Saturday, July 07, 2018

And back to Brinklow

Saturday 7th July 2018

After a leisurely breakfast we approached the turn and lock, almost home.

The lockie information officer chatted as we worked the lock. This morning a hire boat from Braunston had been given a copy of every map that he had available! They had plans to go to Leicester, thing is they had gone the wrong way when they left the base and so they thought they could just “make a turn at another canal junction” to get back on track. Oooops, why would anyone set off on a canal journey without maps when they are new to the system. I wondered where they finally ended up.

Our plans are twarted ‘AGAIN’, by football. OK, England, World Cup and all that. We’ll not be able to fill with diesel and do a pumpout when we return to Brinklow marina as the ‘guys’ have better things to do apparently.

We may knock off early and go home rather than spend a hot sticky night having had no shade to bring the cabin temperature down from 30 degrees C at bedtime. When we moored up at our berth at 2pm, the cabin temperature was 31C and was sure to rise in this exposed location as the sun would be out for another 4 hours at least.

So – TOFFEE VODKA .  .  .  .  .    we decided to toast a good fortnight once home. We and neighbours all gave a shot a go and all found it to their taste – not unlike a thinner, less sweet ‘Baileys@ – recipe please?


Friday, July 06, 2018

We tackled Atherstone flight early.

Friday 6th July 2018

Birthday of the day – Irina in Spain.

Graham was up and cruising at 8am again today whilst I had extra time in bed before we reached the services at Grendon (Bradley Green) IMG_3646to dump the rubbish and refill the watertank. Graham wasn’t sure what these wispy things were in the sky as we’ve not seen anything like that since we started this trip.

We then set off up Atherstone flight, G riding the trusty lock wheeling bike for the first seven locks as they are quite spaced out. We finished the flight with the aid of 3 CaRT VoLockies at the top lock in exactly two hours. AscendingAtherstonePleased with that for a boat with 2 crew.

As we passed nb Mr Blue Sky today, we have decided that there are enough boats named after music to create a “Boaters’ collection of music to cruise by” which would have a varied playlist. NOT like Andy Williams’ “Music to watch girls by” – a different cruising!

We notice as we travelled along the Coventry canal that it was obvious, by the little coloured marks on the towpath bank, that CaRT (or their contractors) have been out surveying and identifying faults to fix and offside trees to trim or remove. There has also been much removing of growth either side of bridges for instance to allow the surveying to occur as well.BBQLunch A lot of work already done and a lot more scheduled for the winter no doubt.

We moored near Springwood Haven, under a large shady tree, and ‘shock horror’ – got out a disposable BBQ. We had a lunch of lamb steaks, corn on the cob, roasted peppers and cous cous salad (OK – leftovers). Mango, banana, apricots and jelly for dessert.

A couple of lads came by in an inflatable canoe (LALDLI last week I think). Graham noticed that they only had one oar and SmartOutboardremembered that we still had a wooden one in the engine bay that we found floating in the cut a couple of years ago. They were pleased to be offered it and accepted immediately. Graham noticed that they had an ingenious outboard (see picture) that consisted of a battery powered drill with a long shaft and a computer fan fitted to the end. When demonstrated it seemed to work very well. There are some young engineers out there – off to the pub it would seem.

We continued on after 3:30 and made our way down through Nuneaton and Bedworth before mooring for the night just before Hawksbury Junction. Graham decided it was better to stop before rather than risk going through the lock to find no space available on the moorings after.


Thursday, July 05, 2018

Onward down the Coventry canal

Thursday 5th July 2018

Wildlife of the day – Kingfisher ahead of us through Pooley country park.

Captain was up early and off! Crew stayed abed, claiming insect bites had prevented restfull sleep and she wasn’t wanted anyway. Bacon and egg sarnies were delivered to the steerer by 10am though ;^) On through the sunshine and the odd occurrence (for us) of being able to see both the sun and a half moon in the sky at the same time.AptlyNamed

Saw this aptly named day boat moored at Streethay wharf.

Why is it that some live aboard boaters have lovely gardens of well kept flowers and vegetables growing on their boats yet appear to live in filthy conditions themselves. With curtains in tatters and so much dirt that you could boil a kettle on the smoke and tar residue as well as rrisking lung disease from the moulds growing.

We moored up for a couple of hours under several large trees just before Fazely and sat out most of the midday heat on the towpath. At 2:30 we set off again and passed through the two locks at Glascote before pulling over to visit the Coop store there. It appears that we can only spend our fortune saved on our Coop divi card at stores North of Stone as the Glascote one is like Thame, a separate Coop group that doesn’t honour the Blue card. Oh well, next time I travel North for work I’ll be getting in all the Christmas booze from a store that does take the card.

CaRTLogoApproaching Alvecote we spotted this tyre floating in the canal and decided it must have been the inspiration for the new CaRT logo. After Alvecote we moved across to allow working boat Ling to pass in centre channel as he was travelling at speed heading North.

As we were passing Pooley Boat Services we were TradBoathailed by our friends Christine and Terry, from nb Grace, who were visiting their friends at the boat yard there. We stopped mid canal for quite and had a chat before continuing on.

We continued on and found the visitor moorings at Polesworth were not only empty of boats but also in the FALessonsshade from the sun due to the high trees on the opposite bank – result.

We went to the Little India restaurant (above the Bull Inn) for our evening meal, excellent food with an unusual and excellent selection of beers for an Indian. Brenda even ended up giving the head waiter flower arranging lessons as the delivery they had received did not sit in the vase very well.


Southbound on a mission

Wednesday 4th July 2018

Birthday of the day – Happy Birthday sister Julie

Wildlife of the day – a family steak & kidney sized Terrapin basking on a tree root.MonkeyPuzzleFlowers

Plant of the day – a Monkey Puzzle tree in flower – never seen that before.

Graffiti du jour – “No licence hike, No gentrification of the canals!” Oh, so when the licence price goes up it has nothing to do with the rising costs of maintenance then. It’s just a ploy to get less well off boaters off the system then. Perception – what’s that all about?ColwichQueue

We set off from Great Haywood just as a boat pulled out of the marina in front of us. We followed them through Gt Haywood lock and shortly afterwards arrived at Colwich lock where we were 5th in the queue to go down.

MooringRebrandAs we passed Spode Hall online moorings we noticed that CaRT appear to have rebranded their on-line moorings operation as well. There is a boat and a mooring on it, no ambiguous circles. Just does what it says on the tin! It can be done then? Any-one can see what this logo is about, we wonder if it was a buy-one, get one free offer. At least it’s clear what this one is unlike the sunken tyre.

Shopping stop at Rugely a restock of Jubblies, we’ve eaten a weeks supply from about two years ago in this weather ; Gin, the slippery slope and a reduced price beer kit – happy days.

We then continued on through Armitage, where we spotted this wonderful washingUnusualWashing line, onto Fradley where we passed down through the three locks and turned onto the Coventry canal (pedant bait) to fill with water and then look for an overnight mooring. No luck so we tried a bit further on but the sides were too shallow to get close in.

We finally moored up on a stretch of piling about half a mile south of the junction. It’s quite close to the A38 so ranks as our noisiest mooring this trip. We normally dine in when it’s hot but tonight we sat out in the foredeck, in the marginally cooler air, and eat on the cratch table avec Deet!

Graham & Brenda

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Plan Q is hatched and actioned.

Tuesday 3rd July 2018

An odd day, Graham was up at 6:30am to help our neighbours cast off for their trip back to Aston marina, they had a lunch appointment at a nearby Rose garden.  This was a trip that we were considering but cancelled when the Di Blasi was declared dead. Tony was still in his pyjamas as he set off, at least Graham was dressed for the occasion..

Graham drove the car back to Brinklow marina with a dead Di Blasi in the back, leaving Stone at 7:45 and taking just over RugbyStationtwo hours to get there. He had purchased a single train ticket from Rugby back to Stone on-line for seven of our English pounds (the prices for the single ticket varied from £7 to £42.30p depending on what time train you wanted to catch) and so needed to be at Rugby station for 12:30 for the 12:42 (cheap) train. Whilst asking Eric, at the marina, about the best Taxi company to call to get from Brinklow to Rugby station, he offered to take hime there in his own car. That is just one example of how friendly our fellow moorers are there.

CactusThe train took just over one hour to reach Stone, not quite the train trip we had planned last week but a train anyway. I spent the morning on Jannock doing various jobs, took a picture on nb Cactus CactusButtypulling a sparsely equipped butty shell up towards Star lock (I loved the butty steerers seating arrangement – not a lot of protection from the sun). I then went shopping in the town and walked up to meet Graham at the station.

A late lunch, paid for by me, was taken at The Poste of Stone, conveniently situated HooMillLockCottageat the end of Station Road, before returning to Jannock and setting off South at 3:45pm.

We travelled down through Aston, Sandon, Weston and Hoo Mill locks to moor up opposite Great Heywood marina at 7:30 pm. Time for a late tea and to catch up on the blog posting whilst listening to adjacent moorers cheering the England penalty goals in the World Cup match against Columbia.

Brenda & Graham

Monday, July 02, 2018

il Di Blasi e’ mort

Monday 2nd July 2018

We awoke, breakfasted and set off down through Trentham and it felt like going home. Odd since we haven’t actually been anywhere that we’d planned as a final MeefordLocksdestination for this trip.

All was fine and dandy, down through Barlaston and Meeford locks until we got to Stone, then time appeared to slow down as we joined a queue of 4 boats for the top lock. Every lock took an age, not helped by a boat-bobbing-breeze that made holding the boat whilst a lock was being filled very difficult.

StoneWe stopped at Stone Chandlers and Graham chucked 60 litres of diesel into Jannocks tank as he didn’t think we’d have enough to get us back to the marina. We had a late lunch of cornettos as proper lunchtime had long gone.

Down through Star lock and I held Jannock in a space on the 48 hour mooring next to the waterpoint whilst Graham went to see if there was a shadier space available further down. There was but by the time he’d let me know and then returned to keep the space another boat was about to pull in. Luckily they allowed Jannock in and continued up the line of moored boats on the promise of a 70 foot space available where I had just moved from. In our new mooring spot there was plenty of shade and it was close to the pre-postioned car.

IlfordGraham started investigating the Di Blasi as it had ceased running just as he returned to Jannock in Cheddleton a couple of days ago. Whilst working on it, he was approached by an old gentleman who said that he wanted to bring his boat up from Aston marina, to visit the Star that evening, and could he breast up to Jannock as there were no other spaces. Graham agreed and off he toddled. The Di Blasi was declared dead, no spark evident at the spark plug, and so another plan would have to be hatched to get both the boat and car back to Brinklow.

We were pleased to have a visit from, and share a beer with, Ian C ToffeeVodka(aka Norman the Narrowboater), it’s a pleasure to catch up with friends, always. We were then joined by Tony and Frances (nb Warwick) who breasted up, allegedly to visit the Star pub. After a beer or two, and Ian rushing off to his evening appointment, the chat continued on the towpath and it appeared that Tony’s pub visit idea had been abandonned. Finally we had to make our excuses and go inside Jannock for our late dinner. They gave us a bottle of Toffee Vodka which is claimed to be brewed to the standards of Student hygene – we’ll let you know. Then Tony went up the Star leaving Frances in the boat.

We heard him return later but we were preparing to retire for the night so the session was not resumed.


Sunday, July 01, 2018

Bye bye Caldon

Sunday 1st June 2018

Sun in our eyes woke us, Graham had his private sunbeam piercing through a gap in the rear slide whilst mine was coming through a roof vent – we must be pointing West then.

We set off and passed down through Engine lock to move into Milton where we stopped for a shopstop. You know you are a ‘special’ person when you hand over your Co-op divi card to use you credit rather than YogaPoocash to pay and the till operator is so impressed he shows the other staff the balance details on the card. It was the most they had ever seen available to spend on a card, the divi earnt from our pre-paid funeral plans that we purchased earlier in the year. “ Become famous, or a somebody, before you die! “ could be a slogan for a future Co-operative funeral plan advertisment.

Brenda spotted this sign on a wall in Milton that amused her.

On our approach to bridge 13 we noticed a heavily laden cherry tree on the offside, ripe for the picking. It was not on private property so we pulled over and helped ourselves to 1 3/4 lb of lovely cherries – no scurvy this trip!

CherryHaulAt Ivy House lift bridge there were too many boats on the moorings for our liking. Another stoppage at this bridge? CaRT had been called and apparently were on their way so we pulled over ready for a long wait. Immediately the first CaRT person arrived and used the ‘engineering’ panel in the equipment box to work the bridge. Then, as we passed through, a second person arrived to assist so no delays (apart from waiting for the two northbound boats to pass through) at all. Thanks ‘Sunday Call-out Men’ for your prompt response.

Dissapointment of the day week month, the Indian street food and sweets shop at Planet lock has closed. I hope it was because it was a success and bigger premises were needed!

We moored for a late lunch in the shade of the trees just after Bedford St staircase locks. NB Molly Rose passed by and Graham noticed the steerer had a snazzy hat retaining strap, windy days for the use of. We got talking to his wife and so they breasted up against us as they wanted the mooring for a couple of days once we hadTwyfordLock finished with it.

They are New Zealanders who visit for 5 months every summer to use their boat but are now selling nb Molly Rose because they want to move on to other things having done as much of the UK canal system as they have been able to do. We had a good chat and an un-ashamed Gongoozle as three hire boats tackled the staircase. No one got into peril and we just watched as they sorted themselves out. The most dissadvantaged were a Japanese crew who had difficulty benefitting from others advice as both their boating experience and language skills were very limited. All achieve safe passage and we had a lovely lunch stop. StokeBottomThankyou John & Diana (nb Molly Rose) I’ll be making some hat clips soon.

We moved onto the Etruria services for a waterfill and rubbish disposal, then followed two other boats down the Stoke flight only meeting one boat coming the other way. Graham used the bike so we had a fairly swift passage although we did catch up nb King Arthur at every lock.

We then went continued on to Trentham to moor for the night as Graham had booked us a table at the Toby Carvery for our Sunday dinner.