Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Love is near-raw cauliflower

……. I realised this week!!    I can only eat vegetables if they just look at the steamer (and that’s one reason why we never go out for Sunday lunch as, in my experience, there is always moshy veg and too much gravy swimming around the plate).   Dai likes his veg (well, cauliflower and broccoli) a bit more cooked BUT he always tries to do the Sunday lunch veg to my taste.   Isn’t he wonderful !!

We left Crick last Thursday morning, through the Tunnel and then down Watford Locks which is (going down) - one normal lock; a 4 lock staircase; two normal locks.   There was a volunteer lockkeeper on and then a second one arrived to take on the afternoon shift.   The staircase uses the same system as Foxton Locks - ie, side pounds and you have to operate the red paddle first, then the white one.

Forgive me all you southerners but I always thought that Watford was very close to London as there is always the thing about the north/south divide being at Watford Gap.    So I was quite surprised to see that we were going down the Watford Locks on the Leicester Arm of the Grand Union Canal !!   Silly me!!   There is obviously Watford Gap and Watford - two different locations!!   And did you know that the Watford Gap Services were the first services on the M1 motorway opened on 2 November 1959?  In fact, you can find out all sorts of joys about Watford Gap Services here.

We moored just before Norton Junction (where the Leicester Arm of the GU joins the mainline - you turn left to travel towards London and right towards Birmingham - and are still here tonight!   It is a 14 day mooring in the middle of nowhere so we are forced to go for lots of long walks!!    So went back up the towpath towards Watford Locks as the M1 services are right by the canal but only got a newspaper there last Saturday as no way was I going to pay £1.25 for a litre of milk !

We walked towards Braunston with the aim of looking at Welton village but turned the wrong way off the canal (left instead of right) and very soon passed a sign welcoming us to Daventry.   We had no idea as Nicholsons makes no mention of the fact!   Anyway we then saw a lot of parked cars up this road so went to investigate and found a small shopping centre of a pub, pharmacy, doctors, dentists, Tesco Metro and a chippie.   Result!!    So naturally as it was lunchtime we had a bag of chips and then purchases some essentials from Tesco.    Didn’t bother going on to Daventry town centre as we suspected it was probably miles away as the bus stop indicated you caught the bus to Daventry from there!

Yesterday (Tuesday) we decided to walk to Braunston which according to the sign at the Junction is four and a quarter miles away.   The towpath doesn’t go through the tunnel (long, wet, kinky one) so we had to go up and over so goodness knows how many more miles this added to the journey!    And when the sign says 4 miles to Braunston, where exactly in Braunston do they mean?    There is Braunston Tunnel, then 6 locks, then boatyards and the marina and the actual village is off the canal.    So, not sure how many miles we ended up doing but my leg muscles reckon it was more than Dai said !!

Bit of sadness in that the pub “the New Inn” at the first of the Buckby Locks just after the Junction towards London is all boarded up.   On April 22, 2010 we ate Desperate Dan pies there, it was so good, it got a mention in the blog that week here !   ---- and we repeated the exercise on 26 May 2010 on our return from London.

Our thoughts these last couple of days have been with friends/family in the USA and Canada  with the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.    It reminded me of the time I got stuck in New York because of Hurricane Floyd in September 1999 - that was bad enough but nothing like Sandy.  Mother Nature certainly is a force to reckon with.

We will probably cruise down to Braunston for the weekend and then the plan is to carry on the Grand Union to Napton Junction.   Of course this is now the time of year when you have to make a bit of a plan because of the winter stoppages which start next week, so our bit of a plan right now is to get to Lapworth Locks or Camp Hill Locks by Dec 7 when the stoppages are lifted there to travel on into Birmingham.   Unfortunately they both start mid November so unless we really rushed we would “normally” arrive in the middle of the stoppage!    It’s no problem, we just take our time now for a bit and hope we don’t have to re-visit the Plan because of being iced in !!

Since last blog we have done … 5 miles and 7 locks  
Total since Setting Off ….. 2038 miles and  1650 locks

Another canalside pub bites the dust.
The New Inn at Buckby Top Lock on the Grand Union

Wonder if this was done by the Water Sprites for Halloween?
Spotted by Wilton Marina at bottom of Buckby Locks
on our walk today (Wed, Halloween tonight)

and here is Dai doing another Good Turn today 
as he attempts to close Buckby Top Lock gate


  1. Such a shame about The New Inn at Buckby Top Lock. Like you, I had the pie earlier this year and was looking forward to stopping there next year for a repeat.......
    Sad when you see this tho.
    Hope you both are well.

    Rob and Suzie (Swamp Frogs)

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