A relaxed long weekend saw us take our first trip of the year out to Norton Junction. For a change, we turned right at Napton and went to the Folly for lunch. After wondering whether they might have closed in the week to cut costs through the winter, we found that almost every table was full. Glad they are doing well. The afternoon was grey, cold and showery, so we stopped half a mile short of Braunston.
After a cloudy start on Saturday the sun came out and stayed with us for the rest of the trip, although it was cold and windy. The chandlers at the bottom lock proved handy for some replacement chain after breaking the one on the front fender on a lock gate. Turning at Norton Junction, we reversed back to the (unusually) empty moorings above Buckby Top Lock for lunch, before a walk down to Whilton Chandlers who are now in new premises above the bottom lock and were busily clearing the offside to allow visiting boats to moor. The new shop is smaller, but a real Aladdin's cave that seems better stocked than many others. The sun was transforming the still bare trees by highlighting the new growth at the tips of the branches.
Sunday was also bright, with a fantastic quality to the light that made the dappled tree covered cutting towards Braunston Tunnel as beautiful as ever. On down the locks past the Admiral Nelson, (still closed), we reached the Mill House in time for lunch on the terrace. The cloudy weather was back with us but still nice to be out on our way back to the marina for the night. Some maintenance in the morning, followed by a trip home, and a few days of aching ribs from hanging over the timbers supporting the boards above the engine. What with one thing and another, we'll probably not be out again before our week at Easter.