Thursday 7 October 2021

Home Mooring

 Yesterday afternoon the sun popped out for a bit, this was the result, a full rainbow. But it was quickly followed by heavy rain for most of the night.This morning we were away before 9-30Am for the 45 minute run back to the marina in fine weather. I was in no great hurry so at one point pulled over to allow a boat to pass, we did meet a couple of boats on the way before turning into the marina and dropping back to our slot.
Once everything was packed away and the car loaded  we visited to Marina Office, last time I was in here it was the function room bar above the pub, to pay our moorings for the next 12 months. Needless to say like most things its gone up a bit, then it was off home. We stopped for a bite to eat at Cambridge Service to find 8 Met Police Officers on their motorbikes parked up. No major incident, just stopping for lunch. 
The rest of the journey was a bit fraught as on the A11 the car decided it didn't want to play any more, I managed to coax it to Lidl's carpark in Wymondham and called the AA, who in turn delivered us and the car to Desera in Diss with another suspected blown injector From there friends kindly drove over and took us home.

Today boat  journey 2 miles, no locks in ¾  hour.

A map of the total trip.

Tuesday 5 October 2021


 Last night we moored just in the right spot as we ate in the Lazy Otter and didn't get wet walking home from there as the boat was right by the garden. Overnight it poured with rain once again for most of the night and been showery all day today.

We shoved off around 10 am. the working pair we had seen moored at Great Haywood cam passed just before we set off but moored up about a quarter of a mile ahead of us. We were moored directly behind the ex working boat Dover that Alan Heard restored in a TV program about 15 years ago. We met a few boats as we made our way to Fazeley where we topped up with water before continuing on to Glascote Locks where one was against us and one with us.
Its all change at Glascote Basin with a different hire company now working out of their, Warwickshire Narrowboat Hire. Once clear of the lock we only travelled ½ mile before mooring for the night so we have a bit to do tomorrow to charge the batteries up.

Todays Journey 4½ miles, 2 locks in 2½ hours

Monday 4 October 2021


 It was a good mooring last night and this morning was again sunny to start with. It was just like old times, Woodend Lock with no top ground paddle. Last time it took about 2 years to fix but I understand there is a stoppage in 2 weeks time to fix it.When we got to the lock there were 2 Volockies  on duty, a lady who is often there and a gent, with their help we were soon on our way. There have been a lot of trees planted above the lock on the offside, I suspect this is screening for HS2 buildings, The actual track crosses below the lock and round the corner a bit. When we reached the sight of the crossing there is little change on the offside, but they have now fenced the towpath side off and started tree clearance, I think the protesters were just arriving on site as we passed.There was a Volockie at both the other two locks so the gates were open ready for us and there was already a steady stream of boats coming up. The Volockie at Middle Lock enquired which way we were going at the junction so that she could let the Volockie at Junction Lock that we wouldn't need his lock. They use to use a sign with a big arrow on it to do this, but now they just use a walky talky radio.
Just beyond Bell Bridge 89 there are two boats moored, a Dutch Barge style Narrowboat and an ex BWB work boat. The Narrowboat has been cleaned and turned round, I can never recall it moving before in all the years that I have passed here. The ex BWB boat sank within months of being moored here, but today it was being pumped out in an attempt to refloat it. The water mark on the side looks about 50mm out of the water so hopefully its on its way up.We were surprised how few boats were moored in the normal busy spots like just before the Litchfield Cruising Club or Hopwas. Our plan was Hopwas for the night and we were very pleased to find just one boat moored in front of the Lazy Otter with room for us behind. We had just moored up and the first spots of rain began falling, not much just a show and its raining again now.

Today's Journey 9½ miles 3 locks in 4 hours

Sunday 3 October 2021

Woodend Lock

 Yesterday early evening the pheasants were very vocal but we had a very peaceful night. By this morning the weather had improved greatly and we were greeted by a sunny morning. Several boats passed before we set off just after 10am. lots of them hire boats and we are now into October. We had a very nice view of the Tixall Gate House glinting in the sun.As we passed the Anglo Welsh hire base at Gt Haywood and  it was empty with all their hire boats out.The wind was whipping up the Trent and Mersey when I poked my nose out to turn right, My plan was to drop back to the services to pick Diana up, but that was aborted as I was just making progress diagonally along the canal so I put a bit of power on and picked Diana up at the lock. There was one boat going down ahead and a couple waiting to come up, so many hands made light work. Opposite Shugborough Hall we passed this pair of old working boats painted in the colours we chose for Harnser and they are still trading.

Colwich lock was its normal muddieness over the bridge, again we had one boat going down ahead and two waiting to come up. I expected the River Trent to be carrying more water than it is with all the rain we have had.
I don't know who the chap with the chainsaw was who carved this woodpecker from a tall tree stump, there is even a hole with the beak poking through. The fuel boat Dexta has now had a cabin fitted and been painted, I suppose this is one way to fit the offside portholes'

When I am this way I always look forward to coming into Rugeley to see what is new at  https://www.facebook.com/naomislanding/ at the moment its Neptune  

On the far side of town both the houses had their birds out on the lawns on stands

We stopped to fill with water at the water point by the Spode hall long tern moorings, there was a motor parked by the tap, I wonder if it was a special birthday present for someone? Its a long time since I have seen so many toilets stacked up outside the Armitage Shanks factory, maybe its something to do with lack of transport. Years ago the whole yard was stacked high with them but in recent times you have been hard pushed to find one. We were now looking for somewhere to moor for the night, but with the wind really picking up I was looking for a hard edge away from the trees, we had to go a bit further than planned and ended up just above Woodend Lock
Todays Journey 13 miles, 2 locks in 5¼ hours

Saturday 2 October 2021


 After hearing the weather forecast we decided to set off a couple of hours earlier than normal to get the hours in before the weather got too hot after lunch, so 8 o'clock and we were on our way meeting a hire boat at the first lock. Not long after that we had the first spits of rain with all over dark clouds. We stopped just above Penkridge Lock to take on water and dispose of rubbish,  it's a tap with good pressure. While the water was filling I turned the lock, a bit slow as only one paddle was operational, in fact we didn't pass through a lock until we reached Tixall where they were all working, one lock had a single paddle both ends.
The canal was quite busy, the rain kept spitting and stopping until about 1130 when it was spitting or raining. I don't know how long this little fisherman has sat on the straight below Park gate Lock but I have never spotted him before.It now looks as if the Stafford Boat Club also have a caravan club as well, the field by the moorings was full of motorhomes and caravans when we passed and I  see they have power points around the field as well.
There looks to be lots of work going on at the Stafford Link, well done them, but I do wonder who will use the river link to get to town once its complete.We pushed on in the showers, Its not too bad when you don't have locks to negotiate as with the coat on, brolly up and back doors closed life isn't that bad. If any single ladies, well I assume ladies are looking for a boat this one looks quite tidy About 12 o'clock it really started to rain and we were approaching Tixall lock so should we stop above or below, a slight miss understanding and we went down the lock and moored a couple of hundred yards below it. I think I should have moored above from comments received, but you don't hear the trains down here. Since we have been moored up it hasn't stopped raining but its not been heavy like a couple of days ago.

Todays Journey 9 miles7 locks in 4½ hours

Friday 1 October 2021


 We had quite a bit of rain last night, thankfully not while we were walking back from the pub, even if we were right outside the garden.
When we woke this morning it was fine and quite a bit of traffic about on the canal. The chap behind started his engine at the same time I did, I feel a bit better about mine now.We set off at ten past ten, a bit too early as it turned out because at eleven minutes past ten the sky's opened and it hammered it down, but since it stopped it has been a nice day, so an extra hour in bed would have been well worth it.This house has two very nice signs, one at each end of their property on the none tow path side, I wonder who B.W.W. is and what powers they have about people fishing the tow path opposite.
I have seen some interesting covers over the rear decks of boats in my time, from Fools and Horses three wheelers. Landrover cabs, even tents but this is the first corrugated iron shed I have seen.Things were a bit slow at Boggs Lock where they now have a set of stop planks specifically for that lock. When we arrived a boat had just gone down the lock and one was coming up while we were second in the queue to go down. It turned out that the boat that had just gone down was a Training Boat from Gailey  http://gaileywharf.com/training.htm  and they had winded below the lock and would be coming up prior to us going down. There were three people being trained and I would estimate the youngest to be mid 60s and the others probably well into their 70s. The chap doing the training requested we left them to it so they could work under his instructions. I must say he had a lot of patience with them, explaining every step of the way. I hope they all enjoyed their day and got a lot from it. We carried on until finally mooring for the night just above Filance Lock in bright ward sunshine.

Todays Journey 7½ miles 5 Locke in 3½ hours.