Chapmans Close to Grafton Regis
Lillian pootled along the seven miles to get us to Blisworth tunnel. Passing through Bugbrooke we waved to where our friend Lizzie works. We’d hoped to be passing through here on a week day and to moor up so that we could meet her for something to eat, but when you hope for such things, and you are on a time scale, it ends up being a weekend instead and she’s busy. Just a bit further on and we passed NB Rock ‘n’ Roll, Kev and Ann rushed to the bow and we managed to have a bit of a chat before the boat following us caught up. Another brief hello with a blogger.
Last night we decided to let the stove burn out for several reasons. It is warm at the moment, so although I’m sure Tilly likes being extra cosy as she snoozes during the day it’s a waste of fuel. The coal (Wildfire) that we bought in Nuneaton is incredibly smokey, which makes cruising a coughing experience to say the least, so we’d rather burn it at night. Also yesterday the lady on NB Norbert said that Blisworth Tunnel was incredibly wet, the boat they were with had had water come down their chimney having the effect of cracking the stove glass. So with this in mind we pulled in removed the chimney and capped it off now that the stove was fully out.
At the north portal to the tunnel a hire boat had just emerged, it’s crew were dressed as pirates but resembled drowned rats. We had prepared, waterproofs and anything that shouldn’t get wet was stowed inside. Almost a month ago we had seen footage of the North Portal turned into a waterfall from heavy rainfall. Today it looked nothing like the footage, but once inside at every ventilation shaft there was a curtain of water, other areas were as bad. Blisworth is a wide tunnel with a high ceiling so you would think you’d be able to miss the worst bits of water, but no. About half way through we passed a hire boat, then on further we could hear what we thought might be some heavy rock being blasted out from the next boat, but it turned out to be just a very noisy engine on a cruiser that was towing another boat. The trip boat stuck it’s nose in the far end with it’s very bright light, tooted and then reversed.
What a difference the South Portal is. There had only been a couple at the north end, here people were everywhere. Once moored up we heard those great words we’ve not heard for a while ‘Look, they’ve got bananas!’ they sadly missed off ‘and everything!’ We pulled the curtains by the dinette so that we could eat lunch in peace. i kept an eye on all the people outside and appreciatd most of the attention, but would like to point out that i am not a bear!
Sunday afternoon on a dry spring day, we took a deep breath and headed to be the main attraction in Stoke Bruerne. Hoards of people stood and watched, one chap helpfully opened the gate that we didn’t need, kids wanted to help with gates too. Going past the pub we picked up more gongoozlers for the second lock. But past here we were old news and the next lock was too far for them to walk so we were on our own again.
At the bottom of the flight we saw two Jules Fuel boats moored up. We are back in the world of coal boats, a good sight. It was still relatively early so we continued on for a while longer to find some armco and a view. About a mile further on we had both, other boats were moored up opposite a field of lambs.
A gang of the be’doingee young lambs came for a nosy at us, we backed up a bit to moor and as I was making my way through the boat somehow a lamb appeared in the cut. It was swimming quite well, but there was nowhere for it to get out. We had to help it, with Lillian diagonally across the cut we still couldn’t get close enough. Mick used the plank and got off the boat on the off side, leaned over and hoiked the little bleeter out and popped him over the fence where he ran off and disappeared into the field of many lambs. Two days ago a dog, now a lamb, what will be next? We know! Best put the landing net back together.
7 locks, 11.7 miles, 1.75 miles of tunnel, 5 mysterons, 0 friends to share with, 1672 gongoozlers, 2 soaked pirates, 3 bananas, 0 bears! 1 soggy lamb, 73 be’doingee lambs.