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!
Tuesday, 28 May 2013
Monday, 27 May 2013
Travelled 8.4 miles, worked 10 locks in a time of 3 hours 45 minutes.
Yesterday as we were sitting on the towpath making the most of the sunshine, we heard the unmistakable sound of a merlin engine and then we saw a Spitfire circle over us, unfortunately it was too far away for a photo, but wonderful to hear that Merlin engine whining away in the blue skies. We did see it dive down behind some low hills to the west of us. From the same direction we also heard what sounded like jet engines in action every now and again, so Keith checked on the internet and found out it was all coming from Bruntingthorpe aerodrome, they were having one of their two annual open days of cold war jet aircraft, where any aircraft that are serviceable will carry out full power taxi runs along their main runway, now I bet that is something to behold. So that may have explained the visit and presumably a flying display by the Spitfire. It was a treat for us and made our day. The rest of the day was very quiet as we enjoyed the weekends sunshine.
This morning we woke to get more sunshine as forecast and as forecast this was not set to last, the weather was to close in and rain would be coming for Tuesday, so we decided to move.
We left the mooring at 8.30am and headed towards Foxton Locks.
Laughton Hills in the sunshine.
We arrived at the top of Foxton Locks and was surprised to see no other boats waiting to go down. Having booked in with the Lock Keepers on duty, we were told we could go on down.
Tony one of the volunteer lock keepers helped us down the flight. I had a lovely chat with him and it was clear he really enjoyed helping boaters up and down the locks as do all the other volunteers on duty. Whilst Tony saw Keith down through the last lock, I went and opened the swing bridge.
There were a couple of boats waiting to go up the flight.
We came through the village swing bridge, which does not get any easier to work. Notice the sign on the right of the photo. I wonder if they know something we do not?
We had a pleasant cruise into Market Harborough.
The swans have produced four cygnets this year and they are so cute.
We have taken a mooring in the basin for a few days, as we have a few things we want to do and the moorings on the towpath are only 48 hours. With us being in the basin, we are on the electric, so I will get some washing done. No sooner we moored up friends at the hire company came and said “Hello” and we also got to catch up with Maureen and Terry on NB On Golden Pond, who are moored in the basin. I am sure we will do plenty of chatting whilst we are back and I will take lots more photographs.
Saturday, 25 May 2013
We Travelled 5.9 miles, worked 1 lock in a time of 2 hours.
After what was a rock and roll day yesterday weather wise, this morning bought about an amazing transformation, with no wind and no rain. The sun was out, the birds were singing and the Ewes and their lambs were bleating opposite us, what a perfect way to begin the day.
Before leaving the mooring, Keith went off to empty the toilet cassette up at the wharf, whilst I got on with preparing the boat for the off. On Keith’s return, we winded the boat and headed back to the lock, which I got ready.
It was onward to Husbands Bosworth Tunnel, where we got behind a Canal Time hire boat. I think we may have put the fear of god into them coming up behind them as we did, so they very kindly pulled over and let us pass before entering the tunnel. We were long gone as their tunnel light glowed in the distance. We had three tunnel lights coming towards us and the first was another Canal Time hire boat, who was going so slow he had a queue of boats right up his stern. We were glad we were not stuck behind them.
Out the other end into the sunshine again as we approached Honey Pot Bridge.
After no time at all we found a suitable, deep mooring below the Laughton Hills and moored up, this will be home for the rest of the Bank Holiday Weekend.
After lunch it was time to get a few jobs done, as they say “Make hay, whilst the sun shines”. In our case it was mop out under the back cabin floor and cable tie up the battery cables properly.
Marmite decided whilst we worked she would watch over the lino from the back cabin.
Paddy just wanted to lounge and roll in the grass.
Marmite pinched my chair.
Then she decided it was better as a shelter from the sun.
Mopping out done and battery cables sorted, it was time for us to sit and enjoy the sunshine whilst drinking coffee. It is so quiet where we are moored we have only had a couple of people walk past, so it is absolute heaven.
Dinner tonight is the last of the Lamb from yesterday with veggies and I may just have to open a bottle of wine, after all it is a Bank Holiday.
Friday, 24 May 2013
Travelled 8.8 miles, worked 1 locks in a time of 3 hours.
Brrrrrr what a cold start to the end of May. Before leaving the boat with Paddy for his walk, I relit the back cabin stove, because it was a tad parky.
We left the mooring at 8.45am with only a short jaunt to Welford. The breeze was getting up along the way and the rain began spit spotting as well, which was all forecast, so we were not surprised. As the rain fell steadily, I made us a warming coffee to help keep the chilly wind out. It was hardly surprising that we saw few boats on the move.
We arrived at the junction at 11.10am and turned right in to the Welford Arm. By the time we reached Welford Lock, it was throwing it down with rain and blowing a gale, so it was just as well we were mooring up above the lock.
Moored up and the boat closed up against the weather, I made us some lunch and put a joint of stuffed Lamb in the back cabin stove to cook slowly. Due to the wind the stove fire is working over time, so I have gone back to house coal, which does not burn so hot. I cannot see us doing much for the rest of the day, I am quite happy sitting out this dreadful weather. They say that Saturday and Sunday are supposed to be better, so we will see.
Thursday, 23 May 2013
Travelled 16.3 miles, worked 13 locks in 8 hours.
Yet again I only have a GPRS signal, so no photographs, so you will have to use your imagination.
We left our over night mooring at 8.25am and the sun was shining and it was chilly.
We got to the Braunston Turn at 9.00 and turned right to head up the locks. When we got there there were two boats waiting to go up, they were heading for the Crick Show which is this weekend. We joined the queue and followed them up the locks, with boats coming down the flight it made all our lives a little easier. The one thing that did not was the lack of water in the pounds.
Keith got stuck on the cill at one lock and so he had to wait for some water come down. Half way up the locks Ben a C&RT worker and friend had come to see the Volunteer lock keeper, only to be told by me that there was no lock keeper on duty thus the lack of water, this did not exactly please Ben, so he was going to phone it in and try to get someone out to man the locks, because of all the traffic going to the Crick Show. We got to the top lock at 10.50am. We went into Braunston Tunnel having enjoyed some sunshine, but when we came out the other end it was raining and that turned to hail.
11.45am we made it finally to Norton Junction and were back on the Leicester Line.
When we reached Watford Locks we were in a queue with six boats in front of us. Keith dropped me off and I went and found the volunteer locks keeper who was John who we know and he booked us in. Whilst we waited to go up the locks, I made us a quick lunch and had a chat with the boaters in front. After waiting it was finally our turn to start up the locks with the help of John and the other lockie on duty Ian. They were both brilliant helping us up the flight. Whilst working up through the locks, we had sunshine, rain, sleet, snow and hail, it is hard to believe we are heading towards June, but hey ho this is Britain.
Onward in to Crick Tunnel and out the other end where boats were moored for the Crick Show.
We did see boats and people we know. NB Briar Rose and NB Sanity Again all crews were looking a little damp, but then what do you expect it is the Crick Show, which we will not go to because of the costs involved. For us to moor up on the towpath it is £1.86 a foot and at 70ft it would cost us £13o and that does not include getting on to the site for the weekend, so for us it is to expensive. But we hope they all have a great show. With rain still falling we were on the lookout for a mooring. With Crick full from the tunnel to bridge 14 we headed on through Yelvertoft, which was also full and have moored up at Haddon’s Bridge.
With us moored up it was time to get out of our wet clothes and to organise some dinner. Tomorrow we will head for Welford.
Wednesday, 22 May 2013
Travelled 6.9 miles, worked 13 locks in a time of 4 hours 5 minutes.
Last night there was a knocking on the engine room door and standing outside was Barbara off of NB Cloud Nine. It was lovely to see her and to hear all her news. We stood on the towpath having a good old chin wag for about an hour before we said “Cheerio”. After dinner it was feet up time before bedtime which came for me at 9.30pm, I was completely shattered and did not hear or see Keith come to bed.
Awake at 6.30am, I got up and made us our first cuppa of the day, which was enjoyed whilst watching the news. Of course the news has been mostly about the Tornado in Moore Oklahoma, which was so devastating. My thoughts and prayers have been for everyone out there coping with such hardship and loss. In this country we do not realise just how lucky we are.
Before leaving Long Itchington we walked into the village to find a post box, so I could post a couple of letters. We left the mooring at 9.50 with the Stockton flight of locks to do. On arriving in the first lock at 10am, we got something around the propeller, so with no one coming either way Keith went down into the weed hatch.
Having been down there for a few minutes, a pile of old rope, plastic bags and some electric flex was thrown out on to the back counter. I then saw a boat approaching and so opened the other gate for them to enter, but was told they were going to share with the boat behind them, so I closed the lock gate and left them to it.
Up past Warwick Fly Boats.
Passed The Blue Lias. One day we will go and have a pint there.
We were very fortunate that a steady stream of boats was coming down the flight, making my job so much easier. We said “Hello” to Simon as he swapped locks with us breasted up. We cleared the top of the Stockton locks at 11.30am. From what promised to be a warm day suddenly felt rather chilly, so I relit the back cabin stove. Its the end of May almost and still cold, come on Summer where are you?
It was then onward to the Calcutt Locks. Having worked the first of the three, there was a boat in the middle lock and the lady very kindly turned it for us after they had left it, so I gave her a friendly wave. What was really nice though was they waited for us to share the top lock the last lock of the day for us. So thank you to NB Ruby and her crew. It seems that people are in to much of a hurry to wait for a boat they see coming and could share the work and the lock with. We always share wherever possible. Locks all done, I made us some lunch and a coffee, it was well earned in my case I felt, after all I work the locks LOL.
Very strange looking boat.
Approaching Napton Junction at 12.55, with a hire boat crossing our path, we were to over take them a short time later as they very kindly pulled over to let us by.
We moored up at 1.55 at Nethercote. We are in the middle of nowhere and that is my favourite place to be, where it is just us and the birdsong.
Both Marmite and Paddy are up in the back cabin where it is warm. Coal has been bought in for the day and now I have to think what to cook for dinner.
Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Travelled 2.8 miles, worked 8 locks in a time which is neither here nor there.
The plan was to reach Long Itchington, but we did not expect it to take as long as it did.
With no need to hurry off this morning, we eventually left our really peaceful over night mooring at 8.55am.
We arrived did the middle Fosse Lock and went on towards the top Fosse Lock. I stepped off the boat to find a Canal and River Trust man there, he asked us to moor up, so we pulled in on the lock mooring and then I saw the problem.
The mile pound was empty.
High and dry and sitting on the bottom.
Even the tree roots were hardly dipping their toes in the water.
Kev Moore and his fellow worker, were on a mission to find out the cause, so they walked up the pound and found no obvious leak, but when they had got to the lock the top gate had been left open, so they shut it and in the time we chatted to them about the lack of water the water that had been in the lock had leaked out. Keith thought it may have been something to do with one of the paddles, but until they could get enough water in the pound they could not check that theory.
Two guys arrived to turn the pumps on to back pump the water and the C&RT guys went off to Napton Reservoir to open up the water there. It was all hands to the pumps to get us some water. Two other boats then joined us and they were on their way to Crick for the show. With lots of time on our hands, it was time for a coffee.
With the back pumps working, the worry then was we would be left on the bottom, so it was suggested we move into the lock out of harms way, so that is exactly what we did, as it turned out the pound only went down by about a foot, but better to be safe.
Pump working away.
Pound getting some much needed water.
Whilst we continued to wait, I got on with washing my back cabin plates, whilst Keith nattered to the other boaters waiting and the C&RT guys, who were doing their best to get things moving along, but when you have a mile pound to fill it is never going to be a quick job. Lunch time came and went and we were still waiting for the pound to fill.
I climbed up and down the lock ladder numerous times.
Managed to collect enough sticks in the wood to fill my bucket, so lit the back cabin stove so I could cook dinner.
With enough water in the pound at 2pm Kev part filled the lock to see whether the paddle was at fault and then it became apparent that the lock gates leaked like a sieve. So it is thought that with the top gate left open and the bottom gates leaking badly this is why the pound emptied over night.
At 2.30pm Kev let us go alone even though the pound was still down by a good two feet. He wanted to see if we could get through, which meant if we could then so could the others. We were then told to send boats down, thus them bring the water down with them. Keith did find a couple of sticking points but we made it to Wood Lock and passed another boat heading to Fosse Top Lock. From then on we passed another nine boats heading down, so it worked in our favour.
We arrived at Long Itchington albeit a few hours later than expected. I have to say I cannot praise the C&RT guys enough, Kev Moore and his fellow workers were fantastic.
Monday, 20 May 2013
Travelled 7.5 miles, worked 4 locks in a time of 3 hours 5 minutes.
I only have a GPRS signal, so no photographs today sorry.
After what can best be described as a very relaxing weekend at The Saltisford Canal Centre, it was time to say “Goodbye” and to move off. I was actually sad to go, because apart from the road noise, it was quiet and we could sit out without being mown down by cyclists, ravaged by dogs and the constant footfall you get on many of the towpaths these days. Yesterday I sat out with a coffee and could have happily fallen asleep before dinner because I was so relaxed. But all good things must come to an end and so this morning we left at 9.15am having paid our dues to Ian for the weekends stay. The first night is free, then £5 a night after and £3 a day for being plugged into the electric, you can use their facilities, such as the laundry, elsan, pump out, rubbish etc.
We had the Cape Locks to do first, which were against us and then our first port of call was Tesco at Emscote, Warwick. We moored before Br 46 as the Tesco moorings were full. Having spent less than an hour shopping we were underway again and this time we were off to Royal Leamingston Spa, where we found a mooring at midday. I got on and made us some lunch and a drink before we walked into the town to do a couple of things. We did not bother with sightseeing because we wanted to move out into the countryside for the night, so having done the things we had on our list of things to do, we set off again at 2pm. Radford Bottom Lock was against us and so was the first of the Fosse Locks, it was there I saw a boat moving ahead of us, so Keith suggested we pull in for the day as they had clearly not seen us and we would be turning every lock behind them, with no other boats moving so late in the afternoon. I was feeling shattered what with shopping and walking into Royal Leamington Spa, so was happy to tie up and get my feet up for a bit. But of course there is no rest for the wicked, so I will have to make dinner, feed mog and dog, wash up, lay the bed out and do numerous other things before bedtime.
Sunday, 19 May 2013
Warwick is a fantastic little town and we have been having a wonderful time. Yesterday we walked up into the town to sample all the market had to offer and I have to say it is a good market, I bought meat for the freezer and their fruit and vegetable stall is excellent. Most markets you go to are mostly filled with clothing stalls, but not this one, it was mostly food stalls, bread, fish, cheese, pastries etc, so well worth a visit.
Last night we went to our friends apartment in the town for a superb meal. Paul and Merleen used to have NB Lady Celine, but now live in Warwick. We spent the evening chatting over wine and coffee after a lovely meal. It was great to catch-up with them both and to chat about when we first met back in 2005.
Today wow it has been wall to wall sunshine and a chance for me to wash the back cabin curtains. The Summer ones are now hanging up and the Winter ones will go in the box until the Autumn.
On Facebook we have been following our friend Tony Wiseman, who is walking from London to Birmingham for Cancer Research. To get from A to B he is walking along the Grand Union Canal and today he came to Warwick, so he came and found us. I was in the laundry room, doing the washing and whilst the machine was doing the hard work I was keeping an eye open for Tony, who I spotted walking along the road, so went to meet him.
Tony got the grand tour of our boat and then he sat down and took the weight off his feet, whilst drinking coffee and tucking into biscuits.
The last time we saw Tony was in 2001/2002, when we went to a BBQ, but we have kept in touch on Facebook. I am beginning to think I cannot do without the site as it keeps me in touch with so many people.
Tony has made such great progress and the weather today helped a lot. After what seemed like so little time, he was on his way again to find a B&B for the night. Good luck Tony.
If you would like to sponsor Tony who is trying to raise £900 please go to his Just Giving page. http://www.justgiving.com/tonywiseman76
We will be heading off tomorrow for Market Harborough.
Saturday, 18 May 2013
Thursday, 16 May 2013
We woke up this morning to wall to wall sunshine and not a cloud in sight. We set off at 8.10am with a view to get as far as we could, little knowing we would go all the way.
Top Stockton Lock was the first of the 22 locks to be worked. Luckily many of the locks were either in our favour or boats were on the way up leaving the locks ready for us to use.
I had forgotten how much effort you require to wind the hydraulic paddles up. A couple of years ago I had a frozen shoulder, which has never completely recovered and today the winding really did put my shoulder to the test.
At the bottom lock I met John and his home made boat, he is travelling around the system to raise money for the Macmillan Cancer Trust in memory of his wife Carol. The box on his home made raft is a tent in a box. If you meet John give him a wave and a kind word and if you feel like it put some money in his collection bucket or better still donate on his web page.
Onward past Warwickshire Fly Boat Co.
The Two Boats pub has had a face life by the looks of it.
With the sun out, the trees looked glorious with their fresh green leaves.
Crossing the River Avon, the dividing line between Leamington Spa and Warwick.
Cape of Good Hope at Cape locks, which is apparently reopening this week. We had thought of mooring up below the locks but no where to moor so carried on up the locks.
We turned in to the Saltisford Arm at 3.05, winded and moored up.
Ian the manager is not around so we will catch up with him tomorrow. We are looking forward to catching up with friends Paul and Merleen who now live in Warwick and spending a few days relaxing.