Flecknoe (starting our travels to the north again)

Our mooring for a couple of days in Flecknoe – one of our favourites as no one else can moor near us and we are in the sun all day

After feeding Buddy outside on Thursday morning I came in to make some coffee.  Looking through the window I saw a cheeky, young moorhen was pecking the grass outside the boat.  I say cheeky because Buddy can only have been a few feet away but too engrossed in his food to bother it.

Cheeky young moorhen

We had decided that if the weather was going to be okay, we would go camping for the Bank Holiday weekend with my sister, Judith, and Nigel.  It would give us a chance to catch up and also get away from what would probably be a busy time on the canal. We had never been away as just the four of us without children before – apparently they feared for our livers! I had found what looked like a good campsite about four miles from Ludlow.  It was on a farm and the farmer’s wife told me that, as well as having some brilliant walks, they were too far from a pub so rowdy campers never used the site.  Mind you it didn’t stop us walking to pubs.

It really was a lovely camp site – our view from the tent in the morning with the mist in the valley

We had a good long walk each day even though we kept getting rained on. I seemed to get the job of going first because I had Buddy.  It meant I took the brunt of the wet leaves etc. and caught all the cobwebs.

Trailblazing in the rain

Bemused sheepwatching us walk through their field

In the middle of our Sunday walk we ended up at a place called Richards Castle and the sun came out in time for lunch and also most of the rest of the afternoon.

Deserved pints in the pub garden in the sun

As we walked through the village I came across a Victorian post box and took some pictures in case it hadn’t been recorded on the waymarking site.  It was a late example manufactured by WT Allen of London who made the boxes between 1881 and 1901.  When we got home on Monday I checked and it hadn’t been recorded so I submitted my photos and report.

The box showing it is still in use and the Victoria Reign (VR) inscription

The general location of the box

It was raining when we packed up on Monday morning so it meant that we would have to dry everything out when we got back to the boat.  The sun was out in the afternoon with quite a breeze so we managed to dry everything in one day.

Towpath strewn with some of the camping paraphernalia

As it was Monday it meant our two weeks mooring at Tomlow were up and I would have to move the boat on Tuesday.  The time had come to start heading north in more earnest so we could arrive when the new boat was due to complete.  It meant we had to turn round first and the next winding hole (turning point) was down a flight of 11 locks which meant we would have to do 22 locks before even starting on the journey.  Near where we were moored is a small private arm used by a company that trains helmsmen and sometimes the entrance is not chained off overnight.  I walked down to the arm to check and fortunately the chain was off so we set off.  We winded successfully and headed back to the same mooring so I could start the journey on Tuesday.

When we were winding we saw our friend Craig and his eldest son chatting to some other boaters so we stopped for a quick chat with them.  Once we were moored up again we had yet another towpath barbecue as it had turned out to be a glorious evening.

Buddy is so silly as he won’t go into the boat on his own and stay there if we are still outside however much he wants to go to bed.  He is frightened on missing out on something and has to be extremely tired to stay inside on his bed on his own.

Buddy imploring Karen to come into the boat as it was way past his bedtime

Tuesday was yet another fine day so I got a couple of loads of washing done and then Buddy and I set out on a cruise.  It was fairly quiet and we went up the three Calcutt locks on our own.  Well, there were people coming down the top lock when we got there so they left a gate open for us and I did the same thing for them as we left the middle lock.  I then noticed that they were opening the second bottom gate for me and I could not get them to realise there was only one boat so would only need one gate open.  It wasn’t worth getting upset about as it was the last lock and it only meant walking round the other side to close it.  It was strange, however, as when we passed they said they thought I had two boats so would need both gates open!

Coming up Calcutt Top lock

Taking on water with another boat breasted up with us waiting for us to finish

Whilst taking on water I made my salad for lunch so I could eat it on the move.  I may have mentioned before but we have salad and fruit salad for lunch every day during the week and I always make the same for Karen to take to work.  Anyway, I had lost track of time and started eating mine at 11.30 – I had thought it was about one in the afternoon.

We made our way a few miles to Flecknoe as it is one of our favourite places (see picture at the top).  The canal side is very overgrown around these parts and I have to go especially slowly when on the non-towpath side as Karen wouldn’t be happy if any of her plants were knocked off by overhanging branches.

A blind bend – very popular on this stretch of canal

On Wednesday, Tim was geared up to fit the solar panels on the new boat so Buddy and I dropped Karen off at work at six and headed up north in the car.

Tim fitting the solar panels

The painting is practically finished and the masking tape removed from the windows and coach lines so it is now looking quite smart.

Looking from the front

We are going to call her Chalkhill Blue II and need to decide the font and font size to use and also whether to have some small butterflies with the name in the name panel.  We will ask our most arty daughter, Jo, for her opinion.  The font and size we chose for the name on the current boat were too small in retrospect.

The name panel waiting for Jo’s input

We will also have a large butterfly on each side as now and probably a few smaller ones too.  It will now be full steam ahead for the fit out now the painting is finished.  The ceilings have already gone up.
Ceilings are being installed

Wooden formers for the portholes

Bookcase being prepared in the carpenter’s workshop

I would hope the inside looks quite different the next time we visit.

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