Monday, 3 October 2022

The last mooring - not the Plum Pudding

We had a nice meal in the Tame Otter ( never had a bad one ) last night and came back to watch some TV. 

This morning we were away at 9.45 am having let the donk warm up for a little while. The boat two behind us came past as I was untying   - I think he was a little concerned I'd thought he jumped out - I told him we were more than happy to follow - we never saw him again. 

Then is was a nice cruise, Rachel got off at a bridge before Whittington and walked to the Coop while I brought the boat round - timing wise helped by having to hold for a couple of boats as soon as turned onto the Whittington straight. Rachel collected at the other side of the village and we motored on in quite delightful autumnal sunshine. 

Just before the Plough Inn we past this boat - we had a difference of view on the meaning of the boat name!

Comet had moved up from Fazeley to past the Plough 

The section between Fazeley and Fradley does have quite a few places were the reeds are encroaching across the canal making blind bridge holes even blinder ! 

Remember my comment about this mooring ( that we overnighted on ) not being marked for C&RT working boats ... I was wrong ! 

Quite a few boats going south and most were at bends or near moored boats but all managed by both crews without drama.

We stopped at the uber slow water point just before the junction with the Trent and Mersey. We really only needed a splash for this evening and tomorrow before we get back into our berth at Great Haywood tomorrow. The turn was done with ease but then I held again as a hire boat came past the moored boats near the Swan. 

This did mean the locks were with us so we made a quick passage with the help of the one remaining volunteer lockie at Shadehouse - the others having gone home after lunch not expecting more boats in the afternoon.

The section from Woodend to Kings Bromley is still one of my favourite sections on the system, I'm pleased HS2 hasn't impacted it..... I've many many lovely memories of mooring here with Waterlily and Percy over the years. 

We decided for Lilly we would not make for the Plum Pudding and have moored just up from Kings Bromley marina. Just got in so we are not under any of the many oaks that are dropping their acorns now. 

A warm evening so the fire will stay out and the oven will give the boat the right amount of heat tonight.

Sunday, 2 October 2022

Blogger bagging it seems - now in Hopwas

Ok, let's get the customary moan out of the way - Hopwas dog walkers are unable it seems to pick up the excrement that comes from their dogs. The towpath by the northern visitor moorings is peppered with dog $hit. As its also right next to the school even more of a shame on you to those who are not responsible dog owners. 

Ok, last night we moored in Polesworth and walked to the chippy. On the return we walked past the Abbey and over the pedestrian footbridge that crosses the Anker river. 

This morning we had a lazy start as we'd booked a table at the Tame Otter for 6pm. So we had a brunch breakfast before Rachel did the engine lubes and checks. 11.15 we were off and had a nice cruise through Polesworth and under the M42 and into Tamworth. As we tickoever'd past Alvecote marina I recognised James from the Pen makers boat ( not sure he does the pens anymore )  Quick hello and the obligatory photo and we were past. It's an impressive marina full of historic boats many looking quite resplendent. 

The boat looks very nice James. 

As we were the other side of the marina the first boat of the holiday came up behind quite quickly so we pulled over to let them pass and immediately an alarm went off on their boat so they dropped into tickover to investigate. Soon sorted and they motored off. They obviously arrived at the Glascote locks before us but not so much so and they got a full lock and a boat swap so we were turning the bottom lock... not a problem it was a nice afternoon and no other boats about.

I walked the towpath from just after Alvecote to the locks so was able to have a nose into the marina at Glascote. The boat that overtook us steerer came back up to the lock looking for his wife's phone as she thought she'd dropped it at the sign so he headed back saying she must have dropped it on the boat... 

One thing we have noted is normally we see the odd dead fish in the canal, we've not seen one but we have seen at least half a dozen dead birds each day. Very sad and we think avian flu?

This was a dead Starling and the other was a dead pigeon. 

Tomorrow all being well we are aiming for the Plum Pudding at Armitage as we've not moored or eaten there.

Saturday, 1 October 2022

Blogger meet number 2 chalk and cheese progress on the Atherstone flight

We sat out the rain and winds last night, it was a horrible night. Around 7pm the canal lit up like something from Close Encounters as a boat came past with an impressive LED set up on the front - he waved I waved, he must have been wet through !

This morning was a bright start but with a much brisker south westerly than I recall was forecast. We made decent progress to Atherstone top lock. There was not a single spare mooring above the lock which at our arrival time of 11am was a surprise for sure.

The tally board at the top lock was encouraging as was the fact a boat appeared from the lock as we approached. One up three down today and 14 total boats yesterday - the lockie told us they can have 50 boats on a busy day. 

We made excellent progress over the first 4 locks then a single hander jumped off the water point and it all went very slow from that point forward. I think we turned every lock apart from one. The single hander was a lovely fella who had a great smiley approach... well done him.

We met Tony and Helen from NB Holderness part way down the flight and had a nice chat  - please excuse the scruffy look Its my cruising attire not tidy attire at all. Nice to meet you safe travels. 

Here is their blog a very good read   Click Me 

At the last but one lock we met a boat mover who was bringing a boat up from The Severn to Brinklow marina. He impressed me by saying he'd set off on Monday. Even more impressive was the fact he'd gone up the Stourbridge flight but found the Dudley canal too shallow so had come back down the flight  ( 16 locks?) and come via Fradley. He was doing 12-14 hour days and had set off in the dark at 6am today. He was rewarding himself with a curry in Atherstone tonight and a few beers - a decent shift of boating for sure.

We motored on past the elsan and water tap at the bottom of the flight - bizarrely the smiley single handed boater was filling up with water again ? We were going to moor just past the services there but decided to motor on to Polsworth as we've not moored here before and there is a chippy and coop we will be visiting later.  

Always sad to see a boat like this. 

Friday, 30 September 2022

Early up to beat the rain... and Prince Edward

Two posts today to make sense of the time disparity and get us close to real time blogging.  

We've been watching the weather forecast as you do when you are on a boat. All week the forecasters have been advising of a wet Friday with some winds, not great for boating. So we made plans for an early start for us on this holiday.

Last evening we didn't light the fire as Rachel made a Bahraini and a fruit crumble so the oven was on and that's enough to warm the boat.  This morning the alarm went off at 7am and we were moving at 8.05am with about 4 hours planned to get us about an hour away from the Atherstone locks for tomorrow. 

It was a cold moody morning with a heavy mist on the canal when we set off. Back doors closed behind which makes the steering position very cosy. 

There were no boats moving and the canal at the bottom end is refreshingly deeper  - just a few spots that you can tell need some dredging. I was slightly concerned about meeting a boat near the mobile home park as it is shallow there with rocks and a good distance where two boats can't easily pass. As I  approached it thankfully there was the first boat of the day exiting the narrows - I think we were both quite pleased on our timings.

About an hour and we were approaching Marston Junction. Rachel checked and no boats and we were just heading out when we saw a boat approaching from the south under the bridge. I stopped and checked they wanted to turn onto the Ashby so we carried on out, again both pleased where we had met (albeit briefly) 

Then it was a nice cruise through Nuneaton to our mooring past bridge 32 at just before 12. The sun briefly fooled us by making it look like the weather forecasters were fibbing again but by 1.30pm the wind was up and the rain driving down. The fire is lit and the coal cage doing its normal excellent regulated burn job. The back boiler and 32mm pipes are warming up nicely. 

A few poor boaters still moving some at speed, we can't really blame them as its quite horrible out there. We chose the mooring to be on a straight with the wind pushing us onto the armco  - wet windows one side and dry windows the other - quite surreal. 

Chalk and cheese day tomorrow hopefully as we progress down the Athersone flight  - might make it a longer day as Sunday morning is giving wet again.....

Re  Prince Edward, I dreamt about him last night, I was helping him in some way or another can't recall, he was sad which is to be expected. No idea where that dream came from  !!  

A fix for Nev and diesel fill up for the record

 We had a plan that included a fix for me of the two wheeled variety. 

Before that we motored to Ashby boats to get some diesel. We think it was April 2021 the last time we filled up.... link here   We didn't quite top up but still got 108 litres in at a cost of £146.80 

967 hours on the clock so thats (833 last fill up) 134 hours on I think it would be roughly the same if we'd fully filled up so a litre an hour  - very economical.  

Our stop off destination came into view so we moored and walked the half a mile to the factory for the exhibition and cafe - both well worth a visit and next time I'll come on the bike and do the factory tour - little known fact I've owned many bikes but never a Triumph ! 

A great visit. We then walked to Pets at Home to get more cat food that saw a decent walk undertaken just under 5 miles.

Back on the boat we took coffee then set off on yet again on a quiet canal to moor up in a lovely spot just as the rain came. We are just before bridge 8 tonight. 

Tomorrow will be through Nuneaton and moor up short of Atherstone before the heavy rains come.