Last left you at our first mooring on the Kennet and Avon Canal. The weekend plans were going to the Crick Boat Show on Saturday and cruise on the Sunday. For once things went pretty much as we planned.
On the Saturday morning we got up early and headed off to Northamptonshire for the show. We expected that there would be light rain around noon but otherwise a nice day. That wasn’t correct. We got to the show around 10am and wandered in. There were stalls and marquees all around selling boat equipment, clothing, and even arts and crafts. There was a food court of food vans with tables in between.
We headed into the first marquee which had stalls for a few dozen businesses of all sorts. Alan bought a couple bits of something forgettable. I spotted a wagon i liked even better than the perfectly good wagon I have so resisted the urge to waste money. We could The Minimal List from YouTube selling their canal maps and chatting to viewers. We went out by a side door and then checked out the stalls opposite. Turned back and walked around the massive widebeam boats they had sitting in the middle of a field! I wish I had a picture as they were massive.
Found another marquee and this one had cheese for sale. I don’t pass up cheese if I can help it. We got a few packs and looked around. Met the guy from Chugging Along on YouTube. Well actually we chatted to his brother as they were working the stall together selling the board game they made. I was hoping to see Sam but apparently she was recovering from surgery so stayed home.
After that we stumbled into the beer tent. Alan got excited for the split second before he remembered he had to drive home. Poor sad boy bought us cokes. We had a bit of lunch and collected ourselves up for more looking. There were stalls selling all kind but I stopped at one with top hats of a steam punk sort. The black one I was thinking of getting for Emily’s boyfriend, Blake, was £45. I decided to come back later to get it. Spoiler….I forgot and can’t find the seller to order online anywhere.
We headed down to the pontoons to see the boats there and accidentally bought three books directly from the author. Felicity Radcliffe signed all three books for me before we started nosying around widebeam boats. There were narrowboats there as well but wide beams were the novelty to us this year. Those boats were soooo big! The kitchens were luxurious. The bathrooms cavernous with full bathtubs. The bedrooms had room for a large bed and closets. One day I will retire to a widebeam as they are nicer then most U.K. houses.
As we walked back toward the main field we realised we hadn’t found anywhere to buy the item we most needed. We needed to find the chandlery. The rains had stated very lightly as we wove our way back up and realised we had missed one huge tent….the chandlery. As the rain got a bit heavier we entered the tent and window shopped until we found our equipment. Having everything we needed we went out of the tent to moderately heavy rain. Time to go home.
Sunday was meant to be rainy weather so we didn’t expect much good to come of it. We needed to get water 5 miles so that was our only goal. Four locks away we were able to stop at Tyle Mill Lock and get water at the service point below the lock. Most of these locks we shared which made them much less rough.
One sharer was an old working boat with a man who clearly came from bargy stock though these days he just uses it for holidays. The boat had no water tanks and they cooked on a diesel stove. He wasn’t too my liking but he did impart some helpful information to me. The other sharer was a hire boat. Lovely people but often with hire boats you have to help them to know what to do so a bit more work. I preferred the hire boaters though.
After the water and the lock we decided we were tired from two weeks of almost constantly moving. We started looking for a mooring as we had heard there were some great spots along here. Most of it was already filled but we found somewhere that just about fit. Once we were pulled in and tied to a big tree at the centre we worked on tying off the bow and stern. Two more trees sorted that out. We put out our plank and thought we had just the perfect spot.
The next day Alan went off to work and I found out why that spot wasn’t so ideal. COWS! It was the towpath but also a cow field. A cow field with juvenile cattle. These not small offspring were also male. Yup, young bulls. Luckily not violent, though rather kicky when spooked, but they did like eating rope.
Four days we were there and all our ropes show the evidence. I tried to shoo them away but the cattle seemed to like me. Damn my charisma! By Thursday I was overjoyed to move on…without Alan this time.