NB Muleless

NB Muleless
Moored at Alrewas Sept 2013

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Party Time!!!!

We had a terrific sunset the Saturday night at the lift bridge mooring – my picture doesn't really do it justice!


On Sunday, we pulled pins and set off on another hot day. When we arrived at Allens Lock by Upper Heyford these dogs were having a good cool down in the overspill weir!


At Heyford Wharf all the holiday boats were out – school holidays must be upon us!!


We moored up on our nice spot above Dashwood Lock, and when it was a bit cooler, went for a walk to Northbrook Bridge (No. 210) – we had tried to get across it before – but it is only accessed from non-towpath side, so we had to find the cross country route!


The original “packhorse bridge” crosses the River Cherwell, and the later canal bridge that joins it was built in the same style (the canal bridge can’t be seen in this shot – it is past the tree on the left.

Next morning, shortly after setting off, we went under the canal part of the bridge – the river is to the right behind the trees!


Another hot day saw us mooring up at the Quarry after just 1 hr 40 mins! (long enough to put the last nights use back into the batteries!


We decided it was time we walked into Kirtlington Village, which is just behind the quarry – to see what the pub and village shop were like!

It is a very pretty village, with a very small village shop, a hotel (with bar) and the Oxford Arms Pub (which was more of a bistro!)


Tuesday dawned as another hot day, and as I was eating my breakfast Gary gave a shout from the stern “Jam Butty approaching”!

Surely not, I thought, last time I checked the blog they were at Cropredy and I thought they were stopping for the Banbury waterside market!

I grabbed the camera and managed to get a shot of Captain Ahab, Wand’ring Bark and the Jam Butty as they passed us by!


Our destination today was Thrupp, about 2 and a half hours away, so not too much hanging about saw us move off about 10.40. A pleasant run with only 3 locks to do and quite a bit of shade from all the trees.

As we passed the Rock of Gibraltar Pub at Enslow we saw this example of how not to tie up a boat – hope no-one tripped over the rope!


Then there was the hazard of the boat moored just passed the bridge – not a lot of room  to pass!


We were soon approaching Thrupp services, and pulled in to fill up with water!


We wanted to stay at Thrupp till after my Birthday, so whilst we topped up the water tank, Gary checked on moorings – and luckily there was a nice spot just our size just one boat down from the lift bridge.

We didn't fill the water tank completely, as with other boats approaching we decided to move into the spot before some one else did!

We were soon settled onto our spot, chairs and brolly were deployed and I made some lunch.

I had earlier sent an email and then a text to Doug and James on NB Chance, as I knew they were heading towards Thrupp and we wanted to catch up with them as we last saw them in Leicester last September, when we left MGM for our great adventure on Muleless.

Just as we were finishing our lunch I received a reply – there was an open house on Chance if we wanted to pop along and join in!

We were soon heading up the line of moored boats looking for the famous blue boat. We were welcomed in – and guess who else was there – Capt Ahab (Andy), Helen (Mrs Ahab!) and Maffi! and very shortly after, other friends of Doug and James, Rich and Andy from NB Carpe Diem – we had a very full house!


The wine flowed, the company was terrific and we had a fabulous afternoon – which then turned into evening! After being shown The Jam Butty up close and having a tour of Carpe Diem, all boats contributed more wine and food and Doug whipped up a feast for us all to share!


Some more pictures borrowed from Chance and Capt Ahab blogs.

Chance againP1050071[5]

Wednesday morning Maffi had offered to take Doug and Gary down to Sainsburys – as supplies of wine were running really low! (We understand there were 15 empty bottles taken to the bottle bank that morning – they must have been saving them up!) and no sooner had they returned than Carpe Diem and Chance pulled pins – on a mission to reach The Great Western Pub at Anhyo for dinner that night.

Hope to catch up again soon guys!



Andy and Helen with the Jam Butty had headed off to Oxford earlier too.

As it was another scorching day, we soon had the chairs and brolly out and relaxed after the hectic “party” the day before.

As evening approached, Maffi and Molly joined us for a drink and we put the world to rights until well after dark!

Thursday we needed a lay-in to recuperate (again!) and then spent a couple of hours sat by the boat just relaxing. We had decided to visit Annie’s Tea Room during the afternoon, and as we headed off we bumped into Maffi again. As we chatted he told us that The Jam Butty was heading back and would be arriving shortly, so we hung about to say hello when they arrived.

Of course, since they were hot and thirsty after their trip we all thought it would be a good idea to pop into the Boat Inn for a cooling drink – so Annie’s was put on hold!


Some time later, as Andy and Helen had to pick some plums from the front garden of the pub, and we had to nip to the shop for some milk, we agreed to meet up at our boat later – for more drinks!

Of course Maffi and Molly were invited too and everyone duly arrived.

Andy had come via the Elsan point, and Helen was helping Maffi bring his table and chairs over – and Maffi was supplying Cheese and Wine!


We had soon organised the goodies, and yet another fabulous evening unfolded.


Of course Maffi made sure Molly wasnt left out!


We waved Helen and Andy off in the morning. Thanks for a lovely evening guys, look forward to meeting up again sometime!

Friday was the day we were visiting Oxford for my special Birthday treat!

We caught the bus (slightly later than intended!) and arrived in time to get some delicious filled baguettes for lunch before the main event – a trip to the cinema to see the latest Transformers movie!

The film was great, despite the hiccup of being played in 3D first – staff were told and they soon had the 2D version showing!

After the movie we had a walk around – first heading down towards the bottom of the Oxford Canal and Isis Lock.


The canal is on the left and behind, and beyond Isis lock is the Thames! (Sharp right turn needed here).

After stopping off for a cooling drink, we wandered around a bit looking at some of the more famous sites of Oxford (or of Morse or Lewis fame).


It was really busy with loads of foreign tourists about, so we were glad to catch the bus back to the quiet of Thrupp. (Last bus back was at 7.15pm)

We got off the bus close to The Highwayman Pub, so thought it was time to try them out, and as the Spice House Indian Restaurant is based inside we had a lovely indian meal and then walked back to the boat, totally full!

Saturday we needed some serious relaxation after the bustle of Oxford, but in the afternoon we finally got round to visiting Annies Tea Room – and had some fantastic sandwiches and I was allowed to have a scone with cream and jam!

In the evening Maffi came past and invited us along to the pub – I was feeling way too tired, so opted for a quiet couple of hours watching TV, but Gary went along and was treated to some really good guitar playing by Maffi and some others!

Sunday arrived – my Birthday – 21 again!!! More relaxation was required before we headed off to the Boat Inn for Sunday Carvery – which we enjoyed and then staggered back to the boat and decided that a walk was in order.

Maffi said we could take Molly with us, so we followed the path down to Thrupp “beach” were Gary and Molly had loads of fun splashing about and chasing sticks!


We returned Molly to Maffi very wet and tired, and headed back to the boat. It had cooled down quite a bit, but that didnt stop us sitting out with our most recent “neighbours” for yet more drinks!


Andy and Di from NB Fenakapan have been leapfrogging us for the last couple of months, but this was the first time we had a proper get together. They are heading for the Kennet and Avon and eventually Bristol.

They make and sell country wines on their narrowboat, so if you see them make sure you pop along for a “taster”.


Thanks for a great evening guys, we hope to meet up again some time!

So at last, this morning, it was time to leave Thrupp, after a week of almost continuous partying!

Gary reversed Muleless back under the lift bridge and on to the service point.


We needed to fill the water tank and get a pump out, so it took a while!


I popped down to the shop for some essential supplies whilst the water tank filled, and Gary chatted to Dan and Pickles,


and Maffi and Molly (who of course had to help some one with the lift bridge!)


We said goodbye to everyone and at last left Thrupp – but we will be back!

As we passed the moored boats at Enslow there was a tree down – it had been partly cleared, but more work was needed, there is only just room to pass and the canal is really shallow – we almost got stuck on the mud!


Just a short distance further on we passed this lift bridge – brickwork hanging by a thread!


and just a short distance after that, we came across this hireboat pretending it was a speedboat!


We moored up at the Quarry again – and organised a BBQ tea. One of the Thrupp dayboats came by – and all its passengers were sat on the roof (about 10!) – the steerer couldn't see over the boat at all! You can definitely tell it is peak season now.

Well that’s us caught up on the blog again – I really must try harder to blog more frequently!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

A catch up blog!

Gary has been telling me for days (or even weeks!) that I need to update the blog – but the weather has been too nice to sit inside chained to the computer!

I now have a lot of catching up, as even the last blog was a week out of date when I posted it!

So what have we been up to in the last 3 weeks or so?

We spent a couple of nights in Banbury, whilst Gary had an eye test and we caught up with some shopping! Then, as Gary had to collect some new contact lenses and we had to wait a week for them to arrive, we decided to head back down the canal towards Thrupp.

We had a lovely sunday lunch in the The Great Western Pub at Aynho, and they have a really nice courtyard garden too!


Whilst we were moored above Dashwood Lock, enjoying the sunshine, we saw a familar boat heading towards us.


It was NB No Problem, with Meg and Penny running the towpath alongside!

We managed a bit of a catch up chat with Sue and Vic whilst helping them down the lock as they headed to a rendezvous with family on the Thames!


We didnt get as far as Thrupp before we had to head back towards Banbury, and as we went through Lower Heyford Gary managed to photograph me opening the lift bridge for him!


Kings Sutton Lock looks smart now with its new fencing.


We stopped back in Banbury again, to collect Garys contact lenses and some on-line shopping I had ordered from BHS, and then headed up towards Cropredy.

We like to moor just below Little Bourton Lock, where there are rings to tie to – but unfortunately CRT have not been getting them cleared – so we had to moor at the far end of the lock landing instead!


You can only see a couple of rings from the canal – and none from the towpath side!


In the morning we were being spied on from the grass opposite!


We were booked into Cropredy Marina for a few days whilst we made a visit down south.


Yvonne and Roy had very kindly dropped the car down to us again (it takes about 10 minutes for them to drive from home to Wigrams Marina where we stayed before, and only 20 minutes to drive to Cropredy Marina!!)

We headed south, and stayed with Mum again (thanks Mum!). Gary had a final hospital appointment, and we did the usual catch up with family and friends, and I managed a hair cut again! One day I will have to find a hairdresser nearer the canals!!

We had a lovely lunch with Mum at an Indian Restaurant in Port Solent and then had a stroll along to the sea lock – where a boat was just approaching, so we were treated to seeing it work!

The tide was out, and no-one was coming out so the lock was emptied quickly producing loads of froth!


The cruiser entered the lock. The gates shut behind and the boat tied up to the side.


The top gates were then opened a few inches to let the water in.


The water frothed up and the boat bopped about a fair bit!


When the lock was full the gates were opened fully and the boat untied to head into Port Solent.


Some complicated lock gates here!


They have a large boat hoist – and loads of big yachts!


We headed back to Muleless on Friday afternoon, getting caught in some heavy traffic on the way – but at least we dont have to suffer that very often now!

We were treated to a nice clear evening and the moon rising over us.


On Saturday we made use of the car to do a really big shop to top up the cupboards and wine cellar!

And I took advantage of the electric and water on hand to catch up with all my washing!


On Sunday we dropped the car back to Yvonne and Roy and were treated to another of Yvonnes terrific sunday lunches in the company of all the family! Then Roy dropped us back at the boat to recuperate!

Monday we took advantage of the marina services and used their excellent and very powerful pump out!


We then moved all of 200 yds and moored on the towpath just before Cropredy Lock! As much as we liked the Marina, it was time to move on!

On Tuesday Geoff and Mags and Meg the dog from NB Seyella came past, just as we were about to set off, so after a few quick words as they passed we followed them down the lock where we had a better chance to chat as they went through.


They were heading into Banbury to do some much needed shopping, so we hope to see them properly another time.

As we headed out of Cropredy we noticed that the towpath restoration works were coming along nicely.


Gary spotted these “falcons” going past on the railway tracks. He tells me they transport old and new ballast to and from renewal sites. You can tell he is an “old railway man”!!


We stopped again at Little Bourton lock, and in the morning there was a flurry of boats at the lock, so Gary decided to do a bit of lock work for a change and help some of the boats through!


We headed off to Banbury, and found it empty! There was hardly a boat moored anywhere!

We stopped to fill up with water, and popped into Morrisons to top up our supplies of salad and milk etc.

We then moved off and moored up just passed that lift bridge that caught us out on our first trip down this way!

The farmer was working in the field opposite the boat – wrapping all his hay bales in plastic using yet another of those handy gadgets! Does anyone know why they do this – and does the hay not sweat and ferment inside?


As Thursday was promised to be a really nice day, we just moved a short distance down to just before Kings Sutton Lock and soon had the chairs and brolly deployed.

Shortly after NB Festina Lente came past, and moored up just ahead of us. After they had sorted themselves out Andy popped back for a chat – we hadnt seen them since we passed them at Fenny Compton back at the beginning of June!

We had a barbecue dinner, and then sat outside relaxing with drinks as the evening cooled down.


As we set off Friday, walking to the lock I passed Festina Lente and had a quick chat with Andy and Sue through the side hatch – the perfect photo opportunity – and I forgot again!

We were aiming for our mooring spot by the lift bridge before Somerton Deep lock, and we had a pleasant plod along in a nice breeze which stopped us getting too hot.

We stopped at a very quiet Aynho Wharf to top up with water and had an ice cream whilst we filled, and then moved on to our mooring.


Again it was straight out with the chairs and brolly – another scorching day!


Festina Lente eventually pulled in and moored before the lift bridge behind us, so still no photo!

Today was forecast to be thundery showers, so we were staying put! The onboard hairdresser had been booked to colour my hair and we were going to rest after a “hectic and hot” week!

Festina Lente had decided to move on, so I at last remembered to take a photo of them from the side hatch as they passed!


So there we are, up-to-date! We have sat here today with thundery showers passing around us, but not actually over us and I at last have gotten around to updating the blog!