The next job we need doing is an engine service so we have crept out of bustling Braunston to Willoughby, by a bridge where the engineer can park his Land Rover Defender (300,000+ miles on the clock and looking immaculate).
Across the canal and the road from us is what used to be the Navigation Inn on Willoughby Wharf. It is now private residences.
Moored behind us is Pilot
The bows look like they were designed for ice-breaking and there is a chimney on the roof big enough for a steam engine but also a rooftop exhaust pipe further aft.
It looks in good condition but I missed speaking to the owner as he left in a hurry soon after we arrived.
As we left Braunston this morning we passed the wreck of a Sea Otter which had been burnt out a couple of months ago but which had only sunk recently, possible due to people looting the few usable remains. The cause of the fire is unknown.
As we still have no phone signal, I had to go up to the road to arrange a service for our generator later on our route north. The electrical engineer mentioned that he had just fitted a new alternator for nb Tamora who was headed our way. We know Ian and Maureen from mooring with them in Aylesbury so I was disappointed when I returned to Gecko to find they had passed whilst I was on the phone.
I was less disappointed to have missed Timothy West following them as I deplore his performance on the recent TV series. He seems to relish bumping into boats and bridges and believes this is acceptable behaviour.
He missed Gecko!
As a youngster our nearest railway was the Metropolitan Line immortalised by Sir John Betjeman as Metroland. I recall seeing the Master Cutler on its way from Marylebone to Sheffield but this ceased around 1960. Willoughby and Braunston Station was on this line but this too has long gone, along with the 13-arched viaduct.
Another village pub which is no longer a hostelry is The Four Crosses. Originally this was named The Three Crosses. Leegnd has it that Jonathon Swift fell out with the landlord's wife during his stay there and engraved the following on a window with his ring.
You have three crosses on your door
Hang your wife up and you will have four
2 miles / o locks