*****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..*****

Thursday 30 June 2011

Droitwich Day 3.

Hi Folks.

How cute are these two resting their beaks.
It has been the most wonderful day. First thing this morning we got on with cleaning the brass and then it went and rained arghhhh. By the time lunchtime came we had finished cleaning the brass inside and out, even the engine brass was given a polish, we were then ready for a pint at The Railway Inn, which is next door to the basin, so really handy for all of us here for the weekend. We went to the pub with Irene and Ian (NB FreeSpirit), Jennifer and Graham (NB Best 0' Mates), Caroline and Ian (NB Indulgence) and Gill and Frank (NB Fragil), a good time was had by all as we drank a couple of drink, laughed and chatted, it was a really enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours with old friends and new found friends.
Back at the boat, we found that we had been joined by further boats and were told more were on their way. The only problem now was, where do they put everyone.
The Netherwich basin is almost full as is the towpath and very good it looks too. With so many things going on, there was plenty to see and talk about with other boaters, including laughing about the fender which was making a break for freedom, what we did not realise however was it belonged to Irene and Ian. This came to light when Irene stepped off of their boat wondering why there boats was bumping and banging about. She realised her fender was missing and we then realised it was her fender making its escape. There was nothing for it but for Irene to get out her fishing net and take up the chase. But like all good chases, this one was not going to end quickly as the fender blew one way then the other for a few minutes, then it headed towards boats on the far side and off went Irene to try and capture it, but no the fender changed direction a couple of times before being trapped in the fishing net by Ivor Caplin. So the chase was over and the fender tied back on to the boat.
After dinner Keith and I took a walk up the towpath to see what was going on with the site and we came across a beautiful Black and White moggy coming out of the hedge.
As you can see from the photograph it is carrying its own dinner. Poor little mouse would not see another day.
The marquees are up and security fencing is going up, but we reckon they will be a very long night ahead of them. Boats were still arriving, plus more historic boats, we now have Atlas, Malus, Sagitta, Lynx, Trent, Spey, Manchuria and Marcellus (50 ft one with the original stern) here. It is going to be a fab weekend. Tomorrow afternoon is the official re-opening, so it is going to be a busy old day.

Chat soon xx

Droitwich on TV.

Last night the Droitwich Canal appeared on Midlands Today.

So you do not have to watch the whole program, the piece starts 13 minutes into the program. They did need to get their facts right though, because they said it was the the first canal in the Midlands to be opened in 150 years, that is not correct, because the Stourbridge canal re-opened in May 1967. But hey ho it is wonderful to see another canal re-open, now it must get used to keep it open.

Wednesday 29 June 2011

Chit chat and history.

Hi Friends.

Day two in Netherwich basin Droitwich.

Awake early, we enjoyed a cuppa whilst discussing yesterday's events. It was then time to get up and take Paddy for his walk. On the way back I chatted with Carol off of Rypeck about how things were going and how things were going to go over the next few days, I think it is going to be fun one way or another.
Breakfast was bacon sandwiches mmmmm, a boaters staple diet when possible. After breakfast we found ourselves chatting to Ian, Irene, Jennifer and Graham about all sorts of things, not all of them to do with boating.
I wanted to replace some of the paintwork knocked off around the back counter, so Keith moved the boat back so I could get the paintwork done. Out came the black and red paint, brushes and rubbing down paper, 10 minutes later job done.
After yet further chatting to other boaters, we headed into Droitwich for a nose around. It is a lovely town and well worth a visit. We went to see an exhibition on its history, which was very informative. With so much history to write about why not check it out for yourself here. It really is quite interesting.
Droitwich has many wonderful old building, some of them leaning at very strange angles. The Priory House is an Elizabethan property built in 1650. The brick chimney was added in Queen Anne’s reign c.1710. There is a wing of the house which dates back to the 1500's.
One of the first pubs we passed was The Old Cock Inn. As you can see from the date it is a very old pub. It was the first pub to be licensed in 1712, when Queen Ann was on the throne. it then sold Cider and ale. None of the modern beers then. If your looking at the picture and thinking that looks like a church window, you would be right in your thinking. It came from the medieval Church of St Nicholas, it certainly is a talking point, for more on the history on the pub check out their website (CLICK).
We found this beautiful art work on the way to Morrison's.
After shopping we walked back to the boat and did lots more chatting and laughing as further boats arrived to join our happy band. I can see this is going to be a great weekend, with some lovely people.

Chat soon xx

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Hanbury Wharf to Netherwich Basin, Droitwich

Hi Folks.

Wow what a day we have had.
We set off this morning to follow the other boats before us down the Droitwich Junction Canal. The anticipation and expectation was all worth it.
To get on to the Droitwich Canal Keith had to make a tight turn, which was not made any easier by a BW tug and work boat being in the way, but with a little effort he made it and there was not a scratch left on either of the BW boats.
Keith bought Hadar on to the Junction Canal from the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. There was quite a bit of a delay and hold ups, as other boats coming the opposite direction were having difficulty with weeding up props, as did the boats ahead of us, fortunately we didn't have any such problem.
With us in the first lock on the Junction Canal we were about to start a whole new adventure. BW guys were on hand to help with the locks and to give any advice they felt was needed. For instance at lock 2 some Swifts were nesting and so they had not finished off the coping stones on the entrance to the lock so care was needed, they also had to lower the height of the water, so that the nest did not get flooded, but this was fine and did not cause us any issues. We then had to moor on the lock moorings for a couple of hours before entering lock three, so I made us a coffee and we chatted to others waiting. We were asked to wait so that some boats coming up could make room for us going down to the staircase locks, as it is all a little tight for space on this section of the canal.
The Junction Canal is really quite stunning at the moment with all the wild flowers out. BW have there own blend of grass seed which has produced a wonderful spectacle as far as flowers are concerned and the bees and dragonflies are loving it.
At the Rugby club access road bridge, we got held up behind Peter on the boat he was crewing because he kept picking up weed on his prop poor chap, this was not what he needed when he was on his own. But with a bit of patience he was soon under way again. Neither Keith or I were in any hurry, we were enjoying the experience.
We left the staircase locks and headed to the next newly built lock before the tunnel that everyone had been talking about and how we would not get under it ha ha ha.
When we arrived at the M5 Tunnel we saw there was a gauge showing how low you needed to be to get under the tunnel, as it turned out we managed to get through without any problem at all and in back we could have probably made it without pulling a load of coal forward. But still it was better to be safe than sorry.
All of the locks are pretty easy to work once you get a rhythm going.
Having exited Barge Lock, I then worked two of the four swing bridges, because BW guys worked the swing bridge in Barge Lock for me and Annie's bridge was already open. It was then onward to Netherwich Basin through Vines Park, where we directed into our mooring by Carol and her husband Adrian of of NB Rypeck the habourmaster. The whole adventure has been a real joy, and nothing like we had been told by the doom and gloom merchants at the top of the locks. If we had listened to them and had been weak minded, we would have either turned around or just carried on and not bothered with this wonderful canal.
In between NB Freespirit and NB Indulgence a Moorhen has been brooding her eggs. Neither she or her otherhalf seem that worried about boats now mooring up against the pontoon. One of them was using Freespirit's roof as a leaping off point.
Already moored up in the basin is Manchuria an LMS boat originally a butty open day boat built in 1928, but has since been converted and now has a Lister engine powering her, she certainly looks very smart and I look forward to meeting her owner Gwylym Jones when he arrives.
Irene and Ian on NB FreeSpirit arrived later in the afternoon off of the River Severn and moored up close by. It was so lovely to see them again with their dogs Judy and Jade. We knew they were on their way from their blog, which I have been following. On the starboard side of us is Best o' Mates with Jennifer and Graham onboard.
We are both so looking forward to this weekend. Now we just need some nice weather. Tomorrow we will get to know our surroundings and hopefully get to meet more people coming to the opening ceremony of the Droitwich Canal.

Monday 27 June 2011

Tibberton to Hanbury Wharf.

Hi Folks.

Phewwww was a hot, hot night?
The good old British weather goes from the sublime to the ridiculous it seems. It was a hot and humid night in bed, but I did manage to sleep for most of it.
We set off from our Tibberton mooring at 8.30am with the sun already shining and the heat rising.
Oddingley has three bridges and as we approached the second of them, across the field was this stunning cottage and a rather quaint little church, something you might see on postcards. Apparently the church is worth a visit. The present church is mainly 15th century, with 17th century additions. Some of the stain glass is also 15th century. Perhaps when we are this way again we will stop and go and have a look.
At Oddingley the railway hugs the canal, where I spotted this signal box. At first I thought maybe it was out of use, but then a gentleman wave to us as we passed by, so maybe it is still being used after all.
The one thing we did notice was wire caging around a couple of the bridges, I suspect this is to help hold the bridges together. It is a little unsightly, but if it helps save the bridges then it is worth it.
Before entering Dunhampstead Tunnel which tunnel which is 230 yards long we entered a wooded cutting giving us a little light relief from the sun.
Having exited Dunhampstead Tunnel into another wooded cutting, I spotted a Tawney Owl as it flow across the canal and into the trees never to be seen again. Like a lot of tunnels there is no towpath running through it, so when horses were used to pull the boats, the horses would have to go over the top, whilst the boatmen pulled the boats through using a handrail.
Another pretty cottage.
We arrived at Hanbury Wharf and moored outside the "Eagle & Sun". Having moored up a gentleman from another boat came and chatted to us about going down the Droitwich, he did in fact moan a lot about how bad it was and that we probably would not get down there, but I am of the opinion that do not knock it until you have tied it, so we will see what happens. Walking back past the "Eagle & Sun" I could smell the carvery and thought lunch out was a good idea. So we had lunch in the "Eagle & Sun" with John and Sheila on NB Solitaire, who we have got to know since they first moored next to us at Diglis. After lunch we said cheerio to them as they are continuing up the Worcs & Birm, we walked down the junction canal to find the local BW man Tom, but at the new staircase locks we met some BW workers doing some final touchs ready for tomorrow. According to them we should be able to come down tomorrow, so we are looking forward to this, I doubt we will sleep much tonight with anticipation. We never did find Tom, a man of mystery in these parts, well the parts we keep looking in.
We have a decent digital TV signal, so I can watch the tennis with a clear picture yippeeeee. because yesterday it was a matter of guess where the tennis ball was in the snowy picture (Not good for the eyes). So I am off now to watch more tennis.... yayyyy Murray is through yippee.

Chat soon xx

Sunday 26 June 2011


Hi Folks.

Summer has arrived it seems for at least a couple of day at least.
I was awake at the crack of dawn listening to a Thrush, who was announcing to the word it was morning, ok when I say the world I mean Tibberton towpath at least ;0). No sooner the Thrush burst into song other birds began to join in and soon I was listening to wall to wall bird song, it was amazing. I did manage to doze off to sleep again, and woke to see the clock striking 7am. The better half got up and made us both a cup of tea, to start Sunday off properly.
8am I was up dressed, the bed was folded away into the bed'ole and I took Paddy for his morning stroll up the towpath. The sun was showing no real sign of coming out, so it seemed like a good time to paint the inside of the engine room doors on the starboard side of the boat. Whilst I did that Keith touched up the paintwork on the water cans. I then had a brain wave to smarten up the heatproof boarding around the back cabin stove. Our boarding is white and it was looking very dirty, so I have painted it with stove blacking and very nice it looks too. Hopefully this will keep it looking tidy for a while at least. It is a job I have been wanting to do for a while and for some reason today was the day. With the paintwork drying, we put the chairs outside in the shade and enjoyed a morning coffee.
After coffee I boiled some salad potatoes and boiled some eggs for tonight's dinner, which will be a salad, because it is to hot to cook on the boat today.
Next job on our Sunday jobs list, was to put the anchor in the front locker, as we do not need it for a few days. I took the weight of the anchor whilst Keith manhandled it into the front locker. We will need it when we go back out in the river in a few days time, so no point putting the anchor back in the hold. With the sun now well and truly shining, the hold sheeting was rolled up to allow the head out and some fresh air to circulate through the boat.
Lunch was enjoyed sitting on the towpath in the shade. Our shady spot was getting smaller and smaller as the sun came around. It was not long before we had lost our shade completely, so for me it was time to retreat to the saloon, which was actually nice and cool. Gone are the days when I would lay out in the sun for hours and hours. As I have got older I have found I cannot sit out in the sun as long. It also plays havoc with me when I have having my own personal summer moments. Not only that I find it quite intimidating when bikes come past at speed when I am sitting out.
Paddy is laying out on the back counter and Marmite is asleep in the back cabin. Marmite likes being warm but I think today she is finding the heat to much. Paddy will lay in the sun until he roasts if I let him, then he has to come in and lie on the cold floor in the saloon. With his thick coat, he should have more sense ;0).
It has been another day of racing cyclists ripping up the towpath. There is also another charity bike ride going on, this time it is The British Heart Foundation being supported. Thankfully they are not using the towpath.
Tibberton is a pretty little village, it has a village shop with post office and a couple of pubs one of which The Bridge is canalside.
Was just going to sign off, when Clive and Helen Henderson came past on NB Nanshe and told us they had just come up through the Junction canal with Atlas and it was fine, so it looks like we will be heading through to Droitwich either tomorrow or Tuesday yipee.

Chat soon xx

Saturday 25 June 2011

Charity ride from Alvechurch to Worcester taking place.

I wondered why I was seeing so many cyclists this morning as I tried to walk the towpath between locks. Having looked at some of the t-shirts the cyclists were wearing I soon realised they were taking part in the Alvechurch to Worcester Charity Cycle Ride for Acorns Children’s Hospice. Now whilst I think the cycle ride is a great idea, I do have concerns about them cycling along the towpath and it appears I am not alone. I read a posting by Andrew on NB Granny Buttons date Tuesday, 10 April 2007, and it seems there were concerns about the charity bike ride back then. I am all in favour of people raising money for their charity, but it does have to be done safely and I can say that some of the riders on this charity ride were not riding safely. Some were a danger to other towpath users including myself, who almost got mown down a couple of times by boy racers. Since we have been moored at Tibberton, there have been several cyclists skidding on the towpath near our boat and some looking worst for wear having been in the pub. As Andrew explains on his blog the route is pretty much down hill (CLICK), which means they are going to be travelling at speed for most of the journey. It may not be so bad if they had people on the route watching what some of the cyclists are doing. Maybe they need checkpoints to make sure people are riding responsibly.

Worcester to Tibberton.

Hi Folks.

After our 48 hour stay on the Diglis basin moorings, we decided to move on this a Saturday morning. I had had a restless night with people outside talking loudly and someone pushing what sounded like a wheeled suitcase past the boat in the early hours.
At 8.35 we untied the ropes and set off to the first lock of the day next to the Commandery, which we will visit another time.
An old strapping post on the lock gate. These are few and far between these days. They were mainly used with the horse boats, in order to stop a boat entering a lock because horse boats did and do not have brakes.
Blockhouse lock the second lock out of Worcester proved to be problematic. I emptied the lock and a lock and a large log appeared behind one of the gates. The only way to get rid of it was to flush the lock to push it out into the pound, because what we did not want was the boat getting wedged in the lock with it. We did eventually crawl into the lock, with something on the prop. Whilst in the lock chamber, Keith stopped the boat and checked the prop, where he found some rubbish. It was a sure sign that the Worcestershire and Birmingham Canal was going to be shallow, so we would be prone to picking stuff up. In fact we did have to stop further along on our cruise, because of more rubbish.
Something a little faster than a narrowboat. An oval circuit racing mini.
Once we left Worcester, the countryside was welcomed as was a glimpse of the sun every now and again. For most of the morning I walked between the locks because they were close together. When we did get a stretch of water, I nipped into the galley to make us both a coffee, before the next set of locks.
As we started up the Offerton flight, we could see the Sixways Stadium the home of Worcester Warriors Rugby Team. It looks like an impressive stadium which was opened in 1975, but under went renovation in 2006 and 2007,
Offerton Top lock was my 14th and last lock of the day phewwwww. Some of the paddles on the top gates were difficult to work, so a little brute strength was called for. The countryside is pretty along this stretch, but you can hear the M5 long before it comes into view. We passed through a curving cutting before arriving in Tibberton our mooring for the rest of the weekend possibly. We have moored up and enjoyed lunch, but although we are on designated 48 hour moorings, it is very shallow and so we are already at a jaunty angle and a rubbish TV signal. At present I am watching the F1 qualifying through snow lol.
Unfortunately my sciatica has been playing up a little today, which I could do without. I know it is not due to my footwear, because I am wearing my insoles, so I do not know what has triggered it this time, but I will keep taking the tablets and hope that it settles down.

Chat soon xx

Friday 24 June 2011

A couple of days in Worcester.

Hi Folks.
Yesterday we left the boat and set off for the centre of Worcester, with a view to finding our feet. We walked up past the Commandery, which we will visit another time, after all there is no pint in seeing all the sights in one go, we should leave something for another day.
We strolled up and down the Worcester streets, many of them covered in cobble stones. The Tudor buildings are really beautiful and transport you back in time.
One of the first places we visited was The Tudor House. Built circa 1575, the house up until the 19th century had been a home, workshop for weavers, clothiers, brewers, bakers and painters. It had also been a tavern named the Cross Keys. At the start of the 20th century it was owned by Richard Cadbury, who was a Quaker, he wanted to provide a place for local people, where they could buy non-alcoholic drinks, his coffee shop remained open until 1920. The building then became a school clinic and a dentist. When WWII came about it was used as an Air Raid Warden's post and billeting office, that was closed in 2003 and was re-opened as a heritage centre in 2004. So it has had a wide and varied life, but is still standing. Each room in the building shows off what it was used for through the centuries and a guide is on hand to explain its life so far.
King Charles House dates from 1577 and is one of the cities most historic buildings. After King Charles II was defeated in the battle or Worcester in September 3rd 1651, he escaped capture, by nipping out the back door of this property, closely followed by Cromwell's forces. King Charles II was then exiled in France. These days the building is a restaurant. The restaurant is said to have a dungeon on the ground floor, where Judge William Berkeley supposedly kept his victims who awaited trial. It is a delightful building.
Some of the Georgian and Victorian buildings are really stunning. I bet their walls could tell a few tales from the past.
Time for tea, or so this pair of pigeons thought, but Keith showed them the door. We were in need of a cup of tea, so popped into a lovely cafe, as we walked in these pigeons were picking up the crumbs. But inside a cafe is no place for pigeons, so they left full and contented.
After a lovely afternoon seeing the sights, we walked back to the boat feeling everso slightly shattered. We were both in bed by 10pm completely frazzled.

Friday 24th June.

Today was again sight seeing day, we had a vague plan to see the Cathedral and to visit the Antique shops. We got to the Cathedral at around 9.45am. As we walked through the doors the organ was playing. This evening they have a concert, so I think someone was getting in some practice. With music bellowing out around the cathedral, it gave you an idea of what it is like when they hold big services there. The Cathedral is exquisite and a must see. The only thing we did not do whilst in there was go up the tower, that did not open until 11am, so we will do it another time.
After the Cathedral, we walked and walked trying to find the Antique Centre, only to find it was no longer there. We did however find a few other Antique shops which we browsed around. We then visited the Arts Gallery and Museum, where we enjoyed the collections of the Worcestershire Regiment and Yeomanry, which was very educational.
After all this culture it was time for lunch, so we found the Angel Chef a Chinese Buffet, where we enjoyed a fabulous lunch. The place was pretty much empty when we arrived, but by the time we left it was almost full. Feeling full and contented, we strolled around the city, we ended up in Primark again looking at dresses. I feel the need to get out of trousers and so wanted Keith's opinion on what sort of dress would suit me. I came away with two dresses, which will go nicely with the sandals I bought yesterday.
We are now back on the boat watching Film4. We are not sure what we are doing tomorrow, as we both feel we may like to move off, itchy feet syndrome is taking hold again.

Thursday 23 June 2011

Stourport-on-Severn to Worcester.

Hi Folks.

My morning began with the chiming of the Boat Club clock at 7am. I made us both a cuppa and some toast, which we enjoyed in bed whilst watching the BBC1 news. Breakfast in bed is a real luxury, but I felt as it was our last morning on the basin moorings, we deserved a treat. I took Paddy for his morning walk down the river towpath, whilst Keith painted the engine exhaust in the engine room with White Matt paint. The reason for doing it before setting off was that the heat from the engine would dry the paint whilst we cruised. Good thinking or what?
9.15am we left the mooring, I walked around to the locks whilst Keith moved the boat. By the time he got to the first of the locks, it was ready and waiting for him to enter. In just over half an hour we had cleared the locks, with the help of some people who were in the dry dock painting their boats.
Having left the locks the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal and our mooring for the past few days and were now on the wide River Severn. I was excited because I have never been on the Rover Severn before and I do love rivers. For both Keith and I this was a new adventure and one which I was going to enjoy.
We waved cheerio to Brian on NB Kyle, who was moored on the rivers pontoons. He is the one waving back.
As we cruised off down the river, I looked back and said goodbye to Stourport-on-Severn.
Our first lock on the River Severn, Limcomb Lock. The lock keeper saw us coming, so once the lock was in our favour the traffic lights turned green and we were allowed into the lock. I walked down the gunwale to the bow, so that I could thread the bow rope behind the chains in the lock, which were there to hold the boat against the wall whilst the lock emptied. Once the lock was empty the gates opened and off we went. I walked back along the gunwale to the steer and waved to the lock keeper Martin to thank him. It was onward towards Worcester.
A beautiful Dutch Barge coming towards us. The river was so quiet in all we only saw four boats coming towards us all morning.
We looked so small in the locks. This was us in Holt Lock and yes that is me on the bow.
The lock on to the Droitwich Barge Canal, which is open now.
A boat we had shared a lock with was clearly in a bigger hurry than we were, and we were doing normal cruising speed. Funny thing was no sooner had they sped past us they then stopped at the Worcester Race Course moorings, so hammering their engine did them no real favours.
Some big boats on this river.
A lovely view of Worcester Cathedral, as we came under Worcester Road Bridge. We will be visiting that tomorrow
Spot the small white duck trying to be a Swan.
Turning off of the River Severn and on to the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. Behind us was a hire boat, so we waited to share the lock with them if they were going our way, which they were. Sadly the lady onboard was not having a good time and you could see it written all over her face. I had to give them instruction on how to turn off of the river and how to get the boat into the double lock. They made it in the end, but I think this maybe their first and last boating holiday.
Looking for a mooring in Diglis Basin.
We found a mooring on the 48 hour moorings. After lunch we headed off into the city to see find our bearings. There are some fantastic Tudor and Victorian buildings to be seen. I will post those pictures tomorrow. Right now dinner is cooking, so I am off to put my feet up before I have dinner to dish up, washing up to do and then it will be bedtime.

Chat soon xx


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