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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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Gayton Marina

Gayton Marina

Due to adverse weather conditions, expected, I’m moving away from the Continuous Cruising this winter, onto the Marina.

It’s the first time for years… The last place I moored at was Barton-under-Needwood over three years ago, when I was fairly new to boating.

Barton Turns Marina

Barton turns marina
Barton turns marina

Was where I used to live.

I always got the impression that Burton was full of criminals.

The marina was alright. I went out a couple of times to the bar and had a few meals in the restaurants. I lived there for about three months from May until August maybe.

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Old Braunston Town

Old Braunston Town

Where East meets West…. Midlands.

I can walk to Warwickshire and back again in about 8 minutes. The county-line is a stream that runs down the hill behind Braunston playing fields into the canal.

Braunston

Has a history as a boating town. It was once served by two railway lines. One station close to the marina in Wolfhamcote, and the other about a mile up the road in Willoughby.

Braunston Pump House
Braunston Pump House

It’s somewhere I’ve moored a few times over the years.

Facilities include:-

  • 4 pubs. The Nelson, The Wheatsheef, The Plough, The Boat
  • 3 Chandlers of sorts. Midlands Chandlers, Braunston Marina Chandlers, Tradline (rope and fender).
  • Butcher.
  • Post Office & Convenience store.
  • Hairdresser.
  • Fish and chip shop.
  • Knick & knack and icecream shop.
  • Broadband that works. At different speeds depending on where you moor up.
  • and other numerous other small business concerns around the local environs.

Due to this, and it’s location on the convergence of the Oxford and the Grand Union main line make it a favorite stopover for boaters, even if it is just for one or two nights.

The Stop House Braunston
The Stop House Braunston

The stop house is the toll house for the canal in the area. It now houses a small canal museum.

Also, it’s home to the CRT East Midlands enforcement crew.

Last year I dropped in here and picked up a Cruising Record, a log of all the locations that the CRT had logged for my vessel.

Oxford Branch

Like on the underground Oxford Circus.

Not really though…

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Up the Junction

Up the Junction

Norton Junction to be exact.

After waiting at the top of Buckby Locks for a couple of days, I moved down here to Norton Junction which is where the Oxford Line of the Grand Union meets the Leicester Line.

It’s probably 2 miles away from Norton village.

It’s quite pretty here though, and we’ve got a view across the fields toward Welton village, of which you can see the church spire.

Grand Union Norton Junction
Welton Village in the distance

The canal runs between the two villages of Welton and Norton.

Welton used to be home to a large manor house called Welton Place, until 1972 when it was demolished.

Some of the classic foliage planted by the eminent Clarke family remains at Welton Place‘s previous location in the village and are protected.

Norton Junction on the Grand Union
Norton Junction on the Grand Union

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Weedon Bec -> Dodford

Weedon Bec -> Dodford

Or thereabouts.

In the fields really.

Very nice and placid.

It’s nice being able to draw the curtains and not have gongoozlers look onto your boat all the while.

I have some nice orchids growing outside my window. It’s close enough the I can see the insects moving up and down the stems. Closer to nature, I guess they say!

A45 Weedon Bypass

Has been completed. Last November to be exact.

Flowers of conciliation are now growing across the earthworks.

Weedon Bypass A45
Flowers grow on the Weedon Bypass A45

It was definitely noisier last year when their were less plants to absorb the sound and vibrations.

Can hardly hear it now.

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Phone broke [Nether Hayford]

Phone broke [Nether Hayford]

My Wileyfox, that all UK mobile-phone brand, had a problem with the tethering – my access to the outside world, which ceased working last week.

I sent it back, and am writing this using my old Samsung Galaxy Prime.

It can’t take pictures, it can’t do video’s. For this reason, I’ve not been bothered to do the blog for a good few days now.

Nether Hayford
Nether Hayford

Nether Hayford

Currently located here, in Nether Hayford. Perhaps a five/ten minute walk from the village centre.

Before, I stayed down near the bridge.

The train noises really f*ck me off.

I stayed in the knowledge this was the case.

Luckily with a boat, you can move house any time you want.

I can’t hear the trains at all now.

I like it here. That’s nice.

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