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Covid on the socially distanced cut – Dodford Meadows

Covid on the socially distanced cut – Dodford Meadows

Continuous cruising rules are back in operation, meaning I have to move. The boat, not my personage.

I’ve moved 2 stops down, skipping my usual stop in Weedon Bec.

I decided that the excess of pedestrian traffic around that area was probably best avoided at this time.

I’ve moved a little further to this spot which is closest to a village called Dodford. I call it Dodford Meadows.

I’m moored opposite Canna Mead Wharf‘s boat crane. Sometimes they lift the odd boat out here to do a bit of work on.

They have a day boat for hire nowadays, but no website.

There used to be more boats moored up here. Some of them appear to have moved off.

From 2017

I took this picture at the end of 2017. Actually, I’ve been here a few times.

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Covid on the Cut – May the 4th be with you

Covid on the Cut – May the 4th be with you

Now into my forth edition. 8 Weeks of solid lock down.

I’ve grown tired of the whisky….

The thoughts of it’s aftertaste are no longer a comfort.

Fresh brood of signets. Grand Union - Stowehill.
Fresh brood of signets. Grand Union – Stowehill.
View across Nene Valley toward Flore from the Grand Union Canal
Freshly ploughed field. Nene Valley toward Flore from the Grand Union Canal.

Increase in wildlife on the canal during lockdown

Other areas of the UK urban and city are increasing in terms of returning wildlife, the following area’s of the cut are seeing a re-surgence.

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Covid on the Cut – Grade 3

Covid on the Cut – Grade 3

Now into the third fortnight, sixth week of official lockdown figures.

Whisky

I have taken up drinking whisky. Under the circumstances, it seems like the only sensible thing to do…

Over the last 3 weeks I’ve bought the following single malt whiskies.

Cardhu Gold Reserve – £25 (Tesco)

Cardhu Single - Gold Reserve
Cardhu Single – Gold Reserve

After checking online reviews, I bought this one whilst in Tesco.
It’s a single malt, Speyside, 12 years matured.
The reviews seemed mostly positive at a quick scan whilst in the aisles…
Getting it home, I felt the packaging a bit bulky maybe even a bit tacky. Overstated may be a better word…
After a few sips, I found it a bit sweet, less smokey, complex flavors, a bit more up-front. Made it a bit more-ish, but I don’t think I’d buy it again.
Bit of a novelty perhaps. Not sure why it got all the good reviews. Glad I got it on offer. Not something I’d pay full price for.

Marks and Spencer Speyside Single Malt – £30

Marks and Spencer Speyside Single Malt

Got this one from the Independent’s top 10 Single Malt Whiskys Guide.

Initially, I was quite impressed with the strong flavor. It’s quite strong and heady and it does have that lingering smokiness and smoothness which seems to be the hallmark of most of the Speyside whiskies out there.

I’ve not finished this one yet. It is quite strong, flavor and alcohol wise, it’s not something you’d drink in a rush. So it’s still around.

Aldi – Glen Marnoch Highland – £17.98

Aldi - Glen Marnoch Highland

This one is one of three single malts sourced exclusively by Aldi.

Like many Aldi items, the quality is surprisingly good, better even than higher priced similar products.

In fact, having tasted all three single malts that Aldi currently sell in store, I would say that they are a better, more satisfying whisky.

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Top 10 Advantages of winter mooring in a Marina

Top 10 Advantages of winter mooring in a Marina

Yup.

That’s it for me. I’ve done my stint and from this Friday, (7th March), I’m back on the cut. Away from the protected environs of the marina and back out into the wilds.

Horray.!

Is it better to over-winter in a marina?

Here’s some of my positive and negative aspects of choosing one, or the other.

Advantages of the Marina over the Cut

  1. Electric. Easy and probably the only single reason I’d pick a marina over the cut is the electric.
    It’s in abundant supply, you can use as much as you want of it, and it doesn’t cost very much.
    Contrast this to starting of engines of one sort or another, it’s a greener and more pleasant way to spend those dark nights watching telly or using the computer.
  2. Post. All post is delivered to the marina office. Around Christmas, this is a massive thing allowing you to shop with alacrity.
  3. Parking. No more parking on the road, it’s all secure. Need your keys to get in and out and a short walk to the boat.
  4. Shelter. The boat is slightly more sheltered on the pontoons than areas you might be located on the cut.
  5. No mud. Serious business when you’re coming home from work or doing the shopping and got the towpath full of mud. Not so bad here on the GU, but down on the Kennet, there were definitely areas where the towpath was impassible.
  6. Personal care facilities. If you so wish, you can wash and ablute using the marina’s facilities.
  7. Shop/chandlers. To drop by and pick up things you may need in the future for the boat.
  8. Water-point/Elsan. Is right there! No fussing and planning trips to the waterpoint/elsan. Waterpoints are at the end of the pontoons, and the elsan is about 25yards away.
  9. No passing boats. I’m not one of those people that complains a lot about passing boats, but in certain circumstances, they can be detrimental in terms of noise or wake or collisions or all the above. This simply doesn’t happen in the marina.
    There are no speeding boats. Although the boats do speed around the marina, it has little or no impact on your boat.
  10. Deep charge batteries. For 4 months 24/7, your batteries will be receiving full charge courtesy of the marina hook-up.
    By the time you leave, they will have reached the maximum amount of charge that they can receive.
    From there on in, electrons in your battery electrolyte line up, so they’re all uniform, and ready for action!
    This can significantly improve the performance/life of your battery bank.
Gayton Junction, Grand Union
Gayton Junction, Grand Union

Advantages of the Cut over the Marina

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Milkhouse Water, Wiltshire

Milkhouse Water, Wiltshire

Continuous cruising rules

  1. Each 14 days as a continuous cruiser; you have to move location.
  2. Not only that, each 14 days that move has to represent a move to a new neighbourhood.
  3. Not only that, each move must be linear, you can move from X to Y and then to Z, but not from X to Y and back to X again.
  4. To clarify that the CRT puts it on it’s site ‘consistent with the lifestyle of one who means to ‘navigate canals and waterways’.

It’s no longer possible to live on the canals and waterways of the UK under Canal and River Trust rules, you simply have the right to navigate.

There may be ways AROUND this. But strict enforcement essentially means; if you’ve got no ‘homebase’, you’ve got to be going from A to C, (with all the little b’s inbetween).

Milkhouse Water
Milkhouse Water

Milkhouse Water

This week, my little ‘b’ is Milkhouse Water. This is essentially the next parish along from Pewsey, maybe 2 miles down the road.

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