Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Visit To Brinklow

Our mooring near Brinklow

Yesterday Ben and I walked along the canal to Rugby with Eric bringing the boat. We were in luck as there was room to moor at the mooring nearest Tesco's. We left Ben on the boat whilst we did a shop and on returning to the boat we moved on heading for a country mooring at All Oaks Wood near Brinklow. The mooring soon filled up, but it was still lovely and quiet!

A view from the side hatch

This morning (Saturday) we decided to go for a walk into the village of Brinklow, so Eric, Ben and I set off from our mooring finding a footpath off the road which took us past the motte and bailey into Brinklow. The motte was a low mound covered in long grass, but higher than the surrounding ground.

We found the shop to get a daily paper and then took a few pictures of the church, a thatched cottage and an interesting headstone on a grave. We followed Fosse Way which runs through the centre of the village back to the canal at Rose Narrowboats and then walked along the boggy, muddy towpath back to the boat.  Ben had a dip in the shallow edge of the canal so at least he was mud free, all I had to was dry him off with a towel.

St John's Church, Brinklow
A lovely thatched cottage in Brinklow
An interesting headstone
The inscription on the other side

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hillmorton And Beyond

Hillmorton Bottom Lock
Today we cruised from our mooring on the outskirts of Braunston towards Hillmorton Locks, a trio of paired narrow locks with several voluntary lock keepers to help out too. We arrived at the Top Lock to find a boat having difficulties with the side weir above the lock, which meant we were offside and couldn't get over to the towpath. We just stayed put until the next boat up came out of the offside lock, letting another boat use the towpath side lock which was open and ready to use.

Progress was quick today with a steady flow of boats in both directions meaning at least one of the pair of locks had open gates ready for use. After stopping to top up the water tank as the washing machine did a load as we cruised  we were on our way. We finally  moored up on the outskirts of Rugby, next to the golf course. Tomorrow  we need to go and get some food shopping in Rugby tomorrow by boat of course........Tesco's is near the canal at Bridge 58.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Granddaughter Gwenllian

Thanks Gerwyn for sharing this photo on facebook

A Visit To Braunston

Yesterday we left our mooring and headed for Braunston intending to stop and visit the services for the usual emptying and filling procedures as well as walking up to the village if a mooring place was free. Wondering if any of the rally boats were still there we didn't think we'd find a convenient spot to moor but luck was with us and we did. We bought some oil at Midland Chandlers so Eric had all he needed to do an engine service.

Braunston Church

We wallked up through the fields from Bridge 89 with the sheep moving awaay from Ben on his lead, even though  he wasn't taking any notice of them. Progress was slow, Braunston is on a hill! Eric needed a few breathers.  It's a lovely village with a very well  stocked shop with loads of fresh fruit and vegetables. It also boasts an excellent butcher so I bought some lamb chops and a steak and pie for another day.

Back on the boat we decided to move a few miles out of Braunston by Bridge 81 where it's lovely and quiet, although by the evening nine boats were moored up there. Further along the canal the M45 cuts across the peace and quiet of the Oxford Canal. We're staying here today so the engine can  be serviced, so Eric will be busy in the engine 'ole and I'll be his mate passing him the spanners!                                       

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Last Double Locks......Calcutt Locks

Yesterday we had a lazy day, although Ben and I did go for a walk as usual. The boat stayed firmly attached to the bank as we watched the boats going past. Lots of old boats coming past from the Braunston Rally over the weekend. I cooked roast pork and we had a lovely Sunday lunch and Eric watched the F1 and the football in the evening. I'd prefer my book to watching sport anyday.

We met a few old boats at Calcutt Locks this morning and one unhappy women came marching down to us and told us off for turning the lock  on them. Firstly I can't see the top lock from the bottom one and secondly we arrived to find a half empty lock so just continued to empty it, although she made a point of telling us she didn't believe us. Why would I fill it if I couldn't see any boats coming down?  Another boat arrived to share the double lock and as we  worked through it and continued on our way into the next lock past the waiting pair of boats. Well you can't please everyone!

We stopped above Calcutt Top Lock (yippee the last double lock for me this year) and filled up with water before taking a left turn at Napton Junction and heading towards Braunston, stopping a few bridges away in the peace and quiet. We're on the section of canal shared by the Oxford and Grand Union Canals and I took this photo of cows specially for Liz. This is how I like to see them ........across the other side of canal or in a suitably fenced chance of any licking my hand!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

On The Move.....Ten More Locks

NB Bendigedig on the move

Passing the Blue Lias at Bridge 23

Going up Stockton Locks

Looking back down the Stockton Flight

Yes I remembered to use the camera, so we have a few photos of our travels today. We left our mooring near the aqueduct over the River Itchen and headed for  Itchington Bottom Lock with Ben and I walking of course. At the next lock we paired up with a boat but they weren't going up the eight locks which make up the Stockton Flight today.  We met several pairs of boats coming down the flight but nothing else going our way. So we just opened one gate on the double locks and opened just one paddle and basically took our time. It took us three hours to work through ten locks and then we moored up for the rest of the day. No plans to move the boat tomorrow, just be dog walking.

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Visit To Long Itchington

On Friday we took a walk in to Long Itchington after we'd moved the boat onto some vacated rings. Our pins had been pulled out by boats making waves and we wanted to be sure it wasn't on the opposite side of the canal when we came back from our walk. There's a footpath across fields by Bridge 25 and as the fields had horses in not cows so we were OK.

There was a well stocked Coop shop to get a few essentials as well as a hairdresser and numerous pubs including the Duck on the Pond, next to the village green and a fenced off pond. The ducks were hopeful of being fed but the fresh loaf of bread was for us.

I wanted to see the church, notably because it's spire is missing as it was hit by lightning in a storm during a service in 1762. This information was in the Pearson's Guide, I can only imagine what the church goers were thinking on the lines of the wrath of God, maybe.

Long Itchington Church

Friday was certainly windy and the satellite dish kept blowing over so we gave up and put the aerial to watch Freeview instead. The boat rocked and rolled on waves  made by both the wind and passing speedy boats, but we were quite happy enjoying a lazy afternoon and evening.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Much Better Day Today

The forecast rain came overnight so we woke this morning to a warm dry day. Eric still had his jumper on but no coat. We decided to go up a few locks and stop but that didn't happen as the lock pounds were very low and we didn't fancy sitting on the bottom with tilted boat. So we ended up doing seven locks including Bascote Staircase locks. We climbed slowly up just opening one gate and working one side paddles, a boat caught us up at the staircase so we waited for them.  We moored up near the aqueduct before Little Itchington and will stay put tomorrow as I need a rest day before the next flight of eight locks. Ben enjoyed his nice long walk without a lead as there was nobody else about. 

We tucked in to shepherd's pie for tea.........a much better day today.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Very Busy Day- By Train

My day started much earlier than usual at 7 o'clock as I needed to walk the dog so I could leave him with Eric for the day. Thanks to the internect I'd planned my travel to and from Leamington Spa to Newport as I urgently needed to see my dentist......toothache of course.

I cycled the five miles back to Leamington Spa and phoned the dentist requesting an urgent afternoon appointment. I had to be there by two o'clock so I locked up the bike at the railway station cycle park and caught the train to Birmingham and then a train to Newport. You can get there by  train by different stations but that way is the cheapest.

By 2.45pm the offending tooth was out, I just hope it was the right one ......I'd hate to spend five hours on the train and cycle ten miles for nothing. I certainly had jelly legs when I got back to the boat. In all a very tiring day so why I am awake at this time doing this blog......I should be fast asleep.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Three Locks Done.....Now Chilling!

This morning was time to move to pastures new, but first of all we had to go to the winding hole near Aldi's to turn around. Ben and I had a walk while Eric steered the boat. Then we got back on board to get to the bottom of Radford Bottom Lock where we climbed the three locks in total including two of the Fosse Flight of locks. Eric's job was to get the boat in the lock leaving any pulling, winding paddles and pushing lock gates to me. We managed fine with no other boats about to share the locks.

Above the locks we pulled in to the services at Fosse Wharf and got the water tank full to the top and the cassettes emptied. We're moored below the top lock at the end of the permit holders moorings and are now just chilling. Eric is fast asleep and snoring.........Ben is asleep  and not snoring. The sun is shining, the sky is blue,the birds are singing and  the sheep are's so much nicer than my noisy mooring in Leamington Spa.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Eric's Back Onboard

Just a quickie to say Eric is back onboard NB Bendigedig, happy to be floating once again. They discharged him from Warwick Hospital this afternoon with painkillers so he'll just have to take it easy. So it's going to be a very slow cruise heading north rather than south. Tomorrow we really need to turn around and then go to the nearest services which is three locks away as we need to empty cassettes and fill up with water after our stay in Leamington Spa.

Things Are Looking Up.......Fingers Crossed

Clare arrived at Saturday lunch time on her motor bike, found a spot to chain it up and then came aboard to Ben's exited jumps and licks. Later we went to the hospital to see Eric by taxi as it was tipping down with rain.He looked tired and a bit spaced out but more his usual self.  It was a bit hectic as more visitors came in the form of Eric's sister, brother and nephew arrived but it was nice to see them. We left about four  o'clock to try the X17 bus back to was so quick we were there before we knew it.

On Sunday I took Ben for a walk before going into town with Clare to have a look around. I needed a few bits and pieces and Clare found a lovely top and some trousers in Dorothy Perkins.  We went back to the boat for some lunch and later caught the train to Warwick as it's even quicker than the bus, and there isn't a X17 Sunday service anyway. A taxi costs about £6.60 one doesn't make sense.

Eric looked so much better yesterday as he's had a really good sleep and didn't wake til after 9 o'clock. Perhaps he was allowed a Sunday lie in. He's also moved to another bay in the same ward away from the more critical patients. Hopefully he'll be home sometime today as long as his liver scan goes well. I've got my fingers crossed!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Still Going Nowhere!

Eric's still in Warwick Hospital after his fall from the bow of the boat onto the pilings at the side of the canal. Apart from his three fractured ribs and a small tear in his liver, he has a chest infection! They are going to scan his liver on Monday so let's hope it's mending. He's very tired as it's difficult to sleep in hospital and then you get woken very early in the morning when you finally get to sleep. He's certainly much better in himself, sitting in the armchair and the morphine on tap has gone too.

My days have been busy with dog walking and visiting Eric but the nights are quiet. I've had to take the satellite dish off the roof as the wind is so strong it keeps blowing over and would probably end up dangling in the canal. I can also put up an aerial if there's anything I want to the moment it's a football free boat.

Today our daughter Clare is coming to stay overnight and visit her dad in hospital. It's Father's Day tomorrow so this year he'll have cards from all three daughters. His sister Paula is also making the trip so it'll be busy at his bedside to day.

Ben the dog doesn't quite know what's going on ............he looks and watches in the direction where he last saw Eric as if he's waiting for him to come back. He's been ever so good spending the afternoons on his own looking after the boat. There's plenty of bangs outside too, as over the fence from us is a noisy works.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Plans Change Again!

Eric's still in Warwick Hospital although he seems more himself today. Don't know when he's coming out, they just say a few more days as he's had a high temperature and is now on intravenous antibiotics. Still on morphine and oxygen too. I've been travelling by rail for the princely sum of £1.05 return from Leamington to Warwick as the station is a short walk from the hospital. It's also near the canal so Warwick is the place to be if you need a hospital.

Yesterday Eric had surprise visitors to the hospital, our daughter Sally with her fiancee David. They came to see me on the boat too and kept Ben entertained playing ball along the boat. After tea they headed home as they're off on holiday on Thursday.

Today Eric and I  had a good chat and realise we won't be able to continue our planned trip as those ribs will take time to heal. So we'll leave the Rivers Avon and Severn for next year. Instead we are going to turn around and head slowly back to Napton Junction, Braunston, Hawkesbury Junction, Fradley Juncton .......... yes it's back the way we came.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Things Go Pear Shaped!

All was going well, we were enjoying the comparative peace and quiet above  Radford Bottom Lock with lots of bikes and dog walkers about as it was the weekend. In the evening peace was certainly shattered by the Leamington Peace Festival with loud music until 1.30 in the morning and then the boat starting tilting dramatically as the water levels had gone down.

That's when it all went pear shaped as Eric went out to loosen the ropes so we could float rather than tilt alarmingly. He fell backwards off the bow of the boat, one leg into the canal and his side made contact with the steel piling at the edge of the canal. I knew he'd hurt himself but I didn't realise how badly til the morning when he could hardly move without being in agony.

So we decided to get to Leamington Spa by boat and some hireboaters from Viking Afloat did the lock for me, and then it was just five bridges to the moorings in Leamington Spa. At the time it seemed a very long way. We then got a taxi to the nearest hospital with A & E facilities, which was Warwick. Within half an hour Eric was with the doctors and they did loads of tests, Xrays and scans which took several hours......he has three fractured ribs and some fluid on his lungs. But by half past four he  was tucked up safely in bed with painkillers on tap.  All I can say is .........excellent service from Warwick Hospital........where would we be without the NHS?

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Lots Of Locks.....Nearly As Far As Leamington

Bascote Locks on the Grand Union Canal
Yesterday we stayed put in Long Itchington. The wind was wild and it just rained for hours. Ben did get a short walk, he decided he didn't want to go any further in the rain!  We also found a local shop tucked away  near Itchington Bottom Lock for milk and bread. We could have gone into the village centre but a fifteen minute walk in the rain along a busy road didn't appeal.

Today the sun came out for a few minutes but we needed to move to empty and fill various receptacles. Ben and I walked for  a mile or more to Bascote Locks, the first two are a staircase. We read the notice on the lock balance beam and waited but we still ended up going down all the locks on our own  and we didn't see any traffic coming up the locks either. So it was a case of opening one gate and  working our way slowly down nine locks to stop on the outskirts of  Leomington. Here you can still hear the birds! 

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Going Down.....Stockton Locks To Long Ichington

Weather forecast was wet but we  decided to move as it was still dry when we were ready to go. This time we were prepared with the wet gear, so when the rains came we were fine. We waited at the top of Calcutt Locks and another boat came, which made it easier as we worked through the flight of ten locks. No traffic coming up at all, so the next lock had to be filled as we were following a pair of boats going down. Ben had a rather wet walk, not that he cares, from last night mooring down to the bottom of the locks. We moored near the 'Two Boats' pub, so a pint is in order this evening. The rain is hammering down now, so glad we're moored up.

On The Grand Union Canal- Calcutt Locks

Eric waiting with the boat at Calcutt Locks
Yesterday (Wednesday) the weather was good when we started out along the Grand Union & Oxford Canal towards Napton Junction. We turned left onto the Grand Union at Napton Junction and first stop was the waterpoint just before Calcutt Top Lock. Of course it then absolutely poured down and my coat was on the boat until Eric gave it to me at the lock.

Our first taste of wide locks this year, we waited and waited but no other boats came. I'd forgotten just how heavy the big gates are although the paddle gear was well maintained. Just a flight of three so a gentle start to wide locks. We found a place to moor after Bridge 19, a spot previously marked on our guide book from an earlier visit to the Grand Union Canal. Lots more rain but we're nice and dry on  NB Bendigedig!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Somewhere In Between Braunston And Napton

Braunston Junction

Yesterday we cruised a little further down the North Oxford Canal and came to Hillmorton Locks where it was extremely busy and all the paired narrow locks were working too. The lock keeper was painting posts leaving everyone to their own devices. Before we started on the locks we filled up with water from the trickle that came out of the hose pipe, it took over an hour.

Once through the  narrow locks, we continued on our way finally stopping  between bridge 80 & 81, a favourite spot away from the M45 and quiet!  Also we knew it was a good spot for satellite as we wanted to watch the Jubilee Concert, which was excellent apart from some microphone problems making some voices sound quite odd.The boat got quite cold, we should have lit the fire but it was warm in bed.

In the morning the forecast rain didn't happen so we continued on our way to Braunston, giving it a miss this time as we turned right at the triangular junction with it's twin Horseley Iron Works towpath bridges onto the Oxford and Grand Union Canal. This canal connects the North Oxford and Grand Union Canals. We moored after bridge 100, another good spot just in time as it began to rain. Eric set up the satellite dish -yes more television viewing planned watching the Jubilee Celebrations in London.

Meanwhile I discovered the washing was still soaking wet as the machine had failed to spin. So I checked the pump filter under the cover at the front of the machine and found a specsaver glasses cleaner and a few coins causing the problem. All working now..... which I was very pleased about.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Watching The Boats On The Tele...It's Dry Here Too!

When we passed Rose Narrowboats  Eric popped in the shop and bought some black sealant. As it was dry when we stopped he sealed around the chimney, around all the mushrooms and around the back sliding hatch. Now it was fingers crossed to see if we were drip free inside the boat. Overnight it tipped down and great news there are no leaks inside the boat.

Outside the clouds are definitely leaking  but not to worry on went the wet gear and Ben and I walked back to Rugby to get a Sunday paper. It took me half an hour to get there and slightly longer to walk back. Ben was rather wet but a rub down with a towel sorted him out. Meanwhile the bunting on the boat looks wet and soggy too, with no chance of it drying off in sunshine.

I cooked us lunch and then it was time to watch the Jubilee Pageant on the Thames. We couldn't really see any names on the narrowboats but recognised President because of the steam. Not much air time given to the narrowboats by the BBC. On No Problem's blog there's a link to one of the boats actually there called NB Indigo Dream if you want to have a closer look at the narrowboats.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

A Shopping Cruise- Brinklow To Rugby

Passing All Oaks Wood near Brinklow
 The weather forecast said rain later today but it was dry when we got up but was drizzle by the time we were ready to go. On went the wet gear and Ben and I walked while Eric cruised. Ben enjoyed all the sniffs and smells and I didn't mind the mud! After an hour's walking it was back on the boat and we were heading for Newbold Tunnel with it's coloured lights which apparently go off at sunset so they don't disturb the bats according to the Pearson Guide.

The lights in Newbold Tunnel
Next stop was the delights of Tesco in Rugby, conveniently situated close to the canal. Soon the cupboards, fridge and freezer were replenished. We left Rugby to moor in a pleasant spot where you can see a viaduct over which  ran the  former Rugby and Stamford Railway. We just fitted in a space between two boats and the owners came out to say hello........not!