*****Is going there and back to see how far it is.*****

Hi I am Jo…wife, lover, best friend and soulmate to Keith. Lover of all things to do with nature and the canals. I am passionate about the Waterways and its history.

I hope you will join me in my rambles and do please comment – I love to hear from and meet new people in blogland!

Life on the cut through my eyes.

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*****Stay safe and warm out there..*****

Saturday 7 March 2020

Day 2: Tom O the wood to Catherine de Barnes.

Dear family, friends and followers.

7.1 miles, 5 locks in 3hrs 50mins. 

Having enjoyed the pint in the Tom O the Wood and settled in for the evening with a good book, bedtime called and we both slept like logs. All the lock work and fresh air did us the power of good. I sat reading my new book 'The Narrowboat Girls' written by Rosie Archer, until I could not read anymore. The book so far is ok. It is about four women who take over the boats, whilst the men join the war effort. Each of the women has left behind a difficult time in their lives and have come together to help with the war effort. I have already picked some of it apart, to do with the direction the boats are heading in to get from London to Birmingham and back again and the words used for the boatmen and women, plus the use of the word Barge for a narrowboat. I of course realise it is just a book and so there is a certain amount of poetic licence, but when you know what they are writing is wrong, it does grate somewhat.
Anyway, after an excellent nights sleep and a cuppa to start the day, whilst listening to the radio, we were up and about. I re-lit the back cabin stove and made a mince beef curry, which would spend its time cooking in the back cabin stove oven. Keith rang Canal and River Trust to find out if the Hockley Bridge was back open, because they were supposed to update their webpage yesterday (Friday), but there was nothing updated this morning. he was told they did not know anything, because the webpage has not been update. Yes we know that, we were hoping you would have more information, but clearly not. So we took the decision to not go Lapworth way, but instead carry on up the Grand Union to Catherine de Barnes.
We set off at 9.10 am and pottled past Kingswood Junction, which is where we would normal turn into, to do the Lapworth flight.
We arrived at the Knowle locks with the sun trying to shine and were greeted by CRT volunteers, who were painting the lock beams and paddle gear, ready for the new cruising season.
I hardly had to do any work, because the volunteers were more than happy to work the locks for us. I did however give a hand and of course have a good old chinwag with the guys.
One of the volunteers was telling me his father was a lock keeper here for 30 yrs and used to live in the lock cottage at the bottom of the locks. He now works on the same locks, but lives on his boat. When the canals are in your blood there is no getting away from them.
Having thanked the volunteers for all their help, we were on our way past the boat yard and on towards Catherine de Barnes.
We did not see another narrowboat on the move today, but we did come into contact with the Solihull Canoe club, who have their club house at Catherine de Barnes.
We arrived at Catherine de Barnes at 1 pm and moored up on the newly refurnished 48 hour moorings. There only used to be a couple of serviceable mooring rings left on the moorings, but recently CRT and Kier have put in 12 new rings and have tarmac the towpath, so no muddy feet along this stretch. 
I walked up into the village to the little shop, which has recently been completely refurnished and is now run my Nisa. I wanted some Naan bread to go with the curry, which was bubbling away nicely in the stove, giving off an aroma which kept making my mouth water. We would be enjoying the curry for dinner, because lunch was had on the move, I warmed some sausage rolls up in the oven.

We have decided we will stop here until Monday and then head into Birmingham all being well.

Pop back soon xxx

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