Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Where is my back?.......It's gone AGAIN!

Okay, so we have been "live-aboards" now for almost 6 weeks. I can't say we are continuous cruisers because that part just has not happened!
Following our launch party we cruised back up the Grand Union to Whilton Marina (at the bottom of the Buckby Flight) where we moored for the night as on Monday we were having our Helmsman's course with Douglas a chap recommended to us from Calcutt Marina.
The helmsman's course was brilliant fun, we really enjoyed the day and felt we had demonstrated our abilities with much confidence! We passed with flying colours having done all the tests put in front of us and also picked up quite a few interesting tips. We also were full of confidence that should either 1 of us fall ill we could "helm" the boat single handed.......and moor the boat single handed.....
......Two things then happened in very quick succession to squash those two previous statements!

1...... Having left Douglas with just the top lock to go at Buckby, Suzie went to get the lock ready, so in I go......There I was, 20 ft down in the lock and shouting to Suzie...."put all your weight into it girl" wondering why she is just leaning on the gate and not closing it....." I'm trying.....I could stay here for a week putting all my weight into it and it just aint gonna move" Suzie screamed back at me! So that was that, I had to climb up out of the lock to move the gate (and yes it was very stiff) so, first one...if I am ill we don't move through locks......

2...... We get through the lock (eventually) with our confidence level dropped somewhat little did we know that ALL of our confidence would now disappear within the next 5 mins....we decided to moor at the top of Buckby ready to make our way to Abingdon so my brother Graham could come and see the would have thought we had never moored a boat before......all that Douglas had told us both vanished from our heads and we were stuck in the middle of the canal really unsure of what to was hilarious and what people must have thought......1 second I had the bow on the tow path then 30 secs later we were at right angles across the cut...."gimmie the Tiller" says Suzie, Suzie then spends 5 mins trying to moor also with no luck and also with plenty of people looking on.....I have to say it was made funnier as not 20 mins ago we completed our "Helmsman's course".....!! So secondly, passing a helmsman's course does not make you an expert straight away.... Anyways with no confidence (but we did leave a lot of smiling people) we went round the corner where there was much more space and a lot less people to watch two complete amateurs making a pigs ear of mooring a Narrow Boat! which we did with great finesse and no shouting.


Nothing to do with the boat I was stood on the Tow Path and just went into a spasm and I was back (scuse the pun) to the start again with my back!
So, there we the middle of nowhere, very little water and probably 3-4 days till we needed to pump out (emptying our poo tank for the "non boaters who read this)

We stayed there overnight then managed to get hold of our knights in shinning armour.......David and Karen. They parked there car at Braunston and walked the 3-4 miles to us.....seeing them walking towards us made us realise how vulnerable we could be and we were so pleased when they arrived. Suzie, David and Karen moved the boat through Braunston Tunnel and the Braunston locks while I led on the bed reading my book. The only thing I was missing was room service, you'd think as David and Karen have a  5 star Hotel Boat being built they'd provide some sort of service to me........ (only joking)....I digress!

We ( I mean they) moor us just outside Braunston Marina where all the facilities are there for us.....all that needs to happen is for Suzie to pop in explain our plight and we'd have an army of people willing to help as this is what we've seen so far on the cut........
So, bright and early next morning up Suzie gets to walk all of 25 yards, over the bridge and into Braunston Marina and in she goes to the shop/office.....poor Suzie, she is feeling totally useless, unprepared, unequipped, miserable and helpless and throws herself on the floor (well, not quite.....but you get the picture) "I wonder if someone could kindly help me please?" says Suzie. She tells them of our predicament.........access to the the diesel, pump out and water point is limited by other boats and she's not feeling too confident to say the least "I need a tank of diesel, a pump out, water and 2 bags of coal, my husband is stuck on the boat and can't move because of his back" (this all means she is about to spend something in the region of £150 so please help) .......Sadly Suzie was made to feel like some sort of idiot?  We understand it's a business and were willing to pay for help in our hour of need! "I understand I would have to pay" said Suzie.....just wanting to make things clear.....he pipes up "£42 per hour and it will take a couple of hours so that's £ would be better off asking this gent to help you"  pointing to another customer in the shop......Suzie felt like shit, and who could blame her!
The gentleman did help Suzie....Alan who owns the Narrowboat named Fluke....he truly was a gentleman and Suzie could not have survived the whole ordeal without him..........Once Alan had moved our boat and we were now empty of poo and full of diesel Suzie then went into the marina to pay them and the chap just said "CARD" She was beside herself with this chaps attitude....."HOW MUCH IS IT?" she asked (talk about rude!)...."£153 and that's it....there you go and you're all sorted out now"  He was making it sound as if he had helped her??????? Suzie then turned to Alan (and in doing so made the chap wait for our card) "Thanks to you Alan for coming to my aid when I was in such great need....Thank's your £153" said Suzie handing the chap our card.
Suzie then treated Alan to lunch and a pint to thank him for his kindness.....The moral here is don't expect any help at Braunston Marina unless you want to pay £42 hr!

We've been here now for over 2 weeks and my back is slowly returning to normal and hope to move at the week end heading to wherever The Wessex Rose will be launched. 
I must also add our thanks to George the local CaRT officer who was a great help to us by getting us permission to stay 2 weeks on a 48 hr mooring.

The best thing whilst being here is that Canal Boat magazine came on Monday to do a feature on our home....which was nice. Swamp Frogs will feature in the June edition of Canal Boat which comes out in May????? Lets hope for a favourable review eh? 

How can there be so many words from somebody who has done nothing for 2 weeks!
We will get going soon..................!

Since our last blog we've done 3 miles 7 locks and a tunnel.
Since continuous cruisers (I use the term very loosely here) we've done 20 miles 100yds 23 locks and 1 tunnel (twice)


  1. Thought I recognised your boat at Braunston last weekend .... very nice too!


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