*****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.

Daisypath Anniversary tickers
*****Stay safe and warm out there..*****

Monday 30 May 2011

Bank Holiday Monday.

Good Evening.

It is a rather soggy Bank Holiday Monday and tinged with sadness as we heard of the death of a fellow boater and all round lovely gentleman Bob Wakely, who owned and ran Chiswick. He will be very much missed by all who knew and loved him.

So here we are on Bank Holiday Monday and we have a couple of things to do today, as we did nothing much yesterday. I did get more washing and drying done, but then we had to move out of the basin again to let Tench out, so she could go out on to the towpath ready for her trip to Middlewich. Late in the afternoon my friend Tina came round for a coffee and a ride on the boat back into the basin, once the boat moving was over. Whilst out on the towpath, we had a battery cut-off key fail, whilst in the switch. It is mounted under the floor of the boatman's cabin so has not been knocked. It snapped across where the brass key passes through the plastic body, which is a little odd, so we had no power. Keith soon found the issue and thankfully we had a spare key, so was soon fixed.

Bank Holiday Monday.
It was pouring with rain when we woke up, so I felt little need to hurry myself out from beneath the duvet.
Paddy got walked in the rain, which did not please him at all, as he hates getting wet and even as I type this he is still sulking in his bed.
Job for the day, was to take the toilet out of the bathroom, to redo the sealant around the toilet and to give it a good old fashioned clean, but like with any job on a boat, it took twice as long to do, because we then found out that most of the screws holding the toilet in place were either loose or had come out completely. Having wrestled with the toilet half a dozen times, I sealed all around the toilet and up the corner of the bathroom, where it was difficult to get the grout into when the toilet was first fitted. I then wrestled the toilet back into place and after some twiddling with screws, it was securely back in its home.
All's I had to do then was clear up the mess we had left behind. So that was today's job done and there was nothing else on the list. Another wash was done and dried in the drier, all's I have left to do if there is time are the towels. Then we are all washed and dried up whilst on the power.
Paddy has spent the day sulking in his bed, because he is still damp. Marmite has spent most of the day lying on the foot stall on my jumper, which she has taken to because it is warm.
As the morning crept into the afternoon, it was still raining but that did not stop Tina and I going off to do a little girlie shopping. We set off to Stafford retail park, where we went in to every shop, these included Peacocks, New Look, B&M, Matalan and Pets at home. After a lovely 3 hours with my dear friend, we made our way back home in the sunshine.
Whilst we were away, Historic Working Boat Sweden arrived to take on some Lime Stone, so Keith helped out to move boats, this time it was Ilford who moved out of the basin, so we were able to stay put. By the time Tina and I got back to the basin, Sweden was already out on the towpath ready to set off for Middlewich. I had a fabulous time shopping with Tina and came back with a couple of tops for the Summer, that is if we actually get any Summer, although according to the weather forecast tonight, it is going to be warming up this coming week.
It is now just past 7pm and we have eaten dinner and are now relaxing with a coffee. Rain is falling again, which should help top up the rivers and canals.
Spring watch is back on tonight yippee. I love watching it every year and this year I am already watching their webcams (CLICK ME).

Chat soon xx

Saturday 28 May 2011

Loading Tench 2011.MP4

Had a fabulous time watching them load Tench.

Loading Tench 2011.MP4

Had a fabulous time watching them load Tench.

Loading a boat and good friends.

Hi Friends.

Wow what a fantastic day I have had.
It all began with a cup of tea in bed whilst watching the morning news. Yes I was sat in bed watching TV, such a treat ;0).
On getting up, I took Paddy for his walk and bumped into Roger, who asked if we could move out of the basin and on to the towpath because Historic Working Boat Tench, owned by Matt Parrott was coming in to load his boat up with Lime Stone. So having had our breakfast, we poled Hadar out of the basin and on to the towpath.
"Why pole her your ask?"
Well yesterday we had disconnected the prop-shaft, so that Roger could check the wear on our drive shaft, so we could not use the engine.
Once moored up on the towpath, I then walked down the town to get a few food items, as my main food shop does not come until Tuesday. Whilst I was down the town Keith went back to the basin where Tench then arrived. By the time I got back to the boat and had put the food away, Keith had come back for a coffee, we then both went back to the basin to watch Tench being loaded with Lime Stone. Roger lifted the 1 tonne bags of Lime Stone with his crane in to the boats hold and Matt and Joe guided them into position.
It all worked like a well oiled machine.
The main thing was to make sure Tench sat level when loaded.This was the last bag to go into the hold. So with smiles on their faces a good job had been done for the day.
I have watched boats being loaded before, but it was nice to see another done from start to finish. Matt was extremely happy with how it went, in fact he was wearing a broad smile all day. he has not had Tench for very long, so he is a very proud owner.
With the loading done, it was time to have some lunch as Keith and I were hungry as the time had crept on to 1.30pm.
After lunch we walked back to the basin and got chatting with Roger, Joe and Matt who were moving the boats around, so they could get some photographs done. We all ended up on the towpath taking photo's and Roger checked our drive shaft for us, giving it the all clear, which was great news, Roger had expected there to have been some wear after four years, but was happy to see it was in good condition. With that news Keith connected everything back up and we fired Hadar up and moved her back into the basin.
I put dinner in the oven and then got a wonderful surprise when my best friend Tina popped round to say hello. It was lovely to see her again, as it had been a year since we last saw each other, when she went with me to the hospital when Keith was very poorly and had to have an operation. I am so looking forward to having a few days here, so Keith and I can catch up with Tina and her husband Rob.
After such a great day, I am now watching the football on ITV 1, hoping that Manchester United can beat Barcelona.

I hope you have had a lovely day.
Chat soon xx

Friday 27 May 2011

Waterways Trustee's.

The new trustee's of the up and coming Waterway's Trust have been announced.

I am really hoping that this works, because if it does not, our waterway's will fall bad into dis-repair which would be a real shame. This country has a little gem in the waterway's, which we get to share with the rest of world, as they come here for waterway holidays, thus putting much needed money into the UK economy. We need to show that as a Trust British Waterways we can provide a better service, that has been provided in the past. Money needs to be better spent and decisions on what needs to be done work wise needs to be allocated on a more economic basis, then and only then can this new status really work.
I wish everyone concerned the very best of luck.

Thursday 26 May 2011

Day One in the basin.

Hi Friends.

Woke up at 6am and could hear rain thumping on the roof of the back cabin. Marmite was lead on my feet again, so she had to be moved over to the edge of the bed, so I could turn over. With a meow and a yawn she soon settled back down and so did I. The next thing I knew it was 8am and I could hear grinding going on in Roger's work shop, so this meant it was time to get up.
Whilst I walked Paddy in the rain, Keith made the morning cuppa and laid up breakfast. After breakfast, we spoke to Roger about a couple of jobs we wanted doing and about a couple of things we wanted purchased, these included a tippet, to go over the top cloth. I have been noticing that the top strings are digging in and wearing the top cloths, so a tippet will help to protect the top cloth and stop the wearing. Keith wanted a couple of new gaskets ordered, so that we can change our head gasket at some point, as the head is leaking a little. By mid-afternoon the tippet was ordered and should arrive tomorrow or the day after.

After a coffee we lifted the back cabin floor and checked the level of the oil in the gearbox and I laid some puppy pads to soak up any moisture on the floor. Puppy pads are cheap, but do a great job. Roger has advised us to check the wear on the drive plate, so we have begun stripping down the propshaft, so that Roger can check it all for us when he has a free few moments.
Floor back down, it was time for some toasted sandwiches for lunch.

The rain has continued on and off all day, with the wind picking up again. For us it is nice to be in the basin and on hook-up when the weather is like it is today. There is also a chill in the air, so I feel I could be lighting the fire if this continues.
Because we are on hook-up, I have done a wash and used our tumble drier, which is always a treat, because the clothes are washed, dried and put away all on the same day woooo hoooo happy days. I know it seems daft getting excited over a tumble drier, but it is a luxury for us.

This evening we have been invited to Roger's house for a cuppa and a good old chin wag. We do not get to see him and Teresa very often so we will have plenty to chat about. So I am looking forward to this evening.

I hope your day is wonderful or has been wonderful depending on when your reading this.

Chat soon xx.

The Apprentice.

Hi Friends.

Who has been watching The Apprentice????(CLICK ME)
Is it me or are this lot of contestants a shambles?
Ok I realise that some of it may be hyped for the program, but some of these young people do not have a clue. Last night it was all about the beauty business and considering the fact that Susan Ma is involved with the beauty industry so she says, she was awful last night. She almost cost her team the task. If they had listened to her, they would have spent to much money on fake tan etc and been in the boardroom getting sacked. As it was Felicity Jackson was fired last night after her team actually lost money, after buying to many products and not selling enough treatments, which was a huge mistake as was the fact that they took a stall in the Bullring, with a treatment room on the 3rd floor, which got almost completely overlooked.
I have a feeling that unless this lot wise up Lord Sugar maybe sacking more than one at a time. It is no good saying you know all about something, and not prove it, so I think Susan had better watch her back. She was clearly not happy when the others turned on her, but that is what the program is all about, there are no friends to be had when you want to be a 50/50 partner with Lord Sugar.
It has some good entertainment value as you watch them squirm in the boardroom.

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Kings Bromley to Stone.

Hi Friends.

Wow what a day. Our cruising began at 8.55am, with a plan to reach Shugborough, where we would stay for the night at least. But like with all good plans they can be changed and that is exactly what happened today.
Before we knew it, we were in Rugeley staring at the chimney from the power station. I had no need to stop for a food shop, so we kept on going. We saw plenty of boats going in the opposite direction and then we were behind a boat. It turned out to be Lesley and Howard on NB Sheila Ann. We followed them all the way to Colwich Lock, they were stopping for some lunch at Shugborough.
Keith and I felt it was to early to stop, so whilst we headed to the Great Heywood lock I made us some lunch to eat on the run. Great Heywood moorings were almost empty, which completely amazed us, but we still decided to carry on.
Robert and Sylvia on NB Tee Pee gave us a wave, it has been a couple of years since we saw them.
We carried on, and then carried on and then carried on, and all of a sudden we were at Stone. As we cleared Lime Kiln lock Roger appeared and signalled us to pull into the basin, which was excellent. So we are set up for a week moored here whilst it is half term, which is great, half term is a time not to be moving around for various reasons. We have already seen quite a few friends upon our arrival, so plenty of time to catch up with them all. We have had Nine hours on the move today and I am shocked that I am not feeling tired, but I bet I sleep well tonight. After the trials and tribulations of yesterday, today was really lovely on the whole. Some boaters need to learn the bridge 'ole etiquette, but apart from that we had a fantastic day. I will be making the most of being on the electricity, by getting my washing done and the hoover may even come out. Next week we have our boat safety, so we need to make sure everything is done for that. We also have a couple of jobs for Roger to do and I hope to get our exhaust chimney repaired.
I am now off to put my feet up and have a coffee.

Chat soon xx

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Hopwas to Kings Bromley ups and downs.

Hi Friends.

It has been a somewhat eventful days cruising. We left Hopwas at 8.45am and it looked like the wind had died a little, which was a blessing, but that blessing did not last long, because it was soon back.
On leaving Hopwas, we cruised passed Hopwas Hays Wood which is an army firing ground and has signs telling you to keep out. At Hademore Bridge we almost had a confrontation with a private boater, who seemed to think he could come through the bridge 'ole with us. He barely gave us enough room to get through. Keith commented to him "It was just as well we were not towing a butty". The man just laughed and pushed on through the bridge 'ole. Some people have no patience or thought for others. We then managed to pick up some rubbish on the propeller, so had to pull in just after Hademore House Bridge. Keith pulled off a load of plastic from the farm which has rows upon rows of poly tunnels. Back under way and yep it happened again, so we pulled in again to remove yet more plastic sheeting. Not what you need on such a windy old day.
We then met up with a our good friend Brian on NB Kyle, who was stopping at Whittington. it was lovely to see him again and his newly painted boat.
We came past Streethay Wharf, which was busy with boats all moored up. In fact there were a lot of boats on the move again today and it has to be said that there were some very grumpy old boaters out there, who could not be bothered to pass the time of day. I was always taught it costs nothing to be polite.
The unthinkable happened at Bell Bridge. Before we realised we were going under the road bridge, when it became clear that there was not going to be enough clearance for the exhaust chimney, because the bridge leaned the more you went under it. The exhaust chimney therefore scraped along the roof of the bridge and then bent arghhhhhhhh. Keith was shouting to remove it, but there was not enough clearance for me to take it off immediately, by the time I could get the chimney off the damage had been done. Lets just say it looks like a banana now grrrrrr. This is the second time it has been bent and so I am still hopeful we can save it. if not it will be binned, but at £95, I am loathed to throw it away without trying to mend it.
Fradley soon came into our view. The idea had been to stop at Fradley Junction for the day, to then contact Geoff to do our Boat Safety, so that he could come and test the boat. So we pulled in at one of the remaining spots, moored up and Keith rang Geoff. Unfortunately he cannot do our Boat Safety until next week, so we have agreed to have it done in Stone. With that decided, Keith thought we should move on, but I wanted some lunch first because by now it was 12.30pm. With Marmite and Paddy out on the back counter, I made us some lunch and then opened the galley window. That was a bad idea, because no sooner we sat down to eat our lunch the mosquito's came flooding in grrrrrrrrr. Lunch was eaten in a hurry and we were then under way again. First we negotiated the foot swing bridge and then headed to the junction.
Just as we turned out of the Fradley junction from the Coventry Canal on to the Trent and Mersey canal, FMC Minnow was moored up having some work done to her. Minnow is now under new ownership, so maybe we will get to meet up with the new owner sometime.
Before entering the Middle Lock at Fradley we passed by FMC historic working boat Dove (CLICK) looking splendid after having some work done. NB Icing was first to enter the lock, so we waited our turn to go up. I have seen the boat a few times, but best remember it from 2005 at the Preston Brook National Boat Rally, it was nice to see it again. I had a lovely chat with the family on board as we moved up through the two locks.
As we passed by Ravenswood, I was amazed by the amount of Rhododendrons blooming in the woodland, clearly the soil is perfect for them. Although I do know that some see it as a pest which invades the areas of our natural flora. Still it gives off some nice colour.
After an eventful's days cruising we moored up just past Kings Bromley Marina, where we have a digital TV signal yayyyy. I am hoping that tomorrows cruise is less eventful and people are friendlier. Life is to short to be so miserable towards others. So I just say hello and smile ;0).
The TV is on and we are watching Carousel on Film4, so I am off now to sort something out for tonight's dinner and then I am going to put my feet up.

Chat soon xx

Monday 23 May 2011

Alvecote to Hopwas

Hi Friends.

This wind shows no sign of dropping, but that did not stop us from moving off from the Samuel Barlow, where we spent a nice weekend and enjoyed a wonderful roast lunch at the pub.
Pheww!! the wind was blowing up a storm at times, so just as well we only had a short jaunt to Hopwas. We pushed on regardless down through Gascote Locks, where we waited for a boat to come up through the pair as the locks were both in their favour.
At Fazeley Junction where the Coventry meets the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, we pulled in for water, because we were getting low. The tap at the junction is brilliant, the water pressure is so good there, that the tank was filled in no time at all. There seemed to be lot of boats on the move today. In fact ever since we set off there have been a far more boats on the move from previous years.
Is there something they know we don't?
At the junction whilst we waited for the tank to fill, we watched the building work going on opposite. There used to be disused building there, which are now becoming apartments by the looks of it. The economy says that there is no building work going on, well there certainly is around this area and it is not just housing, we also saw units going up for businesses, so things must be on the up. After all the suburban housing and industry, we were soon back out into the countryside, with trees and fields as we approached Hopwas Hill and Hopwas village, where we found a large enough space outside the Tame Otter to moor on which was fantastic, because normally it is difficult to find a mooring here.
Keith has been on the phone to our boat safety man, and left a message for him, so we are hoping he can fit us in at Fradley. With the wind blowing as it is, we are glad to be moored up and now have to hope it drops off for tomorrow's cruise.

Chat soon xx

Sunday 22 May 2011

Historic boats on parade.

Good morning.

It is Sunday morning and blowing a little outside. I thought I would post some of the photographs I took yesterday of the boats moored at the Samuel Barlow. They are all FMC boats and very nice they looked all lined up as if for for inspection. The only boat missing from this gathering was Vienna soon to be renamed Verbena.
If you want to see plenty of traditional boats then why not come to The Samuel Barlow BOAT GATHERING on Fri 27 Jul, 2011, 18.00 Friday until 5pm Sunday.
I am a sucker for the traditional working boats. If they could talk they would have such tales to tell of their past lives. It is a sad thought that many of the men and women who once worked these and other traditional boats are no longer with us. So it is now up to a new generation to keep these boats afloat. Luckily there are now many young people taking on these wonderful boats, so their legacy floats on, not always in the form of a working boat, but they are still on the water. I am full of admiration for anyone taking on a historic boat, because they do take a lot of looking after and sometimes a bottomless pit of money is required to keep them afloat. We looked at buying a butty some months ago, to go with Hadar, but after a lot of thought, we decided to at least wait until we had everything in place. Neither of us want to jump into the deep end without dotting the i's and crossing the t's. When taking on a historic boat, you do have to give it a huge amount of thought. Because your actually dealing with a part of history and for some it is a matter which is taken very seriously.
Now it is true to say I am a Grand Union boat lover, but there is something kind of special about seeing a group of any historic boats all lined up.
From Right to Left. Sunny Valley, Austraila, Kangaroo, Jaguar, Greyhound and Kestrel.

Being a Sunday we are going to have a roast dinner at the Samuel Barlow, washed down by a pint of Old Speckled Hen. This is a real treat, because I rarely cook a roast on the boat.
I hope your Sunday is a good one.

Saturday 21 May 2011

Saturday delights.

Hi Friends.

I now know why at the age of 49, I need all the sleep I can get. I had a somewhat disturbed night due to Marmite and noise coming from outside. This was all taking place at around 1am and seemed to go on for ages ( not Marmite but the noise). Marmite wanted to curl up on my feet for some warmth, but that was so uncomfortable for me so I had to shift her to the corner of the bed, which did not best please her. Because of the disturbed night, when I did get back off to sleep it meant I did not wake up until 8.45am and my first thought was for Paddy. I had visions of him crossing his legs, or far worse a puddle on the saloon floor, but I need not have worried because he had done neither. He is such a good boy, he is an angel he really is. Without further a do, I was up and dressed and ready to take him for his probably much needed stroll.
Whilst Paddy and I walked, Keith cooked Mushroom's on Toast for breakfast, and he made us a cup of tea, both were very welcome as I was feeling a little all over the place. I do hate going back to sleep when I have been disturbed, because for some odd reason I then wake up really tired. Not to mention the fact that I had a very strange dream.
With breakfast eaten and enjoyed, Marmite and Paddy were also fed, they then wanted to sit out on the back counter in the sunshine, whilst the generator ran to charge the batteries and heat the water. This was my chance to catch up on e-mails and facebook.
What would we do without such things?
I keep in touch with people far more via e-mail and facebook than I do by phone.
Once the batteries were all charged up, I suggested we should take a walk around the Pooley Fields Nature Reserve, which also took us up on to the on to the old spoil heap of Polesworth mine, which closed in 1965, where we enjoyed fantastic views of the surrounding countryside. The spoil heap has been taken over by mother nature and a very good job she has done.
Whilst in the nature reserve I spotted holes in an old Silver Birch tree and from one of the holes was the sound of young, so I told Keith I was going to investigate it more later with my larger camera.
After walking back along the towpath, we went and had a look at Alvecote Priory, which once used to be a Benedictine Priory. It was founded 1159 by William Burdett as a dependency of the Great Malvern Priory. it is said that William Burdett stabbed his wife after accusing her of being unfaithful and for his penance he founded the monastery. Although it has been in ruins for many, many years, it is now home to a number of Blue Tits, which I saw nesting in the walls, so in one way it lives on through the wildlife.
Having left the remains of the priory, we went to The Samuel Barlow pub (CLICK ME) to sample its wears and enjoyed a very nice pint of Old Speckled Hen each, we also booked ourselves in for a Sunday roast. At £6.95 each it would appear to be a bargain, I will let you know what we think.
Back at the boat, I made us a coffee before I set off with my camera and tripod to investigate the hole in the tree. I spent two hours listening and watching and yet no parent came to feed their brood, however I did discover who home it was.
The pair of birds using the hole in the tree are a pair of Greater Spotted Woodpeckers. This was one of the parent birds waiting to fly in with some flies. Because I did not want to invade their space any longer I left them alone to get on with feeding their brood. I had suspected it to be a Woodpeckers nest, but I know that sometimes old nests are used by other birds. It was such a treat to get his photo.
With the afternoon now moving into the evening, I have dinner to cook, mog and dog to feed and then I will settle down to watch the TV.

Friday 20 May 2011

Friends and old boats.

Hi Friends.

Yesterday evening was spent rinsing out some washing which had been soaking throughout the day, I then fed Mog and Dog, before dishing up our dinner. By the time 9.30pm came, Keith was snoozing and I was having a hard job to keep my eyes open, so it was off to bed with the both of us.
When I woke up this morning it was 7am and Marmite was lying on my feet, which meant I could not move. I had to move her over so I could get out of bed.
A slightly warmer start to the day. We set off to finish going down the last 6 locks of the Atherstone flight, in the sunshine. The flight is an easy flight to do and is always kept nice, even though Tony Wright MBE the lock keeper is no longer doing the job of looking after the flight.
Moored at the bottom of the Atherstone flight was Andy's NB Khe Ry, with Lyra on guard, she was in fact keeping a close eye on Andy who had been helping us with the lock. We said cheerio to Andy who was off back to Brinklow, with a hope that we would see him again. It was then onward towards Alvecote, but as we passed the sanitary station we did a quick stop to empty the toilet cassette, just as well no one was following us at the time ;0).
At the bottom of the flight the River Anker converges with the canal and the views are of arable land, in this case rapseed and barley.
At the bottom of the Atherstone flight we passed Historic Working Boat Sickle. Sickle is a Middle Northwich, fleet number 84. She entered the fleet in 1936, today she looks in fine form.The one thing I really noticed was the amount of old Oak trees lining the canal, some of these Oaks must have been standing there for hundreds of years. We passed this beautiful Buttercup Meadow, which looked truly sublime in the sunshine.
We came under bridge 49 and Grendon Dry Dock is on the left hand side. With historic boats a plenty to be seen.
Vienna and Kestrel in dry dock at Grendon Dry Dock.
Just as we came under the bridge into Polesworth Keith and I spotted David off of NB First Fruits and with that Viv came out of the boat, so we pulled in and moored up on the centre line whilst we caught up with them on any news we both had. They are heading for Bristol this summer, whereas we are off to Droitwich. It was lovely to see them again. Low and behold just as we finished chatting to Viv and David, Ray and Jayne on NB Travelling in No Direction (CLICK ME) came past, so we had a quick natter with them as well. It has been a busy old day for seeing people we know.
We said goodbye to David and Viv, who had friends arrive, if we do not see them again this summer we will see them back at Market Harborough in October.
Having left Viv and David we met Elaine and Peter on NB Copperkins 2, who were on there way up the Ashby Canal.
We came past Pooley Hall looking splendid in the sunshine. The present Hall was built in 1509 by Sir Thomas Cockayne. It was built on the site of an earlier Hall and was one of the first examples in the country of a castellated brick-built manor house.
We arrived at Alvecote and have moored opposite the Samuel Barlow, with a lovely view of historic working boats. One day our boat will be historic, give her another 50 to 60 years hahaha. Having moored up, I made us some lunch and we are now chilling out a little. It is now 1.30pm and I have a few jobs to do, so I will see you later maybe.

Chat soon xx

Thursday 19 May 2011

Hawkesbury Junction to the Atherstone Flight.

Hi Friends.

We had a nice start to the day, the sun was shining and there was no wind when I took Paddy out for his walk. As I walked up the towpath, I spotted NB Full Circle moored up and a wonderful smell of bacon coming from the galley, but because it was early I did not want to get Steve and his wife out to early, so Paddy and I went on our way.
We set off for Atherstone and no sooner we left the mooring, Steve came out of his boat to greet us. He said "Saw you on the TV, can I get your autograph please", which of course made us both laugh. We exchanged destinations and small talk, before we left Steve to have his breakfast in peace.
The morning was warming up nicely, so we were in for a good days cruising.
Just before coming into Nuneaton, we passed Charity Dock, which is one of my all time favourite boat yards. It is probably one of the strangest places you will ever see on the cut.
They have some fantastic dummies all dressed up, which are changed every now and again. Charity Dock is a boat grave yard for all sorts of boats. Charity dock is still a working boat yard.
Passing through Nuneaton and its many allotments, this was the only proper scarecrow I saw, not sure it will scare much. I call Nuneaton the land of allotments, you will see them all along the canal. They come in all shapes and sizes, with a huge variety of things being grown. Nationwide there is a shortage of allotments.
We passed this boat with its L-plate on the stern, it made me smile. I wonder when the P-plate will go up.We came past the BW yard at Hartshill. I knew we were close to Hartshill because I spotted the mountain of waste from the old Judkins Quarry, it is known locally as Mount Judd. The views across the Anker Valley are really very stunning, even with the railway running through it. Hartshill itself has been swallowed up by Nuneaton, which taken away its history of being a mining community. The history books say that the Romans may have settled at Hartshill and Hugh de Hardesshull chose it as a site to build his castle in 1125, giving him a clear view across the the peaks of Derbyshire on a clear day. Hartshill biggest claim to fame is that it was the birth place of poet Drayton in 1563. Drayton was supposedly a friend of both Ben Johnson and Shakespeare. If you get the chance to go to Hartshill, there are some lovely walks over Hartshill Green to Oldbury Camp, where there was a bronze Age hill-fort, which covers 7 acres.
At Bridge 36 we came across these two Blue Tops, in degrees of restoration. There are very few Blue Tops around today.
We got to Atherstone and soon realised we would have to go down the flight. We had hoped to moor at the top of the locks, but no room, so we carried on down through lock 5 and the 7 day moorings above lock 6. Looking closely at the map, we could actually be closer to the High Street from here than from the top of the locks, and a more pleasant spot to moor, more countryfied rather than industrial and urban.
having taken up the one remaining mooring, I made us some lunch before we walked into Atherstone to do a little browsing and shopping if we could find what we were looking for. Luckily in one of the cheap shops I found exactly what I needed and that was fly paper to hang in the saloon, to get rid of the pesky flies, which are beginning to annoy me. After a look around Atherstone, we began walking back to the boat, when I had a horrible thought that I had left the galley window open, which would mean that Marmite would be able to get off the boat and the boat was open to anyone wanting to be nosey. I quickened my pace a bit and as I came under the road bridge saw that in fact I had closed the galley window PHEW. I have no idea why I thought I had left it open. When I opened the back cabin door, Marmite was sleeping on the side bed and Paddy was sat on the floor looking up at me.
During the afternoon we had a visit from Andy and Lyra off of their boat moored at the bottom of the flight. Whilst I am dropping names of people we have seen today, I would like to mention NB Serena who was moored at Valley Cruises, we met the couple last year fleetingly and yet again today we did the same. So hi to you both if your reading the blog tonight.
It is now almost 7.30pm and I am now feeling a little bushed, so I will bid you a good day.

Chat soon xx


Family isn't always blood. It's the people in your life who want you
in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who
would do anything to see you smile, and who love you no matter what. :o)

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Rugby to Hawkesbury Junction.

Hi Friends.

We left Rugby at 8.45am after what was a quiet night and just as we approached Masters Bridge with the Rugby artwork, I recognised NB Wigrams Turn, which had just pulled in. I enquired whether they were the couple who originally owned NB Misty Lady and the gentleman said they were. We first met them at the Shackerstone Festival over 4 years ago, when we still had Misty Lady. Infact the woman was waving us down to tell us they had owned her. So now I had the opportunity to tell them what has happened since then. It was nice to catch up with them both, I just wish I could remember their names. So often you only ever know the boat names and never its owners, which is a little odd I guess. They finished mooring up and we went on our way.
I could not resist take a photograph of this graffiti, because it says it all really. This was at Bridge 52 the Old Railway Bridge.
We headed towards Newbold Tunnel noticing all the things that had changed since our last visit. It is always nice to see improvements even if they are small ones.
Onward through Newbold Tunnel with it colourful lighting. I remember the last time we came through the tunnel the lights were much better then. It looks like many of the bulbs need replacing and the lenses need a good clean as well.
One of the boats moored in front of us last night was now behind us, so Keith pulled over to allow them to pass. Now when ever were pass another boat, I make a point of saying thank you. It seems this couple could not conjure up the words, they just about managed a nod. it costs nothing to say two small words THANK YOU.
We passed Laplander the Steam Ice Breaker at Yates Yard. There was no one around, the yard looked closed.
At Stretton Stop, I nipped off to open the Swing Footbridge, which had been newly painted, so I had to watch where I put my hands. It would be just typical for me to get paint over everything. Just as we came through the bridge a hire boat pulled out in front of us, which was not a wise thing to do as the gentleman discovered, because we were right behind him in no time, so he pulled over and allowed us to pass.
With it seems everything producing young, this was my cutest offspring photograph of the day. The Pen and Cob have 8 Cygnets in all. It is so wonderful to be able to see the variety of wildlife that the waterway's has to offer. We saw our first Coot for ages as well along the way. For some strange reason some areas do not have Coots. on the Leicester Line we never see one.
Open, rolling fields full of sheep followed, we then entered a deep cutting, which is spanned by the M6 and its noisy traffic. Although if you needed to paint your boat, it would be a great place to moor under the bridge itself in the dry. You then just have to put up with the traffic noise and the railway which runs along side it. Ideal if your deaf.
Bridge 15 at Ansty is almost no more. Sadly it has had to be demolished due to the fact that it can no longer be repaired due to so much damage, which is a real shame. We have never seen Ansty, but it does have Ansty Hall which dates back to 1678 apparently. It is now a hotel (CLICK ME). There seemed to be plenty of boats on the move today, so we were careful to slow right down at Bridge 'oles, just in case a boat should be coming in the opposite direction. I got to take the tiller for a bit, which as always I totally loved. Keith finds standing on the gunwale plays his back up, so I never get very long at the tiller before he takes over again, but I do enjoy being in charge of the boat when I can.
Just as we were approaching Hawkesbury Junction the heavens opened and it began to drizzle heavily, so I donned my donkey jacket to keep the worse of the rain off. I stepped off the boat at Sitton Stop Lock, and waited for a boat to come through, whilst passing the time of day with the lady doing the paddle, who was very un-impressed at the weather. As I told her "This is England, we have to expect all sorts of weather".
Having done Sutton Stop Lock and feeling a little damp around the edges, it was clear finding a mooring was not going to be that easy, because it was chocker with boats and by the look of things I think the boats moored on the visitor moorings have been here for quite a while. Where is a patrol officer when you need one!
Fortunately we managed to find one mooring big enough for us to squeeze into, so made a B line for the slot before anyone else was able to snatch it. All moored up, ariel up and the radio on, we are here for the night at least.
It has been another good day's cruising, which on the whole was uneventful.

Chat soon xx.

Tuesday 17 May 2011


Hi Folks.

Well what an evening. There we were watching something on TV when my phone went loopy, the texts were coming in thick and fast and all had one subject. "The Golden Age of the Canals" on BBC4. Friends were texting to say they had seen us on the TV.

I was like "What"?

We had been told it would be broadcast in the Autumn, and no one had rung me to say otherwise. Now we could only get Channels 1,2,4, and 5, so no hope of seeing it on the TV, but thank goodness for the internet, because we had a 3G signal, so were able to see it on the BBC iplayer. When the crew filmed us they spent almost two days with us, filming us loading, cruising and delivering coal to customers, we also did interviews as well, so not sure if those bits hit the cutting room floor or are being saved for another documentary. Anyway it was nice to see some of what we did was shown, coal dust and all. The bit where we were loading was in Market Harborough, and we were not even part of the program. But the producer saw what we were doing and asked if he could film us, the rest is now history. The producer and crew were lovely and made us feel quite at ease. It was a pleasure to do. Having watched the program and answered my texts, it was time for bed.

After a fabulous nights sleep. Keith and I found ourselves awake early and drinking the first cuppa of the day.Because we only planned on only travelling a short distance into Rugby we had A late start. We left our mooring and immediately came across some British Waterways guys doing some piling. As shout came from the boat.
"We saw you on the TV last night and you do not get any better looking on TV". Of course this made us all laugh.
It was George, who we know from the Foxton crew. He was born on the boats. We shared some banter with the guys before letting them get on with their work.
After a short run to Master's Bridge, we found a moorings, which is never an easy thing to do at rugby. We walked into Rugby town centre, the home of Rugby Football, we haven't been here before, so had a look around. The game of rugby apparently began on the Close at the Rugby School in 1823 when William Webb Ellis first took the ball in his arm and ran with it. You can visit the Rugby Museum to find out all about Rugby's history.
We walked up to the Rugby School and oppsss I walked all over Martin Johnson. I suspect millions have done the same before me. I should have bought my Brasso with me. We did some much needed shopping, and had a lovely lunch in the Royal Thai Cuisine restaurant. One of the items we bought was a travel kettle. Keith recently had this brainwave to save using gas to boil a kettle, especially on the move. A travel kettle boils enough water for 2 mugs, and it is very low power, so the invertor can cope with it quite nicely. We also bought some enamalware plates and bowls from Poundland for £1 each an absolute bargain, because when we looked in Milletts, they wanted £3.79 for a plate. Good old Poundland.
There are some lovely buildings in Rugby if you look up.
Having done our shopping and nosing around, we walked back through the park, which hosted a 'Party in the Park' for the Royal Wedding. It was surprising how quiet it was considering it is so close to the town.
I was really impressed with Rugby, even with the walk across waste land, which is being turned into a business park and the railway line. Definitely a place to visit again. On our way back to the boat, we went and found a Maplin's, as Keith wanted a couple of items, which ended up including a power supply for my laptop, because my Dell one was no longer working, unless I fiddled with it endlessly to make it work. I on many occasion got close to throwing it across the floor. So now I have a nice new one and at a fraction of the price. Good old Maplin's.

Back at the boat, we both felt like we had done a marathon, so it was time for a coffee using our new kettle. I have food and pet shopping to do, but I think it can wait until tomorrow, I do not think my feet will be to happy if I hike across to Pets at Home and then Tesco, they can wait until tomorrow.

After such a quiet time at Hillmorton, I am not sure I will be getting as good a nights sleep tonight, because it is pretty noisy where we are moored, but I will let you know tomorrow what happens.

Chat soon xx

The Golden Age of the Canals.

For those who missed the program "The Golden Age of Canals" you can view at on BBC iPlayer at this link. It will also be repeated on BBC4 this Thursday at 8:00pm.

If you do not want to watch the whole hour Keith and I are at the very start, and the very end.
I did not know we were on until I got numerous text messages telling me so, but with no signal for BBC4 we had to use the iplayer to view it. Great program with some great old footage.

Monday 16 May 2011

Braunston to the bottom of Hillmorton Locks.

Hi Friends.

We were in no hurry to be under way this morning so for us it was a late start as we waited for Tradline to open at 9.30am, and then Keith had to return in ½ hour to give them time to wind the 60m of line we wanted onto a reel. This line is to replace the tempory lines we made when Hadar was first launched to hold up the side cloths, and some rope to make a pair of answer lines, which we may need later this year. Having taken the rope on board, I made a coffee and we prepared to set off leaving Braunston behind.
Before completely leaving Braunston though we needed to empty the toilet cassette, but could not get into the sanitary point as it was already in use, so we pulled in my the water point and I walked up with the trolley to empty the loo.
No sooner we set off for pastures new for 2011, we saw Working Boat Chertsey moored up, neither Sarah or Jim were about. (CLICK ME) Chertsey is being restored by Sarah and Jim.
No sooner we left Chertsey behind we then ran across Trevor on Working Boat Corona, sporting her new livery, she really did look fantastic.
The canals are for everyone, and this gentleman was clearly enjoying his time out in his canoe.
A fairly uneventful run to Hillmorton locks, I worked the locks, whilst Keith moved the boat. It had been quite some time since I have stepped from gate to gate and found it refreshing to do it again. At least I know I have not lost my touch, not sure Keith's photograph is very flattering, but it made me smile. We got to the bottom lock where we overtook 2 boats going the same direction. Granted one had stopped above the bottom lock to empty their elsan, but the other boat was in one of the bottom locks, the gentleman had tried to use the lock we went in to, but he couldn't open the gate, so they changed over to the other lock. This meant the first lock was full so I asked the gentleman why did he not use the lock as he had filled it, he told me the bottom gates were leaking and he could not open the gate, so I finished filling the lock again and yep you guessed it I opened it up and we went through and left before them. I reckon from the conversation between the 2 men they were trying to do it scientifically. So much for science, knowledge, muscles and technique win the day everytime. I did not find it difficult. I do have to say though, although the gentleman working the locks was a large gentleman he did not look very fit.
Having left the bottom lock, we passed this Swan's nest and her Cygnets, these are the second Cygnets we have seen this year, Keith took a photo of some earlier.Working Boat Badsey moors above the bottom lock in front of the Cafe.
Not wanting to arrive at Rugby to find no moorings we decided to moor up below the bottom lock, and leave arriving at Rugby till tomorrow morning. The sun is shining and we have had a wonderful days cruising.
I have just cooked some mince for a Cottage Pie for dinner tonight and then we may have some Pineapple and Ice Cream.
Marmite and Paddy have been enjoying the sunshine since we have been moored up. Marmite was laid out on the towpath rolling in the dirt so she was in seventh heaven.

Going now to check on dinner, then I am going to relax before dinner. It will then be time for a nice hot shower and an evening in front of the TV.

Chat soon xx


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