Monday, 20 August 2018

Tixall for some boat maintenance

Monday 20th August
We stayed at Gailey until Friday morning when we left and headed for Penkridge.  Whenever we are at Gailey it always reminds me of the time we first met Carol & George who were the previous owners of Rock 'N' Roll, we were iced in there with George & Carol when we had 4EverMoore. When we got to Penkridge there were no moorings above Penkridge Lock so we went over to the services and topped the water tank up etc, we then went down Penkridge lock and moored. We had a walk into the town  to the small Sainsburys and then Kev got a hot pasty & a hot sausage roll for me from Jaspers bakery shop, very good they were too. There is always a queue for that bakery and I can understand why. On Saturday evening we had a walk to the Cross Keys pub for a beer, we did think of having a meal there but decided not to so we just had a drink and walked to The Star pub and they weren't doing food so it looked like a chinese takeaway was for us! The chinese was next to the Co-op, there is another chinese called Wingfat but it was closed for the owners holiday break which gets good reviews. While Kev waited for our order I walked back to the boat to get the oven on and warm the plates, I also let Jaz out to stretch her legs, Kev wasn't too long and the chinese was very good.
Yesterday we left Penkridge and managed to get moored after Radford Bridge, we went for a Sunday Carvery in the Radford Bank pub which was only a few minutes walk from our mooring.The carvery was good and reasonably priced a pint of bitter for Kev, half a lager for me and 2 roast beef meals from the carvery for £20. After we had eaten we had a walk over to the Aldi for a few bits of shopping and walked back to the boat. A man had told us of a good walk to take Jaz on so once I had put the few bits of shopping away we took her up along the footpath which is just above the towpath and walked along it to a bridge over the river Penk and into a large field where she could have a good run around. There were some people with dogs on the field so Jaz had a good play with them, chasing around mainly with a Jack Russell Terrier cross Patterdale.
This morning it was quite a nice start to the day so when we were ready to leave I walked with Jaz for just over a mile and Kev followed on the boat and then picked us both up at a bridge. Only one lock today, which was Tixall lock and as we were about to leave the lock a boat was coming towards us so Kev got on the boat and we were able to carry on to the moorings at Tixall wide where we turned to face in the opposite direction as Kev is hoping to get some painting done, well weather permitting! As we got turned and moored it started to drizzle a bit but nothing much. Canopy up and Kev is now doing an oil change and fuel filter change. Hello to the couple on Nb Halcyon who we passed and had a brief word with just before we moored here. 

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

And so onto the Staffs & Worcs canal

Wednesday15th August
Last Friday morning it was quite cool when we left the moorings at Tom 'O' The woods. As we were going up the Lapworth flight of locks we had some rain but it soon passed but stayed on the cloudy side. When we got to Hockley Heath we moored close to the Wharf Inn pub and went for a beer in the evening.
We left on Saturday morning at just after 7.20am and made our way to Kings Norton junction where we turned right toward Birmingham. It had been another cool start but by the time we moored near the Sea Life centre in Birmingham it had warmed up. We went for something to eat in the evening, beforehand we had a beer in the Weatherspoons pub where we noticed  through the window there was an Indian restaurant called Taste of India so we went for a meal there and very good it was too. When we left the restaurant it was pouring with rain but luckily I had my brolly so we didn't get too wet!
On Sunday morning Kev did a few jobs while I did some cleaning and then we both took Jaz for a walk. Not far away from us was NB Yarwood, Kev had spoken to the couple who now own it but when we passed with Jaz we didn't see anybody about. After a good walk with Jaz we got back to the boat and left her on board while we walked over to have a beer at the Malthouse pub, but as we were crossing the bridge Kev spotted NB AreNAre moored and Barry was outside of the boat so we went down to see him. Sandra wasn't with him as she had gone to Scotland with Barry's brother who is over from New Zealand.
We had a good chat for a while and Kev sampled the home brew single malt whisky! Barry had a good starter kit for sale with a still so I think we will be ordering one for Kev when we get home! After chatting with Barry we went over to the pub for a beer, £4.20 for pint of Abbott Ale, we had a walk to the Weatherspoons pub where the same pint was £1.99 a pint!
On Monday we set off on the mainline BCN, here are some photos....
Pulp Fiction!
Graffiti or Art? Very good whatever you call it.
Ornate metal bridge.

M5 Motorway, lots of work being done.

CRT making the towpaths good for cyclists etc!!!
Towpath closed for at least a mile!

Must be costing thousands, the slogan for CRT is making the waterways good for everyone! That is as long as your not a boater!!
When we got to the Factory locks there was a boat coming down the second lock as we had got into the first lock so were able to pass the boat in between locks, as we got up the second lock there was another boater opening the gates of the 3rd lock for us so Kev could go straight in. The canal here is terrible with weed that it got wrapped round the prop and Kev could hardly move! We managed to get to the services at the Dudley museum but there were  no moorings so once we had filled our water tank etc we left and headed back the way we had come and moored outside the medical centre at Tipton.

Leaving Tipton.
It took us quite a while to get off the mooring on Tuesday morning as the weed was very bad, but we managed in the end and had a slow cruise to the turn onto the section of canal towards Wolverhampton.
About to turn left towards Wolverhampton.
This is what we had most of the way!
The weed was so bad in places that we were completely stopped and Kev had to go down the weed hatch! Then he ended up at the bow with the boat hook, he was pulling the weed from the bow while I steered and had to keep going into neutral then ahead for quite a way! The first mile took us more than 1.5 hours

Piece of old machinery.

New from the old.

Finally Wolverhampton top lock!
When we got to the first lock at Wolverhampton, there was a hire boat ahead of us going down, so I got Kev off the boat at the bow and I just waited in the middle of the canal. Then it was the start of the flight of 21 locks down to the Aldersley junction.

Onto the Staffs & Worcs canal.
It was nice to be back on the Staffs & Worcs canal again and when we got to Coven Heath we moored before bridge 71.
These were good moorings until this morning when opposite us at the other side of the canal there was an Alsation dog that never stopped barking from just after 6.00am! Even though we are early risers it was really annoying and the dog only stopped when the owner came to feed it. We left about 8.20 am and when we got to Gailey Kev got rid of the rubbish & emptied the cassette, we then moved across the canal to get diesel from JD boat services, 74pence per litre. We then went down the lock and moored before the next lock, Brick Kiln Lock.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

up the Hatton flight

Thursday 9th August
We were on our way at 8.15am yesterday morning, it was a bit cooler first thing but soon warmed up. We didn't travel far before we pulled over and moored between bridge 40 & 41 so I could go to Morrisons for shopping, Kev stayed with Jaz on board and then when I got back he helped me on board with the shopping and then he went to Morrisons himself for some beer. The Morrisons is quite large and there is even a dryer, small load washing machine & large load washing machine outside the store! A man was using it when I came out, so you could put a wash on and then do your shopping while it is washing your clothes! 
When Kev got back to the  boat we had a cuppa and then set off again, not much boat activity and when we got to the Cape locks we went up both of them on our own, the pound between both locks was very low so I stayed in the middle of it. Once we were up the second lock we moored not far from the Cape of Good Hope pub. Memories of being frozen in for a few months outside the pub in 2010 on our first boat Nb 4Evermoore, the landlady at the time was lovely and kept her eye on the boat when we had to leave it while we had to go home due to Kev working offshore at the time. I did go back a few times with Kev's son Lee to make sure it was all ok.
We had a bit of rain yesterday tea-time and we had to put the sides in on the canopy and drop the front cratch sides down too, which we haven't had to do for a while. Much needed rain though!
This morning I walked to the bottom lock of the Hatton flight of 21 locks, Kev followed on the boat and we had a cuppa while we waited to see if another boat would come to share the locks with us, we had moored on the towpath side and not on the lock landing and after we had drunk our tea we moved over to the lock landing and it wasnt long before a boat did come.
Waiting for a boat to come Nb Mr Badger.
Heading for our third lock, two boats coming out.
Kev is at the next lock.
It worked well as there were 3 people on Nb Mr Badger so the man stayed on the boat and his son & wife worked the locks with Kev and I was on our boat so we had a good run up the Hatton flight.
Not far now, 4 more locks to go up.
I must say hello to the lady who was at one of the locks and told Kev she reads the blog. I didn't get her name but we just had a quick wave. When we were up the top lock  at just after 12.10pm we said bye to the family on Nb Badger and we stopped to top up with water and I made us a cuppa and a sandwich, then we were on our way again.
Shrewley Tunnel, 433yards long.
Leaving the tunnel, the top tunnel was for the horses to come through when the boats were horse drawn.
There was a lot of green algae bloom on the water as we exited the tunnel with warnings about it on a tree alongside the canal.
I couldn't see the boat licences on these two boats!
When we got through bridge 63 at Turners Green we moored at the  Tom 'O' The Wood 24 hour moorings.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Slow going on the Oxford, & a lovely meeting with boaters.

Tuesday 7th August.
On Wednesday 1st August we left our mooring at Godstow about 7.30am and when we arrived at Kings Lock it was on self service, we were soon up and out of the lock and turned right onto Dukes cut.
 Leaving Kings lock.
Onto Dukes cut.

As we got up our first lock on the Oxford canal there were lots of moored boats as usual, it was very shallow and the moored boats were all on the bottom of the canal. It was very slow going and when we were approaching the next lock there was a hire boat coming out of it, as he was passing us he got stuck for a bit and so did we, Kev ended up getting the pole out to push us off.
Very shallow 
I must admit the Oxford canal is a bit of a disgrace, it is very overgrown and in many places the towpath is virtually non-existent!!
Anybody lost a bike? 
Stuck beside the hire boat.
Kev managed to get us moving again.
It was slow going and we managed to get to Lower Heyford.
By Friday lunchtime we were mooring at Fenny Compton for the weekend. We had arranged to meet some lovely friends that we had met when we were stuck at Islip lock on the river Nene a couple of years ago. Monty had sold his narrowboat and bought a lovely cruiser and had just moved from Ventnor marina to Fenny Compton marina and his partner Mel was going to join him on Saturday. On Friday evening Monty had left work and got to his marina about 6.30pm and he walked down the towpath to join Kev & I for a drink or two on Rock'N'Roll.
On Saturday lunchtime Kev & I went to the Wharf Inn for something to eat and very good it was too. We then went back to the boat to make sure Jaz was ok and let her out to stretch her legs. Later in the afternoon we got a call from Mel & Monty to say they were having a dink in the Wharf Inn so we took Jaz with us and joined them.
Mel & Monty.
After a couple of beers we took Jaz back to the boat while Mel & Monty drove round to their marina and we then joined them there for a few more drinks.
The marina is full of massive Carp.
On Sunday we left Fenny Compton about lunchtime to cruise a couple of miles to have a BBQ, Monty & Mel came with us on their cruiser "Sandra"and we let them pass us and we followed them to a nice quiet spot in the countryside and had a lovely BBQ and drinks, we put the world to rights as you do, it was great to catch up with them. How often do we meet people and say keep in touch and sometimes we never do for one reason or another. ..They left us at this mooring and they turned round and went back to Fenny Compton as they both had work the next day, Monty would be staying on his boat while Mel headed back home.
On Monday 6th August we were on our way again, I walked Jaz while kev followed on the boat, with this hot weather it is better for Jaz in a morning before the sun is too unbearable for her. As I was walking Jaz went to sniff at something and as I got close I saw this on the towpath....
I was surprised it was still alive!
I got back on board at a bridge and we carried on until we reached the water point at Napton top lock where we stopped before the lock and filled with water, it was very slow to fill so while we waited for the tank to fill we had a bite to eat and a cuppa. Water tank full I walked to get the lock ready and Kev pulled the boat forward off the water point. We wanted to empty our cassette at the bottom of the Napton Flight but the services were out of order.
We carried on and we turned left at the junction for the Grand Union canal, we managed to share 2 of the 3 locks at Calcutt going down and then we moored passed the first entrance to Ventnor marina.
This morning after my washer had finished we were on our way just after 8.30am, and when we got to Stockton locks we were on our own and went into the first lock by ourselves, then Kev said there was a boat ahead of us in the third lock and the man had seen us and filled the second lock for us and waited for us to join him & his wife in the third so that made it easier. When we got through lock 13 the couple sharing the lock with us stopped as they were mooring there, so we carried on and after we had passed Little Itchington we moored up for something to eat, when we were about ready to leave there was a boat coming up behind us so we let them pass and followed them to Bascote staircase locks and shared all the locks until we moored before the winding hole after Bull Bridge. In between the locks we managed to get our cassettes emptied at Fosse Wharf.