Sunday 29th March 2010
What a busy two weeks since I left Zulu at Weedon. I did return to the boat once, to do some maintenance as I remember being amazed that after 3 days the fire was still smouldering away, but being away last weekend and working yesterday, this was the first chance to make some more progress.
Its never a smooth journey when travelling on a weekend, and I made a terrible mistake of taking a train to Northampton from Euston at 6:30pm. I should have checked the football before boarding a train to Stoke, full of course of jubillant football supporters foul mouthed drunks after Stoke beat West Ham. I wonder if these people will all be off to the office tomorrow or whether they are professional yobs.
By the time I was getting off the bus in Weedon it was very late, just time to light the fire, get a takeaway and prepare for an early start on Sunday morning, on the night the clocks go forward.
Sunday was dry and sunny for the most part, but surprisingly cold, and the canal was fairly quiet until Blisworth tunnel where suddenly there were 5 boats all inside at once! I met three oncoming boats and a fourth was following me, so I was pleased to have the company going down the Stoke Bruerne locks, especially when a whole troop of family members turned up to work the locks.
After that its a lovely long lock free run through Cosgrove and Milton Keynes, which is such a nice place to pass through by boat. I was heading for Fenny Stratford, but after realising there’s no trains on a Sunday I made a split second decision to stop a mile or so before, just outside the Plough, in the company of a good dozen other boats.
In a bit of a rush to get to the station before the last train home I made a huge mistake of following a main road, whereas in Milton Keynes roads are for cars, and pedestrians need to know their way through a maze of footpaths and tunnels to find the nearest bus stop. For the first time the iPhone really did save the day, as the mapping application not only found me a way to the bus stop, but told me it was coming and would arrive at the station with 10 minutes to spare. It was another public transport experience from hell though, as the little 7E mini bus was absolutely full and hurtled round bend after bend tipping push chairs over, squashing people together, turning the floor into a river of spilt drinks and generally making getting off a total relief.
A mere four hour journey from leaving Zulu I finally got back home, and not without yet another encounter with drunks, who took over the buffet car on the train from Paddington to Reading. This being after 10pm, these guys were so drunk they could hardly stand, and their attempts to talk or sing simply turned into the foulest of language. I can’t help thinking there is something terribly wrong with this country when this behaviour has become the norm for a weekend, especially when they thought it amusing to get off at Reading and pee on the train.
So here endeth an eventful journey, a really boring post and a lovely day’s boating.
Total today: 27 miles and 8 locks.