After saying our goodbyes to every one we made ready to set off, we were moored just above lock two and we spotted a single hire boat coming down the pound and I gave them a shout as they passed requesting to share.
As the lock dropped with us both in it I could see the chap on a boat moored just below the lock scurrying around, well rushing would be a better description and just as our gates opened he rushed off to lock one before the pair of us could leave lock two.
As I had helped this boat down the flight at 7 30 on the Saturday night and now he had nicked my lock I thought it prudent to allow the hire boat to go ahead and join him, I may have been unable to hold my tongue.
Below the lock was crowed when we did finally get down, this was not helped by one paddle being out of action, slowing things down, its a big lock to empty though one paddle.
We pulled over at the Stop House and filled with water before continuing on our way south as far as Braunston Junction where we stopped at Midland Chandlers to buy a new smoke box for the boatman's cabin stove as the old one has cracked badly, probably due to rust caused by the rain coming in through the back hatch.
There were very few boats about and we were looking forward to a good run up the flight, even though we had not seen anyone ahead of us since we had been on the Oxford there was still a boat going up the first pound as we got to the bottom of the Napton flight. We were assisted with the first lock by a BW employee, apparently they now man the Napton flight at weekends.
Once at the top of the flight we moored towing path side opposite our moorings and drove down to see my son and his family for the afternoon, returning to the boat for the night.
Monday morning I decided to remove the Boatman's Cabin Stove and take it home to repaint it. As I looked at it more closely I could see that not only the smoke box was cracked but there was a crack in the stove top. When I got it home I removed the top, its only held on with 4 nuts and bolts, it was then that I discovered the front was also cracked and the oven box well rusted. At this point it was decided to scrap it and purchase an new one.
Hopefully now we have fit waterproof curtain inside the rear hatch the new stove will keep dry as we make our way along in the rain.
65 miles and 84 locks