We left Braunston on Monday and headed East for 250 yd.
We stopped outside the Stop House for breakfast at the Gongoozlers Cafe.
Well one has to doesn't one? And who should be about to shut the door to keep the frosty morning air out, but Maffi. A quick rebuke suggesting he didn't want our company was rebutted and we settled down at tables adjacent to order the requisite perfect breakfast. The Gongoozler's breakfast includes black pudding which is not exactly to my liking but Maffi soon laid claim to it to put in his double bacon and egg baguette.
We had a lovely meal together and afterwards Maffi accompanied us up the locks, with Molly jumping on and off our boat as the mood took her. We were also accompanied by nb Darth Wader with Matt and wife, two punny residents of London Tattooie.
Sadly we parted company at the top lock
and Alex took over to navigate his first tunnel on the tiller. Only one boat came the other way but he did a very good job of steering the bat around the many twists and turns that this snakey tunnel offers. It was quite dry for a change.
We boated on and had different partners for the Buckby flight down to Whilton Marina. Here Sonflower enters the bottom lock with Alex on the tiller.
Here I left the crew to boat on toward Gayton while I retrieved the car from Braunston. This was achieved and I was at Gayton by 5.15pm. A quick call to the Best Mate ascertained that the boat would not get to Gayton before dark and possibly would not make The Wharf Inn at Bugbrooke. Sonflower arrived in the dark.
We agreed to both aim for there and walking and boating we met at 7pm. This left only a few miles to do in the morning.
No ice to break at 6.15 am but frost in the ropes and the roof. After stoking up the fire we set off, the crew dozing and moored on Gayton 14 day visitor moorings. We went back home to fulfill a commitment and returned at lunch time to progress to the water point where we filled and washed the towpath side of the boat before cruising on. Our target was made before sunset this time and we moored on the visitor moorings below Stoke Bruerne locks, which we did on our own, at 5.30pm.
We settled in to eat a home cooked paella.
The fire roars away and we are all ready for bed!
18 miles, 19 locks, 20 hours