Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Birmingham Tuesday 14 August 2018

Last night we changed the Grandson's out, we now have the little one. We decided to have a meal at "Zauq" Star City, £15 a head and all you can eat and drink, no alcohol.

We were away in good time this morning at 8-15 a few minutes before Owl.DSCF0158

We went backwards down to the junction, all was going very well until I gave it a quick burst to line up with the old gauging lock and picked a bed quilt up on the prop. I threw off most of the filling but the cover stayed put until half way up Aston when I had to pull over and remove it.DSCN3358 We had a very good run up Aston meeting the first boat coming down at the second lock, so after that they were all with us, it was the same going up Farmers Bridge, but in this case we met the first boat at the junction.

These giant concrete Lego Bricks are getting quite popular now for building retaining walls. DSCF0162

By the time we were half way up the flight the grandson was well into it again, but he isn't heavy enough to start bottom gates swinging yet.DSCF0161

Coming up Farmers Bridge flight this rope access worker was working his way up aDSCF0166building, I wonder what that pretty coloured cladding is made from and what its fire resting properties are like.

The mural on the student accommodation is still holding out well but its a job to get DSCF0167far enough away to get a good view of it, I wonder how many people fail to see it at all?

We had a bit of a problem coming out of lock 9 and couldn't shut the gate, by now we had a boat following and they came up to lend a hand. Between us we managed to close it. Email sent to CRT.
One of the locks had a nice showing of wild water plants in the pound where it runs beside the lock, I didn't note the number.DSCF0168

Once out of the flight we went for one of our favourite moorings at the back of the Sea Life Centre.

Today's Journey map 1524 locks, 3½ Miles in 4½ hours.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Star City Birmingham Monday 13 August 2018

It seems the boat moored ahead of us had his boat fitted out like a sound box with multiple speakers and heavy beat music until about 1130 last night.

We slept a bit late this morning so it was 0930 before we were away, the first lock had leaked off and we passed a boat about to leave in the next pound, this served us well as we met a boat 2 locks later and Diana was able to just open the rest of the bottom gates. As we approached Curdworth tunnel a boat coming the other way pointed out to me that my tunnel light was on, I was heading for the tunnel.

Just after the tunnel we passed under a bridge, I could see someone with a hi vis jacket and white hard hat looking in the opposite direction and a large van parked there, so I wrongly assumed he was waiting for a work boat, wrong, he was tacking the top of the parapet of the bridge while his mate were working lower down. Thankfully nothing landed on us.DSCF0152

Its much better doing the Minworth flight now that they have repaired the towpath side, I heard that deep boats have a problem still but at 2' 4" we didn't have any problem. We stopped for a short time at Brace factory bridge to stock up from Lidl ready for No. 2 grandson who comes on tonight. It was then on to Salford Junction passing a group of lads plus 2 on a motorbike, they were a bit mouthy but no problem thankfully and stopped before we reached the junction where I felt we may have had a problem. At the junction it was very hard left and up the GU to Star City where we have moored for the night and are waiting for my son to arrive to swap the kids out for another week.

Today's Journeymap 14 8 miles, 11 locks in 4¼ hours

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Curdworth flight Sunday

I think it rained for most of the night last night, It was every time I woke up. It did stop for breakfast and while we untied then it started again and drizzled on and off all morning. It was a slow run down to Fazeley behind a coupe of other boats. At Hopwas the red flags were flying so the army must have been exercising, we could hear what sounded like gunshot in the distance. Since we were last this way they have erected gates on the bridges accessing the wood which I assume are only closed during exercises.DSCF0145

Also since we where this way last the services at Fazeley have closed and you need to deposit rubbish at Fazeley Marina. As we had rubbish and were passing I turned which was fortuitous as their diesel was only 73p/lt the cheapest we have seen, so as well as dumping rubbish we filled with diesel.

We stopped at Drayton foot/swing bridge for a photo shot of No. 1 Grandson, No. 2 was this way a couple of years ago.DSCF0149

We carried on up three locks of the Curdworth flight to moor for the night

Today's Journey map 1313¾ miles 3 locks in 6 hours

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Fradley Saturday 11 August 2018

It was twenty past nine before we were away. On of the things I have noticed in Gt Haywood is CRT have some very expensive enclosed notice boards with nothing in them. Someone has stick an A4 notice on the front cover that someone else has sprayed with white paint so ruining the notice board.DSCF0117The cafe at Gt. Hayward has been sold and looks as if its been turned into a private dwelling, much to my surprise there was no queue at ether Gt. Haywood or Colwich lock in mid August. As we locked down at Colwich a paddleboarder carried his board round the lock and set off behind us.DSCF0121

We met hardly any boats but at Fradley people were telling us how busy it was.
One of the houses in Rugeley has started a collection of female manikins in his garden but one is minus her head.DSCF0128

The first time we came this way this shed was leaning, I find it hard to believe it is still standing at all.DSCF0131

Last time we came past the Ashtree Boat Club moorings there was the starting of a building site behind it, now its a housing estate.DSCF0133

Its good to see that the Old Man in his night shirt has found a new home about half way down the Hawkesyard Moorings, It moved from the end when the boat owner there sold his boat.DSCF0135As we approached Shadehouse Lock there was a boat coming out who left the gates for us and told us a boat behind him was working up, as Diana and Brian drew the bottom paddles the boat behind was just leaving Middle Lock so Diana waved a windlass to show we were coming down, but he still closed the gat behind him. As Diana walked past him he asked her what all the windlass waving was for, so she explained to let him know that there was a boat coming down and please leave the gate open for us. At the junction with the Coventry Canal we turned right, again there were vacant moorings along this stretch but we carried on to just past bridge 90 to moor for the night.

Today's Journey map 1214 miles 5 locks in 6 hours

Friday, 10 August 2018

Gt Haywood Friday 10 August 2018

Boats were passing early this morning but we were set to leave about 9 am. as 9 am approached we were harder aground and healing even more to the middle of the cut, so we pushed off while we could still move the boat, The reason became obvious at Newcastle Road Lock, they were letting water down into the next pound so that they had sufficient depth to get a boat into the drydock, it did however mean the lock was full for us. We pulled over and moored by the carpark just above Star Lock for a jolly to Morrison's and then set off south again. The water point below Star lock was in use with a second boat waiting with his hose already run out so we pushed on.

It looks as if someone is after the Canal in Bloom awards just beside the winding hole. DSCF0111

Just before Aston Lock we passed this moored Narrowboat with a very small outboard engine, I wouldn't like to try to stop it in aDSCF0113hurry, a little later on beside Canal and River Services at Weston we met a small very slow Narrowboat powered by 2 X 12 volt electric outboard engines, I was very pleased we weren't behind him.

Just as we left Stone it started to rain which continued until after lunch, it was one of the occasions we actually moored up for lunch.

Tonight's target was Great Haywood and when we arrived the water point was free, so the tank is full again and we fitted nicely onto the vacant spot by the junction with the Staffs and Worcs canal.

Today's Journey map 1110 miles, 7 locks in 5 hours

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Stone Thursday 9 August 2018

Today we woke up with a teenager onboard, my grandson was 13 today.

A bit earlier start at quarter to nine to try and be ahead of the rush. Passing Middleport Pottery CRT have erected a handrail along the canal where people stand to view the poppy display.DSCF0100

There is a red notice at each end telling cyclists to dismount, but it doesn't seem to work very well going by the three we saw ride straight through. The poppies fun along the ground and up the side of the bottle kiln, but the light was all wrong when I took this photo.DSCF0101

Even getting away when we did we were still third in the queue to go down at Stoke Top Lock and there were several behind us as well, once below Ridgway's Lock we started to meet boaters coming up, not that helped much.
We stopped at The plume of Feathers for a Birthday Lunch and Brian's mother came to join us, bringing his presents. We had a very enjoyable lunch on the veranda.

Time was getting on when we left and again we were in a queue at Meaford Top Lock. Yet again someone has crashed into the bridge parapet so the stairs are cordoned off, this must make it a pain for single handers going up who have to walk back and onto the road to set the lock and then back again to bring the boat in.DSCF0106

We were hoping to moor just above Lime Kiln Lock on the rings, but it was full so we are on pins between Lime Kiln Lock and Newcastle Road Lock.

Today's Journey map 1011½ Miles 11 locks in 6¾ hours

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Westport Lake Wednesday 8 August 2018

We set off at 9am this morning, we were going to take water at Wheelock but I couldn't get the tap to run cold, it just stayed tepid so we left it. There were very few boats moored there and we had only met one and one had just gone up ahead of us. There is a fine fungi growing on the mooring bollard at the lock.DSCF0082

It was some time before we started meeting any boats and having locks with us. At Hassall Green there is ongoing work at the Romping Donkey, I will have to compare it with the photo I took last time we passed, but today there is some large plant there as well.DSCF0086

Its nice to see that when they replaced the bollard at Hassall they replaced t with another wooden one and not a metal mushroom.DSCF0087

The derelict locks at lock 49 is looking more like a SSI every day, I am sure CRT could get a grant to maintain it.DSCF0093

It started to rain dead on 2pm but it only lasted ¼ hour but even so I needed to use the brolly. Rather than stop in Kidsgrove we carried on to the tunnel with its bright orange water.DSCF0096 It was twenty past three when we arrived and the others had gone in on the hour so we would have to wait not only until they were out, but also 3 three travelling north. The wait wasn't helped by the last one entering 10 minutes after the rest and then travelling slowly once they were on there way. It was a almost ten to five before we entered the tunnel and travelled through alone. After filling with water at the south portal we carried on to Westport Lake where we are on the end ring and a piece of blue string round the rubbing board, we could have gone on pins at the north end but it was a bit heavy in goose poo.

Today's Journey map 0911½ Miles 26 locks in 9¼ Hours