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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.

Thursday 16 November 2023

Our way blocked, one happy doggie and the CO detecter goes off.

 CRT arrived last night with their workboat and pan and moored behind FS, a lot of banging and clattering and some rocking movement from FS before it all went very quiet.

This morning and well before 8 am, CRT were back. More clattering and banging and eventually the pan was pushed past FS by the workboat. It was full of white builders bags, shingle type material was seen from within.

We set off about 9 am, wrapped up really warm because our temperature gauge showed 4 degrees. Brrr, the coldest day yet. 10 minutes later we came across this.

Okay, what to do. I slowly took FS toward the pan, a CRT chap saw me and walked up to let me know what was happening. I asked if he wanted me to stop and moor, he said no, he would pull the pan as close to the work boat as possible and we should be able to pass. Hmm, looking ahead I expressed my fears about steering through the offside vegetation. Looking again he agreed it wasn't advisable. So we waited roughly 5 minutes for the pan to be moved to the bankside and with a wave from that guy, steered past. I did enquire as to what was being done. Bankside repairs came the reply.

A few minutes later we met another boat coming towards us. This part of the canal was long and straight I could look back and see the pan being moved to breast up with the work boat. Imagine how annoyed those guys would be having to move yet again. Then, oh no.... another boat appeared heading in our direction about ten minutes later. Maybe a stoppage would have been far more beneficial, just for one day, because I can imagine those CRT guys getting a bit cheesed off by constantly having to stop. Mind you a bit of trimming to the offside vegetation to allow boats to easily pass would have meant the pan could have stayed where it was. 

So that Harris fencing placed by our mooring last night was obviously put there to stop the public from walking the towpath. 

Why I've mentioned this was because before we met that other boat we came across a butty, possibly ex CRT, under a bridge whose stern and bow ropes were stretched right across the towpath and tied to the bridge pillars. Hmm, a bit stupid I thought, and how dangerous. Okay the towpath was supposed to be closed and a little further on yet another Harris fence had been placed. But it had been removed from its stand by one objecting person which meant anyone could come and go as they pleased. Could be an accident waiting to happen!

Hawkesbury Junction was our destination for today. It would take a further hour of travel to reach and  along more of the same boring and monotonous Oxford Canal. Some work had been done on the towpath side, a massive length of coil rolls placed presumably to help wildlife to thrive, but is also very effective in stopping boats from mooring. Although trying to moor with the 'Oxford Canal boulder shelf along nearly the whole canal is nie on impossible anyway! On the offside more clearance, I wonder what will be happening here?


Getting closer to Sutton Stop and that electricity sub-station, a lady was looking intently into the water. Two Staffordshire bull terriers were with her. In the water a tennis ball was bobbing up and down. As we passed she shouted if we could retrieve the dog's ball. How unlikely was that because the ball obviously set off away from FS as we swept by. The Staffy was all for jumping in after it and she was frantically trying to stop that from happening. Well, having a surplus of tennis balls on the boat, we fished one out from the cupboard and threw it over to the dog. How happy was that doggie and the lady was pretty pleased too because the dog going for a dip was no longer an issue.

We stopped just past the sub station bend, Ian did walk on hoping for something nearer to Sutton Stop but t'was not to be. So pins hammered in and this will do for tonight.


Bloody hell both our CO detector alarms suddenly went off. Gave us a real shock, and us just enjoying our lunch too. No wind outside to create a blow back but all I can think of is, as Ian opened the stove door to put on more coal, the carbon monoxide was released into the air. Thank God we have two alarms, one in the lounge and one by the bedroom. It is so important to have one if you have a stove, it will probably save your life!

And wildlife

A Fieldfare


Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Do you keep your ash bucket out on the towpath to protect yourselves from CO?

And why moor up before Sutton Stop rather than around the corner where we were moored up together? For nostalgia's sake ...


Ian and Irene Jameison said...

The tippy (ash container) has always been in the well deck mainly because I don't want a cloud of ash floating around inside FS when Ian empties the ash pan.

We do like it by that meadow and after all, it wouldn't be the same without you and David there.


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