Sunday, 13 November 2011

A Perfect Weekend - Is It REALLY November ?

(Boat Sickle - posted by Alan)

Fenny Stratford's shallow lock.
Circumstances had prevented us doing very much boating over the half-term week, so Cath and I were inevitably looking for an excuse for a short trip by now.

Sickle had not been visited for a week or two, and as it has rained a fair bit, we knew we ought to go and pump the water out, but we decided we would make a weekend trip of it, and spend last night on the boat.

Fuel boat "Ascot" servicing a customer.
Some heavy afternoon rain was forecast for yesterday, (Saturday), but as is often the case, the forecast wasn't even close.

We had cracking weather yesterday, and even better today.  We lit the range yesterday, as we thought it would get colder in the evening, and it's the easiest way to have an available kettle for hot drinks, but by the evening realised it was simply going to be too hot overnight in the cabin if we didn't shut it down to go right out.

Unusually deserted Leighton - Apart from that shadow!
Virtually nobody else was moving, so we very nearly had the canal to ourselves both days.  Highly unusual, (in fact I'd say almost unheard of), was the total absence of any other boat on the main Leighton Buzzard moorings.  This proved quite useful, as whilst Chalice isn't usually troubled by the shopping trolleys, (generally floating over them), it can be quite hard to get Sickle to the bank.  With that much space, when we were clearly trying to haul Sickle over trolleys, we just moved up a bit until we weren't.

Virtually the whole hire fleet, we think - 34 of them!
We had an excellent meal at "Ask" in Leighton Buzzard.  I don't think all restaurants in this chain are equal, as we have been unimpressed elsewhere, but I can certainly say we have had three top rate ones on a row in Leighton.

Setting off back down Stoke Hammond Three Locks
We made a very relaxed start back to the moorings today, even managing to put a reasonable shine on the brass before we set off.  The weather was brilliant and the autumn scenery quite stunning.  Even the large numbers of fishermen seemed generally cheerful today.

"Three Locks" on a near perfect day.
The more I think about it, it really, really is a struggle to believe we were well into November.

To Leighton Buzzard and Back
Miles: 16.8, Locks: 12