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by wilvir

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"Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints"

Chief Seattle (1786–1866) leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish Native American tribes

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Proper Job

(viewed 835 times)
We spent a couple of days at Olney on the North Oxford Canal where we met with friends Jackie and Ivan who we first met on the River Weaver a year ago.

Since then they have had a sign-writer paint the name of their narrowboat on the side of the stern cabin along with the little chap perched on the lettering.
27th Sep 2013, 15:09   comments (1)

My Year Begins with the Autumn Equinox

The weather is showing off in its effort to display what I love about this, my favourite time of year. Having passed the autumn equinox, that astronomically heralds the arrival of shorter days and even longer nights, the low sun and long shadows paints the landscape with Autumn golds on a backdrop of canvas rich with an azure blue sky dotted with clouds of cotton-wool masquerading as puffs of smoke.

The fast ripening fruit in the hedgerows seems to swell with pride, becoming a feast for birds and bugs as well as a larder for those who make wines, jams, preserves, chutneys and syrups before the ground begins to harden with the coming frosts that spoil natures more delicate seasonal offerings.

It is beautiful here.
22nd Sep 2013, 19:52   comments (4)

'Linear' Shopping

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This charming and adventurous couple, Kat and Adam, stopped by this evening to admire Ginny's earrings as they made the return journey home to Rugby from Braunston. Have a great life you two.
22nd Sep 2013, 19:34   comments (2)

Sunshine and Stair-Rods

1. Monday, and enjoying the warmth of the sun on our backs.
2. Gunner wondering if I'm stopping to pick him up (Ginny was out of shot on the towpath too).
3. Clouds begin to gather.
4. Last evening.
5. 'Clarke Bros.', traditional customer service.

After a night-stop at Weedon we have continued on up to the Buckby Lock flight where we have tied up for the night to enjoy the warmth and dryness inside the boat rather than the chill and wet outside, which shows no sign of abating today.

At Rugby Boats, Weedon, we topped up with 99 litres of diesel and a spare gas bottle then tied up for the night just along from the steep embankment down to the local sewage works. From here I walked (or rather limped - more on that later) to a nearby garage to replenish our genny fuel supplies.

I've called in to 'Clarke Bros.' (Est 1905) on two previous occasions over the years and liken it to the proper customer service garages used to provide before a rush to mini-marts and multiple self-service pumps. Here they still serve petrol on the forecourt. Bernie will also provide a service wash to boaters for around £5.00 and, if you're looking to buy coal, logs or kindling, Bernie will arrange that too.

If that's not enough Bernie now has her own bespoke hairdressing salon within the garage, which is her pride and joy. I was impressed too. So if you are passing, whether by road or canal, stop off and bring her some well deserved business. It's only a spit from either Bridge 25 or 26 (and I was limping badly don't forget).

There are also some vintage/classic cars and motorbikes to pass an admiring eye over too.

And so to my knee, again! In my usual exuberance to get things done I stupidly heaved a heavy bag of refuse from the roof of the boat, balanced on one leg, and twisted my knee badly in the process. I'll be getting about with a very painful stiff-legged limp for a few days yet until it wears off - Dagnabit.

And so to tonight's dinner! Ginny dashed off this afternoon to buy two homemade 'family' steak pies from 'Canal Turn Farm Pork Products', a farm shop selling fresh baked products, meat and vegetables, just off the canal above Whilton Marina. They may have cost a hefty £7.48 each, but boy am I looking forward to devouring a proper steak pie and veg (I might even let Ginny have a slice too).
17th Sep 2013, 23:21   comments (0)

Midshires Ways

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Bridge 42, east of Bugrooke, Grand Union Canal. Saturday 14Sep2013.

1. Another route to explore.
2. A 'fishing' temptation.
3. Narrowboat Traders and exhibitors gathering at Stoke Bruerne.
4. Out 'in-the-sticks'.

We left Grafton Regis yesterday to lock-up to Stoke Bruerne and pass through the 208 year old Blisworth Tunnel, the third longest canal tunnel in Britain.

Stoke Bruerne was in the final throws of putting together preparations for its annual 'village at war' weekend with exhibiting and trading boats lining the towpath and more arriving as we headed for the nearby entrance to the one-and-three-quarter-mile tunnel, busy with narrowboats making their way into Stoke Bruerne; our lights illuminating the walls and arched ceiling with comforting bands of yellow light projected just forward of the bow enough to navigate in the pitch-black darkness. These, were experienced helmsman too, as there wasn't a single contact between us and the half-dozen or so boats that passed in the opposite direction.

We're now out-in-the-sticks and tied up for the weekend, thoughts of our rendezvous with Lynn and Steve fresh in our minds. It is a day that will stay with me forever, as it evoked a poignancy I can't quite explain or put my finger on.

I'm now off to place a notice warning other boaters of a large wasp nest in the towpath piling that might spoil someone's day if accidentally disturbed.
14th Sep 2013, 16:16   comments (1)

Some Days are Truly Special

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1. (l-r) Lynn, me, Ginny and Steve)
2. The view.

Yesterday, after months of knowing Lynn and Steve were visiting England from Adelaide, Australia to see family and friends and tour awhile, they arrived to spend a much anticipated afternoon with us at Grafton Regis.

We started out by meeting for lunch at the village's 'White Hart' pub and restaurant, then afterwards walked downhill to the canal to welcome them aboard wilvir, tied-up overlooking a pretty landscape of open fields rolling away into the distance.

I hadn't seen Lynn since we were at school together, over forty years ago, and those in-between years seemed to just roll away as we talked about our past, present and future. Steve happens to be the older brother of another school friend of mine who also lives in 'Oz'.

Ginny had never met Lynn or Steve before but looking at old photos and talk of school, then leaving our hometown behind (they emigrating as '£10 poms', me joining the RAF and shortly after meeting Ginny), our lives since, living in very different circumstances, made for a very special few hours together. Even our kids were born in the same years.

When the time came for Lynn and Steve to leave it was difficult for me to say goodbye what with the great lump of affection that was stuck in my throat for two people who I would dearly loved not to have said goodbye to. The story of my life really. Those few very special people I have met throughout my life who, though sometimes worlds and growing numbers of years apart, consider friendship worth a special journey, is why there were also tears in my eyes as we hugged to go our separate ways.

I will miss Lynn and Steve. It was fortunate for me that Lynn chanced getting in touch via facebook all those months ago, culminating yesterday in bringing us face-to-face again after the passage of all those years. I can't thank you enough Lynn. Safe travels.

Until next time, much love from,

Bill, Ginny and Gunner XXX
13th Sep 2013, 19:16   comments (0)

It's all in the Detail

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Take a close look at these hanging basket brackets
11th Sep 2013, 23:26   comments (0)

Grafton Regis

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Grafton Regis, Grand Union Canal. Wednesday 11Sep2013

1. The remains of St Peters Church. Linford Lakes.
2. The view from wilvir with the last of the sun's rays lighting up the fields in the distance.
3. This quiet rural mooring out in the sticks.

We set off from Stoke Hammond after waiting for the rain to ease Monday morning but were accompanied the next few hours by that misty rain, which seems to soak everything.

By the time we reached 'The Blackhorse' at Little Linford we felt deserving of a meal and a drink and treated ourselves to some excellent fare. Then the sun came out just in time for us to make a short move and moor up for the night overlooking the ruins of St Peters Church and the Great Ouse River winding its way around the lakes below us.

Yesterday we arrived here below Grafton Regis, a quiet village where we're now moored until Friday. We've arranged to meet Lynn, a school friend I haven't seen since I was sixteen (41 years ago) when she emigrated to Australia. Lynn has come over with husband Steve, who also happens to be the older brother of another good school friend of mine, having not been back for twenty years. And, you've guessed it, Lynn contacted me via Facebook while searching info linked to our old school.

It'll be great to see them after all this time, as for me it anchors life's past and present, pleasantly reminding me of all that has passed in between.
11th Sep 2013, 10:28   comments (4)