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Alvecote Historic Boat Gathering 2013

Firstly, I would like to say thank you to our hosts for a wonderful weekend at this year's gathering! We had a great time, made new friends and booked for next year!

Panoramic piccy, courtesy of Martin, of the Gathering

I would also like to say thank you for everyone who took an interest in my little shop and didn't just walk past!

My little gift shop ... with me inside

It made for a very sociable and friendly weekend and makes the hours of slog over paint and thinners worthwhile!

Excellent turnout of historic boats this year

Over the weekend, we had a boater's breakfast each morning and bands playing in the afternoon and evenings.

Boats 'winding' (turning round) in the 'layby'

As we were told originally, to moor in the 'layby' alongside the Cheese Boat, the 'winding competition' (turning around without hitting other boaters or edges of layby) would require substantially more skill than before!

Paul and Viv on Whitby negotiate the winding area

Our boat Comfortably Numb stats :
Day 1 - a direct hit broadside from Minnow - thanks Graham! Several glancing blows from other boats, fended off successfully by Richard from the roof of 'Numb!

Day 2 - moved out of 'layby' to the safety of the towpath leaving the poor Cheese boat to repel boarders!
Day 3 - still hiding out of the way, where we stayed whilst the evening Illuminated Boats parade finished.

View of the causeway with moored boats alongside

The Cheese Boat sustained 2 direct hits, moved and scored again - Minnow playing pinball again!  Apparently, one of the incidents was whilst the CEO from Canal and River Trust was aboard!

Sickle with Alan and Kath, Jan and Dave aboard, ready to tackle the 'wind'.

Alan on Sickle managed a full 360 degree turn in one!

Paul and Viv on Whitby returning after 2 x 360 degree turns after each other, attached to another full length boat, faultless performance!  The got some cheers from the balcony, I can say!

Elizabeth - oldest converted narrowboat on the system - if I got that correctly

One of the wonderful old working boats at the gathering

Biddie and Olive - owned by friends Rod and Tracy 

At breakfast on Sunday, Jan and Dave, who volunteer to help with the fundraising boat for the Chesterfield Canal Trust, told us the bilge pump had been running on and off all night!

Python on Day 1 still floating well!

Had we got any overalls to spare as the original slow leak had became a not slow leak and action was needed!  Richard donned his bright orange British Sugar overalls and went to have a look. Yes, it was a leak and it needed sealing quick.

Winding competition on Day 1 - all going well so far!

Jan and Dave secured a tow to a wharf nearby, where hopefully Python will be safe for now until repairs can take place.

A beautiful sight of all the competitors in the Illuminated Boats parade winding in the 'layby'.

My mum had come over to stay on Sunday night, so we had gone to the Pretty Pigs at Alvecote for a carvery during the evening.  It was worth the visit, as it was cheap and a large plate full!

Peacefully moored out of the way during the rest of the weekend

Tuesday morning, we moored behind the butty once the Candy Boat had moved off towards Fradley, and filled up with water.  As there was now space on the towpath side of the canal, we pushed across and had a quiet day enjoying the rest!

Blisworth, Braunston, then on to Alvecote (58 miles, 28 locks and 2 tunnels - phew!)

So we are moored at Alvecote outside the Samuel Barlow pub awaiting a hopefully busy Bank Holiday.

Lister reclining whilst the journey continued from Blisworth

We have had quite a long journey, broken only for the weekend break in Braunston.  The dongle reception has been intermittent, hence the lack of updates and today is slow.

Passing through Braunston with Martin on the butty.  I am a bit redundant, but good at making tea!

I had missed the earlier part of the journey, because of the need to visit Lincolnshire for a couple of days.  A lift from Richard's brother brought me back to the boat where Richard and Martin had moored above Norton Junction (Junction between the Grand Union to go south, north to Leicester, or west to Braunston).

Stormy skies above Braunston (junction to go south to Oxford, west to Coventry, or north to London/Leicester)

It was great being able to show Martin all the sights around these historic locations.  Martin and I had a little jog around the village, to try and get back into the fitness thing.  We will try to keep it up!

It's all so lovely!  I still am taken aback by the sheer beauty of our canal system.

During the time I had my shop open, I was introduced by a friend to Terence of Canal Art by Terence.  Esteemed canalware artist, Terence produces exquisite pieces of work, usually by commission, through his website.  He was very gracious in his welcoming of my work and I was quite encouraged by his comments.
I tend to send people to him and Julie Canal Art by Julie, if they require a watercan painting, ie a more bespoke piece of work.

Coming through the 250 yard tunnel at Newbold

We stopped briefly at Rugby to do the shooping at Tesco and then back for a good push for Atherstone.  We were disappointed that we couldn't show Martin the lovely light display in the tunnel at Newbold.  The bulbs have obviously run their course or been broken.

Hawkesbury Junction - U bend to negotiate!

At Hawkesbury Junction (left to Coventry basin or right in a U to go to Nuneaton), I had jumped off earlier to set the lock (approx 1 foot drop) for the big boat.  I steered the butty around the bend as Richard tried to improve on last year's 'U bend in one!'

A little reverse should do it!

Ok, he had a little reverse as we hadn't taken it wide enough, but it was still a pretty faultless performance.

And we are round!

But like last year, no one watching clapped or cheered as I hoped they would!

Straightened up nearly 

Now to pick Martin up

And we continued on along the Coventry Canal towards Nuneaton.

Another sunken/recovered boat!

Overnight, we moored above Atherstone locks, ready to challenge the flight in the morning.

And another on a tight bend with an overhanging tree on the offside!  Come on CaRT!!

In the morning, Martin and I remained with the big boat to fill up with water and do the rubbish and toilets, whilst Richard began the flight of 11 single locks.

Lister reclining again....

We caught the boss up, as the water pressure was so low, we gave up after half a tank.

The water levels in the pounds were very low as well, and a boat was actually unable to get any further down near the bottom of the flight, due to it's deep draught.  This recovered and the bottle neck eased and all boaters completed the locks eventually!

The boat yard before Alvecote with lots of old boats being repaired etc

We arrived at Alvecote and moored the butty outside the pub and the motor alongside the Cheese Boat, much to Michael's delight!  Bring on the weekend!

Blisworth Festival 2013

Mooring in Blisworth before the festival proved quite a nerve racking buildup, as previous years' successes were discussed.  We, of course, were newbies, so I found this all quite overwhelming!

The look of 'oh no, dad's got the camera out, in my face!'   Or words to that effect!

Eldest is staying with us for a while, which is good company and a great help with locks to do after this week.  Richard was really pleased he had created a 'Boatman's Cabin' in the butty, perfect temporary accommodation for Martin.

A quiet start to the show on Sunday

A steady Saturday began the best weekend we have had so far in our festival calendar.  

 The oil can, in the foreground, speaks volumes...  Actually it belongs to the engine on display, right.

WW11 re en actors digging in

Loads of stalls in the showground

The showground again

The Baptist Chapel - where and others had breakfast both mornings!

View from the winding hole.  No, that isn't my husband on the left!  I had to look twice!

There he is!  On the left I mean!

Bit narrow where we were, and a bit busy at times!

View over the canopy into my shop.  If you look carefully, you can see the Cheese Boat next door.

The old warehouse, now posh flats, alongside the canal.

So we had a great weekend and Sunday, we enjoyed the sounds coming from the wharf of Rapskallion, an Australian band playing what sounded like Irish folk music but with a steam punk twist, a bit Pogue'est, if you know what I mean.   It was a fab afternoon and we were properly wiped out by the end of it.
Then as fast as everyone arrived, they left........

Fenny Stratford, Stoke Bruerne and through that tunnel to Blisworth! (20 miles, 8 locks)

Working our way steadily through Milton Keynes,  we eventually passed the famous Train Mural at Wolverton again

Commissioned by the Milton Keynes Inland Waterways Authority, painted by the late Bill Billings in 1984 and recently restored

A fabulous uplifting sight of an old steam train with lots of carriages, the railway, apparently, the reason for the building of Wolverton back in the 1830s.

So if you have no garden on land, create your own onboard! 

The whole of the open section of this boat (above pictured) is an allotment with vegetables and flowers.  All was doing well because of the recent beautiful weather!

The 5 babies, still doing well! Getting mighty big now.  Tiny little wings still, which look a bit silly!

One of the last bridges coming out of Milton Keynes

The canal through Milton Keynes is very pretty, not as you would expect from an urban environment at all.  Parks border most of it, so it feels like you are going through a private estate rather than a large city!

The Ouse Aquaduct.  I do like to fast forward these bits, not good with heights and no railings!

View from the aquaduct, railing side

We moored at Cosgrove, planning to get to Stoke locks the next day to take us to Stoke Bruerne for the weekend.

Mooring the big boat next to the Fudge Boat, with the butty behind that

The weather was great fun, as we dodged in between the torrential parts and then carried on with our journey.  Luckily, the locks section was dry, but very busy, as other boaters desperately tried to get them done before the next shower.

View towards the tunnel at Stoke Bruerne

When we arrived at Stoke Bruerne, we were met with the decision to split the boats and moor them seperately, as it was so busy.  The butty, I moored between the The Candy Boat and the Fudge Boat, so much temptation!

The Woodland Walk which borders the canal has wire sculptures as part of it's attraction

Walking the dogs around here can lead you to some exquisite sights, like the wire sculptures on the Woodland Walk.


Lister isn't sure about the fox!

The tunnel entrance.3076 yards long and very wet inside!

After a few glorious days at Stoke Bruerne, most of the trading boats, including us, moved off through the tunnel to take their places ready for the Blisworth Canal Festival.  We would then all wait for the following weekend and prepare for a busy August celebration!