Thursday, 20 October 2016

A fine company of visitors

So another early turn for the visitors, I hope they don't come visiting for a rest!  Just after 7am today and the engine started.  Now today there was only four locks to do, here was the first of them.  I wasn't going to fight Amanda to do this one as she derides such pleasure from them.  She is a most hard working and experienced deck hand....

So just go see what she did today;

David L just at the ready to help as my David reversed through the narrow space here. (Not required today)

Amanda at the ready to lock wheel.

My favourite pub in the early light under the beautiful 187 yr old bridge

Now in the picture above, on the far left you can see the old pump building that housed the pump.  It was designed by a Mr Thomas Newcomen.  David and I had a large surprise when visiting friends on their ocean going yacht in Dartmouth harbour, we went into the Tourist Information Centre on the quayside and they had a mini museum behind the desk giving space to Mr Newcomen's achievements, also an engine of his, removed from the pump house in 1968 from Hawkesbury Junction.  You can read more about this man HERE.  Scroll down to the " Surviving Engines" section.

She REALLY is a pro... but had a senior moment here today.

Sutton Stop, so called after the Sutton Family who lived here and whom several members became lock keepers during the 1800's.

Through the lock and onto the top of The Oxford canal.

This really did turn out to be the best of the day.  The sun was shining, the sky was uninterruptedly blue.  It didn't last, the sun went in and the wind picked up.
I made breakfast which was bacon and fried egg sandwiches.

Hardly any traffic about as you might expect that time on a Sunday morning in October.

Winter hats adopted.

I made a batch of white chocolate and ginger crunch for the fine company.  We ate quite a bit after breakfast and before I poured the sparkle.  Going through Stretton Stop, the odd place where there is a hire boat company and a wee foot bridge over the canal.  I was inside fetching but the drinkers had knocked over a glass flute, these glasses are actually plastic so are they still called glasses?  Well anyway, before I could get on deck to see what all the laughing was for, Amanda had jumped ship, grabbed a broom, washed the floating glass and grabbed it... and was running back with it.

Chocolate and ginger crunch.

Successful flute fisherer's.

Endless fun with Selfie Sticks to be had.

Arriving at Hilmoreton locks.

Actually I didn't do anything with this windlass.

The workers

We met an unfortunate hire boat here, really struggling with their boat as it had picked up wire around the prop.  The hire company had said that they had enough time to return to their base the next day, but I thought that rather unkind as they had no speed whatsoever and pulled the boat into the lock by its rope.  That would have ruined my holiday.

On and down into Braunston in the rain, Amanda and I retested to the warm cratch next to the stove..... no point in us girls getting wet and colder now is there?

The men disappeared to fetch hidden cars and Amanda and I cooked lamb biriani with sweet potato and butternut squash. Rather good and that will definitely be repeated.

This went past here, new owner but the former owner had one of the most widely read narrow boating blogs, HERE.

The new owners of No Propblem, I hope they have as much fun on her as Sue and Vic.

Friday, 14 October 2016

In no particular order....

Bright and dull this morning, no actually very dull and early, my David set off from the bottom of the Atherstone Flight.  It was 07:07 at kick off and only one of us were dressed.
The "Boat Sharers' were quickly dressed,  Amanda the first when she knew the first locks were ten mins away.  
All of a sudden I was alone, but did get dressed and joined in the fun.

One of the first locks going up.  That's me being a passenger with David Lewis driving.

A batch of very fruity flapjack I made especially for the workers.

Spouses doing the locks and walking.  

Other spouses NOT working terribly hard

Reader just so you know, my David loves doing locks as does Amanda.

A STUNNING boat we passed, with different murals on each side, now I don't think I want WaL painted thus however I loved it.

You will have to see the other side further down, as I titled this posting, its all "In no particular order today"  this is owning to me using my camera for photos plus my phone and David & Amanda's phones too.

My role today was to pop to Co-Op in Atherstone to get milk. Reader you may remember that in the spring I "Lost David" on the boat when I popped to this Co-Op, I walked the entire length of the flight thinking that he was ahead of me when in reality it turned out that he was in the same lock still as the one where I left him.....  That really was a bad day.  

It was a chilly run down to Hawkesbury Junction but a nice one with close friends, leg pulling and flapjack.

Coffee is served.

The journey through Nuneaton was ok I thought, no rubbish floating in the canal or sofas....  Just the Tardis on someones mooring, like you'd expect.

We got to Charity Dock.  Now lots of people think this place is amusing.  David and Amanda are clean and tidy types and I wanted to get a shot of their faces as we passed by but this wasn't possible.

Not sure how this boat is even half floating....

Batman and Robin

"Shergar" is alive and well

On and along to Hawkesbury  Junction.  I wanted to eat here as its my favourite pub I have come across on the canals so far.  I just love the eclectic mix of people who gather here.  I have called to make a booking five days previously and 6pm was the only table they had available.  I took it.
But first more jobs to do.  As you may have figured Reader, David and I have no experience, knowledge or ability in boat maintenance, so we ask the experts....

Prepping the black.

Stuff everywhere

Amanda doing vital work holding WaL off the armco.

My David paying close attention to instructions.

With the black painted and then the black below the rubbing bar with a different paint which I was doing.  David Lewis touched up the grey and altogether it was a fine job.  

David turned the boat half way through and we completed the other side too.  All in time to shower and change to go to dinner at six.  

Dinner was terrific.  Three of us ordered pies.  They were stupendous, I had pulled pork with apple and cider gravy and  David Lewis had beef with stilton, David had belly of pork which he said melted in the mouth.  

Fantastic bridge

My fav pub going in.

My fav pub coming out with me on the bridge.

David L et moi arriving at a lock at Atherstone.

Here below are the photos of the other side of the boat Alfie.

Early start tomorrow again.

Monday, 10 October 2016

An early flit

07:07 start this morning, for David of course, needless to say I wasn't entirely ready...
We went through Hopwas, a dad and his little boy were walking to school, the school is on the canal side and the little chap called out to us with a beaming smile that he liked our boat! That started the day very nicely. 

Approaching Hopwas, going under Hopwas Wood Bridge

The run down was slightly chilly and uneventful, other than at Hopwas there were a pair of my favourite ducks, Aylesbury ducks.  These are the ones I used to keep when my children were tiny, happy memories of the girls and I scooting around the garden trying to round them up.  Horrid fox finished them off in the end.  
Since then I have not been a fox lover.

We passed NB Olive moored up here too.   HERE   There isn't too much information here, does anyone know more?  She was looking very smart today.

On and into Tamworth.  I hadn't noticed these murals before.  

And I had't noticed the completion of this smart development on the canal side either.  Its situated right on the junction of the Fazely Canal junction which goes down into Birmingham.  We had toyed with the idea of finishing off in Birmingham but not to be this year.

Add captionThis caught my eye on one of the two locks in Tamworth, exactly 100 years old.

Out of Tamworth and on towards Atherstone where on arrival I thought this was a rather attractive water garden feature.....  but no, it is an almost sunken hull with weeds growing out of it, moored up against a nice looking garden.  When do these vintage hulks become unsightly wrecks beyond saving?  I love the vintage boats, but I don't think I would tolerate this one at the bottom of my garden. 
Unreasonable woman....?

We got a good mooring by the road bridge,  very handy as Fine Company was arriving later on.  Musical cars was played by David and in time for supper he met the Boat Sharers Amanda and David in Braunston.

Supper was sausages five veg and Amanda brought to the party a raspberry and pistachio Semi Freddo  if you don't know what that is then look here...   HERE  

Friday, 7 October 2016

Here we are again, happy as can be....

So we arrived back on WaL just the other day, it was sunny and warm and I thought that it was a good idea for David to have packed four pairs of shorts.

Its lovely to arrive back at the boat after a three week break at home, its like arriving on holiday without having to go through the airport trauma.

David pleaded with me for him to do the fridge loading, 
he says I am illogical in food management, he says I never put anything back in the same place twice so nothing can be found, he says food goes rotten in the back of the fridge because nobody knew it was there.  
I say he is a fridge nazi and whats wrong with opening the door and throwing the cheese in from across the room anyway?
I went to make the bed.  I am rather fussy with the bed, I have certain sheets for on top of the mattress and certain sheets for between us and the duvet, I like hospital corners where possible too.  David would use dust sheets if left unsupervised....

The next day he disappeared all day to play golf with John from NB Ploddin' Along.  
I was delighted, I had asked him if he wanted to play two days links golf..... in Scotland but he declined.

I had all sorts of nice things lined up for me to do but in the end did a few jobs and only read my great book for an hour, sprawled in the sunny cratch on cushions drinking tea.....
I like him to play golf.

Later that same evening we met up with John again and his lovely wife Louise at The Mucky Duck in Fradley (Otherwise known as The Swan).  There has been a change of ownership since we last were there and the food and beer were good.
Sorry John and Louise not to have done a selfie of us all.

The next day was windy (Boaters hate the wind Non Boaty Readers) but we left Kings Bromley Marina.  Lovely people here and a lovely marina too.

NB Ploddin 'On looking like a paid up member of the Shiny Boat Owners Club

Kings Bromley Marina

Hop skip and a jump down to Wood End lock

A quick run down to Wood End Lock and a quick chat to a lady volunteer who has been doing a water management survey here, on a couple of days a week for almost a year.  This involves noting the amount of boats using the lock, to check the wee gadgety thing on the wall of the lock.  This gadget knows when water level drops in the lock and then tells the other black gadget on the towpath this which in turns notifies the computer in GCHQ.  
So as no data has been collected since the 1970's, its all to check if water usage matches up with boat numbers..... I think.  
Got that? If not read it again, or ask the nice lady a Wood End Lock before the end of the month.

Well on and down into the Fradley locks and I can report that Shade House is still on the market.  The Lockkie here told me its at the knock down price now of £235K due to HS2 coming close-ish by, however on looking quickly on RightMove its on for almost £600K, lovely inside and has a fabulous setting with land surrounding and a mooring with a paddock.

See the blue skies?

David making the turn at Fradley Junction from the Trent and Mersey onto the Coventry canal.

The Swan pub in the background where we ate last evening.

Although as we arrived at Fradley the lockkies said all the action had happened in the last hour, when we had filled up with water on one of the two empty water points and nobody had passed in either direction, we were cheeky and gave the boat a sluice down with the hose, I squirted water liberally on WaL whilst David followed along with a soft broom and swore at me when he accidentally got splashed, 
Who wouldn't? 

Our mooring view tonight, interesting sky.

What can this mean?

Yes, the great british unwashed got one side done.  More to come later.