Moving the boat from Springwood Haven to Bugbrooke was an exercise in logistics and a chance to get to know our new boat. Most of the route was not new to us because the previous year we had cruised the Leicestershire Ring, passing Valley Cruises base and getting as far as Norton Junction before heading north. What was to complicate matters was that our daughter was at school on the Friday, Monday and Tuesday, so we faced some very short days and lots of miles! We still decided to move the boat as soon as we got it because stoppages were due to cut off our access to Bugbrooke.
Friday 9/11/01: Dropped Elizabeth off at school and headed for Valley Cruises. By the time all the formalities were complete, we cast off at 12:30 and headed for Hawksbury Junction – about 7.5 lock free miles which took us 2′ 40″ in chilly but mainly dry weather. We took turns at steering and poking about the boat until it was time to moor up – before the turn into the North Oxford and the stop lock. We had called a taxi to take us back to the car, but things became stressful as it turned up late, and the painfully slow track leading to and from Valley Cruises and the traffic in Nuneaton combined to make us late picking up our daughter from her after school club.
Saturday 10/11/01: Now things started to get even more complex! We took two cars, left one at Norton Junction, took the other to Hawksbury via Midland Chandlers for a small collection of bits (including a BWB key!), and got under way by 12:30. The weather was damp, so we pressed on. Our daughter soon made the main cabin “hers” with colouring books and pencils everywhere. 4′ 15″ saw us complete the 11 miles and 1 stop lock to Newbold, where we knew we had a choice of pubs! In fact, the Barley Mow, where we had eaten on our last holiday, was both very full and very noisy, so we tried The Boat, and were happy with the result.
Sunday 11/11/01: We woke to find the inverter had cut out overnight – we were running a small 240v nightlight for Elizabeth to make her feel a bit more “at home” – so decided that more than two cabin batteries were going to be required, with the possible addition of an alternator contoller. The boat has a 240v fridge and a 600w Sterling inverter/charger. One bit of bad news was the our 14″ combi TV/Video found the 240v too rough to play videos so some thought was going to be required on the whole electrics side of the boat. It took 7’30” to travel the 16.5 miles and 9 locks to Norton Junction, where we started the great car shuffle again, driving back to Hawksbury in the Mini, picking up the Rover dropping the Mini at Weltonfield and then driving home. Phew.
Monday 12/11/01: Another short day, but we decided to stick with two cars so that we weren’t at the mercy of taxis. Now on a stretch of the canal new to us (not for long!) Bucky locks seemed harder work than Braunston – or perhaps I was getting tired. Only 4 hour crusing, 7 locks and 4.3 miles to Weedon, where we moored above the Heart of England.
Tuesday 13/11/01: The final leg – only 4 miles to Bugbrooke which we took our time over – even stopping for lunch. Our mooring in the marina was not yet available – Paul had arranged for winter moorings on the towpath if they were going to be needed – we found a space just before the winding hole. Our new boat was at her home mooring (almost) and by now we had settled on a new name – Polly Anna.