Les Lobbs Diary
Soon be Xmas! Lovely pic of the foxes innit.
04.00 - We're off to Mum's shortly, to meet the fencing chap there at 08.00 and then, after lunch, I've got an appt with a
surgeon at Tivvy hospital, about my hernia.
<<< I can't watch this clip without laughing
Just got back from Blackpool, never again!
On the seafront I saw a guy and woman having a shouting
match until the woman smacked the guy in the head and
they started fighting. Then a copper turned up but instead of
trying to calm things down he starts hitting the guy with his
baton, in the end the guy gets the baton off the copper and
starts hitting him AND his wife!
Then this crocodile turned up and stole all the sausages!.
17.00 - Fencing job underway and Doc says hernia op
will be at Exeter, Sept/Oct, so we can float off till
06.30 - A bright start but there's rain forecast, just hope it stays dry until the fencers have finished. Nothing planned this
morning but this afternoon we'll pop over to see the fencing chap. Julie took Alex,10yrs, to see a young baby, he said "he
looks just like you Mum", Ju said "what do you mean?" , Alex replied "he's got fat arms like yours".
A recovery truck arrived last night with a car on top and a caravan behind, they sited the caravan and took the car to a
local garage. A rotten way to start your holiday but Dawn's offered to take them to the shops this morning while we still
have the car.
After years of research, scientists have discovered what makes women happy ------- Nothing.
18.30 - Bit drizzly now, but the fencers have cracked on and should have it sorted by tomorrow; that means staying here
another night, but there's no rush. Dawn's getting Chinese on her way back from Ju's, so better get the plates ready.
04.30 - This morning Dawn is going over to Julie's to take Alex to school and I'll make use of Julie's printer while we are
there. I usually print out this drivel and send Mum a copy when we are travelling around, so it will be easier to print out
last month's while we are here. The site is still not very full; it's only £6 a night which, compared to a lot of CLs that are
charging £10 and upwards, is very reasonable. It's on a cider farm and has a shower block and washing machines (token)
etc. and it's just off the M5, making it a good stopping point on the way to Devon/Cornwall.
08.30 - The fence is all finished at Mum's and very smart it
We left Taunton at 03.00 this morning and had a good trip
up here, apart from a bit of drizzle and a detour through
Tewkesbury, because J8/J9 was closed on the M5.
Getting here just before six we got our heads down for a
nap, zzzzs still coming from t'other end of the van.
17.30 - Crew's been beavering away and has got the boat
more or less sorted. We had a hiccup with the new spin
dryer, as it didn't like the boat's small inverter; fortunately I
had a spare 1kw inverter on the van, as you do, and I've
wired that in. Fingers crossed that's a problem solved, now
I've got to print a sign to go below the "Blankets for Sale"
one saying "Laundry done here".
05.00 - Looks like a lovely morning, with a forecast of a few good days to come. Housekeeping made a cover for the dryer
out of an old pair of the kid's curtains; got Liverpool FC all over them. We should be setting off this morning and stopping
at Rugeley to top up the cupboards and fridge. Our destination is Peterborough on the river Nene, for the middle of
August, so a slow gentle cruise methinks.
15.00 - Rugeley
We left just after ten and arrived here just before one, a very pleasant cruise. We had to queue at the locks but the sun
brings out the best in most people and there was no ill temper. Often people are in a hurry, lawd knows why, and they
don't like being held up while boats in front of them use the locks; these are usually the same ones who don't go to help
others lock through. Housekeeping has already emptied the shelves of bargains at Aldi and has now gone to scour
Morrison's for some more; spect she'll find a charity shop somewhere, just hope they haven't got any wool, we're being
buried with the stuff. Lots of interest in the blankets, our stock is now at six, but no sales yet.
05.00 - Twas a lovely evening yesterday and we were
enjoying a glass of wine on the aft deck when BOOM, a huge
explosion shook the place followed by loads of black smoke
coming from the power station. All the burglar alarms started
ringing and there was a roaring noise from the power
station, followed soon after by fire engine sirens; a local
chap walking past said "oh aye, the power station's blown
We were planning on staying here another day, but I'll see
what the crew wants to do.
14.00 - Handsacre
The fridge takes a lot out of the batteries in this hot weather, so we've come another 4 miles past the Loo Factory at
Armitage and have found a shady spot. Under 2 hours run, but tis enough to boost the batteries. Lot's of boats on the
move this weekend, because of the sun I suppose and it is July.
05.00 - I had a chat yesterday with an old chap walking
his dog, he'd worked the boats for fifty years. He gave me
the history of the leather trade in Rugeley, pointing out
the building where the hides were unloaded from the
boats and treated before being transported by horse and
cart to another tall building, now up for sale. The
prepared hides were hoisted up to the top floor where
they were cut into boots, shoes etc. and then sent to the
second level for the sewing and fabrication before being
stored at ground level ready for loading onto the boats.
He showed me the two iron rings set into the building
where he moored the boat for loading. I could listen to
people like him for ages, they are both proud of their
history and sad for its passing.
Coventry Canal, Fradley B90
Another short hop this morning, 5.5miles and 3 locks.
The sun was getting some power in it when we got to
Fradley, so when I spotted this place I pulled in, much
to the crews annoyance as she had just put some bread
under the grill. The rhododendrons are going over now,
with just a few still in bloom, but the honeysuckle is
showing itself in the hedgerows.
17.00 - Someone just tapped on t'roof and, as the crew
was in the shower, I stuck my head out thinking it was
someone for a blanket, well you would on a day like
this. There stood a chap from Waterways World
magazine armed with a camera, wanting to know
where I'd got my mooring hooks from. I knew I should
have patented the damn things; just a lightweight pry
bar with the end cut off and welded onto a standard
hook but, as I have a job bending, it means I can take
them out without disturbing the crew (I'm thoughtful like
that) and also means the crew does not have to kneel in
wet grass or dog poo when she uses them.
18.00 - Me and my mouth, saying how daft it was, hoping to
sell blankets on the hottest day of the year ...... Dawn's just
04.00 - Setting off shortly, to try and avoid the mid day sun
and find a sheltered spot somewhere to spend the day.
14.30 - I found us a nice mooring in the woods, just before
Hopwas village. We pulled in at 07.25 and it was getting hot
then; if we had carried on we would have had to go
through Tamworth, that's about 6 miles, before we found a
country mooring. Dawn's sold a blanket to a boater, it was
another chap, the same as yesterday, I expected the
women to be more interested in them. The idea of
displaying them on the clothes airer means that they can be
seen from both sides of the boat and seems to be doing the
trick. There are now 2 sizes in stock, 5' x 5' throws and 3' x
3' knee blankets.
I passed a boat this morning with a sign on saying "This boat is alarmed". I wanted to write underneath it "There there
pet, who's frightened you?", but management wouldn't let me.
04.00 - Another early start, if the crew's willing; we need to fill and empty at Fazeley and then there are 2 locks in
Tamworth. The next locks are the Atherstone flight, about 7 miles further on, so we'll try to find a decent mooring before
then and tackle them the following day.
13.00 - We didn't stop as we both felt OK, so we carried on up the Atherstone flight and have tied up above the top lock.
Saw proof this morning that women should not wear bikini tops when using the locks; when they get a good speed up
turning the windlass, the sync seems to go awry and left and right are bouncing in opposite directions - I just noticed in
passing, you understand. The granny trolley has already dragged the crew in the direction of the shops, but at least
there's a good chippy here.
If you buy stuff on line, check out the seller carefully.
Be careful what you purchase on eBay.
A friend has just spent £100 on a penis enlarger.
B*st*rds sent him a magnifying glass.
The only instructions said, "Do not use in the sunlight."
04.30 - Blackbirds singing his heart out. I was mugged
yesterday whilst at a lock; stood there looking back at the
boat and a rook came down, finished off my piece of cake,
had a drink out of my pint of squash and then knocked the
glass over; luckily the glass didn't break and the deck
boards needed a wash anyway. I think management wants
to take the trolley walkies again this morning so we'll
probably move out into the country middayish.
There was a lot of shouting going on mid afternoon yesterday, I think it was the owner of a house next to the canal
complaining because a boat had his engine running for hours (to charge his batteries). It's not fair on folks living next to
the canal and, with solar panels, wind gennies etc it's just not necessary; it's only a few minutes travel to get out of town
if they must run their engine. These are good moorings here and it would be a shame if mooring was banned because of
a thoughtless few.
15.00 - Just a short 3.5 mile hop today, which was enough to boost the batteries and has left us north of Nuneaton. We are
tied up next to a small wood which has lots of wild garlic but, being near the canal, there's no telling what it's been
10.00 - Set off at 4.50 with the crew still dozing, or
pretending to. Nuneaton was it's usual floating raft of
rubbish, but I'd reached the Hawkesbury junction with
the North Oxford canal by 7.20, just as the crew surfaced
in time to do the gauging lock. There were no spaces at
Anstey so we've banged in pins, unusual for us, and
stopped in the country. About an hour after we'd
stopped, Dawn sold a knee blanket to someone off a
6.00 - It's no good starting too early today, because we want
to call in at the chandlers, a few miles further on. Newbold
seems a good place to stop next, if we can find a spot, and
it should be enough engine time to top up the batteries.
We've got a Moorhen on the opposite bank from us and she
has two chicks; when we throw her bread, she takes it to
the chicks and breaks off bits for them, unlike the Mallards
who fight their own chicks for it! There are not many
mallards on the North Oxford, but lots of moorhens and I
saw a coot yesterday.
11.30 - We called at the chandlers for some pan head 6mm screws, 1pkt only in stock, loads of gifty junk though, urgh!!
There are a few more boats on the move now, but it was a good little trip here and again Dawn knows of a Co-op and a
04.30 - Tesco is first port of call today, fortunately it's a 24hr shop so, if I can find somewhere to tie up, Dawn will do "a
bit" of shopping. We passed a boat yesterday with lots of tubs on the roof, all full of pansies and they were really pretty; I
was going to say "You certainly like your pansies" to the chap, but just stopped myself in time. We got talking to another
boater who told us he had spent some time in France doing work on boats and I said that we had a friend called Steve
who was a welder near St Jean de Losne --- he not only knew him, but had worked with him! Dawn has sold another
blanket, to a lady who needed it for an Amateur version of Calender Girls, she didn't offer a dress rehearsal.
9.30 - I set off just before five and found a place to moor, which was where we had been told Tesco was; Dawn went off
roaming the streets but couldn't even find a sign to it, so we're yoghurtless for a few days. There were no other boats
moving so we got through the 3 locks at Hillmorton, after filling and emptying, and had a pleasant cruise until 08.20,
when we tied up here. Braunston is just down the cut and has a flight of 6 locks (wide) and a longish tunnel (2042yds) so
that should be enough for tomorrow.
Just had a message to tell me I've exceeded my "Fair Usage" allowance on the dongle, so apologies for late uploading
There were lots of boats moving yesterday, despite the
heat; I expect some were weekenders as a fair few were
local boats. After the sun had gone behind the hedge and
the boat had cooled down we got a coat of primer on the
foredeck, at last! I think we'll stay put today and go
through Braunston on Monday: it's a quiet little spot here,
with good depth and width of water.
The heat makes people do strange things,
There's a family of martins that keep returning to the tree
opposite us; the parents are teaching the young how to
catch flies and will occasionally feed them, but they are
getting the hang of it.
Here's DAWN Topless !!!!!!!!
9.30 - We're through the locks and tunnel and tied up in a
tree lined section just after the tunnel. Our target is
Peterborough by mid August and we're well in advance.
When we leave Northampton onto the river Nene we
have to PAY, because it's an Env. Agency water, so we
must decide whether to get a longer ticket or hang about
Bridge 21 Above Weedon
8.40 - There was nobody about when we got to Buckby
top lock at 05.45, so we went down the flight on our own
and left bottom lock at 07.40. The canal is hemmed in by
the railway on one side and motorway on t'other, so
when we veered away from the motorway I stopped at a
decent country mooring. Earlier, I came round a bend
and came face to face with a deer on the railway
embankment. He looked for a couple of seconds and
then tip toed across the railway lines into the woods, just
as he cleared the lines one of those Virgin HRTs came
A recent article in the Kentucky Post reported that a woman, one Anne Maynard, has sued St. Luke's Hospital, saying
that, after her husband was treated there recently, he had lost all interest in sex.
A hospital spokesman replied, "Mr. Maynard was actually admitted in Ophthalmology --
all we did was correct his eyesight !!"
05.30 - A few boats have gone past us already, trying to beat the heat, as we normally do. We need to shop at Weedon,
so will leave later this morning and hope to find a mooring there. There's a blackbird in the tree next to the boat who is
obviously happy with life and is singing his lil heart out.
12.30 - Shopping's done and we've found a mooring with a wide towpath under the trees, so we'll spend the night here.
We had just got tied up and sorted when a boat pulled in behind us, he was selling homemade ice cream which of
course we had to try.
04.30 - There's a slight breeze which makes a refreshing change. We had a very pleasant evening sitting out, swapping
yarns with Mick and Margaret off nb Tupelo (the ice cream boat) until twas dark.
10.30 - After a 05.00 start we reached Gayton at 08.30, just as the Marina office was opening. We bought a 31 day licence
for the Nene, starting on Monday and another EA key in case we lost ours. With time to kill we are heading back towards
Weedon with the intention of having a pub lunch at "The Wharf" tomorrow. Near Bugbrooke I saw a woman jogging, with
a spaniel running in front of her; further along she had stopped and was looking along the bank and waved for me to
slow down. The dog was in the water and because the bank was made of steel sheets he couldn't get out and was
swimming back and forth looking totally knackered. I threw her the short ladder that we carry and by the time I had the
boat in close the dog had managed to climb the ladder onto the bank. I had shouted the crew who was still abed and she
had come running up knickerless expecting to go in the cut to help him out, still I got a cuppa earlier than normal. The
ladder is there to help people who decide to check the depth, but it obviously works just as well for Springers.
05.30 - Last evening was spent sitting out and chatting to boaters and walkers, until it started to get a damp chill in the
air. We're still undecided how to spend the time until we head down the Northampton arm on Monday morning; going
back into Weedon seems favourite, but we'll see.
14.00 - At 10.00 we headed off to the "Wharf", for the pub lunch we've been promising ourselves for some time. We both
had Moroccan lamb and it was superb; 3 really tender lamb chump chops, fresh veg (properly cooked) and real chips.
When we got back on the boat it was all we could do to cast off, but we winded after B33 and tied up at the first decent
bank we saw. It may be the Guinness, but I think it's the hottest day we've had this trip.
7.25 - I started off at 05.30 with the crew zzzing and got
tied up here an hour later with the crew still zzzing.
We've got a cloudy sky and no sign of the sun smiling
through yet. The plan is to stay here today and then
tootle down to the junction at Gayton tomorrow, where
we'll fill and empty and then pop over to the marina to
fill up on diesel (94p ltr seems about avg round here).
This pic shows yesterday's mooring, an idyllic looking
spot, until you look into the hedgerow; there were three
heaps of rubbish like this, obviously thrown there by
boaters, grrrrrrrr. Black bags torn open, so virtually
impossible to remove. (mouseover for t'other pic)
08.00 - A cloudy start; we've filled and emptied and will top up with diesel when the marina opens. Dawn's got 3 cakes (1
date and walnut and 2 malt loaves) in t'oven and the smell is making my tummy rumble.
On the trip here this morning I pointed out to a lady that the Union Flag she was proudly flying in her garden was upside
down and was an insult to the Queen. Presumably they fly the flag because they are proud to be British, then why the ****
don't they learn the correct way to fly it, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Dawn tells me to keep my mouth shut but it's one thing that
really p******s me off - rant over.
15.00 - As it was overcast and not too warm, we decided to go down the flight today. There were two boats in trouble at
the top two locks because of a lack of water so we opened paddles both ends and sent loads of water through; A
waterways chap turned up and let more water into the flight until all the pounds were full. We had some help from a
chap on the way down, which saved Dawn running round the locks, but we were still ready for a brew when we got to
Northampton just after two o clock. Dawn is now chasing the trolley to Sainsburys.
A wife says to her husband, "what would you do if I won Lotto?"
He says, "I'd take half, then leave you."
"Excellent," she replies, "I won £12 , here's £6 - now p**s off!" !!!!!
Sainsburys turned out to be Morrisons, but housekeeping has still been happy to-ing and fro-ing; we should have enough
provisions to see us through to November. As she "happened" to pass a frock shop, a skirt and top leapt out and said "buy
me", so she did. A boat pulled in front of us on the wharf and the chap leant me his Nene guide, which I scanned and
printed; we gave ours away after our last trip, thinking we would not be doing the Nene again. If the weather is OK, we'll
make a move further down river tomorrow, probably Weston Favell lock, but don't want to rush it.
It's been really sticky weather today, so I'm hoping for a little breeze tomorrow; now I've said that I suppose we'll get a
Earls Barton lock
I looked out at 05.00 and the weather was not very
'ansom; by 6.30 it had cleared and we set off. The weed
causes quite a problem when it gets round the prop, but
a blast in reverse usually clears it. There are very few
moorings and some of the "farmers field" ones have
been withdrawn because of the rubbish left by a few
thoughtless boaters. We have stopped here before and
although it is shallow (we're sitting on the bottom) it is
mud and is usually easy to get off - praps I shouldn't have
said that. The rain has caught us a few times, but it's not
cold and now that we're tied up, it can thunder as much
as it likes.
We used the plank to get the crew back off the bank after tying to pegs; she walked across like a professional and then
for some reason, don't ask me, she decided to tread on the un-supported end - beetle on it's back impression and she
couldn't stop laughing. Any road up, we've done about 8 miles and 9 locks, all electric so far.
Yesterday was a rest day, so today we waited for the rain to stop and continued through 4 locks to the embankment
moorings at Wellingborough. There is supposed to be a tap here according to the guide books, but I can't see one and
the rubbish bins have been removed - not very welcoming. Dawn's gone off yet again with her trusty trolley; only for a
couple of things she couldn't get at Northampton. There is a Tesco close by so she can post a letter to Mum at the same
'Ers back and guess what was on special, no not frocks, Guinness!!!!!
Tis a bright sunny morning and too hot to travel far, so I
think we'll stay put. Dawn's got the swans taking bread from
her hand and in return they stick their heads under water
and do moonies at us.
At the last mooring we were on pegs, tight in against the
bank side and, while it is nice to have wild flowers poking
in the windows, we are now having to evict all the
stowaways. There are lots of the long legged spiders, and
Dawn got one in her mouth when she found it in her glass
of lager. I don't know what all the fuss was about, poor little
chap couldn't have drunk much and he was certainly
legless after Dawn had chomped on him. We also picked up
a few horse flies, 'orrible things that mistake me for a
stallion, an easy mistake to make I suppose.
After filling and emptying (good facilities) we set off at 08.00 and, after 6 miles and 3 locks. we stopped here at 10.30. This
mooring is alongside the now defunct Rushden Diamonds football ground; the club and moorings were sponsored by Doc
Martins, but when they moved the factory to China the sponsorship ceased and all the facilities have been removed.
18.00 - Heavy rain and flash floods are forecast for tonight and it's just started raining, so we've put the covers on and are
inside, but bugger it is hot. There are a few boats tied up here and one has just come in next to us and said that there's a
boot sale here in the morning, so it looks as though we'll be staying here tomorrow.
The rain arrived last evening with a vengeance and was
still spitting this morning; it brought with it a gusty wind,
which rocked us to sleep. Unfortunately the boot sale had
nothing of interest for the head of housekeeping (had to
happen one day!) so we've spent most of the day chilling
and chatting to other boaters and walkers. We are getting
into the prettier stretches of the river now and the birdlife is
changing; on t'canal it's mostly mallards and moorhens but
on t'river there are more grebe and coots. On the short trip
yesterday we saw lots of kingfishers, a pair of oyster
catchers and a few egrets which seem to be getting more
common; further down I'm hoping to see the red kites that
have established themselves here.
If the wind has dropped tomorrow, we'll probably head for
Thrapston where there are good moorings. The first of the
"wheel" operated locks is only two away and will come as
a shock after the electric ones.
It was still a bit windy this morning but no rain, so we plodded down to the lock, about ¼ mile away. When Dawn raised
the guillotine I found that the level of the river section after the lock was too high for me to get under the gate without
taking stuff off the roof and, as there was a low footbridge further on, it made continuing too risky. With the flow and
wind pushing me down river, I didn't want to reach the bridge and not be able to get under it. The only thing to do was
refill the lock and reverse all the way back to the moorings, an interesting manoeuvre with the increased flow and the
wind trying to push me onto the bank. Now that we're tied up again the chef is doing sausage sandwiches for brekky and
looking on the bright side, at least the run has charged the batteries up.
17.00 - Not a wasted day, we've put up some nets over the "front door" to keep the flying nasties out, or try to! Dawn had a
stroll round Irthlingborough and found some wool and a pair of shoes; she went for a loaf, but at least there was a real
butchers and I got a pork pie. The level is still up, so we'll have to see what it's like in the morning before deciding
whether to go or stay. The gas bottle has just run out as Dawn was adding dumplings to the beef stew; better timing than
the last one, that ran out part way through baking a cake.
05.30 - I've just checked the level and it's
still up, so we're staying here another
day; the forecast is for rain later today
and then clearing for the rest of the
14.00 - Fickle fings, rivers! By 09.00 the
level had dropped and we set off in the
company of another nb. The levels were
up, but not high enough to cause any
major problems and the "wheel" locks
were not as bad as Dawn remembered.
We've topped up the water tank and are
tied up at the back of the moorings;
Dawn's gone into town.
Yesterday we saw our first red kites of the trip, truly
magnificent birds. There are loads of damsel flies about, I
suppose the warm water encourages them to emerge.
Dragon flies have not been very abundant, but those we've
seen have been mainly green ones. We're staying here
today as we still have washing to dry and it's easier done
when the boat's tied up.
13.00 - Sorry, you can blame us for the rain; it started
when we put the washing out. Catering had a busy
morning baking cakes, after a stroll into town to get a
travel iron she spotted yesterday. The canoe hire chap
brought 4 boats here this morning and later the crews
turned up and, after a safety chat and a questions and
answers session, they set off downstream. The owner then
had a coffee with us and we chatted about his business;
how refreshing to hear someone so upbeat and ambitious
when most are moaning about their problems and
blaming everyone else for them.