Tuesday 30th August to Saturday 3rd September 2011

Time to leave our cosy moorings at Priory Marina and make for Bedford. It was tight for turning space but this wasn’t one of the boats we hit, honest.

Bedford was more or less as we left it in 2008 with the same lads on Sovereign Quay park benches sprinkling magic dust into their roll-ups. You wouldn’t want a picture of them so here’s one of a stoned bridge instead.

From Sovereign Quay we set off to discover Milton Keynes. The book says beware low bridges and they weren’t kidding. We bent our stubby radio aerials on a couple of rail bridges.

It’s quite easy going as far as Kempston but an island gets in the way and being shallow with tight bends I decided that was far enough until we get the green light on the link to the Grand Union.
One gets the impression they don’t see many boats in Bedford. Can’t see why because it’s a delightful stretch of water, long and wide with room for dozens and dozens of boats. It’s a shame there aren’t mooring rings all along the water front.

Having done Bedford and the upper reaches of the Gt. Ouse we slipped away for a night at the pyramid. It’s still summer but after seeing V shivering in two jumpers I put match to paper and lit the corner stove.

Wednesday took us as far as Brampton Old Mill, the ‘secret’ moorings round the back of the island. What a lovely place this is, I’ll bet the history is fascinating.
The island is still lived on and with its old locks, though derelict, looks an attractive proposition for an adventurous navigator.
I could see that with a bit of speed one might easily manage the old route around the island and I was sorely tempted but V would have grabbed the tiller, I’m sure of it.

That night I found a hole in the chimney inside the saloon, oops. What I thought was a tiny rust spot on the outside of the pipe was a big rust spot on the inside. Cleaned up, treated and plugged with fire cement it all looked safe for another fire so we had one using the kindling strewn around the moorings. I wonder if that will pass the boat safety exam.

What a difference from yesterday, we were on the balcony, sorry stern deck, with the barby blazing, listening to the ‘olds’ music from the 40s and 50s. Don’t ask me why, it had somehow got onto the ipod. Some of it didn’t sound bad, I must be getting old.

Too hot today but mustn’t complain.
Made it to Eaton Socon in plenty of time to open a tin of varnish. To paint with, not drink.

An even shorter journey today, one lock and a mile of river and we’re back in Snots, sorry, St.Neots. I got that from Sue last time we were down here with No Problem. I told V that the locals called it that so she asked around and put me straight.

A sad day for me, they’ve closed the Handyman shop. Ok there’s still a small hardware shop in the square with a few things but I do miss that other one, it had absolutely everything.

But it gets worse, I’ve been stung again by a wasp, right arm this time, what am I doing wrong?
I ran for the boat to get the Wasp-eze spray but too late it was working its way through my blood stream, turning the skin red and swelling like a balloon.

Another dooohhh, or as the kids that sat on our pontoon would say “Another, like, dooohh”. Why has every sentence got to include the word ‘like’?

There’s loads to see on the river if you’re a people watcher. Every river user gets an allotted time with rowers coming first followed by canoes and swimmers.

If you fancy bypassing locks then why not try one of these to get you up the weirs.

I was busy chucking mouldy bread to the ducks when these two swimmers came along.

Saturday 3rd September
It’s Merchant Navy Day; time to break out the red ensign and remember all those who served in the Merchant Navy during the wars, especially those who lost their lives.

For those of us who like small museums, there’s an excellent one in Snots, close to the water and only a pound if you look as ancient as me. It’s in the old courthouse with its original prisoner’s cells and displays of local villains, some as young at 13 years old. They don’t call them that now.

Made the mistake of telling V about flashing lights in my eye so we had to do a tour of the eye shops. Specsaver’s manager must have been concerned because he dropped everything and rushed me to the front of the queue to give me a short eye test.
Get a full test or go to A&E he said but I settled for the walk-in-centre and found a lab coated lady who agreed with me that I could give it a day before panicking. V’s trawl of the internet pointed to something other than torn retina so I think we’re alright.
Must have caught something off the wasp, they’ve got poor eyesight haven’t they.

Graham (G8LUV) phoned to tell me that he and Sue were at the Cosby air show. I’m extremely jealous because this is one show I’ve wanted to see ever since we first moored in Leicester back in 2006. Planes, tanks, guns, re-enactments and fast food suit me on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Oh by the way, if anyone else has a TravelPower mains generator on their engine then they might be interested in getting spares (brush sets) from steveweigh@mackworth.biz
There are model variations but ours (2005) costs £18.88 + £8.00 delivery + VAT.

Where are we now?
Sept. 5th Houghton Island
6th Ditto
7th Pike & Eel
8th Aldreth
9th Stretham
10th Ely