Market Harborough

Once we had got settled in the mooring we set off with Izzy to explore where the shops were in the town. The lady on the boat next door was walking in as well so we accompanied her for part of the way. We have never been to Market Harborough before, and were quite impressed with the array of shops in the high street, and not many empty units, which makes a change. The usual array of charity shops in abundance, with a few of the larger named shops and many independents. There is an unusually large amount of supermarkets as well with Waitrose, Tesco express, Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Lidl all in a small area. Spoilt for choice.
town centre Market Harborough

town centre Market Harborough

there was a few market stalls under this building

there was a few market stalls under this building

the church

the church

Even though the supermarkets were close I decided to do an online shop to save lugging the trolley up the hill. I had been sent a voucher for Sainsbury that gave £18 off the first online shop with free delivery, and £10 a month off the next 4 online shops. Good bargain so I signed up and tried them, with a delivery booked for Wednesday. Although I was feeling better, I did manage to have a headache for 3 days which wasn’t responding to painkillers. Whatever the virus was I definately don’t want it again. Tuesday we both walked into town with the trolley to get a few items for the boat in Wilko. We had been invited out in the evening to go to The Sugar Loaf pub (Wetherspoons) with a group of other boaters who moor for the winter in the arm. Eric and Deb were there, and also Graham and Anne whom we had also met on the BCNS cruise in June. We had a lovely evening with them and met a few more boaters as well. Good to have a social now and again.
Statue in the arm at Market Harborough

Statue in the arm at Market Harborough

boats moored in the arm surrounded by newly built apartments

boats moored in the arm surrounded by newly built apartments

Wednesday up early to wait for the Sainsbury delivery driver, booked for 8.30-9.30, he was on time at 8.30. Shopping received and put away, we are all topped up again, which should last till be get to Crick in 3 weeks time. I had promised myself a walk to the shops alone, so I could mooch in the charity shops and save Charlie getting bored!. The weather was a bit mizzly, but slightly warmer than the few days before. We had woken up to a thick frost overnight on Monday which was a shock to the system. I had a good look round all the shops and purchased a few items, including a little father christmas decoration. Thursday and our time was up in the mooring, so the weather being a bit changeable we put on the wet weather gear, filled up with water, emptied the toilet cassettes and rubbish and we were on our way. We planned to stop just after bridge 6 on the Market Harborough arm, as Charlie had noticed a nice mooring, in the right position should we get any sunshine. We can stop here a few days now as the time limits for mooring has extended for the winter period, which makes life a bit easier. We went for a walk on Friday as it was a most glorious day, with wall to wall sunshine all day. Our solar panels were happy putting a bit of power into the batteries, Always a bonus in the winter.
we had to walk through fields to get to Foxton village and encountered these beasties. I was walking faster than Charlie to get through.

we had to walk through fields to get to Foxton village and encountered these beasties. I was walking faster than Charlie to get through.

What a surprise, a defibrillator in a redundant phone box; what a good idea.

What a surprise, a defibrillator in a redundant phone box; what a good idea.

Foxton church. Unfortunately all locked up so we couldn't peep inside

Foxton church. Unfortunately all locked up so we couldn’t peep inside

Breakaway from the opposite side of the bank looking lovely in the sunshine

Breakaway from the opposite side of the bank looking lovely in the sunshine

this is our field view

this is our field view

All settled for a few days so I probably won’t blog again till we get back to Foxton locks. Last night though we were woken at 2.30am by our carbon monoxide alarm (we have 2 sited in the boat). We are not sure what triggered it but doors flung open to get air in. We think it may have been a candle I had been burning (first time I have ever lit one on the boat), maybe reducing the oxygen level in the cabin and affecting the stove. Anyway it shows the importance of these alarms, as it could have well been a very different scenario.

A decent signal at last!

It seems so long ago since my last blog, but although in the middle of England the phone signal seems to be non existant. So much for super fast everything across the country that they advertise. It was even mentioned on a recent news item about foreign visitors getting a better service with their data roaming than we do in many rural parts of the UK. Anyway now is the time to try and remember what we have been up to.
a peaceful mooring overlooking a field of sheep

a peaceful mooring overlooking a field of sheep

When we left our peaceful mooring where we had spent a few days, we were heading for Crick. This village and canalside comes alive in the May bank holiday weekend as it hosts the annual Crick Boat show, but for now it is relatively quiet. First negotiating Crick tunnel (they do have alot of tunnels in these parts), 1528yds with 2 way working, but we didn’t meet anyone coming the other way this time. Moorings for the village and marina were just past the tunnel, so we found a spot to stop.
entrance to Crick tunnel

entrance to Crick tunnel

We popped into the marina and found out our mooring for December; and also had a walk into the village to the local co-op to get some fruit. They had a £5 meal deal of lasagne, chips, garlic bread, peas and ice cream, so we purchased this as always handy to spread the items out over other meals.,and I had room in the freezer. Our next stop was Yelvertoft Wharf which was only a couple of miles away.
Cracks Hill

Cracks Hill

The beacon on Cracks Hill

The beacon on Cracks Hill

A rather large amount of round bales

A rather large amount of round bales

A couple of nights spent at Yelvertoft with a little walk into the village. There isn’t alot there, but there is a small deli and butchers with a lovely array of locally sourced meat; so I purchased two Dexter steaks. The canal from here winds it’s way along the Jurassic Way, and because we needed the all important sanitary station we headed for Welford, taking a journey down the Welford arm, through one small lock and into the old wharf there where many boats are moored in the small marina and wharf.
signpost showing the way

signpost showing the way

negotiating the Welford arm, quite narrow in places

negotiating the Welford arm, quite narrow in places

the end of the arm with Charlie in the picture carrying the empty toilet cassettes

the end of the arm with Charlie in the picture carrying the empty toilet cassettes

the wharf early evening
the wharf early evening

We had a few nights here and I had found a lovely walk with Izzy that went through a small park and through fields of sheep, and back to the boat. I also had a walk into Welford although again not alot there except a small convenience store. I did look around the church though and purchased a poppy.
Postman Pat welcoming you to Welford

Postman Pat welcoming you to Welford

The wharf can't make up it's mind which county to be in !

The wharf can’t make up it’s mind which county to be in !

the signs are only a few yards apart

the signs are only a few yards apart

We left Welford on Wednesday as I had managed to contact the fuel boat Callisto, who said he would be passing later in the day. We needed to top up with diesel, gas and coal so we headed for the junction to wait for him there. He arrived around 2pm and we topped up with what we needed, then moored a little further along with a field view if some cattle. Now Thursday started off ok but I wasn’t feeling too good as the day progressed. My neck decided to swell on one side, and I had the most excruciating pain in my neck and chest, feeling like I had been kicked by a bullock! Charlie wanted to see if he could get a cable to connect to the battery bank, as he thought the alternator to the leisure batteries was failing. I managed a walk with him to North Kilworth Wharf, where they obliged with this (also purchasing an emergency folding shovel), but then had to spend the afternoon resting as felt quite rough by this point. Friday Charlie decided to get us to Foxton, whilst I stayed warm and toasty inside. Negotiating yet another tunnel at Husbands Bosworth (1170yds), and finally stopping at the top of Foxton locks. DSC02776
We had a walk down the lock flight with Izzy, and then to our surprise saw nbGeorgina with Eric and Deb,(whom we went on the BCN cruise with, and saw again on the Avon). They moor in the winter very close to this area and were visiting the local hostelry. They did invite us to a firework display and BBQ but I had to decline as still feeling rough. I thought I may have to visit the GP in Market Harborough if it continued. I purchased some ibuprofen in the shop and that seemed to stem the pain more than paracetemol. Sunday I was feeling a bit better so we decided to tackle the lock flight (10 locks consisting of 2 staircases of 5 chambers). Charlie went ahead to speak with the lock keeper to find out when we could go through; as one boat was coming up we had to wait for them, as there is only one passing place, and they had gone past this. I handled the boat through.
the boat we were waiting for

the boat we were waiting for

the top of the lock flight

the top of the lock flight

I managed to take some photos as we were going through.
inside the lock looking back at the gates

inside the lock looking back at the gates

inside the lock looking forward

inside the lock looking forward

Charlie waiting for the boat to descend

Charlie waiting for the boat to descend

looking up at the first 5 locks

looking up at the first 5 locks

I managed to negotiate the flight without banging the boat, and even got across the passing pound and fierce bywash and into the first of the final 5, and got a compliment of “well done madam” from the lock keeper. He said that most people didn’t manage to do it without banging the side. Lots of gongoozler’s around as it was Sunday, so really had to do it right and show us women can do it too!
Turning right at the bottom and through a swingbridge onto the Market Harborough arm. The weather was lovely to start, and we had a couple of hours journey till we got to the end of the arm and Union Wharf. I went inside and started cooking the dinner, and halfway along the journey it started to rain, so by the time we stopped Charlie was fed up and cold. We are now in a mooring within the wharf (£10 a night with electric), so can catch up on washing and explore Market Harborough. We plan to leave here on Thursday. The batteries seem to be ok, so the alternator must be working. It would cost £500 for a new one so glad it has settled. I am feeling better so decided not to trouble the local GP. More on Market Harborough in next blog.