After celebrating Polly’s graduation, we headed to the Wirral to spend time with Roger’s mum. A quiet relaxing week followed, which prepared us nicely for CarFest north, which has become a bit of an annual pilgrimage for us. We had a fantastic time in mostly glorious sun at Bolesworth Castle, enjoying great music, fantastic food and good company. My musical highlights would include Texas, Paul Heaton and Jaqui Abbot, the Proclaimers who are always good live, the Corrs, Kaiser Chiefs – who were outstanding, Bryan Adams and the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band. Got to love a brass band and particularly one as good as them. It was a lovely time.
We left the festival and headed back to Eunoia for a cruise down the Grand Union Canal. We travelled through Leicester, where Jack came to meet us. Jack and I enjoyed a fun afternoon, carrying out the logistical challenge of getting the car and camper where we thought we might need them at the end of the cruise, and got very wet in the process!
It was good to have Jack with us as we went through some big heavy locks. With his help we made short work of them and travelled on to Foxton Junction where we turned left and headed to Market Harborough. We’d visited this arm many years ago, during our first ever narrow boat trip with our good friends Rob, Claire, Will and Kate Hodson and it was good to repeat the exercise. Market Harborough was lovely and we enjoyed a walk into the town, as well as the improvements made to the basin.
We had a good trip up the Foxton Locks, with lots of help from passing children and other day trippers. The flight here is wonderful to see, and it’s great that on a sunny day lots of folk still come to watch the boats going up and down the flight. Fantastic engineering that stills works well today. We soon got to the top and headed to Crick where we said goodbye to Jack and headed on our way. Watford locks were more tricky for us, partly because Jack had left us, but also because we had to wait for boats to come up before we could head down, and also because of a broken gate arm half way down that could only be operated by Canal and River Trust staff. We did get through though and headed to the Braunston Tunnel and into the Brausnston locks. At the bottom of the flight we picked up Friends Phil and Sue who visited for a few days.
We headed along the Grand Union and then turned north onto the Oxford canal, and were joined by Naomi Read as we travelled through Rugby. It’s so lovely to share our boat with friends. From there we travelled north before heading down the Coventry Canal into Coventry. After some shallow areas, and lots of rubbish, we made it to the basin before heading for the cathedral. Such a stunning building and so lovely that the new building incorporates the old ruins. We had a feast at the Rising, the cathedral cafe before heading back to the boat and moving back up that canal as we didn’t fancy spending the night in Coventry basin.
After Coventry we headed up the Ashby canal, avoiding a car in the water at the junction which briefly presented a challenge. The Ashy is a very rural, but beautiful canal. This was where we ended our cruise and said goodbye to Phil and Sue. We moored up the boat and headed home for a few days of house sorting, packing, catching up with friends and celebrating Polly’s 21st birthday. It was lovely to have the four of us in the house for one last time together before the house was sold, and nice that we could celebrate Polly’s birthday too. I remember her birthday being one of the first celebrations we had when we moved into the house – her 3rd birthday!
We returned to the boat 4 days later to play host to Jack and Eleanor for a quick trip up and down the rest of the Ashby canal. A lovely time, enjoying good company on a beautiful canal. After Jack and Eleanor left us, we continued on back to the Coventry canal, leaving the boat at Springwood Haven Marina, where we moored her for two weeks.
Two weeks was the allotted time for us to finish packing and sorting, enjoy Greenbelt festival and move house. The packing and sorting wasn’t interesting, aside from the large number of trips we made to the tip and to charity shops, but Greenbelt was fantastic. We went with a group from church and enjoyed a fantastic time. I went to some fantastically interesting and challenging talks about refugees, listened to the Archbishop of Canterbury and Terry Waite, enjoyed some fantastic poetry from Harry Baker, made even better by his partnership with Chris (Harry n’ Chris) and watched the Underground Clown Club perform Love and Rabbits. I also loved the Sunday morning communion which was presented by children and was very inspiring. A wonderful time.
We got home to greet the removal men, who over two days packed us up, moved us out, and after we’d had a window removed the other end, moved us in. Downsizing has been done and we now have everything we need in a smaller home. Jack’s assistance was brilliant, and I think we’ll be happy in our new home for a while.
That brings us to the end of August, but we hope not to the end of the summer. There’s still time for a bit more boating on the canals before the evenings draw in, and we’re determined to enjoy what good weather there is.