Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Day Thirty-Eight- On my left is Clare College, the second oldest...

Blisworth- Lock Six, Rothersthorpe Flight

Grand Union Canal Main Line & Northampton Arm

3 miles, 6 locks

Today we resolved to deal with the domestic affairs and move on towards Northampton. A phonecall the night before from Claire of nb Penelope meant that, if we could find the (delightfully named!) harbourmaster of Blisworth Marina, where they normally moor, we could use the washing facilities and catch up on the mountain of laundry. So, not wishing to pass up the opportunity, we walked a mile or so down the towpath with a toilet cassette to empty on Jim's trolley, and a big Ikea bag full of washing. Thankfully we didn't get confused and put the laundry down the Elsan disposal chute or the contents of the cassette in the washing machine; instead, we perused the back issues of Canal Boat magazine available in the laundry room and wished we could return to 2001's prices for boats, inverters, and chandlery!

This really was absolutely fantastic of Claire to let us use the facilities; another wonderful Canal person who's helped us out.

Afterwards, we returned to the mooring and then set off towards the Northampton arm. We knew that the Nene was in flood, but wanted to wait in Northampton as it has shops and facilities. Although we filled up with diesel at Blisworth marina, I needed to bleed the engine before it would start, because when the engine ran out of fuel it sucked air into the fuel pipes; I now needed to pump the new diesel through and bleed off the air so the engine would start.

However, it still wouldn't, and so we started locking through the narrow, single locks bowhauling the Duck. This was fine to get it into and out of the pounds, but a few had a number of reeds at the side, and we couldn't keep the boat out of them; so, in the end, I resorted to punting with a borrowed long shaft from Jim! It was surprisingly easy; although the lock pounds themselves had very muddy bottoms, it was easy enough to move the boat if I really got it moving out of the previous lock. We moored up for the night after lock six, in the pound, as it was getting dark, determined to start the engine in the morning.

(The title comes from the punt tour guides who infest the River Cam)

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