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Back to Cosgrove in time for tea

We were up and about for seven o’clock, ready to resume our trip. A blue sky and flat water gave some promise of a good day for boating. I found a football nestled in between the stern and the bank as I untied the ropes, a fairly new one by the look of it so it was cleaned up and stowed away for future use. Twenty minutes later we had made the short hop to the water point where we carried out our services, Sue started the washing and then made a brief visit to the supermarket before we got under way properly. Grey cloud had formed and there was a little drizzle, not too heavy but persistent enough to get the wet gear on. We worked Leighton lock on our own and then we moved on to the three at Soulbury. A volunteer lock keeper made the job easier for us by helping with gates and paddles. The wind had really started to whip up by the time we reached Stoke Hammond lock. Two boats were ahead of us working down and then a single boat was waiting to come up. Thinking that it was a lone locker, Sue was about to tell him to stay on his boat and she would work the lock. When she discovered that he had a companion who was inside making breakfast, she decided to leave him to his own devices. We were joined by another boat by the time that it was our turn to use the lock. This turned to be the easiest lock that we have done on this trip because the dutch crew of the next boat to come up insisted on doing all of the work.

We passed our lockmates from a couple of days ago as they were driving Poachers Moon back towards Leighton Buzzard. Some waving and a friendly exchange took place before we carried on to Fenny Stratford with its shallow lock and swingbridge. We were joined in that lock by a boat that had pulled over until we passed and then he started off again, separating us from the couple that we had worked the previous lock with. He managed to crash into the lock wall on his way in, I doubt that he cared looking at the state his boat was already in. Anyway, we were quickly through that lock and away but there had been no improvement in the weather at all so a short while later we pulled near The Plough at Simpson. We ate some soup made with home grown tomatoes and waited to see what the weather would do before deciding on our course of action for the rest of the day. The sign on the towpath indicated that Braunston was 37 miles away and we knew that we had 21 locks left to do, all of which translates into around 15 hours travelling.

After a break of an hour or so the rain had stopped so we decided to set off again and try to find a mooring at Campbell Park. We didn’t get one because although there was probably just enough room on the end we had to draw level to make sure. By the time we had pulled up the strong wind prevented us reversing into the space. We would have been helped if the boats already there had shared rings rather than spread themselves out along the bank. We carried on around the edge of Milton Keynes and passed a guy paddling a bathtub! good luck with your trip.

Once we had passed through Wolverton the sun started to push the clouds away and although it was still very windy, by the time we reached the visitor moorings below Cosgrove lock, it felt like the summer had returned. As a celebration we sat down and had a scone with jam and cream each, oh and a gin and tonic too.