Monday, 18 September 2017

"Photos what Photos"

Monday 18th September
Last Thursday (14th) after we had moored near Shugborough Hall we had a walk with Jaz to the shop  close to the doctors surgery but it had closed down! So we walked round to the Spar further on, I only wanted a few bits & pieces. On our way back to the boat we stopped for a pint in the Clifford Arms, they are very dog friendly and there were 2 other dogs already in the pub, the barmaid came over with a jar full of dog biscuits and gave Jaz a few!
On Friday morning we left our mooring to head for Wolsley Bridge about 8.45am and only had Colwich lock to do and as we approached it there was a boat coming up in the lock so we didn't have to wait too long to get down the lock. When we got to the moorings at Wolseley Bridge there was plenty of room to moor. We wanted to moor there so we could go for an Indian meal at the Shimla Palace, we always go here when we are passing, the food is good and the lads are lovely, very friendly and very helpful when your not sure what to have. We weren't disappointed the  meal was excellent.
Saturday morning we were on our way again stopping at Taft Bridge to fill with diesel & get a new gas bottle, the diesel was 63pence per litre & gas bottle was £24, after we were finished we carried on & stopped briefly at Rugeley so I could pop to Tesco to get Jaz her chew sticks while Kev put the gas bottle away & put the additive in the diesel tank. We then set off once again and Kev walked along the towpath for a while with Jaz while I followed on the boat. When we got to the top of Shadehouse lock at Fradley there was a mooring so we tied up there. On Saturday evening Kev & I walked down to the Mucky duck pub for a few pints, we hadn't been here since the new landlord & landlady took over about a year ago. What a vast improvement, the pub was looking good and the cellar room was looking great and there was a man playing a guitar and singing down there. Most of the tables were reserved for people who had booked to eat and the food looked fab, we had already eaten or we would have definitely have had something to eat. There was a really good new menu and one man had ordered a 24oz T-Bone steak!! They are bought to order so you have to pre book for them, there is a vegetarian menu too & Kev said the beer was good too so if anybody is thinking of a meal or a drink when your in Fradley I am sure you won't be disappointed. Apparently the brewery have spent £40,000 on the kitchen alone!!
Yesterday morning I went to fill the lock while Kev brought the boat in and when we got down to the 3rd lock at Fradley where the junction is there was a volunteer lockie on so he had the lock ready for Kev while I caught up. After that lock we stopped at the services to get rid of the rubbish & empty the cassette and then I headed for the next lock to get it ready for Kev. When we got to Branston we stopped for lunch and then I walked once again to Branston lock where there was a boat coming up the lock so by the time Kev got to it the boat was just about ready to leave.
When we got to Willington we moored up, We had a walk to the Green Dragon pub and had a pint and then walked to The Rising Sun pub for a few games of pool and a few pints too! There is a new landlord & landlady in this pub too and they had only been there a few weeks, really friendly people and the landlady put mini pies, roast potatoes & gravy on the bar for everybody which is a nice touch but once again we didn't have any as we were going to have a Chinese takeaway! So when we left the pub Kev went to the Chinese while I went back to the boat to put the oven on and warm the plates, lovely Chinese it was too!!
This morning we moved across to the services to get rid of rubbish once again and empty another cassette, I then walked Jaz for a while then got back on board at Buckford bridge, we  passed a familiar boat along the way Nb Inca,when we got to our first double lock Kev got off to go set the lock while I waited on the boat. Nobody to share the lock with so I was on my own in the lock but its not bad going down these double locks on your own.
We stopped before Weston for a bite to eat and then as we left Kev stayed on the towpath and took Jaz to Weston lock while I followed once again on the boat.
For some reason the camera hasn't got any photos that I have took since the last post, probably no great loss there then lol.
We are now back in our marina at Shardlow and will go home tomorrow, we are going home a bit earlier than we expected to be as our cottage we rent out has become vacant and the girl Nicky from the letting agency who looks after it told us there are quite a few holes in the walls that need filling, so Kev will fill them then emulsion the walls while I clean the place after he has finished.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Back on the Trent & Mersey Canal

Thursday 14th September
Last Sunday (10th)we left Kinver quite early and I walked ahead with Jaz to set the first lock, we pulled over after the lock at the services to get rid of some rubbish etc and then I walked on with Jaz to the next lock and as I was nearing the lock there was a woman just about to fill the lock when she saw me with my windlass, Kev then came on the boat and was able to go straight in. We saw more boats on that Sunday morning than we had seen in a few days! When we got to the Bratch locks I got off the boat and went ahead with the windlass to let the lockie know we were there. He said we could go straight into the bottom lock, it was very quiet at the Bratch locks, usually there are a few boats coming and going and people walking etc but that day there was only a couple of people about watching us come up the locks. It was quite a miserable day and after we had got up through the locks we moored on the visitor moorings.
On Monday morning it started to rain as we left our mooring, I was walking with Jaz to set the first lock while Kev followed on the boat, Jaz hates the rain and all she wanted to do was get back on board! By the time Kev had got up in the lock it stopped raining so Jaz was happy to carry on with her morning walk!
Stewponey lock
Passing Addersley junction

Passing Autherely Junction

After Autherley junction we went through the narrow cutting! 

There was a boat waiting at the end of the cutting to come through.

We wanted to get to Cross Green that day and we managed to get moored there about lunchtime close to the Fox & Anchor pub. The reason we wanted to get moored there was that Kev's friend Nigel was coming to us there, he arrived about 5pm and we had some tea and later Kev & Nigel went to the pub for a couple of beers while I was boring and stayed to watch Emmerdale, (yes sad I know). Nigel stayed the night and after a cooked brekkie on Tuesday morning Kev went with Nigel to Hatherton marina to see the progress of Nigel's new boat in build. I took Jaz for a walk and then I let go of the mooring ropes and I set off to pick Kev up at Hatherton. As I was approaching the junction at Hatherton I rang Kev to tell him where I was and so I turned right towards the locks below the marina where both Kev & Nigel were waiting, I had to pick Kev up there as there is no way he could otherwise get picked up. Once he was on board I reversed the boat back to the junction and we turned to head for Penkridge where we moored. We wanted to get there before the bad winds which had been reported, headed our way, we were moored on the visitor moorings before Penkridge lock. Well the winds didn't come to anything much and we had a few gusts and an odd shower but that was that.
Yesterday morning about 10.30am  we moved across to the water point before the lock and filled with water. Once the tank was full I walked over to fill the lock ready for Kev to bring the boat into, we had an uneventful cruise and only passed a few boats along the way and when we got through Acton bridge we moored on a really quiet spot.
This morning it had been raining before we left so the towpath was quite wet, we were up early as usual and as there were no other boats moored  with us we were able to start the engine and put a quick wash on before we left. As we were getting ready to leave a boat towing a butty came passed us going the same direction as us and also there was a boat moored further along from us also going the same way who had decided to leave at the same time! We stayed put and and a cuppa to give them time to get down the first lock for today, Deptmore lock and so I walked Jaz to the lock leaving Kev once again to follow on the boat. By the time we were at Deptmore lock the boat & butty had gone down and a boat was coming up, the other boat that had set off before us was the Fudge boat and they told me they were stopping just before Radford bridge. So at least we would only have the boat & butty ahead of us!

Waiting for a boat to come through Radford Bridge
Passed this boat with it's lovely little play area, man made!
This boat passed just before the river Sow Aqueduct, super little motorbike on board!
 About to cross river Sow aqueduct
A quick hello to Nb Klara, we passed them shortly before we got  to the aqueduct, they said they read the blog, thanks to you both.
Tixall lock, & the cottage alongside looking very pretty.
After we had got down Tixall lock Kev walked Jaz for a while and I followed on the boat and then picked them both up at Swivel bridge. We stopped briefly at the aqueduct close to Gt Haywood junction so Kev could pull a branch off the bow of the boat and the we carried on and turned right at the junction and went down Gt Haywood lock and we are now moored close to Shugborough Hall.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Data issues but sorted now

Saturday 9th September
I haven't done a blog for about 9 days now as we had data problems which we have now resolved!
After leaving the Black Country Museum on Friday 1st September we headed back to Birmingham for a couple of days. We had a good day at the museum and the fish & chips lived up to their reputation!
On our way we passed this boat which was our second hire boat from Norbury Wharf!
A straight run all the way back to Birmingham.
We managed to get moored close to the Sea Life centre, in the evening we had a walk to a few pubs and took a pizza back to the boat with us.
On Sunday morning we left our mooring and stopped at the services to top up the water etc, it was quite windy as we were leaving the services but once we were on our way we were sheltered by trees and out of the wind.
Heading through Gas Street Basin.
We had an uneventful journey, but as we were approaching the bridge at Kings Norton junction, we had to stop as a boat came from the Stratford canal so we reversed and once the boat had passed us it was so shallow it took ages to get under way again. When we got to Wasthill tunnel (2726 yards) I went down below with Jaz while Kev took the boat through, we were hoping to moor at Alvechurch visitor moorings but they were full so we carried on passed the hire boat centre at Alvechurch and moore around the corner.
On Monday 4th September we left early to tackle the 30 locks at Tardebigge! We followed a boat all the way down so was a bit hard going but we had a good system going with Kev staying on the boat while I did the locks, I went ahead each time to set the lock & Kev closed the gates as he left the previous lock, when we finally got down the last lock we managed to get moored opposite the Queens head pub. We booked a table for a meal for 6.30 pm, I was hoping to have a Beef & mushroom pie which I had had the last time we were here but unfortunately they don't do pies anymore. Nevertheless we had two good meals so we weren't disappointed.

Kev mopping the boat with The Queens Head opposite.
It was raining on Tuesday morning so we waited for it to stop and left at 11.30am. When we were at the junction for the Droitwich canal we turned right and approached the first lock of 3 locks in the staircase where there was a lockie there to help us down the 1st lock and also 2 more lockies to help us down the next 2.
We hadn't been here since we collected Rock & Roll from the marina here, where George & Carol helped us up these locks.
Leaving the last of the staircase locks.
Droitwich Marina.
When we got to the next few locks we moored on the lock landing of the first one while Kev dropped the solar panels & took the small chimney off the roof as we would be going under the M5 motorway and it is very very low!
 Here we go! 2" to spare
 Glad there isn't a boat coming the other way!
Nearly through.
We carried on and when we got to Droitwich there was a double lock to do which had a swing bridge inside it which had to be opened before opening the lock gates to enter and closed after leaving! There was 2 more swing bridges to open & close before we got to the moorings at Netherwich basin. The moorings here are 48 hours & secure, you need a BW key to get in & out of. We stayed here and went for some shopping to a Waitrose which was a 10 minute walk. 
Looking across the basin.
On Thursday morning we left about 8am and headed towards the River Severn, the Droitwich canal is quite narrow in places with lots of vegetation along both sides.
Waiting at this lock for workers to leave it.
Not much room.
We stopped for a bite to eat at Hawford visitor moorings just before Hawford lock 2 to let Jaz have a walk . When we were ready to leave there was a hire boat just leaving too so we shared the next 2 locks and then parted ways as they were turning left on the river Severn to Worcester and we turned right towards Stourport.
When we arrived in the basin at Stourport we moored on the 24 hour moorings close to the services. On Friday morning I put a wash on and we then pulled forward onto the water point to top the water up, Kev had gone to empty the cassette on Thursday when we moored but it was out of order but when we were moored getting water a man was at the services and had sorted the Elsan which had been blocked, so Kev managed to get our cassette emptied. While Kev was putting the hosepipe away after the water tank was full, I walked up to the lock as there was a boat in coming down so Kev was able to let go and come straight into the lock. The weather was miserable, it rained most of the way and we moored last night before Wolverly lock.
This morning it wasn't too bad and the sun came out so we got ready to leave while the weather was good, I walked up to the lock with Jaz while Kev brought the boat into the lock. After Kev had come up the lock and I had closed the gates betook the boat while I walked with Jaz for about a mile and then got back on board.
 Debdale Lock

 Jaz waiting for the boat to come up so she can get on.

Lovely Lock side property at Whittington lock
As we were nearing the visitor moorings at Kinver the clouds started to form and we managed to get moored and all sorted and then the heavens opened and it threw it down with rain. We have had showers heavy at times and sunshine too. Glad were not going further today.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Moored at the Black Country Museum

Thursday 31st August
Yesterday morning was miserable, it was raining for most of the morning, I had put a wash on and popped to Sainsbury's for some shopping while Kev stayed on the boat. After I got back we had a cuppa and got ready to leave for the Black Country Museum, there was a boat moored behind us and the man told us it may be better to take the Wolverhampton line as there was only 3 locks to do & it was slightly better scenery!
We took his advice and when we got to the junction we turned right to Smethwick locks.

This museum is only open on some Saturdays and is free entry.
 Entering Summit Tunnel 103 yards long
Leaving the short tunnel with Summit bridge just next to it.
 Above is the the M5 where lots of work going on
M5 works going on for a long way.
 Passed the enormous DPD distribution centre
Going over the Birmingham mainline canal!
 Moored on 24 hour mooring looking back at Dudley tunnel
 The visitor center
R&R moored down below
We moved forward this morning as a boat left first thing, the moorings are secure as they close the footbridge( behind us) when they leave and also there is a gate just forward of where we moved onto and you need a BW key to exit. There was a hire boat moored further away when we arrived yesterday but he had reversed back to the secure moorings at dusk last night as there were some youths about and so we weren't sure if they had any bother with them. We are going round the museum today and hoping to get the famous fish & chips that we have heard so much about!

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Meeting friends at Lowsonford

Tuesday 29th August.
Last Thursday (24th August) it was a nice morning as we set off and it wasn't long before we stopped to fill with water just after Turners Green Bridge.
Leaving our mooring last Thursday morning.
Approaching Turners Green Bridge.
While Kev filled with water I took Jaz for a walk and then once we had the water tank full we headed towards the turning for the Stratford canal.
Ahead is our turn onto the Stratford canal.
Just through the bridge ahead is the Stratford canal.
We then turned left and pulled over just before lock 22, there was a boat waiting to go down the lock but Kev wanted to empty the cassette but as there were boats moored at the sanitary station & water point I had to hold the centre line of the boat while Kev walked over the lock to empty the cassette. By the time he was back the boat that was waiting to go down the lock had gone down so I moved up onto the lock landing and Kev filled the lock ready for me to take the boat in.

In lock 22.
We dropped down the next 2 locks and moored not far from the next lock 25. We had come onto the Stratford canal to get to Lowsonford where we were meeting some friends on Saturday and also meet up with Mayanne (My friend Pam's daughter) who lives at Lowsonford as she works for show jumper Robert Smith. We rang Mayannne after we had moored to see if she wanted to meet up and luckily she was on her day off so we arranged to walk towards her with Jaz and met her not far from Lowsonford! Anyway she had her dog Stan with her and we all walked back to the boat and then  Kev worked the locks down to lock 30 while Mayanne stayed on the boat with me. We moored just before the lock as we didn't know if there would be any moorings opposite the Fleur De Lys pub where we were hoping to moor for the weekend.
Mayanne & Stan.
Mayanne asked if I would like to go and see the horses at Roberts yard and I was glad to go, Kev said he would walk to the Fleur de Lys pub with Jaz while I went with Mayanne, her car was parked close by so we left Kev at Lowsonford bridge and drove to the yard. After I had been shown around, which I thoroughly enjoyed Mayanne took me back to meet Kev & Jaz at the pub. He was sat in the beer garden in glorious sunshine so we all sat and had a drink.
On Friday morning we dropped down lock 30 and got moored exactly where we wanted and it was a beautiful sunny day so once we had got moored and sorted we sat in the sun for the day.
Perfect mooring!
On Saturday we spent another lovely day in the sunshine, we were going to meet Mayanne and our friends Maureen her husband Shaun & their 2 boys Harry & Freddie for a meal in the Fleur De Lys pub. Mayanne had booked a table for 7.30pm. Maureen & family had been to Warwick castle for the day and had a room booked in Coventry so they were only about 20 minutes away from their hotel.
Good fun & a good meal too!
On Sunday morning we waited for Maureen, Shaun & the boys to arrive as we had planned to take them all for a cruise. They all arrived about 11.30am and we were soon on our way.
Kev showing his crew how to work a lock!
Shaun waiting to push the bow off & let go of the centre line.
Maureen & Harry taking photos of Shaun!
Look at these two sat doing nothing!!
When we got to Wootton Wawen we turned around and headed back, it had been a super day with laughs all day and the sun didn't let us down either it was glorious. We managed to get moored back at Lowsonford about 6.15pm and so we all had a walk to the pub hoping to have a meal! Oh no they were stopping serving at 7pm and the pub was closing at 9pm! Well that was a surprise as it was a bank holiday weekend we didn't expect that, as we were all hungry Maureen drove us to the Durham Ox at Shrewley where they had a hog roast, singer & pub quiz going on and food too!! We all had lovely meals. We were dropped back on board later on in the evening and said our goodbyes to Maureen, Shaun & boys an thanks to you all we had a great time.
Yesterday morning was another sunny start to the day, after I had put a wash on and it had finished we left  Lowsonford.
Passing this lovely little shed.
Lapworth bottom lock just before M40 motorway.
Going up the Lapworth flight of locks.
This lockie kindly helped us up all the locks! Kev is at the next lock emptying it for me.
A lovely cottage at the next lock, the lady told me they have been there 43 years!
The lockie left us at the top but we still had 4 more locks to do, by the time we had got to the Wharf Inn at Hockley Heath we moored and went over for a pint and took Jaz with us, it was lovely sat in the beer garden. Then while I was just taking a mouthful of my lager I got stung on the inside of my bottom lip by a wasp that had got into my glass and I didn't notice it! My god did it bloody hurt! One of the lads that was collecting glasses was very kind to take the glass which was still quite full & had the wasp in it back to the bar and they gave me another drink free. I kept my eye on that one!!
Sat in the beer garden
We had a walk over the road after our drinks to a Rolls Royce & Maclaren dealership to window shop.

This morning we left Hockley Heath about 8.50am, and what a difference in the weather, it was cooler and we had a bit of drizzle too. We made our way to Kings Norton Junction and turned right towards Birmingham.
Through the lift bridge at Shirley.
Entering Brandwood tunnel 352yards long, with 3 boats coming the other way.
Guillotine lock which is open.

 Turning right onto the Worcester & Birmingham canal
 A heron sitting patiently.

Bournville station.
Moored here briefly to empty the cassette
Gas street basin

Heading to moor close to Sea Life centre.