On Wednesday evening Buddy had his inaugural voyage in the kayak. We paddled half a mile up to the Two Boats pub. No pictures I’m afraid as we didn’t dare take phones or cameras on his first trip. As it happened there were no mishaps - he laid down all the way there but was more confident on the return trip and he sat up so he could look around.
Thursday brought the sunshine back again and there were plenty of butterflies around.
|Underside of Ringlet|
|Our first Gatekeeper of the year. Also known as a Hedge Brown. Males have the dark band of scent scales across the centre of the forewings|
|Freshly emerged Small Tortoiseshell|
I always find it ironic that butterflies are not really creatures of canals and rivers but we live on a boat. Saying that, I saw 11 different species outside the boat on Thursday, so it wasn’t too bad.
We’ve often walked past this restaurant in Leamington and have always been taken with the produce stacked up outside so we booked a table and had a really good meal there on Thursday evening – we were really pleased we tried it and will definitely be going again.
|Independent Italian in Leamington|
We drove to Newark on Friday evening to see Joe Bonamassa in concert by the castle. It was a lovely setting and we had a brilliant time.
|You can tell the age of the audience by this picture Karen took|
On Saturday we packed up our belongings from the towpath and set off on a cruise as we needed to move on having been moored at Bascote for two weeks. We were both feeling sad to leave as it had been a lovely mooring and we had made new friends with Blair, Liz and Ness (and their animals!) but as they have the same lifestyle as us we will meet up again in the coming months.
|Even though we were sad to be moving it was also good to have a cruise to somewhere different|
After a couple of locks we stopped for water outside the Blue Lias at Long Itchington. We have never fancied this pub because neither of us like the colour it is painted!
|Taking on water outside the ghastly coloured Blue Lias|
Our sweet peas on the rear deck are really starting to blossom so need to be picked every day.
|An advantage of not moving very often or far is that you can get away with more plant pots. Here’s the sweet peas on the rear deck.|
|Making use of Jo’s birthday present to Karen – hand blown by Jo at Edinburgh uni|
After taking on water we went up the remaining nine locks on the Stockton flight. There was no one else going in our direction so we had to go up on our own. My back had become painful and we put it down to kayaking in Wednesday evening. It was such a shame as my back hasn’t played up at all since we’ve been living on the boat. It did mean that Karen had to do all the heavy work (which is usually the case anyway).
|Looking up the Stockton flight of locks|
|Nearly at the top – Karen smiling as ever|
|Two boys having a rest at the top of the flight|
|A clever ‘in memorium’ based on the style of narrowboat doors that can be closed to protect the inscription from the elements. This is on a seat by the top lock.|
We cruised on another couple of miles as we wanted to get to a boatyard for services – we arrived just before they closed at five but they are so friendly at this particular yard that they were happy to stay on for half an hour to provide what we needed.
We moored up by Napton reservoir and walked across some fields to meet our dear friends, Mike and Aileen, who were heading down the Oxford canal. We had a little cruise on their boat to the Folly Inn at Napton with the intention of eating there. Unfortunately it was fully booked and we had to make do with burgers cooked on a barbecue. There was a folk event in the garden so at least they were providing food and fortunately we managed to find somewhere to sit where we couldn’t hear the music.
As usual Mike and Aileen made us drink too much but it was great to catch up. It’s getting quite exciting now as they have booked their boat to be transported to France in November so not long to go now. We are taking advantage of them really as we will be following them in a couple of years and will be able to learn from their research (and mistakes of course!).
My back had worsened by Sunday so we spent most of the day resting up.