Just Bobbing Along….

Market Bosworth

The Sun is Shining

The sun is shining on Market Bosworth today and we are getting ready to walk into town. As George said today is the day of King Richards funeral cortege so there are many celebrations going on which should be great fun……but he did fail to mention what he is most looking forward to so I will tell you. The landlady of ” The Dixie Arms ” told us that she will be opening the bar in the cellar and that the staff will be dressed as serving wenches, of course it will upset him if they all turn out to be men. We will be putting our drunken post on this evening unless we are too drunk of course.

Looking forward to a funeral!

Market Bosworth is preparing for tomorrow’s funeral cortege when the mortal remains of King Richard III will pass through the town from where he was slain in 1485 to his final resting place in Leicester. Estimates vary but the local businesses are expecting up to 10,000 visitors, which seems like a lot but this event is unprecedented so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Regardless of the final visitor tally, the weather looks favourable, the monthly farmers market is on, medieval re-enactments are planned, there are at least two hog roasts and the pubs are stocked with real ales, some of them brewed for the occasion. The battlefield line is in steam this weekend so all in all it promises to be a good day out.

Post with pictures tomorrow.

Front Page News

The gale force winds continued throughout the night, keeping Sue awake until 3am, although she claims that my snoring didn’t help either! We had a late start as a result but once showered and dressed, we were heading up the hill to Market Bosworth where we planned to have lunch. Before we popped into the Dixie Arms, we spotted the current copy of the local community magazine, Aspect featuring a picture of boats, including Caxton, in the marina on its front cover.






We had a lovely lunch, then did a bit of shopping in the butcher shop and at the Co-op before returning to Caxton. The wind had dropped but as the sun sank, so did the air temperature and we were glad to get back to the boat.

Happy New Year!

We’re never that bothered about “seeing the New Year in” and this year was no exception. We turned in at about 11pm last night and didn’t stir until 7am this morning. After a late breakfast, we got the walking boots on and took a walk along the towpath to inspect the state of the ice. I also sent a round robin email to other moorers at Bosworth marina to check on the ice there too. We had a good walk and used the time to make some “Happy New Year” calls since there was no mobile service on board Caxton. On returning to the boat, I read replies from Ned, Jane and Trevor who all reported that the marina was free from ice.
Well it was two o’clock and we had stayed 22 hours on a one hour mooring so with no excuse to overstay any longer, we untied and set off for Market Bosworth. We had seen a few boats on the move so despite the fact that there were still sheets of ice floating around, we were confident that our trip home would take less than ninety minutes. The journey was easy despite it being a blustery one. Our entry into the marina was difficult with the wind blowing left to right. We traversed the open space at full speed with Caxton leaning at about twenty degrees from normal but soon our home berth was visible. With a bit of judicious work of the throttle and bow thruster, we were soon at ninety degrees to the wind which nullified its effect, allowing us to glide alongside our pontoon and tie up.
So that was that, our Christmas cruise was over, although we intend to remain on board until Sunday before returning home prior to me going back to work on Monday.

Boxing day before the storm

The fire had stayed in overnight so the inside of Caxton was filled with a gentle heat. The Met office had issued a yellow weather warning but admitted that they weren’t sure where snow might fall or even how much there might be – what use is that? Market Bosworth sat under blue skies so we decided to untie and venture out. Except for the boat that appeared behind us minutes after we had emerged from the marina, we saw nothing else on the move. The boat behind pulled over at Sutton Cheney, probably for the services and we were alone again, except for those trying to walk off the excesses of Christmas Day.
We pulled over at “Duck Corner” near Stoke Golding and I tried to get warm in front of the fire. Stupidly, I had not started the journey with enough layers of clothing on and despite the fact that I eventually added a big coat, a hat and gloves to my heavy golf jumper it was too late, I was chilled to the marrow!
The rain started within the hour, heavy and noisy but I didn’t care because the fire was doing a great job of thawing me out. The covers were all secure front and back and then I remembered that I hadn’t set up the satellite dish – Oh bugger! Eventually, the noise of the rain subsided so I decided to venture out into the cold, except that the rain hadn’t stopped, it had turned to snow – double bugger! Eventually, I did get out and made a hasty, half-hearted attempt at aligning the dish, getting a weak but watchable signal. After an hour, the signal went, probably due to the wind and rain which continued to batter us. Fortunately, I had swapped the television a couple of weeks ago so we had DVD capabilities and a few films that we hadn’t watched and that was it, we just dossed in front of the fire for the evening, listening to the storm and wondering what the landscape would look like in the morning.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I don’t know why I sleep as well as I do on a boat, maybe it’s the movement or the lack of light or the quietness, maybe it’s knowing that there is no work to go to or just a combination of all of those factors but whatever the reason, I didn’t wake up until almost eight o’clock today. The kettle went on and the heating went on before we drank coffee and opened our presents in bed. It was half past nine when we eventually tumbled out of bed before getting showered and dressed. Poor old neglected Caxton needs to be warmed up and dried out so we lit the fire and wiped up the condensation before walking up the hill to Market Bosworth. Sadly, the only establishments open were the pubs so we interrupted our walk with a visit to the Red Lion and the Dixie Arms before returning to the marina around half past one. Having phoned the various family members where we had mobile reception, we clambered back on board Caxton which was very toasty warm inside.
Sue prepared Christmas dinner and then we watched the Queen’s speech before settling down for the rest of the day.
Caxton is gradually coming back to life, the cupboard doors are shrinking back to normal and closing again, by tomorrow I expect that it will be as if we have never been away.
Tomorrow we are hoping to start our winter voyage with a short hop to Stoke Golding which is only a couple of hours away. We’re not too fussed about where we end up, we have two large boxes of fruit & veg thanks to my friend, Ronnie McCarten and enough coal and logs to see us through a nuclear winter so we don’t care about anything!
We also have the benefit of having Olly on board, Olly was made by my mum and given to Sue and he now travels everywhere with us.

Olly is guarding the Christmas Tree

Olly is guarding the Christmas Tree


Winter Escape

We’re back!
We returned to life on Caxton today after two months of leading a land based nomadic lifestyle. Work has dictated that I have had to spend a lot of time in Yorkshire doing what I do best, commissioning a banana ripening centre – not the most common of activities but it pays the mortgage!
Anyway, after finishing work today, I returned home to collect Sue and a boot full of essentials before setting off for Market Bosworth. We paid a visit to Sue’s mum on the way and then we were there, back on board and ready for an eleven day break afloat. We have no hard and fast plans so watch this space!

So much to do here

One of the principal reasons for moving to Market Bosworth was that we would have more to do than when we were at Braunston. This weekend kind of confirmed that we had done the right thing. We made our way to Bosworth Marina on Thursday evening as usual and settled in for the evening, the continuing warm weather makes one forget that autumn is upon us but the early sunset is a stark reminder that we are just ten weeks away from the shortest day of the year!
I went to work on Friday and left Sue to her own devices on what turned out to be an absolutely beautiful day. By the time I returned to Caxton, Sue had been up to town and shopped for dinner. The leg of lamb and the fresh veg made for an excellent meal eaten out on the front deck for maybe the last time this year.
It was a bit dull on Saturday morning so after a lazy start we walked up to town and paid a visit to the butcher, the fruit shop, the newsagent and then the bar of the Red Lion for a light refreshment. After we had returned to the boat we decided to drive the short distance to nearby Coalville and have a look around. I’ve never been to the town before and it’s been a few years since Sue has visited but it was a worthwhile trip because there is a good variety of shops there, plenty of parking and, most importantly, a Wetherspoons! After a good wander around, we drove back to the marina and decided to go out for a cruise. It was almost five o’clock when we emerged on to the cut and headed off in a northerthly direction. The sun was bright but was being dragged to the horizon like a giant circular kite being pulled in by a child after a day’s play. The journey was lovely, the sinking sun casting long shadows and picking out the yellow and orange leaves still clinging to the trees, the green leaves trying to convince us that winter is still a long way off. We encountered no boats on the way and were amazed to find the visitor moorings at Shackerstone completely empty. We tied up and then enjoyed the lamb chops that we had bought earlier in the day accompanied by the vegetables from the local fruit and veg shop.
It was misty when we awoke on Sunday morning so we decided to walk to the station at Shackerstone and have a bite to eat. The moorings to the north of the village bridge were almost empty but we noticed that our old friend Jim was tied up there so we resolved to drag him to the pub on our return.
We spent an hour at the station with a light lunch thrown in for good measure but by the time we reached the canal again, Jim had gone.
We returned to Caxton, cast off and headed to the winding hole before starting our return journey. We pretty much had the canal to ourselves again as we made our way back in the direction of Market Bosworth on yet another unseasonably lovely day. We found Jim moored between Congerstone and Market Bosworth, slowed, gave him a bottle of beer and had a chat. Not quite like going to the pub but the next best thing. We’ve made a tentative arrangement to meet in a couple of weeks time but we’ll have to see how that works out. Eventually we reached bridge 42 and pulled on to the water point and filled the water tank before we chugged into the marina and found our berth.
We decided to have another night on board so we walked up the hill to town and had dinner at the Red Lion. It was dark when we made our way homeward down the hill but we were soon in the comfort of the lounge of Caxton where we relaxed and watched some telly in front of the fire which was burning some Irish turf.

Settling in at Market Bosworth

We took the opportunity to visit the top of the Ashby a couple of weeks ago when we made our first trip out of Bosworth marina. Friday saw us easing out on to the cut and making our way to Shackerstone. After mooring near the aqueduct, we took a walk to the village and had a pre-dinner drink in the Rising Sun. We had passed by narrowboats Billie and Mister Pip tied up before the aqueduct so it came as no surprise to find their respective captains, Jim and Phil in the pub. We joined them for half an hour of catching up and talking nonsense before wandering back to Caxton for something to eat.
We got up and ready on yet another warm and sunny Saturday, Jim and Phil passed us as we were untying the ropes, we fell in behind them and headed for Snarestone. It really was a beautiful day for cruising, we took our time and gradually lost sight of the other two boats. Eventually we reached the tunnel and with nothing coming, entered the darkness. Emerging into the light we soon passed Jim who had turned and was now heading back through the tunnel, eager to claim a mooring close to the pub – a man on a mission! Phil was topping “Mister Pip” up with water when we reached the winding hole. We turned and moored up for the day in a beautiful sunny spot. We walked to the end of the navigation to inspect the extension work but some heras fencing protected the site so were unable to see where the canal now ends. We decided to inspect The Globe at Snarestone instead so walked along the towpath to the tunnel and then made our way up to the village. Passing through the village recreation ground, we saw the groundskeeper gassing moles with his car exhaust fumes. Very strange! Needless to say, Jim and Phil were settled in the bar by the time we reached the pub. We passed the time of day with them but went out to the garden soon after, the bar being warm and a bit noisy.
The groundskeeper was behaving more conventionally, cutting the grass as we passed by on our way back to Caxton a while later. Apart from eating our evening meal, we did nothing but laze around for the rest of the day.
Sunday dawned fair again so we had breakfast and then set off on our return journey. Through the tunnel and into the smell of bacon cooking, Jim was sorting his breakfast out too! Leaving Snarestone behind, we plodded back to the marina in the September sunshine. The wind had picked up by the time we reached Market Bosworth but the generous space in the marina meant that we slid on to our berth with ease. We were having such a good time that we decided to stay another night so we started with a walk up to town where we wandered around for a while before strolling back to Caxton in the early evening.
After almost a fortnight, we came back to Caxton on Thursday afternoon with the intention of spending the weekend in the marina. I went to work on Friday while Sue cleaned the inside of Caxton from end to end. After dinner we climbed the hill to town and did some exploring before popping in to the Dixie Arms for a refreshment.
Saturday seemed to be a busy day but in reality we just pottered around. We went for water but had to wait while nb Chardonnay filled their tank first. I waited with Caxton while Sue chatted with the crew, a couple who spend their summers here boating and their winters in New Zealand, very nice. By the time we had sorted ourselves out it was time for lunch, after which we walked into town again. The fabulous weather was still with us which made for a pleasant afternoon meandering around. It’s thirsty work of course so we sat outside the Black Horse with a (rather expensive) drink and watched the world go by for a while. On returning to Caxton, our thoughts had turned to dinner and eventually we decided to try the Italian restaurant at the Dixie Arms, so after a quick phone call our table was booked. It was still warm and sunny at five o’clock when we emerged on to the back deck and chatted to some of our new neighbours. One of them, who introduced himself as Pete Bytheway (strange surname ha ha!), took up our offer of a cold beer and we were soon joined by his wife, Pam who we quickly furnished with a glass of wine. Pete and Pam own nb Seventh Heaven which is about five berths away from ours. We spent the next hour or so, chatting and laughing together in the evening sun. We eventually had to say goodbye because we had our table booked for seven o’clock. It was great to meet Pete and Pam and we look forward to spending more time with them soon.
Our meal was excellent, the atmosphere was relaxed and the service was lovely. We will definitely be returning to that restaurant in future. It was half past nine when we got back on board and not too much later when we turned in for the night- well it had been an extremely busy day after all!
We didn’t get up until nine o’clock but we were soon ready and had breakfast before heading uptown to the monthly farmer’s market. Sue bought a piece of lamb as we wandered around but despite the sunshine and the fact that it was even warmer than the day before, we resisted the charms of the various hostelries that the town offers and skipped cold refreshments, electing instead to take coffee in the courtyard.
We then returned to the marina where we gathered our things and went home, we could have stayed longer but unfortunately there are too many jobs to be done around the house and we have spent so much time away from it this summer that we just have to start tackling them.

Shackerstone Festival

Having settled into our new berth, we went out exploring on Saturday. We called in at Market Bosworth station for a cup of tea before climbing the hill to the town itself, we wanted to check on the train timetable for Sunday when we intended to visit the Shackerstone family festival. In the station car park was an exceptional example of the Mk 1 version of my favourite car, the Austin Healey 3000.

Mk1 Austin Healey 3000

Mk1 Austin Healey 3000

I don’t profess to be an expert or expect to be able to own one but the 3000 is the car that does it for me!

I’m still recovering so after a walk to town and back we just settled down and watched a bit of television before turning in for the night.

It was already sunny when we awoke on Sunday morning, we got ourselves ready and walked to the station where we caught the train, first to Shenton and then back to Shackerstone some forty five minutes later. Working boats lined the canal, many of them Braunston Rally regulars but quite a few that were new to us. Once we were in the field where the festival was being held, we wandered around and took some pictures. Some examples are posted here, the full collection can be found in the photo album here.


Cowburn & Cowpar “Swift”

GWR 3803 provided the service all weekend.

GWR 3803 provided the service all weekend.

I used to work on one of these about 35 years ago!

I used to work on one of these about 35 years ago!

Military version of the Austin Load Star

Military version of the Austin Load Star

My first car was a Mk1 Capri, it didn't look like this though!

My first car was a Mk1 Capri, it didn’t look like this though!

What a beauty, this fine Stingray turned a few heads.

What a beauty, this fine Stingray turned a few heads.

The first air display of the day came in the form of a Spitfire which performed magnificently overhead for five minutes or more before zooming off into the distance. We did wander into the area where the traction engines were but the smoke was everywhere so we turned around and made our way back to the station. We made our way back to Caxton where we settled down in the cratch where we watched the second air display, The Aerostars in their YAK aerobatic planes. We had a perfect view across the marina and it really was an entertaining routine.

Formation loop

Formation loop

Loop complete

Loop complete

Perfect view

Perfect view

And that was it, the show was over, not just the air display but our holiday as well. We quietly got our stuff together and packed it away in the car before locking Caxton up and driving home (for a few days anyway!)


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All Time:
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