Sunday, August 05, 2007

Playing with the big boys

Day 2
Rugby Wharf to Buckby bottom lock

A full and exciting day today (ten and a half hours cruising not including a break for lunch). So far we have established that Jim steers in the morning and I take over after lunch. The practice is certainly doing me good and I'm already much more confident at controlling the boat - and really enjoying it too. The first exciting thing this morning was seeing Braunston approaching in the distance as we wound our way towards it, always having approached by car before ... and then, finally turning onto the Grand Union, which has always held a little bit more magic for me.

What it also holds of course is bloody big locks - unbelievably, the first wide locks we've done since we went up the Calder and Hebble in Andante the year before last (the trip that convinced us that we loved this narrowboating lark, but really needed a bigger boat). To stop me getting too big for my boots, I discovered that I was completely unable to open the gates of some of these locks (because I weigh so little, of course...) so it's just as well it was my turn to steer, and about time Jim got the hang of locking. Also, is it just me, or do those locks smell really nice when you get to the bottom of them?

Braunston Tunnel was another highlight. Actually, that's a rather unfortunate turn of phrase, as the saga of the tunnel light continues; it inexplicable kept tripping out - but not immediately it was switched on, only after a few minutes. Still, I do love a nice tunnel.

And best of all, we ran into Denis the blacksmith again at Braunston locks and this time he sold us a fine pair of piling stakes (at least that is what I shall call them) upon which he stamped Warrior's name and number for us, and we are trying one of them out tonight.

We're tied up opposite Whilton Marina, which is rather nice, as we spent so many happy and educational hours browsing there in our pre-narrowboat owning days. Having ascertained that there's a water point in the next couple of miles, we decided to blow the day's hot water on a bath (consecutively, not concurrently) - ooh, luxury!

And we were spotted by narrowboat blogger Albert, who, I see has already done today's blog - puts me to shame!

Don't seem to be able to upload the photos tonight so will try again in the morning.

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