Tue 21st Mar By car to Suffolk
Our first stop was in Northampton to see our solicitor and to sign a few papers. James’ father was a solicitor and taught James never to sign anything without reading it first. However, there were many pages of paragraphs, clauses and sections, but signatures required in just three places, so we signed and took away some paperwork to read through later.
Our satnav helped us get out of Northampton and we were soon on our way to Maggie and Clive’s place in Carlton near Saxmundham in Suffolk. We had a glorious day for travelling, and a relaxing evening with them.
Wed 22nd Mar Suffolk
We had a look at our post which is sent to their address, and we took them out to lunch at the White Horse at Badingham. This had recently changed hands and the food, atmosphere and prices were all agreeable.
Maggie and Clive outside the White Horse at Badingham.
We then visited the most interesting Badingham Church of St John the Baptist. The ornate porch and the huge font both date back to the 1480s. There is also an unusual hammer beam roof with angels.
The church at Badingham
Then a brief journey to Sibton to see some family graves – James’ grandparents on his mother’s (McDougall) side, and his aunt Mog and Uncle John. Grandfather Rory McDougall used to be the rector here.
The graves at Sibton
Back to Carlton to put the car to bed for seven months, under a tarpaulin, with battery disconnected.
Then we watched some old video from the last century, showing us in our more athletic days, when Maggie and Clive had a sailing yacht and took it through the French Canals. There was a brief glimpse of Chris Coburn on his narrowboat Progress, returning from Dunkerque with the little ships.
Thu 23rd Mar Suffolk to Aylesbury by train
Looking out of the window in the morning we were delighted to see a Brambling, a bird a bit like a chaffinch. We had never seen one before. The daffodils were out in all their spring glory.
The house and moat
Maggie kindly gave us a lift to the station, where we boarded our train to Ipswich, and then to Liverpool Street, Marylebone and Aylesbury.
Out with the bus passes to return to the boat where we lit a fire, and said hello to Hugo.
In the evening we went to the first of several events connected with Easter. This was a meal to commemorate the last supper, and relate it to the Passover event in Egypt. It was very good, particularly so as we were in an upper room. We missed this last year as Easter was later, and we had left by then.
The last supper commemoration
Fri 24th Mar Good Friday in Aylesbury
We walked round to the church cafe, More+, where we had agreed to meet Phil and Anne for a farewell chat. A lovely atmosphere once again.
Later, as it was a beautiful day, we moved the boat onto the fuel pontoon, where James loaded four coal bags onto the pallet on the roof. This would have been a difficult job from the stern. There was one more, which we put in the bows. The current one in use is in the stern, and we anticipate we will finish it before we set off.
A beautiful sunny day
Lots of people were cleaning their boats and doing some maintenance in preparation for spring. Barry and Mary on Hartwell left for the summer. We would probably have done the same if we weren’t concerned about missing Easter Sunday at the church. Sadly, the forecast for Monday is not as good as we had hoped, with a lot of rain. We will monitor the situation.
Hartwell sets off up the canal
Later we walked once again to More+ where people were gathering for fish and chips, and a contemplation of Good Friday. There was a cross where we could exchange our red pieces of wool for white ones, where our sin had been washed clean by what Jesus did for us.
The Good Friday Cross
The forecast for Monday became worse, with strong winds as well as rain. Malcolm and Julia were in the cafe, and we agreed to talk again on Sunday.
Back to the Canal Basin, where the bar was open so we joined the group of boaters there.
On the news later, our Monday storm had been given a name: Katie.
Sat 25th Mar Aylesbury
We had a leisurely morning and then went to the site office for our development. We were kitted out in high viz jackets, hard hats, and steel toed boots, and given a grand tour of the apartment block. We were pleased to see that the door to the second bedroom was in the position originally shown on the plan, instead of halfway along one wall as we thought it would have to be.
The view of the park and canal from the balcony
The view of the apartments from the park
We also sent an email to our solicitors with a few queries about some of the clauses in the contract.
The people on Jake, the boat next door, arrived with various items to stow, and announced that were leaving today. A strong wind and heavy rain later caused them to change their minds.
We discovered that Simon and Pat from Daedalus were around for one night, so we invited them for drinks on Gabriel. It was good to catch up with them, as we thought we would be gone before they came back. They are going to the K&A and then the Fens, so we are unlikely to coincide until we meet again back in Aylesbury in November.
Sun 27th Mar Easter Sunday! He is risen!
The clocks changed so we lost an hour somewhere. Up early for band practice at 9am. We had seven in the worship band, but only three monitor speakers, so it was hard to hear what we were doing. However, we made a joyful sound with some great Easter songs. A shared breakfast at 10am started the service, which included a time of communion. It was a wonderful time of celebration. They also had us both up at the front to talk about our plans for the summer, and to pray for us.
The weather forecast now shows rain on Easter Monday morning until about lunchtime, and then fine after that, so we arranged to meet Julia and Malcolm tomorrow at 1pm on Gabriel for our trip to Marsworth
In the afternoon Aylesbury Canal Society held an Easter Egg hunt, so were pottered around the basin in beautiful sunshine. We then had tea and cakes, and more cakes and puddings. It was more or less our farewell to the boaters.
Spoils from the Easter Egg Hunt
There was a lot of rain around and we had a wonderful Easter Rainbow for our final afternoon. It then started raining very hard. Katie has arrived.
Gabriel ready to go (mostly)
Plans for next week: a cruise via Leighton Buzzard to Milton Keynes