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We hope you enjoy reading about our lifestyle and thank you again Ruth and Richard

Stoke Bruerne to Willington and an end of season (91 miles and 46 locks!!)

Following our first visit to the annual Stoke Bruerne Village at War, where we enjoyed a fun weekend trading and taking part in the dressing up, our gift shop is now officially closed for the summer! 

Leaving our overnight mooring at Norton Junction

We had our first encounter of ignorance on the canal for a long time on the way to Weedon, where we planned to stop for fuel.  A boater, beligerantly refused to allow us to pass, as we had caught them up, and caused a confrontation which was so avoidable.  The skipper had steadfastly stuck mid channel despite confusingly repeatedly going into 'neutral', in order to cause us to catch up.  We go so slowly as we are a pair and not in any hurry, so to catch them up was quite dramatic, going slower than tick over isn't possible! I found it quite upsetting as they decided WE were being 'inconsiderate' and would report us.  As we had pulled in later to get fuel, the vocal passenger, gave us a tirade again, but Richard beautifully told him, that he needed to check the CRT 'rule book' ~ Overtaking You will rarely need to overtake on canals and narrow rivers. There isn’t usually enough space to overtake safely. So just keep your distance and stay behind. If another boat wants you to overtake, the skipper should slow down and tell you on which side to overtake – usually the left. If you’re the one overtaking, it’s your responsibility to stay clear of the other boat. Both skippers should go as slowly as possible to avoid the two boats being drawn together.
Usually these situations command common sense and good old fashioned 'canal etiquette' and manners!

Heading towards Braunston tunnel and peace and quiet.  Because we were now loaded down with a couple more tons of coal, I was on a short line instead of cross straps and about to go through the tunnel!  All was fine and actually not as hard as I had imagined, as I was in control of my boat a little more.  Don't know how she would behave if the traffic was oncoming!

Our friend Nick Wolfe off his boat Aldgate, helped us down the flight of locks at Braunston

Admiral Nelson pub

Reilly and Lister wait patiently whilst we work the boats down

Some major rebuilding works needs to take place on this flight!

Heading down to the last lock

The butty on a short line

Through the bridge hole

Sheep on the bridge

Lots of rain as we leave Hillmorton locks first thing in the morning

3 bridges all in a row

Newbold tunnel

Another motor and butty  ~ 'Opposite Lock' is the motor but no name visible on the butty (don't know this couple or whether they trade?)

Back to Alvecote and a brief overnight stopover.

Passing through Polesworth, we gave a friend Andrew Burge (Drew) a lift on the butty to his dad's pub Samuel Barlow at Alvecote.  Later he kindly volunteered to supervise/instruct me on our motor towing the butty on a line, to help me understand the mechanics of winding a pair when lined out.  Richard took his turn on the butty with friend Rod, to gauge my perspective of steering.  It was quite involved as I had trouble reaching the controls and pushing the tiller at the same time!

Horses looking relaxed in the morning sun

Over the aqueduct

Fazeley Junction

Another commission successfully completed and off to it's new life fully up-cycled!

So now the gift shop is packed away for another season, but the work carries on as we strive to complete commissions for customers.  The website is fully operational ( however, and now taking orders for Christmas!
 I will try to get more items in the online shop on the website as I sort through stock, so if there is something you would like or have seen in the gift shop, please ask about it's availability and I will provide details.
I would like to thank everyone for an even more successful season than 2015 and hope you will support us in our next, beginning around March 2017!

Alvecote to Stoke Bruerne (61 miles, 29 locks)

Leaving Alvecote Marina early Wednesday morning last week, Richard heroically tolerated a lot of pain in his leg, in an effort to get both boats over to Stoke Bruerne for the weekend. 

Early morning tiptoeing past narrowboat Biddie and butty Olive

Richard's accident the previous weekend has been a lesson to everyone, that even fairly competent boat people can get it wrong!

Passing through Polesworth

Beautiful countryside

We met up with Michael off the Cheese Boat at the bottom lock of the Atherstone flight, where he helped us pass up through the first 6 locks.  All of us then moored up in the Long Pound and decided that breakfast/dinner in Atherstone would be the best course of action!
We completed the rest of the flight the next morning, leaving the Cheeses behind as they intended on spending the weekend at Hawkesbury Junction.

The 'U' bend that is Hawkesbury Junction (Sutton Stop to boaters)

Completing the turn, we wait as the stop lock releases it's latest narrowboat from the North Oxford Canal to the Coventry Canal.

Stretton Stop, North Oxford Canal, where the logistics of jumping off your boat, whilst it is still moving, opening, then closing the footbridge crossing the canal, and jumping back on the boat as it is clear, is the challenge!

This is a lovely section of the canal, near Brinklow

Newbold tunnel, on the outskirts of Rugby ~ a mere 250 yards long

Overnighting just a few miles short of Braunston, Richard's leg continued to give him a lot of pain and swelling.  Not surprising, after such a lot of standing and pulling the butty around!

Bright and early, the canal takes us through Braunston, but unusually for us, we carry on up the flight of locks, intending on getting to Blisworth before nightfall.

Titchy narrowboat!

The junction ~ right to Oxford on the south Oxford canal, left to Leicester or even London

My dad's little fibreglass day boat, rebuilt in the garage, was also called 'The Dog House'

Hopefully in our lifetime! Disconnected from the main system, the Grantham Canal is under a programme of restoration and passes through some spectacular parts of West Lincolnshire amd Nottinghamshire. (The Grantham Canal is a canal that runs for 33 miles from Grantham, falling through 18 locks to West Bridgford where it joins the River Trent. It was built primarily to allow for the transportation of coal to Grantham. Wikipedia)

An hour's wait for a dutch barge widebeam to emerge from the Braunston tunnel.

Instead of using this time to rest his leg, Richard decides to polish the brasses, balancing on one leg!

And on to Norton Junction, to drop down the few locks to Whilton and breakfast/dinner again in the cafe!

The remainder of the journey, the weather wasn't great, so I didn't really get the camera out.  We thought, as we got to Blisworth, we should carry on through the tunnel and get moored up in Stoke Bruerne.  
'All Things Spanish' (the icecream/coffee boat) narrowboat owners and good friends Sandra and Bob met us with a welcoming coffee!  Thanks guys, we needed it!

Oops!  Someone had an accident in the second lock down at Stoke Bruerne on Saturday evening!

Damage to the skeg and rudder

Discretion was obviously not top of narrowboat Iron Maiden's captain's priorities when his boat began to drop!

Nevermind, all refloated and no one hurt and a lesson to us all to take good care around locks!!

Alvecote Historic Boat Gathering and a ride in an ambulance!

Once again we have enjoyed a fabulous weekend at the Samuel Barlow pub, Alvecote Marina, with friends and family.

Loaded down to the gunnels

sterns for as far as the eye can see

The causeway

View over the top of our gift shop towards the pub.  Richard holding onto boats waiting to take part in the 'winding' competition where boats try to do a 360 degree turn in the least amount of manoeuvres and no collisions! 

Whitby on the right avoiding oncoming traffic

Beautiful artwork

Knobstick roses on the tiller stick

Tracy and Rod's ethnic clothing stall aboard their butty boat Olive

Butty boat Australia 

From the gate

Back to the pub again, where 3 nights of evening entertainment was followed by Monday folk night and open mic

Starling again

Lovely watercans 

Clover on it's way back to it's mooring after winding

Then, when no-one thought nothing else exciting was going to  happen and most of the public had gone home, Richard took a tumble across the sterns of our boats!

So, I decided to get him checked as he was in so much pain and the bottom of his shin had been badly dented.  Luckily, nothing broken, extremely sore, but the morphine and gas and air helped a lot!

Tracy met us outside the hospital and drove us back to the marina, where Michael off the Cheese Boat met us with the use of his wife Geraldine's scooter!  Thanks guys, could not have managed without you!

During the show, we had visits from family.  This was a bespoke present for my mother in law

And prior to the show, I had been painting furiously to build some stock back up, this bread bin being one of those items.  It sold on day 2 of the show, so I am really pleased!

The next show we will be at is Village at War in Stoke Bruerne, please click on the link for details and try and join us all if you can!!

A footnote: commissions are coming in all the time.  To avoid disappointment, please allow 4-6 weeks, from ordering if you would like any painted work carried out by us.  However, short notice items can be done depending on complexity of commission. Thank you!