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.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

A long day up the Hatton Flight

Wednesday 23rd August
Last Wednesday when we were moored before bridge 79 and though that Jaz had been stung, she had! Kev went to take her into the field and as she was going to go up the slope she stopped and wouldn't go! She jumped back on board and then Kev shouted to me to show me a hole that just looked like a mouse hole but it was an entrance to a wasp nest and there were loads of wasps going in & out.
The wasp nest!
After that we decided to leave and try to get to Braunston but wasn't sure if we would get moored as it was quite late in the day. We did manage though and moored opposite the Boathouse pub.
 On the way to Braunston we passed the new marina
 Dunchurch Pools

 Quite a few boats moored in there, with work still ongoing.

 Braunston  church steeple!

 Not much left of this burnt out boat.

Moored opposite the Boathouse.
It was a lovely day and we sat at the stern having a few beers, Kev had seen someone he thought he recognised earlier and it was Barry Nb Areandare, who had gone to the Boathouse pub. Kev went over to the pub to see him and he stayed for a few beers. Barry was with another couple from a boat that makes pens, but we can't remember their names. Sandra, Barry's wife wasn't with barry as he had dropped her off earlier to get a train to go see relatives.
On Thursday we stayed in Braunston and we had a walk to Wharf chandlers as Kev wanted some paint but unfortunately they didn't have any. He bought a new water pump though as the present one was on its way out! He also bought a water filter for under the galley sink which he will replace at another time.
On Friday morning we needed to top up with water & empty the cassette so while Kev took the boat to the water point I took Jaz for a walk and then met Kev back at the boat. We then went to Braunston marina where we turned and headed for the junction and turned left onto the Grand Union Canal.
Passing the boat belonging to the couple who make pens.
Barry & Sandra's boat close to the junction.
Looking back at the junction at Braunston.
Our first bridge on this canal, last one if your coming the other way!
Wigrams Marina and we turn right here.
Napton Junction, I am on look out to make sure no boats are coming through as we turn.
Calcutt locks, the first of 3 going down.
We managed to share the 3 locks with another boat so that wasn't too bad and there were some boats heading up the locks so it wasn't too long before we were down all 3 and on our way.
we didn't got too far before we moored between bridges 19 & 20.
On Saturday morning we left early and headed for Stockton locks and we were through all 10 locks and moored just before The 2 Boats pub at Long Itchington.
Loveley little caravan.
Passed Barry again moored outside The Blue Lias pub!

A novel name! Club Top Lockicana!
Later on in the day there were lots of people sat outside the pub and shortly after we had moored here another boat pulled in front of us to moor directly outside the pub, we learnt later that this boat was the Micron Theatre boat and that there was going to be a performance in the evening ouside the pub. It wasn't my cup of tea but plenty of people were there. However Kev & I had a walk into the village to the pubs there. We had one in the 2 Boats pub first then had a bit of a pub crawl as there are several pubs here! We did however end up staying in the Buck & Bell pub as there was a pool table! So quite a good night, well for me at least as I got to play a few games of pool with the locals!
On Sunday morning I managed to get 2 loads of washing done before we left Long Itchington about 10 am. We didn't have too long a day and after Bascote staircase locks and the next 2 locks we moored once again for the day after Welsh Road locks between bridges 30 & 31.
It was drizzling with rain when we left our mooring on Monday about 8am, and after the lock at bridge 32 we stopped once again and emptied the cassette whilst topping with water. We then carried on through Leamington Spa and moored for a short while to go to the Morrisons for shopping and have a bite to eat.
Only 2 more locks that day and they were cape locks where we managed to go up the 2 locks with a nice couple on a hire boat, they moored on the visitor moorings above the locks and we moored just ahead of them. The last time we were here was on our first boat 4EverMoore in 2010  and the boat was frozen in outside the cape pub for about 4 months!!

Kev talking to the man on the hire boat! 
Yesterday the couple on the hire boat behind us had met up with a couple on another boat who had asked if they would share the double locks on the Hatton flight so we looked like being Billy no Mates going up all the locks!
However when we got to the Hatton flight Kev had spoken to a man who was at the second lock and he had let the hire boat & other boat go on ahead so asked if we would do the locks with him & his wife, which we were pleased to do and so he helped Kev with the first lock gates and I went up on my own and then joined his wife on their boat Nb Myrtle.
In one of the locks on the Hatton flight.
Waiting for a boat to come out of the lock.
Thanks to Les & Carley on Nb Myrtle, who were good company up the flight and we had a good laugh! After the last lock on the Hatton flight Les &Carley stopped at the water point and we carried on until we got to some nice moorings between bridges 61 & 62. 
This morning started off quite dull but has brightened up and is quite warm and we now have the chairs out on the stern as the towpath is a bit too narrow to sit on with people wanting to pass.We will leave tomorrow.