Friday, 28 June 2013

Twenty Seven Locks.

Eight thirty Wednesday morning we headed to Farmers bridge locks,thirteen locks dropping 81ft. Arriving at the top lock we were approached by a man who said he had seen us before,turned out he was from Lemonroyd marine near Methley in Yorkshire. That means he last saw us in 2009,pays to give your boat a name people remember. The Farmers Bridge locks drop down the edge of Birmingham with a couple of them actually under buildings. It took us an hour and a half to get to the bottom lock and that was with some help from a canal trust volunteer. A mile further on we came to the top of the Aston Flight another eleven locks. On from there we got to Salford Junction where we turned right onto the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. Lunch was eaten on the move before arriving at the Minsworth locks,only three this time. We moored just before Curdworth tunnel, five and a half hours and Twenty Seven locks behind us. Thursday we stayed where we were and did some more painting. Later the rain returned,luckily the paint had dried. In the evening we had a visitor,a young man on his way to work when his bike pedal had come loose. He borrowed some tools and soon fixed it. Once again it was waterproofs on before setting off. Stopping at Curdworth to do a spot of shopping. Carrying on we dropped down the first six of Curdworth Locks,mooring at the top of lock seven. The rain didn't last long but it never does when your dressed ready for it.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Wolverhampton locks, closed.

Leaving Gas Street on Friday morning we moved to a mooring on the main line where it should be quieter on an evening. Walking into the City Centre so I could get my perscription filled,was probably a mistake the place was a mad house after the quiet of the canal. Checking the weed hatch I found a length of rope and part of a jacket wrapped round the propellor,this may have caused the over heating problem. Heading up the main line on Saturday morning we elected to take the old line at Smethwick junction. The three Smethwick locks lead off to the right of the main line. It's an interesting journey with the canal running under the M5 at times. It was made more interesting with the wind and rain on Saturday morning. We had intended to moor along the old line that night but arrived at The Black Country Living Museum without finding somewhere suitable,the mooring at the museum is a secure mooring with a locked gate on the towpath. It was like stepping back in time when we entered the Museum on Sunday morning. All the buildings have been rescued from their original positions in the black country and rebuild in the museum creating a canal side village complete with mine,workers institute,chapel,shops and of cause a pub. Most of it is set in the 1930s,with a AJS motorbike selling for £37-10s,I wish. It was a lovely day and dispite the rain the time flew by. This morning we should have been going through the twenty one locks at Wolverhampton and on to the Staffs and Worsceter canal,however,last night we found out that lock twenty had serious safety issues causing the whole flight to be closed. so, today we returned to Birmingham down the main line and once again moored on the main line near the National Indoor Arena and the National Sea Life Centre.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Over heating engine.

Tonight we are moored in Gas Street in Birmingham. Last Wednesday we walked into Warwick and looked round the church,then had lunch in the local Wetherspoons. We were surprised how small Warwick town centre actually was,in it's defence it still has a lot of independent shops with just a few of the chains of shops you see in most towns. Thursday we did the Hatton flight of twenty one locks,climbing 146ft 6ins this took us three hours forty minutes. The locks are large locks holding two boats and we were lucky to share the work with another boat crewed by Tim and his Mum who had just moved on to their boat. The weather was kind to us until just before we found a mooring and the heavens opened. By the time we got moored we were soaked. Mooring on the link between the Grand Union and the Stratford and Avon canal we had a quiet day(well not that quiet as we were moored next to a railway bridge). Saturday we walked over the fields to Baddesley Clinton a National Trust property it was a nice warm sunny day until we arrived back at the boat when the rain came. At least our timing was better this time. It cleared in the evening and we went for another walk. Fourteen locks on the Lapworth Flight kept us occupied on Sunday morning leaving the last four to do another day. Cleaning and washing were the order of the day on Monday,boring but it has to be done. We visited another National Trust house on Tuesday,this time Packwood House. The gardens here are great. In the afternoon we did the last four locks of the Lapworth flight. After we had topped up the diesel tank we were planning to moor at Hockley Heath for the night,however just before the lift bridge on the approach to Hockley Heath the engine over heated,so we moored quickly where we were. I don't know what caused it to over heat as I check oil and water every morning and they were fine that morning. Yesterday and today we completed the Stratford canal and took the Worcester and Birmingham canal into Gas Street.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

We finally have Television.

We finally made the decision to move at 4 o clock on Saturday. It was rather late in the day to start a journey which included ten locks. The first two of these were a staircase. We arrived at our destination at 7-30 in the evening. I'd put tea in the oven so all we had to do was eat it. After showering we felt a lot better and by nine were in the White Lion at Radford Semele,just out side Leamington Spa. Sunday morning we promised our selves a quiet rest day,however by the afternoon we were ready to go for a stroll. Heading down the A425 toward Leamington when we spotted a footpath off to our right it turned out to lead to Newbold Country Park,with a river side walk and woodland tracks. We were out for an hour and a half and enjoyed every minute. It was Tuesday before we moved on stopping to have a look round Leamington Spa. The Jephson gardens were just being planted with this years bedding plants so will be better later in the season. While there we also went to the Royal Pumphouse and Baths which houses a nice museum and art gallery and a very welcome coffee shop. Back to the boat we carried on up the two locks at the Cape,then moored for the night. I then set up the set top box I had bought in Leamington Spa. We finally had television,however,we had some interference so later in the evening we moved further up the canal and moored outside the Saltisford Arm(a short section of canal with moorings on the edge of Warwick)here we had great reception. Today we are walking into Warwick for a look round,hopefully the sun will stick around for the day.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Lazily following the contours.

From Fenny Compton we traveled the summit on it's twists and turns as it follows the contours of the land. Until finally arriving at Napton Top Lock. We moored before the locks so I could paint some more of the roof. Next morning we watered up then approached the top lock of the flight of nine that will take us down to Napton on the hill. The drop from top to bottom is 49ft 1in. At the bottom we decided to move on to Napton Junction before mooring for the night. At the Junction we turned left on to the Grand Union canal,there were no good moorings before we arrived at the first of three wide locks at Calcutt,so we dropped down these lowering another 16ft 2ins. In the end we moored about a mile from the top of the Stockton flight of locks. Staying here for two nights I finished the roof painting. Yesterday we dropped the 54ft 7ins in nine locks then one at Itchington another 6ft7ins. We moored for the night and walked into the village of Long Ichington for some shopping. This morning we are relaxing and speaking to family on the phone. We will move on this afternoon if we feel life moving, if not? No worries we will move tomorrow. Still enjoying this good weather,don't say too much.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Grapes,Cabbage and Duck Eggs.

First thing Friday morning we called at the farm shop across the canal from where we had moored. It was an interesting place with an old MG sports car and an A35 van. That took me back to when I was fitting Carpets,as I drove one then. As well as the farm shop it was also a camp site and had a lovely view of the country side over the canal, only slightly spoiled by the M40. We didn't stay long but bought grapes,cabbage and some lovely large Duck Eggs. Our mooring Friday night was in Banbury which as a large water front next to the Castle Quay shopping centre. Staying till lunch time on Saturday we had a look at the Banbury Cross, which is not really a cross but more of a monument. The original Cross was pulled down in 1602 and today's is a 19th century replica. It was only a short trip to Cropredy where we stayed Saturday night and had a night out in the Brazenose Arms. It was a good night with good beer(Adnams Broadside)and a blues group The Dave Rapheal Band. Cropredy is only a small village but it's claim to fame is the annual Folk Festival in August, the largest in Europe apparently. This has been going on since 1979 when Fairport Convention held their farewell concert there. Sunday was spent painting the boat roof and taking a couple of walks round the local footpaths. Moving on this morning we did eleven locks lifting the canal 55ft 1ins to it's summit. We are moored tonight at Fenny Compton. This is our fifth day off warm sunny weather, could summer be here at last.