Wednesday, 7 March 2007

True to their word

Now moored north of Cosgrove, 1 Lock/ 51/2 Miles
Total of 152 locks and 126 miles since 5th Nov 2006

Well the Met office got it right last night as it rained and blew a gale as predicted and we got bounced around all night making sleeping near impossible.
However this morning was a complete change with the skies clearing and eventually sunshine.
The forecast for the day was showers so we thought we should get moving while it was still fine, although it stayed fine all day and we had brilliant sunshine, the forecast is for more tomorrow. Great.
This stretch of canal must be one of the longest lock free stretches in the system with a rural outlook all around.

The kiwi connections crept in again today when we passed a moored narrowboat bearing the nameTane Mahuta which to Kiwi’s is a giant Kauri tree in the Waipoua Forest in Northland. Tane Mahuta meaning ‘Lord of the Forest’.
I called out a Maori greeting as we passed but the occupants were not at home. The other was something I forgot about yesterday. While we were watering up at Peartree Bridge another boat tried to pull in behind us but was having difficulty with the wind. I went to their aid and after we had secured the mooring we got chatting and the lady asked me what was a Maori greeting with 5 and 3 letters, as she was doing a crossword puzzle, well that was easy, Haere Mai.

Along the way we passed over 2 aquaducts, the first is relatively new concrete structure opened in 1991 over Grafton St, New Bradwell and the second was a short Iron trough aquaduct built at the end of the 1700’s which crosses the river Great Ouse. The Great Ouse was in full flood after last night’s rain and acres of farm land were under water as was a local holiday camping ground. The other site of interest was the old railway workshops at Wolverton. These have stood empty and forlorn for decades but now the site is being redeveloped and the good news is that the fa├žade of the workshops overlooking the canal is being retained with the new structure being built inside.

As we approached the only lock on today’s run we met another coal and diesel barge so we pulled alongside and filled up. From here it was up through the lock and stop off at the rubbish and water point again. While all this was going on we missed several phone calls which we did not notice until a short while later as we were going through the sleepy little village of Cosgrove.

As we suspected it may be Homebase trying to contact us we moored up right at the end of the main village street which was only 20 feet from the canal. Sure enough the calls were from Homebase wanting to know where we were as they had our basin and wanted to deliver it today.

The Manager (Ian) said he would bring it out and could I give him a postcode for his Navsat GPS system. A quick dash to the first house that appeared occupied with my phone still to my ear and the necessary info was obtained. An hour or so later and Ian arrived albeit on the wrong side of the canal but I went through the tunnel pictured and relieved him of his precious cargo. If you read this blog Ian, many thanks for your troubles. With the basin safely stowed it was off into the village with cameras at the ready before moving on again.

This photo is of the local fishmonger who travels over 1200 miles a week with his specially fitted van delivering fresh fish door to door. A sight we have not seen before.

We only travelled about another mile before stopping for the night opposite the village of Castlethorpe. In the distance there is a weird looking tower structure which I photographed with my zoom camera. The picture added no clues as to what the tower was but a Google search came up with the answer. The tower dates back to the time of steam railway engines (pre 1964) for those old enough to remember. The tower was part of a water softening plant which fed the water into troughs between the rails so that steam engines to refill the water tank in the tender with water while travelling at speed.

Castlethorpe Water Tower

Between the canal and the village which is about a mile or so away runs the river Tove which is also in a state of flood and low lying farm land is inundated with water also.

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