Sunday, 31 August 2014

New Travelling companions

Monday 1st September

On Saturday morning once we had breakfast & we were ready we moved across to the water point and topped up with water,  got rid of the rubbish & emptied the cassette, whilst we were there the man on the boat that we had been moored in front asked if he could come with us and share the locks,   we were very happy to have someone to share the double locks as it makes things a lot easier.
They were called Pete & Steph and their boat is called "Maggie May"they are liveaboards and haven't been around this area before, they have been liveaboards for about 3 years and were a really nice couple and easy to get along with. We had a lovely cruise with Steph & Pete and we moored after we had come down Kings Lock at Aylestone. I took Buster for a walk while Kev sorted the boat out, it was quite a nice afternoon and there are quite a few people walking along the towpath and a nice couple stopped to chat with us and they told us that apparently there had been a narrowboat set on fire in Leicester on Friday night! We wouldn't be mooring in Leicester anyway and planned to leave early on Sunday morning to get clear of the city. Anyway after we had finished chatting to the couple we  all went for a walk into Aylestone to get some shopping then popped into The Black Horse for a couple of beers. In the evening  Pete & Steph came onto Rock & Roll for a few drinks and we had a good natter and a nice evening. We told them we would be setting off early on Sunday morning and they wanted us to give them a knock as they would come with us, so yesterday morning we were up early as usual and it was another lovely morning and we all set off from Kings Lock about 6.45am! Not much chance of youths hanging about the locks at that time on a Sunday morning eh!! Anyway we got to the first lock and there were a few youths about but they were fishing!
 Maggie May is ahead ready to go into the lock opposite Leicester football ground.

Inside the lock and a lovely sunny morning!
Leaving the lock with a quick snap of the football ground!
One of the bridges along the way through Leicester.
As we passed the secure visitor moorings at Castle Gardens there were a few boats moored there but no boats anywhere else along the way, plenty of rubbish about on the walkway though lots of empty beer cans, cider bottles and empty food boxes! Also plenty of rubbish in the water too!! Leicester seems to have plenty to offer but they are losing out to narrow boaters because of the lack of good police presence to deter the bad behaviour of the minority that can really spoil things, people we have spoken to around the area are lovely and all say that not many boaters want stop in Leicester because of this. We stopped at Sileby for fuel and the woman who served us also said the same thing she said even one of the men who has his boat moored at Sileby won't go through Leicester, but in saying all of this I am sure there are some boaters that have stayed in Leicester that have had no trouble whatsoever. Perhaps the fact that we haven't seen many boats along the way since Foxton is an indication that people are not coming through this way because of this problem but I hope I am wrong as it is a shame to not use these waterways. 
As we stopped for fuel at Sileby Steph & Pete carried on to Mount Sorrel and we said we would catch up to them there if we could get moored as there were now a few boats around this area and as we arrived at Mount Sorrel we found they had manage to get moored at the visitor moorings before the lock close to the The Waterside pub but there wasn't many moorings there and so we had to breast up with Maggie May, but due to the fact that Buster would struggle to get on & off the boat Pete pulled out from the mooring to let us get alongside and he went on the outside as their 2 dogs could jump across from his boat over ours & onto the walkway ok, they are a lot younger than Buster!
Steph & I got the chairs out and sat outside with a drink while Kev & Pete went to the pub for theirs! The pub was busy and plenty of people about sitting in the sun at the pub and walking passed us having a look a the boats, there were plenty of small day boats with people having a great time. Later on when Pete & Kev came back we all popped back to the pub for a bite to eat. 

Friday, 29 August 2014

First boat down Foxton locks

Friday 29th August
Well we were first down the Foxton Locks as we left our mooring @ 7.45 am and slowly got to the lock landing to find the lockie just unlocking the padlock on the paddles and he said for us to make our way down to the first few locks to the pound and wait there while 3 boats came up.

Kev in the first lock 

It is a great view looking down the locks especially if it is a clear day!

Unfortunately it didn't stay nice all day and it got quite breezy, we managed to get through Saddington tunnel without passing a boat! Mind you it is only 880 yards long but we haven't had many boats at all in fact we have only had 4 boats coming the opposite way all day! We stopped at Fleckney for lunch and then we got through the awful double locks on our own, Kev had to fill most of them as they are empty apart from that the gates always come open as you are leaving! 
We finally moored for the day on the visitor moorings at  Kilby bridge, as we were just coming alongside we got something round the prop so Kev jumped off the boat with the centre line & I turned off the engine then once we were tied up he went down the weed hatch to find.....
This!! Along with some bits of carpet!

Time for a few beers I think!!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

2 tunnels & an oil change

Friday 29th August
We decided to set off early to get through Crick tunnel and it was just after 7am when we were on our way and would you believe it as we were just into the tunnel there was a boat coming towards us, he said he had the same idea to get through the tunnel without meeting another boat! Oh well never mind. It was a miserable morning weatherwise  with fine rain and  lots of cloud & we stopped to fill with water at Yelvertoft 19 and it was still raining  but as we carried on it brightened up and the sun actually appeared and so we decided to pull over and moor up after bridge 27 so Kev could do an oil change and we could see how the solar panels perform. I had a tidy up and Kev managed to get his engine and gearbox oil changed and oil and fuel filters too, we then had something to eat and then we left the mooring and it was still sunny.  The sun didn't last long before the rain started once again but quite heavy at times, there wasn't a great deal of boats about but we seem to pass them in the tunnels! We went through Husbands Bosworth Tunnel and 3 boats passed us, the canal seems very overgrown and I think it really needs some work doing to get it cleared as the canal is very narrow in a lot of places due to all the vegetation.
Once we were through the tunnel it was dry and the sun reappeared and it was quite nice, we carried on heading for Foxton Locks and managed to get a mooring just through bridge 60.
looking down at our mooring
Kev had the solar panels facing the sun!
The well photographed boy & horse

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

A good days cruising

Wednesday 27th August
A bit foggy this morning and it had an Autumanul feel to it as we left our mooring around 7.45am and we made our way to Hillmorton bottom locks which were only a few minutes away.
I left Kev to leave the lock and close the gate whilst I walked round to the next pair of locks, I noticed a man crossing them with a push bike and he headed off to the next pair of locks 6&7. Kev commented how low the pounds were with water and we could see the man opening all the paddles at locks 6&7 and Kev said he wondered if he was letting water down to fill the pounds. When I got to the locks where he was, he said that someone had come down the locks last night and left a paddle open and that his boat which was moored near the bottom locks was heavily listing as it was sat on the bottom! As Kev was entering these locks a woman from CRT came to do exactly what the man had been doing! As I was at locks 6&7 there was a notice on one of the lock beams saying there will be disruption at these locks 15th Sept to 10th Oct as they will be replacing gates and the ground paddle on 7, so if any of you are heading to Hillmorton around those dates at least now you know ok.
We didn't travel too far before we noticed a tree had fallen onto a moored boat  before the railway bridge close to the Wharf bridge and some of it was laying in the canal causing a bit of a obstruction but we managed to go round it ok.

We got to Braunston and moored up just passed the entrance to the marina, I put a wash on while Kev went to AJ canopies for some studs or whatever they are called for the pram cover and also took in the canvas that goes round the stern to keep the dog in as one of the fasteners had pulled away so he left it with them and we will pick it up in about a week. Kev had a walk to Wharf House chandlers and bough a clock & barometer and when he got back we had something to eat then the washer had finished so we set off for the locks and we were joined by a hire boat so at least we could share all the locks, once clear of the locks we went through Braunston tunnel and met 3 boats coming in the opposite direction only one managed to knock into us so that wasn't too bad! Anyway we turned at Norton Junction onto the Grand Union Leicester section and went up the Watford locks and finally moored beyond bridge 8 and we will leave first thing in morning to get through Crick Tunnel

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Lads gone home & Solar panels fitted

Tuesday 26th August
On Sunday we popped to Tesco for a bit of shopping and then went for tea to the Bell & Barge pub just over the bridge from the visitor moorings Rugby, it was very good. Yesterday we were expecting bad weather all day but it wasn't too bad although it rained on and off most of the day and the lads went to see  "Guardians of the Galaxy" at the cinema then they went for a few games of pool but as they headed back to the boat it started to rain heavy and they were soaked when they got back. We moved across from our mooring to the 24hour moorings opposite as it would be easier for the lads to get picked up as Pam would be able to park on the carpark there and also we were expecting Tim from Onboard Solar to come and fit 4 solar panels.
This morning it was still raining but fine drizzle and was quite warm on the whole, Tim arrived at just after 9.30am  and Kev helped him unload the solar panels, then he got straight to work fitting them.
 Tim working well
All 4 panels fitted

As Tim was almost finished Pam turned up and I made her a coffee & sandwiches
Once Tim had left we went for a little cruise to the winding hole just before the locks at Hillmorton and let Pam have a go on the tiller.
You would think she'd been doing it years!!
Think that was enough for her!
We turned again at the winding hole before bridge 53 then moored back on the visitor moorings and Pam and the lads left us and headed off home and we set off back towards Hillmorton and moored after Kent road bridge 69  for the night.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

And onto the Oxford

Sunday 24th August

There was a slight mist on the canal this morning and usually that indicates a nice day, so the forecast was right as today has been lovely though a slight bit of cloud and a breeze at times. We left our mooring at Sutton Stop around 8.30am, Kev walked across to the stop lock while I brought the boat around the sharp turn through the bridge past the Greyhound pub and then onto the North Oxford canal. We have had a lovely day cruising with several boats about, there is nothing else much to say about today but we have moored on the visitor moorings at Rugby and we went to the Tesco for a bit of shopping. We will stay put now as the forecast is not good for tomorrow and not that good for Tuesday either. The lads will be picked up on Tuesday by my friend Pam and Sam will stay with her until we get back home to our village Roos. We are going to pop to the Bell & Barge pub at bridge 58 for some tea later. Hope all of you boaters stay nice and dry!!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Moored at Sutton Stop

Saturday 23rd August

This morning was lovely but quite cool in fact it felt like Autumn, we let the lads have a lie in and we left our mooring around 8am and we stopped at the services after bridge 48 and emptied the loo, got rid of the rubbish and filled with water. We got to the locks at Atherstone and the first 2 locks were in our favour then 2 boats pulled away from their moorings  and so we were behind them for the rest of the flight. I left Kev with the lads and went up to help the boat that was ahead of us as it helped to speed things up, there were a few boats coming down so that made things even better.

does anybody know what this is just above the number?

The couple on the boat I was helping asked what it was and I wondered if it was something to do with gas as it seemed to be a valve of sorts but hey what do I know!

Chris looks happy here not quite as happy after he had finished the Atherstone flight Ha Ha!

Look at the above photo, this was originally The Navigation Pub at bridge 14 (Bulkington Bridge)
It is now a fantastic home for some one and the photo does not do it justice Who Lives in a House like this!! We wanted to get to Sutton Stop so we could go to the Greyhound pub for a meal, we got moored on the last mooring just before the water point before the Engine House about 4.30pm. We all got showered and then had a walk over to the Greyhound pub, there are a few people sat outside but we wanted to get sat inside as it kept raining on and off. It was full as usual inside so we had to wait to get a table and then once we got a table sorted we ordered some food and it was excellent and well worth it. 

Friday, 22 August 2014

Back onto the Coventry

Saturday 23rd August

The lads got back from Drayton Manor theme park yesterday about 3.15pm, they said they had enjoyed it and been on all the rides several times but it started to rain quite heavy so they came back to the boat but once they were back on board the rain proved to be just another shower and once it had stopped we decided to leave the mooring and head off.
As we were turning right at Fazeley junction Kev sounded the horn in case another boat was coming through the bridge hole and yes sure enough a boat was coming through and kept coming! There was a man sat on the roof at the front and we said didn't you hear our horn he just replied I am not driving she is! There was a woman at the tiller who was sat on a stool and how she could see anything is beyond me and with her was a woman holding a child who said we are not going to argue but we have been boating for years, so did that make it ok not to slow down then! Anyway Kev had managed to reverse out of her way so no harm done. We made our way to the 2 Glascote locks and there was a boat coming down as we pulled up at the lock landing so that was good and as we got through into the second one a boat had just come out of there and there was a coal boat "Callisto"waiting to come down, Kev recognised the man as we had previously had diesel & coal from him when we were at Mount Sorrell  a few years ago Kev can always recognise people better than me, they had a good chat whilst working the lock. He had to told Kev there was a working boat gathering at Alvcote marina this weekend and that there were plenty of boats there.
Callisto coming into the lock

plenty of boats at Alvecote
We also had a workboat and butty pass us on their way to the Alvecote gathering I didn't get the name of the boat but the butty was "Raymond"

 We passed through Polesworth and then we carried on and moored before bridge 50
The view this morning from the hatch window

Onto Drayton Manor Park

Friday 22nd August

Yesterday we left Alrewas later than we would normally as Kev had to go to the post office, but it gave the lads time to get up, have breakfast & get ready! It was a cool morning and quite cloudy but every now and then the sun came out. We made our way to Fradley and turned left onto the Coventry Canal, there was a steady flow of boats as usual at Fradley but not busy and we had no queuing. Kev did the locks with Sam & Chris and I took the boat in the locks, once we were heading down the Coventry Canal there wasn't many boats passing us, we passed Streethay Wharf and decided to stop for a bite to eat for lunch so we moored just before Orchard Marina, also Buster was ready to stretch his legs etc, poor Buster he is now completely deaf so we keep him on a long lead as if we need him to come to us he is totally oblivious! (a bit like Kev!! lol) once we had all eaten we carried on and stopped briefly at Peels Wharf services before Fazley junction to empty cassette and Kev went into the office there and bought another BW key as we only have one which George & Carol kindly gave us. We were going to turn right onto the Birmingham & Fazeley canal as we had decided to let the lads have a day at Drayton Manor Theme Park and as I was turning right at the junction suddenly there was a bang and the engine cut out as something hit the prop and I had no steerage and had no time to start the engine in time and we hit the side of the canal BANG!! Not very happy! Kev took over and I went down into the boat to check if anything was broken but luckily nothing had moved and all my glasses,ornaments etc were still in place and in one piece too! Anyway we carried on and moored just after Drayton Swing bridge and then the lads went across the footbridge to check on the opening times for the theme park which is 10.30am.
Who's helping who?

It had rained a bit last night but this morning after a light shower first thing although it was fairly cloudy it was a bit warmer than yesterday and the wind had died down as it was quite breezy yesterday at times. Kev got the boat washed towpath side & then once the lads were ready Kev walked with them to the theme park and got them paid for then he came back to the boat and we left the mooring to head to the winding hole to turn round and come back to moor in the same place so Kev could wash the other side of the boat, the winding hole was just before Curdworth bottom lock about 2 miles away, the winding hole wasn't very big but we managed ok there is a lot of growth along the canal which makes it quite narrow in places.
Sam & Chris off across the bridge 
 All ready to go in!
Our mooring.
We will hopefully move later on when the lads get back and head to Fazeley junction and turn right onto the Coventry Canal in the direction of Alvecote.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Doing the Leicester Ring.

Wednesday 20th August

 This morning we left home at 8.15am with Sam and then picked his friend Chris up from his home in Keyingham which is only a few miles away from our village of Roos and is on our way out of Hull.
They will be with us for about a week and my friend Pam will be picking them up hopefully from Braunston and we will continue doing the Leicester Ring.
There was slow moving traffic on the M1 so we stopped at Woodhall services and got some food from Kentucky Fried Chicken then we arrived at Barton Turns Marina about 1.15pm. We got everything unpacked and I popped Buster for a walk while Kev got the boat ready to leave and so we left the marina just a after 2pm. We only had a short journey today and moored at Alrewas for the night.
 Sam & Chris in the cratch

Wychnor lock