Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Cruise Through Wheaton Aston To Little Onn

Up this morning to sunshine, the grass is very long next to the moored boats  on these visitor moorings.  I suppose they can't do it if boats are moored and it's usually full here. By the time we were ready to go most of the other boats had gone.

We finally got around to registering to vote encouraged by the CaRT's newsletter that it could be done online if you  have a home mooring. Hopefully Shropshire Council will add us to the electoral roll so we can vote in the referendum. It has to be done by 7th of June. 

We popped into Brewood to post some letters and pick up some  filled rolls for lunch.  We continued on our way through the lovely green cuttings  and then just one lock to work through. We stopped at the services to empty the cassettes and get rid of the rubbish and recycling.

Just under the bridge and we pulled into Turners for fuel, it took 93 litres and much cheaper than Whixall with its 60/40. An hour later we were putting in the pins near Little Onn, nobody used to stop there but today there were three boats already there.  It's one of those places where it's not too shallow and there's no Shroppie shelf.

The sun's gone in ......are we going to get the forecasted bad weather? Batten down the hatches!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Back On The Shroppie

Taking the turn at Autherley Junction
We left Coven and headed towards Autherley Junction. Soon we were through the narrows called 'The Rockins' by the old boaters, at Pendeford where we were lucky as we had no boats going the other way.

At Autherley Junction just one boat ahead of us and then it was our turn to make a right turn to take us back on the Shroppie. There's just a stop lock to go through, and a chance to get rid of the rubbish and recycling before passing the boatyard to moor up at the water point.

While Eric filled the boat up with water I went to get some shopping at Morrison's, Pendeford with my granny shopping trolley.  Eric had moved to moor by the bridge until I came back and then we were on our way to moor at Bridge 8. Last time we stopped here there were bird scarers going off but this time it's lovely and peaceful.

It's great to see lots of boats on the move. Good not to be stuck in a traffic jam somewhere either.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday Lunch At The Fox And Anchor, Coven

The Fox and Anchor, Coven

The last few days we've doing a little cruising and I've been  sorting out the accumulation of stuff in cupboards we no longer need or use. Eric has been sanding and getting some paint on the roof so it doesn't look too scruffy while we wait for the repaint in April 2017. We're going up to  Aqueduct Marina to discuss  the project when we get there.

We had a couple of quiet nights out in the wilds away from roads and trains after our stay below Gailey Locks was noticeable noisy .......you could hear the motorway all night long.... I ended up finding ear plugs.

This morning we cruised as far as 'The Fox And Anchor'  canalside at Coven as Poppy's holiday with us has come to an end. We had a text to tell us to expect Clare and Ben about two pm to collect their four legged friend.  She's been as good as gold  but I'm not used to  waking at 7.30 am. Ben is looking forward to sole use of his food bowl and the settee to himself!  

At the time we were having Sunday Lunch in the pub.......a bit pricey but beautiful food. We chose the lamb ....it was delicious. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tixall Wide To Acton Trussell To Gailey

Polishing the otherside!

We left the peace of Tixall Wide  and cruised towards Radford Bank for a stop and shop at the new Aldi which has opened not far away from the canal where the garage used to be. Shopping done we were on our away to work through Deptmoor Lock and moor a little further on before Acton Trussell for a couple of nights.

Eric wanted to get the otherside of the boat polished and rub down a bit more roof to give it some coats of paint to tidy it up. We're thinking of a repaint next year so we're not that fussy about the finish on the roof as it'll all be coming off. 

Today we worked through the locks to get to Penkridge but no room to moor so we continued on to a couple of locks below Gailey. Walking the dogs and I spy a lovely boat I recognise......NB Yarwood..... Lesley and Joe came out with their black labs for a chat. Ben and Poppy weren't bothered by the big chaps. Lovely to see you both again and your dogs.

We've been looking at all the colour schemes on everyone's boats wondering about changing our blue boat to another colour. At present the colours changing from matt blue to shiny blue, here's a photograph.

look at the difference!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Washing Done, To Tixall Wide

 A view from our boat while moored near Great Haywood

As the Travel Power needs at least 1200 revs to run correctly I put the washing machine before we moved, putting it on pause at the rinses while we did one lock and headed to the waterpoint at Haywood Junction. The washing machine continued on it's cycle while we filled up with water. It finished before the water tank was full and nobody else was waiting for water.  Other tanks emptied, rubbish disposed off and we were ready to cruise as far as Tixall Wide. 

Eric reversed back from the waterpoint to make the turn to take us onto the Staffs and Worcester Canal to Tixall Wide. Lovely today as there wasn't a wind, just sunshine.

A quick pop to the Canalside  Farm Shop for lovely home grown strawberries,  there's more for you money if you don't mind the less than perfect shapes ......they all taste the same. There's also a butcher in the shop and a Canalside Cafe and a large greenhouse with seasonal  plants for sale.

A Grebe on Tixall Wide

Ducklings galore!

We've been watching the wildlife Coots, Grebes, Canada Geese, Swans and ducklings with their mum so far. Eric took some photos. Early this morning the Wide looked spectacular with mist hanging above the water, my photo didn't come out due to mist on the lens.

Eric dreams! he loves the old boats.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Painting And Polishing!

A shiny boat on one side

Today we stayed put at Great Haywood and Eric started rubbing down and scraping rust off a section of the roof before treating and priming it. I lightly sanded and repainted the back doors and side hatch doors later in the day. Eric then starting polishing one side of the boat as over the winter the colour had faded.

I took Ben and Poppy for a walk on their leads along the towpath which was surprisingly busy with walkers, dog walkers, runners and cyclist. I ended up getting a Sunday paper in Great Haywood. Eric stopped polishing for lunch and then continued as he wanted to finish one side today. He used Craftmaster Carnauba Wax Polish which is good stuff.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Turn Around, Back To Great Haywood

NB Bendigedig winding near Rugeley
We moored at Rugeley  at the railway bridge end thinking we wouldn't be disturbed by the youngsters who sometimes hang about under the humped back bridge near Tesco's. But we had hassle from two lads on a quad bike speeding along the towpath with little regard for me or the dogs on the towpath outside the boat.  luckily they were on leads so I could get them out of the way quickly. Once we were back on the boat they repeatedly went past the boat at speed making hand gestures until it got dark and started to rain. Not many boats moored in Rugeley......perhaps that's why! 

This morning we turned around and we'll slowly head north back the way we came as we have a boat roof to paint, it's in need of lots of tender loving care. Poppy is still with us and she's been a very good girl. We walked with Ben the dog this morning, getting back onboard just as it started raining. Just Colwich Lock to do today and we moored before Great Haywood with views of Shugborough Hall and it's estate. Rather windy here but now the sun is shining so happy days!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Radford Bank To Rugeley.......On The Trent & Mersey Canal

Tixall Lock & Cottage

Tixall Wide was deserted

Entering Colwich Lock
This morning we left Radford Bank, Eric cruising and me walking the dogs until we got back onboard. We had some help at Tixall Lock from waiting boaters. Passing through Tixall Wide was a surprise, it looked deserted with just a few boats at one end. We turned right at Haywood Junction and we're now on the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Two locks today and the second  Colwich Lock was easier to open although  it was hard to shut the top gates as we left. We finally stopped and moored up at Rugeley. The boat is going well and it's good that the oil pressure problem is sorted so we don't have a beeping problem.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

No More Beeps......Fingers Crossed

The beeps on tick over signalling low oil pressure continued to drive us nuts so I rang Beta Marine and spoke to Adrian. He arranged for Chris a Beta engineer to come as soon as he could get to us at Radford Bank, Stafford. A phone call  later to tell us he'd be with us at one pm and to check where we were moored and the boat name. I can't fault  Adrian at Beta or  Chris for speedy and excellent service at no cost to us due to the engine being under warranty.  The engine was checked cold and hot and Chris replaced the sender and hopefully the problem is solved. 

A short cruise today just to Radford Bank  to meet Chris. Later we walked the dogs as far as B&Q on Lichfield Road via the walkway/cycle track into town and bought some scrapers to attack the rust on the boat roof.

This evening we had a meal from the Carvery at The Radford Bank Inn so suitably stuffed we're watching Eastenders. The dogs are asleep.......what a life!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

On The Staffs And Worcester Canal

Leaving Calf Heath

The Round House at Gailey
Just an hour cruising on Tuesday to moor up for shopping at Morrison's in Pendeford. It's a ten minute walk through the little park to Blagdon Road where there is an underpass under the busy road. We had lunch before the worked through the lock at Autherley Junction, then a left turn towards Great Haywood. Dredgers busy on the offside but no holdups and no waiting at the narrows called Pendeford Rockin by the old boatmen. We moored up near Calf Heath as our usual spot by Bridge 74 was full.

This morning Poppy had me up at 7am to go out for wee and a poo. so Ben the dog went out too even though it was raining hard. Who needs an alarm clock? I called them back in and went back to sleep waking two hours later. Today we planned to get to Penkridge or Acton Trussell, which meant loads of locks. We couldn't stop at Penkridge so ended up at Acton Trussell, one of the places far enough away from the noise of the M6 motorway. Of course the sun's out now we've stopped!

Monday, May 16, 2016

The End Of The Shroppie

Ben and Poppy patiently waiting at Wheaton Aston Lock
Today Eric cruised to Wheaton Aston while I walked the dogs once we were  out of the cutting at Rye Hill, I didn't fancy two wet and muddy dogs. First stop was fuel at Turner's (48.7p a litre for domestic), and you tell him the percentage you want. Then under the bridge to use Wheaton Aston Services to fill and empty as required. I walked up to the lock with the dogs and waited for Eric to finish filling up with water. I helped a couple through  as they'd only been through Autherley Lock and were unsure what to do. Eric then came with the boat ready to come up the open lock. A man waiting to come down the lock stayed well back and watched me! We're nearly at the end of the Shropshire Union Canal, Autherley Junction tomorrow then turn left we're heading for Great Haywood on the Staffs and Worcester Canal.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Poppy Comes To Stay Onboard

Eric's chair is comfy.....I like sleeping here!
Yesterday we moved just a few miles to Gnosall  as we were expecting visitors and 'The Boat Inn' was a good place to find with the help of satellite navigation. Before they came we went shopping at The Bakery and found some lovely pasties for lunch. Ben the dog was pleased to see Poppy, Clare and Ben and so were we. She brought some balls with her so now it's avoid the balls as you walk in the boat.

When Clare and Ben left we moved a bit further along the Shroppie and moored near Bridge 24 where we knew and it was nice and open and we could get into the side to moor up. Later four other boats pulled in, so we weren't on our own. Last night Ben stretched out on the sofa for the night and Poppy was OK because she fits on the chair.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

It's Hot At Norbury Wharf

Passing through that bridge (39) before Norbury junction

A view of Norbury Wharf
A very quiet night last night near Knighton and this morning we headed towards Norbury Junction in lovely sunshine. Before we moved I'd done a quick wash in the machine so the smalls were blowing in the wind in the cratch as we travelled and they were dry by the time we moored up.

I walked enjoying the  bluebells and violets along the towpath edge, while Ben the dog watered the long grass. Back on the boat we passed lines of online moorings so progress was slow, Walking through Grub Street Cutting would have been pretty wet underfoot so I stayed onboard. I had to take the photo of the double arched bridge which carries the A519 across the canal. The tiny telegraph pole is a reminder of past lines of communication along the Shroppie according to Pearson'.

We pulled into the services at Norbury Junction and topped up the water tank, emptied cassettes and rubbish bin. Now we're moored up watching the world go by. It's one of those places where people come to look at the boats and walk their dogs. It's hot today so we're chilling inside the boat with all the windows and doors open and a lovely breeze coming through.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

White Water At Tyrley Locks

Approaching Lock Tyrley  Lock 1.. White water!

The other boat is stuck aground due to the bywashes below Lock2

Going up......Tyrley Lock 2

NB Bendigedig pulling the other boat  backwards

Approaching Tyrley Lock3

The bywashes on the bottom two locks at Tyrley were fierce today and one boater got into trouble leaving Lock 2 when he ran aground on the offside. Eric passed him a rope and went into the lock pulled him backwards into the mouth of the lock so he could straighten up and then go ahead with a bit of welly to the next lock. We  were lucky today as all the locks were empty and we only had to open the bottom gates. At the top lock we dropped off a bag of rubbish at the services. There are also recycling facilities here.

Woodseaves cutting was a lot drier than usual for walkers, with a new gravel towpath along a good bit of the way.  We didn't stop at Goldstone Wharf  but went on to the next visitor moorings, although we had a put a tyre down to help stop the banging when another boat  passes.  So we're all on our own this afternoon.....but we don't mind.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

No Cruising Today, Rain All Day

We decided to stay put and have a non cruising day as the weather was wet. After breakfast we walked into town in light rain with Ben the dog as Eric needed a haircut.  We also got some food  shopping  in Morrison's and walked back to the boat in heavy rain. Ben was soon dried off with a towel and our coats soon dried too.

The weather got steadily worse during the afternoon, but boats are still going past! We had  a lazy afternoon once Eric had adjusted the oil gauge. It was beeping on tick over which was irritating to say the least. The Beta 43 manual troubleshooting  was helpful  and told us what to do, hopefully the problem is sorted. We had this happen before with our previous Beta 43 and an engineer moved the red area on the gauge as it was set too high.

For tea we had the pork sausages from Adderley Farm Shop........delicious! Mashed potatoes from Morrison's as I was feeling lazy.  I was a proper granny  with my shopping trolley today, but it makes shopping easier.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Adderley Locks To Market Drayton.......Pork Pie For Lunch!

Going up Adderley Locks
Ben waiting for me across the lock
Shade loving sheep!

We left our mooring at  Coxbank and finished off the Audlem  locks. Off we went cruising to Adderley Locks. Five locks to do, going up and Ben the dog waited patiently across the lock while I did the paddles on the other side of each lock. At the top lock is Adderley Farm Shop with a canalside help yourself shop and a honesty box. I bought a lovely  home made pork pie for our lunch and some home made sausages for tea tomorrow. We had a chat to the farmer who  told us he sells most of his produce at farmer's markets.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

At Coxbank........It's Hot And I'm Shattered!

Having a rest on the boat while Eric did the gates and paddles

Going up......turning the lock as no boats coming down the flight

This morning we had the daunting prospect of ten more locks to moor at Coxbank if we could.  We only met two boats coming down so we had to turn most of the locks. The boat ahead of us left the top gates open even though nothing was coming down which was annoying.  Hot today so by the time we moored up I was shattered. Ben the dog is fast asleep......it's a hard life.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Five More Locks To Audlem

Moored near The Shroppie Fly

Behind the trees is Audlem Mill

Ben the dog woke me up at eight this morning so I had to frighten the locals in my dressing gown, he needed a wee! Later Eric woke and we had breakfast while the water heated up to have a  shower, I did a quick wash in the machine while the engine was running. We've been told the Travel Power needs at least 1200 revs to give us 240v and that's not always possible when cruising. Also meant I could use the coffee maker. Judith and John on NB Serena passed us by on the Nantwich Embankment. Hello to you, nice to  put a face to a name.

Ben and I walked for a bit but once the noise from the Clay Pigeon Shooting started he  wanted to be back on the boat. Another lovely day with lots of boats at Hack Green Locks but it didn't take long to get through as we were helping each other. We cruised past Overwater Marina and approached Lock 15 of the Audlem Flight to find the gates open ready for us. Three locks up and we stopped near The Shroppie Fly and Audlem Mill, not the quietest of places but I wasn't doing any more locks today.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Going Down The Hurleston Flight

Hurleston Top Lock (Lock 1)

Going down Lock  2
I am suitably cooked today from the sunshine walking the dog to Hurleston Locks. Factor 50 sun protection on otherwise I fry.  Eric stopped at the top of the locks to fill up with water, empty cassettes and get rid of the rubbish. No recycling facilities here!

Amazing....today there were two lock keepers working, one at the top lock and one at the bottom lock which was a great. They actually helped by winding paddles, filling locks and opening gates. All the boat traffic was going downhill today and then we turned right heading for Nantwich, I hope there's room for us.

Before the aqueduct was full but we found a space after it. A quick chat with Sue off NB Barney then  my plan was to walk into town along Welsh Row and find a hairdresser to get a haircut. Eric and Ben came too. We did a bit of shopping.....just a rucksack full of fresh stuff, as It's too far to carry heavy bags.

Back onboard Ben is fast asleep and I need a quick shower to get rid of the itchyness from the haircut. Enjoy the rest of your day, we've had a lovely day.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Five Locks And Two Lift Bridges Later

Wrenbury Mill
We left our mooring  before the Wrenbury Electric Lift bridge, Ben and I went ahead to open the bridge for us to go through. By the time I closed it half a dozen cars were patiently waiting. We walked down to the next lift bridge and  opened that using the windlass. The ice-cream boat was coming the other way so we let them through too and they were pleased about that. The weather's lovely today and Eric has even taken off his jumper!

Eric's taken his jumper off.....it must be warm!

Approaching one of Baddiley Locks

Having a rest at Swanley Locks
Ben and I  enjoyed the walking although some sections were very muddy. Hello to the young man who  left the lock gates open for us, nice to know somebody reads my blog. Relaxing now at Bridge 5.....we really aren't used to all this exercise........even Ben's out cold!

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Grindley Brook To Wrenbury.....Ten Locks!

Leaving Whitchurch Visitor Moorings
Ben the dog and I walked down to Grindley Brook leaving Eric untie the boat and follow on behind us. The sun was shining and warm enough for Eric not to have his coat on, although we did see lots of boaters well wrapped up. The two lock keepers on the staircase had the top gates of the staircase open for us as we approached, they hadn't seen a boat for an hour so they'd been gardening.

Grindley Brook staircase done

Three single locks to do

A grey wagtail at the locks

Going down

Grindley Brook bottom lock

Bluebells in the wood.....Eric's photo
We were very lucky as the locks were ready for us apart from raising the water level slightly to open the top gates for the rest of the locks at Grindley Brook. For me it was a mixture of walking and cruising with Ben the dog with four more locks to take us to Wrenbury where we moored at the end of the Visitor moorings before the electric lift bridge. The bluebell wood we passed after Marbury Lock was beautiful with a lovely smells as we passed by. Great to be cruising......we've all had a lovely day.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Escape From Whixall Marina


Just a few photographs as we escaped Whixall Marina for a cruise, the water movement is from our boat. We filled up with fuel at the card operated pump and  then away we went......fingers crossed for some nice weather.

Just through the first bridge.
Ben and I got off the boat at the first  bridge to walk ahead to open the lift bridge. Only one to do on the Prees Branch as Stark's Bridge needs repairing by Shropshire County Council. Luckily they organised for the platform to be lifted by crane so the boats aren't stuck in the marina. It's only a foot bridge  so I wonder how long it'll take to fix it.

Stark's Bridge platform has been lifted off by crane.

Cruising on the Prees Branch

NB Bendigedig at Prees Junction turning right!
Ben and I walked as far the next lift bridge by the old scrap yard and Eric brought the boat to the bank for Ben and I to get on-board then he lifted the bridge while I steered it through.  Four lift bridges later we moored up just past the Whitchurch Lift bridge. Time to chill!