Friday, May 23, 2014

A change in the weather

We didn't travel far on Wednesday. A long stop at the canalside Tesco in Leighton Buzzard was a must, after which we paired up with an interesting character in his boat as we continued to climb the numerous locks. This guy had painted all of the flowers on his boat - I didn't see any castles, and not all of the flowers were roses, so he was rather individual - and said that he could have taught Grace to do the same in twenty minutes; she'd wasted her money on the course she'd just done!
Flowers on our roof...
...and on the canal.
We smiled as we passed The Globe Inn, which we'd last visited on the last weekend of December 1999. It was our 25th wedding anniversary, and we hired a boat for a long weekend. We had the canal to ourselves!



As we left Leighton Buzzard, we were more than a little surprised to see a pair of Mandarin Ducks with a chick at the canalside. I thought these were rare, and we've certainly never before seen them outside of lakes at stately homes.



When we reached the point when we thought we might moor for the night, the banks were totally unsuitable, and I walked the towing path, catching up with Grace as she moved away from the last lock, eventually overtaking her and walking ahead, looking for a good spot. The search seemed to go on for ages, putting me in mind of our experience last year as we approached Oxford. Eventually we found the right spot near Bridge 118. The old guy must have chosen to moor along the overgrown banks we rejected. It was a beautiful evening.









Before we even got up on Thursday morning, the guy with the flowery boat drove past us, but we didn't move on for some time. When we did, we started to see the hillier landscape of this part of the country, with the Cotswolds running along the skyline. A huge white lion carved into the hillside indicated the site of Whipsnade Zoo. 


As we entered Slapton Lock, along came NB Great Britain, and we shared the next five locks with them. They were well travelled, including Scotland, Ireland and France in the canal adventures. Oddly, though, in England, they'd not yet been north of Cosgrove.


The weather had been deteriorating for some time. Then it really rained! By the time we'd completed Ivinghoe Locks, we were all very wet, so both boats moored, we dried off and had lunch. The rain didn't ease off for well over an hour. It was torrential, very loud on he roof, with major thunder and lightning such as we'd not experienced for over a year. NB Great Britain moved on later, but we stayed put, not trusting that the lull they were taking advantage of would last. Actually, it did, with only brief showers into the evening.

It rained a lot during the night, too.

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