Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Anyone want a Sofa?

0 Locks 6 ½ Miles. Now moored at Hartshill.

Its going to take a few days to re-adjust to British Summer time. Last night was a lovely evening and before we knew it the time had slipped by and it was well after 7pm and we hadn’t even got dinner on the stove.

This morning started out OK but soon the clouds rolled in from the West. It was quite mild but still a bit of a nip in the air as we set off. Two other boats came off the Ashby with us but they headed South at Marston Junction.

Going through Nuneaton there was the usual rubbish floating around but we were surprised when confronted with a 2 seater couch/sofa floating towards us. It appeared not to have been in the water very long as it was still floating pretty high out of the water.As it becomes water logged it will of course sink and become a hazard to navigation. There were also 3 tyres floating in the same vicinity.

This hasn't been in the water long as its not waterlogged.

When we arrived at Hartshill I went over to the BW yard and found a member of staff in the yard and reported the presence of the sofa near bridge 30. He said that when the guys got back from a meeting he would pass on the information.

After we had been moored for about an hour or so I spotted a boat approaching from the South which looked familiar. It was Mike and Denise on Nb Densie slowly working their way back to Kings Bromley. They moored up in front of us and invited us aboard for coffee and a chat which we gladly accepted.

1588 locks, 3387½ miles, 59 Tunnels, 44 swing bridges and 39 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Monday, 30 March 2009

British Summertime.

0 Locks , 4 Miles. Now moored at Bridge 3 Ashby Canal.

With the clocks going forward one hour at 1am this morning I presume this is supposed to herald the arrival of Summer. At least today was a fine sunny day ideal for cruising. There were plenty of other boats about and the hire boat season appears to have kicked off.

We are now making our way off the Ashby to start heading North for our planned cruise of the northern waterways.

1588 locks, 3381 miles, 59 Tunnels, 44 swing bridges and 39 lift bridges since Nov 2006

The Old and the New

While we were filling up with water at the Lime Kiln on the Ashby Canal this morning we spotted these beautiful gates.

Behind them we found these two caravans side by side.

Both in beautiful condition.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Mandarin Duck

Isn't he beautiful?

We were all set to move this morning but with the freezing winds and heavy hail at times we decided to sit it out and wait until the improvement forecast for tomorrow.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Meeting Old friends

0 Locks, 2 Miles. Now back at Hinckley.

Wednesday morning we pulled the pins at bridge 22 and cruised back down to Hinckley. With some chores to complete it was more convenient to be there.

Yesterday we met up with Mike and Denise on Nb Densie who we first met up when we travelled down to London with them eighteen months ago and a brief reunion on the River Nene last year. This weekend we will all leave the Ashby Canal and head north again, them to their mooring at at Kings Bromley Marina and us towards Great Haywood

Last night we headed off to the Rugger Tavern in Nuneaton with John and Elizabeth for another very expensive (LOL) meal. £3.50 a head for a 3 course meal with a choice of 3 entree’s, 3 meats and up to 7 vegetables and 3 desserts. Nobody went home hungry and the food was good.

Today we went into Hinckley to finalise a few things and a last minute stock up from Tesco’s because when we leave here on Sunday the shops are few and far between for a while.

Now when we arrived in Hinckley we had a leaky calorifier which needed brazing. After 2 days of running around in ever decreasing circles and getting nowhere we finally got the job fixed by a gentleman named Bill Stone in Coventry. For anybody in the Coventry area or close by who needs a marine engineer we can personally recommend him. His details are Stones Garage, Motor & Marine Engineers, Stoke Row, Coventry, Ph 02476 453936. This guy knows the meaning of the word “Service”. Put him in your favourites list in case you need him.

1588 locks, 3377 miles, 59 Tunnels, 44 swing bridges and 39 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Birth place of the Tudor Dynasty

With another beautiful day in the offing, a marked difference to yesterday’s rubbish weather, we set off along the towpath back to bridge 25 to have a look at the old Stoke Golding Railway Station which is now a private residence. It would appear that a farmer owns the place as he has made good use of the old track bed and road bridge.

Stoke Golding Station on the Ashby & Nuneaton joint railway. Closed in 1931.

From the old station we walked up the hill into Stoke Golding,where King Henry VII was crowned on 22nd August 1485 after the death of Richard III in the Battle of Bosworth ending the War of the Roses.

As we were admiring the church a gentleman offered us the key to have a look inside. The key was huge and one that you wouldn’t want to carry it around in your pocket.

Who's got the key of the door? You wouldn't want to carry this one around in your pocket.

St Margaret of Antioch Church Stoke Golding. New bells were installed in the 20th century.

There has been a church on the site since the 13th century. We stopped at the local newsagent for a few bits and pieces and then headed back in a different direction. This route took us closer towards Hinckley and the Triumph Motorcycle factory. Walking past one property we spotted a chicken and rooster and I started making chicken noises, with that the rooster came running over and just about climbed onto the top of the hedge to see who this intruder was invading his territory. I wouldn’t have wanted to have got into a scrap with him as he still had a mean set of spurs on his legs.

Derek's imitation chook sounds bought this little critter up to see who was encroaching on his territory. He came complete with natural fighting spurs.

After turning away from Hinckley we eventually found ourselves at bridge 21. We opted to follow the road on the non towpath side of the canal back to bridge 22.We had been on our feet for about 3 hours by the time we returned to the boat and were glad of a cuppa and a bite of lunch. After all that exercise we were quite happy for a quiet afternoon on the boat.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

What happened to Spring?

0 Locks, 4 Miles. Now moored at bridge 22.

As I poked my head out of the stern doors this morning I was greeted by the skipper of Nb Silhouette. We had a good long chat about life on the cut as he was on a sort of shake down cruise to test the lifestyle. Unfortunately names never got exchanged but we wish him well and perhaps hearing from him at some stage. We did find out that he had previously cruised with Geoff and Mags on Nb Seyella.

The weather girl had forecast showers and by 10am we had had a few very light showers so we thought that we would risk moving on. By the time we reached Sutton Cheney the showers had returned but in a more persistent way. We carried on to bridge 28 but the showers had turned into quite a heavy downpour so we moored with the idea of having lunch and then seeing if there was going to be any improvement.

As luck would have it the skies brightened up so we carried on down to bridge 22 where we knew there are good moorings.

1588 locks, 3375 miles, 59 Tunnels, 44 swing bridges and 39 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Monday, 23 March 2009

He’s a poet and didn’t know it!

0 locks, 5 ½ Miles. Back on the Battlefield Moorings.

As I lay in bed this morning pondering about getting up, listening to the noises going on within the boat this little ditty came to mind.

As the sun rises to warm this fair land

It strikes our steel hull and warms that as well

As the steel expands, our boat creaks and groans

With loud cracks and bangs it goes on for a while

Come the end of the day

More creaks and groan are heard

As our steel home contracts in cool evening air.

On our travels today we passed more boaters out taking advantage of this lovely spring weather which was only to be expected being a Sunday. In one field containing a small pond we spotted two small wading birds feeding in the shallow water around the edge. They were too far away to photograph but we took note of the grey, white and black colouring with orange coloured legs and from our bird book we reached the consensus that they were Ringed Plovers. They were quite timid as they put distance between us and then disappeared in the rough pasture.

As we neared our moorings Dot spotted a boat approaching and said that’s Gosty Hill so we moored up promptly. As it turned out the boat we had moored behind was also awaiting the arrival of the diesel boat so it was very convenient for Iain and Alison. After refuelling we moved about 500 yards further on to the Battlefield moorings.

As I had washed the roof when we stopped for water at Market Bosworth I decided to apply some polish to help protect the paintwork.

1588 locks, 3371 miles, 59 Tunnels, 44 swing bridges and 39 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Checking out the Battlefield Line again.

0 Locks, 2½ miles. Now moored at Shackerstone. Bridge 52.

North end of Shackerstone railway station and footbridge.

Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day or so the song goes. The weather lady certainly got it right as we set off for a short run down to Shackerstone. Unfortunately by early afternoon the sky had clouded over and the wind whistling around had a real chill to it.

As the Battlefield Line Railway is running next week-end I rightly guessed that there would be some activity around the place today and would be worth another visit. When I arrived they were busy cleaning the carriages which obviously hadn’t been used since Christmas as they still had Christmas decorations adorning them.

My boiler is away in Llangollen for repairs. I'll be back soon. I'm an 0-6-0 saddle tank.

Sadly there was no steam loco’s as the 2 resident tanks loco’s are in bits with their boilers away in Wales for refurbishing and the LNER B1 4-6-0 “ Mayflower “ which is privately owned but stored at Battlefield is out on loan to the Poppy line in North Norfolk.

Class 25 diesel being run up for next week-ends opening run for 2009.

A privately owned class 25 diesel was being run up in preparation for next week-ends activities along with a DMU set. One gentleman I spoke told me that they are desperately short of volunteers and from what I could see there is a definite need for some under cover storage to help preserve what stock they have before it all turns to rust. There is one loco shed but it is totally inadequate for all the loco’s that are present on the railway.

1588 locks, 3365½ miles, 59 Tunnels, 44 swing bridges and 39 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Spring 2009.

0 Locks, 7 Miles, 2 Tunnels. Now moored near bridge 59.

Gypsy Rover at the end of the Ashby Canal Navigation at Snarestone

It has been a glorious day for the first official day of Spring. Another good day for cruising which saw us travel up to the end of the navigation. Here we found contractors busy building a road alongside the canal opposite the facilities block back to bridge 61. Over 800 ton’s of hard fill are having to be put in to support the weight of heavy machinery and trucks (lorries).

Snarestone Tunnel runs under the village of the same name.

When we spoke to the gentleman who is moored at the terminus and looks after the Ashby Canal Societies fund raising shop he told us that the canal society has had to pay out nearly £1million to build the road for contractors to come in and dig a pond alongside the canal for wildlife.

Southern portal of the Snarestone Tunnel, Ashby Canal.

Apparently English Nature had opposed any further development of the canal unless 3 ponds were dug for the swans and ducks to live in peace away from the boats. What a load of bollocks, in over 2 years on the cut we have seen swans nesting quite happily alongside the canal’s up and down the country and both they and the ducks head to the boats with their young in the hope of being fed. Sounds to me that English Nature are just trying to justify their existence as they are a government kwango.

How ever the news was not all bad as work is due to start next month on piling and putting in the stop plank’s extending the canal by 50 metre’s in readiness for further digging to begin. They hope to reach Measham and have it in use by 2010. Only 2 and a bit miles but a step in the right direction. We did our bit in buying some souvenirs and donating some books and magazines to the canal societies effort.

After watering up we winded and returned back through the Snarestone tunnel (all 250 yards of it) and moored in a peaceful spot well away from the road over the tunnel.

First day of Spring on the Ashby Canal. What a lovely view?

1588 locks, 3363 miles, 59 Tunnels, 44 swing bridges and 39 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Friday, 20 March 2009

Double Decker to Leicester.

It was such a lovely day that we decided to catch the bus to Leicester. The bus stop is very conveniently placed on bridge 42 over the canal so we didn’t have to walk far. Our previous experience with country service buses is that they are generally single deck buses for negotiating the narrow lanes around the villages but not this one. We thought that as it was a double decker that it would use the wider roads, how wrong we were.

Inside St Martins Cathedral in Leicester

Even some of the streets in Market Bosworth are narrow with just enough room to squeeze through. Off across the countryside we went through villages with quaint Olde English names like Newtown Unthank, Kirby Muxloe, Newbold Verdun, Barton in the Beans, Barlestone and Braunstone (note this one is spelt with an “E” on the end). Some places you would swear that you could touch the buildings on both sides. After an hour of scenic countryside we arrived in Leicester.

Market square clock tower Leicester.

We had passed through Leicester on the River Soar in the boat but never stopped so this was to be our tour of of the city. We started off in the covered market place which was huge and then onto the cathedral which we found only gained cathedral status 80 years ago. Prior to this it was only a church in the Peterborough Diocese. The building is probably one of the best kept cathedral/churches we have had the pleasure of visiting and part of it dates back to Norman times. The church warden was most insistent that we sign the visitors book as they like to see where the visitors are coming from.

One of the biggest covered open markets we have seen.

Wandering through the old High St there were the usual empty shops. Many of the businesses have been lured into a new John Lewis shopping mall with over 200 outlets. I suppose it is nice to be able to shop all under one roof in comfort but traditional High Streets are fast loosing ground as shopping centre’s. Is modern man/woman getting too soft?

Built in the 2nd century AD the Jewry wall is part of a Roman bath house. It is the largest non military surviving Roman structure in the UK

Thursday, 19 March 2009

African wildlife in the UK!

0 Locks, 2 Miles. Now moored at Market Bosworth.

The outlook was still misty as we slipped our moorings to move on up the Ashby Canal. Unlike yesterday the sun did finally break through and it was glorious. Along the way we spotted several pheasants enjoying the sunshine and a real foreigner in the shape of a Guinea Fowl which are apparently raised in the UK just as people keep chickens,pigeons or budgerigars. These African birds can be raised like chickens but they are hard to catch as their plumage is very silky and slippery. Like geese they are also very good as an early warning alarm system making a devil of a noise when trouble looms.

Once moored up we walked up into town where it was market day but only 5 stalls in operation. We bought some lunch in the local bakery shop and sat in the market square watching the world go by for a very long time and it was great. We spoke to one local gentleman and he sat with us for quite a while having a good ole chat as if we had known each other for years. The difference between city and country life I suppose, the locals are more friendly.

On the way back to the boat we called into the local chippie for Cod and chips and had a cooks night off for a change. Tomorrow we think we might go for a bus ride to somewhere different.

This photo does not do this evenings sunset justice. The sun was bright red.

1588 locks, 3356 miles, 57 Tunnels, 44 swing bridges and 39 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Spring has Sprung

Daffodils Bosworth Battlefield. Final battle in the War of the Roses.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Retracing the foot steps of King Richard III.

Yesterday was a lovely day but I still had a niggling drip on the calorifier which needed to be cured so we spent the day working. The drip was still there this morning but we won’t let it beat us. Hopefully we will now have it under control.

Today the weather was cold and misty and the sun never did manage to break through but we decided to walk up to the Shenton station on the Battlefield line and then onto the Bosworth Battlefield heritage centre. By the time we reached the centre we were chilled to the bone so it was into the Tithe barn Restaurant for some warm sustenance.

Wall tapestry in the Tithe Barn restaurant, Bosworth Battlefield, final battle place of the War of the Roses.

15th century candelabrum hanging in the Tithe Barn Bosworth Battlefield.

This time we explored the centre more thoroughly and found the beginnings of the 14th century village that is being built behind the centre. This has been named Parva Ambion which is believed to be the Roman name for the site as it is on Ambion Hill.

Replica 15th century cottage Parva Ambion,Olde English village name dating back to Roman times.

One recent addition is a 14th century stone coffin which spent a couple of centuries in Leicester as a horse trough. It was taken to a private garden in the early 1900's and the current owners have donated it to the centre. It was thought at one point to be the coffin of King Richard III which was paid for by King Henry VII but was found not to be correct as it should have had the shape of a head inside and this one doesn’t. However it may still be historic in that it could be Roman or at least Medieval.

This may have been a 15th century coffin but used around Leicester as a horse trough for centuries. King Richard III was buried in one of these.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Bosworth Battlefield.

0 Locks, 6 Miles. Now moored at Bosworth Battlefield moorings.

Last night our gas tank ran out midway through cooking tea, typical, so I had to change tanks or go hungry.

This morning we reversed back to the Trinity Marina customer mooring and refuelled with 98 litres of diesel at 57.9p a litre, a new gas tank and much needed water which we hadn’t replenished for some time. We winded in the entrance to the marina and headed off back up the canal in beautiful warm sunny conditions.

At Sutton Cheney we pulled in for more water as we had done 2 loads of washing by the time we got there. As there are showers available we thought that we may as well make use of them as well. As it was such a lovely day there were hoards of walkers, trampers and picnickers around this very popular area and the coffee lounge was doing a roaring trade. After having our own lunch we headed off again. Along the way we tried several mooring sites which were all too shallow so we had to keep moving until we reached our present position.

Unfortunately we are again too early  to see the Battlefield Preserved Railway in operation as the first operating week-end is not until the end of the month but we did see the track maintenance train heading back to Shackerstone after a working bee.

1588 locks, 3354 miles, 57 Tunnels, 44 swing bridges and 39 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Travelling on 4 wheels for a change.

For the past 2 days we have spent a fair bit of our time in the company of fellow kiwis John and Elizabeth on Nb Helen Louise. They very kindly offered to take us around in their car on their days off from work. Unfortunately we didn’t spend as much time together as planned as John had put the car into the garage to get the brakes fixed which took 2 days instead of the planned one day. The problem was after new slave cylinders had been fitted they were unable to bleed the brakes. Suspecting the master cylinder to be at fault a new one had to be bought in but even after this had been fitted the brakes would still not bleed. Finally the problem was found to be a faulty slave cylinder.

Friday night we went out for dinner at the Rugger Tavern in Nuneaton where you get a 3 course meal for £3.50 a head. Even at this price there was plenty to choose from and nobody went home hungry.

Today we went over to Nuneaton to collect our prescriptions from Boots the Chemist and some mail that had been sent Post Restante. It wasn’t our day as the prescriptions hadn’t arrived from our Doctor which was very unusual and the mail had been opened and tampered with because certain items of value we knew were in the mail were missing.

While we were in the area John took us to see a Hansom cab and a horse drawn carriage that are on display housed at a local hotel/conference centre and were made in the district. After this we went to look at Kenilworth Castle which is very visible from the road. While there a bridal party arrived for their wedding photo’s with the castle in the background. They had no sooner left when another wedding car arrived with a blushing bride about to marry in the chapel of the castle. The wedding car was very unusual in that it was a Beauford which we were told was a kit set car and had been built 12 years ago and yet it looked as if it had just been driven out of the car sales showroom.

The kitset car, isnt she beautiful?

Many thanks to John and Elizabeth for their guided tour and we will catch up with them again before we leave the Ashby.

Friday, 13 March 2009


Sorry it is a little late due to time differences.

Back in Hot Water!

Our stay in the Premier Inn last night turned out to be an eventful stay because about 10pm I was in the shower and the emergency siren went off. I thought that perhaps Dot had accidently set off the security alarm as we were using a paraplegic room. It turned out that it was a fire alarm and we had to evacuate and here was me in my birthday suit in the shower. A quick rush around and we were outside in the cold with all the other clients and me still drying my hair. Jokingly I said “Alright who was smoking in the bog” There were a few sheepish faces but it transpired that it was somebody using an aerosol deodorant after having a shower. Boy that stuff must be lethal.

It was another early start for me this morning. It felt strange walking from the hotel back to the boat which is basically only a couple of hundred yards from the hotel. A quick brekkie and it was all on. The repaired joint can be easily seen in the photo and turned out to be good. The only problem was the brass fitting on the same pipe, the engineer had run a tap and die over it as the thread had been crossed in the original installation but it was still a tad tight. I ran a triangular file around the thread which did ease it but it still had to be fully tightened by spanner all the way.

After refilling the heating system and the engine cooling system it was time to give them a run to ensure they were fully bled. So far so good, time to check all the connections on the calorifier which were all dry except the one that had been repaired. I tweaked it up little by little and greatly reduced the leak. Eventually I couldn’t tighten it any more and there was still a persistent drip about every 5 minutes so out came the LX2 silicone that I got from a Plumbers merchant when I did the bathroom. Plastered around the joint the silicone has now set and hopefully will cure the problem. Time will tell.

Now when I picked up the calorifier from Trinity Land Rover yesterday he said that I could pay for it when I was happy that it was fixed satisfactorily. After lunch today I was happy with the job so went to pay. The job had been done by a friend of his called Bill in Coventry (more details later) and the transport costs were a freebie. He proceeded to give me a plain envelope and said “There you go, put something in there, what ever you think the job is worth and I will send it on to Bill”. Well you could have knocked me down with a feather. I suspect Bill may be retired but he loves helping people. I had spoken to another boater who had sent their calorifier to Birmingham to get fixed and it cost them £35 plus freight so I popped 2 £20 notes in the envelope which was a lot less than a new calorifier.

Now thats what we call service with a smile something that is sadly lacking these days. A big thank you to Trinity Landrover despite all the problems the industry is up against at this time.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Chasing our tail.

Now moored by Premier Inn Hinckley.

Since Saturday our leaking calorifier (hot water tank) has been getting worse forcing us to try and get it fixed now rather than later. We have tried 3 marina’s who basically just want to sell us a new tank at £300+ which we don’t need, I rung plumbers who don’t do brazing any more but suggested trying air condition installers who still do brazing. We did find one such company but they couldn’t help until Friday as their welder was away in London on a job.

We did get one plumber to come and have a look and he confirmed my diagnosis of a split weld but he didn’t have the necessary equipment and he suggested a car mechanic may be able to do the job. As we are right next to the Trinity Land Rover dealership I went and spoke to the service manager and he said that he knows a marine engineer in Coventry who could do it.

An arrangement was made to have the tank out and in TLR’s workshop by 8am today and he would transport it to and from the engineer in Coventry. It should have been back in the boat by mid afternoon and up and running by tea time. However due to some transportation hiccups it didn’t return to the boat until 6pm. Being a little too late to get it reinstalled tonight, as we have no hot water or heating we have booked ourselves into the Premier Inn and we can see the boat from our window. King size bed, unlimited hot water, tea and coffee, a bath or shower, such bliss.

Hinckley Leicestershire

Hinckley - home of the Hansom Cab

Monday, 9 March 2009

I Spy this morning!

Adam and Adrian on Narrowboat Debdale on the Ashby Canal

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Look what we found in the Bilge.

0 Locks, 2 Miles. Now moored at Bridge 22 Ashby Canal.

As the signs alongside the boat outside Trinity Marina state Overnight mooring £5 we decided we wouldn’t overstay our welcome and moved off. As we passed the entrance to the marina we spotted another sign stating “48 hour mooring free £5 per night there after. We will remember that in future.

The moorings at bridge 22 are good and it gives me the opportunity to get some work done on the boat. As we are having an ongoing saga of a leaky calorifier (hot water tank) and I have been meaning to cut an inspection hatch in the floor at the back of the boat today was going to be that day.

As you can see in the photo there was about 10mm of water in the bilge which we pumped as much as possible out with our portable pump out gear. After that it was a case of cloth and bucket to soak up the remainder. After I had completed the hatch it was time for lunch. When I returned to the job in hand I found that the bilge had filled up again so out came the bucket and cloth again. We must have drained 10 – 15 litre’s of bilge water out of the boat on both occasions. This will probably be an ongoing job for some time as the ballast blocks in the bilge are probably retaining some of the water and it will take a while for it to all drain to the rear of the boat. Ho hum, joys of boating.

1588 locks, 3346 miles, 57 Tunnels, 44 swing bridges and 39 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Back on the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Canal

0 Locks, 8 miles. Now moored at bridge 17.

Marston Junction where the Ashby Canal meets the Coventry Canal

Another lovely day to cruise up to Trinity Marina on the Ashby to meet up with John and Elizabeth on Nb Helen Louise, another NZ couple who we met last year. They moor up over winter and work locally then come spring time they are off out cruising again.

Along the way we stopped and spoke to Roy on Nb Gerald who is just in the process of going online with the help of his son. He bought a laptop in Coventry and his son is setting it all up for him.

Spotted on the Ashby Canal. Pedal boat built for two

With the weather improving there are more boats venturing out now. Contractors are busy hedge trimming all along the Ashby and doing a fine job. As we don’t have to be at Great Haywood for another 6 weeks we will spend a bit more time on the Ashby to see if there is anything we missed last time.

1588 locks, 3344 miles, 57 Tunnels, 44 swing bridges and 39 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Friday, 6 March 2009

Farewell Coventry

0 Locks, 5 ½ Miles . Now moored at Hawkesbury Junction.

Our plan of an early start got away to a reasonable start with a visit to Sainsbury’s to restock the larder and fridge. On the way out of the basin we stopped and spoke to the crew of Ex Challenger boat Victorious who wanted to know where the nearest shop was and we invited them to tag along with us to Sainsbury’s which they did. It turned out that they reside in Watford and Kings Langley so Derek had a good old chin wag over this revelation as these are his birth place and old fishing haunt. We would have liked to chat some more but they were in a hurry to get away as they had to have the boat back to Napton by Saturday. Hopefully we will meet up with them again at some stage. They have got an end of garden mooring on the Grand Union canal and invited us to call in next time we are down that way.

Shopping aboard, we moved up to the pump out facilities which is where our plan for the day came unstuck. The pump out was dead, no power. We rang BW who arranged for an engineer who duly arrived an hour or so later. In the meantime we found that not only was the pump out facility insecure, half the padlock was missing but also the door to the main pump and electrical switch board was unlocked even though it was at the back of the Elsan room. The engineer was unable to fix the problem immediately so as we had a very full toilet tank we had no option but to do a self pump out into the Elsan.

Once this chore was completed we eventually got away just after 2pm. During our cruise we received several phone calls firstly from the engineer and then from an electrician who wanted to know if we were returning to the basin so that he could test the whole thing. As we were not returning we suggested that he speak to the owner of Nb Scallywag who we knew was also waiting to use the facilities. That was our second good deed for the day.

We would like to make a suggestion that BW put the post codes on their facility blocks as both the sub contracting engineer and electrician had no idea where to go and were relying on their Sat Nav’s to find the place. Of course when they rang us for this information we had no idea and had to go into the coffee shop to get their postcode. Where would this country be without postcodes, it’s the first thing anybody asks for but as continuous cruisers technically we don’t have one so how do you get on, in short you don’t, you have to borrow somebody else’s who is close by. We have had many occasions where we have had to ask a householder or business operator for their postcodes.

Daimler manufacturing marker on Coventry Canal

By the time we had filled the water tank at Hawkesbury junction and moved up to the 7 day moorings it was past 5pm and starting to get quite cold so it was time to call it a day.

1588 locks, 3366 miles, 57 Tunnels, 44 swing bridges and 39 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Coventry Museums and Cathedrals

Coventry Cathedral was destroyed by enemy action on 14th November 1940

The new cathedral is built at right angles and adjoining the one destroyed by fire

The third and existing cathedral was consecrated in 1962

Today has been another spring time day, sunny but cool. We headed off into the city centre to discover more of the city’s history. A visit to Coventry wouldn’t be complete without calling into the old Cathedral burnt out during WWII and its remains left standing as a memorial to the hundreds of people killed that terrible night. There were so many killed that they had to be buried in a common grave at what is now the London Road cemetery.

With the new cathedral next door and the city’s Museum and Art Gallery across the street we had plenty to see. It was interesting to discover that Coventry has a long history of manufacturing going back centuries. It all started with weaving until the French automated it with the Jacquard loom. Many weavers were forced to emigrate to Canada and Australia to start new lives. Then came clock and watch making followed by engineering, bicycle production and finally motor vehicles of all shapes and sizes. There were also several short video displays of life in and around the city over the decades and through WWII. All very educational and interesting.

After lunch it was back to the Transport Museum which is constantly updating their displays. We have been there before but we still found many new things of interest. At present they are working on a Dr Who display which will be opening shortly.

Derek stands by the Frank Whittle Arch in Coventry

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Fords Hospital Coventry

Named after William Ford in his will of 1509 Fords Hospital are historic almshouses found in the centre of Coventry. Badly damaged by an air raid in November 1940 they were rebuilt with original timbers between 1950 and 1953.

The same William Ford stated that if a wife died before her husband he got his full wages but if it was the other way around and the husband died first she only got a portion.
Thankfully things have now changed!

The almshouses were built around a central courtyard

View of the outside courtyard