Saturday, July 25, 2015

Back Home Again- Whixall Marina

Locking up Grindley Brook was speedy this morning with a procession of boats coming towards us. We didn't have to wait at the staircase either with two lock keepers helping us through. The volunteer lockie said I'd asked the organ grinder not the monkey if we could come up the locks after the boat coming down. He was a chatty fellow while the actual lockie doesn't usually have much to say.

Soon we came to the three lift bridges, Ben and I walked and opened them up for the boat to come through. The fourth lift bridge further on was permanently open until it can be repaired, damaged by a vehicle not a boat!  

Before the bridge where the salvage yard was the boat was sounded a bit rough only wanted to go on tick over, finally it didn't want to go at all......we'd run out of fuel! Eric walked down the Prees Branch and bought a can of fuel to get it started so we could get back to the marina. He had to bleed the fuel system to get the air out and then it started first time. There was fuel in the tank but it must have been below the fuel pipe.  I thought we had enough fuel to get back....but we didn't.

Back on our berth, all plugged in catching up with the washing. Tea was duck eggs and chips and you could certainly see by the yolks how fresh they were.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Boating In The Rain!

When we set off this morning it wasn't raining, but we decided to keep going when it did. In luck today as lots of boats were heading towards Hurleston, which meant empty locks with gates open ready for us. Nine locks and two lift bridges before we were moored below Grindley Brook. With a boat ahead at the lift bridges, I ended up doing just the electric one at Wrenbury.  As usual lots of cars were kept waiting, I suspect I wasn't  popular. 

At Quoisely Lock the bearded gentlemen was there despite the rain selling logs, sticks, firelighters, potatoes, onions, carrots with the green still attached and eggs. We bought some of his lovely duck eggs.He always help the boaters through the lock. The pub at Willeymoor was's rarely open when we pass by in the afternoon.

Ben and I did some walking in the rain, we didn't mind it's only water. Shepherd's Pie for tea it's cooking now and smells lovely.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Up Hurleston Locks Onto the Llangollen Canal

Eric happy he's on the Llangollen Canal

Old boats breasted up at Hurleston Junction

Waiting below  Hurleston Locks

Today went up the flight of Locks at Hurleston ......what a palaver! The middle pound was low, the boat going up in front of us got stuck on the side and I asked the lock keeper to let down some water but he didn't and Eric couldn't get over the cill of the lock to leave it. So I walked up and let some down telling him we were stuck on the cill. Eric then managed to get out of the lock.

At the top we used the services before stopping at Bridge 5 on the Llangollen  Canal. Eric's's his favourite canal.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Moored In Nantwich

This morning we were the last boat to leave Coole Pilate but we've never been early birds. Too many years of having to get up for work means we don't use an alarm clock. Sometimes I get caught in my pj's in the cratch with Ben outside on a long lead  having a wee!

The weather caught us out before we reached Hack Green Locks as light rain became very heavy and I  didn't have waterproof trousers on. Eric said something about  the rain coming down like stair rods, I haven't heard any mention of stair rods for years, they were used to keep the long runner of carpet in place on the the old days! After the locks Ben and I got back on the boat, he had a rub down with his towel while I had to change my trousers.

We decided to moor at Nantwich so we pulled into a space before the aqueduct knowing it's always full on the other side. NB Poppy was there so we had a welcome party, we hadn't seen them for ages. The dog Lola  had a good bark too.

We walked into Nantwich to get some fresh food at Morrison's and Ben came for the walk, he really didn't want to be left home alone. Now back on the boat I am feeling  lazy while Eric started to continue polishing the one side of the boat until rain stopped him. Perhaps it'll stop and he can do a bit more. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Locking Down The Audlem Flight

Today we timed it wrong, when we left our mooring at Cox Bank and continued down the 13 
locks left of the Audlem Flight. Every lock was against us except two, which meant filling the lock before we could go through. We made it but we're tired! My sixty five year old knees hurt!  It's so much easier when other boats are moving. 

Audlem itself was chaotic with moorings taken up for the Historic Boat Gathering this weekend. The only place left to moor was after Lock 15, but we'd decided to carry on to Coole Pilate Visitor Moorings.I didn't take any photos but I should have done, Saturn was moored outside The Shroppie Fly. 

We  walked down into Audlem yesterday hoping that the fish and chip shop was open but it was closed on Mondays. The Shroppie Fly  allows dogs in the flagstoned area so we had lunch there instead with some liquid refreshment, before we walked back up the locks to the boat with our food shopping from the local Coop.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Just Boating- Locking Norbury To Cox Bank

On Sunday morning we left a very quiet Norbury Junction behind after a water top up at the services. I walked a bit until we got to the much photographed high bridge with the telegraph pole. Shortly after that you need wellies!  Back on the boat, bacon sandwiches for lunch .......not your usual Sunday Roast but we did have the Sunday papers.

Tyrley locks were busy which always makes it easier with boats passing in the pounds and lock gates open ready for you, except the last one of the flight. I was steering for a change so I had to stay in the middle while Eric filled up the lock for us. At this lock there's no way to get into the side as they are very shallow. The boat handles differently with the new engine. We can even talk to each other when I'm walking the dog as it's quieter too.

Next stop Market Drayton but no room to moor, spaces in between but too small for us. We continue on and did the Adderly flight of 5 locks and found a space to moor below the locks.A long day for us so Monday was going to be a quiet one.

Today  we left Adderly, as usual Ben and I walking with just two locks to get to Cox Bank if there was room for us. The heavens opened at the first lock and Ben got back onboard. Here's a photo of him on the boat. Plenty of room on the moorings so we're moored up, we'll go down to Audlem when the rain stops.

Sleepy's a hard life!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Shroppie- Brewood to Norbury Junction

On Friday morning we left our mooring at Bridge 8, most of the boats had left hours ago. We also end up going about 10.30am. Ben and I walked the forty minutes to Brewood, the locals say it like the word brewed and  Eric came to by boat mooring up on the busy visitor moorings. Leaving Ben on the boat it was a quick walk to the Coop for a few bits and pieces before we continued on our way.

Just one lock yesterday at Wheaton Aston before we topped up the water tank at the services. The fuel at Turners was 57p cheap but we wanted to use what we had in the tank so we'll fill up when we get back to Whixall Marina. We found a space to moor not under trees as we didn't want to end with a bird poo covered boat, nobody has moored in that space. Eric checked the engine for leaks, water and oil levels and belts......all ok! 'Happy new engine' a blog reader shouted to us at Autherley Junction, hello to you.

This morning a dull start in the cutting but once we on our way the sun came out as I walked along the long straight embankment typical of the Shroppie. The cuttings were fairly muddy but I was back on the boat by then. Three hours cruising and we moored up at Norbury Visitor Moorings where the rings are well spaced for boats.

A lazy afternoon followed but Eric has plans to wash one side of the boat when it cools down a bit. The other side of the boat is polished for half it's length but it's the watery side so the next place he can finish it is at Cox Bank Moorings above Audlem.You can certainly see where he's been that Craft Canuba Polish is good stuff.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Staffs & Worcs- Six Locks & Three Horsefly Bites!

Leaving Penkridge

Hot but patiently waiting

Going up in the sunshine

Waiting while I get the lock ready

Early this morning you could hear the hum of the motorway traffic so in went the ear plugs this and back to sleep until eight o'clock. Moored on Penkridge Visitor Moorings is not the quietest of place anyway as it's the way the children go to school, youngsters with their parent and teenagers in their groups.

Leaving Penkridge we had six locks to work through, but we got through them quickly as lots of boats are on the move , helping each at the locks and having a chat too.On the locks up to Gailey the horseflies were out to get me, after one bite on my right leg I sprayed myself with Deet Insect Repellent but I couldn't have used enough as two more bites followed on the same leg. Eric managed not to get bitten but  he had long trousers and long sleeves on his shirt.

We continued on our way deciding to get onto the Shropshire Union Canal otherwise known as the Shroppie, looking forward to deeper water, long straights rather than the shallower contour canal which we are currently travelling on. Ben  the dog and I walked the narrows and made sure no one was coming through by boat. Then it's the stoplock at Autherley Junction and we're on the Shroppie. A long day cruising for us but we enjoyed it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Just Boating-Tixall Wide To Penkridge

A lovely peaceful night at Tixall Wide and we were up and away with plans to stop at Radford Bank for lunch at the canalside carvery 'The Radford Inn'. We were in luck there was room to moor and we enjoyed a pleasant lunch topped off with a pint of Pedigree for Eric, Ben was really pleased to see us even though we'd only been gone a short time.

Later in the afternoon I escaped for a little retail therapy,  more looking than buying but I enjoyed it just the same. I did buy some scones, strawberries and clotted cream as Eric was fancying strawberries. The man on the till was too, he asked if he could come to tea. I found Poundland to get some coin batteries for my little reading light eventually. The trouble with visiting different towns is I forget where everything is in each place. 

Lots of footfall past the boat at Radford Bank in the evening but a quiet night. This morning we up and ready to go.....a lovely sunny day. Five locks and three and a half hours lare we were moored at Penkridge past the winding hole. We stopped above the lock to fill up with water, get rid of the rubbish and empty a cassette. 

The washing machine has been working hard today, the first time we'd used it since the Travel Power was refitted by Beta Marine. Streethay Wharf sent it back to Beta so they could fit in on the new engine and line up the pulleys correctly. It works well and  they did say it needs 1200 revs if used when the boat is moored up. The sun is shining, the washing's drying.....happy days.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Wet, Wet Monday- Rugeley To Tixall Wide

We woke this morning to rain, after all the lovely weather while we've been unable to go boating, it'raining when we can. After breakfast I popped up to Morrisons to get another shopping trolley full of food and drink, no not booze...lemonade and my favourite fiery ginger beer.

The moorings which had been nearly empty with just three boats last night soon filled up while we waited for the heavy rain to  ease off. Women with their shopping trolleys appeared from the moored boats and went shopping with a choice of Morrisons or Tesco. I must admit I like Morrisons as it's a smaller shop and it doesn't take so long to find what you need. Tesco's is a huge store in Rugeley although there's obviously more choice.

We decided to move after lunch regardless of the weather as we needed to get some juice in the batteries as the sun wasn't shining either. As we left our space a waiting boat filled it. Ben and I walked while Eric steered the boat, we could actually talk to each other with a much quieter engine.The rain eased and stopped for a while too.

Approaching Colwich Lock the boat went over some underwater obstruction as it lifted like we'd hit a sand bank and the boat tilted alarmingly and then went down as we went over it. No scaping sounds and nothing surfaced so we wondered what it was. As usual Colwich bottom gates were really difficult to operate, luckily a boat arrived to go down the lock and the lady onboard helped me shut the bottom gates.

Great Haywood Lock next  and we were delighted to see no queue, another lock with heavy gates and Eric helped push them shut. We headed up to Tixall Wide which was very full but we managed to find a space after the wide bit. Next job set up the tv for tonight's telly fix! Can't get satellite where we are...too many trees. Eric's off to look at which way everyone's aerial is pointing. If all else fails we can use the internet instead, we've got a good internet signal on Three or read a book!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Lovely To Be Boating......Fradley To Rugeley

Waiting at Armitage narrows
Going through the narrows

After a very quiet night without noises other than the rain on the roof,  nothing woke us up but we were still awake by eight o'clock. We left Fradley Visitor Mooring opened the swing bridge and turned left towards Rugeley which was to be our next overnight stop.

We had a very helpful volunteer lock keeper at the first lock and help from other boaters at the second lock so after two months without locking it wasn't too bad. I was glad of the help on the second lock as the one bottom gate is really difficult to shut. Lots of boats on the move and of course bridge holes was the place to meet them.

Arrived at Rugeley with plenty of room on the Vistor Moorings as people come to stock up the cupboards and then leave.....we don't know why it's no problem staying overnight. I went up to get some fresh fruit and vegetables as well some's been so hot today but the breeze as you cruise was welcomed. Moored up it's still 80 degrees with all the doors and windows opened.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Escape From Streethay Wharf

We've finally escaped from Streethay Wharf with our new engine working away in the engine hole....yes we did pay the bill!  Just a few miles to Fradley Visitor Moorings but it was chaotic cruising with boats everywhere, but so nice to be boating again.  We ended up going very slow with a slow boat in front of us. Luckily there was room for us to moor us and now we've got  green grass next to the boat so Ben can jump off the boat easily.

We've had four nights on our sofa bed  with not much room, we felt like sardines as neither of us are dainty.  0ur usual bed was piled high with stuff from the engine bay and the storage boxes from the back of the boat. Tonight we've got our king sized bed back  as all the stuff is back where it belongs. Eric did have a sort out and got rid of some of it. An added bonus is nobody will be drilling, sanding,welding, banging and revving engines at 8 o'clock in the morning.

The boat needs a lot of TLC and the first job is cleaning the windows, they're all dusty from being in a boatyard with work being done  around us. But that can wait until tomorrow!

Nearly Sorted......Engine Fitted

On Tuesday we came back to find our engine in the hole but waiting to be connected. Over the last few days this has been done and the engineer has been busy getting the initial running done with timed running at specified levels of throttle. A  few problems with oil temperature and water temperature senders not being compatible with our original panel  caused some frustration, but it's sorted  now.  Beta sprayed every bit of their engine's a Greenline engine....even the oil and fuel filters and our Travel Power generator. Looks very clean and green.

The wooden cratch has been reinforced and a new hinge fitted.....we just need to replace the tatty cover. So nearly ready to go. Eric's taking the car back to Whixall Marina on Friday and getting the train back to Lichfield Trent Valley, which is the nearest station to Streethay Wharf.  So we're nearly ready to go boating,  Although it's taken  an age, I can't fault the dedication of the engineers at Streethay Wharf to get the job done properly.

We've been exploring the area by car, it's surprising how close  the places we've visited by boat are. We've been walking at Fradley Junction, shopping in Rugeley as well a walk around the big lake at Chasewater Country Park when we found the car park. But the fridge, freezer and cupboards are  full  and I've done the washing in Streethay Wharf's laundry so  we have clean clothes. Definately ready to go boating.  Just the bill to pay......oh no!!

Friday, July 03, 2015

Just An Update.....It's Arrived!

All the power you need!

Our new Beta 43 engine arrived at Streethay Wharf last Tuesday  so it took three weeks but that's good going for a new engine. Beta Marine have kept us informed and been extremely helpful with the Technical Director available to discuss our concerns. He then arranged to have our Travel Power generator  fitted to the new engine and bench tested so we shouldn't have any problems. 

The engine bay has been painted and the new engine will be fitted when the paint dries, apparently the hot weather isn't helping. Like most boatyards there never seems to be any sense of urgency.  Our boat had to wait until they were ready to deal with it and then it turned into a bigger problem than just a replacement crankshaft. There was considerable damage and wear to the lower part of the engine, which made the  fitting of a new engine  the best option for us. 

So we're back to the boat on Tuesday 7th July  and will hopefully have the power as promised. Thanks to Beta for the complimentary mugs!