Back to Newbury – 17th August 2019

At last the rain had abated when we got up this morning. Everything felt clean and fresh but still very wet. We had our adieus with Dave, Janet and Toby from NB Ella and headed out of Hungerford towards Newbury.

So six hours of cruising with ten locks and one swing bridge in lovely sunshine.

There is never any getting use to the stunning scenery around us all the time. You need to keep pinching yourself about your surroundings and not get numb to it.

We were very much hoping that we would be able to see the draught horse at Kintbury that does not occur every day of the week. There was disappointment when we missed them on the way to Bristol but when we saw them today it was a buzz for us. This is really how the canals functioned for 150 years before marine engines came on board.

Every boat horse needed a stall in a stable at each end of every day’s journey, for a hot tired horse cannot be put out in a cold field for the night, so every regular stopping place, whether warehouse, wharf or canalside pub had to be equipped with stabling. Larger establishments employed ostlers to look after the change horses and sick horses, and they would keep the stable mucked out and ready for use for their boating customers. A boat horse could wear out a set of shoes in four to six weeks so an army of blacksmiths had to be on hand as well to keep the industry running.

The last working canal boat horse on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal retired in 1960.

There was the occasional perfectly satisfactory canalside home.

Out off all the homes we saw today, this was our pick. The garden looks a handful but the result is perfection.

Today is the fourth day of the second Ashes Test at Lords so Fraser was all miked up listening in on the iphone. As a wicket was lost he would relay this information back to Di by sign language keeping her abreast of current play.

We pulled into Newbury at 4.00pm and pulled up abreast of another boat called Bella Blu that we have been shadowing for the last week. We joined them down at the Lock, Stoke and Barrel pub for about an hour over a drink before returning to the boat and sorting ourselves out after a long day.

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