If you’re a regular reader, you’ll realise that we’re just winding down now and making the most of the mild weather by dawdling up and down the Ashby Canal.
On Friday, we walked to the Globe at Snarestone and had lunch there which was excellent as usual. After lunch we walked back to the boat and then carried on along the restored section of canal to what is now the new terminus. On returning to the service area, we saw that nb Sonia Louise was moored up behind Caxton so we said hello and invited our friends, Martin and Caroline for a drink.
We had a good catch up over a couple of glasses of wine on board Caxton before retiring for the evening. On Saturday morning I helped Martin make some adjustments to the Mastervolt system on Sonia Louise before Sue joined us for coffee. Having stayed for the maximum 48 hours on the visitor moorings, we left and made our way to Snarestone tunnel where I was propositioned by Sue who suggested that if we tied up south of the tunnel, she would buy lunch at the Globe. Never one to pass up the chance of a visit to a pub or indeed a free lunch, I pulled Caxton in at the earliest opportunity and so we found ourselves back in the Globe having lunch. We were soon joined by Martin and Caroline who expressed some surprise at our lack of progress but as soon as we had eaten, we were on our way again.
We moored at Shackerstone for the evening and I paid a short visit to the Rising Sun for a couple of pints.
Sunday morning dawned and we were off again, this time bound for Market Bosworth where we tied on the visitor moorings. Martin and Caroline passed us a while later as they returned to their mooring in Bosworth marina and a short while after we saw Treena and Stuart on nb Carpe Diem. Carpe Diem was moored next to us in Hinckley when we bought Phoenix III and our paths have crossed many times over the years.
Our next port of call was the marina cafe where we had a cream tea before walking up to town. The 1804 cafe is a superb addition to the marina facilities and they are lucky that they have their own pastry chef who lives on a boat there. She happens to be the partner of my old friend, Daz who we know from Trinity and who also moors in Bosworth now.
We caught up with Treena & Stuart before we went to Market Bosworth and had a bloody good laugh with them, they really are a smashing couple.
On Monday we walked into town and re- aquatinted ourselves with the Dixie Arms where we had lunch and then did a bit of shopping in the local fruit shop and Co-op.
We were up relatively early on Tuesday and went into the marina where we filled up with diesel and bought a couple of bags of coal before setting off again.
Our next stop was Sutton Cheney wharf where we serviced the boat and then carried on to duck bend between Dadlington and Stoke Golding. On arrival, we bumped into yet another of our old friends, Jim Redhead on nb Billie. Jim is an artist who specialises in oil paints and we haven’t seen him since we left in early May so it was good to catch up with him after all of these months.
While I was chewing the fat with Jim, Sue was booking a table at the Dog & Hedgehog at Dadlington. It’s a ten minute walk from the canal to the D&H and as we reached the pub we met our friend Liz who is, or rather was, the postmistress at Stoke Golding. Sadly, the post office was robbed last monday and Liz was assaulted in the process. We were pleased to see that she was none the worse for the ordeal, however she has resigned her post and the P.O. remains closed.
Dinner was excellent as usual and our hosts were as charming as usual, so much so that Sue declared that she would buy lunch the following day. Therefore, on Wednesday, we walked back up the hill and had lunch at the Dog & Hedgehog.
Other than that, we have watched boats struggle in the high winds as well as suffering two boats as they collided with us as they either lost control of their steering or failed to judge the mooring space available.
A couple of lazy days were spent at Market Bosworth, we only managed one walk up to town but we did manage to catch up with Chris Hubbard, the manager at Bosworth marina. On Wednesday we decided to move on a bit further, this time getting as far as Shackerstone, where we tied on the deserted visitor moorings.
Following the usual pattern, we showered and had lunch before venturing out to the preserved station, home of the Battlefield line heritage railway.
There is a Victorian tea room on the platform so of course we had to pop in and have a cuppa before we returned to the boat and battened down the hatches, ready for the forecast wind and rain to arrive. The rain arrived at around seven o’clock and the wind speed built up steadily after that. By the time we were ready for bed, the noise of the wind blowing through the surrounding trees was terrific, so much so that Sue was unable to get to sleep until after two (I was out like a light within ten minutes though!).
There were more high winds forecast for Thursday but when I went outside just after eight o’clock to check that everything was intact and where it should be, it didn’t seem too bad at all. Just over an hour later, we set off again and made the trip along the last part of the Ashby canal to Snarestone. It was a quiet journey and we met only two boats travelling in the opposite direction along the way. The phantom leaf ball intervened a few times in some of the wooded areas around Gopsall but it didn’t hold us up at all. Snarestone tunnel seems quite tame after Blisworth and Braunston, despite the fact that it has a bend in it and a low roof caused by mining subsidence.
On reaching the end, we again found the visitor moorings deserted so we headed for the service block at the end and did the necessary. By now the wind was really picking up again but for once it was a good thing because after reversing from the services, I brought Caxton to a halt and just let the wind blow the bow into the winding hole. Having let the wind do most of the work, it was simple enough to complete the manoeuvre and tie up at the bridge end of the moorings.
After lunch, Sue walked back to the canal shop and paid for membership of the Ashby Canal Association. We’ll go and inspect the restoration development on Friday when the strong north westerly wind has dropped.
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.