Thursday, 17 November 2011

An explanation.

A quick explanation of what has been happening with my blog. After the posting on the 11th of October we carried on through Great Hayward Junction to Rugeley and Fradley. At Fradley we could not get a mooring even at that time of year. So on we went to Alrewas where we stayed for two days. On the 21st of October we moored at Branston where we met Pamela, Nathan and Archie. While they were with us we took a trip down to Willington and back stopping ay the Millhouse at Clay Mills for a meal and a drink. The 26th of October saw us at Kedleston Hall for our last National Trust visit this season. That evening Pamela, Nathan and Archie went home and the next day means Marlene took a trip down to see Stephen and the boys. While there we went to see Tin Tin in 3D, I was surprised how good the 3D was. Returning to the boat on the 31st we move back to Barton Turns. Next day we went into Barton Marina for the winter. We were surprised that Mike and his wife on Molly Rose were no longer moored there. Where are you Mike, have you escaped. When I came to post this on the 2nd of November the iPad would not publish it. All I got was an error from Google. Not knowing what was wrong I contacted Google. Thankfully it is now cured, thank you Google. That just leaves me to thank all my followers and sign off until next season.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Shorter days, longer nights.

It seems that the nights have drawn in a lot this week, by six thirty it is getting dark. As a result the solars don't work as long and we are using more power. I surpose with the good weather we had last week it appears to have happened all at once. So as winter gets ever closer we get ever closer to our winter mooring. On Friday we left Coven Heath and moved on to Penkridge having stopped at Gailey to water up. Gailey was the first of six locks that would take us into Penkridge. At the side of the lock is a round tower that is the home of a craft and gift shop. Penkridge is a lovey little town and is a good place from which to visit Stafford. Taking this opportunity on Saturday we caught the 9-43 bus for the twenty minute journey into Stafford, returning to the boat for lunch. Sunday was a warmer day so we went for a walk over the fields finding paths to make it a curular walk taking about an hour. First thing Monday morning we did four and a half mile and four locks and moored near the village of Acton Trussell. This morning we only traveled two mile and one lock to Radford bank. From here you can walk into Stafford, which we propose to do tomorrow.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Unseasonable Weather.

First thing Monday morning we climbed the Tyrley flight of locks without any problems. Carried on past the moorings at Goldstone then couldn't find a suitable place to moor. Along most of the banks of the Shropshire Union is a ledge that prevents getting close in with the boat. We finally moored near bridge 47. While there I made the effort and painted some more of the roof. We arranged to have the engine serviced by a mobile engineer, we were to meet him at high bridge on Thursday. To check there was a good mooring we moved down there on Tuesday evening and found it was unsuitable, so we carried on to Norbury Junction for the night. Having over shot our meeting point we had to find another place to meet him. Wednesday was another warm and sunny day(we are doing well with the weather)so we did the two mile to Gnosall, then phoned the engineer to inform him of the change of venue. To our surprise he came that afternoon and did the service. So free to do what we liked on Thursday we decided to take the bus into Telford, now I know I shouldn't criticise places but Telford is just a large shopping centre surrounded by retail parks. In my defence Marlene and I thought we must have missed the town centre, however people we have asked about this say not, what we saw is what there is. Moving on on Friday after a walk along the old railway track at Gnosall we moored at bridge 25 before moving to Wheaton Aston for the weekend. More very warm weather caused us to have to call in the Hartley Arms after our walk, just to cool down. A warm day with a little more cloud on Sunday so our need for refreshment was not as great after our walk round the fields. At the start of yet another week(dosn't time fly by)we found a nice mooring where I could carry on with the painting without leaves blowing on it. This was just before Brewood,( pronounced Brood) but within walking distance of the village. In the afternoon a garden umbrella from the caravan site opposite blew into the canal. Attempts were made to retrieve it by its owners failed, in the end we untied the boat and with Marlene steering and me on the bow we drifted over and managed to hook it out with a boat hook lent to us by another couple. Staying a second day at this mooring we took a walk to a local reservoir to do a little bird watching, when we got the hides they were locked and a code was needed to unlock them,not knowing the code we left by a different path to discover you had to be members of a club to use these hides. Yesterday we moved down to the village moorings and had a night out in the bridge Inn. Today we came to the end of the Shropshire Union and turned left onto the Staffs and Worcester, it is windy and we are moored near Coven Heath. Once again we have an intenet conection, a rare occasion since my last posting. Today the unseasonable weather has come to an end, although it's bright it is cold and windy.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Magnet to the rescue.

Leaving Nantwich on Wednesday morning we went up the two locks at Hack Green. Near the locks is the Secret Nuclear Bunker With all the signs pointing to it, it is not a very well kept secret. It is of course a museum, we took Stephens boys there in 2009. On Wednesday we carried on and moored for the night between bridges 83 & 84. The following morning we cruised down to Audlum Locks. After the first two we moored and walked into the village before completing the other thirteen locks. We had a good day with most of the locks set ready for us. We moored for the night just before bridge 62, it was not a good mooring as a shelf stopped us getting right into the bank. Next morning we discovered that if we had gone past bridge 62 there was a proper mooring. Starting out on Friday morning our first task were the five locks at Adderley. With these behind us we moored two mile before Market Drayton, as is our habit we went for a walk. On our return I dropped the keys in the canal. We were locked out, our only hope was to try and fish them out with our magnet on a length of rope. It took some time but we were finally rewarded when our keys came up on the magnet. Lesson learned we now have a cork float on the key ring. Just a short run saw us in Market Drayton on Saturday morning where we filled up with diesel at the Talbot Wharf. As we arrived at Market Drayton we met an old work mate of mine(Dave Woodward)who we had last seen in Nantwich in 2009. Today we are still in Market Drayton, walking and relaxing. Tomorrow we tackle the five Tyrley locks a rise of 33ft.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Hire boaters?or Regular boaters?

As planned we spent the weekend at Wheelock. On Sunday we went for a walk along a dissused railway track. On Monday morning fully rested we Moved on to Middlewich it was a warm sunny day but still windy. We did the six mile and five locks, arriving at the left turn onto the Shropshire Union Middlewich Branch at two pm. After completing the turn and rising up Wardle lock we moored and had a late lunch. Staying at Middlewich till Wednesday we then carried on to the mooring at Church Minshull. At this point I discovered that my Vodaphone signal was none existent, which is why this post is my first since the tenth. Right where was I, yes we stayed at Church Minshull until Thursday evening, when after a walk through the village and back over the fields to rejoin the canal at bridge eleven then back to the boat at bridge fourteen we moved the short distance to moor near Aquaduct Marina. Leaving the mooring we came to the first of two locks that day. As we approached the lock gates opened for a boat to leave the lock, as we were very close we expected them to stay open for us to enter. We then witnessed the people closing the gates, I blew the horn but they ran to the other end and proceeded to refill the lock. It was quite clear that they had seen us but had no intension of waiting. When I challenged them about it they mumbled an unconvincing excuse. At the second lock that day the very opposite happened. Although the view from the lock was obstructed by a bridge the people checked before refilling the lock and waited for us to enter the lock. That is I suppose the difference between hire boaters and regular boaters. The first group were just on a booze cruise. At Barbridge Junction we turned right heading for Chester, however we were only going to the service point then turning round just above the Bunbury locks. This done we moored at Calveley. As I needed to buy my lottery ticket for the weekend I walked the mile into Bunbury village while Marlene did some baking. Bunbury village is in two parts and I had to ask where the shop was as it was in the far side of the village. We spent the weekend at Calveley and on Saturday we both walked into Bunbury for a drink and a sandwich at the Dysart Inn. Yesterday morning we went back through Barbridge Junction, mooring for lunch at Hurleston Junction( where the Llangollen Canal goes off)and took a walk round Hurls-ton Reservoir. Later in the afternoon we moved on to Nantwich where we are now moored for the night. This morning we walked into Nantwich in the rain for some shopping. We have decided to stay another night before moving on.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Damson Jam

First thing Tuesday morning we reversed Doublefracture to the corner where Marlene turned the boat in text book fashion. Heading back down the Macclesfield canal to the Trent and Mersey where we turned left and went down the three locks to the service point so we could water up and get rid of our rubbish.A further three locks and we arrived at Church Lawton where we stopped for the night. Our next mooring on Wednesday was at Rode Heath after another six locks. At one of the locks we met a lady selling jams and cheese scones for St Orman Street Hospital, we bought some scones. There was some nice walks round Rode Heath. On our Wednesday walk we found a damson tree. So on Thursday we went back and picked about 7lb of Damsons. On Friday we made jam, nine jars in all. This morning we left Rode Heath heading for Wheelock where we plan to spend the weekend. The weather took a turn for the better as we set off. After three days of cloud, wind and the odd shower, the sun finally came out. We arrived at lunch time after dropping down fourteen locks. Although the sun stayed out the wind caused Marlene some problems at the locks, but she coped.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

As planned we were moored back at Etruria around lunch time on Thursday. After lunch we went into the Etruria Industrial Museum for a look round. This was Jesse Shirley's Etruscan Bone and Flint Mill, grinding bone and Flint for the pottery industry. Bone for bone china and Flint for earthen ware. The flint first had to be roasted (or calcined)to make it easier to grind. It was an interesting afternoon the highlight being the 1820 beam engine that powered the machinery. That afternoon they were running it for a test so we saw it working, normally it only runs on a weekend and bank holidays.
Come Friday morning we move on to Westport Lake, the morning was bright with a little cloud around midday. In the afternoon we walked into Tunstall the nearest town so Marlene could have her cut. Saturday we stayed at the lake walking and generally relaxing. This morning we took the short trip to the Harecastle Tunnel, after about half an hour it was our turn to go through there were four boats going through we were third in line. We have done the tunnel twice before but this morning it seemed to take forever, in reality it took 40 minutes. Now we are moored at the start of the Macclesfield Canal, a mooring we like, having moored here twice before. It is interesting as the Macclesfield Canal goes over the Trent and Mersey at this point. We aim to stay here a couple of nights and do some walking, before dropping back down to the Trent and Mersey and on to Middlewich.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Froghall community day.

After a sunny start to the day the showers finally arrived Wednesday evening. By this time we were moored for the night at the start of the Leek Branch of the Caldon. Before the showers hit us we had walked down the locks on the main line of the Caldon which drop the canal
25ft 10ins from Hazelhurst Junction to take it under the Leek Branch on it's way to Froghall. Passing under the aqueduct which carries the Leek Branch we came to the Holly Bush pub where we were to meet Pamela , Nathan and Archie on Friday evening. Carrying on passed the pub we walked as far as the Deep Hayes Country Park before turning back to retrace our steps to the aqueduct only this time we climbed the steps and returned to the boat along the Leek Branch. The morning of Thursday saw us complete the two and a half mile down this very picturesque branch of the canal to moor at it's terminus just outside Leek. We didn't actually find the town centre but did some shopping at the local Morrisons. While there I spent a short time talking to one of the men that crew the narrow boat Beatrice which gives needy and disabled children a chance to experience the canals.
Heavy showers greeted us on Friday morning, however we had to travel back to Hazelhurst Junction then down the locks to the Holly Bush pub. The wettest part of the trip was while we were descending the locks. In the evening our quests arrived leaving their car in the pub car park for the weekend, this was by arrangement with the landlord and included booking a table for our return on Monday afternoon. Cruising down to Froghall on Saturday was a damp affair due to short sharp showers, but we finally moored for the night just before the Froghall tunnel. This tunnel is only about five foot high and at the last lock before the tunnel you go under a gage to see if you can pass through it. We failed mainly because of the boxes on top of the boat, although the cratch and the solar panels my have been a little wide.
Sunday was the day of the Froghall Community Day a fund raising event for the Caldon and Uttoxeter Canal Trust and the Beatrice Charity. It was a small but interesting event. Afterwards we walked down to the Churnet Valley Railway where Nathan and Archie went for a ride on the steam train. Around three o clock we started back up the canal on the return leg of our journey. At Consall Forge I took some photo's of doublefracture passing the Black Lion pub, this is the pub on one of our place mats. Unfortunately we missed getting the train in the photo like the place mat. We stopped at Cheddleton to look round the Flint Mill on Monday morning having moored for the night at Wood's Lock. Alas the mill wasn't open that day. Once again it was a showery day when we arrived back at the Holly bush where we moored than had a pleasant meal before Pamela, Nathan and Archie went home.
After a pleasant but showery bank holiday Marlene and I left the Holly Bush one Tuesday morning we climbed the Hazelhurst locks in rain before mooring at Park Lane for lunch, then down the Stockton Brook flight and mooring for the night just below Engine lock.
Today was washing day so we are still at the same mooring for tonight. Tomorrow we will arrive back at Etruria, after that, well that will be the subject of my next posting.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A bad start to the Caldon.

Well so much for not getting a signal down the Caldon canal, I have a better signal than normal. Anyhow, we had rather a bad start on Monday morning. I went up to the staircase lock while Marlene came round in the boat. It seemed to take ages before she arrived. When the boat came up level on the first part of the lock Marlene said there was no power in the engine. I decided to look in the weed hatch, low and behold I found a cushion rapped around the propeller. We continued into the second part of the lock,coming out at the top we still had little power in the engine, back in the weed hatch. This time I found a green plastic sack rapped round the propeller.
Finally we were on our way, the first five mile is through the urban sprawl but then we came into lovely countryside between Milton and engine lock,so we moored for the night.
We didn't expect to move this morning, as the forecast was for heavy rain. Infact it is warm and sunny so we travelled up engine lock through two lift bridges and then up the five locks of the Stckton Brook flight a rise of 41ft 1pm. We are now moored in open country near the Stoke on Trent Boat Club. Just before we got here there was an obstruction in the middle of the canal, which looked a bit like a mini roundabout, wiered.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Westport Lake.

The morning of Tuesday the16th Aug saw us leave Stone heading for the Couldon Canal. Climbing the Meaford flight of locks (32ft 5ins) we reached Barlaston where we stopped to have a look round and visit the shop. We were surprised to see that the local train station was closed and in it's place a replacement bus service. Mooring just out of the village for the night we relaxed and watched the geese fly in and out of the fields opposite. Wednesday arrived warm and sunny so we stayed where we were and painted some more of the roof.
We left the peace and quiet on Thursday morning up the 11ft 11 ins Trentham lock heading for Stoke on Trent. This is not the most picturesque stretch of canal but we finally arrived at the bottom of the Stoke locks. On arrival we were behind two more boats, it appeared the elderly chap in the first boat was on his own and needed help through the locks, so he waited for another boat to come along. So for the five Stoke locks we helped him through between us. After two of the five we were caught up by another boat, the man on this boat was not amused and said he should not be on the canal if he couldn't do the locks on his own. As the old chap had lost his wife and still needed to live on his boat, a little tolerance is not a lot to ask surely, after all none of us are in a hurry, are we?
Right having got that off my chest let's carry on. At the top of the Stoke flight the Couldon Canal goes off to the right, however we decided to go past the junction and on to Westport lake a small oasis in the urban sproal that is Stoke. Going up to the Harecastle Tunnel on Friday we watered up the turned the boat (i must admit I made a mess of it the first atempt) and returned to the lake for a second night.
Today we are heading back to the Coulden Canal, we are told that phone signals are hard to come bye down the Coulded so it may be some time before my next posting.

Monday, 15 August 2011

A mini cruise for Stephen.and the boys.

Well the weekend in Ripon lasted till Thursday, then Richard drove us back to the boat. On arrival he then went up to Stone to collect Stephen and his three boys, they were coming till Sunday evening. While we were at Richards,Gill got stung by a wasp and her arm swelled up and was quite painful. Then low add behold on our way up to Weston upon Trent Marlene was stung on her hand, that was on Friday.
On Saturday we went on to Stone where we moored above the lock by the Star Inn. I think everybody must have decided to visit Stone. As I have never seen it so busy. Sunday we stayed in where we were and the boys played cricket until it was time to go to the Star for lunch,Stephen very kindly treated us all. After lunch we went up three locks so we were moored near the railway station. The weekend was over far too soon, they left on the 20-06 from Stone, it would be very late before they got home.
Today I had to take Marlene to the doctors as her hand was badly swollen, the cream we bought at the chemist didn't seem to be working. So Marlene is on antibiotics just like Gill was. These wasps have a lot to answer for.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Towpath Biirthday Tea.

While on the mooring at Alrewas we were joined by Maid of Oak the narrowboat belonging to Julie and Peter from the Taft(although peter wasn't there, Arthur was crewing for Julie) Peter came later to take Julie and Arthur for a meal.Julie was a founder member of the Boaters Christian Fellowship, which Marlene and me are members of. As I sat reading, Julie came and invited us to tea and cake on the towpath. We took our chairs and joined Julie and Arthur and two other members of the BCF at the appointed time. When Julie brought out the cake it had candles on and she announced it was her birthday. It was a pleasant two hours chatting and celebrating Julie's birthday.
Next morning we left Alrewas and went up to Fradley junction. It was the usual chaos at Fradley so we watered up and carried on to Woodend lock where we spent a peaceful night in the country. That was Tuesday on Wednesday we moved on to Rugeley did some shopping and moored for the night. On the way up we had trouble with the bolts we had had replaced,once again they had sheared off.Next morning we moved before breakfast as rain was threatened, a brief stop for breakfast at Taft bridge then on to Great Haywood and Shugborough Hall. Just as we were mooring up the rain finally arrived.
Brighter weather on Friday was very welcome as we were meeting Pamela,Nathan and Archie for a Picnic at Shugborough Hall and farm. It was a lovely day out and the weather held warm and sunny all day. Saturday morning Richard, Gill and Duncan came and picked us up for a weekend at there home in Ripon North Yorkshire.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Another two week gone.

Since my last post on the 17th(or was that the 16th)we have been down to Shobnal Marina to have the bracket fixed. It took Andy an hour to remove the old bolts and raplace them with new ones.
This stretch of the Trent and Mersy was starting to get busy with boats gathering for the IWA Festival at Burton on Trent. We left the Marina and headed back to one of our favourite moorings at Branston. While there we took a walk round the water park and watched the birds.
Moving on we moored at Barton Turns while we visited Pamela's for a birthday party for Nathan and Arcchie who's birthdays are close together. Returning to the boat we have been relaxing and going nowhere much. We are now moored at Alrewas on a 14 day mooring waiting for the festival traffic to calm down. Over the weekend we were talking to one of our readers who were walking along the towpath. It is always nice to meet people who read the blog, so thanks for stopping for a chat. Still can't upload pictures, sorry.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

What a difference a week makes.

It is a week since my last post and the weather is a lot different. Last Sunday I was painting the roof of the boat in sunshine. Today I am watching the rain come down in buckets. We stayed at Penkridge till Monday morning, then we moved on to Acton Trussel. On the way there we called into a boatyard for then to look at a bracket that had come loose, infact the bolts had sheared off. The rest of the brackets were still holding it but I thought I should let someone look at it. As it was they couldn't fix it and recommended that I take it to Shobnal Marina in Burton on Trent. On Tuesday we moved to Rockford Bank the nearest mooring to Stafford where we had an appointment at the bank on Wednesday. It was nice and sunny Wednesday morning so we walked the mile and a half into Stafford,after doing some shopping we presented ourselves at the bank at the appropriate time. It took two hours to get everything sorted out,we were gagging for a warm drink. While in Stafford we visited Vodaphone and up graded the dongle to an iPad this has made it a lot better to get on the Internet . Returning to the boat (by bus) we moved on to Tixel wide where we moored for the night. Tixel wide is a place where I assume the canal at one time broke it's bank and flooded, it is now a very pleasant place to moor. Passing. Through Great Hayward Junction on Thursday we carried on passed Shugborough Hall until finally mooring at Rugeley for the night. Friday we carried on heading for Fradley Junction where we were going to stop for the night, however when we got.there all the moorings were full so we carried on to Alrewas. Today we are hoping to go to the Alrewas Show if this rain ever stops, or even slows down. There are no pictures today as I am not sure how to upload photo's from the iPad.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Very Heavy Rain.

Before I start this post I must tell you about something I forgot in my last posting. Coming up the Staffs and Worcester we kept seeing faces on trees and posts. Some body had been very busy.Slipping our mooring early we moved back down to Autherley Junction and watered up while we had breakfast, well that was the plan. In the end we had had breakfast and both of us showered and still the water tank wasn't full. After an hour and a half it finally filled to the top.It was quite a nice morning so we passed through the stop lock and turned left onto the Staffs and Worcester canal. At about 12-o-clock the heavens opened and we moored where we were, even so we both got very wet. The weather never really got much better so we stayed where we were for the night.
Next morning the rain had passed, leaving our mooring just north of Coven Heath. After four and a half hours we moored at Penkridge a lovely little town not far from Stafford. Walking down town to do some shopping we once again got caught in heavy rain but it was short lived. Today I replaced some tiles that had dropped of round the wood burner.Later we took the bus into Stafford and made an appointment at the bank for Wednesday to review our accounts.At lunch time we had a meal and a pint(or two) at Weatherspoons. The pub used to be a cinema and still has the tiered seating areas and the bar is where the screen used to be.Today's pictures are some tree and post faces and Autherley Junction.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Another National Trust House.

Leaving Kinver on Thursday morning we did 10 locks plus a 2 lock staircase. This brought us to Wombourne, we moored at the visitor mooring for the night. On Friday morning we arrived at Bratch locks, Not a staircase but very similar. I emptied the first of the 3 locks, that was my big mistake the lock keeper was not impressed as there were two boats on thier way down. I went back to Marlene and moored the boat to wait. When the two boats cleared the bottom lock it was our turn to go up.
I will try and explain the way these locks work,if I can. Each lock has a top and bottom gate but between the top of one and the bottom of the next is just enough space to open the gates. You then have blue paddles which allow the water to go sideways into a side pound when you empty the lock above with the red paddles. Then when you need the water to refill the lock the water is retrieved from the side pound. when you get to the top lock it is just the same as a normal lock. That may seem very complicated but when the lock keeper shows you how it works it is simple. We moored at Wightwick where we were meeting Pamela and Archie who were coming for the weekend.
On Saturday we all visited Wightwick Manor(National Trust)which has some lovely gardens. In the evening we went to the Mermaid Inn for a meal which was great. After a quiet morning we walked to the nearby locks so Archie could see the boats come through and help with the gates,then Pamela and Archie went home.
Moving a short distance to Compton we moored so we could find a doctors, our three month prescriptions were running out. While Marlene did some washing I found a surgery and made an appointment for 8-45am Tuesday for us both to see a doctor for a new prescription.
Up early Tuesday we kept our appointments then Marlene went for her hair cutting while I took the new prescriptions to the chemist to be filled. Today we left Compton after queueing at the lock,Then in very heavy rain made our way to Autherley Junction where we turned left through the stop lock onto the Shropshire Union canal. We only travelled to bridge five then we turned round and moored for the night.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

On to the Staffs and Worcester Canal.

It was a hot Sunday as we started up the River Seven, we had dropped down the Diglis locks with NB Conisborough. It took us five hours to complete the 12 mile and 3 locks to Stourport on Seven. The 3 locks were operated by BW lock keepers. We decided to moor for the night on the river,we would lock into the Basin in the morning. Getting up on Monday I noticed the river was flowing rather fast,after breakfast I set the first two locks(the first of two, two lock staircases)while Marlene brought Doublefracture round from the mooring turning into the lock against the flow. Going through the basin we then locked up onto the Staffs and Worcester canal. Travelling out of Stourport into the country and moored for the rest of the day.
On Tuesday morning we cruised into Kidderminster to do some shopping before travelling on to Wolverley mooring just above the lock. Wolverley is a quaint little village with one house built into the rock. A visit to ST John the Baptist Church was a real pleasure, the brick built church was above the village.
This morning we moved on to Kinver another nice village with a good high street, unfortunately a lot of the shops were closed, half day.Along this stretch of canal there have been some lovely rock sides to some locks(see Photo's). The other two pictures are Stourport Basin and Wolverley village.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

A pair of National Trust Houses.

It was warm and sunny on Tuesday morning,so at 9-30am we started to descend the 30 locks of the Tardebigge flight. By 1-30pm we had arrived at the bottom lock a descent of 217ft. We moored for the night and went for a short walk before our evening meal.
The weather was still warm and sunny on Wednesday morning when we did a further 12 locks dropping another 84ft. Mooring at the bottom of the 12th lock we had lunch then walked across the fields to Hanbury hall a National Trust house. Like all the houses we have visited it was a nice afternoon out, the gardens were beautiful(see photo's).Before mooring for the night we moved on passing the entrance to the Droitwich canal then mooring just past bridge 34.
First thing Thursday morning I tightened the belt on the engine as it had been making a slapping noise. After an early morning shower the day was cloudy but warm,so we moved on through the 230yrd Dunhampstead tunnel to the visitor mooring at Tibberton. Arriving there I regognized it as the place we had had a picnic at the side of the canal on our way back from Cornwall a few years before.
On Friday we passed under the M5 motorway and down the Offerton Flight of 6 locks(a 42ft drop) and entered the outskirts of Worcester, stopping at bridge 10 to do some urgently needed shopping. We then went into Worcester and moored at the Commandery. This building used to be a hospital founded by Bishop Wulstan in 1085. It also served as Charles 11s headquarters before the battle of Worcester in 1651.
Today we visited Greyfriars another National Trust property, then later we Visited the Cathedral and climbed the 325 steps to the top of the tower, the view was magnificent. We are staying by the Commandery for a second night, then dropping down the 2 locks at Diglis Basin on to the River Seven. As well as pictures of where we have been I have added a couple of pictures of flowers from our roof garden.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Cadbury World.

As we were having breakfast on Thursday morming we were passed by Best of Mates,owned by Jennifer and Graham who we see quite often on our travels. Leaving Birmingham we cruised back to Kings Norton Junction. At the junction we headed toward Worcester. Just short of a mile from Kings Norton we came to Wast Hill Tunnel a two way tunnel at a length of 2726yds,it was wet inside. Mooring at Hopwood we waited for Pamela,Nathan and Archie to arrive on Friday evening. On Saturday we all went to Cadbury World, as we presented our tickets we were given a Crunshie and a Curlywurly each. Later as we passed through the History of chocolate and Cadbury we entered the packing area and recieved a bar of Dairy Milk. It was a great day out with even more chocolate than I have mentioned, some in warm liquid form. At the end of the tour you arrive at the shop where you are tempted to buy more chocolate. On Saturday evening we had a meal at the Hopwood house Inn which was next to the mooring. On Sunday morning we cruised down the canal to Alverchurch where we did some shopping before returning to Hopwood so our visitors could collect their car and return home. This morning we left Hopwood after turning the boat and once again cruised pest Alverchurch then through two more tunnels,one 613yds long and the second 580yds. I am writing this moored at the top of Tardebrigge locks(all 30 of them) ready to decend in the morning.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Trouble with the blog.

Since I wrote my last posting last Friday I have been unable to publish it. This evening I got in touch with son Stephen who got it published. On Saturday we moved on to Kingswood Junction. We didn't move on Sunday due to heavy rain. First thing Monday morning we started up the Lapworth Flight 19 locks in the day mooring for the night at Hockley Heath. We finally found a hardware shop so I bought sand paper and paint and we did some work. Yesterday we moored opposite Lyons boatyard near bridge three. Thinking we would have a night out we went to the Horseshoe pub, big mistake we had a quick pint and returned to the boat. Must be the shortest night out in history. Today we traveled Gas Street in Birmingham calling at Cadbury World to book for Saturday.Pictures taken in Gas Street.

Friday, 10 June 2011

An unexpected swim.

Yes, I know it's the 10th June not the 1st, but on our return to Warwick we decided to leave the boat for a week in the Saltisford Arm while we went up to Yorkshire to visit Mother. If you are near Warwick any time and need to leave your boat, there is no better place. You get the first night free then £4 a night for the rest of your stay. The manager of the moorings is a very pleasant man who is always willing to help.
In the week we were away with our Granddaughter two things happened, while moored at Long Itchington we were passed by the old working boat President and its butty Kildare. The second thing was Marlene got the hang of moving up the locks as a pair while going up Stockton Locks with the narrow boat More Contented See Pictures.

So yesterday we left the mooring and set off up the Hatton Flight of 21 locks. We were lucky and joined up with Sue & Barry on their boat As It Comes, they had already done two locks at the Cape. All went well, then at about the half way point Marlene slipped while leaving the lock and fell of the back of the boat. Barry taken by surprise managed to get both boats to the side,not an easy task. Mean while Marlene swam to the bank where she was helped out by some BW workmen who were working at the lock, this was lucky as it took me some time to get round from the other side of the lock.
Shaken but other wise unharmed we got her back on board for a shower followed by a nice cop of tea, good old tea. Myself, Sue and Barry then carried on up the locks. after about three more locks Marlene rejoined us for the final push to the top. My thanks to every body who helped and for the patience of the other boaters coming down the flight while we got sorted out.
Once at the top Marlene and I stopped for lunch while Sue and Barry carried on. We caught up with them at Turners Green Bridge where we all moored for the Night.
Today we are having a quiet day while Marlene gets over her ordeal.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

A visitor from Ripon.

On Monday morning we turned the boat at the winding hole near the Bridge Inn and headed back toward Warwick. After dropping down the three Calcutt Locks we moored at bridge twenty. Then after lunch we walked into the village of Stockton, on the way back we found a footpath so we did not have to return via the road. Next morning we descended the ten locks of the Stockton Flight and moored once again at long Itchington. Wednesday we did a car boot, starting at 12-o-clock. We caused a bit of amusement as we have no car we arrived on foot with all our gear in two trolleys and a rucksack. It was warm and sunny as it had been for some time now,then at 1-45 the heavens opened. Packing everything quickly we returned to the boat, very wet.
Our son Richard was cycling down from Ripon to join us for a couple of days. Due to a few miss directions he did not arrive until 10pm.The next day he should have gone on to Stephens near Reading, Instead he stayed with us until this morning. We did nothing much on Thursday and Friday,apart from Marlene having her hair trimmed.
This morning we waved goodbye to Richard then left to go down ten locks before mooring on the outskirts of Leamington Spar. We are staying here until Tuesday when we will go into Warwick. Then on Wednesday we are meeting our Granddaughter. In the following week we will be repeating the journey we have just done. With that in mind my next blog will be after Wednesday the first of June, Don't want to bore you all.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

A sad end to an old boat.

This week has flown by, Last Monday we moored outside the Blue Lias Inn where we had a lovely meal and a few drinks to celebrate Marlene's birthday. On Tuesday morning we ascended the remaining eight locks of the Stockton Flight. In the evening we moored at Napton Junction and had a visit from a pair of ducks that nearly came in the boat. Wednesday we stayed at Napton and walked into the village. Going we took a footpath over the hill, then we returned to Doublefracture along the towpath from Napton Locks.We left Napton on Thursday morning heading for Braunston. About a mile from Braunston we past the sad remains of an old wooden working boat which had been there last year when we passed. Looks like British Waterways doesn't move them very quickly. At Braunston we moored opposite the Boathouse Inn. On Friday we walked into Braunston village
Saturday morning we took the bus into Daventry to do some shopping.Returning to the boat at 12-30 we went to the next winding hole and turned round starting back to Napton. Arriving at Napton Narrow boats we backed in for diesel. In stead of being able to declare my own split we were told that the price was £1-22 a litre. At a 40-60 split this would make diesel for propulsion higher priced than road diesel. Mooring just past the marina we walked to a nursery and cafe where we bought some plants and had a cream tea.
We are staying at Napton for Saturday night and Sunday.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Marlene's Birthday.

On Friday we stayed moored where we were and walked in to Long Itchington. A notice on the village notice board asked people to collect two litre plastic pop bottles so they could use them to build a greenhouse(an interesting project). Coming back a different way we arrived at the Two Boats a canal side pub. After refreshments we returned to the boat. Early Saturday morning we moved up to the moorings next to the Two Boats, this is just below the Stockton Flight of locks. Moving this short distance I got quite wet, this was the first time we had had rain for some time. Mid morning the rain stopped and once again we walked into the village Calling as you do to try another of the five pubs this small village has. A quiet Sunday with the papers and rugby on the television brings us to today, Marlene's Birthday. We are leaving Long Itchington to go up the first two locks to moor at The Blue Lias Inn, where this evening we will celebrate Marlene's birthday with a meal and a few drinks.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Big Drop.

On the 1st may we moved to the top of Hatton Locks,however, we decided to descend the locks on the Monday. Leaving our mooring at 9.30 we started the big drop of 146ft 6in in 21 locks. We had hoped to pair up with another boat, but alas there was no one around. All went well with boats coming up the locks which means the locks we were coming to next were full and ready for us. Finally five locks from the bottom we caught up with a couple who had stopped for coffee. Sharing the last five helped us to reach the bottom in three and a half hours. We did two more locks with this couple and stopped for lunch on the edge of Warwick. After Lunch we carried on to Leamington Spa where we moored for the night.
Next morning we woke up to alot of crashing and banging from what I assume was a scrapyard at the other side of the towpath fence. Before moving on we had a walk round Leamington Spa. It is a nice town with some nice parks, on the other hand it has some rather seedy parts. Later we moved to a mooring near the village of Radford Semele a few mile from the centre of Leamington. Staying here on Wednesday we took a walk along the Offchurch Green Way,a quiet walk along a disused railway.
Today we are moored a mile from the village of Long Itchington where we plan to moor for the weekend. To get here we did ten locks with the last two a staircase, this means the top gate of the first lock is the bottom gate of the top lock.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Return to Kingswood Junction.

Eleven locks were climbed in an hour and a half. Two of the pounds had to be filled before we could get through. If this dry spell lasts I can see lots of problems on the system. That evening(Wednesday)after a further eight locks we were moored at Lowsonford where we went for a meal at the Fleur-de-Lys public house. Their speciality is pies, which were very nice, however some of the food was a little disappointing.
Next morning we set off on the final leg of our journey back to Kingswood Junction. On the way up the locks at Preston Baggot we were surprised to see a car up a tree(see photo)also at this lock the lockside cottage which dated from 1810 had been extended in 1989 to make a fair sized dwelling. Arriving at lunch time we had something to eat then went in Pamela and Nathans car to Packwood House another National Trust property. It was a sunny day with a slight breeze which made walking round the grounds very pleasant. The house is a late 16th century Tudor building. On our return to the boat Pamela, Nathan and Archie left for home after a lovely week. Marlene and I stayed at bridge 65 until this morning having watched the Royal Wedding yesterday. I was surprised that the power lasted as well as it did with the daytime viewing, The sun and the solar panels did well. we are now heading for the 21 locks of the Hatton Flight and Warwick.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Shakespeare Country.

Mooring near bridge 65 near the Navigation Inn on Friday morning we waited for Pamela, Nathan and Archie to arrive. Pamela and Nathan were leaving Archie and the dogs while they went to see Katie Melua in Sheffield.
On their return on Saturday lunch time we all had a meal at the pub then walked to the National Trust house at Baddesley Clinton. While there we went on a Easter Egg Hunt. Leaving early Sunday morning we did seven locks on the Stratford-on-Avon canal before stopping for breakfast. Carrying on we did another eleven locks then moored at Wootton Wawen for the night. After a cup of tea we had a look round the near by craft centre.
Easter Monday we completed the trip down to Stratford doing a further seventeen locks, arriving at three o'clock. We found a place to moor in Bancroft Basin in the centre of town. Stratford was in tourist mode with street entertainers in the park. The weather was hot and sunny,it could'nt have been better. This morning we walked round town then went to a play ground for Archie to have a play. After lunch we left the basin and started our trip back. Our plan was to moor at Wilmcote for the night(the home of Shakespeare's mother Mary Arden) and go for a meal to celebrate Pamela and Nathans Anniversary. Unfortunately things didn't go to plan so we are moored for the night at the bottom of Wilmcote locks. So in the morning we will start the day with a climb of 77ft 1in in eleven locks.
Then hopefully we will have a delayed celebration tomorrow evening. Pictures are a typical lockside cottage on the Statford Canal and Doublefracture moored in Bancroft Basin.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Knowle and Knowle Locks.

After our long haul round Birmingham we had a quiet day at Catherine De Barnes. In the morning we took a walk round the village, that did not take long as it is a very small village but very pleasant. Shopping was the order of the day on Wednesday. Mooring near bridge 72 we walked into Knowle, a lovely little market town. Unfortunately the only supermarket was a Tesco Metro,not as cheap as the larger Tesco's. The mooring was very rural but just to the side of the flightpath to Birmingham Airport.The weather this week has been perfect, warm and sunny.
Today we moved on collecting some gas from the Stephen Goldsborough Boats at the top of Knowle locks. then descended the five locks, a drop of 41ft 10ns. Knowle locks are two boats wide and we were lucky to be joined by Andrew, Nicola and their two girls Alice and Emma in their boat Moonlight. On wide locks life is much easier when you can share the lock with another crew. At the bottom of the locks we stopped for water while they went on to the Herons Nest at bridge 70. Before setting out this morning I decided to give myself a number 4 hair cut,however I forgot to put on the plastic number 4 comb, so the first two cuts nearly scalped me. Now I have a bald patch over my right ear. Photo's are last nights sunset and my haircut mistake.

Monday, 18 April 2011

On the Rise

Setting off on Sunday morning we started the first of Seven Locks and one tunnel. With the tree from Friday we have gone up 76ft 4ins. Mooring at Wiggins Hill Bridge for the Night we prepared to go round Birmingham first thing this Morning.
Eight thirty saw us on the move, it was going to be a long day. In the first two mile we went up three locks,then three mile on we turned left at Salford Junction taking us under the M6. This took us from the Birmingham and Fazeley canal onto the Grand Union canal. Five more locks brought us to Bordesley Junction and the six locks of the Camp hill Flight These eleven locks lifted us a further 76ft 4ins. At the top lock is a very nice service point where we filled up with water and had lunch. Thee next two and a half hours were spent cruising through the suburbs of Birmingham, very depressing, the canal full of junk. We finally arrived at the village of Catherine de Barnes where we moored for the night. Surprisingly I have a very good internet signal 3G+ long may it last.The pictures are Salford Junction and The service point.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Turn Right at Fazeley.

Starting off Wednessday morning we cruised down to Wittington where we walked over to the post office to send off a parcel. After lunch we carried on to Hopwas. This is all familiar ground we have cruised before, normally we would call for a drink at the Tame Otter, However I have not been well for a few days so I'm off the drink till i recover. Stopping at Sutton Road bridge on Thursday morning and walked to a retail park on the edge of Tamworth to do some shopping,I'd been told about this by a woman we met at Rugeley. Stocked up again we went on to Fazeley Junction where we turned right onto the Birmingham to Fazeley Canal, this is new ground for us.
Just after turning you pass Drayton Manor Leisure Park and Zoo. That night we moored at Drayton Brick Bridge, opposite some old Gravel Pits. Having had no locks since Fradley we had three on Friday, this brought us to the Dog in a Doublet where we moored last night.
A bright and sunny start this morning so we took a walk round Kingsbury Water Park, another set of flooded gravel pits. Feeling better we called at the pub for a lunch time pint, first for a week.Pictures are Mooring and a sign next to the field at the side of the pub, seems a bit of over kill as all it says is Dog field.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Connection problems still.

Still having problems getting online. On the first of April we left the boat at Wolseley Bridge and took the bus to Lichfield then on to Birmingham where we caught the Train to Theale(which is near Reading) then took the bus to our son Stephens.
We spent a few days with him and the boys then went into London and took our trip on the London Eye which our daughter Pamela gave us for Christmas. This was on the fith of April,our 42nd Wedding Anniversary. We stayed the night in London before returning to Doublefracture on the 6th.
On our way to Fradley Junction we moored just above Kings Bromley marina where we met Marie and Ray. Arriving at Fradly on Friday we moored and waited for the arrivAl of our other son Richard and his wife Gill and little Duncan. Sunday morning we cruised down to Alrewas to turn round then back to Fradly, in the evening they went home and we stayed over night. Yesterday we moved down the Coventry Canal to bridge 90 where we moored for the night.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Where did March go.

Well it's nearly a month since my last offering, what with the work on the boat and not being able to get online the month has just gone. Can I start by saying good luck to the couple who sent me the comment and who are just starting out on their journey and blog, good look may see you on the cut.
Right we returned to Doublefracture after the new shower, which looks great. Olso with us on our return were Pamela and Archie. They spent the week with us. Leaving the Marina at Shobnal we stopped our first night at Branston, then went up through Alrewas and Fradley, finally mooring at Great Hayward on the Thursday. We stopped on route at a nature Reserve at Wolseley Bridge, great for children. On Friday we spent the day at Shugborough Hall the former home of Lord Lichfield. The farm and little train ride for Archie and the Hall for us grown ups it was a perfect day out, even the weather was good.
Our final destination for the week was Stone on Saturday(yes Dave we went for a drink in the Star). So on Sunday Nathan came for Pamela and Archie and we stayed another night in Stone before Heading back the way we came. We moored at Weston upon Trent on Tuesday night and are now back at Great Haywood. Hopefully I should have better luck getting online from now on. Pictures were taken At Wolseley Bridge Nature reserve.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Time for an oil change.

We arrived back at the boat on Sunday night as planned. On Monday morning we turned the boat and headed back toward Burton on Trent.The weather was bright,sunny and quite warm. While I steered the boat Marlene caught up with the washing. Making good time through Aston Lock then up through Weston Lock. By lunch time we were moored near bridge nine and the washing was out drying. For the rest of the day we relaxed in the sun. It feels good to be on the move again.
This morning was very frosty, however by ten o clock the sun was quite warm again,just a bit chilly to your hands and face, As we cruised along we could see all the small birds, including some Longtail Tits. At Swarkestone lock we past the boat (Best of Mates) of some friends we have met a few times since we first met them in 2005. Further on a British Waterways crew were working on a bridge wall that looked as though it had been hit by a lorry. Once again we were moored up by lunch time. After lunch I changed the Engine oil and oil filter. While Marlene did some baking(a carrot cake) I took the boat the short distance to the moorings at Willington where we are now moored for the night. Pictures are A frosty Morning And Weston Church.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Start of season three.

On Tuesday first of March at 10 o clock we left our winter mooring at Barton Marina for the start of our third season cruising the canals. We turned left and headed down the Trent and Mersey heading for Shardlow. First though we stopped at the mooring near Morrisons supermarket to do some shopping. on the way down we had collected some wood for the stove so that evening I cut it into pieces and stored it on the top of the boat. I then set up the satellite dish and settled down for the night.
Next morning we didn't wake up till a quarter to nine, but who cares. We took a steady run down to Willington where we were mooring for the night. After a walk we put on our glad rags and went to the Greenman for a meal and a few pints. The meal was rather large, when he placed it in front of Marlene he wished her luck. It was a good night out.
Thursday was cold as we set off for Shardlow, the locks today would be large to fit two boats. This is much heavier going than the narrow locks of the last two days. It was 4 o clock when we moored opposite Dobsons Wharf in Shardlow. On Friday morning we caught the bus into Derby Station, then took a train to Pamela's for the weekend.
This is where I am writing this posting as I have been unable to get on line on the trip to Shardlow. Marlene and I return to the boat today(Sunday) to do the return trip to Shobnal Marina where we are having our shower re-tiled on the 14th. While this is done we are coming back to Pamela's. If I have trouble posting the blog on the way back I will bring you up to date then.