Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nearing Rugby, Oxford Canal

This morning we were up and away by nine, mainly because we planned to stop early so Eric could watch the Hungarian Grand Prix. Ben and I walked the towpath which was grassy and bumpy so just three bikers out for a very bumpy ride.  Loads of boats about and we arrived at Hillmorton Locks  second in the queue. Lovely easy locks after those big double clocks and the duplicated chambers meant it was quick too. All we needed was a place to moor as this section of the Oxford Canal has lots of canalside greenery. A mooring place found about a mile out of Rugby (next to the golf course), just right for Ben's morning walk along the towpath before we do a food shop at Tesco's tomorrow.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Into Braunston And Escape To The Countryside

Going down Braunston Locks
Yesterday we left our mooring near Norton Junction on the GUC Leicester Arm and headed down to Braunston. First going through that very long tunnel meeting loads of boats coming in the opposite direction and then working down through the flight of double locks into Braunston.

Before we left Ben and I went for a walk along the edges of the wheat fields as far as Buckby Wharf and back. The fields here have wide borders left for walkers and wild life. Ben remembered the route and headed straight for the stream with it's bridge across connecting the fields, for a paddle and a drink of course.

Lots of help going down the double locks with another boat full of holiday makers. We stopped for a short time to visit the Chandlery at the bottom lock  who supplied us with the three spare belts we needed for the Beta 43 and some filters needed for the oil change Eric is doing today.  He's down the engine hole now, batteries checked, gearbox oil changed and he's replacing the engine oil with lovely clean stuff.

We're moored in the countryside near Bridge 85, a good place for satellite TV and away from busy, busy Braunston. Loads of boats going past in both directions but nice quiet towpaths. Ben and I had a walk for an hour or so towards Rugby and back and we met only some ramblers enjoying the countryside too.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Crack's Hill and Watford Locks, G.U.C Leicester Section

NB Bendigedig from Crack's Hill
Ben at the top of Crack's Hill
Today the sun was shining, so despite plans to stay put we changed our minds! First of all I wanted to walk up the top of Crack's Hill to look at the view. Part of the hill itself is a giant rabbit warren but with Ben about they stayed in their burrows. Lovely views you could see Crick Church will the spire shrouded in scaffolding. There's a beacon on top of the hill and a monument with a plaque on top telling you the distances to various masts and places. On the way down we followed a footpath and found Crick Millenium Wood, so we walked around the edge of the wood before returning to the boat.

Next we cruised for just a short distance as I needed to go to the Coop in Crick for fresh supplies. I used their trolley and then had to empty the contents onto the counter to go  through the till before she passed the items back to me to put in my shopping trolley.....not the most helpful Coop. In other stores they've taken the trolley behind the counter and I only had to pack the goods.

Back on the boat I put the food away and we cruised towards Crick Tunnel. We passed several boats in the tunnel too. We arrived at the top of Watford Locks, seven in all including a staircase of four. I went to find the lock keeper to join the queue  while Eric used the services at the top of the locks. I was pleased there was a book swap there too. We waited for about an hour and then we were on our way down, remembering  red before white with the paddle gear! The lock keeper was watching but he didn't do any paddles, unlike the lockie at Foxton Locks!

Eric's now has some new words 'Armco huggers' for those boaters who moor in the middle of any section of Armco so nobody else can moor next to them! We finally moored up just past Bridge 2 and that fishy aerial came out as we couldn't get a satellite signal. Strawberries for tea ..yum yum!

Going down the Watford Flight

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Moored Below Crack's Hill (near Crick)

Crack's Hill
Today we decided to give the Welford Arm a miss this time and continued on our way towards Crick. We passed the new marina at Yelvertoft and Crack's Hill, not a large hill but noticeable in the surrounding flat land. We're now on the 412 feet above sea level contour in the pound between Foxton Locks and Watford Locks. Arriving at Crick Marina we pulled in for fuel only to find a tiny notice on the pump telling us it was switched off awaiting maintenance. It would have more sense to have a notice at the entrance to the marina!

So it was retracing our steps back to Yelvertoft Marina where we should have stopped in the first place. We pulled in and filled up taking 148 litres, we've never got so low before but we'd passed two places selling fuel who were closed. A lovely marina, so quiet with no trains, roads and no sewage  works.  Note for Sue (NB No Problem)- Yes they allow self declaration and  are very friendly.

We finally moored a short distance away with Crack's Hill the view from our window. I googled it to find it's a moraine made up of silt and debris deposited by  glaciers in the Ice Age. I think tomorrow Ben and I will take the footpath to explore.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Foxton Staircase Locks- Gongoozlers Galore!

NB Bendigedig waiting to go up Foxton Staircase Locks
Going up....I'm doing the paddles

Near the top with one more to go (Eric's lockwheeling)
Today we continued back down the Market Harborough Arm towards Foxton but it was going to be one of those days. I opened Bridge 4 which needs a BW key to unlock- it's a road bridge with barriers to open and shut. Eric went through with the boat, I returned the bridge to it's original position and a waiting car driver opened one barrier while I did the other but mine wouldn't lock in position which meant we couldn't get the key out. Now the bridge wouldn't open so boats were going nowhere fast. A phone call to BW to ask for help but no call back came. Luckily a boater came by who realised the bridge worked on sensors, put a spanner between the sensors to make it think the barrier was in it's correct place.....the thing clicked  and I could now turn my key to release it. We left the bridge in working order and rang BW to tell them we didn't need their help anymore.

Arriving at the bottom of Foxton Locks I set off to find the lock keeper to find we were fourth in the queue going up. It currently works on a six up six down pattern so we didn't have to wait long. The gongoozlers were out in force with loads of questions, often oblivious to the fact they needed to get away from the lock beams as we needed to move them. After five locks Eric took over the lock wheeling while I steered the boat from one lock to the other for the next five locks. There's just one passing place between the two staircases and NB Helen Louise with their  crew from New Zealand came for a chat as they waited to go down the final five locks.

The cafe at the top sold hot pasties so lunch was sorted and we were on our way.  Ben and I walked for a while and then got back on the boat as Husbands Bosworth Tunnel was ahead. Later trying to find some canal bank not shrouded in plant life was difficult as we hoped to stop before Kilworth Wharf planning to get fuel in the morning. No such luck so we passed it by and moored further on .....a length of piling.....hurray!

Monday, July 25, 2011

This Little Tiger Came (via email)

Gwenllian in face paint

Visiting Market Harborough

Today we travelled along the Market Harborough Arm, Ben and I did three miles on if on foot while Eric steered the boat. Quite a quiet pleasant journey going to Market Harborough, but busier on the way back as all the hireboats were leaving the basin. The visitor moorings were full  but we carried on to use the Services and there was a notice saying mooring was available in the basin just call in at the office. We were surprised that there was no charge unless you intended staying overnight and then the fee was £7.50 including electric.

We walked down the hill into town and were pleasantly surprised by the variety of shops. Eric bought  a shirt in the sales of one of the posh shops and I bought a couple of tops as cover ups to stop me frying in the sun. Eric spotted a barber and we noticed they cut ladies hair too- mainly trims and short cuts which suited me fine. Other than that we bought milk and bread in the large Tesco Metro in the square and walked back up the hill to the basin.

We'd been told by a couple of boaters if was not a good place to go, so we're very glad we took no'll well worth a visit!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Kilby Bridge To Foxton.....12 Locks Today

A view down the site of the Inclined Plane
Another busy day walking and working through twelve double locks, but it was easier today because we shared all the locks with another boat. With three people working the locks we took it in turns to walk ahead and set the next lock. We arrived at Foxton Locks and turned down the Market Harborough Arm to find a mooring space. Later we walked back to Foxton Locks to have a look at the site of the Inclined Plane and the Foxton Staircase. The place is buzzing, full of boats, walkers, dogs and children!

Tomorrow we're having a lazy day with no locks, just a cruise to Market Harborough to have a look around and then back to Foxton  ready for those locks on Tuesday. The good thing is their narrow locks which are nowhere near as heavy as the double locks.

Overlocking part of Foxton Staircase Locks

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Moored At Kilby Bridge......16 Locks Today

A Coot on her nest...amongst the rubbish!
Castle Park Gardens (secure moorings), Leicester
Along the Mile Straight
Below Freeman's Meadow Lock
Freeman's Meadow Weir, above the lock
St Mary's Mill Lock
Today was a long day starting at Birstall Lock which took us back on the River Soar. At Belgrave Lock we could see the National Space Centre,  a Coot on a nest surrounded by rubbish and then we were on a short section of canal until we got to North Lock where we were on the River Soar again. Lime Kiln Lock was particularly dismal with rubbish everywhere, dead things (mice?) in the lock itself and a rat running along the wall opposite which Ben was watching.

In contrast 'The Mile Straight' through Leicester was much cleaner with  some young people in a pair of canoes joined together busy fishing out rubbish from the water........lots of cries of Yuk! Just before this section of river is Castle Park Gardens where a pontoon provides secure moorings if they  lock the gate. There's a weir next to Freeman's Meadow Lock which is a bit daunting if you were travelling north as there's no barrier at all.

At King's Lock we were back to canals so Ben and I walked between the locks until we reached Kilby Bridge. A few of the locks leaked so much we had a job to get the levels to open them and had to resort to a gentle nudge from the boat. We took eight hours in all, mainly because nearly all of them had to be emptied first and they empty and fill really slowly. Arriving at Kilby Bridge I rang 'The Navigation' to ask about food, so our evening meal was there and I'd highly recommend the sirloin steak.

Back on the boat we're relaxing watching TV and Ben still wants to play ball even after his very long walk he ever tired?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Moored At Birstall On The River Soar

A view of the River Soar
We enjoyed our trip on the River Soar today and part of our journey was on a short section of the River Wreake. According to Pearson's the 18th century owners of Wanlip Hall didn't want 'dirty barges and bargees' spoiling their view so the plans were changed. Ben and I walked some of the footpaths alongside the river through fields but he'll be glad to be back on canals where he can have a longer walk.

We worked through five locks today and moored below Birstall Lock where the moorings soon filled up as there's a pub next to the moorings. The Candy Boat was there so we sampled their sherbet lemons....very nice to! We seem to take an age to get anywhere today as we had to empty locks before we could use them, and big wide ones take much longer to fill and empty. Some lock landings you needed a set of steps to get off the boat, I ended up on my hands and knees- I can't put my foot up that high!  Most of the trip today was on rivers so finding a mooring was more difficult as we need to be able to get off the boat with the dog.

Tomorrow we're planning to give the big city of Leicester a miss and pass through  and once we're through King's Lock we're back on canals........Ben will be pleased!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Moored At Barrow Upon Soar

Leaving our mooring near Kegworth
This morning we left our mooring at 10am, Ben and I walking as far as Zouch Lock through some fields on the way. Two fields had cows in, but they were too busy nibbling the grass to take any notice of us walking along the footpath......thank goodness! Back on the boat we passed through the flood gates with emergency flood moorings opposite Soar Boat Club where they ignored our cheery waves. I won't tell you what Eric said!

We continued on the river until we worked through Bishop Meadow Lock and stopped for water as I'd done a wash load. We got rid of the rubbish but the elsan was out of order  but as we planned to go to Loughborough Wharf it didn't really matter. According to Pearson's there are secure visitor moorings here  but sadly that is not so, so after I'd been to Tesco we winded and  moved on passing through Loughborough. We didn't see any boats on the move today but as we moored above Barrow Deep Lock there was the boat we'd shared the locks with yesterday.

Tea was bacon & eggs ......yes Anne the bacon you brought us from was delicious as were the sausages we had yesterday.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

On The River Soar......The Water's Clean!

Thrumpton's weir and a train crosses the bridge.
Looking back.....Trent Lock & the Erewash Canal is through the bridge.
Redhill Lock was chained open
Sharing Ratcliffe Lock
Passing Ratcliffe Power Station
Cranfleet Cut was noisy.......the trains ran all night and rattled across the nearby bridge over the canal. So we didn't get much sleep. In the afternoon we walked down to Trent Lock to see the place where the River Soar, River Trent, Erewash Canal and Cranfleet Cut meet. We could see the huge weir where the River Soar joins the River Trent and we knew we had to keep well way as it has a strong draw. We sat outside 'The Steamboat' and had a couple of beers in the sunshine.

This morning we were ready to move, so a big sweep round to stay well away from that weir  and now we're on the River Soar. As you look back you could see the bridge where the Erewash Canal begins. The first lock we came to was Redhill Lock and we passed straight through as it's chained open in Summer. Then came Ratcliffe Lock and another boat came  to share the lock, lots of chatting in the lock by the men and it turned out that the other steerer was Welsh too from Bridgend.

Ben enjoyed his walk alongside the river this morning as we had the paths to ourselves and he had to jump a few stiles. He did get black muddy legs but they were soon sorted with a bucket of water. Kedgeworth Shallow Lock was open both ends, so the next lock was Kedgeworth Deep Lock which took a age to fill. We moored up soon after on some unmarked visitor moorings and looking out of the window it's just like Tixall Wide except it's not blowing a gale. Our first impressions of the River Soar are very good.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

About Turn ......Leaving Nottingham

Going down Castle Lock No. 6
Winding by the Magistrates Courts
Today (Tuesday) we left Nottingham behind after going down Castle Lock and winding near the Magistrates Courts.Nottingham has definately been worth a visit and I'm sure we'll come back again. Ben and I had a short walk and got back on the boat just in time to miss the heavy rain which gave Eric wet feet. We're heading back along Beeston Cut to use the Services before going back on the River Trent ( water levels permitting) to Cranfleet Cut.

Update: The River Trent was on green so we got to Cranfleet Cut. It took a while against the flow, in some places the river was calm but others we had waves!

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Visitor In Nottingham

Today we were up bright and early to walk to the Railway Station, Eric and Ben came too. Anne arrived with food from her local butcher in Grantham, very nice too. We walked back to the boat  and had a cuppa and chatted and chatted and chatted......after all we had three years to catch up on. Later we had lunch, after which Anne and I went into Nottingham to have a look around the shops. I came back with a new pair of slippers......last of the big spenders! Anne caught the train home in time for tea with her hubby. We had a lovely day and I hope to meet up again soon. I'll email a copy of the photo to you Anne.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Moored In Nottingham

NB Bendigedig on the River Trent....under the M1
Approaching Beeston Lock
Today we finally got on the River Trent, Eric has been apprehensive but everything went well and we had a lovely trip. We shared the lock at Derwent Mouth with another boat and followed him under the M1 and into Sawley Lock which is a manned, automated lock which was lovely. The other boat was going on the River Soar so he veered off to the right waving goodbye as we went straight ahead through the flood lock onto Cranfleet Cut then through Cranfleet Lock onto the next section of the River Trent. The high sides made views limited but we did see the houses of Barton-in-Fablis.

We followed the bends of the river making sure we stayed in the middle and followed the signs to go left past Barton Island. There were canoes from a local scout group on the right of the island. You couldn't see any of the water filled gravel pits at Attenborough's Nature Reserve, although we knew they were there from the Pearson's Guide.  Finally we passed Beeston Marina and moored up for Beeston Lock. There was only a few feet difference in levels and while I was looking a woman came up and emptied the lock to use it! Obviously in such a hurry she ignored the fact that I was at the other end. In fact she ignored me completely!

We couldn't moor at the water point after the lock as there was a moored boat, a few minutes later they returned on their bikes with their shopping and began to use the other facilities. We pulled onto the lock landing and Eric walked across the bridge to use the sanitary station while I got rid of the rubbish. We couldn't be bothered to wait as we weren't short of water so we carried on along Beeston Cut onto the Nottingham Canal.  We passed Castle Marina and found a space on the Castle Meadows Visitor Moorings , quite a pleasant spot with a grassed area separating us from fenced off new buildings. The moorings stretch as far as Castle Lock complete with rings too.

I  had a walk down the canal but only went a few hundred yards before I had to go back as Ben was refusing to go any further. I wanted to see how far Nottingham Railway Station is from our mooring as my best friend from my college days is coming to visit us tomorrow.  

Another Day Above Derwent Mouth Lock

Eric's first job of the day is to check the engine, more so because it sounded differently.......the strange noise turned out to be a damaged belt on the Travel Generator which had been only replaced about three months ago! The V belt had lost a section of V's! While he  was in the engine hole he replaced the belt which runs the water pump and small alternator which was showing signs of wear.

Next job was to join the chain and rope to the anchor as we are going on the River Trent to Nottingham. It has so much rope and chain on it and is so heavy Eric jokes it would stop the QE2! If we ever needed to use it there would little chance of hauling it back in by hand.

The weather was awful yesterday morning with persistant heavy rain and yes Ben and I did go for a walk and come back dripping wet. He doesn't mind the rain and it coat always looks shiny after it's been wet and had a rub down with a towel. My wet gear just dripped in the's been a very useful addition to the boat.

Today we'll be heading towards Cranfleet Cut and I won't be able to walk Ben 'til later as the Horse Bridge below Derwent Mouth Lock to take the towpath across the River Trent is in the process of being replaced. Let's hope the rain stays away.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Willington To Derwent Mouth Lock........No Room At Shardlow

Swarkestone Stop
Those noisy trains don't stop at night, although there weren't so many, so I didn't get  a great deal of sleep. Of course we passed some better mooring places as we cruised today. Ben and I had a good walk  to Stenson Lock where we worked through the wide lock, nobody about to share the lock with but we did catch a boat up later to share the locks. We stopped at Swarkestone Stop to get rid of the rubbish before carrying on.

After working through Shardlow Lock making it five wide locks today, we tried to find a mooring but the only space was next to the pub garden and car park so we moved on to moor above Derwent Mouth Lock. While Eric was walking the dog he met some hireboaters who had come to their first lock, so he explained what to do. Another boat came to share the lock and as they left the lock there were boats everywhere so the new hirers ended up stuck on the wrong side of the canal. It was soon sorted! Since we moored up we've seen more boats than we've seen all day.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Branston to Willington

We left our mooring at Branston Water Park this morning to move on. The canal was quite narrow there with moored boats and we took a big blow to our bow when a Shakespeare hire boat arrived last night. Not one word of apology and they didn't even look our way and then they upset us even moor when the engine went on at 9.30pm! Needless to say I didn't stop Ben peeing by their boat.

At the first lock we came to named Branston Lock there was a mother duck very concerned as three of her ducklings couldn't get out of the lock bypass channel. She didn't move away even when Ben and I walked past.We rescued two ducklings and reunited them with their mum and the other one was rescued by the Canaltime crew on the boat behind. A quick stop at Shobnall Chandlery for an air filter  but we came out with a TV aerial system as a backup when we can't find a satellite signal. It looks like a fish but it works!

Shobnall Fields already has moored boats alongside with their show numbers, ready for the IWA Show at the end of this month. It's usually at the end of August so I don't know why the dates have changed.We stopped at Horninglow Wharf for water and the sanitary station mooring up next to Andrew Denny's boat NB Granny Buttons but he was elsewhere now he works for a living. The water tank filled we were on our way enjoying our cruise in unfamiliar territory......we only been this way once before four years ago.

Finally at Willington which is  a place I did remember and we found a mooring. One disadvantage here though is the noisy Cross Country Trains passing alongside the moorings......ear plugs tonight!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Alrewas To Branston Water Park........Room To Moor!

Looking back at Alrewas Lock
The Weir
Taking a rest- a Black Headed Gull
Bridge on river section
Today we cruised the river section from Alrewas Lock to Wychnor Lock on the lovely clear water of the River Trent. We walked across the footbridges which carry the towpath last night to have a look at today's route and were asked by a hireboater 'Is this a river?'........words fail me!

We queued to use Alrewas Lock but we were soon on the river and heading towards the weir where the River Trent goes over a large weir protected by a barrier. A black headed gull was sitting there with it's chocolate brown summer plumage. I took a photo of one of the bridges on this section because the last time we came this way we managed to lose a fender here......this time it didn't get us.

I had planned to walk Ben on the next section of canal but Ben had other ideas, after a short walk he decided the noise from the A38 was too much and jumped back on the boat at the next bridge hole. We walked the section from Barton Lock to Branston Water Park instead as it was away from road noise. We were lucky enough to find a space to moor and get a satellite signal. With The IWA National Festival near here in two weeks, I expect it'll only get busier.

We walked to Morrison's via the subway under the A38 to Branston village to get some fresh fruit and vegetables. We would have got lost if it hadn't been for a local lady who pointed us in the right direction. So tomorrow we'll be passing through Burton on Trent and going to Willington where there's a new marina and Midland Chandlers as we need some air filters. I wonder if there'll be any room on the visitor moorings in Willington?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fradley To Alrewas.....Seven Locks!

Entering Common Lock No 14

Today we left our mooring above Fradley, it had been a lovely spot but no satellite signal due to the trees. We worked through three locks stopping at the BW services before carrying on towards Alrewas. Lots of boats about so some help at the locks other than one boat which stayed well way until we left the gates open for him to come up. At Fradley,  Junction Lock No 17 (by the pub) must have a bees nest in the left hand beam as we watched a bee taking bits of leaves into a hole where the wooden beam slots into the steel.

Ben and I walked to Alrewas working the boat through four more locks on the way. We wondered if we'd find room to stop as we crawled past the long lines of moored boats, yes we were lucky there was a space just after the waterpoint. Eric managed to get a satellite signal so we've got TV tonight. We walked into Alrewas with its pretty thatched buildings to buy some fruit and some stamps. I had bought a card at the shop in Fradley but they didn't sell stamps, even though there's a post box in the wall just past the pub. So dad's card got posted today in Alrewas.

Below Alrewas Lock the canal merges into the River Trent for a short distance before the river goes over a large weir. So tomorrow we'll be doing that bit before heading towards Branston Water Park. We're getting closer Anne.........if you're reading this!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Moored At Fradley- Plenty of Room Today!

We left Rugeley after it filled up with boats, all going shopping in Morrisons. We had a quiet Sunday night with no repeat of the nearby residents having a full blown shouting, screaming and swearing row! Ben and I walked as far as the waterpoint and then got back on the boat to clean the very hairy interior of the boat. We needed water as the bedding was washed on route to the waterpoint.

It's very busy on this section of the Trent and Mersey Canal, and we followed a stream of boats which was good because we just followed them through the narrow section. At the first lock Ben and I got off and after working the lock we walked down to the next lock above Fradley Junction. The sign said 'Welcome to Fradley Junction' and there was actually room to moor!

Later on we walked down to 'The Swan' with Ben the dog and a had a pint before taking him for a walk around Fradley Pool. I had to keep him on a lead as there was lots of thick black mud at the water's edge and we all know how much Ben likes paddling! There were spaces to moor next to the nature reserve but as it's next to a road, it's not my favourite spot. The shop was open so we had an icecream and I bought a card to send to my dad .........just like holiday makers today!

Moored At Rugeley- Jobs To Do

The invisible list of jobs on the boat is endless. Yesterday after watching the British Grand Prix, Eric was down the engine hole. First of all it was checking the fluid levels on the batteries........all OK, then tightening some loose alternator belts to stop the unusual noises. You get to know what the engine sounds like and we had some strange noises. Next on the invisible list was the Mikuni heater which refused to ignite. We know if the fuel gets below about 90 litres (the take off point is above this) it won't work but we'd filled up and it still refused to start.The self diagnosis light was flashing once to tell us it was an ignition problem, with the booklet telling us it was either (1) glow plug problem (2) no fuel (3) not enough fuel or (4) dirty flame sensor. So first of all he checked the glow plug which was nice and clean then checked if any fuel was coming fuel. It turned out to be nothing drastic just air in the fuel pipe which was soon sorted. We use the Mikuni in the mornings for hot water as it's quieter than starting up the engine.

Eric's got plans to paint the blue edges on the roof but  of all there's lots of preparation to do and of course it needs to be dry and not blowing a gale. Today we're moving on possibly to Fradley, if we can find a space! Otherwise we'll have to go further.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Walking To Rugeley, Trent & Mersey Canal

 Leaving Bridge 69 on the Trent & Mersey Canal

This morning we were untied and ready to go and we had to wait as boats were coming in both directions. Only a short cruise today, just an hour took us to moorings at Rugeley and we were in luck as there was a space. Ben and I walked which was pleasant with sunshine and a breeze to keep me cool. We moored up and then Eric set up the satellite TV as he wanted to watch the qualifiers of the Grand Prix. I left him to it and had a wander around Rugeley before getting some fresh food from Morrisons. Not planning on moving tomorrow as Eric wants to watch the F1 race. 

Friday, July 08, 2011

Heading Towards Rugeley On The Trent & Mersey Canal

Today we decided to move on, there's fireworks and a music  do on at Shugborough so we need to get away as Ben is very scared of loud bangs. First of all we headed up to Anglowelsh to fill up the diesel tank and empty the cassettes in their elsan point. We filled up with water at the BW waterpoint  and then we had to turn around in the wind......what fun! With the use of the long pole we got round and were on our way to Haywood Lock.

After all our changes of plans we're back to where we started, heading to Burton on permitting as we have to go on a short section of the River Trent at Alrewas. We just hope nothing else happens to change our plans as we've planned to go to Nottingham and then about turn and down the River Soar. Of course the trip to Nottingham depends on the levels of the River Trent.

We didn't go far today, just through Colwich Lock and as far as Bridge 69 were we tagged on the end of a line of moored boats. Yes we're opposite the pig farm again!  We had fun mooring up as the wind was blowing us away from the bank we were wanted to be moored but we finally got alongside and moored up. Ben and I had our walk from Great Haywood to Colwich, just as well as the heavens opened just as we were back inside the boat.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Going By Train- A Day Out With My Dad

My dad

On Tuesday it was a case of bus from Great Haywood to Stafford, train to Birmingham New Street, train to Newport and then lunch with some friends Wendy and it was a bit hectic. Eric came to the bus stop to see me off with Ben. The train journeys gave me a chance to listen to my music collection which is now on a memory card in my phone, so the time went really quickly. In Newport my daughter Clare came to lunch as well and we had a good catch up chat.

After a little shopping I went to see my youngest daughter Lisa and grandaughter Gwenllian. My eldest daughter Sally came to Lisa's house as well, and to make up the party Paula (Eric's sister) came too. She's very good to us as she keeps all our mail and lets us know if there's anything important. Gwenllian kept us all entertained until her bedtime and then it was time to go down to my dad's house.


On Wednesday Dad and I had a day out in Weston super mare, travelling again by train. The weather was kind to us as we had only a few showers during the day. Of course we had fish and chips in a place called 'The Chicken Inn' , where  Mum and Dad always used to go when she was alive, Weston was a favourite place for their day trips. It's changed a bit since we last visited and there's even a ride like the London Eye on the promenade.  We enjoyed a walk along the prom to blow those cobwebs away and went on the Grand Pier for an ice cream. We watched the dumper trucks bringing loads of sand to the Knightstone end of the beach where the sand eventually gets washed away.  Soon it was time to catch the train back to Newport, but we had a good day! Lots of reminiscing went on too!

On Thursday It was back to Great Haywood, back to the boat. Eric had fun with Ben who didn't want to go further than a 100yards from the boat all the time I'd been away. Needless I say we all went for a walk when I got back, after Ben had demonstrated how much he missed me......lick, lick, lick!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Moored At Great Haywood Visitor Moorings

After a lovely quiet night at Rugeley, we left to cruise as far as Great Haywood with just two locks to work through. Ben and I walked from Rugeley to Colwich Lock and boy was it hot! As usual Ben had frequent dips in the canal to have a drink and cool his toes. We queued at the locks but boats going in both directions made life easier. I struggled to close one of the bottom gates on the Colwich Lock but help was around otherwise I'd still be there.

I enjoyed the short cruise to Great Haywood getting off to work the lock and today we were in luck as there was room to moor above the lock. Eric was pleased he could get a satellite signal for TV too.  It makes a pleasant change to our usual mooring place of Tixall Wide and it's a lot closer to the bus stop. Tomorrow I'm off to Newport leaving the males of the household to fend for themselves. The fridge, freezer and cupboards are full so neither man nor dog will starve!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Armitage and Rugeley- Trent and Mersey Canal

On Saturday we had a long hot day cruising from Hopwas on the Coventry Canal to Armitage on the Trent and Mersey Canal.  We didn't plan  to cruise for six hours it just happened because  we wanted to get through Fradley Junction onto the Trent and Mersey. The section of canal towards Great Haywood  has long stretches of soft sides and we'd prefer to moor not using pins. We ended up mooring opposite a long line of moored boats near Armitage before the waterpoint using pins into  a very solid canal bank. It was near a noisy A road so I needed earplugs. Several hireboats moored up next to us, asking if it was OK to moor there.

On Sunday morning we had a short run of just an hour to moor at Rugeley. Ben and I walked  for the hour amongst the cyclists and runners.....I couldn't run in this heat.......I couldn't run at all! We did some shopping and decided to stay as it was so warm, and have a lazy Sunday. Lunch was take away chinese courtesy of Morrisons so no cooking either. Ben is fast asleep so all is quiet on NB Bendigedig.... but not for long.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Bloggers At Hopwas

Reflections in Hopwas Wood
Hopwas was certainly the place to be for bloggers. Moored up near us were NB Herbie, NB Indigo Dream and  NB Gypsy Rover (Australia). This morning another one turned up Greygal with three of her greyhounds but  no boat, she'd come to crew for NB Herbie. But we left them all behind and cruised towards Fradley  Junction where we had a lunch stop  and used the services before we headed up three locks towards Great Haywood. I always find these three locks heavy going, the gates jusy don't want to shut and at Woodend Lock there's only one paddle working  so it's really slow going up.

The weather is glorious but Ben and I have had several short walks as it's hot walking the towpath with little shade. Of course Ben has been paddling in  the Trent and Mersey cooling his toes, but I'll have to wait til later..........thinking about it toes in a bowl of cool water!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Passing Samuel Barlow's.......Moored Historic Boats

Some are fully loaded boats
Today we cruised from outside Polesworth in lovely sunshine, Ben and I didn't have a long walk as he jumped back on the boat at a bridge hole! He didn't like the noisy trains near the canal. We passed Alvecote Marina where lots of historic working boats are moored next to the Samuel Barlow pub. Some of the boats were fully loaded which shows how different they look when working.  We worked through Glascote Locks with some help from another boat coming up behind us, he wanted some exercise so did I mind if he did the paddles.....of course not! Once again it was much quicker going down the locks and we were soon on our way.

We planned to stop for a spot of retail therapy so stopped at Fazeley Visitor Moorings and set off on foot. It was much further than we thought but we eventually found the retail park. We did our shopping and got a taxi back to the boat as we didn't fancy the walk back armed with shopping. The taxi driver found just the spot to drop us near the boat and he was very chatty and friendly asking all sorts of questions about our life on a boat.  The pharmacist in Asda was chatty too when I went to get some more hay fever tablets, I can't cope without them as there's so much long grass with seed heads about.

Back on the boat Eric decided he didn't want to stay outside peoples' houses overnight so we cruised for another hour to moor at Hopwas on the end of a line of boats.