The weather has been a bit odd lately, but I suppose everybody has noticed this phenomena - a good opportunity for an old fashioned moan, but not much fun for cruising.
As it happens, we have had a good excuse for not cruising this last couple of weeks having been in the process of finalising the purchase of a house in Rugby - not much point in leaving money in the bank to pay a dividend of 0.5% interest. Also we feel that it is about time we were re-acquainted with our goods and chattels that are still in storage. Jeeves particularly misses the figurines and other collectibles
As well as this, I have been scolded for not including some of the other amusing incidents that occurred while we were in Stoke Bruene. With particular regard to this poor squirrel that was taking a constitutional along the towpath near the tunnel when we turned up.
Unfortunately, it wasn't aware that the Blisworth Tunnel doesn't extend to a towpath and became trapped between us, the canal and a high concrete wall on the right of the path.
Eventually, it took the only option, and started up the tunnel wall, which it proceeded to climb - the wall actually slopes slightly back at an angle from the canal.
It paused to read the plaque and continued on its way up. The over the arch and up again until it reached the coping at the top. The mountaineering skills required for this overhand needed pitons and ropes, which the squirrel didn't possess. It tried though and fell off just below the coping edge!
In the next split second I wondered if squirrels could swim, but I wasn't to find out - remember the slope? Well after a fall of about ten feet, the little creature managed to scrabble a hold on some rough stones just above the yawning mouth of the tunnel. It then though better of rock climbing and scrambled across to the other side of the tunnel rampart and disappeared into the woods - I hope it had some nuts buried o that side, though if I were the squirrel, a stiff drink would have been more more welcome.
Other creatures seemed to be making the most of their surroundings as well, like this moorhen, which seemed to have commandeered a button as an interesting food source.
Then there were Neil and Ruth who joined us at 'The Boat' for a nice cool drink that we didn't deserve nearly as much as the squirrel!
Later that evening, we backed up several boat lengths (who says that you can't go astern in a narrowboat?) and winded near the tunnel for an early start the next morning. We wanted to get through the Blisworth tunnel before any boats were coming the other way and didn't wish to wake up all the other moored boats at the crack of dawn.
The following day we made it to Braunston (through both tunnels without incident this time). And who should we meet there, but Andy and Lyra, who were also out and about enjoying the fantastic weather.
Having made up time (doctor's appointment in Brinklow pending), we spent a day at Braunston, also meeting Richard and Sue who own NB Frog who keep their boat at Brinklow as well.
There was also reported to be some folk and jazz music on a the Admiral Nelson, but it turned out to be only recorded stuff, so we left that out.
There was a heck o a lot of traffic through Braunston that day - including Neil and Ruth on Nerus, who as they passed us in the late afternoon, said that they were mooring just the other side of Braunston for the night.
So, our mooring opposite the Old Mill looked less attractive (especially after some horrid music started at about nine o'clock). We therefore untied and meandered up the Oxford until we found Nerus tucked into the bank in an idylic rural setting.
A bottle of wine with good freinds and up the next morning for our return to Brinklow.
(that is enough about Stoke Bruene, and try to make the deadline in future - ed).