Friday, May 25, 2018

A wet trip to Bugsworth

Friday 25th May 2018

This morning, it seems that the Royal Wedding pound guinea has run out in the ‘lovely-weather-meter. And building sites are not neccesarily noisy places. At 8:30, I checked and there was work going on. Huge cranes are very quiet.

ViaductGraham started the day with a walk down into town to get his data SIM checked out by the 3 shop, as you do ;^) That done, he set us off in the rain, drizzle, dry greyness with the promise of brighter always in the distance. As we went through Higher Pointon G’s workmate Alan came out to say ‘Hello’ (we’ll see him again in a couple of days)

At Marple junction, where there is/was a closure in CaRT Logothe lock flight, there was no indication that they were open or still closed, apart from a boat moored in the mouth of the top lock which indicated that the flight may still be closed. However, it was all new signage and new CaRT logog a go-go. Did all the signs here need replacing? Indeed many signs have not yet been updated from the logo before the last, even with stickers. Was a new and expensive logo actually needed, was the old one broken? The last two at least alluded to CaRT’s stewardship of the environment which is more than the new ‘sinking tyre’ does.

TrotterSternAs we approached the peaks the weather worsened but chunks of blue sky appeared in the cloud. Through the wooded approach to New Mills the air was pungent with the smell of wild garlic, prolific in the woods. New Mills is the home of Swizzels-Matlows; as we came to the factoryTrotterFront the smell was overpoweringly sweet and fruity and brought back childhood memories (and tooth decay).

We came upon a boat that we are familiar with and found that the owner has a brilliant take on recycling to faciliate a back deck cover. A Reliant Robin has been cut up and adorns nb Del Boy aka Trotters Independant Traders.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

And into Macclesfield

24th May 2018

After a nice peaceful night, we set off at 9am to ascend the Bosley lock flight. We have to say that a sunny morning in May, with lovely weather and nature all a LuckyBlackCatblossom, is hard to beat. The woodland birds sang for us all the way up the flight of 12 locks. We settled into a system as we were having to turn all the locks from 12 to 7 due to another boat being in front of us. We met a black cat at lock 12 so decided it was good luck for the ascent. At lock 7 we met a southbound boat being assisted by a vo-lockie and so things got easier then. At lock 5, two vo-lockies past us walking down the flight, but apart from emptying one lock for us they continued on.

Once out the top lock, Graham went and had a shower in the Sani station whilst I made a pot of tea. Then he went off on the Di Blasi to fetch the car from Stone. It started and ran well so the ackling he did at Hem Heath obviously sorted the problems. On his return we had lunch and then cast off towards Macclesfield. Although lovely and sunny it began to blow a hooley. The boat travelling in front of us had a fine display of rubber ducks on the roof until some of them took flight. The Jannock crew, now affiliated to Staffs and Worcs Fire and RESCUE Service, saved them using our fishing net to recapture them. We hoped the rest of the collection were better secured otherwise it could turn into a charity duck race.

Onto Macclesfield where we moored by bridge 40 and then walked down into town toWeaversCottages see the sights. There are some very interesting buildings and reasonable shopping with an Aldi as the most prominent supermarket near the town centre.The town’s history is in the bricks and mortar. We spotted some weavers cottages, the windows at the very top of the buildings allowed the best light for fine work, possibly in silk.

We had to check out Wetherspoons in the ‘Society Rooms’ – originally a Vicarage with an extension built by the Useful Knowledge Society as an Art and Technical school. Useful knowledge was the 3Rs. Next door is a lovely old library built in the 1890s. Whilst their Curry Night was too good to miss, G also found ‘Windsor GinNightKnot’, an excellent beer brewed by the Windsor and Eton brewery especially for the Royal Wedding – ironic. He also bought me a wonderful Rhubarb and Ginger Gin Liquer, it seems I really like Gin ;^)

On our walk back to the boat, we spotted the ultimate Caravancaravan to have parked in your front garden – gorgeous!  Back at Jannock and a 10 minute cruise moved us further out of Macclesfield onto a pontoon mooring opposite a floodlit building site – we’ll see what time they start work tomorrow morning.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Working again

Wednesday 23rd May 2018

Today I was working from Home aboard Jannock again. This time Jannock is the Staffs and Worcester Fire and Rescue Marine vessel, Inland Waterways division. After the inquiry into the death of a boater within Harecastle tunnel, one of the recomendations was to enable FRS communications inside it. Today, Tony from Staffs FRS set up a fireground radio with a directional aerial at the Southern portal of the tunnel and as the other FRS representative didn’t show, I tested how far we got TunnelRoofDamagethrough before it wouldn’t work due to poor signal.

I was surprised at the evidence of collision damage with the roof where the height changes abruptly. The warning paint has been totally smashed away at some locations. I bet the boats suffered severe damage to the corners of the roof when this happened.

HallGreenLockCottageOnce this little job was complete we turned left onto the Macclesfield canal at Hardings Wood junction and made our way to Hall Green lock. Only a rise of about 30cms but still enough time to buy myself a book from the selection on sale at the lock cottage. Brenda donated a few books to the collection as well. Once through, we stopped to fill with water at the end of the lock landing before continuing on our way.

A lunch of filled Staffordshire Oatcakes (when in ……… do as ………. ) was taken on the move and we finally moored for the day at the bottom of the Bosley lock flight. We ViewFromMooringhave stayed here before, it is a beautiful rural location well away from road or rail.

Tomorrow we are hoping to tackle the lock flight before it gets too warm.

Yesterday, whilst visiting the museum, we promised we would mention the forthcoming Etruria Canal Festival that is on over the first weekend in June. Forgot to last night so here it is now. Visit for more info.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Through Stoke and onto Harecastle

Tuesday 22nd May 2018

We decided to moor at a spot at Hem Heath, where we know it to be very quiet, last night. There was an ‘advice notice’ on a house back gate that, for once, we FenceNoticerespected. Usually it’s a case of “I don’t want any smelly/noisy/holiday/any/view spoiling botas outside my house so go away” and many seem to be supported by CaRT. This was different, warning boaters of the risk of bombardment by a kiddie with a disability. We moved on a short way and found another suitable place that was equally quiet except for singing birds as the sun came up.

G’s first task was to turn the back cabin into a motorcycle repair shop and get Jannock’s transport department working again. It’s good to have skills and a boat load of tools but the spare part he really wants is in the garage at home.

We set off and made our way to the bottom of the Stoke flight. Our ascent was good StokeTopLockwith G using the lock wheeling bike to good advantage. As Jannock came up the 2nd to last lock, the top lock (on which he had already opened a paddle to drain the half lock full of water) had the top paddles opened by a single hander who admitted he was new to all this lark and hadn’t responded to the sounding of Jannock’s klaxon when I spotted what he was doing. G rushed up on the bike and rescued the situation.

Once out of the flight, we moored outside the Toby Carvery and went in for lunch. After that we worked off the calories by walking into Newcastle to visit the Brampton Museum and Gallery. En route we had an attack of house envy as we walked along leafy suburban streets past lovely detached properties. The museum was good and free and we finished with a cup of tea in the park outside.

We then returned along the main road and visited a fabric shop where I spent a lot of HolyInadequatetime caressing lovely fabrics and wishing that I had reason to buy some. Back onto the road back to Jannock and once across the by-pass, we stopped at the Holy Inadequate – an excellent pub with a wide selection of good beers and ciders that boasts it’s own brewery out the back.

I dragged eventually Graham out after I had finished my excellent Woodhalls Whubarb cider and we returned to Jannock, untied and moved up past Westport lake to the Southern portal of Harecastle tunnel. We are expecting visitors just after 8am tomorrow morning.


Monday, May 21, 2018

30 minutes ruined a day

Monday 21st May 2018

The spot where we moored in Stone last night had two tiny Pansies growing out of TinyPansiesthe bank right beside Jannocks rear deck. Never seen any that small before. My finger in the picture gives an idea of size.

Brenda went shopping in Stone this morning whilst I did a car shuffle. When I tried to start the DiBlasi it didn’t want to play. I finally managed to get it going and made the trip back to Alvecote with no further issues. I decided I may have a fuel supply issue – faulty petrol hose, tap or float chamber valve. Drove back to Stone in the car but then the DiBlasi refused to start at all once I’d unloaded it. Did a strip down on the towpath but fuel supply was fine. However, I was unable to get a spark on the spark plug so I must have an intermittent fault in the wiring somewhere. Put it back in it’s bag to sort MeafordLockstomorrow and we set off towards Star lock.

This mornings weather was fine again and we met two boats heading south as we passed up the four locks in Stone. Then onto the Meaford flight where watched an NPAS NPAShelicopter circling a spot over to our starboard side as we passed up on our own with every lock set against us – we’ve obviously lost yesterday’s luck.

This latter fact was backed up by a 30 minute heavy rain storm from 3:45 until 4:15 once we’d cleared Meaford and made our way Rainthrough Barlaston. Brenda went inside and made a cup of tea whilst I stayed put and braved the storm. I felt really sorry for the Southbound boat we had passed just above the Meaford locks – they would be working their way down the flight during all this rain. Then only bonus was that Jannock looks much cleaner now than she did earlier.

We think CaRT deserve recognition for all of the offside vegitation management that has occurred since we last passed this way. It’s great now that all the trees have been trimmed back revealing the full width of the navigation channel and also improving views ahead around bends etc. Thanks folks.

We tied up on piling at Hem Heath, just up from bridge 106. Sheilded from the railway by the offside houses and far enough away from the bridge for a quiet night. As I was sorting out the TV aerial, I spotted a small bird of prey (Harrier?) grabbing a baby bird from the towpath just in front of Jannock and trying to carry it off. However it was not climbing very well and so dropped the prey when it saw me on the front of our boat. The baby bird hopped off into the bushes alongside the towpath.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

And onward to Stone

20th May 2018

Wildlife of the day – A pretty Lapwing with two chicks.

After a very peaceful night and a bit of a lay-in we finally set off towards Handacre just before 10am. In Rugely, whilst I was in the shower, Brenda had a spot of trouble at bridge 67 where she met a cruiser who was not looking ahead and tried to pass through the bridge whilst Jannock was blocking it. After a poor exhibition of reversing by the cruiser, she was able to get into a gap in the moorings to allow it to pass RugeleyDayboatthrough the bridge.

This incident was almost immediately followed by a joint canoe/dayboat debacle once we had crossed the aquaduct on the way out of town. The canoeists were awaiting one of their party to join them from the bank but were hanging around right opposite a moored boat – reducing the navigable channel to about 40% of normal. The dayboat decided to go into the bank before the moored boat to allow us through but was using his tiller back to front – a common newbie issue, however he couldn’t stop his boat so avoided a crash by powering out past it. Luckily he recovered and we got past so I offered him my best advice – Point the front end of the tiller at what you want to miss!

We met nb Ariadne again and this time the laydee gave me a prize for the best hat of GtHaywoodJunctionthe day – anyone with a better hat after 12:15 will have to be dissapointed. However, the receipt of this award has somewhat diluted the importance of yesterday’s bunting award.

At Great Heywood junction we stopped at the water point to fill Jannock’s tank. Brenda walked our rubbish to the skip and returned with a nice glass plant pot. Last time we visited here she found a nice hat in the skip and this has now BrendasBoatingHatbecome her boating hat.

We continued on, experiencing that rare event – every lock in our favour, to Stone where we moored up for the night on the five day moorings behind he Scout hut. I’ll do a car shuffle tomorrow morning before we continue North.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Royal Wedding Day

19th May 2018

We put up the bunting last night before going across to the Samuel Barlow for an excellent meal – never had a bad meal there! We put bunting along the handrails, inside the windows and had even left a whole run of bunting all along our street before leaving home yesterday morning. It just had to be done!

Graham was up early as he was working from home boat today. Monitoring the TVP WeddingPartyevent talkgroup he had a unique view of the wedding proceedings going on in Windsor.

We cleared Glascote locks quite quickly and as we passed Fazely junction we spooted that the residents in the new flats there had set up a big screen in the communal area on the ground floor and were having a Royal Wedding party. They cheered as we passed bedecked with bunting.  

A boat advertising stainless steel chimneys was moored just North of Fazely and I Elumloved his unique rudder on the butty – made from stainless steel tube.  Later we passed nb Ariadne and a laydee appeared out of the hatch and told Brenda that we had won ‘the Prize’, What prize? The prize for the best bunting, “best decorated boat” she said! She didn’t ask us where she had to send the prize to – shame!

As we approached Huddlesford, I spotted nb Slow Motion heading south. This boat used to SlowMotionbelong to our good friend Julian T. and he was on her when we first met him at Bathampton on the K&A in 2001.

Fradley was deserted with no traffic, apart from us, moving at all. We passed up the first two locks quite quickly, but had to wait for a descending boat at Woodend lock. Waiting above to descend was nb Kelpie with Ann and Ian aboard. We haven’t seen them since we passed them on the Soar many years StreetsAheadago.

We finally found a quite mooring in the woods between Kings Bromley marina and Handsacre having rejected a couple of likely spots due to the Oil Seed Rape being in bloom in the ajacent fields.


Monday, May 07, 2018

A very short day

Monday 7th May 2018

We left Poleworth after a nice cooked breakfast, the eggs matched the weather – sunny side up – that’s three days in a row now. We did a very short run to Alvecote where we moored Jannock on the towpath near the Samuel Barlow. I then went back to Brinklow on the Di Blasi and fetched the car. On my return to Jannock we had lunch, loaded the car and set off home very early.


Sunday, May 06, 2018

The heat, tetse flies and Atherstone flight.

Sunday 6th May 2018

Another beautiful day. We set off and almost immediately greeted Terry (nb Grace) as he was crewing on the charity boat that passed us heading South. The passengers Alpaccaswere amply supplied with pots of tea and having a good time.

As we approached Hartshill the Alpaccas were in the field beside the canal. As I was inside the boat, Graham took this picture just for me.

Further on, Graham was surprised at the change that has happened to MancetterWharfMancetter wharf. Obviously Rothens are moving in to use it as a base.

We met even more volunteers at Atherstone locks – they, and a procession of south bound boats working up the flight gave us a very easy path down with every lock set in our favour when we arrived.

We are told that we all need to work into our 70’s in order to keep the state pension pot topped up. Regardless of the arguments for and against I suspect that the gain to state and society afforded by an army of volunteers would be lost. What they do would be lost or have to be paid for. And while I’m all political . . . . .  equality. There are many religious, cultural and social restrictions upon women to dress modestly. Seeing “summer blokes” out and about today we need equality. Chaps – at best you risk a nasty dose of sunburn in places that haven’t seen the sun for years, at worst, a session with the NHS for a skin cancer – and really – there is an aestetic case for most of us to be a little more modest at the very least. What would you say if OrnateGatesthe woman in your life dressed like ‘that’ in public spaces? Equality please, anything else is just  . . . .  pants!

We stopped at the bottom of Atherstone flight  for showers before moving up to Grendon Sani-station to refill the water tank. Brenda found these gates around the back of the Sani-station buildings – very unusual.

Then onto Polesworth for a peaceful mooring opposite the empty factory. A pair of towpath walkers informed us that an Eagles tribute band were performing in the Spreadeagle pub that evening but we decided not to be pseudo ornithologists.


Saturday, May 05, 2018

And we’re off!

Saturday 5th May 2018

Wildlife of the day – Jays

Shock of the day – a beautiful warm bank holiday weekend (after yet more winter)TheMoorings

We set off from Brinklow marina in glorious sunshine and no wind. This made extracting Jannock from the pontoon very easy – I hope it’s like that when we come back in the autumn.

A nice run up through Stretton and just before we passed below the M6, I spotted a Jet fighter parked in a filed alongside the motorway. Must have been fun getting that in there. Going by the sounds of shooting, I suspect it is a ‘militaria’ action site.

Jet In FieldOn through Ansty and just before Sutton’s the people who live on the offside with a collection of old commercial vehicles were playing with their Rushton Hornsby digger to an enthusiastic audience.

Onward to Hawksbury where, once we were through the stop lock, I managed to execute my best ever single turn around onto the Coventry canal. The Nuneaton trip boat was moored outside the lock on the offside and that forced me to take a slightly wider turn – it worked beautifully using a single throttle setting and no reversing.

On up to Bedworth where we stopped for a cup of tea and a natter with the crew ofPlayingDiggers Grace in their canalside bungalow. A couple of hours later, we continued North until we just cleared Bedworth (near the old rubbish tip) where we tied up so that I could polish the starboard side of the boat and varnish the rear seat and tiller handle.

It was a nice peaceful overnight mooring with no intrusive train noises even though we were not too far from the railway – the joy of having a mound of earth between you and the track.


Friday, May 04, 2018

May the 4th be with you

Friday 4th May 2018

Wildlife of the day – Hares!

We spent the day getting ready for the off – a late start this year but there’s been a lot going on in our lives. Graham did jobs, I mostly didn’t. We stayed on the mooring overnight especially to visit “Essence of India” in Marton. It’s been a restaurant that Graham’s workmates have used frequently but we have always wanted to visit. It’s reputation was worth it – excellent food and slick, casual (even silly at times!) service with staff who not only really knew their stuff but seemed to thoroughly enjoy working there. Another one off of Graham’s bucket list.


Monday, January 15, 2018

Appologies for an acute shortage of pictures.

I finally managed to catch up with the end of season posts due to finding the logbook – unfortunately, I can’t find any pictures that were taken during the days I’ve just posted.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Maintenance Day

End of season ‘chores’ day. Beds to be stripped, mats to be lifted and the subsequent washing to be taken home. The loo tank was emptied and the diesel tank filled up ready for winter.

The strong wind, the remains of another U.S. based hurricane no doubt, allowed Graham to prove that he’s gaining skill at getting in and out of our berth when Jannock’s sides are acting as sails and the weather gods are having a laugh. Storm Ophelia next week.

It all goes to prove that Trump isnt the only major problem the U.S. has, the devastaion reeked by wind powered fires, storms and floods make parts of the U.S. look like war zones. They can do little to stop the weather, sorting Trump out should be easier.

I could not work out why there was a petrol powered pump sat on the next pontoon pumping water from the marina, along a 15 foot hose and back into the marina again. Graham asked and it seems that they were testing the emergence pump that would be used in the case of a boat sinking in the marina. We never had that facility at our last mooring ;^)


Friday, September 29, 2017

Autumn Soddit Cruise 2017

Friday 29th September

We arrived at Jannock on Friday evening, dumped our clobber on board and headed up to the Braunston Frier to get our supper of cod and chips – excellent! Then back to the boat for 4 games of Soddit before retiring to bed.

Saturday 30th September

We cast off and headed for Hillmorton at about 11am after breakfast and a protracted session of maggot drowning. As we approached Barby we found a long procession of Southbound boats headed by Brian aboard Autarky. It appears that they were all held up because somebody had fallen into the canal and caused a queue to build up whilst being rescued.

On to Hillmorton where we moored above the locks for lunch and more fishing. Whilst the latter was happening I changed the gearbox oil on the box. I found that the oil cooler for the gearbox must have sprung a leak as there was evidence of water in the gearbox, the oil was a white emulsion rather than clear. This means I’ll have to do it again once we are back in the marina when I’ll have to fix or replace the oil cooler.

Through Hillmorton locks with a lot of traffic coming the other way. We stopped at the water point below the locks to refill the tank and it started to rain. We thought we’d be clever and stand under the oak tree to keep dry but the tap was so slow that the rain penetrated the leaves and we had to deploy an umbrella before it was full.

Once full, we continued on to moor alongside the golf course for the night. More games of Soddit played before hitting the sack at midnight,

Sunday 1st October

A short run through Rugby accompanied by rousing music through Newbold tunnel provided by Brian running the boat stereo at setting 11. We moored up in the cutting just before the entrance to Brinklow marina (No Fishing allowed within) and I fetched the car from Braunston whilst they fished.

Once I was back, we moved Jannock into the marina, tidied up and went home once Brian and Ian had fed the resident Carp with all our left-over bread.


Monday, September 18, 2017

Cutweb Rally 2017

The weather was not as good as it has been for past rallies, but the function room was available if needed. The sun did show itself during Boaters Games and general silliness on Saturday afternoon.

We had the honour of helping Lilly, nb Nuggler, celebrate her 4th birthday. Large slices of ‘Frozen Barbie’ cake all round. Thanks grandma Pat.

Much merriment during the quiz on Saturday evening especially during the infamous Cutweb speed raffle – we’ve got this down to a tee now ;^) Much jumping up and down during the Sunday evening horse racing event – Cutweb has a pony club now.

We moved Jannock back up the Stockton flight during Sunday afternoon as we needed to have her at the Bottom Lock dry dock for 11am Monday morning. The sun shone again and we had half a dozen willing helpers all determined to work off their Sunday roast dinner – great beef and loads of vegetables.

No one went hungry this weekend. As well as pub catering, we also had a ‘bring and share’ lunch and the leftovers were then consumed at the races. Home cooking is alive and well! The wild fruit harvest has been good this year so apples and blackberries featured strongly.

We walked back to the Blue Lias for the racing on Sunday evening before packing everything away and taking the car back to the boat when it was all over.

Another excellent rally. Thankyou to everyone who contributed, helped, participated and laughed the weekend away.

Early Monday morning, Graham set us off and we made our way to Braunston. We passed through Calcutt locks sharing with other boats then made our way to bottom lock for blacking.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

On to the top of Stockton

Cap’n Jannock was up and set us off early. Yesterdays rain had cleared and no more was forecast until later this afternoon so a quick dash to the top of Stockton locks should ensure a dry trip to fetch the car from Brinklow leaving Jannock in place for a quick desent to the Blue Lias next friday.

Autumn has come quickly, the fields are brown and ploughed, the birds are flocking and our heating pump isn’t playing. It’ll work fine all evening but after sitting dormant overnight, it resuses to start shifting the hot water around the radiators until it’s been hit with something. Then it works OK until the following morning. Blankets at the ready chaps!

We moored near an apple tree and so the weekends haul of fruit was completed. Blackberries next weekend?


Saturday, September 09, 2017

And off we go again

It’s time for the Cutweb rally so we set off from Brinklow in lovely warm sunshine – not like the afternoon a couple of weekends ago when Matt, Alice and Felicity visited us at the boat during a ‘work party’ weekend.

Felicity and I took a turn around the pond and watched a pair of kingfishers dart by, their plumage as bright and rich coloured as any jeweles ; turquoise and fire opal flashing past.

All was well until we passed Rugby. There we spotted a Pirate crew setting off. Even Tinkerbelle was dressed as a pirate. No doubt as stag do! Little did they know that their finery (and gossamer wings) was about to get drenched. At least their inflatable flamingo wouldn’t mind.

The rain eased as we entered the top lock at Hillmorton and we were able to gather Elderberries (for Elderberry vinegar) and plums for the freezer. I used the processing of fruit as an excuse to stay in the dry whilst Graham steered Jannock to Braunston. We tied up just north of the road bridge and walked through Braunston to bottom Lock chandlers and also to the dry dock to see Tim to finalise our arrival time a week next Monday.

We ate dinner in the Boat House and then returned to Jannock to prepare a mega betting spreadsheet for the horse racing game we are planning for the rally next weekend.


Tuesday, August 01, 2017

And back to the mooring.

Sunday 30th July

During the night there was serious consideration given to the thought of a new boat – nb Noah’s Ark would have suited. Yet, by 6am the rain had stopped, the sun was out, all that was needed was a Dove to presage World Peace.

I had a lie in this mornNOxfording and he didn’t set off until 8am. Brenda remained in her bed awhile and then thought about getting up at 8:30. Apparnetly there’s a lot to be said for a warm bunk after listening to the rain on the roof all night. We had a very unusual passage through Ansty – we didn’t meet anyone coming the other way at any of the bridges.

Down the straight towards Kate boats, I like to wave to trains along here to see if I can get a response from the driver. Something the kids used to do during family boating holidays. Always pleasing to be acknowledged by a blast of the two tone horns. Through the swing bridge, which was opened for us by a kind crew member off the Anglo Welsh hireboat to be greeted by the sight of Kate Boats new weather proof cover to the wet dock. This looks like it’s beenDryDock manufactured using the left over sides from a hireboat being converted into a dayboat but I suspect that would make the shelter too heavy.

On entering Brinklow marina, Brenda hopped ashore to walk to the end of pontoon 9 so that I could spot where we needed to be to moor up. She had to avoid ‘duck do’ at the start of the pontoon so was keeping her eyes to the walkway to avoid treading in it. The wind was causing large ripples in the water moving at 90 degrees to the pontoon. Forget sea-sickness and ‘mal de debarquement syndrome’, She had an attack of windy pontoon nausea and couldn’t get to the end of it. She became so unsteady that she ended up clinging to an electricity bollard. The pontoon wasn’t wobbly but she certainly was. I brought Jannock in to a perfect docking because none of our neighbours were on their mooring so I had plenty of space to play. Having done it now, I spotted the next pontoon has a number 8 on the end and ours has a white fender so that’ll help navigation next time.

I went on the Di Blasi to fetch the car from Huddlesford (35 miles) whilst Brenda had a cup of tea and a lay down. That’s her excuse and she’s sticking to it. Sail boats on the Aegean? NO WAY!


Saturday, July 29, 2017

A long day with a wet end.

Saturday 29th July

Having travelled up to Huddleford on Friday evening, I was awake at 6am and it was lovely weather outside. The clear blue sky was streaked with contrails that were smudged by the wind. By the time I had got up, dressed, made tea and cast off lots of clouds had appeared all across the sky accompanied by a cold wind.

I wanted to get Jannock back to her mooring at Brinklow this weekend as life at home is getting busy with my Dad needing toFazelyBirds be found a care home and the work associated with means test form filling etc. that entails.  So, my target for this evening was on the North Oxford canal after Sutton’s Stop.

We had an un-eventful run down through Whittington, Hopwas and Fazely and round the corner into Glascote locks. I love the bird pictures on the factory wall at Fazely.

Once up through Glascote we continued past Alvecote – no time to stop for a pint at the Samuel Barlow – shame! and on through Poleworth to Brenda’s favourite sight. She loves the Alpacas at the farm with alpacasthe disused swingbridge, especially the new born. It appears that she thinks they are sweeeeeeet! Good job she doesn’t own one – she’d find out what they were really like.

Our next task was to grab our lunch on the move before we faced the climb up the Atherstone flight of eleven locks – some spaced out in pairs and some close together. We were following another two boats going up with little coming down so no records broken today. Out of the top lock and on past Hartshill where our summer holiday started almost a month ago.

Passing through Nuneaton, we spotted some lovely big ripe blackberries growing onblackberries the edge of the allotments near the pedestrian bridge. I pulled Jannock over with the rope whilst standing under the bridge, this positioned Brenda, in the foredeck, in exactly the right position to pick them. They were huge, so possibly Loganberries escaped from the adjacent allotments. Once gathered, we decided they were too good to cook so started to eat them as they were – excellent.

As we approached Hawkesbury the rain decided to start. We had to follow an Anglo Welsh boat around the turn but luckily they provided the entertainment for all the pub-goers at the Greyhound. I followed around once they had gone through the lock with a manouvre so good I even impressed myself. Once onto the North Oxford we moored up on the bend as all the other mooring spaces were occupied.

A long day – almost thirteen hours but it guaranteed we could make it back to Brinklow with a chance of me fetching the car before it rains again tomorrow.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

2017 Summer Holiday Day #15

Saturday 15th July 2017

Going home day today – G was up and at-em at 7:50am. Just like doing the early airport run. I stayed in bed just like a lazy so and so. Neither of us will do sitting around for a long time in a departure lounge though.ThatTree

We headed south through the drizzle which finally stopped as we approached Fradley junction. We passed down through Wood End lock after the ascending boat left – ideal for both of us as the timing was perfect. Then down to Fradley locks past the scarred tree. We’ve seen a good selection of boats hit that over the thirteen years we’ve owned Jannock.

Only one volunteer lockie on duty at the locks here today and he was sticking to the lock just above the junction. We turned right after a pause while we sat and watched two other boats get their knickers in a twist going round each other at the junction.

Once through the swingbridge, we made our way past Streethay wharf and then moored up on the 14 day moorings (furthest from the Plough) at Huddlesford. Going to be busy next weekend so Jannock will have to stay here for a couple of weeks.

Friday, July 14, 2017

2017 Summer Holiday Day #14

Trentham to Wolseley Bridge

It has become clear over the last few days that one way New Zealanders avoid their antipidean winters is to come here and freeze and get soaked on the UK canal system! So many NZ flags on hire boats and boats with Maori names.


We pulled out and passed the two ‘Ginger’ boats on the Trentham visitor moorings. The smaller one that we followed down Stoke locks was just starting off as well and fell in behind us. At Barlaston two boats pulled out in front of us and a further three joined in behind. Subsequently a queue built up at Meaford top lock. I could account for 10 boats and the queue was more like a parade.


Graham went down to help lockside whilst I held Jannock in the queue. There were crew mutterings all along and tea was produced. After about 20 minutes I was approached by a tea drinking boater wanting to know “how much longer are we going to be waiting here? How long does it take to turn a bloody lock?” I said “we are waiting for a boat coming up rather than turn the lock on them” He harrumphed. I added that the 2nd lock down only had one ground paddle working so was taking a long time to fill. I almost suggested that he swap his tea for a windlass and give a hand but held my tongue. He then went lockside and had a similar conversation with G and then returned to his boat.


When the ascending boat arrived in the top lock, G went down and turned the second lock after the boat in front of us had passed through, returning to the top lock in time to work Jannock down. When we got to the second lock it was ready so we passed through that rapidly. Having advised the boat behind us that a similar procedure might speed things along we were amused to see that they were still waiting to enter the second lock as we were leaving the bottom one. Oh well, you can tell some people that a lock is slow filling but whether they do anything with that info is up to them.


At the third lock, there were some Oriental visitors taking lots of photos, they even asked permission to take pitures of Jannock but refused a ride down to the bottom lock stating that they did not have sufficient time. They were still taking pitures there as we left the flight. Into stone and past the Railtrack guys working on limekiln railway bridge. They have a pontoon set up around the offside bridge structure and use a moveable section to form a bridge across the canal. We siunded the klaxon to ask whether we could start emptying the lock and so they removed the bridge so we didn’t flush it away.

EssexBridgeDown through Stone without stopping, luckily we didn’t need to as all moorings seemed to be occupied unless you stopped at the far end of the 14 moorings below Star lock. Then on under grey clouds and strong winds to Great Haywood where we stopped for a waterfill and rubbish disposal session. We moored after Haywwod lock so that we could have a wander around the area for an evening constitutional after dinner. We crossed the river, skirted Shugborough, National trust, walking through the meadows after crossing Essex bridge. Then back up into the village to checkout the Rave that was going on. It was a families picnic at the Junior school to mark the last day of the school year. A good time was beuing had by all. Then onto the Cliffs, also NT, to look across the Trent Valley.


Then back to Jannock where we untied and moved on, through Colwich lock to find a countryside mooring away from the trains just past Wolseley Bridge


2017 Summer Holiday Day #13

Bosley Locks to Trentham


The day started with questionable sunshine. The sun endured until we hit Stoke locks where we got cold and wet. The rain continued until we had cleared the bottom lock but it remained chilly. If any-one has lost a Palm Tree – we know where it is!


We made it back down the Maccy passing, but not stopping, at Congleton and through Hall Green lock to join the Trent and Mersey again. Down to the North portal of Harecastle tunnel where we occupied ourselves during the 45 minute wait by having lunch. Anthony, the tunnel keeper said that they had experienced the busiest day of the year yesterday (Wednesday) with 43 passages through. We suspect this was due to the heavy rain we had on Tuesday.


I found it easier going through Harecastle when I could set my own speed as we went through solo, much better than in convoy last week. Out of the other end and we made our way down through Stoke on trent and passed Festival park where we joined the end of a queue of 2 Stone hireboats waiting to descend Stoke locks.

Quite a good run down the flight with me using the bike to set after the 2nd hireboat had left. Out the bottom lock and on to Trentham where we moored for the night just north of the bridge expecting the visitor mooring just South to be busy. Good call! – they were full.


Plans were hatched to visit the Toby carvery for dinner. First disappointment – the discount voucher that we had from Festival Park would not be valid here. Second disappointment – as we arrived many cars were leaving the car park. A hand written note on the door appologised for them being closed due to a technical failure. As we dithered we spotted another crew leaving Martha Ginger and heading towards the carvery as well. We told them the situation and then accosted a couple of locals to find the best alternative. Either a Harvester (5 mins west) or a Hungry Horse (5 mins East) The 5mins to the Harvester turned out to be between 10 and 15 mins.

A table for 6 was obtained and we started swapping boaters tales whilst a nice meal was had, then back to Jannock for tea, coffee, beer and chocolate biscuits as they all wanted to see what a non-hire boat was like. On the way we called into Bargain Booze, as it was open, and obtained bread and milk for tomorrow. They appear to be just a boozed up cornershop now. Thankyou for a lovely evening folks and we hope your last day as hirers went OK. Safe journeys home to Leamington Spa and the USA accordingly.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

2017 Summer Holiday Day #12

Strines to bottom of Bosley locks

Graham was up and at-em before 8am, setting off towards Marple in much welcomed sunshine – warmth? – not so much but it got better as the day went on.


We achieved the Bosley flight of 12 locks in 1 1/2 hours today, excellent (considering it took us 3 hours to ascend last Sunday) That said, I needed cheering up after a poo-plosion at the services by the top lock. M and A will be pleased with the knowledge that they are not the only ones to have to deal with that event. We decided to do a self pump-out at the sani-station before decending the locks. I thought the techno-gubbins at the disposal end of the pump system was leaking a bit but this was just an advanced warning before it broke completely sending it’s contents towards me instead of down the drain. It would appear that when needed, I can move quite fast.


Our subsequent passage down the locks was very good, passing a few ascending boats on the way and most locks set in our favour. What a treat! Once down we moored up on the visitor moorings for the night alongside Tunnel Tug No. 1. A lovely old Black Country tug, owned by Tony who lives alongside the Basingstoke canal at Woking. We were then joined by the crew of nb Poppy – he’s a retired Radio Engineer who has worked on a lot of things that Graham is now involved in. An evening of techno-talk was had by all with a brief intermission whilst a recipe for Staffordshire Oatcakes was passed on.


Whilst we were sat chatting, a very lovely boat came passed on which the steerers mate was looking very overdressed.Graham remarked that it was usual to see boat crew wearing collar and tie (and tan brogues) which were a little formal for boating. The steerers response was “he’s American”. Business suit or ballgown for your next trip american A?

Our hope was that we might see the moon rise like we saw here last Saturday evening, unfortunately it’s a lot colder tonight so we didn’t stay out long enough to find out.