Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Onwards To Ellesmere

We spent last night  near Hampton Bank  which turned out to be a very quiet spot. Eric did a bit more sanding, rust treating and priming making our boat rather spotty.  Today we cruised for two hours to moor on the arm at Ellesmere. A boat passed us by on the way and asked 'Where's Ben the dog?' so I take it they read my blog. 

Firstly we had shopping in mind as the cupboards and fridge needed food. We also arranged for the boat to be measured for new carpet .....after nearly nine years the carpet needed replacing.  I also had to replace the radio as it ended up in the washing up bowl full of water when Eric did a little crashing due to the strong side weirs at the locks entrances. A replacement FM radio £9 in Tesco's didn't break the bank.

The coal boat just gone by to moor at the end of the arm so he's the bringing us a couple of bags of coal in his wheelbarrow.Just lit the's chilly tonight.

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Catch Up......Wrenbury To Whitchurch

Our view of the Whitchurch Lift Bridge

We'd planned to get to Wrenbury for the weekend as we wanted a 'Cotton Arm's' Sunday lunch and the roast beef was delicious. Ben had a doggy bag  but he didn't eat the trees aka broccoli. The weather has been really sunny but the nights have been cold so the fire's been lit each evening.

Loads of locks today, but another beautiful day and few boats on the move.  In fact we were the only boat doing locks at Grindley Brook. Above the locks we used the services and topped up the water tank after doing a load of washing yesterday. Then we moved on to stop before the Whitchurch Lift Bridge on the empty visitor moorings.....a nice spot on the off side of the canal.

Oops! I forgot to say hello to the crew of 'Beeston Castle' blogreaders who we passed today. Enjoy your trip.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

New Batteries Then Up Hurleston Lockss

As we had to be at the boatyard at 8.30am we were up at 7.30am to be washed and dressed and  in the basin waiting for the engineer to come. Eric had to reverse up to the end of the Nantwich Basin  but he  managed it without crashing! Waiting for a few hours as he had an unexpected problem with a dayboat to sort of first. We were just thinking of the lie in we could have had. While we waited we had take out of bacon rolls and coffee from the cafe in the basin........delicious too with plenty of basin. There's also a small shop useful for bread and milk when you don't want the trek into Nantwich.

He arrived replaced the 4 x 135 ah  batteries with  4 x 110 ah ones as the bigger ones were £200 more expensive and more difficult to top up in the limited space. Our boat originally had 110's so there was no problem with the wiring.  Bill paid we were on our way heading for the Llangollen Canal.

Coming through the bridge below Hurleston it was very windy and if course a small boat was moored in the centre of the moorings. It was a fight against the wind to get in the bottom lock mouth but  Eric managed it. We went up the flight, the lock keeper stayed up the top as usual. He noted the boat name on his sheet as part of a boat count, so CaRT know where we are.

It's wild and windy as we head for God's country........Wales of course. We're going to Llangollen before we return to Whixall and tie up for the Winter.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Moored At Nantwich

Up this morning and away down the last three locks to leave Audlem behind. We filled up with water by The Shroppie Fly  but the elsan point is currently being refurbished. As usual Ben and I walked but got back onboard further on as Ben is frightened by the noise of the clay pigeon shoot near Coole Pilate. A farmer was muck spreading so we had the awful smell as we cruised. How do they work in that smell?

We pulled in at Nantwich and moored up before the aqueduct, planning to walk across the bridge to get to Nantwich Chandlery but the bridge was closed. We decided to get the boat and moor the other side of the aqueduct, At the chandlers we enquired about replacing our batteries, as we needed them to be fitted. Very obliging staff..... they are being fitted tomorrow at 9am so we'll definitely need the alarm tomorrow. Eric was pleased as they sell Carnuba polish and  the wash in a promotional pack for £25, much cheaper than the two bottles sold individually.

The dot in the sky has been found, so  we're currently relaxing watching TV after a very nice homemade shepherd's pie for tea.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Twelve Locks To Audlem

Audlem Mill

Moored by Audlem Mill
The Shroppie Fly

We stayed put yesterday at Adderley due to the rain but it turned into a lovely sunny day so Eric gave the boat some TLC with sanding and priming in the bow area. The well deck has been sanded, rust treated, primer and undercoated but the top coats haven't been done yet.
Ben and I had a walk in the rain but we didn't go far as he decided he wanted to go back to the boat and turned around.

Today we did cruised to the top of the Audlem flight and down the locks we went with Ben  walking with me. It took us 2 hours to do 12 locks even though we had to turn a couple of locks with no boats in sight coming up. We were in luck with room for us next to Audlem Mill, not the quietest of places but I am so knackered  I didn't care. I can also pop in and get the Christmas cards rather than get them online from IWA.

We need some fresh food from the Coop as it's so close to the boat. The next place for shopping is Nantwich and it's a fair walk back from  Morrison's  with shopping.  Lazy tea tonight.....there's a lovely fish and chip shop and it should be open today.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Down The Adderley Locks And A Nice Pork Pie!

Today we cruised from Market Drayton  to the  Visitor Moorings   below Adderley Locks.  At
At the top of  the locks the farm shop was displaying it's goods with a warning that the stall is monitored with a camera. We chose our of their tasty home made pork pies.A boat came up the flight so we were in luck as the locks were mostly full apart from leakage through the bottom gates.

We moored up and Eric went down the engine hole to sort out a few  water leaks, he tightened up the jubilee clips just half a turn......hopefully that will do the trick. The central heating has been out of action as no power was getting to it so he checked that and found  a broken wire and one of the fuses gone, so power has been restored with some solder and a new fuse. Of course all done in time to watch the Singapore Grand Prix, just the highlights today.

Tyrley Locks To Market Drayton

On Saturday it was a lovely day after a misty start, the sun came out and we went down the flight of five locks. We did follow a boat down but at least we didn't have a queue like the half a dozen boats waiting to come up the flight. It took us two hours in all to do the locks and cruise the short distance to Market Drayton, lots of waiting around at the locks. A young girl was single handed going up so with no mooring in the first pound meant she needed help to prepare the next lock. One of the boaters in the queue helped her on her way.

Room for NB Bendigedig at Market Drayton so we pulled in and tied up. We walked into Market Drayton and got some food at Asda, we used the  granny shopping trolley as it's easier to with heavy stuff than shopping bags, Anyway I am a granny! Back on the boat we had a lazy afternoon and Ben's a hard life!

Friday, September 18, 2015

No Room At Goldstone Wharf.......Some Lovely Historic Boats

Yesterday we cruised from Wheaton Aston to Norbury Junction where there was plenty of room to moor. Today was a different story, we planned to stop at Goldstone Wharf but the Visitor Moorings were full with a collection of historic boats moored two abreast. We continued on own way and stopped at Tyrley Visitor Moorings where there was plenty of room.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Onwards And Upwards To Wheaton Aston

The weather forecast was torrential rain but I am very glad to say we missed it. Leaving Bridge 8 moorings the sky looked a bit dark over Wolverhampton but as we headed north we were treated to sunshine. Ben and I walked as far as Brewood, some of it was mud larking in one cutting but it soon washed off my boots and Ben stayed remarkably clean.

At Brewood we left Ben on the boat and went to get milk and some lovely filled rolls from the bakery. Arriving back at the boat to find Ben barking and howling, we'd only been gone half an hour!  We left the radio on but he obviously didn't want to be left home alone.

It's dark and dismal in the cutting at Brewood so we decided to move on towards Wheaton Aston with just one lock before the services which were totally deserted. Eric pulled in near the Elsan point and we did the usual filling and emptying. New recycling bins for mixed dry recyclables are popping up along the cut in the refuse disposal areas which makes it easier to recycle.

The mooring just after the water points was free so we pulled in and moored up for an overnight stop. Eric found the dot in the sky.Usually there's no room and we have to moor under trees after Turners', where the diesel is cheaper than anywhere  else. Tomorrow we'll top up the fuel tank and then continue our journey to Norbury Junction.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Back On The Shroppie

After a very quiet night all on our own at Bridge 74 on the Staffs and Worcs Canal we were on our way this morning heading for the Shroppie. Eric's been busy getting the front deck ready to paint, it's been scraped, sanded treated with rust converter (kindly donated by son-in-law Ben). It's now had a coat of primer and a day later a coat of undercoat. Ben the dog has been highly confused going off the back of the boat for a wee when we're moored up due to the wet paint.

Ben and I had a walk as far as Coven but had a cold shower on the way, the heavens opened and my hair had a second wash of the day. We ended up waiting in a queue of seven boats at 'Pendeford Rockin',which is the old boatman's name for a shallow, narrow cutting through a band of sandstone. Half a dozen boats came through from Autherley Junction and our convoy began the journey through only to be met by an irate women on holiday annoyed that their boat had to pull in and wait for us all to pass.

Of course we queued at the Stop Lock enjoying a chat with a Scottish man who was more used to sea travel as he used to race yachts in his younger days. It was his first time on a narrowboat although he had used much larger locks on the  canal which crosses Scotland called the Caledonian Canal.

Eric stopped the boat just before Bridge 2 so I could get some shopping at Morrison's in Pendeford, a ten minute walk from the canal. An hour later we were on our way after giving a directions to another boater looking for a shop. We pulled in at Bridge 8 where there are rings for visitors, a passing cylist made me smile when he said 'we'd landed'.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Lots Of Locks Back To Gailey

Yesterday we ate out in The Radford Inn, although Ben wasn't keen on us going anywhere. I had roast beef while Eric had fish and chips. I also popped on the bus to Stafford to get some food. It was slow on the bus as there's roadworks everywhere. An Aldi is being built where the garage was at Radford Bank so it'll be much easier food shopping in the future. Of course I'll still need an occasional visit to M & S.

I bought Ben the dog a pink flamingo dog toy and it didn't stay intact long as he pulled off it's beak. He watched while I sewed it up and hasn't yet completely destroyed it, he's just carried it round.

After raining all night we just had a few heavy showers this morning and it turned into a beautiful sunny day so Eric wanted to keep cruising. Busy on the Staffs and Worcester Canal with long queues at the locks  going towards Autherley Junction. We worked through about eleven locks and I am rather tired this evening. Tomorrow is definitely  going to be a rest day!

Sally put this picture on I thought I'd share it with you.

Sally and Scarlett

Friday, September 11, 2015

About Turn- Back The Way We Came

We enjoyed the peace and quiet of Tixall Wide, so went down to Great Haywood to use the  water elsan and rubbish disposal and come back to moor up for another night there. I walked with Ben and stopped to chat to the crews of NB Blue Boar and NB Klara, I took ages so Eric went on without me. The crew of NB Klara are welsh from South we had a great chat.  Eric was already on the waterpoint filling up from the very slow tap.

I popped across to the Farm Shop for bread and milk and came back with some of their delicious strawberries and a bag of sticks. Eric was just finishing off putting the hosepipe away. Lots of chat at the waterpoint about the stoppage at Stone. One hireboater from the Macclesfield Canal was being transported back from Stone by minibus by their hire company as they couldn't get through the stoppage. We had an email telling us about the stoppage but no information  yet  about how long it was to be for. According to CaRT website it should be reopened on Monday.

We decided to retrace our journey on one of our favourite canals, the Shropshire Union Canal. We're hoping to get  some jobs done on the boat like resealing the shower and painting the front deck of the boat. The gunnels need some TLC too before we get back to Whixall Marina. Let's hope we get some dry weather.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Moored At Tixall Wide

NB Bendigedig on Tixall Wide

Our journey from Radford Bank was a bit of an obstacle course manoevering past overgrown stretches of reeds and meeting boats on blind bends but we made it. Ben and I had a lovely walk with the boat,  my painful knee has eased. We found a space to moor and we actually have a satellite TV signal which is sometimes not possible here due to the trees.

Ben and I had a short walk along the moorings. Lots of people armed with paint brushes making good use of easily accessible gunnels as the canal side is low here. I also met a Bedlington /Lurcher cross called Elsie and their owners said she was a very good dog! Ben didn't want to go far, so we returned to the boat.

Eric had a look in the engine hole at the Mikuni heating unit  as we didn't have a red light showing any power to it and found a broken wire so at least we know the problem is and can get it fixed when we get back to the marina.

Waiting now to see if the stoppage at Newcastle Road Lock has been sorted, before we go that way.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Moored At Radford Bank

Yesterday we worked the locks down from Penkridge to moor above Deptmore Lock. A lovely day with lots of sunshine and lots of boats on the move. One boat passed us by telling me they read my blog and were on their way to Whixall Marina to spend the winter there. I didn't ask your names or even note the name of your boat, but I did say see you both when we get back to Whixall. Halfie and his wife (NB Jubilee) stopped alongside our side hatch to have a chat about what we'd been up to since we last saw them at Fradley. Nice to see you both again.

We were glad to moor up at Radford Bank as the day didn't start well as Eric was suffering with his right eye. A pinpoint pupil showed his uveitis had flared up again so he needed an emergency prescription. A trip to A & E at Stafford where the staff were helpful solved the problem but it took a few hours. We didn't try and get a doctor's appointment as they always send us to the nearest hospital  as it needs specialist treatment. If you ever need the hospital in Stafford the No 74 bus from Radford Bank goes there.  Eric is having a bad time this trip, perhaps he's trying to visit the hospitals in each county!

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Moored At Penkridge

At Gailey yesterday you could hear some sort of reenactment from our mooring, it sounded like fireworks. This morning I could hear talking and thought it was someone fishing behind the boat. It was actually the public address system from the reenactment which was continuing today.

Today it was boating in sunshine, a lovely day. Down the locks from Gailey to Penkridge Visitor Moorings was made easier by boat traffic as we could leave gates open for the upcoming boat. A few times we had lock gates open for us too. Some heavy lock gates and deep locks but we arrived at Penkridge to find a space just right for us, Eric moored up and popped to the shop by the next lock to get a Sunday paper and came back with white chocolate Magnums. ....yum!

He found the dot in the sky to watch the Italian Grand Prix, which is receiving his full attention at this moment.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

We're At Gailey

The Roundhouse at Gailey Lock
Last night was spent near Coven and this morning we cruised as far as Gailey, just one lock down to moor up as far  as we could gate away from the road. The elsan and toilets are out of order at Gailey.........some boaters will be crossing their legs!

I had to take a picture of the Roundhouse at Gailey Top Lock, now a gift shop selling painted canalware amongst other things. I Googled it and found it was built in 1805  to collect tolls from users of Watling Street, now the A5.

The sun is out so my next job is to put a coat of yacht varnish on  our new boat pole and leave it dry in the sunshine.

Friday, September 04, 2015

On The Staffs & Worcs Canal

We left Wheaton Aston and headed towards Brewood to stop and shop as we didn't want to stay overnight under all the trees. Ben the dog came shopping too and waited with Eric  next to a very convenient bench which Eric sat down on, while I did the shopping. I wanted a steak and kidney pie from the butchers' shop for our tea. I bought some freshly made ham and salad rolls in the bakery for our lunch too. Shopping done we continued to the visitor moorings at Bridge 8 for an overnight stop. 

This morning we headed down the Shroppie to Autherly Junction and there a decision was made. We decided against a trip to Stourport and river travel  due to my concerns about Eric and his cracked rib. On the canals I know we'll be fine but other factors are involved on rivers. So we're quite happily mooching along in familiar territory towards Great Haywood. We've got water beneath the boat and the peace and quiet of the countryside so it doesn't really matter to us where we are.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Cruising To Wheaton Aston

Looking back from Cowley Tunnel

Cowley tunnel

At Wheaton Aston
Sunshine this morning at Norbury but we did have some heavy raiin  on the way to Wheaton Aston. Ben and I had a lovely walk before it rained.In convoy this trip with a slow boat in front and another following behind. All three boats pulled in and moored up at Wheaton Aston.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Moored At Norbury Visitor Moorings

Arriving at Norbury first stop the chandlers for diesel and elastic thingies for the cratch cover. We ended up buying a new boat pole and  boat hook as ours were in a bad way....well past painting or varnishing. We then topped up the water tank and got rid of rubbish before pulling in to moor at a nice sunny spot. Loads of space here today too.

Checked the Three Mifi to see if we had green to show a signal  and yes we did. It can be orange which shows a poor signal or red which is no signal. A lazy afternoon to follow.

Boating In The Rain To Goldstone Wharf

When we left Market Drayton the rain had stopped but started again as we got to Tyrley Locks. Ben and I had walked from Market Drayton .......a very muddy walk. Slow going up the five locks as an inexperienced crew on a hireboat was setting a lock ahead even before they reached the lock before. We just waited until we could go up, helping them on their way.

After the locks we cruised through Woodseaves Cutting and moored up at Goldstone Wharf. No internet signal or phone but we did have satellite TV so it wasn't all bad. Today we're heading for Norbury where the internet signal varies greatly, so we maybe lucky but maybe not.  We need to top up with diesel too as it's usually near enough the same price as Turners in Wheaton Aston. Today it's not raining but we seem to be meeting lots of boats at bridge holes.