We’ve moored both our boats in Braunston marina in the past so we are very familiar with the area. After a peaceful night moored in the pound between locks two and three, we got up and caught the bus to Daventry where, after having breakfast in Wetherspoons, we did some grocery shopping in the local supermarkets while dodging some heavy downpours.
On Sunday morning I got up early, made some coffee and got back in bed, there was nothing remarkable in that but an hour and a half later, Sue got up and couldn’t walk through the boat. I got up when I heard her proclaim that the boat was sitting at an angle unlike any that she had ever known before and I was faced with something resembling the crazy house at a funfair. Caxton has a cross bed so we hadn’t noticed that we were listing heavily to starboard. Had we been in our previous boat with its in-line bed we would have either rolled to the wall or out on to the floor. We got dressed quickly and climbed outside to see that all of the boats moored by us were listing in a similar fashion to ourselves. The water level in the pound was down by more than a foot so we grabbed a couple of windlasses and hurried up to the lock above us. Another boater was already there running water through the lock and into the pound but being cautious about draining the pound above. There were already boats trying to ascend and descend the flight so there was no point in us trying to run more water down, the normal lock operation would eventually take care of the water levels. It was impossible to know the cause of the draining of the pound but we knew that it had been quite sudden. On returning to the boat we decided to untie and move down below the bottom lock even if that meant that we wouldn’t be able to find another mooring in the Braunston area. The water level in our pound had risen but it was still lower than normal; this made for slow progress to the next lock but we managed it and as we worked the lock we could see that the top lock gates were leaking badly, it looked like the paddles weren’t closed properly as well as the usual leaks from the gates.
Thankfully, we found a space just beyond the private entrance to the marina, the ring spacing wasn’t great but it was good enough for us. An hour or so after we had tied up, a small narrowboat pulled into the gap that we had left behind us. Sue was in the kitchen when she heard a cry for help, the boater had fallen in while trying to secure his stern line. I went to try and help pull him out but he was struggling to get his leg up on to the bank. Fortunately, Caxton has a step built into the rudder and another on the stern just below the waterline. I was then able to help him back on to dry land. Sue, meanwhile had managed to stop another narrowboat which was about to pass and thus prevented the unsecured boat from moving around and endangering the man overboard. Another boater had also arrived and grabbed the centre line of the rogue vessel, he suggested to the half drenched skipper that he should get inside and change into dry clothing while we secured the boat. It turned out that the soggy steerer was only moving the boat for someone else, didn’t have any other clothing but was due to be picked up in a few minutes. After he had sorted his ropes out, he realised that despite everything that had happened, he had managed to keep his cigarette firmly clamped between his lips!
Our new mooring has a limit of 48 hours so we had our two days there before moving on a little way on Tuesday, carrying out our services and then finding another 48 hour mooring opposite the Boathouse pub.
Unfortunately Sue had aggravated the painful combination of a hip and back injury, brought on we think, by the heavy gates and paddles on some of the Braunston locks. This meant that from Sunday she was pretty much resting while I used the time to visit the two chandlers shops, the butcher and the local convenience store. There was some improvement by Tuesday when we walked to the Boathouse and had lunch but she was still suffering so it was a matter of continuing to take things as easy as possible while still trying to keep active.
Wednesday was spent in much the same way as our other days in the area with short walks to shops being the order of the day. We had to move again on thursday and because we wanted to reach Hillmorton, we were up and away just before eight o’clock.