Monday, 29 June 2015

Sunshine and moored at Kinver

Monday 29th June
It was back to shorts & T-Shirts again this morning as the forecast was for a warm day, we headed to the top lock at the Bratch and while Kev stayed with the boat I went to find the lockie, who was down at the bottom lock as there was a boat in it coming up. The lockie was telling me that last Tuesday he had fell into the middle lock while it was filling and had a boat in it. He had been talking to somebody who was on the bridge above the lock chamber and lost his footing and went into the lock! So great care is always needed when around any lock and it just goes to show how a brief lack of concentration could have ended in tragedy but luckily he was fine. he said he has lots of jokes made about it since and can laugh about it now.
In the top lock
& into the next one!
We were soon down through all three of the locks and there were no other boats waiting to come up, it was very quiet here usually there are a few boats about but not this morning. We had a pleasant cruise and didn't pass another boat and met the first one at Marsh Lock.

mother on guard with her small chicks

This little donkey looked very relaxed

This property has a sign asking boaters not to moor opposite their property! If they don't want people to look into their home then they should put curtains up or don't buy a property on a canal.
We stopped at the services that are just before  Greensforge lock and did the usual emptying of the loo and we filled with water. We carried on in the glorious sunshine and by the time we reached Stewponey locks it was getting warmer still! 

Kev waited while I filled the lock

The old Toll House

After we had got through the next lock which was Hyde lock I walked on into Kinver while Kev slowly followed on R&R passing all the permanent moored boats along the way. As I was approaching Kinver lock there was a work boat moored just before the lock landing and 2 large white vans parked alongside it, there were a few men unloading boxes and furniture etc and putting it all in the van so I assume someone lived somewhere that it was difficult to get a removal van to and so the property must have been on the canal somewhere. Anyway I went to the lock and luckily there was a boat just about to leave the lock and that was good timing as Kev had just got there and was able to go straight into the last lock of the day. There are visitor moorings below the lock and there were a few boats already moored there but we managed to get a space.

All empty now

This is the boat that had been unloading the house contents.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

What A Difference A Day Makes!

Sunday 28th June
The forecast was right, it was a rainy start to the day & windy too we didn't expect that. Instead of shorts & T-Shirts it was sweatshirts and jeans, everybody we passed today were togged up like winter! One man even had gloves on but I don't think it was that bad.  Not long after we left our mooring this morning there was a boat just pulling away from their mooring so we let him go first & then another boat came up behind us, so we had a little convoy!

We were lucky when we entered the narrow cutting there were no boats coming towards us so all three of us got through ok just after we were clear of it a boat was just coming so as we passed we told him there was another boat behind us so he waited for it to exit the narrow cutting. We passed Autherley junction where the boat behind us turned to go onto the Shropshire Canal.
Passing Autherley Junction
As we were approaching the pipe bridge after Oxley Moor Bridge we noticed there was a lot of scaffolding around it and there was a narrow channel to pass, only one boat width.
 It looks like a face!

Passing Aldersley junction
As we got to Compton we dropped down the lock and moored for something to eat, opposite us used to be Limekiln Chandlers building, all gone now and being replaced with luxury apartments.  We didn't stay long and were on our way again and the weather showed signs of brightening up and it was getting warmer so off came the sweatshirts and it was again warm enough to just have a T-shirt on. Awbridge Lock was our last lock of the day and we moored up close to the cricket ground, not too close though as there was a match on, didn't want to risk our solar panels getting a cricket ball through them! There were a few balls going into the canal further along and men were trying to retrieve them with a net on what looked like an extended pole, they did manage to get one ball back!
The Bratch
We had a walk early in the evening, it was lovely and sunny and  quite a few people about, I took the photo above from the road on the bridge, usually the photo would be from below going into the lock or whilst in one.

Plenty of sunshine at last

Saturday 27th June
What a lovely peaceful mooring we had, there hadn't been anybody walking past the boat and only a few boats passed yesterday but after 6pm it was quiet. We could only just hear the traffic on the M6 but you had to really listen for it.
Our view looking across the canal 
Deptmore lock is just round the bend behind us
The boat moored ahead was the last one to come passed us

We actually were able to have shorts and T-shirts on today! We had a lovely cruise and only now and again did it cloud over and was a bit breezy.

This is a pretty cottage in Acton Trussell, the postman had just been here and he had reversed his van quite a way on the towpath to get to this cottage and a couple more next to it. There is nowhere for him to turn around unless he drove into the properties but their gates were all closed so he must do this every time he delivers post. If you look closely you will see a scarecrow in front of it!

Kev tried to get a photo of this squirrel running along the towpath, he said he had his camera set wrong! 
Very fast little squirrel!
Passing this popular wedding venue, there are several boats moored just passed here you can see the start of them ahead.
ApproachingPark Gate Lock
After we had got up through this lock, we moored up briefly so Kev could pop into Midland Chandlers and so I put the kettle on for a cuppa, Kev was back as I made the tea and we set off once again and when we got to the visitor moorings after Penkridge Lock we moored up and had a walk to the shops, there was a market on today but we didn't bother to go. When we got back to R&R we had a sandwich and then I headed to the next lock to get it ready while Kev let the ropes go, it had got a bit busy with a few boats about, and so it was good as there were boats coming down as we were going up the locks. As we were in the lock at Gailey Kev went and got us both an ice-cream, very handy having this little shop here especially on sunny days. We never took photo here but each time we come through Gailey we always remember being iced in on 4EverMoore a few years back. This is where we first met George & Carol. They were the owners of R&R  then and we were moored with them there. Anyway carrying on in the good weather we finally moored for the day near The Fox & Anchor Pub, we call the bend here Busters Bend as we were once coming round it in the opposite direction on 4EverMoore I said shall we stop here and so Kev went and jumped off onto the towpath and Buster decided to follow but we weren't close enough for him and he ended up in the canal! It was a bit of a panic as Buster didn't swim to Kev but seemed to panic and went under the water so Kev had to jump in and reach down for him! All was well just both of them were very wet!
The Fox & Anchor(Busters Bend)

Friday, 26 June 2015

Onto The Staffs & Worcester Canal

Friday 26th June

Yesterday morning was lovely so before we left our mooring we decided to cook a breakfast on the BBQ, a first for us this year! After we were all sorted I walked to Common lock to get it set for Kev, & then when we got to Fradley  there were volunteer lockies at 3 of the locks so that made it easier as they set the locks for us. The journey was lovely and it was the first T-Shirt day, we were approaching Rugeley and passed the garden where there are birds of prey kept, they are sometimes outside but unfortunately not today!
He doesn't look happy stuck in there, maybe he will be out later!
When we got to the visitor moorings in Rugeley we got moored & had a walk to Morrisons for a few bits of shopping. After putting shopping away & having a cuppa we were off again, the weather was glorious at last! We finally moored for the day at Taft Bridge and got the chairs out on the towpath and had a couple of lovely cold beers!

Our mooring last night
We were expecting some rain this morning but only had a quick shower as we were leaving Taft Bridge this morning, it was overcast but warm. When we got through Gt Haywood lock we wanted to top our water up so stopped at the water point at the junction for Staffs & Worcester canal, and once all topped up we reversed back and headed onto the Staffs & Worcester canal and as we got to Tixall Wide there were plenty of boats moored there as usual but we managed to get a spot to stop and have a bite to eat.
We were joined by this family who also wanted a bite to eat!
Leaving Tixall Wide we headed to Tixall Lock which was empty with one of the gates already open!
 Looks like a recently painted lock cottage

Stafford Boat Club
We hadn't passed any boats until well after Stafford boat Club and then only a couple of boats passed us and then as we approached Deptmore Lock there was a boat coming down, the man on board the boat was a single hander so I helped him with the lock. We decided to moor up after we had got up through the lock.
Couldn't resist putting updated photos of our pup Jazz, the breeders sent them to me, not long now!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Finally on the move

Wednesday 24th June

Well finally we were on the move yesterday! Leaving our marina just after 8am and had an uneventful cruise but a pleasant one, although it was strange not having Buster with us. When we arrived at Stenson lock there were 2 volunteer lockies working the lock so we were both able to stay on board R&R so that was easy. When we got to Willington we moored on the visitor moorings about 1pm and stayed the night there. It had been one of the best days weatherise and there were lots of people about all enjoying the sunshine.
We were up early as usual  This morning and what another glorious morning, and about time too as so far the summer seems to have been in hiding! Leaving Willington at just after 7.30am it was lovely and peaceful and with no other idiots apart from us on the move we had the canal to ourselves for quite a while!  When we were approaching Dallow lock in Burton Upon Trent we noticed that  the bridge had been damaged but not by any boats but above where the road is it looked like a vehicle had crashed into it and there were a few bricks missing so below it where the lock is there is temporary fencing around it. Now at this point I have to say we did take photos of this, along with several more along the way today but when I came to do this blog entry I went to the camera to take the memory card out only to find it was missing from the camera!! Well nothing much to miss really, anyway it has been a lovely warm and sunny day and we were hoping to moor in Alrewas but found it quite full, so we carried on through Bagnall lock  and moored  not far from Common Lock. We decided that finally the weather was good enough to get the BBQ out which is a first this year!
It has been lovely to be travelling at a slower pace than on the journey we had on Sunday, where there are few less lorries about!!

Monday, 22 June 2015

all sorted!

Monday 22nd June
This morning we contacted our car insurers who are the AA & they were really helpful & arranged for us to take the car to Nottingham to a repair centre. So that was a big relief to get things moving. After all the conversations were done with which took about 2hours we drove our poor damaged car to Long Eaton to get some shopping at Asda and I had put a joint of beef in the oven so we.would have a cooked lunch before Sam left for the airport. We left the marina about 2.30pm and dropped Sam off for his flight to Majorca and then we headed for Nottingham to the repair centre. A man assessed the car and we were all sorted . They will keep it for us while we return in August and they even gave us a lift back to Shardlow! So hopefully we can enjoy our trip starting tomorrow morning! At Last!!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Near Miss On Way To Boat!

Sunday 21st June

Kev has finally retired!! Sam has finished all his GCSE exams and has moved out! So today was going to be a new start on the boat for us!
As Sam is flying to Majorca tomorrow, we picked him up from Helen's (his new home) today and we headed off for the marina and he would spend the night with us on R&R  then we will be getting him to East Midlands Airport tomorrow afternoon.
I was driving on the M1 and there is a 50mph speed limit for several miles and as I passed Woodhall services and was in the middle lane, there was a lorry on the inside lane. I was alongside it and nearly towards the front of the lorry when it veered into me!! BANG!!! Kev was in the passenger seat and Sam was sat behind me, they both soon woke up to me screaming and crying as the lorry took me along with it!!
Here is where my car ended up!
We were all safe & uninjured thank god, we had witnesses and Kev rang the police and then VOSA turned up as the police didn't come if there were no injuries. The lorry driver didn't get out of the cab at first. Kev & Sam got me out of the car and onto the hard shoulder where there were a few witnesses waiting to help in any way and I must say a big thank you to them. The lorry I may add was Romanian!! Apparently  this sort of incident is a regular occurrence as the drivers can't see you in their blind spot!!
This is the point the lorry hit me 

We made it to the marina but Kev had to drive as I was too shaken up
So tomorrow we have to inform our insurance company, we had rang them earlier  but will have to ring them again tomorrow as I had forgotten to change our address so first we have to ring customer services to do that then ring the claims back up. We have our accident number from the police and all the details of the Romanian driver & his company!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Our new family/crew member!

Sunday 14th June

We have really missed Buster, in fact missed having a dog in our lives! So we decided to get another puppy and here she is........

This is our little Staffy bitch 4 weeks old!

This is Jazz our new family/ crew member!!
I rang up the breeders to see if we could go today and so we went to stay on board R&R last night as they live in Burton on Trent not too far from the canal. We will pick her up in 4 weeks and can't wait.
we have been busy lately, Sam has finished his exams and school and he will be moving in with his godmother Helen next weekend after his prom!
Sam looking smart in his new suit
He is going to see his mum in Majorca on the 22nd June and as we will be finally be going to start our summer cruise he will come to the boat with us on the 21st June and stay overnight as he will be flying from East Midlands Airport which is only about 10minutes in car from Shardlow so we can take him there. We will then be leaving Shardlow the next morning heading for Stourport on Severn.

Monday, 8 June 2015

A trip with friends

Monday 8th June
On Friday morning we left home early and headed off to Shardlow for the weekend, it was strange not having Buster with us and when we arrived at the boat I had a little weep as his bed was still there  and the space where he slept looked strange without him sitting there! My friend has had a picture drawn of him for my birthday and it is lovely.
Nigel was at his boat which is moored next to us, he had Maisie his little cross terrier think she is Patterdale x Border Terrier but may be wrong! We sat outside as it was sunny and warm so I sat and hand stripped Maisie but as I didn't have my grooming box I didn't have any scissors to do her head and had to just do her by hand, although she may not look great she looked better than she had beforehand!
Maisie sat on R&R
Later in the afternoon we moved R&R out of the marina onto the canal and moored facing towards the River Trent as we would be heading to Nottingham on Saturday. Our friends  Gail & Brian were coming to go with us so on Saturday morning so we walked to meet them at the Navigation Inn. they arrived about 11.30 am and I got in their car to show them where the marina was and Kev, Nigel & Maisie walked back on the towpath and once we were all aboard and sorted Gail stayed on board with me while the three men went to get the lock ready. As I was approaching the lock I turned back to see a hire boat coming so I went into the lock and waited for them to share the lock with us.

We had a nice trip to Nottingham although it was breezy it was sunny, and once we were there we got moored and went for a walk for a couple of beers, we went into Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem pub and then we were all getting a bit hungry and so we found a nice Indian restaurant called The Cumin and we all had good meals and I would definately go back there! 
Sunday morning was sunny and the wind had dropped although in the shade it was quite cool, everybody was up and about and Gail & Brian went for a walk and took Maisie with them. Once we were all back on board we left our mooring and headed back to Shardlow.
Brian, Nigel & Kev pulling a funny face?
Heading back on the river Trent
Brian concentrating on the tiller!

Gail on the tiller!

We stopped at Trent Lock and moored on the pontoon then went to The Steam Packet for a nice cold beer, there were lots of people about making the most of the good weather.
It had been a lovely couple of days with friends and we look forward to more trips with friends in the future. When we arrived back to the marina Gail & Brian left and headed home also Nigel & Maisie a left for their home too! Kev got the chairs out and we sat with a lovely cold beer each enjoying the sun while it was still shining. Cheers!!
We woke up this morning to another quite nice day, after getting a few jobs sorted we packed the car and set off home.
We will be back on board in a couple of weeks, Sam will be heading to see his mum in Majorca and is flying from East Midlands airport so he will stay overnight on R&R and we will pop him to the airport then we will be heading off for about 6 weeks but we have to come home in August as there is a wedding to attend