Friday, November 03, 2023

At last–Powys is sold

On Saturday 28th October, Powys was purchased by a couple who already live on a smaller boat on a London mooring.

The sale has been a long protracted affair due to hull and rudder work being needed to be done after initial purchasers survey report.  They then pulled out of the sale at the beginning of September when the work, delayed by illness, was almost completed.

On Sunday 29th October Graham went up to Rugby boats and did a hand-over to the new owners before they sailed off in a Southerly direction just after 1pm. I hope they enjoy her as much as we have.



Today, Powys was spotted by our friend Debbi who moors at Bourne End moorings, passing down through the top lock towards Winkwell.

Farewell Powys.


Wednesday, July 05, 2023

The boat formerly known as Jannock …

.. was today delivered to Rugby Boat sales at Stowe Hill to be placed on brokerage.

We arrived at the boat at about 9:30 and spent a couple of hours doing essential jobs, cleaning and clearing out all of the remaining items that would not be included in the sale and getting them into the car before setting off for the final run through Weedon.

On arrival, Graham went off to fetch the car and then we emptied all of our stuff out and gave the boat a final clean. Then we handed over the keys to the brokerage staff, signed the sale document and headed home with very mixed feelings.


After last year’s disastrous summer, we have had an excellent trip to Llangollen and back and have decided to quit while we are ahead. There are lots of things that we wish to do now after our 23 years of boat ownership.


Ladies and gentlemen – narrowboat Jannock has left the cut!

Monday, July 03, 2023

What is it with Margaret and tunnels?

Monday 3rd July 2023

We arrived at Barby moorings at 10 o’clock. We have our neighbour Margaret as passenger for today’s journey as she loves going through tunnels and we plan to pass through the one at Braunston today.

The weather was sunny but a little breezy as we manoeuvred out of our mooring and made our way around the central island in the moorings to find the exit. Hard to port and immediately under the M45 bridge towards Braunston. We passed a lot of boats heading North and also met Brian aboard Autarky just before the A45 bridge who warned us of a boat towing another following him. It appears the boats attending the Gardener rally yesterday are going home today. We waited until they passed before continuing into Braunston.


The skies decided to dump their heavy load on us as we arrived at the bottom lock, no one else to share with and so we completed the first two locks solo in the rain. A drier slow ascent of the rest of the flight was made due to a very slow single boat three locks ahead with the intermediate locks having two boats in each.


Out of the top lock and we found the same slow boat just pulling out from the moorings there, so we ended up following them, either at tick-over or in neutral, all the way through the tunnel. Margaret was in her element sitting on a comfy chair in the bow well deck for the slow transit of the entire length.

Out of the tunnel, and once Welford wharf was passed, we managed to overtake ‘slow boat’ and continue to Buckby top lock at a sensible speed. We spotted butty Success moored on this length alongside it’s new motor. 


Although we passed through the top lock solo, we shared the rest of the flight with a novice crew on a Calcutt hire boat. They were happy to admit they were new to the game but were very quick learners so by the time we reached the bottom lock they knew exactly what needed to be done when.

We said our farewells and made our way to bridge 21 where we wanted to moor up. Unfortunately a thunderstorm started just as Graham got the centre rope tied to a piling hook and so he came inside to sit out the storm and avoid getting drowned before finishing the task.

Once the rain ceased, and the ropes were all deployed. Graham then went back on the Di Blasi to fetch the car from Barby. We then packed up our stuff, and Margaret, loaded into the car and set off to the Crossroads pub at Weedon for dinner. Even though their website states the kitchens close at 9 pm, they refused to allow us to eat at just after 8pm. A poor show – shame!

G, B & M

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Jannock crossing the Pontcysyllte aqueduct

When Jannock crossed the aqueduct on Wednesday 24th May we had Paul from Worker Drones UK visit and take stills and video footage for us.

The pictures are below:-

The two videos are at :-

Pontcysyllte video1
Pontcysyllte video2


Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Llangollen trip day#26

Wednesday 7th June 2023

A short hop back to Barby Moorings today. Still grey today but the warmth of the sun could be felt through the clouds.

We turned into the marina and the wind helped us across onto the service area where we pumped out the loo tank – not bad, 26 days and only 66% full. Because we had the Di Blasi on board as well as the old starter battery on the rear deck, we hadn’t even noticed the list to starboard that normally accompanies and tank of more than 50%.

Getting off the service area to get to our mooring was another story as the wind was quite strong and broadside to us. Finally made it by backing up most of the marina before making the turn through the swing bridge – still had an issue trying to get the bows to turn into wind after the bridge.


We finally slid into our berth with a group of Alpacas waiting to greet us. The sun decided to appear and the wind dropped as we had finished our trip. We cleared up and packed our stuff into the car before sitting on the foredeck to eat our special lunch – a chicken salad sandwich made using a garlic nan purchased last night! Brenda’s enthusiasm heating them up in the oven didn’t affect the taste.


That trip was 306 miles at an average of 2 miles per hour.

After lunch we locked the boat up and headed home.

That’s all folks!

Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Llangollen trip day#25

Tuesday 6th June 2023

Having moored a short way from Hawkesbury junction last night, we had to pass through Sutton’s first thing this morning. This is the one lock on the system that Brenda will work – as she doesn’t like the idea of having to steer around the turn, usually with an audience outside the Greyhound.

Today, she had a senior moment and proceeded to fill the lock whilst all she really needed to do was open the bottom gate to let Jannock in – oooops. She had watched Jannock pass through the narrows heading South so decided that was the way the boat would enter the lock. There wasn’t even any-one waiting to come down.

It stayed cold all day, not a glimmer of sun or a hint of blue sky. We left Hawkesbury and on through Ansty where CaRT are working on the towpath and canal bank. Their digger flat had a dumb barge tied alongside leaving only about 8 foot to pass. This was not helped by an large-ish offside bush just where it wasn’t needed. We got past OK but immediately met three oncoming Northbound boats. Good luck lads.


On through the Stretton swing bridge and past our old mooring at Brinklow. Going through the very busy Rugby visitor moorings after bridge 58, it was the very first time we’ve ever had to get through past all the moored boats without meeting an on-coming one.

We arrived at the bottom of Hillmorton locks and the vo-lockie had the lock ready with gates open. Onto the second lock where it was in our favour and we could see the top gate leakage through the gap in the bottom gates – perfect. A boat was coming down the right hand top lock so we both left gates open for each other – what a perfect run up!

We moored immediately after the locks as we wanted to walk to the Spice Lounge Indian restaurant for our ‘last evening aboard’ meal. After all, it is our favourite Indian.

After another excellent meal there we ordered two Nan breads to take away as we left. A pleasant walk back through the church got us back to Jannock before 9pm.


Monday, June 05, 2023

Llangollen trip day#24

Monday 5th June 2023

This morning we started the day with a walk down to Atherstone high street for a loaf of bread. In the Coop Local a short dated wholemeal loaf was £1.29p – so off to Aldi we went where the same was 75p. On the way down we spotted a group of pre-school children all dressed in hi-viz jackets and gloves. The reason for the gloves was soon obvious because they were litter picking. What with nursery school children and the Brownies we spotted earlier in our trip it seem a shame that thoughtless and careless people need them to clear up after them.

On our return to the boat we set off towards Nuneaton meeting lots of boats heading North. The wind was cold and the sky was cloudy with the promise of sun earlier. All in all it was a pleasant run and when we got to Bedworth we moored alongside nb Grace and went to visit our friends Christine and Terry. They are setting off on a cruise tomorrow so we sere lucky to catch them.

Whilst enjoying a chat and a cup of tea in their conservatory, we heard a voice calling outside. Graham went out and spotted that Jannock’s rear mooring rope had come adrift and she was blocking the canal. A southbound boat, thinking that Jannock was moored to the bank, had tried to push her out of the way by going between the boats, however their bows were firmly attached so they ground to a halt. Jannock was recovered and they went on their way.

After saying farewell, we carried on and moored before Hawkesbury junction. After dinner we walked down to the Greyhound for a drink and passed nb Stray Away moored nearer the junction. Chris and his wife are fellow Cutweb members and so we had a quick chat before continuing to the pub. We said Hello again on our way back as well.

The only pictures taken today were of the new warehouse building between Bedworth and Nuneaton (especially for Brian). The office block seems to being constructed entirely of wood and the building now displays a company name. It is a German Logistics firm.



Sunday, June 04, 2023

Llangollen trip day#23

Sunday 4th June 2023

The day started cloudy and cold but only one of us experienced it. Brenda stayed in bed until it was time to serve croissants for breakfast to the steerer. As the day wore on the cloud disappeared and it became warm and sunny – we have been very lucky with our weather over the last 3+ weeks now.


From Fradley we travelled down through Streethay and Whittington to Hopwas where we met a day boat being steered by a pirate at the main road bridge.  The Red flags were flying on the ranges and the sound of gun-fire could be heard. 


Through Fazely, past the junction with the Brum & Fazely canal and then past Monarch and Grimsby who were moored near the aqueduct, and onto Glascote locks where we found two boats coming down so that was easy. The queue for the two locks persuaded three chaps in a rib to carry it down the towpath even though it had an outboard still fitted.


On through Alvechurch where, for the first time ever, we spotted Harnser on it’s moorings. Normally Brian and Diana are out cruising when we pass. Through Polesworth to arrive at the bottom of Atherstone flight at 3:30. Dinner was in the slow cooker and needed to stay there until 4:30 so we decided to go up some of the locks.

As we ascended lock 11 another boat was leaving lock 10, Their crew didn’t bother looking and just closed the bottom gates on us. The adult in the horde of kids working the lock apologised for closing the gates because he hadn’t seen us there because he was busy looking after 6 children. They were all between about 4 and 10, swinging windlasses about and none of them wearing life jackets – looking after?

We continued up the flight and cleared lock 6 by 4:25 as every one had been in our favour and so we continued to the top and cleared all eleven locks by 5:40 – a total of 2 hours and 10 minutes which we were pleased with. More pleasing was that there were spaces to moor at the top – result, especially as dinner was ready as soon as we moored up.


Saturday, June 03, 2023

Llangollen trip day#22

Saturday 3rd June 2023

Planes of the day – a Spitfire and a P51 Mustang.

We left our overnight mooring in Tixall Wide in gorgeous sunshine, making the reeds, water lilies and pastures look superb. Sadly we were not able to eat either last night’s dinner or this morning’s breakfast outside to appreciate the views – it been a very cold wind that is no-doubt responsible for keeping us dry. That’s been a blessing.

We turned right at Gt Heywood junction and found ourselves third in the queue for the first lock, first in line was a day boat that was being tutored by an Anglo-Welsh staff member. We spotted this ram with grass all over his splendid horns – obviously Ram-bo. 


At the next lock we found ourselves immediately behind the day boaters and so Graham added to their lock working education when they asked.


Into Rugeley after being buzzed by a passing Spitfire and P51 Mustang flying in formation – obviously performing at the West Midlands Air Show today at Coventry Airport. Then a shopping stop so that Brenda could go to Morrisons to top up the stock cupboard. They had choc-cake platters at half price but she resisted and got half price croissants and pan-au-chocolate instead – shame!


Approaching Woodend lock, the rhododendrons are in glorious full flower. Brenda was un-happy that they were still in bud when we passed this way over two weeks ago.


We turned onto the Coventry canal at Fradley junction and immediately stopped at the water point to fill Jannock’s tank. Brenda took the rubbish round to the skip. Then we moved two boats down and moored up for the night. Dinner on the front deck as the wind here is a lot less than last night. Brenda chose an Elderflower beer bottled in 2018 to accompany dinner, unfortunately it was a bit lively but luckily she didn’t ask for a flake with it.  


During dinner Cap’n finished the pickled onions and so afterwards he cut up some red onions and placed them into the vinegar in the old jar. More pickles!


Friday, June 02, 2023

Llangollen trip day#21

Friday 2nd June 2023

Last night we had a lovely meet up with Ian and Steph at ‘the Star’. It was good to have a long overdue catch-up over a nice meal and hear their plans for Ian’s pending retirement and their move to Litchfield. We hope it all goes well!

We left our mooring below Star Lock and made our way out of Stone to Aston lock where we found ourselves third in a queue with only room for one boat on the lock landing. Trying to hover between moored boats and the traffic coming out of the lock was fun. All the time, a swan sat on her nest alongside us was busy making the nest build better for her soon to be family.


We passed a moored boat that had faded, peeling and rusty paintwork. A sign in the window declared “I identify as painted!” I suppose it’s cheaper than painting the boat. Ho Ho!


All in all, we had another pleasant sunny day, albeit with a cold wind, meandering down the Trent valley passing through Sandon, Weston and Hoo Mill locks with queues at the first two and meeting Northbound boats at every one – some heading to this weekends Etruria festival. What more could we ask for? (apart from no queues – Ed)


Down to Great Haywood junction where we decided to turn right and see if there were any moorings at Tixall wide rather than continuing on for hours to get away from the railway – hooray, we found a spot which fitted us nicely once we had winded.



Thursday, June 01, 2023

Llangollen Trip day#20

Thursday 1st June 2023

Firstly, I missed an important bit from yesterday’s blog – after Brenda had crossed the canal and walked up the road to visit the Wedgewood seconds centre, she found that it had closed and the car park was full of travellers. Not a lot of money spent there then.

Last night was a rare ‘two pub’ evening, not happened since last May when we stopped in Etruria. We like to eat at the Toby Carvery as we enjoy a roast dinner and we always try to visit the Holy Inadequate pub & brewery just down the road. The beer selection in the former was poor and in the latter was superb.

Graham set us off just before 9am and took us under bridge 117 to stop at Capital Gas services to get two 13kg refills, unfortunately they only had one in stock so we had that and will have to source the second from an alternative source.

Then into Stoke top lock where one ground paddle was out of action and the bottom gates leaked so much that it took ages to fill. Graham had time to set the second whilst the first (referred to as ‘The Beast’ by Rob, the local un-official lockie) was still filling.


We met Rob at the 3rd lock working a boat up the flight. He gave us a business card that showed that he now has a partner working with him and they now do things like shopping, washing, fetching water as well as working locks between Wheelock and Stone by arrangement. 


There was a graffiti artist working on the wall here creating what looked like an excellent canal scene. Might have to visit again to see the finished painting. Out of the bottom lock and on, past the waste incinerator and football stadium, towards Trentham.

At Trentham lock a traditional working boat, obviously heading for the Etruria boat festival this weekend, had just left the lock and another boat crew had started turning it before we could get there. Once through we continued on through Barlaston, not stopping at the Plume of Feathers, to Meaford locks.


Brenda spotted a large Terrapin basking on the reeds between the top lock and Meaford road lock. No delays at all here and onto Stone. As we approached the top lock we were warned that the level in the next pound was very low. Newcastle road lock had CaRT signs explaining that the bottom gates leak badly and they should be closed in a specific order. Shame the last boat up before we arrived, who had given us the low level warning, had left the top gate open. After Wigan last summer this was no contest.


We gave a little girl and her mum a lift down through Yard lock as they were happily watching what was going on in the locks. They got off at Star lock, where we were advised by a pedestrian that mooring places below the lock were scarce, and we continued down to find a suitable mooring spot immediately after the winding hole. Got an important date in the Star pub tonight.


Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Llangollen trip day'#19

Wednesday 31st May 2023

OMG! – last day of May. That is why an adjacent bush has dumped all it’s pink flowers all over Jannock last night – May’s out. Roof looks like there’s been a wedding.


We awoke to a grey sky and a chilly wind which has stayed with us most of the day – except in Harecastle tunnel. We set off and ascended three locks before mooring up at Red Bull to refill the water tank and dump our rubbish. Unfortunately, although these locks are paired, a couple of the towpath side ones appear to have broken ground paddles and so were very slow to fill. Better to use offside ones if you are in a hurry.

As we untied from Red Bull, there was a boat already waiting to go in the lock and so we pulled in behind him and Graham held Jannock on the centre rope. The boat departing the lock came out at great speed and Graham asked him to slow down as he was struggling to keep the boat under control. He replied “What?” so Graham asked again in a louder voice. The torrent of verbal abuse received back was totally un-necessary and even the volunteer lockie that had just arrived was shocked. He came over to ask if everything was all right and did we get the boat name or number. unfortunately we didn’t.

When our turn came, we then moved up a couple more locks to moor up and visit Lidl to replenish our store cupboard. Back on board with still 90 minutes to go before our tunnel booking, we ascended the last lock and made our way to the tunnel mouth so we could have our lunch while waiting.


On arrival at the tunnel we were greeted, given our H&S briefing and sent straight in as the 12 o’clock flotilla of boats were only about 10 mins in front of us. Out the south portal in 34 minutes and then had lunch on the move past West Port lake and Middleport.


Brenda wanted to visit the Wedgewood group reject shop at bridge 119 so we pulled over and she went off while Graham cleared the prop and emptied the prop shaft drip bucket.


finally moored for the night just before Festival Park marina. Toby Carvery followed by a visit to the Holy Inadequate tonight – another of Graham’s favourite pubs (complete with in-house brewery)

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Llangollen trip day#18

Tuesday 30th May 2023

Disappointment of the trip – whatever happened to Caramac? It used to be creamy and taste of pure caramel. Shan’t be buying that for ‘old times’ sake again! (She didn’t, I did. Ed)


We started with just under an hours cruise to our first lock, of twenty in total today, at Wheelock. We found ourselves another boat but the dual locks initially allowed the two lock crew to share tasks. The lady off the other boat went ahead and set the locks while Graham worked both boats through the locks – brilliant until we came to the first single lock after Malkins bank. Then the system went awry.

This is one of our favourite stretches of canal and we were blessed with nice sunny weather to do it in – we are being spoiled. Task of the day was to find somewhere to purchase two 1st class stamps and post a card.


At Hassall Green we remembered when there was a shop and post office next to the lock and a pub, the Romping Donkey, was open. Now all domestic properties although there was a canal side sign for the pub about half a mile the other side of the M6 – which today was all clogged up Southbound. 


Graham got a picture of ‘Saint Barbies’ – not really it’s name but it is an old corrugated iron chapel that is painted pink as they did in the Victorian times. We christened it St Barbies many years ago when we stopped for the night and found it during our evening constitutional.

On to Rode Heath where we could see there was a Post Office on the map. Graham reckoned he spotted it from the lock and so Brenda went off and found it was a Bargain Booze store. However, they did sell 1st class stamps (and oatcakes and fruited pikelets) but Brenda then had to yomp along the road for the post box – which was outside the Post Office near bridge 140 ;^) Card posted, post box photographed, as it had been yarn-bombed, and a quick phone call meant that Jannock picked her up at the bridge.


Another six locks and we moored for the night near the church before bridge 135. One of our favourite quiet moorings before the hustle and bustle of Kidsgrove encroaches.


Monday, May 29, 2023

Llangollen trip day#17

Monday 29th Mat 2023

What better way to spend a morning than with good friends. After breakfast we walked down to bridge 30 and crossed to visit John and Gillian for a couple of hours catching up. Sitting in a sunny garden, with roses, paeonies, so many more lovely plants, a pot of tea and a family of swans – nesting peacefully. Thanks so much for a sunny patio experience that we couldn’t have had any better in the Med!


After saying our goodbyes, we returned to Jannock for a quick sandwich and off towards Wardle lock where we were 2nd in the queue, in glorious sunshine. We have been so lucky with the weather and haven’t been at all jealous as we watch jets approaching and leaving Manchester airport.


Out of the Wardle canal and turn left onto the Trent and Mersey and straight into Kings Lock that was being vacated by a Northbound boat. Then on up through 4 more locks until we moored for the night in a nice sunny spot just before Elton Moss bridge (160)


Tonight’s dinner was the left-overs from last nights superb Chinese meal followed by rice pudding – excellent!

Twenty locks of Heartbreak Hill tomorrow, ready for our tunnel booking on Wednesday afternoon.