Wednesday 10th May and we left Woolhampton for Newbury. We caught up with another boat, and managed to travel the distance to Newbury with them, which made life a bit easier, as the locks are wide and heavy going. I’ll have muscles like Hulk by the time we have finished this summer! We have also been following a hotel boat, which is a widebeam offering 5* accomodation. Thought I may join their crew as it certainly looks luxurious. Anyway we made it to Newbury and managed to get a mooring by Victoria park. A bit noisier than we would like due to traffic travelling over a nearby bridge, but handy for the shops. Charlie wasn’t too fussed about looking around the shops so I escaped and had a trip round on my own (bliss). I needed a chemist to get some proper dressings for Charlie’s poorly leg, and found a Boots. Purchasing some rather small hydrocolloid dressings! Also managed to get 3 DVD’s in a charity shop. Once back to the boat the dressings were applied (after cleansing in case my nursey friends pull me up on this), and looked a bit like a patchwork quilt; but a bandage over hid many irregularities. We shared a glass of wine with our lock sharing friends in the evening. We were going to sit outside as it had been a lovely sunny day, but there was a “no alcohol zone” sign on a nearby lamp post so thought we had better not.
We stayed one night and decided if we could move to a quieter mooring it would be better. Sharing locks again on Thursday we moved along a couple of miles and found something a bit quieter for a couple of nights. The forecast was for rain so hence our decision.
Friday raining so no moving for us today. Saturday off again and still with our lock sharing friends we stopped at Kintbury. I could get a Sainsbury delivery here so ordered it for Sunday as we were on 48hr moorings.
We had a stroll into Kintbury village and happened on a wedding fire engine.
Shopping arrived on time on Sunday and it took me 2 hours to put it all away (my last big shop being 5 weeks earlier). It had started off sunny, but we had rain in the afternoon so we finished watching a DVD box set (Line of Duty) that we had been loaned. Now Monday we were moving to Hungerford (still lock sharing with the same boat). It was a windy day and as if that wasn’t bad enough some of the bywashes on the locks weren’t helping. We had only done 3 locks and heading for Hungerford lock; I was on the bank, Charlie got off the boat to see about mooring. Don’t know what happened but either he forgot to disengage the gear or he caught the lever as he got off, but we had a bit of a battle to keep the boat from damaging a GRP cruiser. Little boat of our lock sharing mates to the rescue. They transported me over to Breakaway and I managed to gain control. Phew. We went through Hungerford lock as the 48hr moorings were full, and there were 24hr moorings above the lock. We were mooring up, and our friend Mary had stayed behind to help a boat going down. A hire boat crew waiting to come up were being overly helpful and wound the paddles obviously before the boat was ready, as it ended up listing and on the cill. Another tragedy averted thankfully. Mary was quite shaken by all of these happenings. It had rained most of the day and we were tired and wet. I managed to take a look around Hungerford (again on my own), and found a nice shirt in the charity shop here. Tuesday off again and due to shallow pounds and little recognised moorings we ended up in Great Bedwyn. The 48hr moorings were all full so we ended up on the end of the Bruce Trust pontoon. (They provide trips for elderly and disabled groups on their widebeam boats). We were breasted up and on the outside next to our friends 31′ boat. Wednesday’s forecast was dire, with rain being the theme for the day. We noticed a hireboat move from the 48hr moorings, so we moved back to them, and decided to stay the maximum time. We usually don’t travel this quickly and needed some rest. It rained all day, and we lit the fire to keep the damp feeling at bay. Fuel boat Ozzie was moored here too so we exchanged our empty gas bottle and bought another bag of coal and kindling just in case. Seems like the April showers are now appearing in May!
Today started off sunny so we walked up the canal towpath with Izzy to Crofton. There is a pumping station here that houses 2 x 19th century Cornish beam engines. One built in 1812 and still working, and is the oldest working beam engine in the world. Dogs weren’t allowed in the building so we partook of a coffee and sausage roll from the cafe, and decided to return if we can get moored on the 48hr moorings here. There is also a windmill nearby that is also open to the public that may warrant investigation. We are now suitably rested and ready for the next stage of our journey.