isn’t due to reopen for another week which is a shame as we’ll most probably be elsewhere by then.

Gordon and Dawn

All of a sudden a chap shouted out to us, recognising our boat name. We slowed to say hello. He soon told us that he also has a Finesse boat, NB Sonoma. Due to the battery delays on Oleanna our boats were being finished at similar times in Sheffield three years ago. We ended up having quite a long chat, all at a very safe distance. It was very nice to meet you Gordon and Dawn. I hope you get to do some cruising this summer and maybe our paths will cross again in more settled times.

Extension finished

Onwards to Barbridge, the fairies still at the bottom of a garden and the new extension that was being built two years ago now completed. There were very few boats along the moorings here, the pub had lights on but was obviously empty. A new patch of gravel on the towpath by a sluice suggested where an emergency repair had happened a few weeks ago.

The recent repair

At the junction we were too busy looking at the new houses to beep our horn, so was a hire boat about to turn out from the Middlewich Branch. We spotted them first and Oleanna was brought to a halt, a near miss averted. There was then a bit of polite, you go first, no you go first. They went first and we held our position against the growing wind.

A near miss

On we pootled, more building sites cordoned off on the off side. The hire boat pulled in to scramble up the bank to the garage. We pulled in onto the 48hr moorings just past bridge 104. There was space for two boats, so we pulled up to the boat in front should anyone else arrive. We were now in the right place to meet up with NB Halsall.

The new houses at Barbridge Junction

Quite a few dog walkers and fishermen came past all with a cheery wave and nod of hello. We may all be keeping our distance but we can still say hello. I had a catch up with my brother and Josh in London. Jac is due to fly back from Australia in a weeks time and they are trying to decide how she should be quarantined. Should the whole house , all three of them be quarantined? Or should Jac be kept in the garden/tree room for 14 days keeping the back yard as a buffer between them all? Here’s hoping she can get home.

Mid afternoon Oleanna did a little bob, was Bunbury staircase being filled? About half an hour later the familiar blue and white bow of NB Halsall came into view slowing ready to pull alongside.

Here they are

Diesel tank topped up (83p), five bags of coal and as this morning we’d finished a gas bottle we replaced that too giving us three full bottles. So we just need to top up with water and we are good again. We arranged to pay by bank transfer as we still have their details from two years ago, this saves passing money around.

I always say hello to Buddy when we pass this boat

Lee was able to give us a bit of local knowledge regarding the Anderton Boat lift and the current situation on the Macclesfield Canal at Marple. Up there they are still waiting for results from a ground survey, but the thought is that unless something serious is found the navigation should be reopen in three to four weeks. We’ll put our thinking caps on and wait to see if it’s good news next week or not.

Tilly had to be reminded that Halsall wasn’t her boat as the bow came close enough to the towpath for a calculated leap. But it looked so interesting on there. Far more interesting than Olea-boring-anna!

Thank you Lee and Roberta

We waved Lee and Roberta goodbye, although we’ll be passing them tomorrow as they will be waiting for a delivery that has been slightly delayed. Then they are likely to pass us on their route eastwards.

0 locks, 5.23 miles, 3 straights, 2 boxes wine, 4 asked for, 1 newspaper, 0.5 of a tree gone (so Frank says!), 1 shared ring, 34 litres, 1 gas bottle, 100kg excel, 1 near stowaway, 12 turkey meatballs, No 6.

The Downward Trend. 16th March

Coxbank Moorings to Audlem between locks 11 and 12.

Mick had just put his dressing gown on this morning and walked through to put the kettle on when a chap stopped for a conversation. Were there any shops? Yes down in Audlem. Their boat had broken down, their gear box didn’t have any oil in it. Mick got dressed and went out to see if he could help, taking with him the bottle of left over oil from engine services. They topped up the gear box and they continued on their way. The boat is an old one, but new to them.


Over breakfast another three boats headed down hill, no point rushing we’d be resetting the locks anyway.

Straight into the flight, the boat ahead of us was only one lock down with another boat in front of them. No point in walking on to set the next lock as it was already full with a boat sat in it.

Having a rest before helping at the lock

A local old fella walked up and had a chat. He walks the flight every morning, sits on the bench at the top for five minutes before returning back down the flight in time for the pub to open. We did our best to keep our distance, but he insisted on helping with the bottom gates. A lovely fellow.

The boat ahead lifted paddles for us on just about all the locks once they’d closed the bottom gates. A cheery wave back and forth for acknowledgment.

Waiting our turn above

Progress was slow, then even slower. The downhill pack had met an uphill boat, a hire boat. We joined the boat ahead of us in the next pound to wait and I loitered to help close the bottom gates with the lady from the hire boat coming up.

Joining the downward trend

Then we’d just manged to space ourselves out again when another boat was coming up. I zoomed in on my camera. Down the flight I could hear a ‘putput’ engine. As the boat rose in a lock the chap stepped off, climbed in the hold and reappeared with a bag of coal on his shoulder. A coal boat. But which one?

Working our way down

Not in need of diesel, a gas bottle still with a few days left and the sunny day making us wonder if we would be needing any more coal this year (I know I’ve tempted fate now) we decided to wait until we hopefully see NB Halsall and not in the middle of a flight of locks.

Good to see Mountbatten

The boat rose in another chamber and it was obvious that it was NB Mountbatten. We’d met Richard and Ruth whilst on the Llangollen a couple of winters ago. Soon afterwards NB Mountbatten had come down Hurleston Locks and so far has not been able to return. The bottom lock has for years been getting narrower and narrower, excluding older boats with a touch of spread. Richard has continued doing deliveries up the canal by van, but had to trade by boat along the Shropie main line.

Looking back up the flight

However this winter Hurleston Bottom Lock has been rebuilt by C&RT. A few days ago we saw on facebook that NB Mountbatten had been invited to give the newly built lock a go. They ascended the lock about half way and fitted. They are now looking forward to getting back onto the Llangollen to trade by boat again, still a little while before the Hurleston flight reopens, but I’m sure they will be the first up the locks.

Gradually getting closer

Back at Audlem we finished descending the main thick of the flight and pulled in in the sunshine. The side hatch was opened to let fresh air in, the back doors left open and Tilly came and went. The bank by the towpath is really quite good in this outside, I can be busy without too many woofers causing me concern. What a lovely spring day.

No Chilled Medication for cats though!

A walk to the bins, a look around the book shop and then up to the shops for a few bits. We managed to support the local butcher by buying a red pepper and the co-op provided us with milk, potatoes but no bread.

In the craft section of the book shop

Mick tuned in the TV and the afternoons news came on. Boris Johnson giving us the news regarding new measures concerning Coronavirus. Measures that will see our older friends stuck at home for their safety. Then ‘Social Distancing’, avoid going to pubs, theatres, large gatherings. All measures we understand to help contain the curve of the virus. But within an hour a large proportion of my friends in the theatre world were out of jobs, theatres closing across the country.

What a face

During the evening we have thought about our plans. We will continue to cruise so long as nothing stops us from doing so. If restrictions come in that stop us moving then we will find a section of canal where we have services and access to shops, Tilly will just have to cope with the same outside for some time. Various facebook groups are being set up along stretches of canals so that local communities of boaters can look out for each other. We’ll be looking for them as we travel and seeing if we can help.

9 locks, 0.84 miles, 1 boat rescued, 1 boat broken down again, 2 ahead, 2 passed, 4 hours! 2 friends, 1 pepper, 1 bag potatoes, 2 pints milk, 2 lego models, 1 step further, 1 loaf started, 1 batch of pasta started, wonder if my sourdough will produce toilet paper? 1 crazy world.

Mistaken Identity. 21st December

Basecote Aqueduct to Longhole Bridge 31


See, what did I say! The sun came out and what do they do? They move the outside!

That isn’t strictly true. Whilst we had breakfast Tilly was allowed to head off and explore, we’d only got a couple of hours to cruise today, so there was no rush to leave. Mick headed off on a bike to get our Saturday newspaper and hunt for blueberries.

Returning with everything he called for Tilly, who he’d spotted up the towpath. We’d want to make a move now so I put on my boots to go out and encourage our crew back on board. Mick pointed up the towpath, a cat sat some distance away and a lady dog walker held onto her two woofers, not moving a muscle.

Mick did say he couldn’t see properly, which was true when I questioned if it was Tilly on the towpath. The cat turned to head into the sideways trees flashing an almost total white front. Too much white, but I went to look anyway. The lady with the dogs stood her ground until I got closer.

Deep in the sideways trees I could see a fluffy cat keeping a close eye on what was happening. Definitely not Tilly. I walked back with the lady, keeping an eye open for Tilly, only to spy her busy in the hedge alongside Oleanna. Once her business had been dealt with she trotted back on board, we were ready for the off.

Below the aqueduct and embankment the River Itchin was sprawling itself across the fields, the level must have risen somewhat after yesterdays rain fall as neither of us remembered it from when we’d arrived.

Lines of pumpkins

Shortly before Bascote Bridge there was a pumpkin graveyard. What looked like a whole field of pumpkins lay unpicked (if you pick a pumpkin, maybe you cut them?) in lines in the field. Some were flattened, others still sat bulbously orange and proud above the earth. Why had this crop just been left to rot in the field?

We stopped at the water point, topping up and to make use of the bins, emptying our yellow water into our container too.

Here I got a text from someone. ‘Hi Pip how old are you this year cos John and I were talking about u and could not remember how old you were in comparison to us’. Earlier in the year I’d thrown my phone out of the side hatch, a new phone was set up quickly, but I’d lost several numbers, this was obviously one of them. Who was it from?

Going through all the Johns I knew there was only one I could think of. I asked ‘Is that Jane?’ Then proceeded to let her know how old I would be this year and wished them both a Happy Christmas.

The top chamber was very low

Onwards to Bascote Staircase. With a two chamber staircase you need to have the top one full and the bottom chamber empty, no matter which direction you are going in. The top one looked ever so empty, the old openings towards a side pond visible, these normally lay well below the water. Whilst it filled I walked down to the next lock, topped it up and opened the gate in readiness for us.

Looking back at Bascote

The paddle gear was bloomin stiff on some of the bottom gates, or have I lost the umph to get them moving? Swapping sides I found easier paddles and emptied one chamber into the next, then down and on wards to the next two locks.

A short pootle and we reached Welsh Road Lock, no chilled medication on sale today sadly. There certainly wasn’t a shortage of water today the bywash hardly noticed me filling the lock.

Yes I think I do!

Below we hoped for a space next to a big field, we opted for the second mooring. Last year when we’d come this way in the summer the levels had been low and we had difficulty in getting into the side, none of that problem today.

Lots of water

Mick got the remaining lights out and arranged them on the cratch and around the wreath whilst Tilly explored our new surroundings.

I busied myself inside. Time to pack summer away properly. For months we’ve been lifting things on and off our bed, time to stop doing that and find homes for things. Our clothes were edited to winter only. With new vacuum bags I packed things away and realised I’d manage to fit the summer duvet in with them too. The outdoor chairs wouldn’t fit under the bed with the new bag so the wardrobe was rearranged too.

Are those newt fences?

There was a gap under the bed, what could go there? I decided to rationalise my yarn stash. Keeping sock, glove and my nice Riverknits yarn out, everything else went into a vacuum bag and managed to shrink into the space. Yarns that were left out were organised most going into the pouffe at the end of the sofa, just leaving me with my cardigan to finish off. The pouffe gets used when we need to use the sofa as a bed, so it was good to whittle down all the stuff that had come to rest on it.

During the afternoon I got to thinking more about the text I’d received. I’d had no reply, signal was bad, but still, it felt a little bit odd. With scams on the rise I wondered if maybe it had been an opportunist trying to get my date of birth, after all who doesn’t know a John. I mentioned it to Mick. I’d not actually given away the exact date, but how old I would be in four days time!

A steep ladder back at the locks

I sent a message to friends who would have Jane’s number and waited to see if it was her. No reply came. Mick agreed it was possible someone was trying to get info, he checked the number on various websites to see if it might have cropped up before. Nothing.

If it was someone up to no good, what would I be able to do about it? I didn’t want to ring John, in case it wasn’t them. Time would tell, we just had to wait.


We enjoyed our buffalo sausages this evening. They were nice, quite meaty, but we wouldn’t rush back to stock up the freezer with them, not at £5 a pack. My cardigan knitting came back out and I started the button band whilst we finished catching up on His Dark Materials ready to watch the last episode tomorrow.

Below the locks

Just before lights out a text came through on a chink of signal to my phone. The same number! It wasn’t Jane after all. But who was it?

My cousin Julie, who used to be married to a John, but now has her brother John living with her. At least that explained it. From now on though I won’t go giving away personal information until I know who’s asking.

5 locks, 2 a staircase, 2.15 miles, 2 outsides, 32 pumpkins, 269 squashed pumpkins, 2nd set of lights, 1 new vacuum tote, 1 sheep or equivalent of yarn under the bed, 1 bag for charity shops, 1 John not that John, 1 our John, 1 our Julie, 0 scam, 1 lesson learnt.

Coping. 17th December

Bend before Marston Doles to between Locks 9 and 8, Napton

No views today

No chance of those views down the Napton flight today as we were surrounded by fog as we pushed off. We paused to top up with water at Marston Doles, both of us checking to see what interesting cars were parked across the way, neither of us checking what state the top lock was in.

Interesting cars as ever

Our last down hill lock was at Blakes Lock in Reading on the 23rd October, when Mick with the assistance of Paul made a break from the K&A and up to Goring on the Thames.

Marston Doles Top Lock

As ever at a first lock Mick had forgotten to get a boat hook positioned at the stern to help close bottom gates, he was more interested in tidging the Christmas lights. My comments about how little he cared for me worked and at the second lock the boat hook was retrieved and ready for use.

The buffalo’s Christmas tree

Approaching the top lock of Napton we came across an uphill boat the first of four we’d encounter on our way down. A small Christmas tree was decorated by the gate to the permanent moorings.

It got busy all of a sudden

Next boat we came across was a Kate Hire boat out for two weeks, hope their crew walking ahead had good boots on as in places the towpath had the potential to be waist deep mud! They were being followed by two single handers who I spotted so I could leave gates open for them.

Nice narrow locks

Last year Lock 9 was more or less rebuilt. The chamber sides had been getting closer and closer together, older boats with middle age spread were having more and more difficulty getting through it. In fact NB Tyseley ( the Mikron Theatre boat) got stuck on it’s way to do a show at The Folly and was left stuck til the following day when boats and many arms pulling along with a flush of water eventually got her free.

Lock 9 Last year

Last winter we had to wait for the stoppage here to be finished. When we came through we were astounded that breeze blocks had been used as Coping stones. A few days later we noticed a sign explaining that the new coping stones that had been delivered were not correct, so new ones would be made, the breeze blocks were a temporary solution to get the lock open again.

That’s better

So this winter there was another closure this time to replace the breeze blocks with rather nice black stones. Have to say it now shows other locks on the flight up. I think they were worth waiting for and given a bit of time they will meld in.

Coping stones no longer breeze blocks

Between Locks 9 and 8 there was a space ready and waiting for us so we pulled in saving the last narrow lock of the flight for tomorrow.

Napton Stores

Time to pick up post and send some. Napton Village Stores and Post Office is always busy. Maybe it’s because we tend to pop in at this time of year and when the school kids are on their way home. Today it was heaving! The chap dealing with the Post office asked Mick to wait for a while as he had a back log to deal with. We wanted some fresh veg and bits and bobs anyway, so this was fine.

Buffalo treats

When he was ready he found us and processed the post. Post Restante would be dealt with at the other end of the counter when we bought our shopping. Two parcels collected, some locally grown potatoes, some Buffalo sausages and chilled medication for Christmas. I’d considered ordering one of their veg boxes for Christmas, but as our plans have now changed I’m glad I didn’t. I so hope they are busy the rest of the year as it is a gem of a shop. The food in the cafe also looks amazing.

Dusk at the bottom of the locks

Once showered and none boaty clothes put on we headed out to The Folly Inn where we met up with our friend Lizzie from Crick. We last saw her about six months ago. Lots has happened since. Sadly this last year has been a tough one for Lizzie, we’d wanted to make sure we got to see her before we headed too far north.

They do good decorations and food at The Folly Inn

So we had a catch up on news and managed to raise some smiles with boat talk and enjoyed some very good food. Yes I had a steak again! Not quite as good as the one in Oxford, but it was very tasty with good chips and plenty of them. The portions were so generous we had to miss out on puddings, a shame as there were two I could have. It was lovely to see Lizzie, just hope next year is a better one for her.

How much food!

8 locks, 2.38 miles, 0 buffalo, 1 tree, 4 boats, 1 full water tank, 2 bags of rubbish gone, 2lbs potatoes, 2 pints milk, 2 parcels collected, 1 posted, 1 missing however it hadn’t been sent, 6 sausages, 1 pot orange chocolate medication, 0 shore leave, 1 big catch up, 1 steak, 2 scampi, 2 many good chips for pudding.

Short Listing. 4th December


Short listed

Over the last few days I’ve been working my way through the thousands of photos I’ve taken this year, auditioning them for our Christmas card. Short listed photos are copied into a new folder. This year we’ve had no snowy photos and very few misty atmospheric ones, so the short list contained quite a few sunsets and sunny days.

A close contender

Down to 29 Mick and I weedled them down to five last night. Sleeping on it we were now down to just two. The winning photo is one that I’ll never be able to take again. So this morning I set about laying it out into a format to print. This takes a little while, but each year gets a touch easier. I’d just got it sorted when it was time to head out.

To Chippy

The 488 bus to Chippy pulled in at the bus station, much to our relief as it was so chilly out this morning. After 45 minutes of winding through the countryside, pulling over on the narrow roads and climbing steep hills we arrived in Chipping Norton with enough time for some lunch, The Old Mill cafe provided us with a sandwich and jacket potato.

Back on Spring Street

We were a touch early at the theatre, but we certainly weren’t the first to arrive. The place was filled with school kids and quite a few general audience too. Our seats were upstairs away from a large school party who’d taken over downstairs. Upstairs we sat behind a group of grey haired recycled teenagers all with their Santa hats and Christmas jumpers on ready to have a good time at the panto.

Before the Santa hats and flashing lights arrived

Mick had missed out three weeks ago and we’d been trying to work out a time to come on an evening performance. But these only happen at weekends until the schools brake up and would necessitate the hiring of a car as the last bus back is at 6:50pm. So we go to see a school performance which is a slightly edited show to keep the running time down so it fits in with the school day better.

The local electric shop festive window

Mick seemed to be the only one in the audience getting the more adult jokes, but that didn’t matter as the fast pace cracked along on stage. Plenty of shouting, booing and the lady in front of us had a very audible laugh that turned the actors heads at times.

In the interval Will, the producer, came through to say hello whilst we enjoyed some half time chilled medication. I passed on my one note which was already in hand. The show was in good shape, the Smash hit it’s mark, the chocolate mice were thrown, we laughed, joined in and had a good time.

The bus journey back was freezing with the heaters kicking out cold air and the bus driver far too keen on his brake pedal. But we got home in one piece to Tilly sat in the window wondering when we’d be home, Well my evening Ding Ding hadn’t been served had it!

Tilly’s fee for helping on panto

It was worth the wait though as She had finally brought home my Feline Assistant fee. Five foil wrapped mice. They deserved to go on the floor, so that’s just where I put them.

0 locks, 0 miles, 24,970 photos down to 29, 29 photos down to 2, 488 twice, 7 mice, 2 chilled salted caramel medications, 1 panto, 1 hungry cat, 1 Christmasy day out.

Catching Up. 10th October

All Cannings to Wolfhall Bridge 103

Yesterday we’d stopped short of our planned destination for the day, today we needed to catch up. So the alarm went off, we had breakfast and were ready to push off into the chilly morning. At least the sun was out and we might be able to see the views that the cloud had shrouded on our way west.

Sun’s out

There are so many boats moored along the Long Pound, progress was very slow but at least Alton Barnes White Horse was in view for much of our way. Then we skirted round the Wiltshire mounds to our north were ancient terracing is very evident.


Under Lady’s Bridge and past the wide water where a chap was just coming out of his boat full of the joys of spring!

Terraced Pickle

Just before Pewsey Winding Hole a chap pointed at us from the bow of his boat and then three others waved.

The Rustys

The Rustys had winded this morning and managed to get their boat just about into the side to moor so that they could go for an exploration. our boats were finally pointing different directions and our paths wouldn’t cross again. Hope their trip back to Hilperton is good. There was a bit of banter about meeting up next year, maybe Bingley.

Boat cat keeping an eye on us

We considered stopping to dispose of our yellow water but by the time we realised that the service mooring was actually free it was a touch late, so we carried onwards. The chilled medication emporium wasn’t open anyway!


Approaching Wooton Rivers Mick took it very slowly, we didn’t want to get shouted at again. The boat in question seemed to have moved since we’d come the other way a month ago, by a full boat length! Maybe he’d been all the way to Bath and back having returned to the same spot, or maybe not.

At the bottom of the locks we disposed of all our rubbish with the handy recycling bins and then started to make our way up to the summit pound.

A chance photo paid off

Work emails kept me busy when not winding my windlass. Difficulty finding the paint I was after, where’s the drawing for the ladder, would I like an extra painty pair of hands in Chippy. This was all panto stuff, then the emails regarding Houdini started flying back and forth between the writer and production manager. All the time I was aware we would be heading into a black hole of communication once over the top.

Wooton Rivers Lock

Even though I was busy trying to respond to everyone there was still time to buy some eggs at our 2000th lock on Oleanna. I picked out the larger ones from the bottom tray thinking that they would be fresher than those on the top. I’d make use of these in the quinoa quiche I was making for tonight, we were a couple of eggs short before and now we had several very large eggs in hand.

As we pulled out of Brimslade Lock an abc hire boat came from the lock above. We left our gate for them as they closed the gates ahead of us. We all said hello and then we watched them pull into the lock landing to drop off crew, followed by having difficulty getting into the already open lock.

Last lock uphill

Cadley Lock was our last up hill. Sadly the plums by the top gate were now well past their best, most rotting on the floor making it very slippy under foot. But I was surprised at the number of butterflies here. About four fluttered their way around me, one hitching a lift on our roof for a distance. I’d have thought it was way past butterfly time.

Rotting plums

The locks up to the summit and down the other side are still being locked overnight at 3pm. We’d been caught out by the very low pound heading westwards and just made it to the top in time. With two more miles across the top we knew we wouldn’t be down the first set of locks by 3pm, so we’d find somewhere to moor instead. At least we’d caught up some of the time we’d lost yesterday, hopefully tomorrow we’ll get back to where we should be.

Hitching a lift

Through Savernake Tunnel we started to look for a possibility, the railway now very close by but on the off side, so Tilly would be safe. A short distance fro where we’d moored last time we pulled in by another boat. The water deep enough at the stern to get close, but the bow sitting a long way out. Here would do us for the day.

Out of the tunnel into the eastern side

Tilly jumped to the bank with ease and headed off to make friends. I then spent the next three hours trying to catch up on the Houdini emails about Kabouki drops and video footage, finally chipping my ideas into the mix that had been going back and forth all morning. My drawings were scanned and shared. Food put in the oven and after eating I finally got chance to do some model making. Four hours later I had a new version of the proscenium finished, it was now well past bedtime.

4 locks, 2000th on Oleanna, 11.96 miles, 1 final farewell, 1 white horse, 1 must have galloped away, 70 ft in a month, 6 giant eggs, 10 litres paint, 1 ladder, 20 pairs castors, 1 or 2 kabouki drops, 10 scanned drawings, 18 toing and froing emails, 1 prosc, 12 midnight finish., 1 black hole ahead