Thursday, September 20, 2018

Back In Whixall Marina

Last Thursday the gas work was done on the boat at AngloWelsh  at Trevor.  It involved moving the gas bubble tester from the cabin into the gas locker  and relocating the piping and regulator. Matt achieved the impossible he was inside our tiny gas locker.....literally Matt in the box. Passersby were amazed at man was in there!   Gas safety  test  done and we were away once the bill was paid.

A wait to cross the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct  with us letting  the Thomas Telford trip boat from Llangollen ahead of us as we were pulling in for water once we crossed the aqueduct.  Jones the boat followed us with  his Aqueduct boat trips from Trevor.

A pleasant trip while it wasn't busy took us through Whitehouses and Chirk Tunnels not crabbing along this time as we were travelling with the flow. Then the Chirk Aqueduct  and the narrow bits and finally down the two New Marton Locks.  Lots of water coming out of the walls below the lock, let's hope it's not a problem in the making.

We moored below the locks in time for tea. In the morning we were on our way back to Ellesmere noticing Jack Mytton's closed for business. Lots of blind corners travelling back but not many boats on the move for a Friday morning.

It was very busy at Ellesmere so we decided against an overnight stop arriving back at Whixall Marina at six  o'clock.  Soon we were moored up and connected once again to electricity, BT phone and broadband and it worked straight away.

Great to go cruising and great to be back too. A casserole has been cooking as we travelled so we had tea and then relaxed once Eric pointed the  TV aerial to 150 degrees from North which is the Wrekin Transmitter.

On Saturday we did a food shop in Whitchurch. On Sunday we has roast beef at the Cafe which we'd booked by contacting Darren at the Marina as I didn't know the Cafe phone number. We had to wait but the meal was lovely.

Yesterday we had lunch at the Marina Cafe  and it was a very quick service even though the Cafe was busy. The BLT was lovely with a dressed side salad and Eric had a lovely breakfast. While we ate we didn't notice the wind outside but back on the boat we rocked and rolled. At least we're not under trees  where we're moored so nothing to fall on the boat.

The Marina Cafe it having it's very first steak night on October the 5th with a choice of rump, sirloin or gammon steak with chips, peas and onion rings but you need to book ahead.

It's surprising how many boats arrive at the Marina to visit the Cafe. The Skipper's Breakfast is certainly worth a visit.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A Trip On The Llangollen Railway

A steam train (5199) originally from South Wales

A view from the train at Berwyn Station

A selfie of two seniors!

We've  been moored at Trevor Basin the last couple of days waiting for parts so the gas work can be done on the boat. It's been very busy with visitors to the Pontcysyllte  Aqueduct nearby, but all is quiet once the evening comes.

Today we caught the bus to Llangollen with nothing really planned. We spotted the steam engine at the station and went down to see about a trip. We took advantage of our  age and bought senior tickets. We were in time for the one o'clock and thoroughly enjoyed the trip in the heritage carriage. Nothing beats the noise and smell of the steam engine as it travels along the line. It brought back memories when Eric was a young boy and lived next to a railway shunting yard and went for rides with the drivers.

A toastie  and a cuppa at the Station Café finished the trip and after a quick shop at the Spar we caught the bus back to Trevor to walk back down the hill to the boat.

Tomorrow hopefully the work on the boat will be done and we can make our way across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct heading back to Whixall Marina.

Friday, September 07, 2018

We've Got To Llangollen

A quick stop for water
We got up Monday morning to torrential rain so our plan to go cruising was put on hold. Tuesday was better so we got ourselves organised to go. Fuel tank topped up too.

On our way it seemed so slow after road travel. Just one lift bridge on the Prees Arm to do as Sarah did the second one. We moved a bit quicker on the long straight towards Bettisfield.

It was slow progress  against the flow of the water. First stop was Ellesmere where we were lucky to find a space by the bridge at the top of the arm. With the children back in school it was quiet, just the dog walkers out for their morning walk. Yes I patted a few dog's heads during out stay  there.

Wednesday took us as far as the  New Marton Locks  where  it was very busy with hire boats rushing past to get to their next stop. We had waves in the canal!

Thursday was wet but we wanted to get as far as Chirk planning to get to Llangollen on Friday. Today is Friday and we made it. So  now we have a weekend on our old winter mooring spot. It brings back lots of happy memories.

It's great to be cruising again  but I am now chilling after the walks ahead of the boat to check the narrows were clear. I phoned Eric to say it was OK to come through and stopped boats who came later going through. One lad had no idea that it was one  way so I explained about a crew member walking ahead to see if it was clear before they went.  But they didn't bother!

I am taking advantage of the electricity  I have paid for at £12 for two nights and doing the laundry . Later we'll go and explore, it's great to be back here by boat.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

A Week In Wales

Gwen on the 'High Ropes' 
We've had a week in Wales as it's the school holidays and it's nanny duties again. The high light  of the week was watching Gwen on the 'High Ropes' at St Fagan's Museum of History. She was a star and wasn't  put off by a young boy ahead of her  being taken off by ladder as he panicked and couldn't move. The second photo gives some idea of the five metres up from the ground. At the end was a zip wire to finish.....Lots of screams at this point.

Friday, August 24, 2018

A Visit To Powis Castle

A view of Powis Castle from the grand lawn

Some amazing Yew hedges.

A rest in the Rose gardens
On Monday we had a lovely day out at Powis Castle near Welshpool. We enjoyed the ornate interiors with amazing tapestries, sculptures, furniture and paintings.Currently running is 'House of Portraits' with an audio guide on a handset telling us about twelve of the portraits. We had lunch in the Cafe before exploring the gardens.  The gardens were spectacular with beautiful herbaceous borders,  terraces and huge yew hedges and tumps, making the gardens high topiary.Apparently they trim it in Autumn using cherry pickers, We coped with all the steps and slopes with plenty of seats available to have a rest.

The Marina Cafe has been busy with boats calling in  for lunch or coffee and cake.  The local dog  walkers have called in too. Hopefully the Cafe will thrive. They've started Sunday Lunches at £8.95 but you have to book ahead. This week it's Lamb or Beef with Rhubarb Crumble for pudding at  £1.50 extra. We won't be sampling it this Sunday as we're off to Wales.  

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Marina Cafe Opens

On Monday the Marina Cafe opened and has  had lots of visitors since. The Whixall locals and the resident boaters have kept the staff busy  Boats and their crew have arrived too now that it's worth a visit with new signs on the Llangollen Canal telling them about it.

We can recommend the Skipper's breakfast  of a full English. The cake looks good and Phil the manager says the lemon drizzle cake is really  good.

This week we've been to Errdig a lovely National Trust property well worth a visit.  The carefully preserved   rooms are full of furniture and exhibit some of the families possessions accumulated over the last 250 years.  I loved the fully equipped kitchens giving an insight into the life of a  servant.

The attics are apparently full of stuff too One of the rare houses where contents weren't sold to pay any debts which happened in other National  Trust properties.

The gardens are  beautiful showing a restored 18th century formal garden with deep red anthiraniums  (snapdragons) catching my eye as my dad grew these in his garden. Well worth a visit.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Happy Anniversary To Us

We celebrated our 47th Wedding Anniversary with a lovely meal at Fouzi's in Llangollen. A busy place but we had a table for two once we waited on the higher seats by the window. The waiter made me smile when he asked if I could get up onto the seat! Yes I can, I am not that old!  Before we ate we went for a walk to look at the moored boats. The basin was busy with hire boats. Convoys of boats coming through the narrows were holiday boats too.

We went for a walk around the Mere at Colemere on Thursday and it was mud free due to the dry weather. It makes you wonder how the mere stays so full of water when it isn't  fed by streams. We saw lots of dogs enjoying the freedom of being off their leads. We were thinking of Ben the dog as we walked. A pleasant walk though as it wasn't as hot as it has been.

Yesterday we went to Aqueduct Marina to get some gunnel paint and we're pleased to find we could also get some two pack to tidy up the area between the gunnel  and the water line that gets contact with the metal pilings. Thanks to Aqueduct Marina staff for being so helpful.  So it looks like we'll be painting when we go out in September.

We're off to Anglo Welsh at Trevor in a few weeks to get the bubble tester moved from inside the cabin to the gas locker which is the correct place for it. The boat safety is coming up soon and it means we'll have the gas all checked for our peace of mind and a safety certificate.

This Summer is certainly flying by this year. We're lucky we could get out on the canal system in May and June before lack of water temporarily closed so much of the system. It's  certainly not  good for boaters  hoping to enjoy a cruise.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Out Cruising For The Day

Peter, Lisa and Gwenllian

Peter and Lisa 

On Saturday we took the boat out for the day with our crew Peter, Lisa and Gwenllian. 'Captain' Eric allowed 'first mate' Peter to take the helm although he stayed with him.

We stopped  at Hampton Bank for a picnic and then went on towards Ellesmere  to the next winding hole to turn around. Peter showed off his muscles raising and lowering the lift bridges on the Prees Arm at some speed.

For a change it wasn't windy getting  into our berth.  Lovely to have a little cruise  on such a lovely day.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Onboard With Gwenllian

We popped down to Newport and brought granddaughter Gwenllian to stay onboard on her own for the first time without her mother Lisa. 

Today we visited Chirk Castle and had fun with lots to so. In the tower there was armour and Gwen tried on a helmet. You could sit in the stocks too.

Outside there were two lovely play areas and lots of space. There was a trail  for the children in the woods too.  Inside we explored the dungeon and the tower with steep spiral stone steps. The rooms in the castle were beautifully furnished and I loved the amazing pictures on the ceilings. Lovely views too......well worth a visit.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A Week In Whixall

Well as everybody knows the weather has been so hot. We've not been far this week although it's lovely in the car with the air con on.

We've had a few walks alongside the canal up the Prees Arm but it still seems strange without Ben. It was too hot for a long walk though.

The wildlife at Whixall Marina has been entertaining  with the swallows ducking and diving. The youngsters have been flying about and we even had a visitor when a youngster flew in the front doors and out of the side hatch.  The swans come to the side hatch and tap on the boat for food with their family of cygnets.The ducks just quack and wait patiently.

We had a walk around Aldersford Lake on Saturday. It was busy as it was 'The Festival On The Edge' a storytelling and music festival. You could still park and have a walk and go to the Cafe which we did but just for drinks.

We've been to Shrewsbury for a walk alongside the River Severn and the Quarry Gardens in the sunshine. While we were in Shrewsbury I popped into Specsavers to get them to put a new screw in a pair of spectacles.

Yesterday the gas regulator died on the boat. The gas came through fiercely with a roaring noise so I had to use the microwave to make the chilli for tea. I didn't get the rice correct though, it was like rice pudding.  It's  been replaced now so I am cooking by gas.

We've enjoyed a quiet day today with a tower fan blowing a bit of draught about the boat. It was the last one in Tesco's  and not bad at £30.00.

Work is ongoing working towards the new Whixall Marina Cafe. We have a big new tarmaced car park and the driveway and paths are nearly done. We even have a new passing place in Alders Lane. The cafe kitchen's being fitted out and the chairs and tables  are waiting for the first customers. Opening is the beginning of August if all goes to plan.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A Trip To Barmouth

It's  been cooler today so we've been to Barmouth where there was sunshine, lovely views of the hills and of course the sea. I had a paddle in the sea while Eric watched from a dry stretch of sand holding my sandals.

We had a lovely walk along the beach with the breeze keeping us cool.  Here's a few photos of  blue skies and the blue sea. A few brave people were swimming in the sea too.

The blue flag was flying to show the safe water quality of the beach. It looks a bit like the  logo for CaRT!

We enjoyed the amazing scenery as we travelled back through the Snowdonia National Park. I love to see the mountains.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

A Quick Trip To Newport

On Wednesday we travelled to Newport to take Paula and her little dogs back to Rogerstone. We stopped off at Oakwood near Hereford for some dog walking and  some food from the cafe there. You now have to pay to park and the ticket man comes by car to check the cars.

We had a cuppa at Paula's house before we headed to Lisa's and Gwen's home where we stayed for a couple of nights. Peter spoiled us on Thursday by taking us out for a meal with Lisa and Gwen to the Three Blackbirds. Thanks Peter and thanks Lisa for letting  us stay.

On Friday we made our way home to Whixall enjoying the air con in the car keeping us so cool. We got some fresh  food stuff at the Coop in Wem and made our way back to the boat at Whixall Marina.

The cafe is supposed to be opening at the beginning of August so there's lots of work going on here at the moment with pavements and the road being resurfaced as well as an outside area for the cafe. There's also a large new carpark. Soon it will be finished and peace will return to Whixall Marina.

It's  been incredibly hot on the boat so we purchased a fan which has helped. It was the last one in Tesco's Shrewsbury so we didn'the have a choice.

Today I made a porthole bung for our bedroom as when the sun comes up it wakes me up. We found some foam in Dunelm and cut a 38 cms circle. I made a cover to match the curtains. Hopefully I'll sleep longer tomorrow.  The swallows twitter away  in the early mornings so perhaps I won't. Tonight they're swooping down over the large area of water in front of the marina building taking a drink of water.

A new porthole bung

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

We're Back In Whixall Marina

Seven lift bridges later with help from Paula and we're back in Whixall Marina. Soon we were moored up on our berth and plugged back in to shoreline.  BT line reconnected and you'll never guess  the phone line's fine but no broadband. I rang BT Help they're coming next week . The saga begins I wonder how long it'll take them to sort it this time.

Today  I've  been catching up with the washing before we take Paula home to Rogerstone tomorrow. Soon it was all washed and dried using the laundry at the Marina.

We then went out for lunch at the cafe at Alderford Lake cafe.  Paula and I had a prawn and salmon salad while Eric had Staffordshire oatcakes with bacon and cheese. Very  nice too.

It's one of those places  you can wild swimming in the lake and some people were enjoying the water. No doubt it was cool in today's heat but I don't fancy it.

Back on the boat the dogs were pleased to see us. They're fast asleep now after a busy morning guarding the boat.

We've packed our bags as we're off to Newport tomorrow  and we'll be staying with Lisa and Gwen for a few days. See you soon 😊

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Above The Locks At Grindley Brook

Elsie & Paula (Jaq's photo)
While we were at Hack Green Jaq took a photo of two fat ladies!

This morning we worked through the seven locks taking us above Grindley Brook locks. We queued in the heat below the staircase locks for the next three boats up. Unbelievably hot we were glad to be moored up under some shade.

The lock keeper was still there when we walked down to the Cafe for an Ice cream.  She told me  46 boats had gone through the locks today and she still had an hour to go.

Tomorrow we'll be back in Whixall Marina after two months cruising. Just seven lift bridges left now......I hope it's  cooler tomorrow.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Wrenbury To Willey Moor Lock

Yesterday we worked through Swanley and Baddiley  Locks in the sunshine. It was much too hot for me with no breeze to speak of. We found a spot under the trees before the Church Liftbridge to moor up.

In the morning we popped to the shop for bread and milk to keep us going until we get back to Whixall. Paula was pleased there were no cows in the field we walked through.

A little further  today with two lift bridges and three more locks taking us above Willey Moor Lock. The pub was open so we moored up away from the lock bollards. Paula and I had ham salads with thick slices of cut ham and Eric had a burger, it was lovely food and we enjoyed some  cold beers and cokes too.

A lovely ham salad

Eric is all set to watch the Grand Prix Qualifiers and the Football. I think I'll have an afternoon nap!

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Back On The Llangollen Canal

Just two locks at Hack Green and we were on our way to Nantwich. There was a space so we moored up before the aqueduct. It was still incredibly hot and it didn't cool down much overnight.

This morning after a quick stop at the services we enjoyed a slightly breezy trip to the locks at Hurleston.  We were soon at the top of the flight of four locks with some help from the volunteer lock keepers.  Some confusion below the top lock with two boats in the pound and another coming up. The lock keeper let us up before he let the next boat down. It was nice and breezy at the top of the locks too.

We moored at the first moorings on the Llangollen Canal.  A good spot near a road as we were expecting visitors.  Sharon and Ian (cousins of Paula and Eric) came with cakes. Lovely to catch up with you both and we all enjoyed the cakes.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

A Stop At Coole Pilate

Paula tea maker extraordinaire 

We enjoyed our stop at Audlem with a visit to look around Audlem Mill as well as food in the Shroppie Fly.

Just a stop for water yesterday morning at the Audlem Services but we had to wait.... then down the last three Audlem Locks. With a little shade it was cooler working through them.

Then a short hop to Coole Pilate moorings where it certainly wasn't cool although we had some breeze coming under the thick hedgerow through the side hatch.

A glorious sunset certainly a red sky at night moment last night. I enjoyed watching the mad antics of the swallows swooping past the boat they must have been catching flies as they swooped near the water as they didn't seem to be drinking.

The side hatch was towpath side this evening so we couldn't leave it open overnight but with the windows open we were fine.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Down The Locks To Audlem

Today we were up and away by 9 am to get through the twelve locks to moor in Audlem hopefully under the trees opposite Audlem Mill.

We made excellent time with our additional crew member Paula who is now knackered! For the first time ever we did it in two hours!

It was so hot coming down them but we're now moored up under the trees where we hoped to be. Shopping is needed  but we'll get it later when we've cooled down a bit.

We've just had a lovely meal at 'The Shroppie Fly'. Thanks to Paula who treated us. Totally stuffed now!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Pork Pies At Adderley Top Lock

We left Market Drayton behind us after a top up of the water tank. We were in luck as the water points were empty. Boats passed us by starting at 6.30 am this morning when we were still in bed.

We cruised to the Top of Adderley Locks and bought some very tasty pork pies to share for our lunch at the Canalside Farm Shop. We resisted temptation and  left the scones and cream behind today.

Progress down the flight of locks was quick with boats coming up the flight too. An extra member of crew makes a big difference too. Paula's a great help at the locks.

Paula sitting under the tree

It incredibly hot today so we were glad to stop under the only tree on the moorings below the locks. The solar panels are still in the sun. The dogs are flaked's just too hot!

Just two boats on the Adderley Moorings and no one has come up from Audlem since we moored up.
Perhaps they didn't fancy the Audlem 15 in this heat.

Tomorrow  we're staying put. Eric wants to watch the Grand Prix. We're  hoping for a cooler day on Monday when we tackle those locks.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Down Tyrley Locks To Market Drayton

Woodseaves Cutting today was amazing I love to see the ferns and smell the fresh smell of all the greenery. As Paula says 'It's green'.

Arriving at Tyrley Top Lock was great as it was open ready for us to go down after we dropped off the rubbish. Going down changing places with the upcoming boats in the pounds was no problem. The locking gear wasn't hard and we didn't struggle with the gates.

CART were working at Lock 4 clearing a blocked weir and they helped us quickly through as some water was needed to raise the pound between the two locks. There were six people  in the team of workers!

A short cruise to Market  Drayton where I needed  to pick up some fresh stuff at Asda .....the nearest shop to the canal.  Eric found a barber for a much needed haircut so his waves are gone!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A Stop At Norbury Wharf

Approaching Grub Street
(Photo  by Paula)
Still melting as we cruise along the Shropshire Union Canal. The cuttings have given us welcome shade and the occasional breeze on the embankments was welcomed.

We stopped at Norbury Wharf overnight. In the afternoon we popped to the Cafe for an Ice cream but it was just too hot to sit outside so we walked back to the boat where Eric had the dogs. The pub garden was in the shade  so perhaps a cool drink would have been a better option.

This morning a trip to the Services then we topped up the diesel tank at Norbury Wharf.  Soon we were on our way planning to stop at Goldstone Wharf if there was room.

Lines of moored boats meant we were slow going. Paula took a lovely photo of that bridge with the tiny telegraph pole in the arch at the start of Grub Street Cutting.

Yes there was one space at Goldstone Wharf and we fitted into it which was good as we needed to stop it was just too hot on the back of the boat.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

I'm Melting At Wheaton Aston

It's been so hot on the boat we've been looking for moorings with shade. With not  a breath of wind at Bridge 8 near Brewood we were glad  to move on to  get some cooler draughts as we cruised.

We enjoyed the cool in the cuttings as we set off earlier than usual at 9 o'clock.  Just one lock at Wheaton Aston to work through and a space on one of the water points to use the services.  We moored up partly under the trees in the moorings by Turners Garage. We didn't  need fuel but we did need shade to stop me melting.

Later in the evening when it cooled down Eric washed and waxed one side of the boat, knowing he wouldn't  be able to do that side for a while as the towpath changes sides. It was covered in dust and pollen. Looks nice and shiny now and the paint works protected too with the Craftmaster Carnauba Wax.

Definitely need a few cooler days..  I've had my feet in a bowl of cold water and Paula's dogs have been having a cool down with a flannel. The high light of their doggy days has been seeing off any people, dogs and boats who happen to pass  nearby. It's certainly not quiet while the dogs are awake  when we're in a busy spot but once they're asleep  all is quiet on NB Bendigedig.

Monday, June 25, 2018

On The Shroppie

Above Gailey Lock there were ten queued boats waiting to go down the locks. We stopped for the services knowing it's the last Elsan point until Wheaton Aston.

Then we were away planning to stop after an hour as it was so very hot. We moored up after Moll's Bridge with the front of the boat under the trees and the solar panels still in the sun. It was so hot!

Eric watched the football on TV enjoying England's scoring six goals. I read my book!

Today we  travelled the narrows called 'the rockins' by the old boatmen. We had to wait at Autherly  Junction as a boat was coming through and his wife had it ready for him even though you needed binoculars to see him. They took an age to exit the lock and take the turn for Great Haywood.

Finally through the lock and we moored up near Bridge 2 for food shopping in Morrisons.  Very hot walking  there and back but oh so cool inside the store.......pity there wasn't a cafe we could have chilled all afternoon.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Overnight At Penkridge

My new galley slave making tea!
Paula is settling in well with her new role as crew member. It's great to have help at the locks, but we've found some of the paddle gear really stiff. Paula is hoping to lose some weight but I haven't lost any since we started our Summer Cruise in May.

We went through Penkridge lock to find the Service Point empty which is rare and then we found a mooring space too. Later all the other moored boats they know something we don't? Someone did join us later.

Today we worked through just four locks and moored up a few locks below Gailey. Feeling thoroughly lazy now.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Visitors Onboard Bendigedig

I enjoyed some time out in Stafford shopping while Eric enjoyed the football on the TV. Other than that I've had my head in a book on my Kindle.

Today our visitors  arrived Eric's sister Paula and the dogs Rocky and Roger. Thanks Danni  for bringing them. We had a lovely carvery lunch in the pub at Radford Bank.

Just one lock today at Deptmore with help from our new crew member Paula before we moored up. Everything's strange for the dogs.......this house moves!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

At Radford Bank In Stafford

Moored at Radford Bank on rings

We've had a busy few days getting through Fradley Junction on Sunday after a stop to use the services. Surprisingly quiet  with no queues for locks on the Trent and Mersey as we headed towards Great Haywood.

Luckily we found a space to moor at Rugeley with a choice of shops. We did the shopping and moved on with just Colwich Lock to do. We moored up some distance from Haywood Lock due to long line of moored boats.

This morning we used AngloWelsh to top up with fuel, top up with water and empty a cassette. Soon we were ready to cruise on the Staffs & Worcester Canal to Radford Bank.

At Tixall we  waited for a working boat and butty came down the lock  and then it was our turn. There's  a sign on the top lock gate warning of leafcutter bees in the beam. Interesting to watch as they took leaves inside the beam. Apparently CART is monitoring it as the bees are non aggressive.

No room to moor outside the pub at Radford Bank......Lots of spaces  but too small for us. So we're next to the BMW garage. Just been to town for a long overdue haircut at Supercuts.......bought some ear plugs too as we're  near a busy road.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Slowly Does It

We're slowly making our way to Fradley Junction planning to pass through tomorrow.  Hope it's not too busy. The bad weather meant we stayed put near Polesworth and managed to have some contact from the moving boats as the wind was blowing them towards the towpath and moored boats.

Next stop was Polesworth for bread and milk at a lovely Spar in the village. There was a barber, hairdresser,  hardware shop and dentist amongst the shops. Also a dog grooming parlour.

We carried on planning to stop later at a clear spot out of all the trees as we could see the TV transmitter so knew where to point the aerial without using an app on my phone. Apparently it's the Sutton Coldfield transmitter.

Today we're watching the world go by. Why slowly you ask? Well we having a visitor next Thursday and meeting her  at Radford Bank with her two little dogs.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Down The Atherstone Flight

The Top Lock at Atherstone
From an overnight stop at Rugby we cruised slowly past moored boats so stopped at Hawkesbury Junction at the far end of the moorings on the Coventry  Canal. I needed to do a load of washing which meant running the engine to use the Travel Power.

Today we had a long day taking us down the Atherstone 11 Locks. Good today because we had the help of 2 volunteers and boats coming up the flight so locks gates were open ready for us. The lock gear and gates are certainly  easier on the narrow canals.

We finally moored up  at a little spot where the railway runs behind a small hill at Bridge 50. Chilling time now.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Busy At Braunston

We spent Saturday and Sunday a few bridges away from Braunston and watched the boats go by. It may have been quiet on the other canals we've been on but Braunston is where they all pass through.

Today we travelled slowly past lots of moored boats and pulled in at the Services which are currently working and clean.  Popped into Midland Chandlers for a roller and paint tray to paint the raddle red on the deck. It looked badly scratched from Ben the dog. We took advantage of their Elsan fluid off 2 x 5 litres for £20.

It's  been incredibly hot  today as we worked through Hillmorton Locks  but no queues today.  The lock keeper was in attendance at the top lock but again no volunteers to be seen.

After that  it was a slow cruise to Rugby with lots of moored boats along the way. We stopped at the last space on the looking is that? Lots of vegetation alongside this Oxford Canal even here where there are mooring rings.

Off to fill up the cupboards and fridge from Tesco's, in weather like this we need Icecream 😊

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Hurray No More Broad Locks

Hurray just completed Calcutt Locks, the last three broad loads on the Grand Union Canal.  We topped up the diesel tank at Calcutt Boats and filled up the water above the top lock. We paid £2 to use their elsan but at least it means we don't have  to use the one by Midlands Chandlers which is usually disgusting,  blocked or out of order.

We've seen loads of boats on the Grand Union/Oxford Canal section, it's been very busy but calmed down a bit by 2 o'clock  We're moored up  having a lazy Saturday afternoon, eating scones  cream first then jam as they do in Devon!

I am sharing them with Eric

Another Lock Flight Done

We were in luck today as we had locking buddies up the Stockton flight of nine locks. The paddle gear wasn't  too bad either. Lovely to have someone to chat to and it's so much quicker with two boats locking together. Enjoy the rest of your holiday. We stopped at Stockton leaving them to continue on their way. We spent the afternoon being thoroughly lazy.

Lovely mooring spot at Stockton  GUC

Just renewed our residential mooring contract at Whixall Marina. Lots of work in progress with a new car park  and more disabled spaces. The cafe will be opening soon too......looking forward to cake.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Ten Locks To Long Itchington

Bascote Staircase  Locks
A lovely quiet place to moor for the night opposite Radford Semele. We  moored on our own but other boats moored by us later.

Up and away we planned to do ten locks today and we did  arriving at Long Itchington in a heavy surprise rainstorm. We were soaked to the skin!

As usual we shared the work, I was in charge of  paddles and gates on some locks and Eric on others.  We didn't find another boat to share with so it took longer as we only used the gates and paddle gear on one side of the lock.

I won't  be sorry to get off the Grand Union Canal with its own style of paddle gear. It's like raising and lowering a lift bridge with 30 turns each way.

It was a first for me today being on the boat in a staircase lock and Eric soon sorted filling the top lock and using it to raise the boat in the bottom lock, a first for him too.

Getting closer to Napton  Junction just 12 more locks!

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

From Hatton To Leamington Spa

This morning we shared the last four double  Hatton  Locks with Sheila and Paul on 'NB Granddad's Gift' so  we got through them much quicker. They're looking for a new marina so we told them about Whixall. We also did the Cape Locks together before they went on their way as we stopped  to shop at Tesco's in Warwick.

Through Leamington Spa we didn't remember it, lots of new builds since we last came through. We finally moored up out near the Country Park.  A lovely sunny day today.

Tomorrow  we start the climb up to Napton Junction where we'll soon be back on the narrow canals at Braunston.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Oh No It's Hatton 21

A view down Hatton to Warwick
This morning we started down  the Hatton 21. It's daunting as you look down the flight! All I can say is the gates were heavy and the paddle gear was hard even though they're hydraulic. Out came the extra long windlass  and I counted 30 turns to lift or lower a paddle. The lock keeper did help us through one lock next to his cabin!

We can't  remember it being this hard ten years ago but then again we were  ten years younger. We won't  be coming this way again. The flights of locks we've  done are Tardebigge 30, Lapworth 19, and Hatton 21 and Tardebigge was the easiest to work through.

We're currently four locks up from the bottom of the Hatton 21 in a long pound......we just needed to stop!  We'll do the rest tomorrow.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Lapworth Locks To Kingswood Junction

Going down Lapworth Locks
Sunday was chill today although I did cook a Sunday roast. We knew we had 19 locks of the Lapworth flight ahead of us taking us down to Kingswood junction and the Grand Union Canal to Warwick.

So today we were soon up and away and the flight was ahead of us.  The locks had stiff paddles and some very heavy gates. It would have been lovely to see some of CaRT's volunteers but we didn't!
Although we shared the work it just means we're both knackered.

It really makes you appreciate the Llangollen and Shropshire Union Canals where the locks are easier and much less debris in the water.

Chilling now.......Hatton Flight's another day. To be honest I'm not looking forward to 21  double locks with heavy gates although we only need to open one gate each end if there's  no one else around. I may need three shredded wheat!

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Down The Weed Hatch And Onto The Stratford Canal

The guillotine stop lock covered in graffiti 
We had moored below Tardebigge Top Lock so just one lock to do today. A deep one at fourteen feet and a sign nearby telling you that the Tardebigge  is the longest flight of locks in the UK. We picked up a rope fender in the lock and it meant delving in the weed hatch as Eric had to cut it off the prop. My  very sharp carving knife was the tool used.

Several tunnels today and a stop at ABC Alvechurch to get a gas bottle and some beta filters  and Morris oil from the chandlery.  The longest Tunnel today was Wast Hill at 2726 yards which took half an hour to get through. A two way tunnel and not low at all but with lots if drips.

King's Norton Junction  was next and a right  turn took us onto the Stratford Canal. The guillotine stop lock gates were covered in graffiti. There's a lot of floating wood in the Stratford Canal so it was a case of avoid the floating logs and hopefully the underwater ones.

One hire boat was not so lucky and ended up stuck on something with the swim of the boat out of the water. CART were there and had tried pulling it off with a boat with no long.  Their next plan was to winch it off the obstruction as a man donned a wet suit.

We stopped at Warstock where a large Coop  two minutes  from the canal meant filled cupboards and fridge. Google Maps have their uses.  We found a mooring later away from traffic for a quiet night.

Friday, June 01, 2018

At The Top of Tardebigge Locks

Going up!
It took us five hours to climb the thirty locks which are the Tardebigge flight of locks. With just three boats going down as we approached the top of the  flight, we had to turn a lot of locks.Water levels were low too. We're feeling knackered would have been nice to see a volunteer or even a lock keeper. One did cycle past us!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

At The Bottom Of Tardebigge Locks

Irises along the canal
Lovely irises along the way as we travelled on towards Stoke Locks. We're not having much luck getting diesel as Hanbury Wharf was closed on a Wedenesday.  We stopped above the Astwood Lock flight to fill up with water and then found a space at the end of the visitor moorings. Two boat lengths were blocked on the towpath with fencing which meant you could moor there but you couldn't get out. We walked the half a mile to the nearest shop to get milk and bread, it seemed so much further. We bought some cans of lager so I could have that cold drink I was fancying days ago.

Sharing the work at Stoke Locks 23-28

This morning we continued on our way hoping Black Prince at Stoke Prior would sell us some diesel. They only do 60/40 at £1 a litre but we didn't care as if the tank gets below a certain level the diesel heater gets no fuel and we use it for that hot shower in the mornings. There's also rubbish disposal and Elsan disposal which wasn't marked in 2003 edition Pearson. We continued up the rest of the flight and stopped near the Queen's Head pub at the bottom of the Tardebigge Flight (Locks 29-58).

Moored up until tomorrow......all we can hear are the birds!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Climbing Up Towards Bromsgrove

Leaving Diglis we found a mooring with other boats above Blockhouse Lock as we thought the industrial site would be  quiet at night. But at night the unit next to the canal came to life, you could hear the forklift trucks reversing warning beeps and bright lights illuminated the parking area and us. It looked like daylight in our bedroom.

In the morning we carried on up the locks. New housing replaces large industrial sites present when we last visited in 2010. Most noticable was the large numbers of people on the towpath on this canal.

We shared the lock work as the top paddles were really hard even with my longer handled windlass so it was nice to take the boat into the lock for a breather.

We went under the M5    motorway0jand stopped at Tibberton on the visitor moorings. The pub next to the canal was being refurbished and the other pub in the village was closed on Tuesday so my lager and lime never happened. Cold lemonade will have to do.

Monday, May 28, 2018

A Change Of Plan

Approaching Worcester on the River Severn

Look at all the swans at Worcester 

Travelling down the Staffs and Worcs Canal down to Stourport needed a antivandal key for the last three locks.  We got pretty wet as  it rained all the way but we didn't  want to stay in Kidderminster any longer. It did give us a chance to replace the microwave with Sainsbury's next to our mooring.

Plenty of mooring spaces  at Stourport  and nobody else arrived til late afternoon as there was a tree down in Kidderminster blocking the canal.  The first night was spent rather near a very noisy pub so we moved closer to the lock for the next two  nights. We weren't going anywhere with all the rain and thunderstorms forecasted  but Sunday's never arrived, it was a lovely sunny day.

We decided to go down the River Severn the next day (Bank Holiday Monday) as long as the signs showed green. By the time we reached the last lock before Worcester the water was now rising and at the top of the green. The lock keepers warned off lots of water coming down the River Avon and an online river levels check showed red on the Mill Avon where the moorings are so a change of plan was needed.

So we came back on the canals at Diglis Canal  Locks with the help of the very helpful volunteer lock keeper. Currently moored a few locks up from Diglis Basin and we don't have to worry about flooding rivers any more.😊