Saturday, 23 September 2017

Watford Locks


Sunshine!!!  How lovely, I am very fond of sunny days.  We arrived at Watford Locks after completing the polishing.  

There has been an almighty scratch down three quarters of the boat and on her last visit, Amanda retrieved a bottle of red T Cut from under the sink, The Boat Sharers had brought it sometime ago where it had remained undetected.  

So I worked on the horrible scratch and oh my how well it has come up.
A medium wait at the locks of two hours in total but I used the wait to make scones.  

I also chatted to Sue from NB Midnight Owl who was kind enough to say she read this blog, she gracefully declined the request of a photo.






The top lock of Watford flight.

We actively discussed which mooring to take, just past the locks are wonderfully sunny all afternoon cosy slots that we have looked at several times but never stopped at, today was no exception.  Shall we?  Shan't we? You decide.  We will if you want to....
Finally we jointly said that we would enjoy the last gasps of boating in the last gasps of sunshine of this summer.

This naughty doggie had crossed over into a sheep field, I looked and looked but couldn't see a farmer or a dog walker and he didn't chase the stock, great expression on his face though.




Just look at that sunshine... and his handsome face of course.


I'm really mad I didn't move the tonneau wooden stick from shot, but had we of moored up these would have been the views.

So we arrived at Crick as is our habit in late summer.  After doing the tunnel and its heavy drips of water with a white residue we stop here for a roof scrub.  

I was much amused that on this lovely sunny Sunday while the cafe here was busy doing good business after a bit of an iffy summer, they saw fit to allow the land equivalent of their  poo tanks emptied alongside their customers.
What could be nicer?  It smelled too unsurprisingly.
Ice-cream anyone?





So roof finished, so we pushed on through Crick and moored up at my favourite places, Bridge 22.  Because I always want to stop here and watch the Hares who live in the field opposite, that we don't stop on those nice meadows but maybe in the spring, if its sunny when we pass by.

 


Disappointment today as the field has already been worked and the Hares have no cover...  but we did see Kingfishers yesterday.


Hares field.  I told David that by spring he has to cut back all those weeds so I can watch the hares from the boat, this shot taken  standing on a seat on the deck


Fab Favs

I have to buy a smaller scone cutter, currently I am using a wine glass but it make HUGE scones.....

Supper was sausages wedges and french beans (Scones were pudding but had before supper).

Good Egg and a bit of Dazzle

By way of telepathy last night I looked at the most recent posting of George and Sue on NB Caxton last night to see they were at Hilmorton.  I text George and confessed to an early start but could we call in to see them, a very brave Yes!  after he tactfully enquired just how early.... so at about 9am we arrived and had the added joy of seeing George at the bottom lock to work us through.  
George is a good egg.


Lovely sight of George waiting next to an open lock to help us through. 
* note to Carol, David had put trousers on for the first time this day, but George is made of sterner stuff.


NB Caxton has a bit of a famous blogging history if you think you recognised the name.  Built for  Joe & Lesley  HERE  boaters whom we crossed the Wash with two summers ago, then sold to Paul & Elaine   HERE   who blogged about their time before moving to a motorhome and selling Caxton to  George & Sue  HERE  so quite unusual  me thinks for one boat to have had three blogging owners concurrently.


George and Sue on the lovely NB Caxton 


You know what it's like when you meet up again people you haven't seen for a while   (in this case three years when we had supper all together at the same pub on the Ashby that we were in this week, thats what put  Caxton in our minds I guess)  but we nattered away and in the blink of an eye it was 11am and we said our goodbyes, we wanted to get through Braunston today and as you can see it wasn't sunny.

Walking back to WaL there was this amazing boat,  it reminded me instantly of the "Dazzle" camouflage used a century ago   HERE    I didn't see a name.








As we left and passed by, George took about 8 or 9 photos of us passing him by on his top of the range camera...  he sent them to me and I decided on this one, today I have just seen he has used exactly the same one!
Great minds I guess.



This is my rain hat, but it did stop quite quickly

An uneventful run down to Braunston but this stretch does have some fab mooring spots...



The iconic Boaters view of Braunston church coming into view

Of course the twin bridges are pretty iconic too.

NB Enceledas
 
Plenty of fun was had onboard this boat recently when it took part in the BCN  Challenge with MY Boat Sharer Amanda and Lesley (From NB Caxton and later NB Yarwood)
you can read all about that and their part in the Braunston Vintage Boat Rally that we sadly missed   HERE

We had a joyful run up the Braunston locks with a family with two children, they were in their Grandad's boat for the weekend and really enjoying it but the inexperienced captain was lacking confidence driving his FIL's pride & joy with the prospect of the tunnel fast approaching.... I rather think our three SIL's might be twitchy at the suggestion too!

Now I don't know if this year has been a good year for Kingfishers but here we are again spotting this pair of them Braunston side of the tunnel, about three years ago I saw one the other side if the tunnel but never again, this year we have been totally thrilled to have seen Kingfishers many times.



Hard to get one in shot let alone focused before they're off.

We did the locks in sunshine, both boat crews stripping off layers as we went.  When we exited this was the sky.  Put yer foot down man lets get it moored up before today's soaking....



East towards Watford and the Buckby locks

North towards Welton




We had options in mind to moor up and get the other side of the boat polished or carry onto our favourite mooring at 
bridge 22 but in the event we combined these two options of mooring up without any polishing before it hammered down with only kindles for fun. 


Supper was fishcakes and salad









Friday, 22 September 2017

Cleanly round the bend

A lovely coffee morning was held this am, on WaL and we invited Sarah and Chris before they had to move on on their way north and to the Trent and Mersey canal.  We had a fair bit still to catch up after not seeing them for a couple of years.  Sadly and all too quickly we had to say goodbye...
A short while later....

"So then ready to make a move?"  
Absolutely not, keep quiet and keep still, there's a wren in the bush" says I
Now you'll have to forgive the slightly  fuzzy feathers but it was taken in a hurry and through the glass window, in the nick of time, then gone.





Then we did make a move, we eased out of our mooring and down to the water point.  Both taps were empty so while our tank filled David did what he seems to get great joy from which is cleaning out the roof gunnels/channels or gutters. 




Off we go finally.  
I had said that I wanted to drive WaL around the bend here, but, he is making progress as a junior photographer (Checkout his Instagram account)  but I wanted to get this shot and I could never have moved WaL sideways closer to the pub to get this shot!


"Get on and take the bloody thing!"

What you can't see is that when I was calling instructions to him, two boats arrived to come through the lock, another took to the water point while he queued and then two boats appeared form behind us.  Slightly amusing watching the hirers untangle themselves after pulling into the basin.
Time to get a wiggle on. 

Around the corner and on a bit is this rough waste ground.  New additions along the concrete bank of these grassy planty sausage rolls, I didn't get a shot of it but a sign was up talking about a water vole programme, the sausage rolls are I presume a food, shelter and escalator system.  
Good news I hope it works.




Now the below garden is much photographed.  I thought the whole site much improved, I wondered if some cars had been removed, but no as David said the grass is growing up all around them.


Tomorrow's archaeology site... 


Approaching Stretton.

It was grey.  But as we got closer to All Oaks Wood, the sun came out, we decided to keep going although there was a nice mooring  before the wood, in the afternoon sun, for comfy reading, but no we'll enjoy boating in the sun for once...


All Oaks Wood, beautifully quiet and relaxing.

So with many backward glances backwards watching the clouds build we pulled onto a section of armco and got inside  the boat before the heavens opened.
Phew.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

False eyelashes and flat caps.

So to my mind, the section of the Coventry canal at the bottom, that is from Nuneaton to Hawkesbury Junction is deadly dull.   True to form not much happened, except who remembers The Magic Roundabout?  Ermintrude was my favourite.


Marston Junction, where the Coventry meets the Ashby canal.

A proud goose leading the ducks.

But today we had found out that friends Sarah & Chris from NB DulcieBlue were in town.  

We first met them on the Leicester Arm of the Grand Union canal, we had leap frogged them form the River Wey  two years ago and then all the way up the South Oxford.  

Sarah is a blogger, she's a Kiwi married to a Yorkshireman who was raised in New Zealand, she writes so well,   HERE, its one of our favourite blogs, see what you think....



NB DulcieBlue

Sarah is an artist, she has created with Chris a uniquely looking boat thats homely and welcoming

Sarah.

Lovely dog Della, shows off the stunning doors

We enjoyed company and rather strong G&T's.    We had to hot foot it too early as David and I had a table booked for.... yes of course we did.....  I had stipulated I wanted to stop here in March, David was very happy to agree.

Yes of course, The Greyhound Pub.   We always stop here, I love people watching, the first time we came here there were Ladies in false eyelashes and stilettos , old men in flat caps, men on the way home from work and of course Boaters.  Another time, the carpark was full of motorcyclists in leather but today, well you couldn't make it up, the outside seats were all taken by Community Policemen.  






Supper was steamed buns filled with hoisin sticky duck then pork tenderloin roulade.

No breakfast tomorrow.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The Indian rope trick, without the rope!

Well after a bit of gloom but at least rain at nights, just look at today.  
We started nice and early before anyone else was awake and troublesome and started the Atherstone Flight, eleven locks in all.  From our direction i.e. heading south, the bottom locks are well spaced out so I rode on WaL in-between locks. 

I met a very nice lady and we chatted about her hand knitted jumpers she made, sadly her favourite one her husband loathes.  My mother is a great knitter.



First lock going up the flight.  Oh my word what lovely blue skies.

An overhanging tree has dropped these colourful apples.

David perfected this very old Boatman's Trick along here.  We had seen it done when we were very new boaters and were impressed, then we had modified the trick, I then called it The Indian Rope Trick when I took it and ran up the steps, we did that sometimes in double locks, but today it all went swimmingly;



WaL comes in.

Get ready......

Perfectly slow the boat so it almost stops.

Don't fall on the steps.

Shut gate for wife.



It was a very easy run through the locks without any hitches, a few boats came towards us saving turning locks 
(Emptying them) and when we got to the town proper there were seven volunteer lockkies on today, one making the tea, one painting and five helping with the gates and they are a marvellous bunch.

Soon we were on our way south towards the pretty moorings at Hartshill, normally busy but today empty but by teatime two other boats had joined us.

The afternoon was spent washing the boat in the sun, then as the forecast said no rain tonight David left off the Tonneau cover.  Of course it poured and the Met Office were slated again....


The prettiest of all stretches on Coventry canal

Purpley sky before it poured



Supper was roast chicken with salad and sweet pots wedges

Monday, 18 September 2017

It's that man again

Here we are again Reader, didn't that ten days go past quickly?  We had spent the weekend in London with a daughter, we went shopping together while David and another daughter went to Lords.  This is a snap I took from The Triangle in Crystal Palace.  For any non Londoners among you, CP is on a hill, and this is the view of the city centre from there, it fuzzy but you can make out The Shard and The Walkie Talkie, The Gerkin is not quite so clear.  The Americans have The Empire State and we have a vegetable.  David awake at 5am this morning with a jolt.... did he switch a switch on the engine charger plug-in thingy.......?  

If not the bloody thing won't start, which is actually where this blog started back in April 14   HERE  

David was quite correct too, he hadn't and the boat didn't start. Dogs, new tricks and old spring to mind.




We arrived back at Kings Orchard Marina, I can recommend this modern marina, very friendly and helpful people, I didn't see the showers etc but I expect they are lovely too.  The nice people sent a man around, who arrived earlier back earlier than expected too.  
Bish Bosh Bash it was going, the heating went straight on and after David had loaded up the fridge, (Reader there are benefits of being married to an insomniac, he was at Sainsburys food shopping at 7am).  
I am not allowed to stock the fridge anymore, since he "Semi-Retired" that is, I was unchallenged in the fridge department for approx 25 years, but not now, I have willingly gifted him that task.

That evening we jumped back in the car and nipped over to The Ashby canal, to see friends John & Louise from 
NB Ploddin' Along   HERE  they had driven over to see us form their home in Derbyshire earlier in the blog when we were on the Trent and Mersey canal, we met them when about four and a half years ago, they passed us by and I yelled out that I had read his blog.....  We caught up with them later on and are now firm friends.  
I am bitterly sorry that I neglected to take a photo of either of our evenings.  But I will next time.  
We ate at that super place on the Ashby The Dog and Hedghog, it was very busy on a chilly September evening which is a bit of a recommendation in itself

Supper was steak and ale pie with chips and sticky toffee pudding to follow 

Next mooring bright and not very early, David steered WaL carefully out of the marina in a stiffening breeze.  

Now tell me someone clever who knows their water based Highway code, when pulling out of a marina blasting the horn to alert other boaters, being unsighted due to greenery, who has right of way? 
This day as we crept out, but being 70ft we can't see.  
We spotted two moored boats along side the immediate marina entrance on the left hand side, which is where we wanted to go,  there were also two boats coming in the same direction,  one of which could of held back but didn't, he carried on passing the moored boats, knocking one of them very gently, as we all passed each other three abreast his face was like thunder.    I am not sure what else we could have done, it was very breezy, we had hooted, but if he could see our long nose surely he could have thought its a long boat, I'll hang back here.......?


But onwards, you get a suggestion of the wind from this photo.   


These two made me laugh, they were suddenly hanging onto their ropes and told David that as there was a storm coming tonight, they were going to move it away from trees.  Such was the urgency there was no time to dress, or maybe they are from Newcastle.
 
I took this shot for Carol on NB Still Rockin'   HERE  she had commented earlier that it was too cold for shorts...  but here he is in shorts, sunglasses but note with gloves on and his thickest winter lined fleece, he declares he has hot legs.





We went through the Tamworth locks and were just creeping past the moorings when a cry went up of DAVID!!!!  

We both jumped a mile, it was Patsy and Tony off of NB Pedal, now remamed to NB Geriatric Express, we hadn't seen them since we came up the Caen Flight together over three years 
ago  HERE

A quick calling out then on we went and moored at the foot of the Atherstone Flight, jumped in the car and raced back to Tamworth to chew the fat with good friends.


Not seen this pair in over three years.


After last nights blow out and sparkle wine and nibbles with Patsy and Tony we had a light super of cheese and pickle rolls.