Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Hawkesbury Junction (can’t get away from Morrismen)

Post breakfast guard at the stern

After Buddy has his breakfast he often sits on the back deck waiting for me to finish my chores – my children would contend that means reading the weekend paper, drinking coffee and blogging!  I love the way he crosses his legs, it seems so humanlike.  When we cruise he often dangles his paws over the edge which is also rather a human trait.

We stayed put on Monday and took in some of the local footpaths.  We also walked into Brinklow as we had run out of coconut milk and I needed some for a curry I was making in the evening. 

Unfortunately there weren't any convenience stores in the village; when I got there I remembered that there were four pubs, a deli, a newsagents, a bridal shop and a couple of takeaway shops; none of which sold coconut milk.  I sent Karen a text asking her to pick some up in Leam on her way home.
It’s always a pleasant walk into Brinklow across the fields so it didn’t really matter that I couldn’t get the coconut milk.

Last year, at this time, this was a maize field

Buddy has become a bit wary of cows, which is probably a good thing, and gives them a wide berth.  When we were camping with Judith and Nigel a couple of weeks ago we walked through a couple of maize fields and were discussing corn on the cob for human consumption and corn for cattle. Judith said that she buys English corn on the cob – I hadn’t realised it was grown commercially in this country.  I had a look around the web and found that the English farms are in Hampshire, West Sussex and the Ilse of Wight – that’s was my new fact I learnt for the day.

Part of the walk into Brinklow is along an old road which isn’t even used as a farm track so is very overgrown

I have included a picture of this packhorse bridge in the blog before but this picture with Buddy in it shows how narrow it is

Buddy cooling off in the stream under the bridge.  Once upon a time he wouldn’t go into water unaccompanied.

As it was harvest time and consequently plenty of straw about, the village was having a scarecrow festival. 

We walked past this scarecrow from the left and I jumped when I caught it out of the corner of my eye!

In the afternoon I picked a few more towpath blackberries, after washing them I weighed out three 1lb bags for the freezer so they will keep us going for a while

I probably looked a bit daft walking along the towpath with an empty colander before starting to fill it.  I found it rather comical to wear it as a hat which probably didn’t add to the picture. 

Tuesday promised to be a cloudy but warm day so Buddy and I set off for Hawkesbury Junction.  The canal banks were lined with tree most of the way and I was surprised how autumnal some of them were looking.  I know Horse Chestnuts start changing colour early but there were other trees too.

Horse Chestnut and Black Poplars on the turn

After a while we passed under the M6; I always feel we are leaving the south behind when going under this bridge.

M6 flowing smoothly for once

We stopped for water at Ansty.  This is a water point we have never been to before but will definitely use again as the pressure was so high.

Taking on water at Ansty

Buddy pretending there weren’t any geese trying to get our attention when we were stopped for water

As I was about to cast off I heard the sound of a working boat coming and round the corner came Rick on his fuel boat Auriga.  He was waving away and I indicated that I needed him to stop.  He filled us up with diesel and it was good to have a chat.  He remembered that we were having a boat built and remarked that he had been watching the progress through the blog.  It reminded me that we probably won’t need any more fuel before picking up the new boat – I certainly don’t want to be leaving 300 litres in it.

Rick pulling alongside

Just before reaching Hawkesbury Junction there is a large National Grid place on the offside.  It was good to see that they are sponsoring some conservation along the Oxford and Coventry canals.

Sign explaining the Grid’s conservation work with water voles

Hawkesbury Junction was packed full with boats but we managed to moor in, what we think, is the best location: near a corner and away from the hustle and bustle of the junction, the pub and the lock.

Moored at the end with the washing out as it was sunny

We moored behind a lovely liveaboard couple, Keith and Kath.  They work in the Birmingham area so cruise a slightly different patch to us – this being our Northern limit and their Southern one.  They have a cat and she and Buddy spent a lot of the evening eyeing each other up.

This is the junction. The canal on the right is the end of the Oxford canal.  The one on the left is the Coventry canal.  We will be coming down through the lock, under the bridge I am standing on and heading northwards.

As we are only staying here a day or two we went for a drink at the Greyhound when Karen came home from work.  It was still lovely and warm so we sat outside but it did mean we had to endure the Morris dancing.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that the old traditions are kept up, I just can’t stand the music!

Coventry Morris rather close to the water’s edge

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