Friday 1st September – Braunston to Brinklow Marina

We had four to five hours of cruising to do today to reach our goal of Coventry tomorrow evening. The purpose for the deadline is that we want to be able to drop Marlene and Wolfgang off at the bus station in Coventry so that they can go to Standsted airport to catch their flight back to Bremen.

Another great but coolish morning with lots of blue sky. We set cruising at 9.30am after our usual leisurely breakfast of cereal, toast and coffee and headed to the facilities first. Each day we have set tasks that need to be done on the boat. The first is to fill up water from the water points which are at facility depots for canal boats along the canals. There is also the ability to drop off your rubbish and then there is another task – one which we have not really been exposed to before.

In the past when we have hired boats we have always had large “pooh” tanks under the bathroom which hold approximately two weeks of waste. When the boats get back to base the tanks are pumped out. With nb Lucy we actually had to do the pump outs ourselves which we were able to do at the marinas along the way. It usually cost us about £15 each time but small price to pay for the comforts of an onboard ablution block. All hire boats have this system. Owner boats can have this system plus another one called cassettes. The latter system is what is on Ange De L’Leau.

So, what is a cassette system. Basically it is a glorified chamber pot. Usually a cassette will last you two days with two people but we are four so each day some one has to do the “walk of shame”!!! In this case the boys have been delegated this job as the cassettes get a bit too heavy for the girls. The girls do a trade off by doing the rubbish and the water.

We have three cassettes altogether so providing we pass a facility every few days we are fine. Thought you might want to know some of the more delicacies of narrow boating!!!

We had a set of four locks to do at Hillmorton which are a set of very busy locks. They were telling us that they had the busiest day ever this year with 147 boats in one day. Pleased we were not there to experience the queues!!!

We have passed many new marinas plus many being built and they are huge. Not sure if the canal system is going to be able to accommodate all these boats. Very rarely does a new canal get opened and when we say get opened we mean re-opened. There use to be over 4,000 miles of canals in the hey day of canal mania but there are only 2,000 miles now as many were abandoned. So it is these canals that they are re-opening but it is a very expensive undertaking. Often when they redid the canals and fix up the aqueducts, bridges, tunnels and locks they need to leave it to settle for three to five years. The purpose of this is to stabilize the banks and give the plants and trees time to grow. There is a lot of water movement in canals and erosion is an issue particularly on newly re-opened canals.

At the Hillmorton locks we stopped at this great little café for a substantial lunch and coffee. Hopefully tonight we will need only a light supper. None of us are burning that many calories at present so need to limit our food intake. We found this a problem last year on Lucy so we took to towpath walking. Something we will start in the next day or two.

They were doing some repairs at the locks and they had one closed off and emptied of water and were working on the gates. We wandered over and were really fascinated to see an empty lock and the brick work below water line as well as some of the bank paddles which you never see. We couldn’t actually see the bank paddles but the workers offered to take a photo for us which was very generous of them as they understood it was something very special for us. We know, we can see you rolling your eyes!!!!

We then continued on to Rugby where of course the game was founded 🏉. We dropped off to the local Tesco for some shopping and then back on the cut for the last hour of so.

We found it a little difficult to find a decent mooring tonight but after a further hour cruising we hit pay dirt. Di and Marlene took the opportunity to make an apple and blackberry crumble for dessert tonight. The blackberrys are courtesy of the wild bushes that are growing along the edge of the canal in prolific numbers at this time of the year. We are not going to vouch for the taste but we gave it a go!


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