Walking along the towpath after the rain was almost impossible. Bob decided to take a walk to have a look at the village of Pewsey but after sliding around and growing taller by about 3 inches of mud, Bron spat the dummy and retreated to the comfort of the boat and left him to it. Apparently there was not lots to see and a little quiet time did us both the world of good!
Our next stay near Burbage and the weather was a little better but Bob found a great stick for Bron so the walking got easier and it now lives on the roof next to the stern ready for more treks. We stopped and moored just before the 500m Bruce tunnel – our first real tunnel – and we took the opportunity of taking a long walk to survey the area. This is one thing we both love about travelling along the canals – the pace is slow and the opportunity for rambling walks is almost endless. The trick is not to get lost on all the tracks and roads – or in the many gorgeous little pubs that seem to be a feature of both the canalside and villages!
We had a steady run of locks between Burbage wharf and Great Bedwyn but fortunately got to share the last few with new chums Richard and Christina on NB April Rose. It makes the job much easier when you can share lockages and of course the battle with the lock gates and paddles!!!! While staying a couple of days in Bedwyn we ran into Richard and Christina again and enjoyed a quiet G&T and beer with them on their boat while they shared all sorts of insights into the canal system/places to moor/accessing the NHS/finding out all sorts of information. Another truly great serendipitous connection!!!
More in the saga of securing internet access occurred during this short sojourn. after attempting to transfer some money into our new UK bank account so that we could secure more consistent and reliable internet access, we found that we would have to make contact with our Australian bank. After several attempts and recharging our phone credit twice, purchasing an international dialing card and being cut off 3 times we finally sorted the problem, transferred money and then waited for it to successfully arrive in the UK account. Almost 72 hours later it had finally showed up and then we discovered that we would need to visit a Three store to establish an account for our internet which could not be done on-line and neither could we register our debit card and topup our existing internet online. Finally woke up this morning and decided on a train trip to Reading to fix it all!!! But I am ahead of myself now!!
From Great Bedwyn we progressed to Hungerford – through 10 locks and 2 swing bridges (one of which was over the lock – very strange) – with the opportunity to share the last few with another boat – 2 school teachers and their 3 children enjoying the Easter break on the canals. We found a great mooring that allows us to stay up to 2 weeks just near the Tesco’s supermarket which has turned out to be brilliant since we were out of all fresh produce and dipping into our stores!!!!
We decided to stay here for a few days given that the water refill and toilet (Elsan) empty out is across the canal and the supermarket is very close. More importantly we knew that our friends were visiting on Sunday – Mick, Chris and Sue. We had a lovely time including lunch at the Three Swans – delicious and thank you Mick – and a drink or two at the John O’Gaunt. Chris and Sue also brought our mail which was excellent!!!!
The weather since last Tuesday has been very nice with glorious sunshine peeking through most days. We are constantly amazed to see the locals respond to this by breaking out their summer attire – we are still wearing light jackets and sweaters as it is still only 15C!!!!
A big shop on Monday as well as purchasing rubber boots for Bron and taking a long walk around the town and surrounding area. With the frustration of not being able to upgrade our internet (Bob missed the Crows game on Sunday because we did’t have enough download left and our kids had sent us the money to buy access to the games on the internet – and they won!!!) we both spent a sleepless night before deciding to take the train to Reading today and sorting (hopefully now permanently) our internet, purchasing a printer and backpack, and a few more storage solutions for our bathroom.
Our goal this week is to get to Newbury, where we should stay over Easter weekend, and resolve 2 more challenges – our flights and other travel to meet Bob’s sisters and their husbands in Venice in late May for Jenny’s birthday, and to access a GP for regular checkup, medication prescriptions and to review Bob’s eye which still is causing him trouble from the shingles he had last August.