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. 

Thursday, 29 September 2022

To the the end (not quite)!

What a difference the start of today was. We had half a plan to reverse back into the winding hole at bridge 44 but Rachel wanted to motor on so we did and it was a good decision. It's evident the canal is shallower in more places the further towards the terminus you go. Still not an issue for Percy but we had to be mindful. 

After an hour and a half we winded in the lovely wide winding hole just after bridge 53 - Town Bridge at Shakerstone and started the slow motor back down the canal. Met only a few boats but the two we did meet were really motoring  - one hire boat with a terrible breaking wash .....

We stopped at the water point around 1pm at Market Bosworth to fill up which took about half an hour - on starting up there was a ting ting tell tale sound of something on the prop. So tied back up and removed a belt off the prop. Other than that we then had quite a nice cruise in warm sunshine but an ever present cold wind kept popping out from behind hedges and trees to catch us out. 

We stopped again at Sutton Wharf to empty the cassettes and dump the rubbish then finished the day just after bridge 28 as we needed a few supplies. I walked to the small convenience store in Stoke Golding to get them  ( really grumpy owner who nearly threw me out when I asked if he had Soya milk !)

Tomorrow we are going to stop and visit the Triumph factory then head off to the end of the canal ready for an early start Friday as we need to be done by lunch time somewhere we can sit out the heavy rain and wind the forecasters have been talking about. 

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Wet windy and cold today - mainly

Be aware these posts are a day in arrears....

We were both woken about 5am by heavy rain on the roof. Quite nice being comfy listening to it  - I went back to sleep but Rachel didn't. So when the alarm went off at 7.30 I got up and make tea re lit the fire and provided breakfast in bed for Rachel. 

We loitered until about 9 when I started the engine jobs - lubrication etc and got us going just before 10am, then it rained hard and it was a nasty mean north westerly wind. 

We persevered into showers and a shallow canal in places.... Percy is good on shallow canals but at times you got the feeling there was not a lot if water under the baseplate - other parts not a problem. 

We eventually moored up just after bridge 44 before 1pm as we wanted to walk into Market Bosworth. Soup was taken books read then we set off for a 5 mile round trip ( we'd forgotten how much of a hill there is to climb off the canal) We stopped in one of the pubs for refreshment and Rachel did some shopping. 

Now it's a sausage casserole in the oven and the fire lit again as its saying 3-6c over night ! 

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Not far off a string museum in Hinckley!

OK thats a family joke, many years ago we kidded out two lads we were taking them to a string museum with their grandpa who was known to have a dry interest in certain things! 

Tonight we are moored up at the Stoke Golding visitor moorings, a nice mooring we've not used before. We got here after 6pm having stopped off in Hinckley. 

We woke to rain and a harsh north westerly that was supposed to be 15mph but was gusting to well over what felt like 25mph at times. All quite contrary to the BBC web site weather forecast. This meant we didn't set off until 11.20am after Rachel did the engine prep again - I took a photo she doesn't want to be included 

Rachel wanted to visit a weaving museum in the town so we cruised for about an hour and twenty to bridge 17 and walked first to Trinity marina for an excessive lunch of Guinness Cottage pie and bread and butter pudding for me and half a Guinness fish and chips and Apple pie for Rachel. Suitably full we walked up to the town to visit the weaving museum which was small and staffed by a lovely fella who I think was pleased to see us. 

We headed back to the boat and in some wind and late sun got to this mooring. Tomorrow we should make the terminus. We've lit the fire tonight as it got cold overnight on the boat as we both went to bed with cold feet. 

For my brother in law Kev Booth - he liked a pint or two of Bass 

The canal is ok for water but come off the centre channel and you feel the bottom quite quickly- glad Percy only draws about 2 feet.   

Monday, 26 September 2022

On the Ashby and not sure about Nuneaton

We we turned onto the Ashby mid afternoon and as Nickleson's says its a stark ( positive contrast) to the end of the Coventry canal. 

We had a lazy start not setting off until 11.30 am. As it happens as I untied the mooring lines a boat came through bridge 33 north wards. Then as he passed and boat came past the winding hole so we kept hold of the centre line, just walking to get onto the stern and another boat came southbound -we travel slow so I let them go....

Springwood Haven marina is as ever lovely looking and so well presented  - we will stop and get fuel there on the way back.

Nuneaton is remarkable in thats it's unremarkable - not a fan. Might be due to bad memories of being iced in here in 2012. However the canal was clear of rubbish and the locals were happy to say hello as we passed, maybe I'm being hard on the place. 

The one thing I recall about Nuneaton was allotments and well done for that - all very well kept and many people working hard on them. 

As above turned onto the lovely Ashby Percy's birth place. Immediately felt slower and shallow but Percy doesn't draw a lot - 24 inches IIRC. However the section near the mobile homes was showing a lot of the rock  - one to hope we don't meet another boat on the return. 

Cleaned the engine bilge when we moored up and adjusted the water pump belt tension.... always something to do but that's the joy of canal boat ownership !

Few photos today, not in the mood and see notes above about Nuneaton !   

Sunday, 25 September 2022

A time limited blogger meet

It was an earlier start today as we had the Atherstone flight of locks to climb - all 11 of them. We were sure the boats all moored below the lock were there for an early start, as it turned out only one had moved off when we set forth at a tardy 9.15 am.

We were in the first lock at 9.30 am having had to empty it. That set the pattern, we were turning locks until we met Adam and Adrian who were on their Autumn cruise link Here  I was lashing up the front fender tyre wrap and didn't notice Adam  ( I should have recognised the voice) had arrive and started talking to Rachel. I've met Adam and Adrian a few times on the cut... at Fradley and on the Caldon plus they visited us at Rachels cottage in West Ashling when she lived down there. A brief chat then we went opposite directions. We had the help of a volunteer at the last three locks and made it to the top in two and a half hours.

We moored and went for coffee and cake in Atherstone.... lots of pubs ! Did a bit of shopping and then headed off just in time for a hire boat to take our mooring. We cruised off to just before bridge 33 where Victoria and her butty came past. I hailed the owner and asked about Joe Hollinshead ( I think that was his surname) random link here he was the fella who did our bow and stern fenders when we had Percy painted in 2015 - I'm sure he told me he was born on Victoria at Fradley  - the steerer said he'd not been on the boat.


Saturday, 24 September 2022

Well done Tamworth and happy memories

I can't really recall the last time we cruised through Tamworth - I'll have to check my blog for that.... just did and it was when we were bringing Percy back in December 2012 after we'd purchased her. 

Link here ...Click Me 

Our old boat Comet is still lurking in the waters near Fazeley Junction - we last saw here at Great Haywood

Anyhow we set off from our noisy overnight mooring at Sutton Bridge and as we approached the Glascote locks it was evident there was a flipin queue ! As I walked up to see what the state of play was I was joined by a friendly local who also said he too was surprised as he'd not seen a queue at the locks for a decent while  ! All very happy boaters as we helped each other. 

We were soon on our way and were very impressed by the litter free canal, clean towpath and the lovely gardens all kept quite nicely for the nosey boater to gawp at as we cruised through. We alternated the walking deeply missing Leia who would have been on the towpath with us as we walked with the boat. Still very very sad but happy also she had such a good life. She would have been with me on the cruise back in 2012 as Rachel and Callum disembarked at the bottom of the Atherstone flight and I brought Percy home to Fradley on my own. 

A side note or side paragraph ...

I have just re read my post from 2012 linked above. Percy was a new boat to us, 60 foot with a vintage ( in design terms) engine. I had little hand over from Tony, it was in Early December and the canal had frozen over a night or two back...I did the trip back to Fradley in one from the bottom of the Atherstone flight about seven and a half hours in mid winter on my own on a new to me boat. I did it and no doubt saw it as a challenge. Spin forward 10 years and to be honest my confidence is very low for most things nowadays - is that how it is for others I wonder? The trip I did solo in a day in winter  we have done as a couple but over two days ! I am soft and sometimes scared and lack confidence, I wonder if thats age or retirement or just a general mental decline I'm 60 FFS !! 

Back to boat blogging the whole trip was very nice, the canal between Atherstone and Polesworth was beautifully wooded and the sun was shining so much we had put sun tan cream on ! We visited the services at the bottom of the flight and as all the armco moorings below the lock were taken we put pins in away back so Lilly could go exploring in the dark.