Monday 22nd to Monday 29th August 2011.

Monday – A lovely cruise from the golf course near Brampton to Eaton Socon.
It sometimes pays to listen to the locals’ pronunciation before saying place names but I needn’t have worried, it sounds like it looks.

Not far from our start lies Buckden marina where we understood there to be a water tap and overnight mooring for visitors. Not knowing where these were we entered the marina in a very sedate manner, crawling past holiday chalets and plastic boats, turning left at the end towards an official looking building, the kind of place you’d expect to find a ‘moorings’ person and a water tap. All was quiet, too quiet so I asked the only local we saw where the water tap was situated.
Back out on the river he said. Too late I’m practically at the end of the marina and it looks tight.
We turned with 2” to spare between the boats.
Feeling sorry for us the other boater beckoned us to go alongside to use his tap. Feeling daft for cruising to a dead end I gratefully accepted and borrowed his hosepipe.
Didn’t half feel a twit when I saw the water tap by the diesel pump outside the offices on the river.

Nobody about today, apart from the usual EA weedcutters doing a wonderful job.
weeds

What three years ago was a lawn on this boat’s roof has turned into a meadow. When I asked the owner about his garden he remarked that his carrots weren’t doing too well this year.
roof garden

Above ES lock we pulled over for the night and it wasn’t long before we had company. We’d seen nb.Gabriel several times this cruise so it was time to get to know them. Over a bottle and nibbles we discovered a fascinating couple, James and Hazel, with a sea-going pedigree. Not completely without incident they’ve been places we haven’t and have plans for places I have only dreamt of. Having done the rivers in the northeast and the Ribble link, spending rather more time on it than most, and now looking at the Medway I’m all for joining them. There’s just the small matter of convincing V.

Tuesday and an early get-away saw us safely into Gt.Barford before the rush.
We made it to the Anchor and found plenty of room at the Inn.

anchor inn

There can’t be a lot for the local kids to do so the lock gates naturally become attractive for entertainment. Fortunately there were no splashes or screams for help.
water sports

Weather wasn’t anything to write home about but the old hayfever has returned with a vengeance. My Lloyds Pharmacy up-the-nose light thing hasn’t been a success I have to say. There was hope at the start of the trials but it’s only when drops, sprays and tablets are taken that anything like normality returns. It’s not completely wasted as I’m thinking of using it as a night-time lure for fish (in the water, not up my nose).

Wednesday
Nearing the end of our Gt. Ouse experience we finished the day at Goldington moorings, better known as the Tesco shop stop. I thought this was going to be an unremarkable day until an owl went past on a boat. Not any old boat, this was a Danish Boat, from the Danish Camp down the road. Just why an owl was perched on the cabin roof I couldn’t say but he was there on the journey up to Bedford and he was there again a couple of hours later on the way back down the river.
danish camp

Thursday
Day off or “This space is intentionally left blank”. Doesn’t it make you cross when you find that “blank page” in a service manual.

Friday
And so to Bedford Priory marina. It’s a bit like coming home or reaching the end of the journey. We’re having a few days off the river and spoiling ourselves with 24/7 mains electricity. We can leave the TV on stand-by, charge the batteries until they are sick of being charged and leave all the lights on all night if we want.
The first night here is free (GOBA membership privilege) thereafter all nights are £11 including electricity. It’s a luxury I know but it has the advantage of a chandlery and a secure parking area.

Ter and Claire are coming over for a couple of days and we shall have mail once again. The intention was to sit tight while every man and his dog takes to the water. Having said that, the weather forecast is so bad that weekender sailors will probably do anything but play with boats.

Seeing as it was raining I couldn’t put off tinkering with the washing machine any longer. Its drying function packed up three years ago but within a couple of hours I had it going again.
Don’t ask me how, all I did was take bits off, test them and put them back.

I got a lot of help from the websites covering Indesit WIDL126 washer-dryer faults (http://www.diynot.com/forums and http://www.letsfixit.co.uk/) but more interestingly the mystery smell was sorted out and for once it wasn’t me.

It seems we have fallen into the trap of using low temperature, eco detergents that encourage mould inside the outer drum. The post-washing smells have foxed us for a year or so but it has finally been laid to rest by a dosing of boiling hot wash with bleach. Apparently the problem is widespread now that we’re all washing at low temperatures and using liquids instead of soap flakes (liquids don’t include bleach).

While my head was buried inside the appliances this was going on outside.
priory marina

Saturday
Lots of family catch-up to do today, Ter and Claire have seen rellies down south so we pored over photographs and listened to the family news.
Staying overnight meant Ter could share a bottle with us which was nice. Only trouble is the boater’s dustbin near the pontoon is a bit small so rather than restrain our binging we got to the bin with our rubbish sacks early in the morning before the neighbours could fill it up.

Sunday
More of the same, entertaining all day.
After a few months of twiddling his fingers Ter has gone back to Tribal Wars. I very nearly gave in and joined him.
The sun appeared for a few minutes which prompted V to speak the dreaded word ‘walkies’.
Ter and I were too busy with a newspaper to leave the boat so Claire had to do the honours.

No, that’s not the seaside, that’s the lake behind the marina which is out of bounds to narrowboats.
C+V

Monday
The forecast is right for once, a miserable day. A few boats pottered about at midday but nothing else was moving if you don’t count ducks, coots and a blinking great spider.
spider

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