Where are all the boats?
When we crossed the Tring Summit from Cowroast to Bulbourne on Saturday we met about a dozen boats and determined that the half-term must have started. This is more boats than we have met before of this stretch of the Grand Union and so we were surprised when we passed numerous mooring spaces at Bulbourne where we usually have problems getting moored. In fact on one occasion a few years ago we were looking for a space when a fellow boater - Martin - offered to move his boat Tegu and another to make room for us. We have an affinity with Martin as Tegu is a South American gecko. Last summer we saw him up on the Macclesfield but when we saw him at Marsworth two months ago he was on a smaller boat - Rascal. He finds this mush easier to manage as a single-hander. Throughout the rest of our cruise yesterday we saw very few boats on the move and equally few moored in the spots where we usually find crowded. Perhaps they are all at the Crick show or the Wendover Arm Trust festival on Boxmoor.
The boats we have seen over the weekend, however, have included quite a few familiar ones. Wolverley which shared our rescue of the gosling at Kings Langley was having lunch at Bulbourne when we passed. After we moored for the night they passed us and we have have played leap-frog today too. Mary Russel who gave us a lift down the Thames to Brentford were at Marsworth but we could not stop. I expect they will catch up with us at Fenny Stratford where we have to wait for a few days. We have been fighting strong winds all day today which were especially troublesome between Grove Church and Grove locks (where there is a new marina)
Despite this battle we still managed to see the recently sold Tegu and Talarina from Aylesbury basin which may have been sold by now both near Houghton. Robin and Carole who sold their boat Inanda last year found they could not manage without one and have bought another, smaller, one which they are refurbishing. Inanda, we saw heading south at Kings Langley
The new one is called Marmite and like its namesake the boat's new colour scheme you will like or dislike. We spied it in the boatyard just below Stoke Hammond lock.
One boat we had expected to see either at the Msrsworth locks or below Cowroast was Pengelanty but in fact we found Alan relaxing breasted up with Snowdrop opposite The Globe near Leighton Buzzard. On our first trip back from the Wendover Festival in 2006 we shared a number of locks with Gordon and Becky on Alderbaran. They live aboard with three children near Fenny Stratford and we walked up to have tea with them after we moored there this afternoon.
And this is where all the boats are! Every slot bar one was occupied when we arrived.