Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back On The Llangollen

Caught in the roof
Leaving Nantwich we followed the slow boat to Hurleston Junction.....they couldn't have gone any slower if they tried. They then missed the turn off for the locks, so tried to reverse but got there in the end. We followed then up the locks, while the lock keeper stayed at the top. When we reached the top we told him the water was a foot down in the second pound making it difficult to leave the lock so he let some water down.

We didn't go far just the moorings between Bridge 4 and 5 and we're all on own. This is Eric's favourite canal he's happy. He even cleaned the roof......he must be happy. Ben was outside enjoying the grassy towpath after a game of ball, but he wouldn't look at me when I wanted him too to take a photo. I imagined him thinking the caption of the photo!

Not another photo of me!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Moored At Nantwich

This morning we were woken at 8am  when the boat behind us started his engine and used bow thrusters rather than give the bow a push out. Later we left Coole Pilate and headed for Hack Green Locks and were pleased to find no queue even though many boats had passed us by while we got ready to go. I found the towpath very bumpy so I didn't cycle for long but Ben still needed a  walk so we continued on foot.

We crossed over the Aqueduct leading to the moorings and found a space but had great fun getting a pin in the ground as the rings were too far away for a 57 foot boat. Eric finally found a spot where the pin went in let's hope we're still joined in the morning. Sue and Mac  went past hoping we were going as we they wanted to moor up.

We walked into Nantwich to have a look around, lots of little shops and I came back with a cotton jumper and a replacement bean cutter as mine had broken after many years of service. We also got a few things from Morrison's to keep us going.  I didn't bother with any heavy stuff as we're planning to go to Ellesmere and there's a canal side Tesco there.

Judith and John from NB Serena tapped on the boat to say hello as they read my blog. We chatted about winter moorings and here's a link to the BW Mooring Vacancies Site  LINK. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Down The Audlem Flight

NB Bendigedig on the Audlem Flight
Today we left about eleven o'clock as we hoped to meet some boats coming up the Audlem Flight as we went down the flight. We met a few boats but had to turn quite a few locks  as few boats were coming up. It's quite cold today.......what happened to Summer? The evenings are getting darker earlier too.........winter's coming.

We stopped after lock 12 in the only space as the rest of the mooring is taken up by trading boats including 'The Cheese Boat'. I popped to the Coop to get fresh fresh and milk before we finally could get on the water point by 'The Shroppie Fly'. It's awkward because as soon as it becomes free a boat coming up the lock fills it, as well as only being room for one boat to get through because of a boat moored against another.......double parked!

Soon we were full with water and  had just three more locks to do before we finished the Audlem flight of locks. At the bottom lock a lady was selling fruit and vegetables so I bought some tomatoes on the vine and some big potatoes for baking. She also sells meat, sausages and free range eggs but we didn't need any today.

Back on the boat it's a short cruise to Coole Pilate where we moored up. As usual the boats are all spaced out with less than a boat length between them. It's windy and cold typical Bank Holiday Monday weather.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Short Cruise To Coxbank

We haven't come far just a short cruise to Coxbank, we didn't go any further as there's a Beer festival at Audlem so we expected it to be busy down the bottom of the locks. We walked down the locks to Audlem with Ben the dog in the afternoon, it certainly lacked the festival atmosphere and was surprisingly  quiet in the village. There was some live music outside 'The Lord  Combermere' with a covered area in case of rain......which soaked us on the way back to the boat. At 'The Shroppie Fly' Eric had a pint, lots of keg beers on offer but he was happy with a pint of Pedigree. Outside the pub the wasps were a nuisance so we didn't stay long.

On Sunday morning we were prepared for the rain but it didn't rain while we were out on a walk down to Audlem to pick up a Sunday paper. Lots of people about with boats going up and down the flight and of course the dog walkers were out in force while the sun shone. Back on the boat to cook those lamb steaks from Adderley Wharf Farm Shop, they smell delicious as they cook..........and I'm sure  Sunday lunch today will be better than last Sunday's even though I'll have to wash up.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Farm Shop At Adderley Top Lock

Leaving Market Drayton
We finally got moving at 11 o'clock as far as the waterpoint anyway to top up the tank. The flow of water  tap was unbelievably slow. Finally with the tank full and ready to go I cycled although the towpath was rather bumpy and Ben got a good run for several miles. Passing a field of cows on the non towpath side was an experience we'd never had before as the whole herd starting mooing and rushing towards Ben and I.......luckily a barbed wire fence and the canal separated us.

Those nosey cows!
We stopped at the Top of Adderley Locks waiting for the boat to come up rather than turning the lock and wasting water. I popped across the lock to have a look at the goodies for sale. The farmer's wife told me she had fresh lamb so I bought some lovely thick steaks and some pork sausages. She took a while to get them as she had to wait for her husband to cut the steaks.

Meanwhile her pet lamb was busy nibbling at the hedges, not bothered at all by Ben  tethered to a seat. I wish I had my camera when the lamb came and stood by Ben. The farmer's wife said her pet lamb thinks he's a dog and is not bothered by dogs at all. Even though she puts him back in the field at night he's waiting for her every morning at her back door, he crosses the lock gate lower down and walks up the towpath and crosses the top lock to get to the farm house. That lamb's not destined for the dinner table.

We continued down the flight and moored at the bottom on the visitor moorings..............lovely and peaceful here.

On To Market Drayton

The Wrekin is there!
We cruised through Grub Street Cutting, glad the boat sounded much better and then along Shebdon Embankment with a feeling of great big skies. You can see The Wrekin  although my photograph isn't good, it's too far away from my compact camera. Ben and I walked along the grassy towpath hopping on and off at bridge holes. Finally we  found a space at Goldstone Wharf  and tried out those wheelbarrow wheels as we couldn't get in close in the last space. Eric had fun hammering in a stake as the rings aren't well spaced.

After a quiet night Ben and I had short walk as we were close to Woodseaves Cutting..... a definate no go for's a paddle with standing water and mud and yes there's duckwood as I've no doubt told you before. A boat was coming towards us so we waited until he came through the bridge hole before entering the cutting. A speedy boater caught us up as  we were enjoying the cutting, it's so green you imagine you're miles from anywhere and then  some mums with children in buggies came rushing down  a  path so the children could see the boat.

Approaching Tyrley Locks we stopped and let the speed boater past with his bow wave and radio blasting out, we weren't in any rush. Boats coming up meant it only took under an hour to get through the five Tyrley Locks and lots of help from the crews too. The gent who lived at the Top Lock was helping too. Ben and I continued our walk and we moored up in Market Drayton. While Ben looked after the boat Eric and I visited the new Asda to get some fresh food. Due to its size there wasn't much choice in the fruit and veg section but it was so much closer than Morrison's. As we got our trolley to the only manned (womanned!) till she was closing. My comment about using the self service for a trolley load was a bit much was heard and she did let us through her till before she closed.  Perhaps a longer walk to Morrison's would have better as I missed all the choices.

Back on the boat we enjoyed our chicken and chips, of course Ben had chicken too. Eric failed to get a satellite signal and Freeview gave us BBC channels and the radio, so it's just as well we like to watch BBC1. Maybe we just pointed it in the wrong direction! Tomorrow we'll be moving on.

This morning as I lazed around in my dressing gown (on the laptop of course) I had a tap on the boat and Martin off NB Cherokee came to say hello.........he reads my blog.......I hope the scary lady with sticky up hair didn't put you off your breakfast. Lovely to meet you, we'll look out for you on our travels.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

RCR To The Rescue

At Norbury Junction

Yesterday we stayed at Norbury at the end of a long line of boats all the way to the junction. We finally did the other side of the blue on the roof as it was on the towpath side. Ben and I walked back to Gnosall while Eric prepared the roof  for painting. When I came back we painted!

Today we planned to move in the morning but it wasn't to be. We got as far as the BW services and filled and emptied the usual things and then went across to fill up with's much cheaper than Gailey. We didn't try to get fuel at Turner's because of the queue there. Fuel tank full but we weren't going anywhere........strange sounds and no drive. Eric only found a piece of thin rope round the propellor so RCR to the rescue even though we were stuck at Norbury Wharf.  They were good enough to let us stay there until the boat was fixed........many thanks!   The problem was due to a loose Aquadrive which was soon refitted clunks now.

So on the move much later than planned. While RCR fixed the boat Ben and I had a walk to that bridge with the stumpy telegraph pole at the start of the Grub Street Cutting. So glad we didn't break down in the cutting.

Bridge 39, SUC

Monday, August 22, 2011

Wheaton Aston To Norbury Junction

Another lovely day so as planned we had a  two and a half hour cruise to Norbury Junction. Ben walked quickly and I cycled the first three miles with stops for Eric to catch up, after that it was back on the boat at a bridge hole. Eric always enjoys the deep shadowy cuttings listening to the birds singing and the tall embankments on the Shroppie  along its comparatively straight  route. It's such a change after the narrow Staffs & Worcs Canal which meanders along. A long stream of boats was heading south towards Autherley, so we needed to give way at lots of bridges as the boats coming towards us had no intention of stopping, some says thank you others couldn't manage a word.

Gnosall Heath was busy with a few spaces but we carried on stopping at the end of the line of moored boats before Norbury Junction. Despite its name it's no longer a junction but there is a short section of the Newport Branch Canal in water used by Norbury Wharf.  Eric found the satellite signal and then we went for a walk up the Norbury Junction Services as I  had some books to swap and Eric needed a home for a pile of Waterways World magazines. Just one poor lonely book was sat on the table, the place had been cleaned out. Eric left the magazines on the table rather than put them in the rubbish, hopefully someone will take them to read before another big clear out happens.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Brewood To Wheaton

We woke to beautiful sunshine so decided to cruise today. Ben and I walked into Brewood alongside the boat enjoying a walk as a change from cycling. Ben stayed on the boat while Eric and I did a bit of shopping and got a Sunday paper. On the way back to the boat we popped in The Bridge for a pint and a J2O and ended up having Sunday lunch, which turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. First they brought a very small dish with chunks of carrot, potato and a few green beans and then the plates came with mashed potato, roasties and a yorkshire pudding with two slices of pork. Most of the meal was potato although the roasted sweet potato was a nice touch, as we hadn't tasted that before. So we won't be going back there again for Sunday lunch.

We decided to move on in the afternoon and finally moored up at Wheaton Aston after working through the lock. The hireboater going down had only done the stop lock at Autherley before so our help was needed explaining what to do as they were very apprehensive. The boaters going up were also new to locks so were glad of some help too. A peaceful afternoon followed disturbed only by Ben seeing off any dogs who came anywhere near the boat.  A young thrush very bravely hopped on the bow of the boat hoping for food, but he didn't wait around long enough for me to get him some crumbs.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Back On The Shroppie

Bridge 1 on the Shroppie Canal

Today I cycled into Coven to go to the Coop as we needed some fruit, bread and some was certainly quicker by bike. Meanwhile Eric waited at Coven for me to come back to the boat. We had the narrows today before Autherley Junction and we waited nearly three quarters of an hour before the stream of boats finally stopped. There are passing spaces but it was busy we decided to wait a bit.

Wolverhampton Boat Club

So a right turn and we're back on the Shroppie, a favourite of Eric! Through the stop lock which foxes me everytime as it'll hard to tell if it needs filling or emptying it's such a small difference. We passed by the Wolverhampton Boat Club which looks so nice yet there's a barb wire protected bridge with a locked gate to get to it from the towpath side. BW always says not to more until after Bridge 6 .....there's been a murder in the past! We moored after Bridge 7 on the Visitor Moorings with rings and it's one of those places where the Shroppie shelf is not evident. Now we have some wheelbarrow wheels we shouldn't have a problem any way........haven't tried them out yet!

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Quick Update

Yesterday was a yuk day for me, I picked up a sickness bug and boy did I suffer! Today I'm feeling a bit delicate but at least I can vacate  the bathroom. Eric moved the boat on from Radford Bank to get a bit of peace and quiet above Deptmore Lock.

Today we travelled doing the locks along that noisy stretch of canal running alongside the M6  stopping above Gailey Lock to use the services and get some fuel. Self declaration was a no go 60/40 or nothing, but as we were desperate we got 50 litres to keep us going until we get to Turner's on the Shroppie where the diesel is much cheaper and self declaration is no problem.

The washing machine did a load while we were on the move, so when we moored up out came the rotary line and the washing is blowing dry in the breeze.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Visit To Newport

Gwenllian and Aunty Clare
Gwenllian and Aunty Clare take two
After a lovely weekend with Gwenllian and Lisa on the boat, Monday afternoon came and it was time for them to go home. As I was going with them to visit my dad then the three of us set off to catch the train at Stafford. The train was pretty full but we managed to get seats, I had a space next to me so Gwenllian spent part of the journey with me and part with her mum. We changed at Bristol Parkway a much easier change than at Birmingham New Street as the next train came in on the same platform.

On Tuesday I  had a walk around the park with my dad and later on I visited a different park with my daughters Lisa and Clare and granddaughter Gwenllian before we had tea. Later it was back to my dad's house for an evening of TV, chat and then it was bed time for dad...10pm on the dot! Hot milky drinks and no doubt he was away to the land of nod, I read my book for an hour or so! Not a good sleeper anyway I always find it difficult to sleep in a different bed. I was looking forward to my new mattresss delivered to the boat Radford Bank by The Bed Centre in Stafford, ordered Thursday over the phone and delivered Monday morning.....excellent service. They also do made to measure mattresses and have an online site. They advertise in Waterways  World too.

Wednesday morning finally came and I caught the train back to Stafford, changing at Bristol Parkway. Now I'm back on the boat, a lazy evening ahead after a very busy few days.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Visitors On NB Bendigedig

He's my grandad!
Lisa and Gwenllian arrived at lunch time and I met them off the train in Stafford. We got a taxi back to Great Haywood  to save the trek across town to the hourly  bus service with a three year old walking. She's a really good walker but we only had fifteen minutes if we were going to catch the bus. The above photo sums up today.......she only has eyes for her grandad although I did get a hug at the station.

Eric met us below Great Haywood Lock to save the long walk to the boat and  I worked him through the lock. Lisa and Gwenllian climbed aboard and we headed for the waterpoint to fill up before our cruise to Tixall Wide. Gwenllian sat on the roof hatch next to her grandad and ate lunch. We managed to find a space past the wide section, but later boats were out of luck.
Filling up with water at Great Haywood

Gwenllian's upside down!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Moored At Great Haywood

It was fun cycling from Rugeley to Colwich and Ben had a good run too! I must be getting used to it as the rear end feels better and my thighs don't hurt anymore. At Colwich Lock I got back on the boat after working through the lock and had a short cruise to Great Haywood. We're not that close, but close enough to walk into the village to get a paper.

Ben likes the walk between the canal bank and the railway line (non towpath side) as there's loads of trees which means he can indulge his delight of carrying big sticks, more like branches. Also he loves to have a paddle in the canal chasing small sticks, this morning it was deeper than he thought so he was in up to his neck! While we were out I also found some juicy blackberries, the first we've found this year so I've got enough to make a few crumbles to put in the freezer.......delicious with custard says Eric!

Ben looked after the boat while we popped to see the new Canalside Farm Shop which now has a butcher and deli counter as well as fruit & veg and bread and cakes. We came away with pork pie and strawberries. Just having a lazy afternoon today, tomorrow there's no chance of that as my granddaughter Gwenllian aged 3 is coming to visit with her mum.  

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Message To Artymess!

For some reason whenever I try to leave you a comment on your posts I fail, so this is the message........... ' Sorry to hear you're flat on your back again, I hope you recover soon, Love Elsie x'

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Short Cruise To Rugeley

Today it was just an hour and a half to get to Rugeley as I needed to get some fresh food in the fridge. We were in luck there was a couple of spaces which were soon filled with us and the boat behind us. Ben ran along with me as I cycled along the towpath, of course I stopped and let the walkers pass by rather than ringing the bell and expecting them to move out of the way. Ben was a very good boy staying next to me on the bike for most of the time.

Lisa and Gwenllian ( Photo by Gerwyn)

This weekend we're having a visit from my daughter Lisa and grandaughter Gwenllian. Gwenllian wakes up everyday and asks are we going today? She's been telling everyone she's going on a boat and she's going to sleep in nanny's bed, while Eric and I sleep on the bed settee. We're going to have a very busy weekend.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Four Miles To Fradley Junction

NB Shush on the Coventry Canal

A four mile cycle ride today with Ben the dog, with stops at the bridges for Eric to catch up! Who should we see just past one bridge........NB Shush! Eiddwyn came out for a quick chat, their off towards Braunston in a few days. Lots of boats on the move today, some with shears cutting the overhanging trees, some pulling in so they could stay on the towpath side away from the greenery. Lots of shiny boats!

On the last section of the Coventry Canal are two waterpoints and after a short wait we were able to get on one of them. Unbelievably slow to fill the boat's water tank. Cassettes emptied, rubbish got rid off, and a visit to the shop and it still wasn't full. I bought the last two litres of milk as we're running low. Finally with a full water tank it was through the swing bridge and turn left to go up two locks and leave Fradley Junction room to moor today.

NB Bendigedig at Fradley Swing Bridge

Monday, August 08, 2011

Hopwas To Streethay, Cruising and Cycling

Yesterday we chatted to an American couple walking past the boat at Hopwas, who were interested in life on a canal boat. They are visiting various places where their English ancestors lived including Hopwas.  They left me a message on the blog and surprise surprise we both share the same surname Fletcher....... I wonder if they have any Welsh ancestors? Eric's family was originally from Wellington in Shropshire a few generations ago, moving to Rogerstone when workers were needed for a new steel works. Believe it or not they made the journey on foot. An area of Rogerstone nick named 'The Nook' housed the many families who came and the streets had Shropshire names such as Wellington Street and   Hadley Street. These houses were demolished to make way for a by pass road.

Today we decided to move and  in doing so met boats coming in both directions in the first hour of moving. Many expected our boat to give way every time and what a miserable bunch of boaters they were today. Usually they are happy to smile, chat and cooperate but not today. Eric said he should have stayed in bed! Meanwhile I cycled and Ben walked  beside me most of the time.  We kept stopping for Eric to catch up. Cycling uses bits of me I didn't know had muscles, but it's been great to cycle instead of walking everyday.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Totally Celebrated!

Today we had lunch at 'The Tame Otter' in Hopwas, a part of the Vintage Inn Chain. We booked online last night and yes we'd go again, excellent food and service, so we've certainly celebrated our wedding anniversary. 

Before lunch Ben and I went on a circular walk taking in the towpath and a walk through Hopwas Woods alongside the canal. It's busy here on Sunday morning and we were also very lucky to miss the rain. In fact we'd just got back to the boat as it started.

Walking back to the boat after lunch we just missed the heavy rain again, so we decided to stay put in Hopwas until tomorrow. The rain certainly hasn't stopped the boats moving on this canal. Only one downside here no shop to get a Sunday paper, so we're having a lazy afternoon watching The Cannonball Run instead.

No photos as they were frightening.........Eric looked as though he didn't want to be there and mine looked like an advert for shiny white teeth!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

A Very Unusual Ruby Wedding Present

It fits in the cratch unfolded too.
Today I went with Eric to collect my folding bike from Halfords in Tamworth.......a very unusual Ruby Wedding present! Walking Ben in the morning I usually lag behind and Eric has to slow down even more so I can keep up. It's been a very long time since I rode a bike so my first go was rather wobbly, just as well it was on a cycle path and not anywhere near a road. Anyway knowing Ben's aversion to bikes, it was going to be interesting.

So there I was riding along the towpath, stopping for walkers of course and other bike riders as I didn't want to end up in the cut and yes I have a bell. Ben tried to eat my feet, eat my trousers and I yelled NO! and he got the message and ran with the bike. He had such a good run he's now asleep. Every so often I had to stop to let Eric catch up. As to my balance, it's improving so hopefully I won't be so wobbly tomorrow. Look out for wobbly biker on the Coventry Canal!

Friday, August 05, 2011

A Little Retail Therapy In Tamworth

Last night we were surprised that no one stopped near us for the night but It didn't matter. A pleasant walk from outside Polesworth with Ben the dog started the day. Back on the boat I blacked the stove and polished some of the interior brass ......I'll have to do the rest tomorrow.

At Glascote Locks we were second in the queue after one boat pulled in at the water point. Some local lads were helping at the top lock earning a little cash. One lad showing off his arm muscles .....mine were bigger...... said I had chicken wings.......cheeky bugger!

Finally moored up near Ventura Park in Tamworth and went shopping. There's a big M & S so I bought some more long shorts and a couple of T shirts to replace some holey ones destined to be rags. Of course we had to do food shopping as well. Eric bought me some red roses while we we're near a shop as it's our Ruby Wedding Anniversary this weekend.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Atherstone Locks In The Rain

Today we had a nice dry walk until I took off my waterproof trousers and then it emptied down. Working down the eleven locks and walking between the locks with Ben the dog I got progressively wetter, but with a queue of boats coming up we had every lock open and ready for us so it wasn't so bad after all. As we were the only boat going down, those going up had to empty locks to use them and the pounds of the upper locks were suffering low water levels.

Finally back on the boat the soggy gear was removed and I got some dry stuff on, Ben was lucky he had a rub down with a towel. I didn't take any photos in the rain and today we were glad to stop near Bridge 50 before Polesworth. Now of course it will stop raining!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Through Nuneaton, Moored Near Hartshill

NB Bendigedig on the Coventry Canal

Today we left our mooring after the long line of long term moorers, I didn't particularly like the place as it's next to a very busy section of cycle track but at least we were a bit further away from the drone of the M6 Motorway. No early walk today for Ben as we knew we had to pass the place where the derelict Navigation Inn is and nearby there is that advertising yellow airship shaped balloon which spooked Ben when we last passed this way.

Ben and I jumped off the boat at the bridge near Marston Junction and had a very hot walk to the outskirts of Nuneaton. At Bridge 21 Eric moored up the boat and I went to get milk and a paper and came back with mini fish and chips for two..........very nice too! Back on the boat we had a near miss just after one blind corner with a boat heading straight for us, he didn't slow down at all and Eric just managed to avoid him.

Hartshill BW Yard
We passed Hartshill BW Yard and headed off to find a mooring on our own, not that It'll be like that for long. Lone boats always attract a few more, safety in numbers I suppose.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Back Again....On The Coventry Canal

The Greyhound at Hawkesbury Junction
The Old Engine House
Today we left the Oxford Canal at Hawkesbury Junction and are now about a mile away back on the Coventry Canal as we couldn't get a space closer. My impressions of the North Oxford.......  it's quite a pretty canal I loved the old iron bridges  but there are many bridges in dire need of repair including this crack on a road bridge  over the canal, just a tap from a vehicle and the side of the bridge is gone. The bridge at Ansty has been taken down and replaced at present with a scaffolding foot bridge. There's lots of 14 day moorings but they're usually full by midday and lots of left boats are just sitting there. Of the moorings shallow sides and overgrown edges would have made mooring difficult. Ben and I enjoyed the rural towpaths but the canal itself has been extremely busy.

A repair is needed here

Ansty Foot Bridge

Monday, August 01, 2011

A Short Cruise To Rugby And Out Again

Sorry no photos again but you must be fed up of pictures of the boat anyway. We left our mooring , first job of the day was as usual ....walk the dog. Next job was find a space to go shopping at Tesco's and Eric managed that one. He came with me to help carry the shopping as Ben stayed on the boat. It was baking today so it was all the windows open to try and keep the temperature down until all the doors could be opened again. Curtains pulled on the sunny side of the boat for the same reason. Boat was 80 degrees F when we got back and it hasn't gone down even with everything open!

After lunch we decided to move away from the roads and cruised until we got to just before Bridge 35 as we'd made a note that there were rings on a previous trip, and we were in luck there was a big enough space. We're not far from Rose Narrowboats so new narrowboat hirers are passing by far a few close shouting 'steer the way you don't want to go' to avoid being hit. The not so new hirers vary from speedy to slow and considerate, no prizes for guessing who I'd prefer!

The main highlight of our trip today was the lights in Newbold Tunnel, it looked lovely as you looked back, although a few new bulbs are needed. Eric and I found it incredibly hot on the back of the boat so lots of cool drinks, let's hope there's a breeze tomorrow.