Friday, 9 October 2015

Newbold to Norton

Wednesday 23rd. There is a superb view of Venus (the planet, rather than the unclothed goddess) at 6am and at 9am in bright sunshine (at last) we set off down the Oxford towards Braunston and, we hope, Norton Junction tonight.
Passing a boat called "There and Back Again" and recognising the title of The Hobbit, I thought that could be a good title for a boating blog. After all, it's what we do.
It's a good day for boat names: I spot "Drawn to Water", "Still Thinking" (get the pun? and just "Eventually" which is very existential, I think .... And while I'm musing, or locking up the Hillmorton Locks, John tackles the shower, which does not drain properly, and discovers the fault is a blocked filter (all that hair we've lost while boating ...).
At some point I shall write a blog entry about the virtues of having an onboard engineer and shall praise the number of things he has fixed as well as those he has avoided by his maintenance regime and his risk avoidance strategies. Later he will perform annual maintenance on the engine, while in our marina - of which more later.

Arriving at Norton we find a terrible crumbling towpath between bridges 9 and 10, where netting has been erected to warn of holes and weak edges. Nevertheless we find a spot that just works - and unlike the moorings on the Leicester line we can receive TV signals.
In the evening a visit to the New Inn to encounter the UK's biggest pub bore, spouting loudly across the room throughout our meal, meaning we have to move seats to a quieter area next to the skittle game.

Back on board we seem to have entered a parallel universe as the TV news features Prince Harry laying a patio and various improbably dressed rugby fans speaking incomprehensibly in Scots and Japanese. The new Lib Dem leader looks like a young Brummie footballer sporting cropped hair, unfeasibly expressive eyebrows and a line about being brought up in the shadow of the gas works that sounds like Monty Python's Four Yorkshiremen.

Thursday 24th. Shooting through the Watford locks in good time we head on untroubled towards Welford with good weather and nothing to slow us down. The journey home has to be by road via Snarestone to pick up the second car. Rush hour plus problems on the A14 provide an unsatisfactory way to end a great trip. We recommend The Ashby Canal!

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