Thursday, 30 July 2015

Happy 60th birthday Kev!

Wednesday 30th July

Today is Kev's 60th birthday and we are back home now, we travelled home yesterday morning.
On Monday morning we walked to the vets with Jaz and she had her second vaccination, she has seen 3 vets since we have had her and so every time she has been anywhere it has been to a vet! Our appointment was for 9.30 am and so we were back to the boat by 10am, and so we got Jaz settled in her cage and we moved across to the services at Willington and emptied the rubbish & cassette, we were quite low on water so we filled the tank up although not fully as we would be back at our marina later that day. We then turned round at the winding hole next to the services and made our way back to Shardlow.
On Tuesday Kev rang the repair centre  in Nottingham to see if the car was ready, and at last it was! They said they would send a car to pick Kev up, and so Kev arranged to meet them in the Navigation pub carpark as it was easier than trying to explain where the marina was and where we were moored.
We packed the car yesterday morning and I must admit I have never been worried about driving at all but was quite nervous going back onto the M1 motorway and so Kev drove as far as the Doncaster services on the M18 and then I drove from there home to Burton Pidsea. Home safe and sound!

 Jaz finally can get outside in the garden.

The car with all the passenger side replaced, from the front to the rear!!

Thursday, 23 July 2015

About Turn!

Friday 24th July
Yesterday morning we were away just before 7am, we wanted to get back to Shardlow as we thought the car would be ready today. We quietly slipped passed Roosters Rest as didn't want to disturb Pam & Terry!
Shush all asleep on there!
A pleasant morning to cruise and by the time we were at Dallow lock there was a boat ahead of us and one behind! The repair to Dallow lock is apparently a temporary one so it will probably be in the winter stoppages at some point. Kev rang the repair centre at 9am to see if the car would still be ready for today but the man said he was going into a meeting so we had to ring back at 11.30 am. When we were getting close to the entrance for Mercia marina we spotted a familiar boat...
Granny Buttons
No sign of Andy Denny on board. When Kev rang back about the car he was told that unfortunately the car would not be ready until next Tuesday! Bugger!! That meant we would be in our marina for a few days, but the problem was that we were hoping to get home for Jaz to have her second vaccination and so we needed to find a vet close by. We went down through Stenson lock and managed to share it with another boat, which turned out to be the same boat that had kindly moved up a little at Alrewas  to let us get moored! We decided to stop at the Ragley boat stop moorings as we have fancied stopping here before, so we went into the pub for a pint. It is quite a big pub and they are friendly we asked if we were ok to stay overnight and they said no problem and if we needed electric we could buy a card for the meter. We declined the electric as our solar panels are working lovely! When we got back on the boat we looked on the internet for vets and saw that there was one in Willington. Kev rang them up and we booked Jaz in for Monday morning at 9.30am, so we are going to turn around and head back to Willington for the weekend.

meeting a cormorant & a Rooster!

Thursday 23rd July
On Tuesday morning we left Fazeley at about 8am and as we were nearing Tamhorn Park Bridge there had been some work going on...
and then we noticed...
has anybody lost a bike?
We had a good cruise to Fradley but it was quite windy at times and I went and opened the swing bridge for Kev and we turned right towards the lock, and then I went to get the lock ready,the wind rely picked up as Kev was waiting and it blew the bow over to the lock landing before he had chance to manoeuvre onto it. There was a bang but nothing inside broken! When we got to Alrewas we wanted to moor up for the day and it was really jammed full of boats. Kev walked ahead while I came along slowly on R&R when he was through the last bridge before the lock there was a space but we were just a little too long for it but the man on the boat ahead kindly moved up a bit and helped us get in, it was a tight fit bust at least we were moored!

Looking out the side hatch yesterday morning very peaceful
Once again we left at 8am and I went to the lock and got it ready and we were soon down and out of the lock and onto the short stretch of river that gets you to Wynchor lock and back once more onto the Trent & Mersey canal. We hadn't gone far before a bird flew over us and dived into the canal and it came up again behind us! It was diving and then coming up for several times and then it caught 3 small fish one after the other. 

It was a Cormorant
We wanted to moor at Branston water park as we knew Pam & Terry ( nb Roosters Rest) was moored there so as we were waiting to go into Tatenhall lock I text Pam to say we were not far away from them and we then carried on the short distance and Terry came out and helped us moor up behind them. Pam said that they were going to a pub in Branston village called the Gate Inn for lunch as it was £5 for main course & a dessert! That sounded good to us so we all had a walk about 11.45 am and walked through Branston water park and turned left at a children's play area then there is an underpass that runs under the A38 and you come out into a street as you get to the end of the street you turn right and walk a short distance and the Gate Inn is there! The food is very good and we will be going back there again, the beer prices aren't bad too! It was lovely to see Pam & Terry again they are a lovely couple and Pam is always so cheerful so we had a good laugh, we had a few beers back on R&R before they headed back to their boat and we settled down with little Jaz, who had been very good as she had been in her cage for quite a bit.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Finally heading back to marina

Monday 20th July
We had left Hillmorton on Friday morning and stopped at Rugby to go to Tesco for some shopping and afterwards we was hoping to get moored for the night at Newbold and go for a pint but as we got to the visitor moorings they were full! So we carried on through Newbold Tunnel, it used to be lit with different coloured lights but alas now there are no lights at all! Anyway an uneventful cruise really and as we were approaching the bridge just before  Rose narrowboats, Kev noticed a familiar boat who also has a blog Nb OakApple was moored up there, we didn't see any signs of life and I forgot to take a photo! Finally we moored at Ansty just after what was bridge15 but there is no longer a bridge there at all now, we remembered passing there on 4EverMoore when Kev had to ring up BW to tell them that the bridge was in a very poor state and badly damaged so it was obviously not worth repairing. Although the bridge took you across to the pub opposite I think it was the Rose & Castle but we had a walk to it that night and just went to the next bridge 14 and walked along the footpath on the main road, it is a lovely pub but is mainly one for eating.
On Saturday morning we didn't go far, we moored at Hawkesbury Junction on the moorings before the stop lock and had a walk to The Greyhound pub at lunchtime for some food and very nice it was too!
Yesterday morning we didn't rush to get away as I had a tidy up and Kev did a couple of little jobs too, in between looking after Jaz who is doing well. When we were ready we pulled across to the water point at the stop lock and while we were filling with water  Kev walked to the Elsan point to empty the cassette. The water tank was very slow filling  and was still filling when Kev got back! Anyway once we were sorted I went to get the lock ready, not that it takes much as it is only about 9inches drop! Once through the stop lock Kev took R&R round onto the Coventry canal and after I had closed the lock gate I walked across to him and got back onboard, we hadn't got far  and we were approaching one of the moored boats when we noticed a man & woman on one of them and we thought we knew them, it happened to be a couple called Ken & Flo on their boat Bachus who we had first met when were en-route from Gt Haywood Marina on 4EverMoore to moor at  Crick marina. Nice to have seen you both again.

As we were approaching what used to be the Navigation pub at Bulkington bridge 14 we spotted this very impressive woodwork!

This was once the Navigation pub and is now a private residence and is absolutely stunning, I wanted to take a closer photo but the owners were there and I didn't like to impose.
Passing the entrance to the Ashby Canal at Marston Junction
Couldn't see Dr Who but his Tardis is in a garden in Nuneaton!
We passed Nb OakApple once again, they were moored I think  between bridges 28 & 29, sorry both of you can't remember where exactly it was, we did manage to say a quick hello this time!
We moored for the day just after bridge 33 before the winding hole.
Right, now then this morning we set off to Atherstone mooring up briefly before the bridge at Atherstone top lock, while I popped to the shop and Kev made a phone call to the repair centre where our car is, they say our car may be ready Friday this week and if it is then we will get back to Shardlow then go home and get Jaz her second & third injections at our local vets, then Kev is at a wedding too and once all that is done we will return to R&R and continue our cruising.
I got us some nice buns to have with a cuppa and very nice they were. I then walked to the top lock where there was a lockie on duty and there were 2 boats ahead of us waiting to go down the locks.  One of the boats ahead of us was called Stanley and it was a Steve Hudson boat, the man on board told me his wife reads our blog along with plenty more. We had a good journey down through the flight of locks stopping after the 9th one for something to eat and to let Jaz out of her cage for her food and a play about. We then did the last 2 of the Atherstone flight and made our way to Fazley junction where we are now moored on the visitor moorings on the Birmingham & Fazely canal and Stanley is moored further back from us too, nice to have spoken to you both.
Jaz had her first time at the stern!

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Very wet doing the Hatton flight & a trip to the vets!

Thursday 16th July
This is the first chance I have had to do the blog, at times our wifi signal has been too weak. Anyway on Sunday morning we left Tom o the Wood moorings and it was looking like wet weather clothing. We certainly needed it when we entered Shrewley Tunnel although I stayed inside with little Jaz! By the time we reached the Hatton flight of locks there was a boat already in the lock but he waited for us to share it with him. The boat called Wilderness had been moored in front of us on Saturday night, so we did all the locks with them. Kev worked the locks with the woman called Lisa off  NB Wilderness  while I Took R&R in the locks with her husband Laurence. We had a good system going when the locks were empty either Kev or Lisa went ahead to the next one to get it ready. But it was terrible weatherise and by the time we had got down the flight and moored up close to the Cape of Good Hope pub we were all soaked and need to have a shower and change our clothes!

Heading into Shrewley tunnel

 In one of the hat ton locks

Looking back at one of the Hatton locks

We had a walk after tea to the Cape of Good Hope pub for a couple of beers. The last time were were here was in 2010 when we were on 4EverMoore and were iced in for 3 or 4 months! We were moored right outside the pub and the landlady at the time called Sandra was lovely she let us have water and even let us use our hosepipe on her tap. Although now Sandra isn't there anymore  it is still a really good pub.
On Monday we stayed put for the day as it rained until after 3pm, but Wilderness had decided to set off we couldn't be bothered to move.
On Tuesday morning we headed off and stopped for some shopping at the Tesco at Emscote bridge, had a cuppa and a pastry then headed off again, we shared the locks at Bascote with another boat and then when we got to Cuttle bridge at Itchington we moored up for the day.
Wednesday morning I headed to the lock leaving Kev to bring R&R into the lock and then we stopped at the water point to fill up, once filled I set off to the start of the Stockton flight of locks to prepare the lock and as Kev was coming to enter the lock he said there was a boat coming up so we waited and shared the flight with them, and we also shared the 3 locks at Calcutt. When we got to Napton junction we turn left and carried on a while then moored just after bridge 103. The sun was shining and it ended up being a lovely night, we had a visit from two passing people and their dog! It was Laurence & Lisa (nb Wilderness)  they were having a walk with their dog and were actually moored a bit further on we had a natter for a bit then they headed off. After the sun had gone down a bit Kev managed to wash the towpath side of the boat.
This morning (Thursday) we left about 7.45am and passed Nb Wilderness, we were going to say bye to them but they were still in the land of nod!

We wanted to get to Hillmorton to take Jaz to see a vet as we were a bit concerned she may have a water infection as she is peeing a lot (yes I know puppies pee a lot) but there is more water coming out than going in! Also she has been scratching her ears and they have scabs on them so we wanted to get her sorted, so we moored just after wharf bridge 73 and rang the nearest vet who said we could take her at 2.30pm. We walked there and it was a 15 minute walk and the vet seemed to think she was ok but that he wanted to give her antibiotics to be on the safe side and also he gave me some drops for her ears so we will start it all tonight.
Jaz not impressed with the trip to the vet at all!
After our journey to the vets we got Jaz sorted and into her cage and then headed off to do the 3 locks at Hillmorton and emptied the cassette at the services after the second lock and finally once we were through the 3rd lock we moored up for the day. 

Saturday, 11 July 2015

And now on the Grand Union canal

Saturday 11th July
We were away about 7.50 am, it was another lovely morning and warm too.
Leaving our mooring at Wootton Wawen

All the bridge holes are like this!

This is called a barrel house there are a few on this canal

Kev worked the locks walking along the towpath to the next one he followed a group of walkers, they were walking 28miles for breast cancer, Kev didn't quite walk that far although he has done quite a few miles today!
When we got to the lock at Lowsonford bridge there was yet another Barrel cottage, there were 2 women unloading their car and taking things inside the cottage they are really friendly and even helped me open the lock gate for Kev to come into the lock. They told me that this cottage is owned by  The Landmark Trust and they own lots of places and they rent them out for holidays. This cottage was built in 1812 and was called Lengthmans Cottage but that it was also known as Ned's cottage named after Ned Taylor who lived there for eight decades! We moored up on the visitor moorings just after this lock and were were opposite the pub called The Fleur-De-Lys.
Kev & Jaz

I walked back to the cottage as the women renting it for a few days invited me to look around, the range is the original.
These are the two women, they didn't expect to be in this photo!

One of the 2 bedrooms

The bathroom, not sure what that is in the top left corner

Fleur-De Lys pub
We had a walk to the pub above for some lunch and very nice it was too, we both had a beef with stilton pie. After we had eaten and got back to R&R we decided to crack on and do the rest of the locks as far as Kingswood Junction when we turned right onto the Grand Union Canal and we are now moored at the Tom O' The Wood moorings.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Plenty of locks today

Friday 10th July
Yesterday while Kev was back home I managed to get 2 washes done and also got it dried too!! About 3.45pm Kev returned to the boat and parked the hire car in the car park close by and he had brought all the relevant mail back along with our printer, he then took the hire car back to Enterprise and on his return we moved across to Valley Wharf to fill with water & empty the cassettes and then we had a short trip working through Bishopton Lock and mooring for the night after bridge 63 close to the water point and were able to get rid of our rubbish there too.
This morning Kev filled in all the forms for the insurance company and scanned all the photos from the accident and got them in the prepaid envelope ready to post today. We then left our mooring and made a start on the Wilmcote flight of locks of which there are 11 in total.

In one of the 11 Wilmcote locks
We moored at the visitor moorings after featherbed lane Bridge (great name!) and we went for a walk into the village.

Passed this lovely property just before we got to Featherbed bridge

 Thats R&R between the 2 boats

Wilmcote is where Mary Ardens House is although it is now believed that Mary Arden (shakespeare's mother) actually lived 30yards away at Glebe farm! This is a popular visitor attraction and isn't far from Stratford Upon Avon, there is a train station close by that you can get into Stratford easily.

The Masons Arms

We went for a pint in the Masons Arms and sat in the beer garden in the glorious sunshine, it is a lovely old pub with plenty of character and probably plenty of characters frequent it too! We went to the small village shop for some bread and we posted the letter to the insurance company, and we then walked back to the boat and had a play about with Jaz before putting her back in her cage, she has been very good and slept in her cage while we had done the flight of locks earlier. So after a cuppa we left Wilmcote and followed an Anglo Welsh hire boat to Wootton Wawen.

Over Edstone Aquaduct

We passed over another aqueduct but not as long as Edstone Aquaduct and this is where the hire boat we had been following had returned it to, Anglo Welsh  hire boat base. We moored for the day through the next bridge53.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Onto the Stratford & Avon Canal

Wednesday 8th July
We stayed put yesterday as we had to take Jaz to the vets at 2.45pm, we left her in her cage while we had a walk to Pets at Home to get her a nylon chew and a toy to help keep her occupied. Mind you she is being very good and is adapting to her new home and us very well.  When we returned there were plenty more tourists about Stratford is very popular, we have been here before but it was when we had a caravan.
Our view from the stern
I am not sure who is at the top of the column but the one's around it are characters from various Shakespeare plays, so it could be William Shakespeare himself as I didnt go and read what it said.
Before we went to the vets Kev took the camera and took a few photos while I relaxed on the bow.

Looking from the entrance of the basin onto the river Avon
The lock at the entrance of the basin

Looking to the lock from our bow
We left the basin this morning and after working through 4 locks we moored opposite Valley Wharf hire boats. We will stay here now as Kev has had to hire a car to go home for some claim forms that the car insurance company have sent to our cottage which is a bit of a bind as we wish they had told us this before we left the Staffs & Worcester canal and we could have got them then. Kev had asked if we could do them online but we would have needed our printer, if we don't get the forms sent off it will hold the claim up until we are back home in August. Our car will be ready for when we return to the marina so it hasn't held the work up, we will be going home for a family wedding.

Monday, 6 July 2015

A Special Delivery & Off the River

Monday 6th July
We had a surprise call last night, the couple who we were buying our pup from said they would bring her to us to save us hiring a car! So we now have a new crew member....

This is Jazz & she has been very good and we were only up twice in the night with her & she settled into her cage and it will keep her safe while we are doing locks etc.
We had a good mooring last night and it was easy for Michelle & Ben (the breeders) to find us. 

We were away this morning about 7.40 am and didn't have far to go before we were at our first lock of the day which was Robert Aickman Lock. Not too far is Bidford on Avon which looked a lovely place but we didn't stop as we wanted to crack on today, there were signs warning us of work being carried out at Bidford Bridge and to sound horn as approaching the bridge.

Approaching Bidford Bridge

As we passed through the bridge there was a boat with a digger on it and it was picking all the bricks that had fallen into the river after a recent accident on the bridge!

This swan was on her nest it seems a bit late for cygnets?
By the time we were approaching the lock at Welford the weather started to change, once again the rain came so it was back to jackets and we moored just after the lock for something to eat. It was pouring down but by the time we had eaten it eased slightly and so Kev let go the ropes and we were on our way again while I washed the pots and kept Jazz company until the next lock. It did stop raining when we finally got to Stratford Upon Avon and we managed to get moored in Bancroft Basin, lots of tourists watching as we got through the lock here. We have got an appointment at one of the vets here so Jazz will have her first injection.