A trip down memory lane by Daquiri

We departed Mercia marina & then soon passed an Indian restaurant called Nadees that mum used to cruise to all the time she told us – guess some things never change even as life moves on. Our first lock was Stenson lock which was a big deep scarey one but lucky for us volunteer lock keepers were on. In fact it was the very nice lockie who had helped us down the first locks in the Atherstone flight. We pulled up just before Swarkstone for rubbish & a boat caught up with us another single hander so we shared the locks down to Shardlow. Mum was very happy to be cruising this route as when she first had the boat moored at Sawley this was a regular weekend route so it was nice for her to revisit it. We moored up & went for walkies we kept getting told how Great Uncle Slammer liked to walk round here & in later years he was joined by Uncle Barney. In fact mum told us a funny story about Barney at a lock once he suddenly crossed a lock beam which he’d never done before & bear in mind he was an older dog by the time mum had him) & slid down one of the by washes. Luckily it was one that just went round the side rather than underground so he just used it as a giant waterslide & popped out under the lock. Now we’ve never been so naughty as to do that but we have field the idea away for the future!!

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The overflow Barney surfed over

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And then he came shooting down here

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And finally popped out of here. We must admit it does look like great fun!!!

That evening mum went off for tea with one of her colleagues from her time at Spice; Gordon who used to run the East Midlands franchise. Mum had a great time seeing him & catching up.

Gordon

On wednesday we really stepped back in time for mum as we cruised to Sawley marina & back where Golden Boyz started her life with mum. This involved mum cruising the section of the river where she learnt to steer the bat & wind it all under the watchful eye of Uncle Anthony. Here’s Golden Boyz or Dolly Earl as she was called then when she was first bought.

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Mummy never imagined then that she’d be brave enough to be cruising the canal system single handing go mum!!!

There was this handy doggy stop at the lock too that we liked.

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That night mum met up with auntie Sally & after a visit to the donkeys they went for a meal at The clockhouse pub.

The next day mum cruised up through a few locks & we moored at a pretty spot right by some rapeseed fields for us to play in.

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Of course as normal Cosmo had to run off. Here’s him speeding back over the disused bridge

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Mum also painted her bedroom that afternoon. She has done it as a pink sunset room & the canvases are all her own photos. The bedroom before:

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The bedroom after:

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Next project is we are getting side hatches woo hoo!!!

The next day we cruised back to one bridge up from Mercia & mum went to her favourite Indian with auntie Sally. Then on Saturday we moved the boat only a few hundred yards to outside Mercia marina & we met up with auntie Kati & Uncle Phil & then later on there was the big reunion with Uncle Frank & auntie Linda too. Funny how they’ve all ended up owning boats now.

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It was a lovely evening & great to spend time with old friends. Phil & Kati helped mum on some chores on the boat & we even got our new horn wired up so now mum can toot at her friends as she passes by.

The next day after a farewell breakfast Frank took mum to the supermarket. Cosmo was very excited as mum has bought 2 new pillows so lets see how long these 2 last now! We then moved a bit further down the canal & when we went for walkies we finally got to meet the one & only Dudley. He’d not had his injections last time so we didn’t meet him directly. He’s tiny compared to us but we reckon soon we can teach him to be just as naughty as us & you never know as he’s so small he might be handy on some tight fitting naughty missions!!! He’ll soon be an honorary member of the Golden Boyz Gang

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Going Posh by Cosmo

We left Alvecote on a really windy morning & given we had to do a 180 degree turn with 3 boats in front & 2 behind it was a hairy manoeuvre but we made it with inches to spare without hitting anyone. The weather was forecast to be just as bad the next day so we decided we may as well go for it. We were now on familiar territory so off in the rain we headed down Glascote locks & got water & moored up at Fazeley. We had walkies & a spot of geocaching & then mum stocked up at the shops before we battened down the hatches for the rest of the day. Mum got the press releases for the next market at Burton done & emailed out. The next day it was equally as horrible but while we snoozed on the settee mum got togged up in waterproofs & set off to one of our favourite moorings. After a few hours we arrived at Auntie Dawns garden yippee!!!!! We were soon off & bounding around with Corey & Ellie. No leads for a whole day & we’re allowed to run around as we please.Other than a digging up incident with a rose we were quite well behaved but not so for Corey. He seemed to have the hots for me & kept mounting me. I just sat down every time he did! But his piece de resistance was when he managed to get on the boat which he has never down before! Here he is pretending to be a Golden Boy!! I think he was very disappointed to discover all the treats are kept if sealed boxes inside the boat.

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Mum had a lovely hot bath & her & auntie Dawn had a nice tea & a few cans of cider whilst watching Paddington on DVD. We were treated to a lovely double rainbow that night. Apparently there’s  a pot of gold at the end very appropriate for our boat name.

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The next day we set off at lunchtime & yet again it was a wet day. We didn’t put our crash helmets on as we’d heard auntie Dawn is a bit of a boat driving expert. We left the Coventry canal & turned right at Fradley onto the Trent & Mersey canal. Auntie Dawn drove & mum did the locks & we made good progress to Barton marina. We were stuck a bit as we had to go into the marina & pay to moor as there wasn’t a bridge across from the towpath side. It was very posh & felt like we were on holiday. We found an end spot on the jetty which was just a short walk across the car park to grass which later proved a godsend.

Mum & auntie Dawn went off on a  Spice East Midlands event to the Red Carpet cinema at the marina. Here’s mum all poshed up for her night out.

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Mum had a good evening but unfortunately not such a good night. I’d had a poorly tummy 2 nights ago & now Daquiri got one. As we were on a locked jetty so every time he needed to go out mum had to get dressed, get him off the back of the boat, unlock the gate & sprint across the car park with him to get to some grass. Daquiri & mum had to do this mission 7 times in the night. After the 4th time mum just slept in her clothes! I went with them once but soon gave up on that game.

Luckily Daquiri seemed to be better the next day as we set off for Mercia marina where we had booked in to trade over the weekend. Mum was really looking forward to being there as some long term friends of hers moor there Frank & Linda who were pretty instrumental in inspiring mum to get a boat. Mum hasn’t seen them since she set off continuous cruising. Plus mums dad & her brother Andrew are hiring a lodge for the weekend so we’ll get to see lots of people. We’re not allowed in the lodge though as its not a doggie one so we’re still staying on the boat.

It was another wet day but we plodded on through the locks. We saw our first moorhen chicks too today they’re little black balls of fluff. We moored up outside Mercia & a soggy mum walked round to find out where we needed to moor. We decided to try & squeeze in behind The Mug Tug as we thought it’d be better for trading to be next to each other. After a bit of toing & froing as we didn’t quite fit we managed to get tied up in the wind & the rain. We went to pay & found out Dad & Andrew would be a bit late so we took their lodge keys as the reception would be shut to save the staff coming out out of hours. Just as mum was walking back Frank & Linda popped round & then just as they got onboard & we’d jumped all over them dad & Andrew turned up so it was a bit chaotic & we didn’t even have time to close the boat up properly or sort the electric out. Mum went round with them to the lodge & left us home alone. Apparently it was very very very posh! It had Body Shop toiletries & in the coffee cups a tiny whisk & grater for posh hot chocolates. And they had pie & chips from a  van that came round for tea & even though they couldn’t manage it all none was brought back for us. Mum says its cos we’d just had poorly tummies & given we were in a marina again she wasnt spending all night getting up again!

The next day the weather was really dubious but mum set up anyway though she spent most of the day covering the stock with the polythene. Auntie Angela & her friend Pat came to visit & took mummy out for a quick lunch. The weather then picked up a bit & mummy sold a few things but not a lot. In the evening mum went round to the lodge, had a bath, ate steak for tea & watched TV – she felt like royalty.

Sunday was a much better trading day & there was a buskers event on so footfall was good & mummy sold quite a few things. Mercia marina had published in their newsletter & on facebook that we were coming. They’ve been very supportive to us as a visiting trader & the lady on The Mug Tug has been really friendly & helpful so we’ve really enjoyed our stay at Mercia & will definitely put it on our list to revisit.

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Auntie Sally came in the afternoon & they all went out for a carvery tea. Fortunately for us the meal wasn’t so good as the meat was quite tough so we got a little yummy parcel brought back to us now our tummies had recovered. The next day we all packed up said goodbye to Dad & Andrew and we headed left out of the marina back onto the canal on a nostalgia trip for mum.

Mum has the snip by Daquiri

Not long after we turned back onto The Coventry Canal we came to Springwood Marina. so at long last we got to met Jan & Andy who are auntie Sally’s auntie & uncle! They’ve heard tales of us all good of course over the course of our journey. We said a quick hello & then moored up further along for the night. The next day we were up & off to tackle the Atherstone locks. At the top we passed a boat who had previously passed us as they were moored up for lunch. We think they were miffed that we got in front of them at the locks as as we arrived the CRT volunteers were just about to go on lunch so the very nice volunteer suggested we got a  system going between us going down only to be told they weren’t helping us as we had no crew! Unusual to meet this attitude on the canals but never mind the nice volunteer helped us down the first 5 locks & wet for a late lunch. We progressed by ourselves down the other 6 with as the volunteer lock keeper described it a boat right up our chuff!! We met Sarah & hubby & doggy on nb Thor at the last lock so they kindly did that one for us. It looked a nice spot at the bottom so we moored up there for a very late lunch – ok so it was probably closer to tea time!

We then went off fro walkies with a spot of bluebell frolicking & geocaching thrown in. Mum was very excited to find this little owl geocache

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It was a really lovely day & mum took a poncy photo of us in the bluebells in the woods.

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As it was such a nice mooring we stayed the night & then cruised the short distance to Polesworth the next day. Here mum was happy as she found not only a small supermarket but a DIY shop that she managed to buy more cable ties at & a fuel funnel that she’d been looking for for a while now. She also made an appointment at the hairdressers & decided to have a major snip to correct the chunk sh’ed cut out of her hair when she got black gloss paint in it. This is our mum looking all posh & stylish. Don’t worry this look won’t last long she’ll soon be back to her normal dishevelled boaty look!

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After mum got back we got 2 surprise visitors uncle Alan & cousin Jake. We had a greatw alkies all together then mum & Uncle Alan went to the pub & the indian while us 3 boyz chilled back at the boat with a few waters & squeaky toys.

The next day we said farewell to uncle Alan & cousin jake & cruised the short distance to Alvecote marina. Having approached it from the opposite direction to last year we are now back on familiar waters. We were moored up next to the car park by nb Sparks with Stuart & Lindsay & their 2 furpals.

We had a pretty good floating market. The weather was not quite as kind to us as the previous year but mum still traded pretty well. She sold loads of bandanas which is a good job seeing as she has just bought 700 as our friend Louise at The Bandana Boutique has closed down. Glove puppets also sold really well & we loved this little chap who could def sneak into our row of glove puppets & not be spotted!!

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We missed our play sessions with Tigs & Squash in the mornings at the Priory but we’ll soon see Squash & Harvey at Burton. But there is a new kid on the block – young Dudley who we reckon will be a fab new playmate. We couldn’t meet him properly as he’d only just had his injections. We like him already though as he’s trotting happily around wearing one of our bandanas so he’s part of the gang already.

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Apparently he’s allowed in the pub which we’re not but judging from this photo of him fast asleep on the table we’re not sure those pub things are that exciting after all!

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The Beast of Bosworth by Cosmo

Mum met up with Helen & Trevor that night who breought boxes & boxes of stock. Goodness knows here it’s all going to go it’s currently all over the bed & the engine room. As long as it keeps away from my favourite snooze spot of the settee I don’t care. We leapt all over Helen & Trevor & went out for a quick walkies with them. I was let off the lead & ran straight back to mum – note all please monumental occurrence!! Mum went out to the pub AGAIN that night.

The next morning mum performed her magic on the stock boxes & soon everything was squirrelled away including now making full use of our roof box. We ended up with a plethora of cardboard so as we set off cruising the first stop was the bins next to the 24hr moorings at Sutton Cheney. As we were unloading our cardboard mum discovered the boat behind on the 24hr mooring spot & the only viable trading spot was just about to move. So we had an impromptu decision to stop there & open up. This also gave mum a chance to work out how to display all the new stock & price it up. We don’t normally open mid week but we sold quite a few things so it was worth doing.

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The next day we cruised right to the top of the canal at Snarestone. We were a bit nervous if our roofbox would fit under the tunnel but it did just phew We turned around at the terminus, came back through the tunnel & moored up. Auntie Sally came to visit that night & mummy went to the pub AGAIN! Here’s us hanging out in front of the tunnel.

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The next day we cruised down to market Bosworth ……. where unbeknownst to us we were to come face to face with our scariest moment ( well mum was to). Mum wandered into market Bosworth itself had a little look round & bought a  few supplies. At night it was all dark when it happened – dur dur dur dur … that’s spooky music – use your imagination!! It was pitch black out & we were ready for our last thing at night cockaleggies so mum opened the doors & at that point let out a blood curdling scream as something big & black & furry moved in the cratch. It shot out under the covers & we shot behind mum to hide. Now it could of been a big pussy cat but we are sure it was actually The Beast of Bosworth – now you think we’re making it up well no we’re not here’s an article about it: The Beast of Bosworth Last spotted by a young chap called Ivor & he said it stalked the banks of the canal!!! Luckily we’re not rich enough to have rump steak on board & we doubt BBQ beef flavour supernoodles will tempt him!! Eventually we came out from behind mum once the coast was clear & ventured out for a jolly good sniff of where the beast had been. We certainly slept with one eye open that night that’s for sure!!

This is what we think the Beast of Bosworth looks like:

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In reality it was probably this:

Black little kitten on a white background

Black little kitten on a white background

But in our doggie nightmares it’s this:

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The next day mummy cruelly left us alone onboard the boat.  I mean the beast could have returned & been hungry for golden retriever rump!!!! She went off to some traction day thing (at least it wasn’t the pub for a change!) & had a train ride & got very excited about a  2pm whistle thing where all the engines tooted together at the same time. We heard it from the boat it woke us up!!

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She came back in the afternoon with auntie Sally & we cruised back to Sutton Wharf & oh yes you guessed it at night the went to the pub AGAIN!!! We moved onto the 24hr moorings on Sunday & had a great days trading there. The local people were very pleased to see & support us. Monday we bid farewell to The Ashby Canal as we started our journey back to The Coventry Canal en route for Alvecote & our first floating market of the year.

We’ve been very lucky as its been a glorious sunny week so perfect for exploring The Ashby Canal. We’ll have to come back & do it again as we never made it to the famous battlefield area but we’re not overnighting in Market Bosworth again with that beast on the loose!!

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Changing Rooms by Daquiri

On our first full day in Coventry after our walkies mum set off to explore the centre of Coventry in the way mum does – by going on a  geocache mission. She was fairly apprehensive after a quick nip in last night it appeared Coventry was fairly run down & rough but today she saw another side to it. Many of the geocaches were hidden in nicer locations & there are many many amazingly wonderful buildings & sots in Coventry. Mum found quite a few geocaches & other than one incident when she was searching for one by a church railings & a homeless man came up & started ferreting through the bin next to her all went smoothly. It wasn’t so much that he was ferreting it was that he got his head & shoulders right inside the bin mum wasn’t sure if he was about to be sick or do a headstand in the bin!

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There was a food market on & mum saw a stand selling rather interesting pies!!! She didn’t bring any back for us though.

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In the afternoon she came back & we all went out together in search of a park for us to have more grass walkies. En route we first found a smaller patch of grass just up some steps near the boat which is a much closer location for last thing at night cockaleggies then we found a nice park so we spent the afternoon walking round there. On the way back mum was very excited to find a Wickes just tucked away round the corner from the boat. She’d been thinking of doing some painting in the boat to brighten it up & this was near enough for carrying tins of paint. So as soon as we were back she was off on a mission & came back with tester pots of paint in all different colours. Soon the boat became a patchwork testing area! She also managed to get a tarpaulin for our new roofbox.

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The next day mum opened up for trading & although the footfall wasn’t great we did sell quite a few things so it was worth opening. On Sunday we moved the boat out of the marina as our 48hrs was up & filled up with water. We had a slight delay setting off after Cosmo found a dead rat that he was running round with in his mouth until mum finally got him to drop it. In the afternoon mum went on one of Ian Jelf’s excellent tours of Coventry after a catch up lunch with a couple of her pals from the Canadian Rocky Mountaineer trip. Mum learnt all about the many elephants around Coventry, where getting sent to Coventry comes from & she was particularly excited to see the Lady Godiva & peeping Tom Clock.

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The next day we bade Coventry farewell & had a very long cruising day as we retraced our route back to Hawkesbury Junction but then continued up the Coventry canal to Marston Junction & then turned right onto the Ashby canal. We went up 27 bridges on here & finally moored at a nice spot at Dadlington which was also very near a road for our pending stock delivery from Helen & Trevor tomorrow.

We had a free day & as it was nice mum started her boat improvements by painting the cratch black

Before:

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After:

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Then it was onto painting the bathroom

Before:

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After:

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She has ordered some beach hut themed things for the bathroom as that will be it’s theme. The bedroom is going to be a dusky pink & mum is getting some of her sunsets done onto canvases so the bedroom will have a sunset theme. That is still work in progress!!!

SENT TO COVENTRY BY COSMO

We stayed a couple of nights at Newbold. Mum was a traitor & went next door onto Kenny the cats boat for tea one night. She was in a happy mood though as she has found her leak (well one of them she has two but one is more important than the other or summat like that!). The day we left Newbold it was forecast to be very very windy oh joy more crashing!! Firstly we filled with water & that was scarey as there were some bins nearby & the rubbish twice flew out of them & hit our boat. Then we moored at a boatyard that mum was inisistent that we bought diesel from as it was cheap. She’s found a new website that lists diesel prices & is obsessed with it. Unfortunately it was shut but not to be deterred mum rang them & the chap nicely said he’d be back in an hour so we waited it out. It was 30p per liter cheaper than others in the area so mum reckons it’s worth waiting for. There was also the fact that the wind had picked up considerably by now & we’d sort of been blown onto the jetty & with a boat moored in front getting off wasn’t going to be easy. Anyway the nice man came & filled us up with bargain diesel at 60p/l & then we had a tactic of getting off the jetty. It involved as the man at the boatyard said  ” I’ll push & you gun it” so he pushed we gunned it & we got off without hitting the boat in front.

We moored up by some woods overnight as mum had booked the boat in the next day to have it’s leak fixed just round the corner. A couple of boaters helped mum pull the boat in against the wind & we bunkered down for the night.

The next day Mum was overjoyed to discover a trading boat selling wine moored a few along form us & came prancing back with a  bottle of blackberry wine – apparently she’s been tasting them at 10am in the morning!!!!!!!!! We think she’s becoming an alocoholic. The next day we set off for Rose narrowboats & after a bit of faffling with the thread on the water filter we got the old one off & a new one on & our leak stopped. We also got our toilet & all our bilge areas pumped out so hopefully we’ll have a mostly dry boat again. We still ave a small leak in the engine area which is still to be solved.but at least the flipping waterpump isn’t going all the time anymore.

We progressed further up the North Oxford canal & found a lovely rural mooring.. It was beautiful weather.. Mum decided summer is here so she has reorganised the boat & all the stock in now pretty much stockpiled around the fire so that’s not going on anytime soon. This has given us more space in our lounge & our cratch back. Mum enjoyed a pleasant night sitting at her little fold down cratch table eating her tea & you’ve guessed it drinking blackberry wine!!

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It was such a pleasant spot we stayed 2 days. We were waiting to meet u with another boater Hilary on nb Willow who we were buying a roof box off. They arrived the following night & a rather large roof box was transferred onto our roof. It’ll be great though as mums hoping to put lots of things in it to give us more room on the boat.

We set off the next day & mum decided as she was going to have to get used to having the roof box in her line of vision she’s have a go at driving the boat a different way. Mum has always had to stand in the arc of the tiller which you shouldn’t do. To stand in front though she was too low. So she dug out our little boaters stool & positioned that inside the doors & stood up high on it. She soon got the hang of driving with the tiller behind her back but she did nearly fall off the stool a couple of times.

We turned off the North Oxford canal after a  teeny weeny stop lock at Hawkesbury Junction & hung a left towards Coventry. As we progressed it was funny to be coming into an urban area again. We’ve actually been rural cruising for quite a long time now & only through smallish towns. The rubbish in the canal started to increase & the people walking along the towpath. We soon knew we were virtually in the city when we had to cruise around a settee floating in the canal & avert our eyes from the couple bonking against a wall at the side of the canal! Daquiri gets told off for doing that to me!!!

Surprisingly as we got nearer things improved. There are a lot of new waterside properties being built & the towpath was all new.

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We moored on rings just outside the basin & mum went down on foot to suss out the moorings. It was fullish well where we wanted to be was but on chatting to a couple of boaters they were moving the next day so we planned to move in then. However, an hour or so later one of the boaters came down & kindly knocked to tell us there was now room for us so we moved that night & got a good position for trading over the weekend. Coventry Basin is actually quite nice with the old warehouses on one side & a few eclectic shops  a cafe on the other.

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We’ll let you know how we got on in Coventry in our next blog…

Travels with Auntie Shirley by Daquiri

After a busy weekend trading we had our last run around the nice field at Foxton & mum got everything shipshape ready for setting off. The weather however didn’t look too promising we could not see far in front of us for the mist

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But soon the sun came out  it started to clear when through the mist like a vision came Auntie Shirley! And she was pulling a suitcase so she must be staying yippee. After we had leapt all over auntie Shirley & her & mum had had a cuppa we got in the queue to go down the locks. Mummy got the boat in the first lock but then auntie Shirley took over the driving so we strapped ourselves into our seatbelts, put our crash helmets on & assumed brace position. Ok maybe a bit of overkill as auntie Shirley is a very good driver but we like to tease her.We made good progress down the locks, turned right at the bottom through 2 swing bridges & moored up for lunch. By now it was a glorious day so mum & auntie Shirley had the first al fresco lunch of the year which was  a Barney boatstew that auntie Shirley had made. We were tied up outside. We charged at 2 people walking past & Cosmo partly strangled himself & was promptly sick right next to mum & auntie Shirley eating their lunch. It was just Cosmos way of providing his own Cosmo biscuitstew I reckon!

After lunch we cruised into Market Harborough. The basin looked very nice but we turned there & moored on the approach so we had some towpath. Mum & auntie Shirley stocked up on supplies & went out for  a lovely meal on the waterfront.

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The next day we were up & at em early as we had a long cruise ahead. Back to the bottom of the locks, up the ten staircase locks & then we made it all the way to Crick just pulling in as light was dimming. The next morning we went for a run round our favourite field there & then we were off through Crick tunnel, down Watford staircase locks, through Braunston tunnel & its misty entrance & down Braunston locks which were having their gates painted as we passed through. Phew!

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Then after a quick pit stop where we moored next to nb Comfortably numb with Richard & Ruth we were off again. Round the corner & we hung a right onto new waters again as we started to head up the North Oxford canal towards Rugby. After navigating a  very tight spot between a moored boat & a boat on the waterpoint at an angle we proceeded through the early evening sunshine on the lookout for fellow new roving trader Jackie who we’d agreed to meet. Jackie has just set up offering humanist funeral & wedding services. We soon spotted Jackie just past the pub before Hilmorton locks & moored up behind her. They lit the BBQ & had a lovely evening sitting out. Feels like summer is on it’s way.

The next morning was the last of our mission cruising as we cruised down the 3 Hilmorton locks & approached Rugby where auntie Shirley would catch her train home. We had to go a bit past where we’d aimed to moor at Brownsover as it was full. Just as we were approaching Newbold we spotted our pal Dave on nb Hideaway. As luck would have it the boat behind him just set off as we were approaching so we moored right next to Dave & Kenny his cat thing. Mum had a last lunch with auntie Shirley in the pub & Dave & friends joined us. Auntie Shirley caught a taxi to the station  so we waved our paws goodbye and took off our seatbelts & crash helmets!!! Mum came back to the boat to catch up on a few emails & messages & then off she went out AGAIN to the pub AGAIN this time with uncle Alan & cousin Jake who had come to visit. Finally she stopped boozing & came back & we all had an early night with us regaining our sofa back. We’ve got a day stationary now so we can catch up on our snoozing & walking & we might try & chase Kenny next door if we see him & we can be bothered- all this moving around sure takes it out of you. We’ve done 36 locks & about 50 miles in 3.5 days super cruisers are we!