Nappies – they work a treat, in the bilge is what I mean.

Cruiser sterns, after heavy rain, can accumulate water in the bottom corners of the engine hole, which is a pain if you want to red oxide the base plate where the paint has lifted.
A size 5 nappy opened up and face down draws the water like ink to blotting paper and within a few hours it’s ready to paint. Thanks to Mike on Sarah-Kate for passing on that tip.

There’s only one problem, what do you do with the other 23 nappies? Someone is bound to spot the opened pack and assume, well they shouldn’t but they do, if you know what I mean.

The Aylesbury Arm – The cruise down to the end was fun, one night each way being spent between bridges 13 and 14 which brought a few friendly comments from walkers, possibly prompted by surprise that boats were still using the canal.

A shortage of water at the top staircase locks was sorted by a really helpful BW guy who chaperoned us part of the way to put us at ease and ensured we had sufficient water to float between locks.
BW help

We had no complaints on that score, in fact we had too much water in places and occasionally flooded the grass which was fun in leaky shoes. A lot of locks but reasonably spaced to enable
leap-frogging, a trick we learned from Caxton and Matilda Rose’s blogs.

We found two spaces at the end of the line of ‘winter moorers’ (don’t get me started on that), opposite boats belonging to members of the Aylesbury Canal Society a friendly bunch who genuinely seemed pleased to see visitors. Water and loo dump were on our side of the canal but there are facilities on their side that they are happy to share. I got the feeling that the new buildings were encroaching fast on the boat basin and that developer’s eyes were already on the land occupied by ACS.
Aylesbury moorings

The Aylesbury Arm passes through countryside having very little contact with roads. Most noise, if there is any at all, comes from above from self powered and towed gliders that soar into the sky from a runway a few fields away.

I thought I was the only one bothered by the brown stuff on towpaths but notices at the locks indicate that local schools are also getting stuck in.

Take out that scoop to pick up dog poop, it says.

Bate’s Boatyard has ‘projects’ in and out of the water which fascinate the ignorant steel boat owner like me.
Bates boatyard

Aylesbury itself was alright, that’s to say it wasn’t brilliant nor was it a disappointment. Architecturally it seems to have lacked planning since the 1960s but there’s enough of the old town around the church to make it worth a quick visit.

A local asked if I was going to the new theatre and when I answered no he replied neither was he, it wasn’t his thing. I couldn’t work that one out.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m cultured just like the rest of you and dip into my pocket to support the local orchestra whenever I can.

There’s a handy Tesco right next to the canal near the last lock which saves having to lug bags back from town to the boat basin moorings. My apologies to town centre shops that rightly oppose that sentiment.

The Wendover Arm – Is it worth doing? Yes, undoubtedly. It doesn’t take long and I’d recommend stopping at the end because there’s a wide winding point, concrete sides, clean water and no passing traffic.
wendover arm

The best time to do it is in the morning before the water levels drop. 6” can make all the difference between a smooth cruise and a treacle trek. Watch out for a couple of half submerged boats and reciprocate the stares from the mill workers wondering what on earth you think you are doing away from the Grand Union.

The next section of canal restoration has been marked out for ground works and volunteers were in evidence clearing the scrub on the day we called in.

Back on the GU we resumed our cruise southwards passing the City of Gloucester at Bulbourne. Is 00001 really her registration? How did they manage that?

And the rest is history, to be found in the addendums.

One last picture, another unusual boat which tickled my fancy was spotted south of Berkhamsted.


Notice the tiller and the smile on the skipper’s face.