It's a lovely sunny afternoon here on the Grand Union canal - lots of boats are passing by as the Great Linford Cruising Club flotilla return to base from their weekend jaunt to Cosgrove. They've had a nice weekend for it - sunny and warm with no sign of the hail and rain that was forecast. I'm sure we did better with a bit of old seaweed.
|St Peter's Church|
We're moored by bridge 75, which is quite close to the ruins of St. Peter's church, for those of you who know the area. It's a pleasant stroll from the canal and we three set out with camera and notebook to find out about it. I took some photo's in the late afternoon sun and noted that the place was literally humming. The walls were alive with bees – I think they're called Masonry Bees and they were intent on getting into every crevice of the remaining ruined walls. They're a bit like the bats in our own village church - unwelcome visitors! Purely by coincidence, we met a couple who are part of the Save St Peters Church group and they were very knowledgeable about the history of the church - we wouldn't have known about the 'Leper's Squint' or heard about the Lord of the Manor, Sir John Witterwong - what a great name, although I'm not surprised that the name, like his church, has fallen into disrepair.
We've had another breezy week for boating, not our favourite weather but the sunny afternoons have more than made up for that. The early mornings have been chilly - too cold to get up until the fire's lit and the cabin is warm. I'm very lucky that Carl allows me the luxury of staying in bed until the stove's blazing - he has a new saying now - 'Happy Wife, Happy Life'. I'm not sure if he's being sarcastic or not but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt as I don't want to take over the fire lighting duties.
On Monday we moored at The Wharf in Bugbrooke and met up with our friends Terry and Liz for a catch up over drinks and dinner. We found ourselves joining in with the pub's Quiz Night - we did quite well considering that at least two of us were tipsy, one had just finished night shifts and all of us have 'boat brain'. This condition begins when you step aboard a boat and leave all your cares behind you. It makes you so relaxed you can hardly remember your own name and causes the unwary to fall asleep at every opportunity - now where was I? Oh yes, the quiz night - the last round was for a cash prize of £48 and we thought about entering but we're glad we didn't when we heard the question 'How many dogs were entered into Crufts Dog Show this year?' - the answer slips my mind now, it was something like 23, 839 and we were nowhere close! That damn boat brain again!
We had the luxury of a car trip into Northampton on Tuesday, in search of an oil filter for Terry and a supermarket for us. We indulged in fruit loaf and coffee in Sainsburys cafe in order to fortify us for Mission Almost Impossible(nice fruit loaf but it tasted strangely of garlic). After getting 'The Computer Says No' from Halfords and PartsRUs or some such nonsense name, Carl remembered about Parr's, an old fashioned place with people who had real knowledge and didn't need a car registration number to find the right oil filter for a boat. Back in Bugbrooke, we puttered off in the sunshine, sorry to leave Terry and Liz behind on such a perfect boating day but needing to get to Gayton for the usual conveniences.
On Thursday we reached Blisworth ready for my trip back to Rugby to pick up my specs. I was saved from a four hour round trip by Richard and Mel who drove us there for a jolly day out. We visited the very beautiful Rugby church, the Art Gallery and Weatherspoons while we were there then it was back to the boat for 'Fat Rascals' and tea in the late afternoon sunshine.
First thing on Friday morning, we went through Blisworth Tunnel, meeting a couple of boats but passing them without incident, much to my relief (and Trickys). We had to wait a while for a work boat to exit the top lock and then they shared the next lock with us. It was then I discovered I'd lost my long handed windlass. I must have left it at the last lock at Buckby when it was raining so hard and I was struggling with the gates- it's a nuisance, as it's my favourite windlass and the 'spare' is a monstrous thing that looks like something you'd use to tighten lorry wheel nuts with.
I soon cheered up as we worked our way down the Stoke Bruerne flight and chugged on towards Grafton Regis. We found the perfect spot for an afternoon of scrubbing the cratch cover and polishing the windows and when that was done, I spent a happy hour watching the lambs jumping and wiggling their tails while Carl tinkered with his box of nuts,nails and screws. Simple pleasures but I defy anyone not to smile when they see a little lambie skipping.
We arrived here on Saturday and intended to chug off this morning until we heard that the Exbury Egg was just around the corner and was going to be open for inspection today with the owner and artist Stephen Turner on hand to talk about his creation. I've seen the Egg on George Clarke's Amazing Spaces and thought it was worth hanging around for a look. From the towpath, it looked smaller than I remembered but once you step inside, it's wonderfully spacious and roomy. The lady who organised the bringing of the Egg to Milton Keynes was a vivacious lady with purple hair and a matching optimistic approach to life in spite of needing crutches and a 'chariot' herself. We do meet some really lovely people on our travels.
|The Exbury Egg|
|Inside the Egg|
As usual, I've rabbited on for far too long so I'll sign off now. Have a lovely week everyone and I'll write again next week
Love and Hugs as always
The Floating Chandlers
PS Mel and I saw a grass snake on the towpath in Blissworth - we both screamed so loudly, it shot off the towpath and into the water just to get away from us. I was convinced it was an Adder but it had a yellow collar which makes it a Grass Snake and therefore quite harmless.