Sunday, May 27, 2018

Our plans are foiled.

Sunday 27th May

The sun was up, the wind was also up but the crew wasn’t so Cap’n set off single handed.

Note to crews visiting Bugsworth basin with mini-cabin-boys (no sexism intended, ‘its’ traditional) – steam can be let off in two places. Walk up to the Navigation and a) take balls and picnics past it, pub on your left, and there is an open area of grass with no risk of falling in, ahead of you. b) Take the road, with the pub on your right, and walk up to the village. Turn right, past the club and there is a childrens play park down on the right with swings etc.

We approached Marple flight. It’s closure has made us change our summer trip plans. With the re-opening of lock 13 last week, it seems that boats are now getting stuck in lock 11 due to the walls shifting there as well. We will take Jannock back to Higher Poynton and leave her outside Alan’s house until we hear the flight is open again.

We came across another boat, well and truly stuck on an underwater obstruction. It seems the skipper had chosen the length of nice piling to moor against for lunch and had run aground trying to get to it. He didn’t want us to try and pull him free using the bow rope and so after two failed attempts to get him afloat using his stern rope, Graham took the bow rope and snatched his boat off of the obstruction.

We stopped at Higher Poynton bridge for a fill of water and then winded just after the flash and tied up outside Alan’s house. We then took a stroll down Anson road to visit the Anson engine museum. It’s a treasure trove of engines through the years, uses and technologies. The staff are so friendly that we got the benefit of their knowledge and even got a lift back to the boat at chucking out time by one of them.

Back at Jannock and nb Black Pig hove into view and then stopped for a chat. It appears that they were also in Bugsworth basin last night but had arrived just after we had finished our walk around and returned to the boat – shame!

Sorry – can’t find the pictures on the laptop, they must be at home.


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.