Slapton Trip and a Sad Time

We had planned for some time to take Albert on a round trip to Aylesbury. Our friends Anne & Edward Winter were to join us for the return journey. The plan was to leave on the afternoon of Tuesday April 19th get to Aylesbury by the Friday and then take a more leisurely journey back. The journey started inauspiciously with us leaving an important bag at home. This required a turn around at Cosgrove and added an extra one hour and three quarters to our journey. However, we soon made good progress - it was great to be on the move again and the weather was very kind.

Cosgrove Lock in spring sunshine
A short boat with a great name

Crossing the  River Ouse on the Iron Trunk at Cosgrove

Spring Chicks
 Passing through Wolverton we glimpsed the Secret Garden and then met working boat Cyprus crossing the new aqueduct near New Bradwell. The steerer lost his hat in the wind.

Wolverton's Secret Garden

Passing NB Cyprus
 We moored up for the night by The Plough in Simpson and we went out to Pizza Express near the MK Dons stadium with our Emily, Andy and our grandson Hugh. They had had a day out in Cambridgeshire to celebrate Andy's birthday.

The following day we left relatively earlier with the plan to put in some miles. We shared the very shallow lock at Fenny Stratford with another boat but they we travelling so slowly. At Stoke Hammond a wide beam managed to leave the lock with a paddle up making life difficult for a following hire boat who strictly speaking "took our water". The difficulty at this point is seeing boats coming around the corner. Going up Soulbury Three Locks we had help from CRT volunteer lock keepers but the pounds were low and entering the last lock was "interesting". A stop at Leighton Buzzard Tesco followed although the 2 hour visitor moorings were full making mooring difficult. We then met up with another boat for Grove and Church Locks.

It was along this stretch that we heard that Maggie's mum who was in a care home in Northampton was unwell. This was worrying but she was being monitored carefully and at that time she was not causing concern. Unfortunately she took a turn for the worst during the afternoon and by the time we reached Slapton in the evening we were advised to come to see her. We left the boat and travelled to Northampton arriving to find her very poorly. She passed away peacefully early the next morning with her family at her bedside. At 96 years old she had a long and happy life but we shall miss her dearly.
Maggie and Mollie aboard Albert in 2005 

In memory of happy times with Mollie I have posted above a photo taken near Great Linford eleven years ago when we took Mollie out for a trip along the Grand Union. She enjoyed coming on Albert and always took an interest in our journeys and follow us on a Inland Waterways Map until dementia cruelly reduced her capabilities.

After Mollie's passing on theThursday morning we took the boat back home to Yardley Gobion with the assistance of Anne & Edward Winter. They raised our spirits ahead of the difficult times we will undoubtedly have when the funeral takes place.

Anne helping Maggie with a lock gate

Descending Soulbury Three Locks