Looking back at my my brief notes from last October, it's amazing (or maybe disgraceful?!) to think that it's taken us over seven months to publish this. We'd promised the family we met that day we'd email them a copy of their group photo - I expect they've given up on us by now! I think I've found their email address written hastily on a scrap of paper - I'll have to contact them and see if it's the right one ...
Since the previous blog entry, I've been away on my third 'Life Coaching' weekend with 'Life Coach Associates'. This time we had a residential weekend in the Kauaeranga Forest Park at the Michael Stead Memorial Lodge, about 14 kms from Thames, on the spectacular Coromandel Peninsula. It was totally inspirational - one of the things we did was to write a story of our life to date and then foresee our future - guess where Barry and I will be by 2013 if all goes to plan?
It's almost winter here in New Zealand, but our temperatures during the daytime are thankfully still around 18-20 degrees Celsius - not like the middle of autumn in England last year ...
Saturday 16 October
We're very aware of the need to get moving now, with only a few days left to get close to Northampton where there's a couple of boatyards - one of which it seems will have the pleasure of selling Northern Pride for us. Barry has a few bits to do on the boat before then, and we need to pack up our accumulated belongings ready to remove them from the boat. We've arranged a hire car to collect us next Thursday so we can travel to my parents house close to Worcester, then at the weekend we're having a 'Walsh family' (and its extensions) weekend in the New Forest.
Last night we searched the boat for our keys, but they weren't to be found. I knew I'd put them on the shelf at the entrance earlier in the day, but they were no longer there. Barry kept asking where 'I'd' put them - reading my emails a short time later I discovered one from Carrie (thanks again!) who sent us a message via the blog - "Did you leave your keys at the waterpoint at Aylesbury by any chance?" - Barry's face broke into a guilty smile when I told him! He suspects it's all to do with the curse from the church, lol!
Incredibly we managed to leave our mooring in Marsworth by 1000hrs, warmed slightly by the sun which was desperately trying to shine for the first time since last weekend.
An adorable thatched cottage near Marsworth
Arriving at the second lock which was almost empty, I saw another boat coming up with a day hire boat full of people - there must've been about nine of them. Two guys got off, without a windlass, so I did the lock and opened gate for them. They informed me they were 'narrowboat virgins', so we duly instructed them on the fine art of locking. I can't believe that the hire company hadn't already done that, they obviously weren't listening!
Under this beautiful bridge, past Grebe Canal Cruises ...
... to be confronted by a train whizzing past - 125mph versus 3mph, I know which I prefer! About two miles further up the line is where 'The Great Train Robbery' occurred in 1963
At the following lock there were more day hire boaters just leaving - we missed them on the next few then caught up and shared a lock with them. We discovered that it was the parents' 50th wedding anniversary party cruise - what a great way to all celebrate, along with a feast of food on board.
After capturing their delightful family on camera, we left them to turn around and head back to the marina whilst we continued our long stretch to Leighton Buzzard with just a couple more well-spaced out locks.
Despite the promising start, it turned into a freezing cold day, but at least it remained mostly dry apart from a brief downpour at around 1230hrs.
Definitely autumnal colours now, on the trees and falling into the water
We arrived in Leighton Buzzard just after 1600hrs, stopped to stock up at Tesco's, then decided to stay overnight. There was a BW dredger by bridge 114, and notices announcing that the moorings nearby had been 'suspended' that day, but by the time we got there the boat had already passed so we were OK.
I took a walk into town in the hope of finding a charity shop open to look for anything 'yellow' for the quiz night my niece and nephew were organising for the family weekend - sadly I was too late, they'd all closed at 1700hrs. Ah well, there's always tomorrow as Gloria Estefan would say!
The pretty picture from our moorings by the supermarket at Leighton Buzzard
'Fire Station' and 'Post Office' are etched indelibly into these buildings - it's unlikely that either remain so today?!
The parish church with a very narrow office door - no chance of the 'sin' of gluttony entering here!
Is this another opening for a drainpipe such as those we saw on the Notre Dame?
We had a quiet night in, and I retired to bed just after 2100hrs! I'm not terribly keen on dark nights and coldness, it just makes me feel like hibernating - but then that's what the season of winter is all about really isn't it? The death of the old, ready to welcome and celebrate the new life of spring. I'll be experiencing all four seasons in 2011 for the first time in four years, but for now I'm looking forward to a fast forward to the New Zealand spring in November when we return.