Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Today we got our boat back.

Matt and his crew had a good time and wrote the following in Jannock's logbook:-

Sunday 2nd August  Calf Heath to Black Country Museum.

Once Graham dropped us off at the boat we had a cuppa and set off. The weather was unusually dry compared to the last week or two which made a nice change and a great start to our holiday. After cruising for a couple of hours we thought we deserved some food so stopped off at a nice pub for lunch (Fox and Anchor? Ed.) nearly got beaten by the wasps so we had to move inside. Sustenance gained  we felt ready to tackle the Wolverhampton flight of locks. We were lucky to have most of the locks ready, but as a team we soon started working them efficiently. We made our way to the Black Country Museum where we had to turn due to lack of mooring spaces but found a good spot nearby.

Monday 3rd August B. C. M. to Cambrian Wharf.

Up and at-em around 9:30am, we have breakfast and head into the Black Country Museum where we are to meet E.J., the remaining member of our band of 6 canalboat holiday goers. The museum was quite interesting with lots to see, mainly the sweet shop, pigs and the fish and chip shop - which was everything we'd hoped for. I (Ben) was first to make use of the on-board shower - cosy!

We finally moored up for the night in Central Birmingham outside a pub called 'the Flapper & Firkin', quite a nice spot and after cooking we went and had a drink to end the evening.

Tuesday 4th August Cambrian Wharf to Bodymoor Heath

Captains log, stardate ..... um ..... 1 (Jonny has always wanted to write that!)  The day started out well! I got to make a massive mess in the kitchen whilst making a healthy amount of pancakes, bacon and honey. After filling our bellies it was though best for the greater good that we should probably get cruising.  We made progress for a while until we encountered a vicious set of youthful locals who threw plums. Matt was wise to the happening and had already started running towards the reprobates ready to dispatch some justice. Unfortunately they ran faster than him and got away :^(

The lovely roast dinner that Matt and Rosie were planning was foiled by the chicken smelling of death. This was probably the best thing that could have happened, call it fate. We had to find some other food so we happened on a lovely pub called the 'Dog and Doublet'. They serve good portions of amazing food, with a friendly welcome/exit/general chat. Strongly advise experiencing the atmosphere for yourself.

Finally, I'm here writing this log, as I finish Matt informs me of many things that I  have left out and for this I am sorry  ...  but pah!  Love and kisses, Jonny

Things Jonny left out :-

1. Angry Dutch people insisting we pass on the right (non towpath side) rather than my proposed manoeuvre of pulling into the left on centre rope between the locks.

2. Angry fishermen trying to feed me some bull$h1t about a 2mph speed limit past fishers despite us having already slowed down.

3. How amazing Jonny's pancakes really were.

4. Boat getting stuck in a lock due to faulty gates wedging the fenders - all resolved peacefully.

5. How we're working as a team and I've (Matt) finally fully relaxed.

Wednesday 5th August Bodymoor Heath to Hilliards Cross

After the usual round of tea in the morning and some toast we were pretty quick to head off. After a slightly drizzly start and the two locks the sun decided to appear raising everyone's already quite jovial holiday spirits. Out of the city the countryside becomes more and more beautiful and the canal banks and tow paths more wild. We had a short stop in Whittington to gather from the Coop food for on board meals and because of the good weather BBQ munchies. A couple of miles after, at about 3:30 we moored up in a lovely quiet spot and decided to stay for the rest of the afternoon with lots of drinking, eating and card playing going on until late. A very lazy and lovely day.

Thursday 6th August Hilliards Cross to Great Haywood

We got up late this morning knowing we are in easy reach of our destination. After a delicious breakfast of scones with butter and honey we set off at about 11:30. It's a lovely sunny day perfect for a relaxed cruise through the beautiful countryside. After we turn onto the Trent and Mersey canal at Fradley Junction the locks become a lot more busy. For the first time on this holiday we have had to queue for the locks. By 3 oclock we had reached our final destination for the holiday but since we still had another full day left we continued past to see how far we get. We made it to Great Haywood where we turned onto the Staffs and Worcester canal. We found a nice spot a short way down and moored up for the night. Matt and Rosie cooked roast chicken and vegetables in the slow cooker which was incredibly tasty. We finished the evening in a similar vein to previous evening with music, drink and cards.

Friday 7th August Great Haywood to Armitage wide.

Today was a super relaxed cruise to get us back towards our final destination. We left Great Haywood and stopped almost immediately for water and a pump-out at the Anglo Welsh base. With a breakfast of "Round 2 of Jonny's pancakes"this time with icecream served at around midday, we carried on leisurely until Rugely where we stopped for booze at Morrisons. We had a spot of lunch and then carried on slightly further down and ended up mooring straight onto a pub's beer garden. You can figure out the rest of the evenings antics from that plus we had a delicious spaghetti carbonara courtesy of EJ and Jonny.

All that's left to be said is that this week has been fantastically relaxing, hilarious and best of all cheap. I'd recommend any of my crew for further hire.  Skipper out!

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