The miles continue to drift lazily by as we pursue our persistent journey southward; Milton Keynes has passed us by as has Leighton Buzzard.
Entering Stoke Hammond Lock
The days however rush past quickly as we move into early Summer. It becomes a pleasure to notice that the Sun doesn’t set until a quarter to nine in the evening now and after their late start, the Spring flowers are still hanging on to their luxuriant blossoms most triumphantly.
After the long lock free pound that took us across the flat Northamptonshire Plain we have now climbed the southern slope of the Chilterns with Ivinghoe Beacon on our left and are well into Red Kite country. These birds of prey that look just as their name suggests and could be easily mistaken for a large red Chinese kite, are now very well established in the area and swoop and hover very low overhead.
We are currently moored just to the north of Cowroast Lock, about three miles south of Marsworth Junction from where a narrow arm takes the canal down to Aylesbury. As the mobile internet connection here is not too bad I am taking the opportunity of updating our position.
‘Roots and Wings’ currently has a few guests aboard. While you will remember that Janis’ sister Sharon joined us in Banbury to crew for her at the beginning of our voyage and still remains with us, on Friday last her eldest sister, Raeleen, whom I met last year, arrived for a few days on board as well. This morning, together with Pip, a gentleman friend from Newark, who’s been down here for the week, she has taken them all for a short cruise back up to Bulbourne Junction and then down the short Wendover Arm. Originally we were hoping to venture down the Aylesbury Arm but one of the locks has collapsed and the canal in that direction is closed now indefinitely.
So that leaves me able, quietly to get on with my writing for a while.
On our way here, we were moored for a couple of glorious days right outside ‘The Globe Inn’ at Leighton Buzzard and from there the three of us set off one sunny morning on two bikes and by walking, to visit the gardens of Ascott House, owned by the Rothschild Family and managed by the National Trust, about three miles away. The experience was wonderful and when we arrived we were assailed continuously and conclusively by both the fragrance of Spring and the beauty of the gardens.
The soft light fragrance of the Magnolia was heady
Multi-coloured Tulips and white Narcissi at Ascott House
‘Futurest’ outside ‘The Globe Inn’, Leighton Buzzard
Then on Saturday we caught a bus from our mooring here into Aylesbury and then a second one out to Waddesdon Manor, the palatial mansion, again owned by the Rothschild Family but managed most admirably by the National Trust for all the visitors that go there to see it’s both rare and priceless treasures. We arrived at the time it opened and stayed until it closed at around six o’clock in the evening and then only managed to see a very small portion of the house and its glorious gardens. I reckon a whole week is needed to see everything on offer.
The Ascent of Venus at Ascott House
The only thing that tried very hard to dampen our spirits was the weather for in between warm sunny spots we were assailed continuously by heavy showers, which quickly brought the umbrellas out and made everybody run for the slightest piece of cover available. We returned to the ships at about eight very happy though somewhat damp.
It had been a lovely day.