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70 now and our five wonderful years aboard our narrowboat Skyy seem along time ago. Jacquie, allowed me to build my replica three wheeler kit car, which was a great success. Now it's time to start on a bigger project and that is to make a good Triumph Stag even better, here goes.

Thursday, 26 March 2009



Again a lovely morning prompted us to walk into the village of Stockton. A round trip, leaving the canal a bridge 21 and cutting the corner across a field to reach the village. We returned along Station Road, arriving back at the canal at bridge 20. Only two pubs in Stockton and not as pretty as Long Itchington, so not on our hit list of places we might choose to live in when our boating adventure comes to an end.
After Brunch in the sunshine on the stern, we cruised leisurely, back through the three double locks at Calcutt. We had learnt previously that when going up on your own in double locks, if you only open the top paddle on the same side of the boat, the incoming water pushes the boat neatly back onto the lock side. We felt obliged to impart this knowledge to a helpful couple who were waiting to come down and were keen to open both paddles as fast as they could. We prefer a slower but more controlled ascent. The other couple were thankful for the advice, or maybe they were just humoring the smug old git.

K & J took their leave of us in the evening with the promise that ‘they will be back’.



Today was bright and beautiful, just right for a birthday, Jacquie’s birthday to be precise and after chocolate brownies and champagne in bed, it was smoke salmon, bagels and scrambled eggs for breakfast.

A short cruise was planned up the Grand Union just to the start of the Stockton Locks. It was straight ahead out of Wigrams Turn Marina and under the bridge and we were on our way. Kim & Jacquie decided to walk the towpath, to compensate the breakfast and they waited for us at a convenient mooring space just before The Boat pub were we intended to have dinner.

Long Itchington was a mile and a half away and as the sun was still doing it’s business and the girls were still up for some more walking, we strolled to this delightful village. Apparently, Queen Elizabeth the 1st stayed overnight in the substantial timber frame house, that is now empty and for sale, but we were not tempted. We were however tempted by the six pubs that the village boasts and The Buck & Bell, fulfilled our need for a lunch time drink. In fact the evening menu and the ambiance made us take the decision to book a table for dinner.
A well deserved lunch on Skyy and a snooze and then all tarted up, we headed back to the Buck & Bell, but by taxi this time. A large party was in progress but the attentive mein host, who looked like a better looking Alan Sugar, found us a quieter table and the food did not disappoint, except the one desert and four spoons was disappointing, but was immediately knocked of the bill.


The time between my last blog and now, has been spent foisting ourselves on various friends and now it’s approaching pay back time. Our calendar for the next few months is full with planned visits from friends and family as we head out after Easter down the Oxford Canal and weather permitting, onto the Thames.

The first to visit, even before we cast off is the return of our so-called Chocolate Chums, Kim and John. They were last with us, late September, early October, when we were up on the Trent and Mersey. As usual they arrive bearing gifts of chocolate and booze and as the weather was a bit wet we sat tight in the marina enjoying their company and gifts.