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Boat Blog: Mooching (back) along the Grand Union (10)

Posted by indigodream on 9 May, 2013

Saturday 4th May

Thrupp Wharf (Cosgrove) to Globe Inn (Bridge 111)

The wonderfully gothic Soloman's Bridge in Cosgrove

The wonderfully gothic Soloman’s Bridge in Cosgrove

Now, the countryside moorings near Thrupp Wharf are wonderfully quiet and peaceful…..until 5.20am when every bird in the county woke up – it was the most discordant alarm clock, and the local cockerel, who joined in at 5.40am, was quite superfluous! I lay in bed and grumbled, though it was just as well that I was awake as Ty and Ollie had got a little chilled and needed blankets.

Once they’d thoroughly greeted the dawn, the birds settled down, and I got to sleep in until 8am – that’s more like it!

But there was no time for lounging around, we had a big day ahead and Richard was casting off by 8.30am while I did the next car shuffle. To start with, I moved the car to Cosgrove where I met up with Richard and worked him through the lock. We shared the lock with a little day boat which was on its way to the May Day festival at Campbell Park, the other side of Milton Keynes.

Now, I’m sure that male readers will appreciate this next bit of quick thinking! I asked Richard whether he was doing the next stage of the car shuffle to Wolverton. “No” he said artfully “You’re taking the car to Tesco in Wolverton and getting the shopping done, aren’t you? I’ll meet you there with the boat and help you if I’m in time”. Uh, really? I don’t actually remember volunteering to go to Tesco on Saturday morning – hmmmm…..

Enjoying the May Day festival...

Enjoying the May Day festival…

Nonetheless, it was a good plan, and Richard finally got to cruise a part of the canal which he rarely gets to see. Tesco wasn’t too bad – I was there very early and managed to miss the throngs of people that were flocking into the store as I was leaving. In the meantime, Richard brought the boat to the swanky Wolverton moorings, though he had to fight the wind – the tall new buildings were effectively funnelling the breeze up the canal. I took the car round to the back of the flats adjacent to the canal for a quick offload. Ty, desperate to go home, and Ollie, who just likes the car, joined me for the 5 minute trip to the free parking outside the station. Poor Ty was so disappointed when I stopped the car! We walked back to the canal over the bridge that crosses the railway, but I was surprised to find that the old steps down to the towpath had been gated and padlocked. To get to the canal I had to walk over the bridge and take the little alley that leads to the now footbridge then cross back over the canal to get to the towpath – strange…

With the boat stocked and the car parked near a station for easy recovery by train the end of the weekend, we could settle down to some relaxed cruising along  a long lock-free pound. We were making good time – these unaccustomed early starts are a revelation, though I don’t know if I’d want them to become a habit 🙂

We meandered through Milton Keynes, enjoying the rural feel of a canal that in the “real world” is almost entirely encircled by roundabouts! When we got to Campbell Park, the May Day festival was underway. Although it was still very windy, it was also quite sunny, so we decided to stop for lunch then visit the festival. There wasn’t a huge amount of activity, but it was obvious that people were enjoying the day. The hounds enjoyed their usual share of attention; I was very impressed with how calm Ty was; Ollie of course, lapped it all up. They were exceptionally well behaved – one stall was surrounded by a pyramid of soft toys – Herbie hound would have been in his element; Ty and Ollie weren’t in the least bit interested. We stopped off at the cheese boat then wended our way back to the boat.

Ty liked this little grove - it obviously felt safe- he was soon pursued by two dog-loving children who lavished him with fuss..

Ty liked this little grove – it obviously felt safe- he was soon pursued by two dog-loving children who lavished him with fuss..

Soon after casting off, the sky darkened and we had an apocalyptic shower, though of rain rather than hail, so that’s an improvement on last weekend! I thought that it was just a passing shower. Well yes, except that it took over an hour to pass so we had a dismal passage to Fenny Stratford, despite being wrapped in our waterproofs. But looking on the bright side, it was largely dry by the time we reached Soulbury Three locks and we had a fine evening.

We met several boats coming the other way today, but there seemed to be very few going our way.We shared a lock at Stoke Hammond, but otherwise we were on our own. I was relieved to find that the pain of Lou’s absence was less acute coming back down the Grand Union, though there will be many ‘first’ cruises without Lou along the network – she was a well-travelled hound 🙂

Our target for the day was the Globe, near bridge 111, one of our favourite canalside pubs. We did contemplate moving a little further to take the pressure of Sunday’s cruise but it was 6pm and time to stop. The Globe moorings were jam-packed – the first available space was 15 or so boat-lengths from the pub. This suited us though, it was quieter for Ty and gave good access to the nearby water meadows. I went for a long walk (by greyhound standards), in the hope that Ty would have a wee, but he was hyper-vigilant. To the best of my knowledge, Ty hadn’t slept at all since we left home (and greyhounds need a LOT of sleep)  – he was virtually nodding off as he walked, but then he’d jerk back into wakefulness, a familiar sight on human commuter trains. :-). Ollie, on the other hand, forgot that he was an old boy, and raced around the meadow like a two year old. He decided that an inoffensive log in the middle of the meadow was something that needed to be chased. He charged it down, it didn’t move, so he swerved past it at the last minute. Then he walked away nonchalantly, occasionally looking back over his shoulder. From time to time to time he’d decide that the log needed to be charged again – this went on for some time. I laughed and laughed to see him so happy.

Picture Postcard....

Picture Postcard….

Richard was busy polishing the boat when I got back – Indigo Dream looks much better for it. Despite its thinness, the paint does gloss up nicely and because of the thick undercoat of Zinga, there is next to no rust. Hmmm, maybe we can put off a repaint for a bit longer….

Given how busy the moorings were, we should really have got to the pub earlier. It must have been past 7.30pm by the time we got in – we were lucky enough to get a corner table with just enough floor space for the dogs. But by this time there was a 45 minute wait for food – luckily the starters arrived a little sooner, but the main course eventually took over an hour. We complained, especially when some people, who had arrived at the pub some time after us, were served first! But the food, when it arrived, was good and Ty enjoyed more than his fair share of sausages as Ollie turned his nose up at them!

It’s quite gratifying that Ty enjoys the pub – sausages are obviously the key to his security. I had given him a valium earlier, with the intention of leaving him on board to sleep, but he was keen to come out with us. Nonetheless he was ready for bed by 10pm – we all were – Ollie had thoroughly overdone the charging around and we’d had a 9 hour-ish cruising day so we were all indigo dreaming by 10.30pm!

Photoblog:

View of the countryside above Cosgrove lock - the canal clings to the contours here, giving  fine view of the valley below..

View of the countryside above Cosgrove lock – the canal clings to the contours here, giving fine view of the valley below..

Detail on Soloman's Bridge

Detail on Soloman’s Bridge

Cosgrove has a fine canal frontage - no wonder it's a popular stop for boaters..

Cosgrove has a fine canal frontage – no wonder it’s a popular stop for boaters..

Guarding the towpath..

Guarding the towpath..

I half expected these cherry pickers to be full of papparazzi - I don't think that the yard below is that interesting though :-)

I half expected these cherry pickers to be full of papparazzi – I don’t think that the yard below is that interesting though 🙂

Public footpath???

Public footpath???

Members of the  Morris 'men' - I loved their raggy jackets (the mend had fine raggy cloaks)..

Members of the
Morris ‘men’ – I loved their raggy jackets (the men had fine raggy cloaks)..

Ty -he's not a great poser!

Ty – he’s not a great poser!

A few of the bridges along here are a bit motheaten...

A few of the bridges along here are a bit moth eaten…

Heron's have big feet!

Heron’s have big feet!

Passing through the Soulbury Three locks

Passing through the Soulbury Three locks

Lapwing - I've not seen one on this canal before

Lapwing – I’ve not seen one on this canal before

Meanders

Meanders

The fields here were dotted with red containers - I wondered what they were - no I know, it's a tonic for sheep!

The fields here were dotted with red containers – I wondered what they were – now I know, it’s a tonic for sheep!

Another picture postcard..

Another picture postcard..

Ty waiting for sausages at the Globe

Ty waiting for sausages at the Globe

Ollie at the Globe - he doesn't particularly like sausages so he had snooze instead!

Ollie at the Globe – he doesn’t particularly like sausages so he had a snooze instead!

4 Responses to “Boat Blog: Mooching (back) along the Grand Union (10)”

  1. Adam said

    It seems quite odd reading about this journey — which I
    S what we’ve done over the past two days! Ion fact, we’re moored at the Globe Inn right now, and have just got back from there having had drinks as dessert.

  2. indigodream said

    It is a well-travelled bit of canal 🙂

    Are you going much further south this weekend?

  3. Adam said

    Marsworth jct tomorrow, then turn and head back over the weekend.

  4. indigodream said

    Ooh nice trip! We thoroughly enjoyed that stretch last weekend (watch out for the random day boats out of Pitstone Wharf!), though we’re down at Apsley now and heading back to London so we won’t see you this time 😦

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