Friday, 29 May 2015

Wind, Rain, Sunshine & Excitement

Saturday 16th May

We managed to get our favourite mooring opposite the 4th Green at The Grove with Aria & Teezy.  Karen & I spent the afternoon sitting on the roof of Aria, with Pimms & Pringles, in the sunshine while the rest of them watched the golf.

Aria, Aylmer & Teezy at The Grove

The following afternoon all six of us took a walk up to The Grove and after a walk round the extensive landscaped grounds, retired to the golf club terrace for drinks in the sunshine.
Teresa, Jan & Karen on the terrace
The following day Monday started off very wet so we had a late start travelling to Boxmoor where we ended up mooring on our own as too shallow & windy for us to get in with the others. We dined alone at the Seattle Steak House where we could see Aylmer  across the cricket ground through the window. If you look carefully you can just see her to the right of the flash light. It was a lot clearer with the naked eye.  Fabulous steaks!

from the Seattle Steak House
We then had a couple of windy & rainy days travelling along the Grand Union and climbing to the Chilterns.  We moored on our own, in a very isolated spot, between the Ivinghoe Locks, overlooking the beautiful Dunstable Downs, where we could clearly see the Chalk Lion, carved out of the escarpment in 1933 to advertise Whipsnade Zoo. 

The white splodge just right of centre is the Whipsnade  Lion
We left the others behind as Tony was on a mission to get to Soulbury Three Locks, near Leighton Buzzard, where he had been promised a game of golf if he could get there for Thursday.  On the way we shared locks with a party of nine Bell Ringers (ringing their way at many churches along the Grand Union) and Margaret & Paul on Pussers Rum out of our home marina at Hallingbury.

Sharing Grove lock with the Bell Ringers
Pussers Rum pulling out of the lock ahead of us.
We made Soulbury Three locks in time for Tony to have an afternoon game of golf with Mark and the game was halved (a draw for the non golfers amongst you). Later we joined Mark & Malou for an enjoyable evening at the Three Locks pub. What a wonderful end to a lovely day.

Jan, Malou & Mark at Three Locks  pub.
We managed to stop the Fuel Barge before we left Soulbury & filled up with diesel at 72p a litre.  They often travel like this, two barges roped together facing opposite ways.  One is the fuel carrier the other the living quarters.

Fuel Barge.
The next highlight, for me anyway, was Fenny Stratford.  We had decided to stop here to wait for the other two boats to catch us up.  We wandered up into the village & found a nice little pub, the Bull & Butcher, which did a great fish & chips for two for £9.95.  Great value.  Taking a different route back to the boat I spotted a Patchwork & Craft shop.  Needless to say Tony opted to return to the boat leaving me to browse the treasures inside on my own.  To my delight I found they were running a workshop the next morning on Free Motion stitching, something I have only recently started to learn, so I signed up.

It was a brilliant workshop, taught by owner Sally, who has a very relaxed and informal style which suited my holiday mood perfectly.  Sally started by telling us not to expect anything pretty at the end of it as we would only be doodling, but I'm quite proud of my doodles which I'm sure my crafting friends will be interested in.  The best bit about this experience is that I discovered the new marina we will be mooring the boat at after our summer trip, is only 40 minutes from the shop ( ), so I will be able to go back to this Aladdin's cave in the future :). So excited!

Free Motion Quilting doodles by Jan Adams
 Saturday 23rd May

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