Tuesday, 25 September 2012

A Shardlow double.

Having not moved any further than the diesel pump since arriving at Sawley Marina on the first of July,this week we cruised up to Shardlow twice. The first was on Wednesday when we went to pump out the waste tank. This caused me some embarrassment, being a D.I.Y pump out I collected the key from the office and paid the fee. I connected the hose and turned on the power and nothing happened,trying several times without success I finally returned to the office. They sent a man to see what the problem was, it turned out all it needed was priming with a drop of water,simple when you know how. Finishing the pump out we set off to Shardlow,our aim was to wash both sides of the boat as it was covered in cobwebs. The first side we washed at the top of Derwent Mouth Lock,this is the first lock on the Trent and Mersey Canal. As we approached the lock we noticed the side of the lock was covered in school children having their lunch. After finishing the first side of the boat we proceeded up the canal through Shardlow village to the winding hole below number two lock. Having turned round we moored opposite Dobsons boat yard for lunch. In the afternoon we washed the second side then headed back to the Marina. It had been a lovely day,even the weather stayed fine. Our second trip was on Saturday, our eldest grandson Dominic was staying with us for the weekend so we decided to go out for the day. As we set off we found our selves behind two wide beam boats,this would mean a wait at the first lock,however,the lead boat turned round just past the road bridge and the second boat turned up the Trent heading for Shardlow Marina. This left us clear to lock through without a wait. We moored out side the New Inn before taking a walk round the village. Once again we turned below number two lock before heading back toward the Marina. On the way back Dominic took the helm taking it into Derwent Mouth Lock,needles to say he was quite proud of himself when it all went well. After mooring back at out berth in the Marina we walked down to the Plank and Leggit for dinner.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

End of season fast approaching.

Would you believe it it's September already,where does the time go. We are just back at the boat having had a nice week at Stephens with the boys. I went on some walks with them round the Berkshire countryside. Marlene is resting her Achilles tendon that she injured before we went to Stephens. Wednesday evening we all went to Pizza Express so we could meet Stephen's new lady friend which was a great success.On Thursday we went Tenpin Bowling in Reading Harry won by one point with me second, I messed up my last ball taking only six pins instead of the eight I needed.The journey home went quite well except the train from Reading to London Paddington was packed to bursting. We had planned to cruise with the boat when we got back,however,I have some more dentist and doctors appointments coming up, nothing really important but time consuming. Next weekend we are looking after our youngest grandson( Duncan) while his mum and go to London for a dueathlon Richard is taking part. After that we are going up to Yorkshire with them so we can visit mother. That will take us to mid September and probably still more dental appointments,so the chances of going far with the boat before the end of the season are receding fast.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

At last back on line.

Finally were back on the blog,we have had problems writing in the main box, now I'm pleased to say we are back in business. Since my last posting we have not left the Marina except to top up the diesel. We had planned to go. Out after our check up at the new Doctors,however we both got another appointment. Marlene's for a blood test and mine for an asthma check. Although the appointments aren't until the 24th August we decided to stay in the Marina and do some work on the boat. We also had a week with Pamela in which we visited Wells-Next-the-Sea and did some crabbing off the harbour with Archie. I's a long time since we went crabbing at Wells. While at Pamela's eating my healthy breakfast of Muesli I bit on a hazel nut and broke my tooth. So as well as the Doctors appointments I am now visiting a Dentist in Long Eaton. One thing we have done while in the Marina was to look round a wide beam barge. It was beautiful,with a large open plan lounge and kitchen,a lovely shower room a single bedroom and a large double bedroom. Marlene loved it,so all I have to do now is sell Doublefracture. Seriously they are lovely boats but we would be restricted in where we could cruise. After our doctors appointments we are going to visit Stephen and the boys for a few days. Then weather permitting we will go for a cruise before the winter sets in.

Monday, 23 July 2012

A gap in our summer cruising.

Over two week since my last posting,but to be honest our boating has been zero. When Nathan came to pick up the grandchildren we went back with them. Pamela had gone on a surprise pamper day and a barbecue was planned for her return. While waiting we went bowling in Grantham. The barbecue was a success except for a couple of showers. Pamela was surprised to see us and her close friends when she came home. We stayed till the Wednesday when taking the train north we visited Richard for a couple of nights before going to my mothers on the Friday. We finally returned to the boat on Monday. Tuesday we went in to Castle Bonnington to register at the doctors. When ever we checked the river it was closed, so we stayed in the Marina and dodged the showers while walking some of the footpaths. One of the days we walked up the river to Shardlow, where we had a pot of tea at the New Inn before returning. This last weekend with the change in the weather we sat on our small patio in front of the boat and relaxed in the sun. Tomorrow we have a health check with the nurse at our new doctors, then hopefully on Wednesday we can do some cruising.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

More river closures.

Saturday the river at Zouch was in the Amber so we left and cruised up to Kegworth deep lock. On arrival we found that it was still in the red zone at Kegworth. Mooring up I phoned Sawley to ask the state of the Trent,I was told although the Soar was out of flood the Trent was still in flood. We decided to stay at Kegworth until the Trent was open and we could return to Sawley. A phone call on Sunday morning confirmed it was still in flood. With the prospect of another day at least moored where we were, we decided to explore the local foot paths. Walking half way from Kegworth deep to Kegworth shallow we found a path on the right which took us over several fields to the village of Sutton Bonnington. The day before we had walked from Zouch to Sutton Bonnington to do some essential shopping. On Sunday we found another path that took us back across to the River Sour about a mile from where we were moored. When we arrived back at the boat I once again checked with Sawley to see if there was any change in the Trent. To our surprise we were told it was open to traffic. Armed with this information we left Kegworth. At the end of the Soar where it joins the Trent we turned left heading for Sawley Lock. The river was still high and flowing fairly fast. Approaching the lock the cross current was rather strong but with a little more power we entered the quiet water on the lock approach. Coming out of the lock we were shocked to see the red light was back on showing the river was closed again. Sunday night we moored opposite Sawley Marina. After mooring we went to the Plank and Leggit for our tea and a couple of pints. On Monday we walked round to the Marina and signed the contract for our mooring in the Marina. Returning to the boat we took it in to our new berth. Since then we have spent our time doing jigsaws and reading due to the heavy rain, although we have had a couple of nice days,at least some of the day.today Pamela brought Archie and Amberley to stay the night while her and Nathan go out to celebrate Pamela's birthday.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Thunder storms at Zouch cut.

After I had finished last Saturdays blog, Marlene and I walked up the river to Barrow on Soar. At the lock the green light was on and the sign read Soar open. So,we walked back down river and fetched the boat up to Barrow. Saturday night was good for me I got six numbers on the lottery plus five,unfortunately I had three on two separate days so it only paid a fiver. On Sunday morning we went up the hill to the village to collect my winnings. The road to the village is up hill and this caused me some pain in my leg where I hurt it when I fell in at Sawley. We returned to the boat via the Navigation Inn, where we had a lunch time drink on the sun terrace over looking the river, for once the sun was shining. Going up river on Monday we turned round and made our way back to Loughborough. After lunch we went to the NHS walk in centre to have my leg checked as it was still quite painful. I was cheered no end at being told I had soft tissue damage and it can take from six days to six month to heal. Tuesday was a quiet day with nothing much happening,Marlene did the washing while I exercised the leg with a walk to B&Q and Go Outdoors. Leaving Loughborough on Wednesday we cruised steadily down river to Zouch lock where we moored in the cut. We stayed Thursday through heavy rain and two thunder storms,we'll be glad to see the back of flaming June. As I write this we are still at Zouch cut as the Soar has once again gone into flood. I went to the lock at the end of the cut this morning to find it well into the red on the marker board,looks like another day here at least.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

An interesting year.

We were stuck at Sawley until Tuesday when we dropped down Sawley Lock with a hire boat. The boat was hired by a group from Gem106 radio, they were broadcasting from different pubs on the midlands waterways. After the short run down to the junction we turned right onto the river Soar. The broadcasters were heading to Normanton on Soar for that nights broadcast. At Kegworth shallow lock they were met by a man from the hire company who had come to help them through Kegworth deep lock. He told me he wouldn't have bothered if he had known they were travelling with another boat. At the top of the deep lock we moored for the night. It was an interesting mooring under the flight path for East Midlands airport. Wednesday was a wash day, while Marlene washed I took the boat down river to Zouch where we moored to dry the washing. It was a nice day(one of the few)so every thing dried well. Later that afternoon we carried on to Loughborough and moored at Loughborough Wharf. The wharf is very close to town so Marlene managed a vist to the hair dressers. The next day after doing some shopping we moved round the corner as the Wharf was a 24hr mooring. Friday was a wash out again so we stayed where we were and did some reading and tried to finish the jigsaw we are doing. Today we left Loughborough heading for Barrow on Soar. Unfortunately on arriving at Pillings flood lock the river was in the red again. As I am writing this we are trying to decide whether to turn round and go back or wait to see if the river drops, as it is only just in the red and some people are risking going though. The section through Loughborough to Pilling's lock is canal as the Soar wanders off away from the town. Ah well it's an interesting year.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Back to Sawley .

Well, a lot has happened since my last blog. On Monday we managed to get out for a walk round Attenborough Nature Reserve,in between showers. On Tuesday the river had dropped to Amber(proceed with caution)so a group of us cleared away some of the junk that had washed down river and accumulated at the lock gates. This done three boats entered the lock. When the gates were opened on to the river we towed them out of the lock with their engines off so their propellers did not get fouled. On e clear of the junk two of the boats set of up river. The third started his engine a bit too soon and got a piece of wood jammed in his propeller. Once we had cleared that he went up river. Denise,his wife phoned later to say they had arrived at Sawley safe and sound(she had been a bit nervous). Before lunch we helped another boat through and they went up river. In the afternoon I decided we would go back to Sawley instead of carrying on to Newark. Marlene wasn't very happy with my decision,however with more rain forecast I did not want to get stuck on the river. We moored in Cranfleet cut on Tuesday night. Before going up to Sawley on Wednesday morning. On arrival I went to check the buses into Nottingham in the afternoon. On my return I missed my footing getting on the back of the boat and ended up waist deep in the canal. I stopped myself going any deeper with one arm on the bank and the other on the boat. In doing so I grazed my elbow and my right shin. That evening we went into Nottingham on the Skylink bus. After a meal we went to the Playhouse Theatre to see Buddy Holly and the Crickiters. I must say for a man who died in 1959 he put on a great performance. We returned to the boat on the Skylink bus. This bus runs all night as it is the East Midlands Airport bus,there is also one that runs to Derby through Shardlow. Thursday we went to check moorings in Sawley Marina as we are thinking of having a permanent mooring so we can come and go when we please. On Friday morning we went shopping in Long Eaton. The town was bigger than we thought and had a good range of shops. That afternoon we went back to the Marina and agreed to a mooring from the first of July. Our plan for this morning was to go down the river Soar for a couple of weeks before going into our mooring. As I looked out first thing a man from British Waterways past and said"I hope you were not planning to go any where today"when said what our plan had been his reply was"not this weekend the river is thirteen inches into the red. OH well here we go again.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Going nowhere again.

Around lunch time on Thursday the rain cleared,I walked to Trent lock to see what the water levels were like. We were good to go the marker boards were at green. Entering the lock we were joined by another boat from Lyons boat yard on the north Stratford. As I got talking to him it turned out he new Mike and Nicola on Molly Rose. Leaving them after the lock we turned left into Cranfleet Cut,while they went right to Sawley. Leaving Cranfleet Lock at quarter to one we headed down the River Trent. Three quarters of am hour later we entered Beeston lock. It was just starting to rain again,so we moored up. It is now Sunday lunch time and we are still moored in the same place. The Trent is in flood yet again, it does not look as if we will be moving any time soon,unles it is just into Nottingham. Having just just returned from the lock to check the hieght of the river I can honestly say it is higher now than yesterday. It seems we picked the wrong year to go down the Trent to Newark. On the bright side the sun is out and it is warm,however more rain is forecast for next week.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Watching river levels.

The rain on Sunday kept us in doors, it hardly stopped all day. On the bright side we watched the river pageant on tele, unlike those poor people who had camped all night for a good view from a London bridge. Blue sky greeted us Monday morning and the forecast was good. Around nine thirty we left Langley Mill on our return journey. As we entered the lock a boat that had moored below the lock left just ahead of us. At the second lock they were just leaving,so we refilled the lock and followed them. This would be a long day if we didn't catch them,our luck was in they had seen us at the second lock and waited for us. The boat was Sun Mist,the couple Clare and Graham. We did eleven locks with them down to Sandiacre. It was a good morning,it's always nice to have company on large locks and swap stories of life on the canal. We stayed the night at Sandiacre while Clare and Graham continued their journey to Trent Lock as they had to be back at Stenson Marina on Tuesday,that's the problem when you have to work. Tuesday we returned to Trent Lock and moored, our excursion up the Erewash complete. In the afternoon we walked along Cranfield Cut to Cranfield lock, where we will join the Trent to Beeston lock. The water level at the lock was on the line between Green and Amber, not a good sign. Where you join a river section the water level is shown on a scale from green through Amber to red. If red you should stay put until it drops, at Amber you can proceed with caution,although I wouldn't go until green. More rain on Tuesday evening didn't look good for river levels. We decided to have a night out on Wednesday then move Thursday morning. Walking into the first pub we were told there was a power cut so none of the pumps were working,we walked to the next pub on the way we met more people who said the power cut was all over the area,we were just about to return to the boat when we noticed the lights had come back on. In the end we had a nice night out visiting both pubs. This morning it was raining again so we look like staying put,unless it clears,watch this space.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

End of Navigation.

Leaving Sawley on Tuesday morning we went down Sawley lock on to the River Trent. The lock is operated by electric and has a lock keeper at times,however,on Tuesday I had to operate it myself. After a short cruise down the Trent we turned left and into Trent lock. As look would have it a boat was leaving the lock as we turned in. Having raised our selves up the lock we moored at the visitor moorings. We were finally on the Erewash canal. As we were sat out in the sun we had a conversation with a man who had been a lock keeper at Cranfleet lock and was now retired and living on his boat at the start of the Erewash. First thing Wednesday morning we left our mooring and headed up the canal. We had a good morning as we were helped through the first two locks by two British Waterways workers, then arriving at the third lock we found it set ready for us. We moored for the night at Sandiacre at a nicely landscaped mooring,it's only fault was it was right next to a rather busy road. Dispite that we had a good nights sleep. Leaving Sandiacre on Thursday morning we did another three locks,the locks on the Erewash are double locks with very heavy gates each one had to be emptied as we came to it and to make matters worse we had to unlock and relock the paddles with our anti vandal key. Our second day took us to the edge of Ilkeston where we moored next to the cricket pitch for the night. Friday was a long day by comparison to the first two with eight locks in five mile which took us to Langley Mill the end of the Navigation. We turned and moored at the visitor moorings in the Great Northen Basin. There are two supermarkets close by so we shopped for the weekend food. Today we took the bus into Nottingham for a look round,very busy but a good modern centre complete with a modern tram system.

Monday, 28 May 2012

A weekend with family.

On Thursday we went into Derby to the theatre to see Butterfly Lion. When we booked we were told that there would be some children at the afternoon performance. When we got there the place was full of children. The buzz of their conversation reminded me of a bee hive, until the lights went out then after a loud cheer all went quiet. The play written,by the author of the War Horse was a lovely story. Friday morning we went down the lock and moored on the 48hr moorings. Later that morning Richard and Gill arrived to have lunch and leave Duncan while they went to London for the weekend. In the afternoon we took the bus to Castle Donnington for a look round, later we went into Alverston to do some shopping. While on the bus Duncan saw the cooling towers at Radcliffe power station and shouted look Volcanos. We were blessed with the good weather again on Saturday,Pamela,Nathan,Archie and Amberley came for the day and we had a picnic in the park before calling for a pint at the Navigation Inn. Richard and Gill came back Sunday evening and stayed till today. This morning Marlenes cold had turned into a chest infection and she had to go to the doctors in Castle Donnington for some antibiotics. It had been a great weekend with the family.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

At the weekend we found two circular walks near Swarkstrone. The first which we did on Saturday went down the canal from bridge thirteen to bridge twelve. Then leaving the tow path to our left we crossed fields of rape seed before going over a small bridge then another field to the church. We then took the track to the road. Crossing the road we followed a small road to Swarkstone lock, then returning along the tow path. Our Sunday walk took us back along to Swarkstone lock then we followed the route of the old Derby canal before turning left up a wide track then over a field to the road.following the bus route back to bridge thirteen. Monday morning we left our mooring and headed to Weston upon Trent where we watered up before mooring just above Aston lock. While traveling Marlene did the washing which dried nicely in the sun. Yesterday we dropped down Aston lock and moored just above Shardlow No2 lock. For the last couple of days both me and Marlene have had a bit of a summer cold,getting a bit better now should be fine for the weekend.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Fifteen days going nowhere.

Yes, I know,it's fifteen days since my last blog. We were then at bridge thirteen heading for Willington. Today we are at bridge thirteen heading for Shardlow. Hopefully when we get there the River Trent will be low enough to navigate. The only significant things to happen in the last fifteen days were Marlenes birthday,for which we went to the cinema, then a meal at the Dragon in Willington. We then put the boat in Mercia Marina for four nights while we went to Yorkshire to see mother and attend Marlene's sister and brother in laws Diamond wedding anniversary celebration. On our return we went back to Willington village and waited for Diesel in a can to come and top us up with diesel. Since we last topped up the owner(Graham) has sold the business to Simon. While at Willington we met a fellow Yorkshire man who is planning to cruise the same area as us this year,so we may see him again this summer. As I said we are heading to Shardlow where we are meeting Richard and Gill,who are leaving our grandson Duncan with us from the 25th to the 27th while they go to London. On the 24th Marlene and I have tickets to the theatre in Derby to see Gwen Taylor in The Butterfly lion. I nearly forgot, on Wednesday we went to Sudbury Hall for the day and were lucky enough to get some good weather. As well as the hall there is a museum of childhood, with all the toys we used to play with,makes you feel old.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Return to Willington.

We moored at bridge thirteen Last Thursday with the intension of catching a bus to Calke Abbey a national trust property,however, looking in the book we discovered that its not open on Thursday and Friday. On Friday morning we carried on to Shardlow,arriving around lunch time we moored above the lock. In the afternoon we walked down to the New Inn and booked a table for Sunday lunch. Due to the Trent being in flood all the hire boats from Sawley were moored below the lock outside the Old Clock Warehouse which is now a pub. Taking the bus on Saturday morning we went into Alvaston to do some shopping. The buses were running late for our return to Shardlow due to a home game for Derby football club. Heavy rain greeted us on Sunday morning and the side of the boat was a chalky white from the cars splashing through the puddles on the track at the side of the mooring. Pamela, Nathan and the grandchildren arrived in time for coffee before walking down to have our lunch at the New Inn. We all had steak which were cooked to perfection. While waiting for the Trent to return to normal level we went for a look round Derby on Monday. A walk round Shardlow Marina passed some time on Tuesday. Finally on Wednesday we walked to the lock where you join the river to see how high it was. Having seen it we decided that we would return to Willington and try again later. So this morning we dropped down the lock and watered up, then turned round and headed back. Tonight we are moored near bridge thirteen and tomorrow we will continue on to Willington.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Welcome to Britain in drought.

On Saturday we finally made the decision to move on, so dropping down Dallow Lock we made our way to the service point to top up our water tank. As I pulled into the service point I separated a mother duck from her ducklings. The. Commotion this caused was unbelievable. I held the boat steady until they were reunited. The rest of the day was uneventful with us mooring for the might at bridge twenty five. It was Monday morning before we moved on to Willington. We moored opposite the dragon pub which has been refurbished since our last visit to Willington. Marlene made an appointment at the hairdressers for Thursday lunch time and after her appointment we called in the Dragon to see what had been done. It was a very wet day on Thursday so we decided to stay another night. This morning was a better day so we cast of and made our way toward Shardlow where we are meeting Pamela on Sunday. At Stenson lock we were joined by a hire boat from Sawley. Ironically they informed Marlene that the River Trent was in flood, so they would have to leave the boat at Shardlow and be picked up by the boat yard.we are now moored by bridge thirteen. I checked on the waterscape website and sure enough the flood lock at Sawley is closed until further notice. Welcome to Britain in drought.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Three short moves.

Time to move on again on Wednesday,although we didn't go far. Arriving at Branston lock we were delayed due to a blocked paddle. There was a team from British waterways trying to sort it out. Eventually though the queues above and below the lock were getting bigger so they let us through. We moored a little further on so we could walk to Carpet Wright to buy a new carpet for our bedroom. Returning to the boat we had lunch then I fitted the carpet,the hardest part was opening it out in such a small space. On Thursday we took the bus into Burton and did some shopping and collect my prescription,however true to form Boots were short of one item. Early Friday morning we moved the boat to Shobnal(a mere ten minutes down the canal)and walked to Boots to collect the missing item. On the way back we called at B&Q for some more paint and some wood to make some book shelves. We have books all over the boat. Before moving a little further to Shobnal Fields I went to Shobnal marina for some gas. While there I discovered that the man who tiled our shower last March had gone into receivership. Mooring at Shobnal Fields I painted did the first coat on the other side gunwale,then it rained.This morning before breakfast I gave it a second coat,and it rained. It's looking brighter now the rain was only a short sharp shower. We have to decide if we should move on today or tomorrow,decisions, decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

One of my favourite moorings.

First thing Saturday morning we called in at the Marina to see about a parcel we were expecting,but it hadn't arrived. Dropping down the lock at Barton Turns,we watered up before carrying on to moor at Branston. This is one of my favourite moorings along this stretch of the Trent and Mersey. As you look out over the canal the view is of a wooded hillside with a scattering of buildings in between, the most impressive being Dunstall Hall. On the mooring sde you have Branston Water park to walk round,altogether a pleasant mooring. In the evening we walked over to the new Harvester restaurant and had a very nice meal.walking back we called in for a drink at the Blacksmiths Arms. Sunday was a quiet day where nothing much happened,except for the boat that hit us at the stern. Catching the bus on Monday morning we went back into Barton for my doctors appointment, all went well with my annual check up. Calling back at the marina only to find the parcel still hand't arrived so we asked them to return it to sender if it came. Today Marlene caught up with the washing while I gave the gunwale it's third coat of paint. We are still moored at Branston enjoying the bright sunny days, even with the showers.

Friday, 13 April 2012

It's a small world.

I didn't moor in Fradley on my way back to the Marina, instead I carried on to Alrewas, ofcouse I had no signal there to do another posting. The following day I arrived back at the Marina and was so busy making arrangements to return to Pamela's I clean forgot to keep you up to date. The next week we spent with Pamela,Archie and the new baby as Nathan had no time off until good Friday. We finally returned to the boat on Thursday the 5th of April. That night Marlene and I went to the Thia restaurant on the Marina to celebrate our 43rd wedding anniversary. On Sunday the 8th we left the Marina heading for Alrewas. Being Easter Sunday it was busy with boats going in both directions, at the first lock( Wychnor lock)we had to queue to get through. Sometime this is a good thing as it gives you time to talk to other boaters and find out about any problems in other areas. We decided not to go all the way to Alrewas and moored just above Wychnor Lock for the night. It rained all day Monday so we stopped where we were,we were in no hurry as we are killing time until the 16th when I have a doctors appointment in Barton for my annual Asthma check up. Next morning we completed the journey and moored above the lock in Alrewas. A sunny morning on Wednesday persuaded me to touch up the paint on the gunwale. Sometime in the future I will have to do the other side.Leaving the mooring yesterday morning we went through to the winding hole at the other end of the village to turn round,we were not alone three more boats did the same. Arriving back at the lock we once more joined the queue. Last night we moored between bridge 39 and the Marina. As I was writing this the people who helped us when Marlene fell in last year have just past us in their boat As it Comes,it's a small world.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Heading back to Barton.

On the Sunday morning Doublefracture came out of the water and I went into Stafford to catch a train to Pamela's to see the new arrival. I stayed until the following Saturday while the boat was blacked. Yesterday they lowered it back into the water and by ten past ten I was on my way back to Barton. It was a bright sunny day and I made good time, arriving at Great Haywood for lunch. After lunch I carried on passing through Colwich and Wolseley Bridge. Finally after four hours cruising I moored at Rugeley for the night. This morning I left the mooring while the frost was still on the roof,stopping near the Ash Tree Inn for water. While the tank was filling I did what little washing I had. Setting off again with a full tank and some clean washing,I was entering the narrow section that was the old Armitage tunnel a boat started from the other end so I had to reverse and wait my turn. Mooring at bridge fifty five I put the washing out to dry, then had a coffee. It is now two o clock, the washing is dry,I have had lunch and am about to set off again heading for Fradley Junction.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

It's a girl.

Yesterday I stayed at Great Hayward in the morning so I could take a walk round the grounds of Shugborough Hall. It was the first day of opening for the hall and grounds,but the car park was full by 11-15am. I was there an hour including a coffee in the Ladywalk cafe. After my walk I cast off turning left onto the Staffs and Worcester canal. With only one lock I was soon moored up opposite the village of Milford where I stayed for the night. Today I completed mt trip, arriving at Stafford Boat Club at 10-35. At 11-05 I received a message from Marlene to say Pamela had gone into hospital. This afternoon Marlene rang to say Pamela had given birth to a little girl at approximately 1 o clock. Needless to say we are all over the moon.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Misty mornings.

On Wednesday morning it was grey and misty, I had nowhere to go so I decided to do some washing while waiting for the diesel man. My plan was to move on after I had filled up with diesel. I had just started making my lunch when he arrived( sods law I suppose )so turning everything off I went out to meet him. By the time he'd gone and I had eaten my lunch the sun was out. So instead of moving on I put the washing out to dry. In the end I spent my second night moored at Rugeley. This morning was another misty one as I set off heading for Great Hayward. It was cold and damp as I made my way out of Rugeley but I made good time. Just after crossing the river Trent I was surprised to see a boat coming toward me head light blazing. Slowing to let him come under the bridge I noticed a second boat behind him. As I went under the bridge I found another boat behind them. Obviously I was not the only one mad enough to set of that early in the mist. Passing through Worsely Bridge I finally arrived at Colwich lock where I met a day boat with a party celebrating a sixtieth birthday. It was still only twenty past ten when I moored at Great Hayward after a very cold two hours,time for coffee. Before writing this I took a walk round and found some caves, however they were fenced off so I couldn't go in. The time is four fifteen and the day boat has just passed on their way back to base,it will have been a cold birthday cruise as the sun never got out today.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Nature at it's best.

I woke this morning to the sound of pheasants calling, then a member of the crow family. Sliding back the hatch I looked out at a misty but reasonably warm morning. In the tree to the left of the boat a squirrel dashed along a branch. Ducking back in I quickly showered and had breakfas,keen to be on the move. Cruising slowly along I could hear the morning bird song. In the first half hour I had seen a variety of small birds including Chaffinches, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Robins and Black Birds. Then off to my right I caught a flash of colour and to my surprise it was a Bull Finch. So to all those people who preach doom and gloom,saying our native birds are disappearing, I say take a early morning cruise on the canal. Later in the journey I came to the other side of canal travel, passing through Handsacre and Armitage,passing under the rail bridge with the Virgin high speed trains every ten to fifteen minutes. On the whole though I had a pleasant two hour cruise, arriving in Rugeley at 11-o-clock, just in time for coffee. This afternoon the sun is out,a nice warm spring day. I am staying here tonight as I am meeting my Diesel man here tomorrow.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Start of season four.

This morning I left the Marina on my own, Marlene has gone to Pamela's as Pamela has not been too well. We are all waiting for the big day,did I mention pamela is due to give birth any time between now and the end of the month. So turning left onto the Trent and Mersey I was heading to Alrewas. This would be the first time I had taken Doublefracture out on my own. Cruising along the canal was easy, it was the first lock that might prove difficult,however all went well at both locks between the Marina and Alrewas. I moored and walked to the post office to mail a parcel to my sister Jennifer for my mother for Mothers Day. Returning to the boat I did some washing before lunch. After lunch I left the mooring heading for Fradley. I was undecided wether to moor at Fradley for the night or complete all five locks at Fradley and the one at Woodend. In the event the mooring at Fradley were busy so I carried on. I had no problem at any of the locks until I got to the top lock then a boater from the Dutch barge Enseabee opened the paddle fully and this caused the boat to hit the top gate very hard.When I arrived at Woodend lock I found a right mess in the lounge and kitchen. This upset me as I had been very careful all day. The mooring I was going to use at the top of Woodend lock was full so I was forced to carry on. I finally moored for the night just past Kings Bromley Warf. Tomorrow will be a lock free day. Perhaps I should mention that the reason I am going out without Marlene is the boat is coming out of the water for the bottom blacking next week at Stafford boat club, this gives me until Saturday to get there.