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JANNOCK 2006 Trip
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31st March 2006 Cropredy to Nell Bridge
Southern Oxford Canal
H.C. 7955 - 7959 Distance 9 miles 6 locks 1 lift bridge

Crew - Simon, Graham and Brenda.

We left our Cropredy mooring under an overcast sky and made our way down to Banbury. We are off for the summer now and will not be back until September at the earliest! There were a few minor 'incidents' as we slowed to pass moored boats, due to the strong crosswinds. Jannock will behave quite well in a wind as long as forward motion is maintained. When you take off power she'll drift sideways in anything more than a normal windspeed.

Simon gets the lift bridge

Once we were through the Banbury lift bridge we stopped at the waterpoint above the lock and I refilled the water tank. I then had to bleed the whole water system whilst Brenda and Simon went shopping. Forty five minutes later and all was shipshape so we moved on to Nell bridge for the night. Nell bridge is one of my three favourite overnight stops south of Banbury. The M40 makes finding quiet overnight moorings difficult on the Southern Oxford.

1st April 2006 Nell Bridge to Shipton on Cherwell
Southern Oxford Canal
H.C. 7959 - 7667 Distance 14.5 miles 10 Locks 3 lift bridges

Crew - Simon, Graham and Brenda.

Brenda - After a peaceful night, disturbed only by heavy showers pounding on the roof, we awoke to a sunny morning. We downed bacon and eggs before moving off - well it is my birthday. Pressies and cake were on the breakfast menu too. April fool? I hear you cry, I awoke to find a bruise on my jaw that made himself look like a wifebeater and got me a lot of sympathetic looks, so the joke was on him. The explanation? I was at the dentist on Wednesday..... don't ask. Then I went in up to the knee at Heyford Common lock, got a matching bruised knee.
Wind was a problem all day, not last night's beans but a meteorological excuse for some very haphazard steering; not least at Shipton Weir lock where getting off the Cherwell, which was running very fast, was a real problem. Well done G, you made it.

Happy Birthday Brenda

Graham - Brenda experimented with cooking chicken in the slow cooker, very successful, a good hot meal as soon as we stopped for the night. I can see this is going to be Jannock's modern equivalent of the back cabin stove.

9th April 2006 Shipton on Cherwell to Wallingford
Southern Oxford Canal & River Thames
H.C. 7967 - 7977 Distance 30 miles 13 locks 2 lift bridges

Crew - Graham and Brenda.

Brenda - Another cruise, another birthday, happy birthday darling Graham. Wildlife of the day: woodpecker and weasel, with a kingfisher at Benson.

approaching Sandford lock

Graham - Today has been a memorable birthday for 3 reasons:-
1 - An objectionable fisherman. Brenda let me off Jannock about 100m before a row of competition fishermen started, in order that I could get to the lift bridge without Jannock disturbing them too much. Cap'n Grumpy complained that she wasn't keeping to the middle of the channel as per guidelines. He had a shout at Brenda as she re-aligned Jannock, she gave him the opportunity to recommend a more satisfactory alternative to the action she'd taken. He declined to comment, but grunted with little grace.
2 - We experienced almost every kind of weather one could think of, except snow, although it hailed as we tied up for the night.
3 - I got to play lock-keeper. I worked Sandford lock using the electric-hydraulic system, great, and Benson lock using the manual-hydraulics, kn@ck£ring.
I shared some of my cake with the Lockie at King's Lock

10th April 2006 Wallingford to Sonning
River Thames
H.C. 7977 - 7981 Distance 20 miles 6 locks

Crew - Graham and Brenda.

Brenda - Another day, another birthday, Matt who was at home cat sitting.
Last night's rain stopped hammering down long enough for the ' I C E ' word to be relevant for the second morning in a row. Not a problem for those in the crew who stay inside to do important things like menu planning. It's never mentioned in boat holiday brochures or those TV programmes extolling the virtues of life aboard.
Now then, ice; himself is playing Cap'n Birdseye, so fish fingers for supper then. I bet they don't even know what fish-fingers are in some of the fabulous houses along this stretch of the Thames.

a rowing Eight turn at Goring lock

While Graham car shuffled I took a constitutional along the riverbank at Goring; twas all sunshine, weeping willows and blue-tits. I espied two rowing eights and their young trainer who'd just got something caught around his egg whisk. I now know why I should have sent our sons to a posh school like Pangbourne College. Latin, Greek? They obviously teach other obscure languages too, there were words being used that I didn't understand. After about 20 minutes he was free, I bet he'll take cutters next trip. Poor lad was most embarrassed when he realised I'd been trailing him, just in case I needed to call the coastguard as he'd sent his charges back to college.
A journey of 2 halves, both taken in lovely spring sunshine and a good deal warmer than yesterday.

Graham - After last night's rain I was totally unprepared for Jannock being covered in a thin layer of ice this morning. We moved down to Goring where we moored below the lock and I then returned to Thrupp on the Di Blasi to move the car to Odiham wharf. The car shuffle was marred by the Di Blasi faltering as I returned to Jannock through Goring. Once back on the boat, we proceeded down to Whitchurch lock where we were deprived of some Pink Floyd by a passing Andy Greener who we understood passed by along the adjacent road. We finally moored for the evening just after Sonning bridge. Should make a rendezvous with Ken and Claudia on Prairie Crocus tomorrow evening at Windsor.

11th April 2006
Sonning to Windsor

River Thames
H.C. 7981 - 7989 Distance 25.5 miles 10 locks

Crew - Graham and Brenda.

Graham - We started the day by helping to rescue a dog that was stuck down a steep bank out of sight of it's owners. The sky was cloudy and it was very cold in the wind. The lockkeeper at Temple Lock told us that rain was forecast. Surprise? - not really.
We had to stop at Marlow to let the worst of the rain pass and then continued in cold and wet to Boulters Lock where we were delayed a further 75 minutes by a hydraulic failure on the top gate paddle. Once the repair crew had finished we continued onto Windsor to liaise with nb Prairie Crocus.
Wildlife of the day - Brenda saw 3 kingfishers today.

The last section of our journey has been hampered by a waterborne treasure hunt consisting of two (hotel owned) day boats full of people who continually got in the way by mooring in the middle of lock landings whilst they rushed off to find answers to their clues.
Brenda admits to almost trashing one boat as it pulled across our bows without any warning and proceeded to disgorge it's crew just where we needed to tie up for the next lock. Considering the weather they chose to be out in, as well as their disregard for safety, they constitute a new meaning for 'fools'.

12th April 2006 Windsor to Weybridge
Rivers Thames and Wey
H.C. 7989 - 7995 Distance 14.5 miles 8 locks

Crew - Graham and Brenda.

Wildlife of the day - parakeets overhead.

We dedicate today to our friend and sometime neighbour Georgie Telling, a great lady who died this morning aged 91. A sunny day for a sunny lady.

We started the morning with a wife swapping session! Us girls were told to take our cameras with us ! All that to take photos of our own boats with Windsor Castle as the backdrop. We had a pleasant Thames cruise deciding which mansions would suit us best, accommodating Jannock at garden's end obviously. We turned off the Thames onto the river Wey. We have been told that the flocks of parakeets in this area are descended from escapees from the filming of Indiana Jones. The original ones were not predated upon because of their flocking habit, so their numbers have increased. This may be an urban myth of course.
Having negotiated the very tight turn under the bridge into the lock, we moored above Town lock at Weybridge ready for an early start to make our prebooked appointment at Woodham bottom lock tomorrow.

Jannock in front of Windsor Castle
Prairie Crocus heading downstream from Windsor entering the Wey locking up onto the Wey

13th April 2006 Weybridge to Brookwood
River Wey and Basingstoke Canal
H.C. 7995 - 8001 Distance 9 miles 13 locks

Crew - Graham and Brenda.

Wildlife of the day - Jays.

Quote of the day - Neil Arlidge 'we could always tie up 3 abreast here on the Basy, there's not going to be anyone coming past!' ... Just as a wide beam boat rounded the bend and came through..

Tip of the day - to reduce the impact of the characteristic and pungent smell in Basingstoke canal locks... cook a curry in the back cabin. Works for us.

getting our instructions at the start of Woodham flight

An early start from Weybridge meant we met up with Neil Arlidge on Earnest at Woodham lock and became a convoy of three. We met our ranger, Jonathon, had our documents checked and he unlocked the flight for us.
On up the Basy with a quick stop at St. John's village for bread; this seems a good re-supply stop with Co-op, bakery, launderette, vets and Chinese restaurant. Jonathon assured us that there was no evidence that the last two are linked, despite rumours. There was a warden enforced early stop at the new moorings recently prepared for the forthcoming IWA campaign rally in May. This was followed by a curry night aboard Jannock. It tasted as good as it had smelt all afternoon - Great!

14th April 2006 Brookwood to Fleet
Basingstoke Canal
H.C. 8003 - 8013 Distance 13 miles 18 locks

Crew - Graham and Brenda.

Wildlife of the day - a three foot pike.

Up and off at 8.30 ready for a 9 o'clock assault on the Brookwood locks. Once through them we moved on to Deepcut flight as well. We worked the first 5 locks before the drizzle started, which got wetter the higher up the flight we went. And very wet drizzle it was too! A first was the need to use secateurs to cut back seedling trees growing out of the lock walls. I guess that's how one gauges under use of a canal.
As we finished the last lock at 1pm the rain stopped. We stopped briefly at the canal centre to book our return passage and then continued on. Once through Ash lock we were on the summit level. We refilled the water tank to assist our chances of getting the Alde 'cooley hat' under the low bridges.
We had to navigate under 3 VERY low bridges in total, built to carry roads when it was believed that the smelly ditch would never re-open as a working canal again. There was literally only a couple of inches to spare under two of them. Thankfully we had been warned and had filled up with water and decided against emptying our 'waste tank' to ensure we were as low in the water as possible. We prayed that it had not rained enough to raise water levels, and we had bodies standing by to come aboard as extra ballast if needed. We're sure to need them on the return journey when our high side is the same as the bridges' low side.

testing to see if Jannock will fit under the bridge
Yes she does fit under the bridge

It's rather strange around these parts; people are welcoming us saying they are pleased to see boats using the canal. When we moored up at Fleet the vice-chairman of the Surrey and Hants canal society turned up in his car to welcome us and thank us for coming up this far; he was so pleased when we announced our intention to go to the limit of navigation.
Graham was dispatched to the 'Flying Fish' on Ernest's ship's bike, returning with a rucksack full of piping hot, crisp, battered fish and chips. Supper aboard Jannock, and highly recommended.

15th April 2006 Fleet to the end and back to Odiham
Basingstoke Canal
H.C. 8013 - 8017 Distance 9.5 miles 0 locks

Crew - Graham and Brenda with Matt, Rosie, Lesley, Robin and Keith.

Not so - Wildlife of the day - primroses and celandine galore.

Graham - today I have achieved another personal goal. We were up and off at 9.00 and then completed our journey to the navigable limit of the Basingstoke Canal. We stopped at Barley Mow bridge to pick up our day visitors and they travelled with us to King John's Castle, Odiham, and back to the wharf ready for our evening meal in celebration of the numerous April birthdays our family is blighted with.
Excellent beer and food was served at the Waterwitch, a pub we last frequented decades ago. When we returned to Jannock we were astounded to find that friends from way back (even more decades) Steve, Hazel, son Peter and his girlfriend, had called and left a note as we were not aboard. After what resembled a music hall farce we finally got together. Then it was coffees and olde tymes all round. What a smashing end to a lovely day.
Homeward bound tomorrow - not looking forward to Reading Road bridge going the other way.

the end of the navigable Basingstoke canal
our surprise visitor aboard Jannock

Brenda - we hadn't seen Steve and Hazel for many years. They have been following Jannock's progress on the blogsite and knew where to find us. It was so lovely to see them, if only for the brief visit. Matt and Rosie enjoyed their joint birthday dinner; Keith, Lesley and Robin enjoyed a short day's boating. I ate more cake and made more cups of tea today than is good for a body. All in all a rather special day.

16th April 2006 Odiham to Deepcut
Basingstoke Canal
H.C. 8017 - 8023 Distance 16 miles 1 lock

Crew - Graham and Brenda.

a rural canal at it's best.

The day started with a long scenic haul back from Odiham in nice sunshine. We stopped at Reading Road bridge, Fleet, for a shopping run to the Tesco Metro, courtesy of Mrs. Peter (wife of Neil's crewmember on Earnest) who brought her car so that a representative of each crew could resupply.
We then had to get Jannock through the extremely low Reading Road bridge which slopes down from starboard to port. On the way up the Alde chimney was located on the high side, now it was on the low side. We took on three extra crew members and Brenda did her 'hanging over the side, yachtswoman impersonation' and just managed to squeeze through. I celebrated by changing into shorts. At Ash lock we were being menaced by a very dark sky and I was starting to feel cold again so I reverted to wearing jeans. We paused at the Mychett Canal Centre to see what was happening with their raft racing event only to find that it had finished and (shock horror) the bar had run out of Hogs Back TEA (Traditional English Ale)!
Oh well! back onto Jannock then to continue to Deepcut top lock ready for tomorrow's descent of the flight.

17th April 2006 Deepcut to Woking
Basingstoke Canal
H.C. 8023 - 8028 Distance 6 miles 22 locks

Crew - Graham and Brenda.

We set off as two pairs, Jannock shared with a Galleon Marine hire boat. Considering we were in a military area we locked through with military precision, having convinced the hirers to keep up and not tie up for tea-breaks etc. They took some convincing, but after a few locks could see that a team approach to such a large number of locks was going to save them, and their ankle biters, an awful lot of time and effort. Thus life was easy-ish all round. The weather was lovely, spring like, and showed the Basingstoke at it's springtime best.
Graham watched a fox at lock 20, Stanley Pool, as he lock-wheeled ahead of both pairs. We'd heard them calling last night. He found a pair of comedy googly-eye glasses and put them, and an inane grin, on as he stood in the background of a family Easter photo being taken, using Jannock as a backdrop. Those poor folks will find a weirdo in their photos when they get them developed.

Graham adorned with aforementioned Google Eye glasses

Wildlife of the day Rats :- we moored for the night opposite a pub with an extensive 'food garden' full of families enjoying the rare phenomenon of Easter sunshine, celebrating with a drink and a bite to eat.
Neil noticed, and pointed out... well , pointedly... a very large rat trotting up the towpath along the pub's perimeter fence. We spotted its kith and kin going in under the kitchens. One poor woman watched the rats and then slowly looked down to the plate of food in front of her. The look of horror that affixed itself to her face was a sight to behold. There's never a camera to hand when you need one!

18th April 2006 Woking to Boveney Lock
Basingstoke Canal, Rivers Wey & Thames
H.C. 8028 - 8039 Distance 22 miles 16 locks

Crew - Graham and Brenda.

We told the ranger to be here by 9 am.

We all started bright and early for the hour cruise to Woodham Top Lock. After about 20 minutes waiting, Jonathon the ranger appeared and Earnest and Prairie Crocus set off with Jannock in warm pursuit. The ranger followed us down, sealing the top gates of each lock with silt scraped from the bottom of the cut.
Once onto the Wey Earnest shared locks with a single boat that was travelling in front so Jannock paired with Prairie Crocus. At Thames lock Earnest and partner got through but we had to wait with PC for an hour so that the Lockie could take luncheon.

Onto the Thames and first came the cold wind and then the rain. Brenda blames me because I started washing the boat roof to try and remove some of the grime accumulated on the Basy. We pushed on for a late finish at Boveney Lock because Jannock needed a pump out and a water fill. Our BW/EA pump out card failed to work, despite us paying cash money for it last season, and so I lifted a manhole cover behind the pump out machine and did a manual pump out. Prairie Crocus had moored against some trees just off the lock mooring so we breasted up against them. We seem to have parted company with nb Earnest as they must be at least one hour ahead of us assuming they've gone upstream.

19th April 2006 Boveney Lock to Sonning Common. River Thames
H.C. 8039 - 8048 Distance 26 miles 10 locks

Crew - Graham and Brenda.

Worry of the day - Graham was asked to pose for photographs in his googly-eye glasses.
Word of the day - Fresh !
An uneventful day's cruising on the Thames, and it didn't rain once. That could be because I didn't allow himself to do any boat washing until we'd moored up for the night in 'our' slot at Sonning. It has been a keen wind all the way, which has left us with rosy cheeks. They can't be attributed to the rather good red vino which Mr. Streeter brought when he came aboard for dinner, a prelude to a mini-GiG.
Prairie Crocus' crew are new to this rather well heeled stretch and have been playing 'which house shall I have?'

Swan Uppers on the Thames - Photo Ken Kroker
20th April 2006 Sonning Common to Aldermaston.
River Thames, Kennet & Avon Canal
H.C. 8048 - 8055 Distance 12 miles 13 locks 5 Moveable Bridges

Crew - Graham and Brenda.

We set off early through Sonning lock, working it manually before the lockie came on duty. Next stop was Tescos at Reading. Brenda raided the cash machine and then I went to Better Boating for diesel whilst she went on a shopping expedition. Today we realised why boating is a better hobby than golf: you can't phone your boss claiming you can't come to work today as you are stuck, indeed held up, in a bunker on the 16th hole. Our trip has overrun, mostly due to the strict opening times ( or more correctly, closing times) on the Basingstoke, and the need for the Lockie at the river Wey lock to take his lunch at exactly 1-2 pm. These caused delays which we could not make up.
Once I had returned to Tescos and collected Brenda, we set off through Blakes Lock and onto the K&A. As I emptied the lock, another boat arrived so we agreed to wait at the next lock to share. They remained our companions until Burghfield Boat Club where we continued on solo. At Aldermaston we had to wait to lift the bridge as we arrived just at the start of the 'rush hour' at 4.30. At this point the trusty Di Blasi proved that this title was not deserved and refused to start again. So, having blagged an extra day off work, I now had no means to get to my car (still at Odiham) and things looked bleak. In the end I resorted to that well proven system of 'phone a friend' and scrounging a lift back to Odiham. Finally got home at 9.30 in the evening to unload and prepare for Friday at work :-(

30th April 2006 Aldermaston

We arrived at Jannock on Sunday afternoon to prepare to meet George Pearson (and Adele) for a days boating (refresher training?) on Monday. We had just got everything on the boat sorted when a certain Mr. Andy Greener, from this parish, arrived to meet our esteemed visitor as well. As soon as the tea had been brewed, George and Adele arrived and so the tea party continued. Andy finally decided it was time to head home and we did a car shuffle to Newbury followed by an evening meal with our guests before retiring for the night.

1st May 2006 Aldermaston to Newbury
H.C. 8055 - 8060 Distance 9 miles 10 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, George and Adele

Monday morning arrived with some sunshine between the clouds, but luckily all of the rain seemed to have dropped during the night. We left Aldermaston and headed west teaming up with nb Erskine May for all of the locks. The first lock of the day was Woolhampton Mill where you have to open the lock before swinging the road bridge, and then run across the river flow into the lock mouth. Not the most elegant lock entrance I have ever made! As we approached Newbury, I could hear a public address system operating and remembered that it was the day of the Hungerford to Newbury Crafty Raft race. When we came through Greenham lock we could see a raft being paddled towards us by a group of youngsters. It turned out that they had taken the raft from the event field without the owners consent and were being chased down the towpath by the rightful owner. I offered to help him recover the craft, as the kids had abandoned it by now. His team mates were not far behind him and so he didn't need help, he was just happy to have got the craft back.

George tries out my glasses
Graham shinning up the lock ladder

These are some stills that George has taken from his video film.

Using the pole to un-stick Jannock
George's favourite photo from the ones he took on the day

Although the towpath was very busy with pedestrians returning from the Raft Race field, we moored opposite Newbury Boat Services and then tucked into another great Brenda Curry before sorting out George with GPRS access to get emails. I had assumed this was a relatively safe place to leave the boats (Jannock & Erskine May) but within several hours the same gang of 'yoofs' were back and stole Jannock's keys from the instrument panel. I eventually regained ownership of said keys before we went and recovered George's car from Aldermaston. Then, once we had bid them farewell to continue their journey west, we moved Jannock away from the area before mooring for the night (just in case the 'yoofs' decided to return later).
Geoff moved Erskine May across the canal onto a temporary mooring he had arranged with Newbury Boat Services whose short term mooring charges were 12p/ft/day.
This has been my first real run-in with youngsters who do not appear to know the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and I did not enjoy the experience at all.

7th May 2006 Newbury to Kintbury
H.C. 8060 - 8065 Distance 5 miles 7 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Iris and Terry

Kennet Valley Trip Boat

Graham :- After returning from the IWA Anniversary dinner at Stratford in the early hours of this morning, we were up early in order to move Jannock out of Newbury. We have persuaded our friends Iris and Terry that they needed a day boating but then had to ask them to help car shuffle as well because the DiBlasi was poorly again. Having refused to start at Odiham, the wee beastie's problem was proving difficult to diagnose.
Iris :- Guyers Lock, 11.30 am, enjoying front row view whilst in lock, watching water coming in through the sluices - SWOOSH - short deluge of water came over the bow. I now have one soggy leg.
Higgs Lock, 11.45, This time I stood at the back of the boat whilst going through the lock. As Brenda was still walking the towpath from the previous lock, Terry held the boat on the rope while Graham operated the back gates. The boat's rudder was in the way so Graham asked me to hold 'black handle and squeeze whilst pushing handle forward'.
I had actually moved Jannock! Good job I didn't know in advance that the black handle operated the engine!

Brenda :- I actually stayed behind to help another boat (Erskine May) through the lock as it's so awkward, much easier with two people landside because the top gates keep swinging open, and then I got a ride up to join Jannock.
Iris :- 12.30, after Benham Lock we stopped for lunch. 2pm found us cruising in sunshine. 3 pm Delightful scene, wide trip boat pulled by a horse.
Graham :- Having last filled Jannock's water tank at Better Boating in Reading, I had been getting totally disgusted with the horrible taste the water in the tank now had and so I decided to completely empty the tank and refill it at Kintbury. A job definitely well done, I must ring Better Boating and tell them of my problems with my fill from them.

19th May 2006 Kintbury

On Friday night I went straight to Jannock from work, reversed her back through the bridge onto the 48 hr moorings at Kintbury and set to making her ready for the arrival of the rest of the crew. Once they had arrived the car shuffle was postponed until Saturday morning so that we might be able to predict the weather and hence the journey's destination better. The Dundas Arms was tested and, apart from a slightly iffy 1st pint, found to be OK. We had a good meal which initially appeared a bit pricey but turned out to be very good value for money. I'm pleased to say that this Kintbury pub is a non smoking establishment, literally a breath of breath air.

20th May 2006 Kintbury to Great Bedwyn.
H.C. 8067 - 8074 Distance 5 miles 11 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brian, Ian and Peter
Soddit Cruise 2006 #1

Saturday morning arrived with rain which continued through breakfast and the car move to Great Bedwyn. Once back on board, we set off in dry weather and worked our way to Hungerford.
Stopped at the sani station for water and decided to try the pump out card that failed to work on the Thames. The display read 'Card Empty' and then the pump switched on. I managed to empty both halves of the tank and it was still running so I had to select pause to stop the flaming thing. With pump out complete, we moored in Hungerford and visited the Dean Gate for lunch where we experienced good food and Arkells ale in a pleasant, homely atmosphere.
Onward and upward alongside the A4 towards the Bedwyns with quite gusty winds at exposed locks and a fishing stop about 3.30. Teamed up with a private syndicate boat for the last 6 locks to our final destination. Once we were pegged onto the 14 day moorings at Great Bedwyn, some unusually productive fishing was followed by an evening meal on board and several games of Soddit.


21st May 2006 Great Bedwyn

Sunday brought strong winds and loads of rain so we stayed inside and played many more games of Soddit. Once our supply of Vale best bitter had run out and lunch had been taken, we disembarked and headed home. Another enjoyable Soddit cruise marred only by Sunday's weather and an abundance of fish being caught.
Brian :- Day 3, game 8; it is still raining so what better to do than play Soddit. As far as I was concerned even fishing was cancelled due to wet weather. No point in fish and me both getting wet. Well done Ian for a record number of fish caught. Beer barrel ran out at 2.15 p.m.
Peter :- We have witnessed a new side to fishing, i.e. catching FISH!! I am now beginning to understand this sport, shame so many maggots had to be sacrificed though.
Ian :- I vote we change the name of these events to Fishing Cruise . I caught 20 fish; 6 perch and 14 gudgeon, including a whale sized specimen. This has nothing to do with me losing all 8 Soddit games, honest Cap'n.

27th May 2006 Great Bedwyn to Hungerford
H.C. 8075 - 8078 Distance 4.5 miles 9 Locks

Crew - Graham and Brenda

there were Ducks everywhere

Wildlife of the day :- leaping ducklings. - It was highly amusing watching a brood of 9 ducklings catching their tea. They were leaping out of the water, their little legs thrashing above the water, to catch flies. Cute or what?
We winded at Gt. Bedwyn wharf and refilled the water tank whilst unloading the car. We then set off back towards Hungerford. First we snagged an un-watched fishing line, almost pulling the rod off a boat roof, and then we stopped to help a crew on a boat whose engine wouldn't start. Unfortunately it seemed their starter motor was U/S as a jump start didn't work. Then to the first lock where it started to drizzle. At lock 67 Brenda lost the will to lock but by then we'd been caught up by a cruiser so we shared the next seven locks with them. At Cobbler's Lock (72) it started to rain hard so we decided to call it a day at Hungerford. We stopped just after the swing bridge at Hungerford Church and moored up for the night. At least a post supper car-shuffle was done without getting wet.

28th May 2006 Hungerford to Newbury
H.C. 8078 - 8084 Distance 9 miles 12 Locks

Crew - Graham and Brenda

Wildlife of the day :- Rude, inconsiderate and dangerous cyclists - the minority in a race.
The organisers claimed there was no 'race' element to their event, but some of the groups were all together too competitive, albeit amongst themselves, to be safe. Some expected other towpath users, including young children and those hanging on the end of boat ropes and water hoses, to get out of their way. Bells? I should coco. Their warning was usually a grumpy 'oi!'.
I nearly knocked one woman into the cut. 'Mind the way' was the yell; I moved sideways off the towpath toward the water to find she was already overtaking on that side. FOOL!
Note to British Waterways. Raise some funds by setting out a stall at these events; sell bicycle bells to those in contravention of towpath cycling rules, with a mark-up to make it worthwhile.
On a positive note, it has stopped raining, our hosepipe ban still holds though.
We ended the trip at Newbury where Jannock moved onto her temporary moorings. Two months to try and catch up with those jobs that never get done, using the summer evenings.

1st July 2006 Newbury to Kintbury
H.C. 8087 - 8091 Distance 6 miles 8 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda & Margaret

Henman out of Wimbledon and, by supper, England out of the World Cup. Sanity is restored in the land.
:- Such a lot of 'stuff' to remember, where do I start?
Flocks of swans in Newbury including a lone black one; two very odd young men were feeding/talking sweetly to them, quite independently of each other.
There were Bavarian tourists all to keen to help with the locks, but doing just those things that did not need doing. We confused them mightily.
Jannock turned to marine rescue, salvaging a marooned boat, not sure if it's marooning was intentional but it was saved in any case.
We had a Red Arrows fly-past, honest, and a Dakota flew along the canal.

Jannock at Kintbury

Graham :- Jannock left Newbury heading West with Margaret (our neighbour) as conscripted crew. The sun was hot and there was very little wind to take the heat away. Did Town Lock as solo but had another boat arrive to ascend as we were leaving, so we waited at the next lock for them and shared the next 3 together. We decided not to stop for lunch as it would only get hotter as the day went on, so we continued on to Kintbury where I planned to moor against the bank, in the shade, to complete the paint work repairs on the other side of Jannock. (Our temporary mooring in Newbury is on the mill stream and so it is not practical to turn Jannock round on the mooring). Once at Kintbury, Margaret and Brenda went off to find the cream teas near the church whilst I got on with the chores. We were moored next to nb Kanbedun Again, owned and solo cruised by Linda. She hails from the Llangollen canal but intends to stay south for a while. She is promoting solo female boating by setting up a self help group where each member has email and phone contact details for the other members of the group.
George and Adele Pearson called in to say farewell as their UK trip was coming to an end. We ended the day with wonderful food at the local (Dundas Arms, Kintbury), and sat out to chew the fat before George and Adele returned to their B+B, ready for their journey home to the States tomorrow.

2nd July 2006 Kintbury to Newbury
H.C. 8091 - 8094 Distance 6 miles 8 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda & Margaret

Newbury carnival passes over Northbrook bridge

Margaret :- Can it ever be too hot in England? If so, today was the day!
Graham :- This morning I was rudely awoken by " the 5 o'clock duck " , I wouldn't mind but I hadn't ordered it, just one noisy bu££er and no shotgun ;^(
After breakfast we set off Eastwards back towards Newbury. I had noticed on the canals list that we should be on the lookout for nbs Nutwood and Hakuna Matata who were both supposed to be in the Newbury area. As it turned out, I walked right past John & Judith's boat Nutwood, moored above Town lock, without realising it and was severely admonished by Brenda. Judith came down towards the lock for a quick chat until the lock was ready. They appeared to have set up camp in the shade on the 24 hour moorings.

Once Jannock was in town lock, the Newbury carnival procession started to cross Northbrook bridge, right in front of us, so I just cracked one paddle slightly and we watched the procession whilst taking 20+ minutes to descend. We found nb Hakuna Matata moored by the park and were hailed by Terry and Sue as they were just heading into town. Once back on the mooring, in the shade of the workshop, we had an evening meal and enjoyed the coolth.

30th July 2006 Newbury to Aldermaston
H.C. 8095 - 8101 Distance 8.5 miles 10 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda Wally and our 80th birthday girl, Peggy.

Graham :- Having stayed on Jannock Saturday night, I arose on Sunday morning and drove to Hampshire to collect my parents so they could join us for the day on the K&A. It's my mothers 80th birthday tomorrow so this was to be one of her birthday treats.
Wildlife of the day :- at 08.00 precisely m'lud, the suspect was found lurking in the environs of Newbury Nick. She was found in possession of a bowl of large, ripe, juicy and still warm blackberries wot she 'ad misappropriated from said Nick environs.
Dinner tonight, blackberries and custard. It's a fair cop, and the best blackberries in Newbury lay unharvested in a disused Police house garden so I merely liberated them. (Ironic considering the recent prosecution for picking fruit from a towpath. ed.)

Margaret works Westmill bridge
The birthday girl and her son

Peggy :- More wildlife arrived at 09.30 in the form of Keens senior and spouse, who was having a pre-80th birthday treat on a cruise along the Kennet and Avon waterway from Newbury to Aldermaston. A special flypast of a Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire was enjoyed en route, also a flotilla of Canada geese, and as we emerged from one lock, a royal swan bade us welcome.
We enjoyed lunch afloat, then following a pleasant cruise arrived at Aldermaston where Graham left to retrieve his car and Brenda and I visited the canal centre whilst Keens senior had a kip. The day was rounded off with a nourishing dinner and we were transported home leaving Brenda to washup and clear up.

Graham :- On arrival back at Jannock, we cast off and bid farewell to the mooring we have occupied for the last two months. Unfortunately we left our mooring tyres behind but I collected them when I did the car shuffle later. A slight delay to let nb Cleddau pass and then we completed the tight turn onto the K&A and joined them at Newbury lock. Whilst waiting for the next lock (Ham) to be prepared, I moved alongside nb (non covert) Wyrd and chatted to Andy whilst watching the un-believable spectacle of Caroline opening tins of Guinness and pouring them into the canal. I blame the heat, whilst she was blaming the use by dates. Not being a believer that tinned beer goes off, I rescued a rusty tin of Gales HSB from her before moving into the prepared lock. Apart from being a bit lively after being hurled through the air and bouncing across Jannock's deck, the HSB turned out to be a perfectly acceptable pint. At Thatcham station we passed FC3 moored up and hailed Mike & Wendy as we drifted slowly past. We shared all of the day's locks with nb Cleddau and even completed a text book navigation through the Woolhampton lock & bridge ensemble on our way to a 14 day mooring above Aldermaston Lock. A car shuffle on the Di Blasi was followed by a splendid meal on board before taking my parents back home again. A wonderful day with good company and ideal weather. 9 miles by boat, 160 miles by car, 8 locks and the usual K&A swing bridges. Counting the days now until my holiday starts. Onto the Thames, Radcot for the GiG followed by Beale Park for the National..

11th August 2006 Aldermaston to Padworth
H.C. 8101 - 8102 Distance 0.5 miles Locks 2

Crew - Brenda & Graham

Having travelled home from work, eaten and packed the car, we set off for our summer holiday. Three weeks on the Thames. We arrived at Aldermaston and boarded a very dirty Jannock at 18.45. We dropped down through Aldermaston lock and I did a self pumpout at the sani station whilst Brenda unloaded the car. She started the holiday as she means to continue by picking her first wild fruit of the trip, very nice yellow and red plumish things.. After a water fill, we passed through the lift bridge and Padworth lock before mooring for the night. Unpacking was completed by 22.00 so we are now ready for lots of swing bridges tomorrow. Next stop - Tescos at Reading.

12th August 2006 Padworth to Beale Park
H.C. 8102 - 8110 Distance 17 miles 17 Locks

Crew - Brenda & Graham
Summer Cruise - Day 1

Fishing on the Thames.

Most people hold up banks, but Graham held up a police station today. - A mobile police station was making its way to Sulhampstead Police College, when its progress was impeded by a completely innocent boater elevating a section of the public highway in order to proceed on his way m'lud. He pleads not guilty.
We finally met up with Hakuna Haraka and another of Grahams lady admirers who insisted on making us our morning coffee. Her husband returned from his shopping trip.... and we disembarked quite quickly .... but it was to join up with another boat to lock share, honest.
Saw Tony Brookes on Jenny B. He was 'picketing' the Oracle Shopping Centre in Reading, with bunting a flutter and loud hailer set on loud to advertise the National Rally. The centre had refused the IWA a stand to do that, so he was making one- all weekend.

Did a raid on Tescos before going to Better Boating to purchase diesel. Continued up stream on the Thames and cleared Pangbourne lock before 7 PM. We were looking for a Beale park mooring when we spotted Albion quietly moored against the towpath. We breasted up, as we were told to by Margaret, only to find Pilgrim moored immediately in front. A Jannock-o-gig ensued which ended amidst threats of an 8 am start tomorrow.

13th August 2006 Beale Park to Sandford
H.C. 8110 - 8120 Distance 26 miles 8 Locks

Crew - Brenda & Graham
Summer Cruise - Day 2

Engines started at 08:00 as ordered and Albion, Pilgrim and Jannock set off for Goring lock. Albion rushed off ahead, giving the Gardner a good thrutching and had to wait at the lock whilst us tortoises caught up. We arrived just as the gates were opening, so much for haring ahead. Different running speeds and busy locks soon meant the three of us were separated with Jannock bringing up the rear.
We caught up with them when we found them moored at Abingdon at 3:30 in the afternoon - lightweights! We continued onto Sandford and moored above the lock ready for a car shuffle.
Also spotted this afternoon were Brian on Kyle (ex Snark), Bill and Ann on Minnehaha, accompanied by Wandering Snail (Anne and Ollie). Felis Catus III and Harnser were there too. The evening was rounded off with two WWII flypasts; the first was Mustang, the second a Catalina which delighted Brenda.

We did our legal duty by informing the Abingdon lockie of a dead swan floating in Culham Lock cutting. With bird flu a threat to the population etc. etc. He said 'the world's gone mad, after all the panic no-one at the Environment Agency is prepared to do anything about it, not even collect the body for examination.'
After having lulled us into a false sense of security the starter motor decided to do that packing-up-in-a-lock thing. Luckily it was where staff and clientelle were patient and even amused. Graham proved he knows how to hotwire an engine in front of 2 river inspectors..... and then indentified and fixed a keyswitch fault before the next lock by wiring the start wire to the preheat terminal, after all we wont need engine preheat in August will we.

being followed by Albion.
14th August 2006 Sandford to Eynsham
H.C. 8120 - 8123 Distance 8 miles 5 Locks

Crew - Brenda & Graham
Summer Cruise - Day 3

Today Graham was up and out by 06.15 to take the DiBlasi to Aldermaston, move the car to Radcot and return to Sandford. As he arrived back at Jannock, nb Minnehaha was just coming up through Sandford lock. We joined them as far as Oxford where they moored for shopping while we continued across a cold and windy Port Meadow.

Lovely Steam Launch on the Thames.

We ended the day on the FREE field moorings above Eynsham lock. We took a walk into Eynsham and visited the CO-OP for essential supplies. Whilst in the town we noted that there is an Indian restaurant there and a deli that does take home hot meals. Beef in red wine is Tuesdays offering. On the prolonged walk in, I had to keep dragging Brenda out of the hedgerow as she was in 'wild fruit picking' mode. I got my own back later because she had to drag me out of the pub on our return journey. Whilst walking across the toll bridge, we looked over into a backwater of the river and were surprised to see a crayfish that must have been almost lobster size. Later in the afternoon a phonecall from Cap'n Beeky informed us that Albion is moored for the night immediately below the lock and so we arranged another social evening with Roger and Margaret.

15th August 2006 Eynsham to Radcot
H.C. 8123 - 8129 Distance 15 miles 8 Locks

Crew - Brenda & Graham
Summer Cruise - Day 4

An uneventful day, all-in-all. Having risen in order to be away at 8.30 we fell in behind Albion as they passed our overnight spot. Pinkhill lock was self operated before the lock keeper came on duty. We also had to hover mid channel whilst queueing for Shifford lock as the landing area was already full. By the time we got to the rally site we felt like deep-sea divers who'd eaten too many beans; we were suffering the effects of wind and the bends. The upper Thames above Eynsham is so twisty that Ox-bow lakes began to seem appealing. They would certainly straighten out the route.
We got to 'our' site at the Swan Hotel, Radcot to find it had turned into a tupperware party, little plastic cruisers all along the moorings, no room for 16 narrowboats. We were told they all had moorings just around the corner but 'tied up here as they are too lazy to do it properly'. Let's hope they move before the weekend. They certainly can't be doing the pub any good as there is no room by the side of the pub's land for the overnighter or lunchtaker to moor and partake of a meal or pint. The casual trade business must be being lost.
The Jannocks and Albions enjoyed a curry supper aboard.

Novel topiary at the lockside
16th August 2006 Great Internet Gathering site
Radcot on Thames

Crew - Brenda & Graham
Summer Cruise - Day 5

09.30 and we were car with the crew of nb Pendle Magic (Arthur and Bev), firstly to drop them off at Swindon station to return to Rochdale, then back to our home for most of the day.
Not as daft as it sounds as Graham had to have minor surgery to remove a lump from his leg ( found to be benign, hooray, thanks NHS) and I took the opportunity to exercise the washing machine, lounge in a bath (bliss), bake bread and restock the galley.
His treatment over Graham went to the bottle bank and restocked the bierkellar possibly celebrating the £50 premium bond win we'd found on the doorstep.
Arthur and Bev went home to all sorts of hassle which included floods, so we saw little of them at the GiG or the National rally, shame.
We returned to Radcot to find nb Uncle Mort alongside nb Pendle Magic in front of Jannock. We've lots to do tommorrow ready for the arrival of the marquee in the evening.

17th August 2006 Great Internet Gathering site
Radcot on Thames

Crew - Brenda & Graham
Summer Cruise - Day 6

Brave or Foolish?

A getting-things-ready sort of day. It started with us watching 10 brave souls getting their kit off on the towpath. Some donned wetsuits, all wore tres' 50s swim hats in unsuitable colours, and inch by inch they lowered themselves into the Thames for a day's swim. They even paid good cash money for the experience - fools.
The rest of the day was spent driving to and from Thame fetching things needed for the GiG (Great Internet Gathering) that we have been organising. Boats trickled in, campers arrived, Abingdon Scouts turned up, tents were erected. It begins to look like 'our' rally will take place. And Graham 'popped' a stitch. Prat! Went to bed tired but still slightly anxious.

18th August 2006 Great Internet Gathering site
Radcot on Thames

Crew - Brenda & Graham
Summer Cruise - Day 7

The day started early for Graham who returned home to Thame for yet more stuff. The field started out with a Scout marquee, but by 6pm we had a festival there, boats, campers, lights, loos, generator, bar, stage, beer tent, you name it - we'd got it.
The weekend event formally started with a fish and chip supper which was followed by an enjoyable evening of Folk and Fun provided by Bruce Peckett. The weather tried its damndest to halt proceedings; we had thunder, lightening, downpours, drizzle and sun so hot we began to burn. We froze and baked, so an ordinary English summer day then.

making room for the narrowboats GiG 2006 design by Brenda meant re-arranging the cruisers that had not moved.
19th August 2006 Great Internet Gathering site
Radcot on Thames

Crew - Brenda & Graham
Summer Cruise - Day 8

We took guests on a cruisette to Lechlade as part of a GiG convoy planned so the those who haven't had much time on the river get some boating in. Four boats made the trip taking along various passengers. During the journey the Jannock crew discovered that Mark Peckett is a natural steerer as he handled the boat well around numerous twisty tight turns. As with most new steerers, he only lost the plot when he panicked. The weather gods were mostly kind, but threatening, so on our return we set up the BBQs under our gazebo. Everyone managed to cook despite the rain which arrived on cue. The jacket spuds had all gone into the Aga on Directors' Cut, so they were fine and dandy, as were the side dishes and puds that the assembled company brought to share. We ate well.
After our feed we watched 'Isambarde' perform on our home made stage. In our opinion they were better than the last time we saw them, helped along by our sound team who were practising for their stint at the National Rally to come. Isambarde coped very well with all the good natured heckling and banter until a sad song came along. The banter reduced the lead singer to tears... of laughter. Her subsequent fit of giggles each time they attempted to start the song meant that they gave up trying to perform it altogether. Now we'll never know how sad it really was. The antics of some of the less well regulated dogs in the audience had everyone else in fits of giggles, especially when a song about miners was being sung and one mutt chose to dig a hole in the middle of the floor. (It was so big that I had to get earth and fill it in lest some poor person turn an ankle. We take health and safety seriously-ish.)
Due to a boiler failure nb Laplander could not make it to the site, it had all the raffle stuff aboard, so we had to cobble together some tickets and beg some prizes. The usual never ending raffle took place. Thanks folks, bacon was saved.

20th August 2006 Great Internet Gathering site
Radcot on Thames

Crew - Brenda & Graham
Summer Cruise - Day 9

The day got underway with a charity auction, all sorts of things were swapped between the assembled company, with the required amounts of money to seal the deals. The atmosphere was great with an awful lot of humour thrown in. It was amazing to see how much money could be raised in order to encourage the porter to wear the item being auctioned
Lunch was taken at The Swan, once the auction had finished, by those who had room and declared to be delish.
The evening entertainment was a quiz, prepared by last year quiz winners,where heads were scratched and answers of varying degrees of accuracy were provided. This was preceded by a take-out supper of either Chinese or Indian food. Thanks to all those who toiled long and hard for another good evening and to make the whole event the success that it was.

21st August 2006 Great Internet Gathering site
Radcot on Thames

Crew - Brenda & Graham
Summer Cruise - Day 10

Monday was a pull down day which also involved numerous trips to Thame to return the many items I had fetched last Thursday and Friday. Most revellers went on their merry way, many to meet up again at the IWA National Rally which is at Beale Park, next weekend.
We finalised proceedings by making it to The Swan for a meal in the evening with Margaret and Roger of nb Albion. This was to celebrate the event being over. It has been an eye opening experience organising this event and we could now relax for the rest of the holiday.
The Swan were great hosts, even allowing us to move all the tupperware that was in the way when we first arrived. Some of our company seemed to take rather too much delight in that, can't think why.

22nd August 2006 Radcot to Farmoor Reservoir
H.C. 8136 - 8141 Distance 14 miles 4 Locks

Crew - Brenda & Graham
Summer Cruise - Day 11

We awoke to a lovely sunny morning and the relief of a seemingly successful GiG being over. We were still moored off side of Albion who was firmly sat on the bottom. I reversed Jannock and winded immediately behind our mooring so that I could help pull them off the mud but it wasn't required. Roger reversed Albion off OK.
We set off in convoy, Mr M on Albion and the British Waterways liveried working boat Lynx in front. By the end of the day the order has been reversed.
We saw 2 kingfishers sitting aloft posts calm as you like and looking most photogenic. They both avoided having any photos taken, with a mixture of guile and speed.
The weather forecast for today was foul, the weather was actually the best we've had this trip. Once we had moored for the night I walked upto the reservoir to see where our water at home comes from. There were blackberries and bulaces rotting on the ground and on the bush. Don't the folk hereabouts appreciate fresh fruit or free food?

Albion and Lynx at the water point.
22nd August 2006 Radcot to Farmoor Reservoir
H.C. 8141 - 8148 Distance 19 miles 7 Locks

Crew - Brenda & Graham
Summer Cruise - Day 12

Hood moored opposite us at Abingdon

A bright morning saw us leaving our overnight mooring and work through Pinkhill and Eynsham locks before the lockies arrived for their day's work. We has a wait at Kings Lock because there was a lot of traffic coming onto the Thames from Dukes Cut but then had little hassle until Abingdon where only two boats at a time could pass through the lock. River traffic is beginning to build as more boats are in the area en route for the National Rally at Beale Park.
Brenda was rewarded for her early rise by seeing a pair of kingfishers fishing for their breakfast at Pinkhill Lock. We moored at Abingdon at the southern end of the public moorings. We had our bows in a tree with Albion moored on the offside and finished tying up just before a very heavy thunderstorm arrived. We did banking, shopping and getting drenched in Abingdon.

24th August 2006 Abingdon to Beale Park
H.C. 8148 - 8156 Distance 19 miles 7 Locks

Crew - Brenda & Graham
Summer Cruise - Day 13

This morning I got up very early to do a car shuffle to Beale Park. Unfortunately the Di Blasi failed me yet again on Ock Street, Abingdon. At least I was close enough to push it back to the boat. I was confident that with the help of the Italian manufacturers, I had been able to fix the intermittant problem that was causing so much trouble. Oh well, maybe it's time to get a replacement.

We left Abingdon and soon became part of a little convoy of boats, ever changing our position in the convoy depending on the size of locks and the tupperware which joined us. The lockie at Culham lock arrived 45 minutes early as he seen so many boats go past his mooring at Abingdon that he decided he'd better come to work early to clear the queues.
Considering the numbers of boats booked into the IWA Diamond Jubilee National Rally there was little hold up at locks once through Culham, only Benson caused any consternation. All the lock landings were full with some boats tied to the Salters landing stage whilst the rest hovered in the Wier stream. There were a couple of boats who seemed to think that all the boats apparently just bobbing about playing silly b-u-double-g-ers were nothing to do with the lock and so it was OK for them to chug on through and take the next available place. Just as well the lockies were with it. Boat rage could easily have broken out here. Once through we were expecting the worst at Cleeve lock as we wanted to fill with water but this was a dissapointment because we had no time at all to wait for the tap and then went straight through the lock once we were full.
The afternoon weather was LOVELY, at last. We shared most locks with Lynx, a 70' working boat, as we were the next longest boat travelling in the group. 3 o'clock saw is arriving at our mooring at Beale Park ready for the National.

The original 'Ratty's House' from Wind in the Willows.
29th August 2006 Beale Park to South Stoke
H.C. 8161 - 8163 Distance 6 miles 2 Locks

Crew - Brenda & Graham
Summer Cruise - Day 18

Farewell Beale Park

Well what is there to say about the National? We laughed, we shopped, we ate cake, we laughed some more, we drank alcoholic beverages, we ate stuff other than cake, basically we partied with many friends old and new. We were even asked, officially, if the internet boaters could have a little less uproarious fun on the towpath. Yes, it was that good.
Oh - and Graham brought a brand new Di Blasi!
Graham :- Tuesday came, and it was time to leave. After a day 'offsite' for laundry, baths, restocking the fridge and having stitches out, we noticed that Goring Lock was not busy as we returned past it in the car. So once back on Jannock we set off northbound sharpish to get to Cleeve Lock to refill the water tank. We moored overnight near the pipeline works at South Stoke ready for an early assault on Benson.
Brenda :- As I predicted, nay, nagged, about quarter of an hour after being back aboard G split his wound. So out with the steristrips and back on with a plaster. Men!

30th August 2006 South Stoke to Sandford
H.C. 8163 - 8170 Distance 22 miles 5 Locks

Crew - Brenda, Graham, Rosie and Matt
Summer Cruise - Day 19

{singing mode on} :- Oh what a beautiful morning....There's a bright summer haze on the meadow... {singing mode off}
The new Di Blasi fair whizzed along during the car shuffle today. :^)

Rosie :- Me and Matt got on Jannock at Benson this morning, had fine weather ALL day, which makes a nice change. Saw a large terrapin floating on a log, gained a new pet caterpillar called Munch. Overall today's journey was full of wildlife experiences. I drove the boat for a while and had to attempt a slalom to avoid hitting a big plastic boat when overtaking a narrowboat, but all went well in the end.
Matt :- It was pleasant to come and spend a day on Jannock before Rosie and myself go back to our respective universities. The Thames was nice and relaxing and was complimented by nice weather. A fairly uneventful day with the usual number odd wierd beards!
I'm looking forward to a nice meal in the pub to add to the vast quantity of cake already consumed. All free meals are nice! See you soon

We can fit another boat in!
Jannock up the River Thame

Brenda :- We waited so long at Culham Lock that the 'kids' and I picked more bulaces and laid on the roof playing 'Obvious I Spy'. That's the one where the answers are,,, obvious, so there's not much thinking involved. The Sandford pub where we had intended to eat this evening had closed down, inexplicably, only this morning. The staff were actually turning up for their shifts. Graham asked the lockie to recommend an alternative. His directions were wrong so we didn't find it. That was a good thing. Graham decided that he could have one small beer as driver and as he'd seen a Gales' pub then that was the beer he'd have. The food was excellent, varied choice, all tasty and good value, washed down with Gales' HSB. The students were not able to finish their meals; strange but true.
And today's achievement
{fanfare mode on} Jannock went up the River Thame, as in Thame, where we live landside. We couldn't go far up and had to reverse out, but we did it. {fanfare mode off}

31st August 2006 Sandford to Kirtlington Quarry
H.C. 8170 - 8178 Distance 16 miles 11 Locks

Crew - Brenda & Graham
Summer Cruise - Day 20

A 'not-so-early' start got us to Iffley Lock at just after 9 AM, where six boats were packed in for the ascent. We continued through Osney lock where we said farewell to Albion. They were going up through Jericho whereas we prefer the Duke's Cut route. We arrived at Duke's Lock just before Albion, who's steerer was not a happy bunny and had to agree that he'd not want to take that route again. He'd taken all care to take the deepest part of the canal and slow as much as he could but still got verbal abuse from some of those exercising their rights on the agenda 21 moorings. It would seem that they choose to live on a navigation, and in some cases have their way paid by various 'housing' benefits, and then feel aggreived when boats have the cheek to actually move along the water as it disturbs them. I must admit to having been quite disturbed by the locals when we have chosen that route, never again. It has been over two weeks since we were last on a canal so now we have to get used to the bottom being quite near the top again. We had queues of a least three boats up Kirtlington where we stopped for the night. Lots of blackberries were picked and blackberry vinegar and muffins made.

John Saxon on Lion

We were moored up with, amongst others, John and Phil Saxon on nb Lion. John and Phil were both born 'on the boats'. Phil left when she was about 15, John stayed longer working his mother's boat I understand. They are holidaying and borrowed our internet connection to shop for flights for their November cruise in France with their chums on nb Waterlily, a cut-n-shut boat which used to be Ostrich or Kestrel whilst in service with Fellows, Morton and Clayton. Ostrich and Kestrel were a working pair which were sold together and broken up in both senses of the word. They were also mixed up, and only just being sorted out as to which is which now. An interesting evening with lovely people.
I hadn't any eggs left to make our muffins. Our neighbours asked if they were baked yet. Graham explained that muffins were not to be due to no eggs being available. The exact words of the reply were 'we'll trade, we've got fresh eggs!' Eggs were traded for hot blackberry muffins, done deal.

1st September 2006 Kirtlington to Cropredy
H.C. 8163 - 8170 Distance 22 miles 5 Locks

Crew - Brenda and Graham
Summer Cruise - Day 21

As we set off from Kirtlington, we were grateful that the nights rain had ceased, but the day stayed very grey until about 2 PM when the sun finally appeared. We spent half the morning following an unusual (and very slow) coal powered steam narrowboat that was built along the lines of a dutch barge. I think she was named Emily Anne. We finally managed to pass them on the approach to Aynho and had no further delays. Brenda found a hanging basket of herbs on a lock mooring just before Banbury. It obviously did not belong to the lock cottage and no one else was in sight so we put it on the front of Jannock. It turned out that it belonged to the boat travelling in front of us and they had left it on the side after watering it and then forgotten to put it back on their boat. We re-united them with it when we passed their overnight mooring spot towards Cropredy.
We arrived back at our mooring to find one of the local boats occupying it. We dropped into Moondarras mooring and tried to ring John and Terry to make sure they weren't returning tonight. No contact with them so we just hoped they were not returning yet.

Emily Anne waits at Somerton Deep Lock
9th September 2006 Cropredy to Bridge 128, Summit level
H.C. 8188 - 8194 Distance 10 miles Locks 9

Crew - Brenda & Graham

Today's weather was all one could hope for in early September.
Graham started proceedings with a pumpout at Cropredy and then I decided it was OK to wake up. Once we'd breakfasted on the moorings outside Cropredy Bridge Stores, we set off Napton bound. We were following a hireboat through every lock with the steam boat Emily Anne following us. Having found her very slow to follow last weekend, she could certainly keep up going through locks being operated by a keen crew who were efficient at lock wheeling.

Boats moored on the Southern Oxford.

Blackberries just had to be picked today. Boat roofs are just the thing for getting all the berries overhanging the water on the off-side. A bucket and secateurs were the equipment for towpath side berries. Every boater who passed comment on my haul asked if there was to be blackberry and apple crumble for tea. No, you unimaginative lot! My industrial quantity is for the freezer ,to provoke memories of summer and warmth on cold winter days.
Finally moored for the night out in the sticks, past the Wormleighton tower, on the summit. A very peaceful spot with lots more blackberries available. The third pick of the day was stewed and swirled through a vanilla Angel Delight when cold. Top tip that. Graham managed to fit Jannock's new ignition switch and the digibox into techno-cupboard once we had moored.

10th September 2006 Bridge 128 to Napton, Adkins lock.
H.C. 8194 - 8196 Distance 7 miles 2 Locks

Crew - Brenda & Graham

After a night on't summit level where nowt woz 'eard 'cept the palaver made by battlin' swans int' early hours, we laid in ower beds nigh on half past nine! 'By 'eck!' I hear you exclaim, 'are they ill?' No, it's just a lazy Sunday morning in lovely surroundings, with lashings of tea, toast and grapefruit marmalade, 'and fettled by t'ship's cook, albeit too far south for this silly accent.
We arrived at Napton and Sean turned up, so tea and cake again while Graham fettled an elderberry harvesting device from a broom handle, string and wirecutters. I can report that it worked very well and elderberry rum was made.

15th to 17th September 2006 Cutweb Centenary Rally
Field adjacent to Adkins Top Lock

We arrived by car on Friday morning to find the marquee already erected. I hastily erected the stage kit I had brought with me and then the technical team could get the sound and lights sorted. Friday evening started with a takeout meal followed by another enjoyable evening of entertainment supplied by Nash. This included lots of audience participation as he is used to dealing with people with learning difficulties :^)
Our weekend was punctuated by us getting a pass-out on Saturday night to go to Graham's company do at Blenheim Palace. ( My knees ached on Sunday. I seemed to be dancing all night, and I'm too old to be used to that. I blame Dr. and the Medics who opened the evening.) It was a shame the dates clashed but the Blenheim Palace event was a must.

Friday night in the marquee Nash entertained us after our meal Sunday lunch was taken on the towpath

Voda-ball pictures below
Dr and the Medics opened the evening The Chinese Dragon was terrific Brenda's favourite act of the evening. Highly amusing

Sunday morning started with booking in items for the auction followed rapidly by the auction itself. Once again much mirth was present and a lot of money raised for charity. Sunday lunch was provided by Claudia and Ken on the towpath adjacent to Prairie Crocus.
We Boozie Floozies ( a girl banned (sic) formed at the National) took on the husbands in the Sunday quiz and beat them soundly. Better still we managed to come second by 1 point, which means we showed our prowess but don't have to set a quiz at the next event. I had even explained to a newbie that that was the best plan, how we managed to pull it off I'm not sure. That's tactics.

Many thanks must go to Mike and Krystina for organising this, their sixth and last rally. An excellent job done.

It was this weekend that we learnt that a 'non towpath' mooring was available for Jannock at Bourne End, Hemel Hempstead right behind Julian's boat Parglena. All of our plans now had to change so that we could move Jannock down to Bourne End over the next few weeks.

24th September 2006 Napton to Welford Wharf.
H.C. 8199 - 8205 Distance 12.5 miles 13 Locks

Crew - Brenda & Graham

We slept aboard after visiting Bletchley Park with Ken, who was keen to see the Bombe newly restored and in action. He was delighted with it, and it does look wonderful working, somehow organic in its motions, not unlike the Babage counting engine which was finally built so many years after Babage's demise. Ken stood to gaze upon Hut 6 which is so dilapidated that he was able to pick up a piece of it from the ground; he'll treasure it no doubt. Claudia served us a wonderful curry supper, she'd stayed aboard and cooked as she'd injured her foot and didn't fancy the hobble around the museum. ( OK, stubbed her toe, but it was a doozy!). Another enjoyable day in their company but now we must set off South.
As we came round on Sunday morning it was chucking it down and blanket grey despite yesterday's glorious sunshine and hopeful weather forecast. Graham made tea while I hid under the duvet. We breakfasted and a little blue struggled through so we set off in sunshine. We passed Ken and Claudia near Nethercote as they were now en route down the Southern Oxford canal heading for the Kennet and Avon. We swapped washed up dishes and goodies as we passed. We turned right at Braunston Junction and headed past the marina. As we approached the first double lock the crew of the single boat already inside opened the other gate for us and we were off. Jannock and Alpha were the perfect pair, moving up the locks in such harmony that we could have been breasted up. We did our bit for education with a couple of key stage one-ers and a very nice young man out with his uncle. Moored up at Welton Wharf, had supper after the car shuffle and set off back to Thame.

30th September 2006 Welton to Blisworth.
H.C. 8205 - 8211 Distance 13 miles 7 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brian, Ian and Peter
Soddit Cruise 2006 #2

Last night we arrived at Welton Wharf in the dark, had fish and chips for supper plus 3 games of Soddit before turning in for the night.

This morning saw us up, breakfasted and heading for Buckby locks at 9am. We must have been following another boat so only had set locks when we passed another boat coming the other way. Cleared the flight just after 11am and continued on to High house bridge where we stopped for lunch and fishing. Lunch was fine but the fishing was rained off by a thunderstorm arriving to ruin the nice weather we had experienced so far.
Passed Granny Buttons moored at Weedon, the cratch cover is looking a bit torn Andrew.
Moved on to Bugbrooke where fishing was again attempted, this time successfully! I am finding 2006 difficult to cope with as the two 'fishists' have experienced abundant catches during both cruises. Oh dear, they've just got another Perch as I'm writing this. We are about to go to the New Inn for dinner before this evenings Soddit marathon begins. Cosgrove tomorrow if all goes well.

 Typical Soddit cruise weather

Ian :- I felt it was necessary to clean the boat broom and wash one foot today, luckily the handrail saved the rest of me and the broom was recovered (with a lot of reversing. Ed.). Fishing today proved to be very positive. I scored first then went onto capture a largish roach. Brian trumped this with 2 large perch.
Brian :- Late on day two, what a cate catar bad thing to happen. The barrel of beer has run out!!!. Hell's teeth and buckets of blood. Soddit remains a riveting game after all these years. We still don't know what we are doing. ( They have been playing together about once a week for the last 23+ years, 'bout time they sorted themselves out! Ed.)

Ian with his prize Perch The rest of the crew swear Brian was asleep That traitor Peter takes part in the fishing activities and proves it's easy
1st October 2006 Blisworth to Cosgrove.
H.C. 8211 - 8216 Distance 7 miles 7 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brian, Ian and Peter

There was a lot of rain during the night but we awoke to bright sunshine. We breakfasted with the added bonus of Bucks Fizz to celebrate the 1st day of one of our number being unemployed. Set off towards the tunnel at 9.30am and met three northbound vessels during our trip through. The first was a Blisworth day boat whose crew all cheered when they had passed us without touching. They stated it was the first time they had ever met another craft going the other way in the tunnel. We passed down the Stoke Bruerne lock just before it started to rain. And so we continued on and only stopped for lunch and a spot of piscine menacing when it had stopped raining again. That didn't last though and Ian continued in the rain and caught perch and gudgeon as if it was an easy task.
This years Soddit cruises have been memorable for the amount of fish caught by Ian and Brian (plus one by Peter).
Finally arrived at Cosgrove, having survived a large bankside fishing match which ended as we passed the last rod, in order to fill with water and find a mooring on the embankment for the week.

 Brian and Peter show what Soddit cruises are all about

Peter :- Excellent cooked breakfast courtesy of 'Mackie's Menus for the Unemployed'. Marathon fishing began again with limited success, decided it was time for a professional approach and advice from me. I managed to haul in an enormous tiddler and now have the burden, on future cruises, to offer advice to the lads.
Brian :- Bucks' Fizz for breakfast and we are now in a long black tube thing and Ian is making funny noises. No change there. ( First time I've heard Blisworth tunnel described as a long black tube thing! Ed.)

7th October 2006 Cosgrove to Stoke Hammond.
H.C. 8216 - 8220 Distance 14 miles 2 Locks

Crew - Graham and Brenda

The weather gods really don't approve of the Soddit cruises, their displeasure blighted the weather all week as it blights the weather during those cruises. Mind you, Thames Water ( now owned by Germans, what's that all about?) and British Waterways are delighted as our local reservoirs are getting to almost normal for the time of year. It doesn't help with the groundwater situation but watch this space....
Anyhow, this morning dawned bright and sunny with only a keen wind to cool the air rather more than is necessary. As we moored we were treated to a wonderful sunset, all red and blue with a splash of purple thrown in, the promise of a lovely day tomorrow. The cruising? Uneventful of Milton Keynes.

We arrived at Cosgrove just after 12 o'clock on Saturday to witness a diesel boat setting off from above the lock - Blast! Jannock was in need of a fill and his price was good at 45ppl. Never mind, I was aware that Peartree marina were about the same price. We loaded up and set off in the sunshine heading south through Milton Keynes. The target for the weekend was Marsworth which Canal Planner reckoned was going to take us about 12 hours. Pushing it in these short autumnal days but I was confident that it was not an unreasonable goal. As the afternoon progressed we found our overall speed was limited by numerous linear moorings and random fish annoyers. When we arrived at Peartree, the marina office was closed so no diesel for Jannock. Never mind, we'll be at Willowbridge soon. Down through our first lock of the day and we soon found that Willowbridge (also 45ppl) were also closed. We finally moored up for the night near Stoke Hammond ready for an early assault on the three locks at Soulbury. Dipped the diesel tank and added my 25ltr emergency supply just in case. The sunset was glorious and Brenda had left her camera at home - Oh well, never mind.

8th October 2006 Stoke Hammond to Marsworth.
H.C. 8220 - 8228 Distance 13 miles 16 Locks

Crew - Graham and Brenda

 Boats moored bankside on the Grand Union

I was up and out doing a Di Blasi car shuffle at a quarter to seven. As I rode up the A5 towards Cosgrove, the dawn sky was a bright orange ball in the rear view mirror. I remember hoping the weather would hold until we got to Marsworth. As I arrived back at Stoke Hammond the activity indicated a fishing match was being set up, so we breakfasted and set off before they started.
We went up Soulbury 3 solo with Northbound boats being passed through each lock. The fishing competition seemed to stretch all the way from our overnight mooring to the Globe Inn. Passed through Linslade without stopping as Wyvern Shipping was closed and then managed to share Grove lock with another boat. The smells emitted by the pub persuaded us that we would need our lunch soon.

We continued on through pleasant country side and tried to ignore the fact that the wind was getting stronger. We met up with Bletchley and Argus and finally managed to fill the tank at 49ppl. Great fun with the strong headwind as they we moored at an angle from the bank, due to a lack of depth near the bank, and Jannock wanted to swing across the canal whilst filling.
As we passed Pitstone Wharf Brenda got shouted at by the steerer of the wide beam trip boat because she hadn't anticipated him coming around the bend and suddenly appearing through the over hanging willow tree. Oh well, you can't please them all.
We finally arrived at Marsworth just before 5pm having shared the last three locks with a nice couple on an OS craft, the name of which started with an S and I have forgotten. Home at 6pm to try Brenda's version of the 'curry goat' I had at Beale Park. She used lamb as it is more readily available in Thame.
If the weather is good, we should make it to the new mooring next weekend.

14th October 2006 Marsworth to Bourne End.
H.C. 8228 - 8235 Distance 9 miles 20 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Julian & Caro

Caro :- 6 hours boating with lots of food! There was excellent French onion soup, scones, choccie biscuits etc.
Note: Julian and Caro shut all gates, which is unusual. The weather was fine, dry, sunny. Good company. Julian might buy a narrowboat for weekend boating, it's a much easier proposition than taking Parglena out every weekend, OR, we might borrow Jannock......

 Can you spot the king fisher

Graham :- On Saturday we met Julian & Caro (Parglena) at Marsworth at nine in the morning ready for the final run down to Bourne End. Just as we were setting off, another boat passed who said they were going up Marsworth locks once they had emptied their loo at the sani station. We passed them and prepared the first lock ready for them to join us. We had an excellent run up onto the Tring summit meeting a couple of boats coming down and the local cheery mooring warden as well. It wasn't long before we arrived at Cowroast and set off down towards Berkhamstead. Lunch was taken on the move in order to keep the momentum up. It is so much easier when you have an experienced crew and are sharing every lock. The journey flew past until our partners decided to stop at Berko as they were expecting visitors. We stopped alongside Tiami and had a chat to Simon and Debbi about the forthcoming SOW protest weekend before passing down through the last three locks to Jannock's new permanent mooring. We are now immediately behind Parglena at Bourne End moorings (above lock 59) which is a completely different environment to the towpath mooring we were used to at Cropredy Old Mill. We carried out a car shuffle before having an evening meal on Jannock and then heading home to some very hungry cats. Thanks to Julian and Caro for being excellent crew members and making it a great day travelling.

29th October 2006 Bourne End to Hemel & return.
H.C. 8235 - 8241 Distance 4 miles 12 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda & Gary

 Gary and the Geese

Gary :- Went to Himmel Hemstad, turned round, came back. We gave a ride to some kids on the way. Sunny, soup, Sunday.
Brenda :- Saw Girly fishing.......fags in gobs, lippie stains on teeth, handbags on knees. Honest! How do you catch a Chav?
Good job we weren't having a picnic as there were a few sandwiches short this afternoon!

Graham :- The forecast had been looking good for Sunday since the middle of last week and so the decision was made to turn Jannock round so that we can do a pumpout. We co-opted Brenda's brother Gary as a willing crew member and set off South from Bourne End. We has two options available. Six locks and two miles down to Winkwell would enable us to turn or go the whole twelve locks and four miles to Hemel and make a (short) day of it. The glorious weather persuaded us that the latter was the best option so off we went. No worries heading South with only three other boats seen moving en-route. The Herts & Bucks yard at Winkwell looks busy with a couple of freshly blacked boats craned out onto the grass behind the moorings as well. There was not much else to report for the outbound trip, Brenda winded Jannock just below Boxmoor bottom lock whilst I waited lockside to work back up again. We moored on the off-side just above the lock for lunch utilising a convenient overhanging tree to secure the bow rope and placing a single stake at the stern. No problems with mooring stability as not a single boat passed us whilst we were there. Once the crew were fed, we set off North again with very little to report apart from a pair of southbound boats that we met working through Fisheries Lock and an eye opening incident at Winkwell swing bridge. On our arrival at the bridge, I inserted the key and operated the bridge whilst noting a green narrowboat was moored at the bollards immediately North of the bridge. As the bridge swung open, a woman called across from the pub " How many keys do you need to work the bridge?". She was waving a BW Watermate key at me so I replied "only one". "Oh" she said "I thought you needed two so I'm over here trying to get another, Can you wait while our boat (gesturing to the green one) passes through?" She then hollered at the bloke on aforementioned green boat who untied and passed through the bridge once Jannock had cleared. I closed the bridge and made my way up to the lock where a newish looking sailaway was working down through the lock. I offered to take over from the landside crew member so that he could go ahead and operate the bridge. "Have you got a key for the bridge?" I asked. "No" came the answer. It appeared that this new, as yet unfitted, sailaway did not possess a watermate key. So, being the nice person that I am, off I went back to the bridge to work it for yet another boat. Finally, back on the mooring above lock 59, the next boat up behind us managed to leave both a top and bottom paddle up as they departed the lock. This error was spotted by Julian on his return to Parglena just before we set off home in the car.

25th November 2006 Bourne End to Bulbourne.
H.C. 8246 - 8251 Distance 8 miles 13 Locks

Crew - Graham and Brenda

Thought for the day :- the day after you get back from a week in Lanzarote, (yes, the one next door to Africa), do not, for any reason - even a really good one - go boating in hail laden, drenching, freezing rain storms, especially if it's almost December. (One month to Christmas, bah humbug.)

We left home this morning with the grey skies raining upon us and were not looking forward to a wet trip up from Bourne End. Once we were over the Chilterns we found sunshine and blue skies and so we cheered up. Left Bourne End at 9:15 for the run North. At lock 57 either the vandals or last nights storm had placed about 8 metres of fencing in the cut at the entrance to the lock. I used the boat pole to remove it onto the offside bank. As we passed through lock 56 the weather broke and it started raining. We met Debbi and Simon on nb Tiami at their mooring and continued North through a local thunderstorm with added hail. Great! Just what we needed after a week in Lanzarote, 28 degrees and lots of sunshine out there ;^(

Harrassing passers by for signatures at Bulbourne The boats gather for the blockade The final photocall with all lined up

Made it to Bulbourne by 2:45 PM , winded and set up SOW shop. Allan Cazally soon joined the gang by moving Pengalanty up to moor next door. Debbi and Simon went off to Marsworth to get signatures in the pubs there whilst Brenda and I harassed anyone brave enough to walk past Jannock for their signatures on our petition sheet. During this afternoon we received a phone call from No.1 son Simon. He had gone on post graduate international students visit to Chester and had sloped off and joined the SOW protest there.

26th November 2006 Bulbourne to Bourne End.
H.C. 8251 - 8256 Distance 8 miles 13 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Cliff and Tom

 Tom steering Jannock through Berko

Cliff :- Travelled from Bulbourne to Bourne End through 13 locks. It's the first time on a canal boat for myself and Thomas. The weather was kind, the wildlife interesting and the experience fantastic. We learned from great teachers and enjoyed meeting new folk. Thanks so much.
Tom :- I had a go at steering and went into a lock first try. I had a great time. It was the most fun I've had for ages and I really want to do it again.

Brenda :- We had a successful blockade of the Grand Union in the morning. It was just one of the many all over the system, and part of the Save Our Waterways campaign. Well done Simon and Deb, your organisation did us proud, your fry-up set us up for the day. The press were there, an MP, many organisations were represented and there was even retired highups with their boat and a retired lockeeper from BW alongside incognito current emloyees.
We left with 2 trainees, Tom is hoping his family will have a narrowboat holiday next year and so came along with dad for a taster and training day. The days are so much shorter now that we came onto our mooring on headlamp, it was lovely to be met by Julian who was ready to take ropes in the dark.