Monday, 14 July 2014

It pays to know other bloggers!!

Monday 14th July

Nothing much to say about our cruise yesterday from Taft bridge except the weather was once again lovely and plenty of boats on the move, we were heading for Fradley and had been hoping to get moored at Shade House lock but after coming towards Wood End lock we found 3 boats waiting to go down and we were waiting at the lock for about 45 minutes so we didn't expect to get a mooring. But as we were approaching Shade House Lock we saw a couple of moorings and there was one that looked just about right for us but it meant that we would have to ask a boat to pull back a bit for us, well what a stroke of luck as the boat turned out to be NB Windsong so we gave a shout to Roger who was sat outside if he would mind pulling his boat back so we could get in.
Roger shouted to Pip who also came and helped move their  boat back and we got tied up then went for a cuppa and a chat. Thanks both of you for moving and it was nice to meet up once again as we hadn't seen them both since Crick 2008 when we had 4EverMoore at the show.
This morning Kev washed the boat and wanted to get it waxed as he had done the other side on the Caldon Canal, so I helped him and then Pip & Roger started to leave their mooring  and we all said our goodbyes and hope to meet up again at some point.

We left our mooring and headed down the locks once Kev had finished and made our way down the locks at Fradley and there was a lot of movement as usual here but there were volunteers helping at the locks so it made it easier, and we arrived back at Barton Turns Marina at 1pm.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Sunday 13th July

On Friday night we went for a few drinks in the pubs and it was very busy as everybody seems to come out with the sun! I must say people do seem in a better mood when the sun shines and it seems to make people friendlier.  Plenty of boats through Stone yesterday and we sat in the cratch watching them all and there were 3 young boys fishing close to Star Lock and totally enjoying themselves even though I don't think they caught a thing, but its nice to see kids actually outside playing rather than being sat inside watching the telly.

We left Stone just after 7.10 am yesterday as we were up and about and ready to go and wanted to get to Taft bridge to moor. It started to get hot along the way and when we got to Weston Lock Kev was waiting with the boat while I did the lock and he got attacked and bitten to death by Horseflies!

This cow was nice and cool in the canal

 Stenson Lock had been repaired

There were some workboats on the way looks like they were putting new piling along the towpath. When we got to Gt Haywood it was quite busy and when we were approaching the bridge just before Colwhich Lock there was a boat moored just between the lock landing and the bridge, they were sat outside their boat with table & chairs and were having food & drinks, this was a bit of a bad place to do this as it made it awkward for the boat behind us to get moored for the lock & there can sometimes be quite a queue at this lock! Anyway they must have realised they were in the way as once the boat behind us tucked in behind them they started to get ready to leave.(Good Idea)
There were a couple of small boats in the lock together coming up so Kev helped them and the second boat had a lady on who said she read our blog and used to read 4EverMoore, sorry I never got your name but nice to see you.
We finally moored after Taft Bridge and so did a few other boats including the boat that had been behind us, we got the bbq out and sat in the sun for the afternoon, the clouds started to build and by 6pm we got the rain so we came in and later watched a movie.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Back in Stone

Friday 11th July

We had a nice cruise from our mooring at Milton yesterday and once again the weather was lovely,  I must say we enjoyed being back on the Caldon but it definitely needs a lot of cutting back of the trees and vegetation.
 Passing through bridge 6 which is quite ornamental 

 It was very narrow after Planet Lock 3

Our mooring last night was close to The Plume of Feathers and this boat moored just ahead of us, we should have asked for a cup of Ovaltine before bed! But we had an alcoholic drink instead! There were plenty of boats moored around Barlaston and we were going to moor on the straight near to the Wedgewood potteries but the only mooring was on a bit of a bend near to the winding hole and we couldn't get the bow in close enough for Buster to get on and off.
This morning we left early and got to Stone where it was full and when we came down through Yard Lock and into the pound before The Star Lock and there were no moorings here either, but a boat that was moored on the 24 hour moorings said we could breast up to them as they would be leaving soon. We were only tied up to them for about half an hour when Kev noticed a boat just across from us on the towpath side was getting ready to leave so we started the engine and once the boat had moved we moved across onto their mooring. 
Our mooring in Stone

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Heading back

Monday 7th July

Another lovely morning as we left our mooring near the Engine lock around 9am, I went and got the lock ready for Kev and we were on our way and as we got to lock 9 at Stockton Brook there was a sign just after the lock saying there were men working and we could see them through  the bridge 26.
As we got through here there were a few men working on the towpaths and plenty of their workboats too! We carried on and stopped at the services at bridge 31 and we filled the water, got rid of some rubbish and of course the loo cassette was emptied! There was yet more work going on through the bridge so we had to wait for a workman to move the STOP sign and we set off again.

work going on 

looking back towards bridge 31
After we had gone under Hazelhurst Aqueduct we moored at the Hollybush pub where we had a bite to eat but not in the pub! The canal is very slow going and it is overgrown in most places which is a shame as it is a really nice canal and I think there should be more work on the vegetation and trees encroaching on the waterway. 

The Flint Mill close to the Cheddleton locks

We moored on the 48 hour moorings after bridge 44, it all looked quite new here although just before we moored here we got stuck on the underwater obstruction which is on the towpath side and there isn't much room round it as there are permanent moored boats on the opposite side, Kev had to get the pole to push us off. We weren't the only boat to get stuck here, there was a boat that came along just after we had got moored and another boat had to pull him off.
Our mooring at Basford bridge

Tuesday 8th July
It was quite misty early this morning but then the sun appeared again, Kev managed to get some touch up painting done to the port side gunwhale   yesterday and this morning he fitted a galvanic Isolator and then he had a walk to the station.

The train station is lovely it is like going back in time, the station master told Kev they were expecting 140 children today and this weekend there is a Real Ale Trail  event  with live music, bbqs and train journeys with five pubs on the trail which are: The Railway Inn (Froghall) The Black Lion (Consall) The Boat Inn (Cheddleton) The Red Lion (Cheddleton) and the Roebuck (Leek) it is all starting 11th, 12th and 13th July it should be a good weekend so I hope the weather stays good for it.
We left Basford bridge moorings about 10.30 am and moored at Consall  11.30am and we went for a pint to the Black Lion pub, there was a sign at the gate to say all dogs had to be kept on their leads due to the fact one of their chickens had been killed!! Oh dear mind you there were a lot of chickens about around the tables!!
Once we had been refreshed with a drink we went back to R&R and set off and winded then headed back.

Coming through the narrow cutting along side of the railway towards the Black Lion Pub
As we were leaving the 2nd lock at Cheddleton  there was a hotel boat coming through the bridge, 42  towing a butty.

There wasn't a lot of room but we all managed, the Hotel boat only had 4 guests but they said bookings for this year are good so thats nice to hear they are doing ok.
We decided to head back to moor at Denford where we moored on the straight not far from bridge 38 where the Hollybush pub is, we had a walk to the pub for a drink in the evening but only had one then we had a walk up onto the Leek Branch of the Caldon Canal, it was so peaceful and there was one boat moored up there.

Wednesday 9th July
This morning we were up and about early as usual and Kev managed to get the towpath side of the boat polished and I got some ironing done then we left our mooring about 9.40 am.
This is a tight squeeze going back through bridge 31, but no damage done!! I wanted to get my lottery and a few other bits so we have moored before bridge 18 at Milton  where we will stay overnight.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Parting company

Sunday 6th July

Yesterday had been a lovely day considering we had heard a forecast for rain! Before we left Stone Kev & I  had a walk into Stone town for a few bits of shopping & Nigel had gone on his own for a card he needed so we told him if he got back to his boat before us & wanted to set off we would catch up with him. Anyway by the time we got back Nigel was in Lime Kiln Lock, so we unpacked our shopping & had a cuppa then we too set off. It was quite busy with boats again but we had a nice cruise and caught up to Nigel who was moored up between bridge 103 & 104 we arrived about 2pm and it was a lovely day so we just sat at the stern of the boat in the sun with a few drinks and Nigel joined us, there must have been something going on we think at Trentham Gardens as we could hear a band playing.
looking back the moorings filled up with a few hire boats 

where's mum?
Found mum we are all tucked up underneath her lovely and safe

This morning was another fine looking day, Nigel decided he wanted to do a circular so he headed off just after 8 am and was going to go through the Harecastle Tunnel,  so we said our farewells  and off Nigel went, we were heading for the Cauldon Canal and we left sometime shortly after 9am and when we got to Trentham Lock there were 2 boats in front of us with 2 boats waiting to come down, but it wasn't too long before we were turning at Etruria onto the Cauldon Canal we were going to stop to fill up with water but there was a boat on the water point that had just got on it so we decided to carry on and went into the staircase locks (which only consist of 2 locks!) and headed on the Cauldon canal. We haven't been on this canal for a few years and it is quite overgrown which meant that the canal is very narrow in most places!

There are still the old bottle kilns along the way
These canal side properties were here when we were last on this canal but now there were plenty more new developments along this stretch.
There are a few foals in this field only they are hidden behind their mums
Here is our mooring for today just before Engines Lock (bridge 20) we sat in the cratch with the sun shining and had our tea in there, the heavens opened up about 5.45pm and it absolutely poured down but didn't last long and once again the sun is shining!!

Friday, 4 July 2014

So onto stone

Friday 4th July

This morning we woke up to a lovely morning although the weather forecast said there would be heavy rain later today. Anyway we had our brekkie and Buster had a wander on the towpath, he doesn't want to really go far these days and now he is totally deaf we usually have him on a long lead as he can't respond to us calling him back, he is a bit hit and miss when we are at home sometimes he goes for his usual walk up the fields and another time it takes longer for me to get my wellies etc on than it does for him to go for his walk! It is like has a dog form of dementia but he is fine most of the time. Anyway Nigel set off before us as we wanted to pull across to the diesel boat close to Taft Bridge 69.

We got alongside and didn't have to wait long to be served as their collie dog came running along barking so they certainly know you are there!

We were soon all filled up with diesel @ 79pence per litre and set off to find Nigel in the Colwich lock
Pay attention Nige!!

R&R approaching Colwich lock

We carried on through Gt Haywood where it was quite busy and Nigel wasnt too far ahead of us as he had been behind a couple of boats going up the locks, we had been told that there were some hold ups at Sandon lock but we didn't know why, anyway when we got there we found no hold ups and there was a boat coming down the lock. There was a notice pinned in the lock saying that a bumper was missing so to stay back from the gate, when the lock was emptied you could see an area where the bumper should be.....
you may have to zoom in as I took this on my phone 

It doesn't pose much of a problem as long as you know about it beforehand.

These cows and their calves were all enjoying the good grazing

The weather held until we approached Stone when the rain started and  then just as I was approaching Star Lock a boat was just leaving so Kev jumped off to do the lock and as I was pulling away from the lock landing I suddenly had very little propulsion but managed to get in the lock and  as we were about to leave the lock another boat was exiting the next lock and left the gates open for us so we struggled on as we felt obliged to carry on into the lock. By the time we were in the lock we had lost propulsion completely! I took the centre line and Kev had to use the girlie button (Bow Thruster) we managed to get on the lock landing opposite Canal cruising company, a quick trip down the weed hatch revealed a polypropylene woven sack, which was easily removed but a rope had to be cut off. Now we could move on an we carried on to lock 29 at Newcastle Road, it was pouring down and Nigel had moored in the pound so we are moored behind him before lock 30 Lime Kiln Lock. Kev & Nigel have gone for a pint  but I am quite happy here with Buster as have no intention of getting wet again today!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Tomorrow is here today

Thursday 3rd July

Yesterday we arrived back at Barton Turns Marina around 1.30pm and unloaded the car with groceries etc and got them onto the boat. Kev popped Buster for a walk while I was sorting things on the boat, Kev then washed the roof and the side and cleared some cobwebs which everybody seems to get plenty of on their boats! Our friend Nigel was going to join us for a couple of weeks on his boat "Tomorrow" he had left his marina at Shardlow on Tuesday evening, he arrived and moored outside the marina about 3.45pm  yesterday and walked to us on our berth. We had a beer & some Quiche  and then we decided to leave the marina and moor outside on the towpath with Nigel ready to leave this morning.
Tomorrow moored behind Rock & Roll
A Likely looking pair!!

This morning we left our moorings and headed off, I stayed on the boat while Kev did the locks and helped Nigel to get through the locks too as he is single handed.
On our way through to Alrewas you go through this bridge which looks quite tight but is fine, Nigel was not far behind.
Looking back where Nigel is just approaching  the same bridge
The last lock in Alrewas
This swan and her cygnets were looking well as were lots of proud ducks with their ducklings and there seem to be lots of moorhens with young too, what a lovely time of year with everything blooming and full of life!

When we got to Fradley Kev left Nigel to do the locks himself as it was quite busy and so we carried on until we got through all the locks and once we had got through Woodend lock we moored not far away while Nigel caught us up and we had a bite to eat before setting off again knowing that we had no more locks to do. I am really disapointed that I didn't have the camera at hand as Nigel stepped to get on our boat his foot slipped on the grass and he went into the cut and he was soaked just a above the knees! What a spoil sport he ran to his boat so I couldn't get a photo!! We had a good cruise stopping briefly at Rugely so Kev could replenish the beer stocks!! We carried on and moored close to Taft bridge. It has been a lovely day the weather has been good although a bit breezy art times the sun when it was out was glorious. Kev got the BBQ out and we sat with a few beers too a perfect end to the day.