Sunday evening was spent understanding the boat a little more. One thing for sure it is a cosy warm boat. I was up at 6am Monday morning and the first check was ice or not ice.... no ice so we were set to go. As I was intending a full day no stop I packed myself a lunch and a large flask of coffee. Both fires were set and the engine started at 7.15 am and I was moving in shallow daylight at 7.30am.... with some light rain falling.
There are benefits for cruiser stern boats, and semi trads as Waterlily is, but for winter cruising I have been sold the trad with the back cabin stove, it is so just right.... no surprise really as those poor hardy souls dragging the boats across company needed every little comfort that could find. The photo below does not really convey how murky the morning was, but no ice.
Except just after the M42 bridge.... the temperature just dropped, my breath bloomed and the ice cracked, just a short stretch but this area must have been in a dip catching or holding the frost.
As I approached this somewhat rundown cruiser the curtains opened ....it was someones home for the night, hardy soul and made me feel a little guilty cruising round on my central heated hotel !
As I rounded the Samual Barber pub/marina I was hailed by Tony Heathcote who owns Tollhouse boat sales who I brought Percy via. he was taking a well known ( for the wrong reasons) 70 foot Les Allen back to Hllmorton to go onto brokerage.
As I approached Tamworth the heavens opened, brolly up back doors shut and I was quite comfortable.
The two Glascote locks we deserted so locked myself down very slowly....the rain had thankfully stopped now.
The rest of the trip went by very quickly with me getting to Fradley at 3.10pm....about 7 hours 40 minutes, good to know if we need to get to the great mooring a the bottom of the Atherstone flight.
I watered up and chatted to Maffi who told me it was his birthday. I 'called for him' after mooring up on the visitor moorings as I did not fancy messing with moving Waterlily to get Percy on the Hunts lock mooring. We took a couple of pints in the mucky duck then Rachel came to pick me up..... mission just about complete.