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.