Sunday, 1 November 2015

Back home now

Sunday 1st November

We had a nice weekend at Willington although the weather wasn't very good, but on Saturday (24th October)we had a walk to Repton even though it was showery we managed to get there without getting wet.
This plaque is just at Willington Bridge over the river Trent
Walking over the bridge the footpath is only at one side and very narrow and we were glad we didn't have Jaz with us as the road was quite busy too. A bus was coming towards us as we were crossing the bridge and he slowed down while he passed us. It is ok when cars pass but anything like a tractor, lorry or a bus means you are quite close to the wall with the river below. 
Looking across the bridge, no footpath on that side!

The river Trent below us.

Lovely thatched cottages in Repton
The cross in the centre.
We walked to the right of the cross to the Red Lion pub as it started to rain, (good excuse for a pint) and as we sat inside the heavens opened up and it poured down but by the time we had finish our drinks it stopped so we headed back to Willington. In the pub there were a few photos of people who had attended the school here and one was the earlier Sherlock Holmes actor Basil Rathbone along with another photo of Jeremy Clarkson. The school at Repton is spread out around the village, a lot of the different departments like the sports complex looked quite new. It was about a 20minute walk and if it had been a sunny day it would have been lovely as you always see places differently when the sun is out. 
On Sunday morning we were getting ready to leave our mooring to go across to the services for water etc when another boat got there first so we had to wait, which is just one of those things but the couple didn't fill with water at first they decided to do a DIY pump out instead! The man got his hosepipe attached to the tap and then washed his boat!! We then made the decision to start to pull across to them and wait as if we stayed on our mooring while they finished someone else may have come along. They had already been at the services for over half an hour and we had to wait nearly the same again!
Anyway once we had  topped up with a little water we emptied cassettes & got rid of some rubbish and then made our way to Stenson lock where there was a boat waiting to go into the lock so we were able to share it with them. There were volunteer lockies on too so they told both Kev and the man from the other boat to stay on board so that was a bonus, no such luck when we got to Swarkeston lock though and both Kev and the other man had to get the lock ready. We let the other boat exit the lock first as we were going to stay at Weston for the night and they were carrying on to Nottingham.
We moored on the moorings close to the lock and these were going to be winter moorings from 1st November, CRT men had just put up the sign there.
Monday morning about 8am we were ready to leave so Kev pushed the bow off for me and went to open the lock gates as it was full. As we got to Aston lock there was a boat coming up so we didn't have long to wait, and when we got to Shardlow lock the gates were actually open so we went straight in! 
We were soon back at our marina and we spent Tuesday cleaning, packing etc ready to leave for home on Wednesday, although Kev will be back on board in another week or so as he wants to do a few jobs and Nigel will be at his boat too. They are both going to sort out getting a slot to get both boats  into a dry dock for blacking etc probably in March next year so I will stay at home while they do that.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Out with the old in with the new!

Friday 23rd October
On Wednesday we headed for Shobnall fields and moored so we were able to let Jaz have a good few runs on the playing field and also she was able to mix and play with a few dogs which is great for her.
Yesterday we left Shobnall fields at about 9.45am, it was quite windy and I walked to Dallow lock to get it ready for Kev who was following me on R&R. As I had just filled the lock and Kev was heading into it a boat came so we were able to leave the gates open for them. I must admit it was like pea soup in the lock, it was full of leaves but it is that time of year again.
We have been having problems with the batteries for a bit now, with them not holding a charge for long so Kev made the decision to buy new ones, he had rung Midland Chandlers up to see if they had the batteries he wanted in stock and so we made our way to Mercia marina. It always seems to be windy in any marina and yesterday was no exception, we managed to get moored on the Midland chandler pontoon and Kev was soon back with the 4 new Albion sealed for life batteries 115a.h.
As it was very windy in the marina Kev left the stern rope tied onto the pontoon and pushed the front of the boat away from the pontoon and let the wind push us around to face the exit and once we were round he let the stern rope go and we were on our way out of the marina. We then turned right back onto the Trent & Mersey canal and we travelled a short distance to moor up just passed the railway bridge so Kev could get the old batteries out and the new ones in. Job done and we stayed put last night and this morning moved on up to the moorings outside The Green Dragon pub where we will stay for the weekend.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

A blogger at Fradley

Tuesday 20th October

On Sunday morning we moved off from Wolseley Bridge  and made the short trip to Taft bridge where we pulled alongside the fuel boat that is permanently moored there. We topped up with diesel @ 60p per litre and a bottle of gas @£22. We told the lad serving us that we were booked in with his dad Dave Freeman, for a boat safety certificate inspection on Monday afternoon and said we would moor across on the towpath side of the canal. The lad said his dad had another boat to do on Sunday so Kev told him if he wanted to do ours the same day that was fine. Later on in the day there was a knock on the front doors and it was Dave, who asked if he could do our inspection so Kev said yes and so we now have R&R up to date with the boat safety certificate!
We decided that we would leave yesterday (Monday) and when we got to Rugeley we moored on the visitor moorings and went to Morrisons for some shopping and then while I unpacked the bags Kev  started the engine and let go the ropes and we were on our way again. We had an uneventful cruise with hardly any boats on the move and when we were approaching Shadehouse lock we noticed spaces on the visitor moorings there so we pulled over and moored up.
This morning it was fine and the sun was shining as we left to make our way down the locks and when we got down through Junction Lock Kev walked on ahead to the water point while I brought the boat alongside and as I was there was a familiar boat on the other side of the canal...

Kev had seen Maffi and his Staffie Molly while I was coming out of the lock and Maffi walked round to us at the water point for a natter.
Jaz was happy to meet both Molly & Maffi although Molly wasn't as interested in her!

The water flows very slow here so we had time to have a cuppa while we were waiting for the tank to fill. When we finally had a full water tank Maffi walked to the lock with Kev and they chatted until we were down through the locks. Nice to have met you and Molly too.
As we got down the last lock and were passing the moorings we noticed the newly repainted Percy  and looks good, nobody on board though.

Just passed Percy
We were lucky with the next couple of locks as there was a boat coming up both of them and we were able to go straight in! Kev stayed on the towpath at Alrewas and he walked unto the moorings before Alrewas lock to see if there were any available and there was a space between two boats as one had just left to go down the lock so that was us sorted!

Friday, 16 October 2015

Moored at Wolseley Bridge

Friday 16th October
After a final circular walk on Wednesday morning through Burston  & back onto the canal at bridge 86, we got back to R&R and had a cuppa and then left to make our way to Sandon Lock. I got off the boat and filled the lock but no way could I open the gate and so Kev told me to get on board and he would open it! Well he couldn't open it either so it took both of us to do it! We don't know why it was so hard to open but wondered if the other gates were leaking, but anyway were down and through the lock in the end! 
This lovely wooden boat passed us when we left the mooring at Burston

 When we arrived at Gt Haywood we moored at the water point at Anglo Welsh, while Kev was filling the tank etc I walked into Gt Haywood to the Spar shop and when the water tank was full Kev set off onto the Staffs & Worcester canal and moors at Tixall wide, I then walked back along the towpath and arrived at the boat as Kev was putting the canopy up. Yesterday morning Kev washed the towpath side of the boat and later he waxed & polished it with a machine polisher while I held the electric cable to prevent it dropping into the water! All done & looking good, we then had some lunch and then we left and turned around to head back to the junction and back onto the Trent & Mersey canal.
Looking across Tixall Wide in the morning.
Turning around.
Once we were down Haywood lock we moored  on the moorings across from Shugborough Hall. Yesterday afternoon we had a walk to The Clifford Arms for a couple of beers as we wanted to see the menu for Sunday lunch (good excuse for a beer?) We got chatting to some locals and we were told that the pub doesn't do a Sunday roast but that the Ham & eggs were good, we wanted a Sunday roast not Ham & eggs even if they were good, so we had a change of plan altogether. This morning  before we left Gt Haywood, Kev had been chatting to a local man who told him that the Indian restaurant "Shimla Palace" at Wolseley bridge was once a pub and that it was once visited by Oliver Cromwell and that there is a tunnel under the restaurant that leads all the way to Shugborough Hall, and was in use at the time Oliver Cromwell was plotting to take over.
We are now moored just before Wolseley bridge 70 and our new plan is to have an Indian tomorrow night instead of going for sunday lunch. Not much difference! But it is a really good Indian.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

A walk around Burston

Tuesday 13th October

Yesterday was a lovely day and I managed to get a wash done and even got it dried! After lunch Kev & I had a walk with Jaz into the village of Burston and it was well worth the walk, it is a lovely old village and you can walk over bridge 85 to it (for those who have never been).....
 The house above is Burston Hall & can be seen from the canal just before bridge 85
The village pond, to the left of the photo is the church (out of view)
The church has an inscription on it.
The back of this house can also be seen from the canal,there is a footpath beyond here good for walking dogs so will have to have a walk here later today.
Another lovely large house
The pond from the other side
Another lovely house

 This is The Greyhound pub and is about a 5minute walk from the centre of the village, we didn't go in as we had forgot our money but perhaps another time?
Looking from bridge85 at R&R on her mooring
This morning is a bit cool but unlike yesterday morning there is no frost or mist and I took another couple of photos of.....
A Cow!
Also a Bull with other cattle. 
(just for Kevin Too lol)

Monday, 12 October 2015

Weekend in Stone now in the countryside.

Monday 12th October

We stayed at Barlaston as it rained on Wednesday, I noticed that when I had a walk to the shop over the bridge where the Plume of Feathers is that there was some writing under the name saying" with Neil Morrisey", I wondered if this was the actor and apparently it is him. We only realised this as we were leaving on Thursday when Kev had been speaking to another boater  who had told Kev that he had been in the pub and that the actor Martin Clunes had been in there too. So The Plume of Feathers is now owned by Neil Morrisey!
We got to Stone late morning and moored before the Star lock, there was a boat moored along there too that we knew. We had met the couple on the boat nb Puddleduck  briefly when we were on the Weaver and they were travelling with another couple on their boat but had parted company in Middlewich.
Kev spoke to Phil (Nb Puddleduck) and was told that his wife (who's name we never got) had gone down south to her mother as she was ill and had to be admitted to hospital, their car was parked in Stone so she would be either coming back to Stone or meeting Phil further along the canal. Kev went for a few pints with Phil in the evening while I stayed with Jaz. On Friday morning Phil decided to move down through The Star lock so I went and worked the lock for him while Kev moved R&R up onto Puddleducks mooring as it was in the sunshine and would get some sun on the solar panels.
We stayed in Stone for a few days and I went into one of the many charity shops and bought Jaz a childs long sleeved T-shirt to wear in the night as she was still itching a lot and it was keeping her awake. It has worked and she slept a lot better!

Jaz in her PJ'S!
We had some good walks with Jaz and walked down along the river Trent where we noticed a slalom course. We had seen on the playing field there was a building that said it was a canoe club so they must use this course.

On Sunday morning we left our mooring and headed down the Star lock, we passed Nb Puddleduck but no sign of Phil!
looking behind at Star lock

All quiet on Puddleduck!
We didn't travel too far we headed down Aston lock and we finally moored shortly after we had gone through  Lower Burston bridge.
The view opposite our mooring
Kev took this photo but he couldn't get a zoom in any better

It was a lovely day yesterday and we took Jaz for a walk and when we got to the bridge at Sandon lock we thought we would have a walk to the Dog & Doublet pub, I must admit it wasn't ideal for walking as there wasn't a footpath at all and certainly wasn't good for walking Jaz but it was only about a five minute walk on the road to the pub which was long enough!
This morning when we woke up there was a frost on the grass and it was a bit misty too!
What a difference to when we arrived!
The cows seemed to be enjoying the wet grass!
This morning I had to bath Jaz in the Aludex solution again and felt very mean, it made her sick but she is ok now but hopefully we won't need to repeat this much more as she doesn't seem to be itching as much and her hair is growing back in places albeit very slowly!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Home, birthdays & another trip to the vet!!

Wednesday 7th October

On Thursday we arrived at the Harecastle tunnel just before lunch and while we waited for our slot to go through we had a bite to eat and Kev popped Jaz for a quick walk and then it was time to go and we were the only boat going through.
Entering the tunnel
And exiting the tunnel!
We didn't go far after exiting the tunnel and moored at Westport Lake moorings for the day. We didn't go further as we had booked moorings at Festival Park marina from Friday until Tuesday as we were going home for a few reasons. It was Sam's 17th birthday on 6th October and his mum Kirsty was over from Majorca and was staying at Helens with him. Also we wanted to pick up our car and get it to Shardlow marina so it would be there for us when we return at the beginning of November. The last thing was that once again we needed to get Jaz to our vets as she has still been suffering with skin problems and had started losing hair in places. 
On Friday morning we left Westport Lake moorings and headed to Festival Park marina, and we moored on one of the Black Prince hire boat moorings, the people at the hire boat company were very helpful and friendly. We were expecting to be picked up at 2pm as we had an Enterprise car booked and we had a call from them to say as the traffic was heavy they may be a bit late and they arrived about 2.20pm. Once we were sorted and had our car we got back to the boat and packed our things into it and with Jaz in her cage we were soon on our way and we finally were home at 7pm.
We had a busy weekend with family and on Monday morning Kev had to take his BMW bike to a garage near Grimsby for a recall and so I took Jaz to the vets. 
The vet was lovely and told me he thought he knew just by looking at her that it was mites! He said they could be either Demodectic mites or Sarcoptic mites and so he wanted to do a skin scrape on some of the areas and he took 2 from her head and 1 from near her shoulder and she was very good and let him do it. He took the scrapes on slides to see them under a microscope and when he came back he said they were Demodectic mites and showed me on a photo what they looked like. He said that he could treat them with drops onto her neck similar to treatment for fleas but that she may be immune to that as I had previously had a treatment like that on her before. The other treatment he said was a bit messy but would probably be the better option, and it was a solution called Aludex (used also for Mange) He said that it had a very stong smell but that I had to dilute 10mls of it to 1 litre of warm water and sponge it all over her but not to rinse it off and let had dry by herself. So on Monday afternoon Kev and I got her stood in the bath and started the treatment and she will have to have it done once every week. Since she has had it done she has been very lethargic and has slept a bit but is eating and drinking fine. Poor little girl she looks so sad and we felt mean doing it but fingers crossed we will get her sorted. 

Jaz with a bit of hair loss on her head!
On Monday evening we met Sam, Kirsty & Helen at Frankie & Benny's for a meal as we wouldnt see Sam on his birthday, and we had a lovely time. Kirsty got him a special non alcohol cocktail and the staff played happy birthday on the PA system, very embarrassing for him but he took it well!
Looking quite grown up now
Kev, Kirsty, Sam & me
Kev, Sam, me & Helen
We said our goodbyes and got home just before 9pm and wanted to make sure Jaz was ok and she was fast asleep when we walked in.
Yesterday morning we were up at 5am, and by 6.15am we were on our way, Kev in our car and me & Jaz in the hire car. We got to our marina at Shardlow about 9.30am and parked our car there and then Kev walked jaz to the entrance gates to stretch her legs and do any business and then we were on our way back to Stoke on Trent and were back at Festival Park about an hour later. Once the hire car was unpacked we took the car back to Enterprise and we got our lift back to the boat where we left and made our way along the Trent and Mersey canal and got to our first lock at Etruria. We did all the 6 locks along the way to Barlaston where we finally moored for the day. It had poured with rain from Etruria and at times the rain was bouncing off the canal. Jaz wasn't daft she got herself laid down below while we were in the rain!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

A walk to Little Moreton Hall

Thursday 1st October
On Tuesday afternoon while Kev was walking Jaz up Bosley locks he saw the fuel boat "Halsall" coming down in one of the locks & so he asked him if he would stop when he was down through the locks and fill our diesel up, so when he got out of the bottom lock he came alongside of us and filled our diesel tank 66p per litre, which had just gone down by 1p from the day before. The man in the fuel boat was telling Kev that at the terrible time of the  Bosley explosion at the mill the field across from the canal was full of police & their vehicles preventing people going to look at what was happening. We didn't realise that we could see part of the mill from the boat..
 The mill is in the middle of the photo
Yesterday morning when we left our mooring at Bosley Locks, it was another nice day although cool in the shade, when we were in the open and in the sun it was warm, there wasn't any movement on the canal apart from us until we were close to Congleton where we stopped so I could pop to the convenience shop, and we moored just before bridge 76 and I walked back up to the steps for the railway station and it was only a 5 minute walk. When I returned to the boat Kev had the kettle on for a cuppa and afterwards we got on our way again and we moored before bridge 86 as we wanted to have a walk to Little Moreton Hall. We knew we would have to walk across the fields to reach the hall and luckily it wasn't muddy! It was well worth the walk and it was sunny and warm too, I don't think we would have wanted to go across the fields if it had been raining apart from the mud there were plenty of cows in the fields and we didn't want to tread in their plentiful deposits along the way!
Kev had read somewhere that Little Moreton hall is the only one of its kind in Britain and maybe in Europe but we aren't sure but it is a fine example, here are some photos....

This old barn is behind the hall and you pass it when you come from the canal
The front entrance, there is a moat all around the hall
There is writing above the window here showing the name of the glazier at the time!
Looking back through the entrance

School children having a day out here
Hardly a Premier Inn bedroom! The small bed alongside was for a servant to sleep!
The courtyard
The back of the hall
Another small entrance
There are a few carp in the moat.
There were guided tours but we didn't go on one as we had just missed one and the next one would have been in a couple of hours and as we and left Jaz back on the boat we didn't want to leave her too long but it is a great place to spend some time so if anybody fancies it then go and see for yourselves.