Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Early Autumn on the South Oxford Canal

More than 10 months since we returned to Blisworth from our 2012 canal travels, we actually managed to get out on the boat for more than just a short chug to get the bottom blacked!

We drove up to the marina on 21st September and, after Adam had joined us the next day, we had just enough time to get to Weedon and moor up before darkness closed in.  Red sky at night - perhaps we would have fine weather?

Climbing Napton locks - can you see the windmill on the hill?

Of course Lottie came with Adam and was soon very much at home on the boat.  Lots of long towpath walks!

We only went as far as Cropredy, moored there for the night, ate at the Red Lion again, then turned around and started back up the locks.  Here at Claydon Lock No 20, Dave on the paddle, Adam on the gate and Lottie supervising!

Back down Napton locks again the next day. This looks like the same lock, and the sun was still shining!

A lovely week, great weather, a good time was had by all.

Hard to believe that we have only cruised for one week this year!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Spring and Summer Visits

Since we last 'blogged' in January, visits to Blisworth and Zindagi have been few and well-spaced!

 In the colder weather, we tried to visit roughly once a month, so that we could make sure that the heating (on a low thermostat setting) was keeping Zindagi frost-free.  The Northampton Arm near Gayton Marina looked tranquil in its February ice-bound stillness.

 Five weeks later, and the long cold spring continued.  Snow on the Rothersthorpe flight as Dave took his morning walks.  The only 'cruising' on these two visits was to the marina's diesel pump to fill up the tank for the heating system!

 Late April, and Zindagi was booked in to Gayton Marina to be craned out for bottom blacking.  On our way up from Devon, we had a phone call from the marina to say that their crane was out of action, but that they hoped to have it working in a day or two.  As you can see, it was not just out of action, but still in pieces.

Fortunately, we had already planned to be on the boat for a week, but any hopes of getting out for a few days' cruising already looked doomed!

 Three days later, and the crane was repaired and working.  First they had to lift out a boat that had been craned out weeks ago, before the repairs, and had been waiting to be returned to the water.  You may remember that we had exactly the same experience, two years earlier!

 Then it was our turn to be lifted in.  The green algae would be pressure-washed off, and the 2-year-old bitumen coating was not too bad underneath.

 Three days later, and Zindagi looked a lot better with two more coats of bitumen blacking and the blue paint along the gunwales tidied up a bit.

Although Gayton Marina is very close to Blisworth Marina, we needed to do a short (half-mile) chug to the top of Rothersthorpe locks in order to turn around - the nearest we got to doing any actual cruising!  Our week was gone and we needed to drive back to Devon.

FIFTEEN WEEKS LATER (!), we returned to Blisworth on 9th August and found Zindagi was fine.  Batteries nicely charged from a short charge every day, diesel tank still quite full as Steve and John had kindly turned off our heating system in response to a phone call once Spring finally took hold - and still some electricity credit left in the meter!

 Our visit was planned (at short notice) to coincide with Blisworth's Canal Festival, so we have had a good wander round and seen almost all the attractions, as well as meeting up with friends.

Maybe we shall manage a week's cruise in September?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Turning the Page . . .

Many of you know that we have now returned to rural mid-Devon.

After nearly six years living on board 'Zindagi', it is proving a real wrench to have moved most of our belongings out of the boat and return to Lapford.  To be honest, it is worse when we think about it!

At the moment, we don't have much time to think about anything else apart from sorting out our bungalow, with the prospect of lots of work ahead, both indoors and out!  Six years of occupation by tenants leave their mark!

Zindagi is still there, though, waiting for us to return for visits – of various sorts!  Like all boats, ongoing maintenance will be needed.  It would be nice to be able to make a proper job of repainting the roof!  Though we started in 2012, it was not a good year for boat painting!!

If the bungalow cleaning, maintenance, repairs and improvements continue as anticipated, we shall NEED to return to Zindagi for our own sakes, and to sample again the unique waterways lifestyle which has become our own since 2007.

We know that the last 6 years have made us different people.  We have met so many wonderful people, seen so many strange, beautiful and unusual sights – and enjoyed that glorious freedom of just moving on wherever and whenever we have wanted to.  Thank you for your company as you have shared our travels.

When we get back on board for short or long cruises, we hope to update this blog with news of our travels again.  So please continue to watch this space!

Meanwhile, we have started a new blog: 'Wilanson – back to the Land in Rural Mid-Devon', in which we expect to tell you some of our experiences as we try to pick up the strands of what feels like a former life.  We hope that you will join us on a new sort of adventure . . .