It had to happen, and today it did. Our last day of boating for a while. Today I reassembled my bike after repairing yesterday's puncture, and we went down the Stoke Bruerne locks. It seemed that everybody set off for the locks at about the same time: I pulled out just after Owl had gone past, and not far behind was Owl's companion, Hampton. Another boat was behind Hampton. When I got to the lock a boat, Madeleine, was already in, waiting for a locking companion as he was single-handed. Owl and Hampton wanted to go together, so that left us able to slot in beside Madeleine. We made a reasonable rapid descent, held up only at the last but one lock when we waited for a slow couple of boats to come up.
After the locks we followed Madeleine at a surprisingly slow pace, and kept being caught up by, and leaving behind, a policeman and a PCSO on mountain bikes on the towpath. According to them a man on a mountain bike on the towpath had been burgling churches along the route of the canal.
At Yardley Gobion we caught up with the two uniformed cyclists who were stopped with what looked like a problem with one of their bikes. "There isn't a Halfords near here, is there?" one called out. (Little did he know!) After verifying that they had a puncture, and that they lacked the means to fix it (D'oh! If you cycle along the towpath you expect to get a thorn in your tyre), I stopped and gave them a patch, some rubber solution and use of sandpaper. The coppers had tyre levers, but nothing else! Oh yes, they had a pump. Amazing. They were very grateful for my help, and we continued the last couple of miles back to Thrupp Wharf Marina. Here I tried a new technique for berthing Jubilee. As the marina entrance is angled back from the direction in which we had been travelling, I went past slightly, then reversed into the marina entrance and all the way into our slot. It worked very well, and I shall do the same the next time we approach from the north. It's a bit easier for us compared with Adam and Adrian, as Briar Rose's mooring is a few along from ours, and not in line with the entrance as our is.
Well, that took us to lunchtime. My brother David and his family were supposed to be calling in on us at the marina, but they took a detour to avoid a traffic jam and that took them in the wrong direction. Had they come I'd have taken them on a mini cruise to Cosgrove Lock and back. Their loss.
In the afternoon we went to Marsworth Junction by car to visit Tim and Tracey who are six weeks into boat ownership and living aboard. They needed to recover their car from Braunston Marina so I drove them there. Then is was back to Wolverton for some tea with Ally and Ben. Now we're back on Jubilee, mostly packed up.
It has been a great two and a half weeks, with mostly excellent weather. No new waterways were explored, but we enjoyed the experience of blacking at Debdale Wharf; we liked Market Harborough (again); and we revelled in the historic boats at Foxton (well, I did, anyway, to the extent that I joined the HNBC.) I took lots of photos which will keep me going in blog posts for a while yet, I expect.
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