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Robert Hawkins

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Hope fully I got it right at last. Anyway, this was Christmas at our new house, a great success thanks to all the family input.
11 Photos - View album

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At Bibis for our 40th anniversary

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Dan dressing the tree

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Want to share your location with me on Google+? Turn it on here:

Sunday 11th August 2013
An easy day. Setting off this morning with only 2 locks to do today, a boat pulled out ahead of us so we would have a share at Uxbridge Lock.
All the way down from Denham Deep as far as Cowley Peachy was taken at almost tickover because of all the moored boats. There are a few houseboats along this stretch too. A few of them look very nice, but the majority are in need of a lot of TLC.
The boat we shared the first lock with was only going as far as the water point so we did Cowley Lock alone, and then carried on past Cowley Peachy Junction, the start of the Slough Arm.
After the junction the linear moorings stopped so we were able to put on a bit of speed for the last bit of the journey.
At Bull's Bridge we've tied up by Tesco where there are 24 hour moorings. Tomorrow we will have breakfast in their cafe, as we did 7 years ago when we were last here.
While here No Problem chugged past and gave us a toot on their way back to The Thames, we had a wave and yelled good luck, they deserve it after all the trouble they've had.
We have started looking at our trip on The Thames. My first estimate of the time out of Limehouse Lock was a bit out. Thankfully I posted on a canal discussion forum our intention and asked for comments, also to see if anyone else was planning a trip the same day (Saturday). Someone very kindly pointed out that the published times were GMT and we are on BST. I had to add an hour to our projected departure time. I do love the forum!

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Saturday 10th August 2013
First thing this morning we passed through Lot Mead Lock and headed on to Batchworth Lock. This is the home of Batchworth Canal Centre, where there is and interesting model canal set up. Unfortunately it was not in water when I took the pictures.

Not far after the lock there is a Tesco supermarket with a dedicated mooring spot. Very handy. Cath wandered in to get a few things. When she came out she was a bit miffed, it was only 10.00 o'clock and there were no Guardians left for sale. She fumed that this must be the rich south, plenty of Torygraphs, Suns, and Daily Mails, but no Guardian!
I had a bit of a giggle watching a guy in what was obviously his brand new wide beam. He was making such a hash of winding and mooring it was all I could do stop from laughing out loud. I couldn't help him because until the last couple of minutes I couldn't work out what he was trying to do.
The canal continues to be very picturesque through this area. There are lakes all around, I believe they are formed from old gravel workings.
We continued on our slow plod southward, through several more locks, including Black Jack's Lock, which has a lovely mill building next to it.

AT one spot, and for the life of me I can't now identify it we came across a sight which brought a smile to the face.

Our final lock today was Denham Deep Lock. Looking down below the lock I saw an interesting piece of equipment. A floating dry dock. I went to take a picture and then noticed that the boat in it was "No Problem". I've been following the exploits of this boat recently on its blog. They've been having a great deal of mechanical problems recently, culminating in the cooling system being too small for the new engine they had fitted. Now it's in dry dock having a new cooling skin tank fitted.
We've moored up not far from Denham Deep Lock. Here's the link.!q=Denham%2C+UK&data=!1m4!1m3!1d1156!2d-0.4824056!3d51.563753!2m1!1e3!4m11!1m10!2i9!4m8!1m3!1d24247740!2d-95.677068!3d37.0625!3m2!1i1518!2i714!4f13.1&fid=7
7 Photos - View album

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Friday 9th August 2013
Last night's weather forecast wasn't too clever, so we decided to wait and see before committing to the off.
It rained a fair bit during the night, but by this morning, while it was overcast, at least it wasn't raining.
The decision to move was taken, and Cath hefted her windlass handle and strode off to prepare the first lock. There's two here, Hunton Bridge Locks, 11ft. 2 in. in total. Next is Lady Capel's Lock and then we passed under a pretty snake bridge.

This type of bridge is one of the elegant solutions to allow horse drawn boats to continue where the towpath changes sides, without unhitching the horse.
Just after this there is The Grove Mill, it looks as if this old mill has been converted into flats.

Just after this there was a short sharp shower, I cowered under a brolly for a few minutes, but it really came to nothing. Once again the weatherman could have done better.
At Cassiobury Park Locks we came across a few C&RT people working hard trying to clear a weir. One of them very kindly warned us that the next pound was a bit low, helped us with the lock and ran some water down to raise the level.
At Cassio Bridge Lock we met a couple of boats coming up, one of them asked us to hold the lock as he was just going up to the winding hole and would be returning. He was having some sort of mechanical problem and there was a boatyard below the lock that he wanted to call at. Brave fellow, he was effectively single handing because his wife was busy inside with their two very young children. One young 'un is a handful on a boat, two must be a nightmare.

There have been several brave herons on this bit of canal, standing watching us instead of flying away. This whole bit of the canal today has been quite pretty, with leafy corridors, and some fine bridges.
We've tied up for the night just above Lot Mead Lock, and will run down to the services at the next lock tomorrow morning.
Here's the map:!q=croxley+green&data=!1m4!1m3!1d1037!2d-0.4504076!3d51.6383413!2m1!1e3!4m10!1m9!4m8!1m3!1d133002!2d-
6 Photos - View album

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Thursday 8th August 20113
Setting off this morning, we were almost immediately into lock 65. After dropping down we continued on as far as the services above lock 66, where we decided to just chuck a can and empty rubbish. The water point was being used by another boat, and we didn't need it urgently so we decided not to bother.
Below 66 we found that the local Sainsbury's has a dedicated shopping mooring, very handy.
After raiding the shop we carried on to Nash Mills Locks where I got this picture of an unusual old working boat.

This boat has been fitted out as an art studio, and also has an old printing press in there.
After this we continued through a further 4 locks and about 4 miles, finally mooring up near Hunton Bridge.
One thing I forgot to mention the other day is a slight accident I had with a windlass (lock handle).
I was winding up a gat paddle, and on hearing the clink,clink, clink of the ratchet pawl I didn't bother to check it by sight. It turns out that what I heard was the pawl bouncing on the ratchet, but on its backside (when disengaged they usually don't lie on the ratchet). As soon as the paddles were raised I relaxed my hand on the windlass, which promptly tore from my grasp, whipped around and whacked me hard on my arm. This tore a large lump of skin off, about the size of a 50p piece. So, off course I bled all over the place until Cath could get the first aid kit out and play nursey.
That'll teach me to be a bit more careful. (And if you believe that, you'll believe anything!)

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Tuesday 9th July 2013
We decided to get up earlier than usual this morning to try and get some motoring in before the sun got too hot.
Consequently we fell out of bed this morning at 7.00 and were on the way before 8.00. The sun shone, but the early morning cool was still there.
This is a long pound, so the cruising was very leisurely. With not far to go today we were cruising along fairly slowly, admiring the scenery even more than usual. It's lovely up here, on the summit level of this part of The Grand Union Leicester Section.
As the sun started to get stronger the canal started to enter a more shaded part of the route. We were approaching Husbands Bosworth tunnel, so the ground was rising and there were more trees giving shade.
On the far side of the tunnel the shade continued for quite some time before the scenery opened out again.
At Welford Junction we turned left down the Welford Arm. This arm is a feeder for the canal, bringing water from the Welford and Sulby reservoirs. The book says that after being derelict and silted up for many years it was reopened in 1969.
At the end of the arm there is a marina and boatyard, as well as a full services block.
The village is served by one small shop which doubles as a post office and off licence. In itself the village looks very ordinary, but it does have a very pretty small park area.
I forgot to put the memory card back on my camera this morning, so I've not managed any pictures today!
The map link is Welford where we are
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