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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Cool as a cucumber

That's an expression I haven't heard for a long time but it's one that was used on Ian earlier today.

Before I get to why that was said we must go back to this morning. Two boats (us and another) both waiting for the yard to open so we could fill the diesel tank. The chap duly arrived by 10am, he acknowledges us and then we wait. By 10.30am still no sign of the chap, then I read the notice by the pump. It said DIY and to inform the chap in the shop before filling. Blooming 'eck, we had waited all that time and could have been long gone. Anyway it took 83 ltr to fill the tank and by 10.40am we were on our way.

I mentioned yesterday about lack of water in the top pound. We again struggled with only the last 7 miles to Marston Doles to do. It was on a particularly shallow section and right by a bridge 'ole that we met an oncoming boat. Ian's quick thinking and rapid response by hard reverse, as well as beckoning the other boater through, made what I thought was an imminent collision, avoidable.  As the boater came through he said "Wow you pair must be as cool as cucumbers!

Three hours to do 7 miles and we didn't even average 2mph. So much silt that even on tick over we created a wash. We pay the price for having such a deep drafted boat. At 2' 5" more often than not we scrape along the bottom. FS wasn't always that deep drafted. In fact when we bought her she was the normal 2ft draft. I blame Ian for carrying all his man tools. Cant possibly be the amount of shoes or clothes I have in the wardrobe (although Ian begs to differ)

Listing as we get, once again, pushed up onto the mud by passing boats.

Wash on tick over

Speed merchant hirer. He needed telling!!!

Very low levels
Came across this boat moored with ropes stretching right across the towpath. Told the chap I didn't think this was such a good idea. His reply was to say both pins had been pulled out and lost and had no other way to secure the boat. This could be interesting then, for the cyclists!!!!

This nearly gave Ian a heart attack! It appeared round a bend and Ian thought it was another boat on the wrong side of the canal. In fact it was a harvester but right by the waters edge.

Very glad to reach Marston Doles top lock. Finally we were bringing water down with us and FS would now have water underneath her hull. Lovely to be moving normally again.

Moored below lock 15. Both of us had had enough and both of us agreed today had been tedious.  Roll on tomorrow and proper water levels.

 And on route some dramatic skies including a couple of lightening flashes in the distance. And yes we did get wet. Also seen one of the most photographed boats on this part of the Oxford canal

Still in water but not by much judging by the list.
Not a lot in the way of wildlife today. Caught a nice perch once moored and a moorhen with chick came past.

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