Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Very Cold On The Cut

We travelled from Great Haywood up the Staffs and Worcester Canal - it's very cold and windy which didn't make moving that pleasant , but we felt like a change of scenery. We passed Tixall Wide where it's very exposed and open and decided to spend the night out in the wilds above Deptmore Lock, the wind is certainly up and the canal has waves! In the morning a passing boat managed to pull out our front pin, luckily we were up and dressed and could pull the boat in before the rear pin came out too. Today we went to Penkridge and a visit to Midland Chandlers to get some of those special pins to attach to the steel sides. We also needed light bulbs as a few had popped! Service at the till was very slow- they had a new computer system, but we managed to get out of there eventually and set off to find a nice quiet spot for the night. As the M6 is near this canal this proved to be an impossibility, we had no choice but to moor out in the country even though we couldn't get away from the sound of traffic.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Visit To Great Haywood

We travelled down to Great Haywood in the pouring rain and were delighted to see The Lock House Restauarant where we sampled their lunch time carvery menu with visitors from a nearby old peoples home. The food was great and we returned to the boat for a lazy afternoon after we found the local Spar to do a bit of essential shopping. The sirloin steak at the local butcher looked good so I bought some to cook for my birthday and it was delicious! We are moored near lots of empty boats waiting for the stoppage at Colwich Lock to clear. We are heading off up the Staffs and Worcester Canal to-morrow - let's hope the rain eases up!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Oscar Takes A Dip

Within minutes of our first visitors arriving Oscar the dog decided to jump off the bow of the boat into the Trent & Mersey Canal. I fished him out and here he is recovering with a blow dry! It was great to have visitors and the dogs were on their best behaviour! Paula and Danny sampled the delights of boating and promised to come back again and stay longer than just overnight.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Visiting Time!

We travelled down through Longport and Middleport and finally reached Festival Park Marina where we hoped to find a visitor mooring so we could visit south Wales. But there was no room at the inn , all the hireboats filled the marina. We did enjoy Sunday lunch at the Toby and then set off on quite a long walk to Morrisons to stock up on essentials. We spent the night outside the marina and set off to Etruria Junction where we could use BW facilities. We had no intention of staying in the rubbish infested canal through Stoke and found a nice spot at Barlaston with a selection of shops nearby where Eric could stay while I went home alone!
My three hour journey began with the local bus to Stoke to catch the train home via Birminham New Street. My eldest daughter Sally picked me up at the station and provided excellent B and B facilities and evening meals. She was also my taxi service as I enjoyed a hectic few days catching up with some shopping, visiting my other daughters and my dad who made us all a great lunch of lamb chops,mash and peas. I returned to Barlaston and the next day we travelled down to Stone where we stayed a few nights and used BW facilities.
We have found it difficult to get water and empty the cassettes with the winter stoppages so we started to use the internet to find a mooring with the option of staying the winter in a marina. Barton Turns had a space , so we took it as it'll give our boat a place to stay when we travel back to south Wales. To-morrow we have our first visitors Paula, Danielle and the dogs Coco and Oscar-that should be fun!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Our First Snow On Bendigedig

As the internet connection has been very poor along this stretch of the Trent and Mersey, I have been unable to update my blog. We have moored as many delightful spots but seen very few boats and have felt a little isolated. We found every lock on 'Heartbreak Hill' against us, so we only managed 10 a day, we can see where the name came from. The scenery was lovely and we enjoyed a chat with the locals at most locks. This stretch of the canal sees lots of dog walkers, cyclists and runners , but at present few boats. A few Carefree Cruising shared ownership boats were out and about. We moored at Church Lawton at a very quiet country spot and then we stopped at Red Bull to use the facilities. We decided to go through the Harecastle Tunnel and booked our passage in advance as requested. We moored the boat at the north portal of the tunnel only to get a phonecall from British Waterways as we did the shopping in Tesco. They advised us to move our boat from the visitor moorings, so Eric had to reverse back to where other private boats had moorings, not an easy task! In the morning we went back to the tunnel and waited to go through. We were both apprehensive- but we did it, it's certainly not the place to feel claustrophobic. It took about 35 minutes to go through, very wet with lots of drips falling on us and at the other end we met a frozen canal, so we had no choice but to stay put- we didn't fancy icebreaking! Then came the snow-but we have had less than Newport (S Wales). We were stuck at Harecastle for days waiting for the ice to thaw and then we set off on our travels again!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A Frosty Morning

Yesterday there was a lovely clear moonlit sky but we woke up to a very foggy and frosty morning and a few boats were actually moving as its the weekend! We donned our hats, scarves and gloves and headed for Wheelock visitor moorings to fill up the water, empty the casettes and get some essentials from the nearby shop. Lots of liveaboards are here, very friendly too! We even met a lady from Cardiff- these welsh get everywhere. The photograph shows the delightful weather as I get us out of a lock- Eric is much better as getting us into the locks but I have still got my L plates! We are getting used to less space and we have all we need- we are warm and cosy, well-fed and a dab hand as finding the dot in the sky for satellite tv so I can keep up to date with the soaps. We hear the owls at night, see kingfishers on the cut and the ducks and swans keep us entertained with their antics.Today (Sunday) the frost is all around us but the fog has not returned, so as we set off up 'Heartbreak Hill' as the old boaters called it, we will at least be able to see where we are going.