Hi Friends and Followers.
I wish I could say I have good news to brighten your day, but alas I do not. We are back home in Warwick.
I am pretty sure there is someone out there with a voodoo model of Hadar or a doll of Keith and I and they are sticking pins in this model or doll. The reason I say this is because if it is going to happen it will happen to us.
On Thursday (16th March), Keith and I went into the Birmingham City to get a few things. I wanted some new PJ’s from Primark and we wanted some bits from the market. Whilst having lunch in the Big Wok, we discussed Keith having a smart phone, because we do not have one. Yes I know we need to get with it. I personally do not feel the need for one, but it could be an advantage for one of us to have a smart phone, so after a delightful lunch, we found one of four Carphone Warehouse stores in Birmingham and learnt all there was to know about having a smart phone. For 99p extra to what we pay already with BT, Keith could be up and groovy with a new smart phone, so we decided to do it. Now we were told with this phone you cannot possibly go over your allowance for internet data and the phone was easy to use for someone new to being smart. Back on the boat, Keith soon got to grips with his new phone, but having downloaded a few apps he found he had gone over on his internet data. But we were told he could not do that, another trip to the store was called for, but that would be for another day. There were niggles with setting things up on the phone, but nothing that between us we could not solve.
On Friday we had arranged to go out with friends Margaret and Nigel for lunch. They had very kindly cooked for us twice, so we thought it would be nice to treat them to lunch. We walked into the city as I wanted to get some pasties from the market and Keith paid another visit to Carphone Warehouse. Having got what we wanted we walked to Margaret and Nigel’s place and decided between us that they would like to try the Big Wok, as they had not tried it yet, so we made our way to the buffet, which was pretty packed when we arrived. Both Margaret and Nigel really enjoyed the food and are sure to visit it again. After a lovely lunch and chatter we went back to theirs for coffee and yet more nattering. They are lovely friends and we love spending time with them both. 5.15 pm we said “Cheerio” to them both and walked back to the boat, where both Marmite and Paddy were waiting patiently for their dinner, which is not easy for marmite, because she likes her food on time. I suggested Keith put the generator on for an hour to charge batteries. Try as he may he could not get her to start. She then started for around a minute and stopped never to start again. We had plenty in our batteries, but her not starting was an issue, because we do rely on her when we are not moving, mainly because we do not like to run our vintage engine when moored up, because she is old and loud. Also if something should happen with our engine, the generator gives us power and hot water until the engine is fixed, which would take a while, because we have to have parts made for her. So what to do?
After discussions we decided that we would make our way back to Warwick, where we could get the generator engineer to come and look at our girl. Getting the generator fixed we felt was more important than doing the BCN Spring Cruise or anything else we had planned, because we need her to be reliable, especially with the trip we had planned for this year. Both of us were looking forward to the BCN Spring Cruise, as we have not been to Walsall Town yet and it was a chance to catch-up with people we know. After what was a pretty sleepless night on Friday night, we got up Saturday morning and made Hadar ready to set off, or I should say I did, because Keith went back to Carphone Warehouse to ask them about being over charged for the data and he wanted to know how to turn the data off, because in the instructions it does not tell you how to do that. Whilst he was gone, I got the boat ready for the off, lit the stoves and got rid of rubbish. We said “Cheerio” to Birmingham at 9.55am and set off the top of Lapworth. We got to Bournville and had to stop because Keith suspected out alternator was not working properly, so whilst he tightened the fan belts I cleared plastic bags off the propeller. We had felt something go onto the propeller and we were right. Hadar tends to tramp when she has something on her blades. Half an hour later we were underway again and actually had a lovely cruising day to Lapworth, where our friend Jacky lives. Having moored up at 4.50pm and cooked dinner we joined Jacky for a coffee and a catch-up. Both of us slept incredibly well Saturday night, although it was warm in our back cabin, because the stove had not gone out. Nothing though was going to stop me sleeping.
Sunday morning we were awake at 6am with no plan to set off until 9am, as we did not wish to wake anyone to early. I got on with boat jobs, such a sweeping the saloon stove chimney, lighting the back cabin stove, washing-up and sweeping floors. 9.25am we left the top of Lapworth and set off down the Twenty Locks. Some of the paddle gear on the locks is really hard to work, even though it is well greased. We did get some help from a volunteer lock keeper, who although he has a C&RT badge, he does not wear the uniform or a life jacket, which I did comment on and was told by him “They have not got me wearing one yet and they never will”. Anyway I did thank him for his help. We over took a hire boat which we had been following, as they pulled in for water. At Twelve noon we turned at the junction and so were back on the Grand Union Canal. Our destination for Sunday was Rowington and the Tom O’ the Wood pub for lunch. I felt we deserved a Sunday Roast and a Pint. The pub was very busy and because we had not booked we had an hour and half to eat lunch, before the table we were given was required for people who had booked. So if you want to eat at Tom O’ the Wood, book a table. Keith ordered Beef and I had Pork and oh my goodness it was fantastic. We had heard the food was good and it certainly was. Lunch was washed down with a pint of Windrush, which we had not tried before, but that as fabulous. As not to hold anyone up, we were done with lunch in an hour and I did thank the lady for fitting us in. Great pub, amazing food and service. Well worth popping into. Pleasantly full we waddled back to the boat, which was nice and warm from the back cabin stove, I had not lit the saloon stove because it was so warm. By the time we got to 5.30pm, there was a definite chill in the saloon, so I relit the saloon stove, having swept the chimney in the morning. The cabin was a little foggy for a while, because the flue was cold, but once the fire got going all was snuggly and warm for the evening. We have been gripped by ‘Game of Thrones’ and are now on series 3. I am so looking forward to getting the other series in the future.
Monday morning and it was raining lightly, so we left Tom O’ the Wood and headed for a mooring above Hatton Locks. With the rain getting heavier, we moored up to see what the weather was going to do, because the forecasters had said it would clear up during the afternoon and you know they were right. At 2.15pm we set off down the Hatton flight. At lock three, I could see someone waving at us. There was a boat up front and he was waving to say they would wait for us, which was very welcome. We share the rest of the flight with a lovely German couple, who were hiring their boat for a week. They had been over for the past couple of years cruising the canals of the UK and were very good. The gentleman went ahead and set the locks, whilst his partner moved the boat with Keith moving Hadar and I closed the lock gates behind. it worked like a dream and at 5.40pm we were back home on our mooring.