In July we travelled to Liverpool via the New Liverpool Link. A must for all boaters. We had a fabulous time and wished that the 14 days we spent there had been longer.
Sunday, 29 November 2009
The cat that we rescued from drowning at midnight at Etruria in June. We heard back from the Cat Protection League that it was doing well. It had been given a clean bill of health from the vet and would be sent to a new home to hopefully see out the rest of it’s life in a happy environment.
0 Locks, 2.05 Miles. Now moored at Brownsover Park.
We had all good intentions of staying at Hillmorton for the week-end and then moving to our present position on Monday for shopping purposes. Unfortunately Tracey has been unwell and back in hospital so Nurse Dot is off to London tomorrow to see the patient to help out for a few days. Brownsover is the easiest place from which to catch a bus to the railway station. It will give me the opportunity to get some work done without having the foreman looking over my shoulder and getting growled at for making too much mess.
2028 locks, 4017.16 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006
Saturday, 28 November 2009
0 Locks, 7.5 Miles. Now moored at Hillmorton.
Today we made the final run into Rugby stopping off at Clifton Cruisers for a new gas tank and pick up our mail. Just out of Newbold we spotted a Heron which from a distance looked white which we just put it down to the way the sun was glinting on it’s feathers. When we got closer we were surprised to find it actually was a White Heron.
At All Oaks Wood contractors are busy repairing half a mile of towpath which has been long overdue for repair. Placing sandbags along the top of the original wall they are now able to build the towpath up to it’s original level. It will probably become quite popular with walkers in the summertime as there are always cars in the nearby car park.
Passing through Newbold and Brownsover we found the moorings to be full so we hope that this situation changes in the not to distant future otherwise we may have to rethink our plans for the next few weeks. As we are boat sitting for Derek and Carrie at Christmas we want a mooring close to where they can get their rental car. After calling in at Clifton Cruisers we carried onto Hillmorton where we watered up, winded below the locks and cruised back half a mile to a mooring. Now the temperatures`are dropping we need to keep the water tank full in case we get frozen in as we did last winter.
2028 locks, 4015.11 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006
Friday, 27 November 2009
1 Lock, 8.09 Miles. Now moored at All Oaks Wood
A sure sign that we are back in the great metropolis was the constant drone of the M6 motorway right through the night. Our travels over the last 8 months have been positively devoid of this part of modern day living.
Birthday dinner last night at The Greyhound pub was very nice. It was the first time we had stepped across the threshold of this establishment and we were not disappointed. Dot was cursing that she hadn’t taken her camera with her.
This morning the wind was still blowing but again a blue sky as we moved off from Hawkesbury junction. I was expecting problems with the strong wind making the sharp turn from the Coventry canal onto the Oxford canal but it all went very smoothly without making contact with anything. Nothing much has changed since we last cruised through this area but there are still boats on the move.
Bridge 15 at Ansty is looking definitely decrepit with great cracks and the centre of the arch showing signs of sagging. Too many heavy vehicles over it and I cannot see it lasting much longer. The other problem which we will report to BW was a tree down across the towpath below bridge 19. Partly in the water it doesn’t pose a problem to navigation.
2028 locks, 4007.61 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006
Thursday, 26 November 2009
0 Locks, 5.68 Miles. Now moored near Hawkesbury Junction.
Yesterday we met up with Derek and Carrie on Nb Uccello who we had met several times previously. We put on morning tea and Derek who is IT literate had a look at our computers to try and get them networked. After many hours he finally got the system partly operational and the Vista computer can view the files on the XP computer but not vice versa. Never mind Dot will keep working on this as we still only have internet on the Vista. We assume that this is a Vista security issue so Dot will keep working on it bit by bit. In the meantime it is a great start. Otherwise it looks as if we may have to purchase a router to complete the job. Thanks for all your efforts Derek, as well as thanks to the many other messages we received concerning this issue. In the meantime Carrie had been slaving over a hot stove back on Uccello and came back with a delicious date and walnut cake. Yummee! It’s a great life on the cut.
As we had decided to stay put for the day due to high winds and more threats of rain Carrie invited us over for dinner with Curry on the menu. To square off the meal Derek (GR version, bit confusing with 2 Derek’s) whipped up an Apple Crumble for dessert. There wasn’t much left at the end of the evening I can tell you. A very enjoyable evening.
This morning was still windy but bright blue sky so we said our farewells to Derek and Carrie, we will meet them again in Rugby next month, and headed off towards the Coventry Canal and Hawkesbury Junction. The plan is to visit the Greyhound pub for a bit of a birthday bash. Cooks night off.
2027 locks, 3999.52 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
0 Locks, 2.88 Miles Now moored at Burton Hastings.
Just a quick trip into town for some essentials and then we had hoped the weather would hold out long enough for us to get underway and put some more mileage under our belts. We had a few showers along the way but by the time we reached bridge 8 the sky was looking decidedly thunderous so we moored up at what the local’s refer to as Hospital bend. Not a moment too soon because we had just got everything sorted when the rain arrived.
For the next few days the weather forecast is for more uncertain conditions so we will have to pick and choose our movement times. As we are only 2 or 3 comfortable cruising days out of Rugby there is no great panic.
2027 locks, 3993.84 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006
Monday, 23 November 2009
0 Locks, 12.51 Miles. Back at Hinckley.
With the current wet weather sweeping the country we have had to pick our moments when to move and travel further than we would normally. There are still a few hardy souls like us moving around with the occasional hire boat making an appearance.
Along the way we have noticed that farm livestock are disappearing from the fields with farmers now bringing them into the yards and sheds making it easier to feed out hay and silage during winter. In New Zealand the animals are left out in the fields where they are fed. Only high country stock are brought down to lower levels to avoid losing stock in the snow.
Between the showers today we caught the bus into Hinckley to visit B&Q (the hardware supermarket) to buy some self adhesive vinyl tiles to replace the lino in the kitchen, bathroom and rear entrance. When we arrived in town we found that the whole of the town centre closed off and an enormous funfair filling the streets. Rides of all descriptions,dodgem cars, which were in hot demand,, food stalls and the usual “try your luck” side shows. It’s just a pity that the wet weather was keeping people away. Tucked away in side streets were huge great lorries with generators big enough to supply half the towns electricity pounding away burning through what little profit there was to be made.
2027 locks, 3990.96 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006
Saturday, 21 November 2009
0 Locks, 10.16 miles. Now moored at Shackerstone.
Today we travelled from Market Bosworth visitor moorings to the end of Asby Canal before heading back to Shackerstone where we are currently moored.
2027 locks, 3978.45 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006
Friday, 20 November 2009
0 Locks, 3.68 miles. Now moored at Market Bosworth.
We felt quite lucky after seeing all the flooding in Cumbria and Lancashire on TV as we had only received showers and strong wind. Seeing the flooding in Todmorden where we had visited recently was a real shock because that town had been devastated by flooding as recently as 2000 and even while we were there heavy rain quickly turned the local stream into a torrent.
This morning the conditions had mildly improved so we decided to cruise up to Market Bosworth. It was a three fold decision as we had to find a Post Office to send off a Birthday card, get a few essentials and do some more never ending washing.
As we passed Nb Pickles we found Pete at home so pulled in alongside for a quick chat. Even though BW are dredging the canal, this spot near Shenton has not been touched so we still cannot moor there due to insufficient depth. It transpires that the dredging is being done to raise the bank on the towpath side, not to deepen the actual navigation channel, so the dredging is a hit and miss, still shouldn’t complain, any dredging is better than none.
2027 locks, 3968.29 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006
Thursday, 19 November 2009
Today has been a great day to hide away with the strong winds and rain. So I have spent all day today trying to network our two laptops together. I went out and bought a crossover cable to enable me to do this but with no apparent success. John on Nb Epiphany had a go when we were travelling with them a few weeks ago, with no luck either. So I am in good company.
I believe that Vista and XP don't like talking to each other, it must be a breakdown in communication in the Microsoft family.
If anyone has an easy and understandable way to network them so that we can share an internet connection, we would appreciate any help. I have followed all instructions that appear to be easy but they don’t work.
Meantime Derek has had the living room in an upheaval by replacing some of the old skirting boards.
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
0 Locks, 5.57 Miles. Now moored at Sutton Cheyney.
Last night John and Elizabeth (Nb Sarah Louise) took us out to the Rugger Tavern for a drink and a meal. We have been there before and last night we were again amazed at the standard of the Smorgasbord menu for as little as £3.50 each for a 3 course meal. A choice of 3 starters, 3 meats with 6 vegetables and 3 desserts. Nobody went home hungry that’s for sure. We had a very pleasant evening discussing our boating problems and experiences and comparing notes over our future plans. We are all in the same situation of, if and when to return to New Zealand because as things stand at present the exchange rate is in NZ’s favour, not ours. Still we both have another 12-18 month’s to think about it and see if the situation improves.
Today was too nice a day to be spent moored up and we wanted to test the electrical system with a heavy load namely the washing machine. We moved down through bridge 16 to wind and head back up the Ashby Canal. As we progressed it became clear that a lot of other boaters had the same idea because we came across nearly a dozen boats on the move and the skippers obviously enjoying the sunshine.
As we passed Trinity Marina we found that Nb Mistral that had sunk recently has now been refloated and presumably the owners were on site busily trying to clean and dry out the boat. Not a five minute task.
I’m pleased to report that everything seems to be in order in the electrical department with the battery management unit functioning properly. Phew, that’s a relief.
2027 locks, 3964.61 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
As mentioned in my previous blog I rang Sterling Electrical for some advice regarding their Alternator to Battery management system which we have fitted. The gentleman I spoke to (Peter) took note of the symptoms of the unit and suggested various tests and remedies and to take note of the results. He felt certain that if this did not produce a result the unit would be repairable.
Well after going over the electrical system with a fine tooth comb I eventually succeeded in getting the desired result with the unit now functioning correctly. The problem appears to have been a negative connection that just needed a tweak even though it appeared to be tight. Well at least that saved us £400 for a new unit or a repair bill. This is about the third or fourth time we have contacted Sterling Electrical for advice and they have always been more than happy to assist.
Sunday, 15 November 2009
Yesterday afternoon we received a phone call enquiring if we were home, it was John and Elizabeth who were out walking for some exercise and were close by so we invited them around for coffee. A very pleasant afternoon ensued catching up on the last 9 months.
Last evening we had plans to catch the bus to Nuneaton to meet Tracey off the Euston to Liverpool train. Due to the inclement weather John very kindly offered to take us by car and en route we called into ASDA for some groceries as we were going to be feeding an extra mouth for the week-end.
Today I spent time down the engine hole adjusting the fan belts as we don’t seem to be charging the batteries as well as we have been. This hasn’t remedied the problem so I will have to check the output of the alternators which means either an alternator is on it’s way out or the Battery Management unit needs attention. If it is the latter it will probably be just as cheap to buy a new one than fix the old one. Both the alternator and the BMU are 3 years old so they may be getting passed their use by date. I will ring Sterling Electronics on Monday for their advice.
While I was doing this Dot and Tracey took themselves into Hinckley and Nuneaton for a spot of retail therapy.
Friday, 13 November 2009
0 Locks 7 Miles. Now moored at Bridge 16.
It was grand day to start off but by 11am the rain clouds were gathering. We called into Sutton Cheyney for a coffee with Paul and Rosemary aka Daisy and a good old chin wag. While there we were aware of the presence of the Police spotter helicopter hovering for quite a long while not far from the wharf, it was still there when we finally departed.
Not long after we were just plodding along when there was a plop sound in the water to our left. A quick look revealed a water vole aka “Ratty” having just exited his hole in the bank and going for a swim, fantastic. After this the rest of the cruise faded into obscurity with the main objective to reach a mooring before the rain arrived.
The boat that we pictured yesterday was still submerged as we passed by but what got me was that it was displaying a dealers plate. If the dealer is selling on behalf of the owner he is certainly not taking very good care, if any, of the boat and it will have certainly lost a lot of value now being full of water. A total refit won’t come cheap.
2027 locks, 3959.04 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006
Thursday, 12 November 2009
0 Locks, 11.51 Miles. Now moored at Battlefield Moorings.
For no other reason than doing the washing we decided we would cruise up to Market Bosworth. Our moorings at Hinckley were good, nice and quiet and only a 10 minute walk to the bus stop so we will come back there on Friday.
Passing Trinity Marina we spotted 3 men and a woman assembling what can only be described as a flat pack dinghy. The 2 sprung loaded sides were pulled out and held in position by 2 seats or boards. We didn’t see the completed article but later in the day they pulled into Sutton Cheney not long after we had arrived. We had made an unscheduled stop here to chat to Paul and Rosemary on Nb Hector who we have crossed paths with several times in the past. It’s nice to catch up occasionally. Rosemary informed us that the dinghy occupant was probably the Water Vole Protection Officer who does a monthly check along the canal as there are quite a lot of water voles on the Ashby Canal.
All along the towpath we could see where the BW dredger had been and getting nearer to Market Bosworth it was obvious that some of the dredging’s hadn’t been on the bank very long.
As we approached bridge 42 at Market Bosworth we could see reflections of 2 amber flashing lights and I thought it may have been a refuse truck servicing the apartments opposite the moorings. It turned out to be the dredger and tug dredging out the winding hole. We pulled onto the water point and when we were ready to leave the BW guys moved sufficiently for us to wind and head back to Bosworth Battlefield Moorings. We had planned on staying at Market Bosworth but the moorings were full. The BW guy on the dredger said that when they arrived there so did all the boats because it was empty yesterday. Ah well, we knew there was space available by King Richards Field, so that’s where we are now. Rain is forecast tonight but then its supposed to fine up so we will head for Sutton Cheyney Wharf or further tomorrow.
2027 locks, 3952.04 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
0 Locks 11.82 Miles. Now moored at Hinckley
Visibility was down to a couple of hundred yards this morning as we set off, first port of call was the BW yard just through bridge 31 for water and then it was non stop to the Ashby Canal.
We played cat and mouse with a Kingfisher who allowed us to get probably the closest we have ever been to one of these beautiful little birds but still not close enough for a good photo. We also flushed out a cock Pheasant who flew over our heads giving us a right ticking off for disturbing him.
Passing through Nuneaton we noticed that the allotments have certainly made a resurgence in popularity, more and more of the unkempt plot’s now nicely cultivated and at least a dozen or so people busy tending them. A real hive of activity.
By 11am the sun finally burnt through the mist and for a very short while it was gloriously warm but then some cloud rolled in and that was the end of that. After we had moored up for the day the sky cleared but by this time the sun was low in the sky hidden behind a hedgerow.
2027 locks, 3940.53 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006
Monday, 9 November 2009
We decided that we would just have a lie in and an easy day today. After the fireworks last night we just felt a bit jaded. Looking at our itinerary we have plenty of time before heading to Rugby for Christmas and our six monthly check up at the doctor so tomorrow we will head for the Ashby Canal. After contacting fellow New Zealanders John and Elizabeth on Nb Helen Louise, we hope to catch up next week as well as maybe get a visit from daughter Tracey in London.
Sunday, 8 November 2009
0 Locks, 2.09 Miles. Now moored at Hartshill.
Well the weather guru’s did say that the forthcoming week’s weather would be unpredictable and how right they have been. Today is more like Spring than Autumn with a clear blue sky and not a cloud in sight. Great cruising weather although we didn’t plan on going very far, just to Hartshill where we may stay for 1 or 2 nights and then make a run for the Ashby Canal.
For sale signs have recently gone up on 2 canal side properties. The 3 acre property by bridge 36 with half a dozen on line moorings is on the market for £350k, an investment with an income. The other was by the lake between bridges 35 and 34 where the sign merely states that plots are available so perhaps a farmer is selling off a bit of unproductive land. Wouldn’t be bad with end of garden moorings.
2027 locks, 3928.71 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006
Saturday, 7 November 2009
9 Locks, 1.53 Miles. Now moored at Atherstone.
A mist covered landscape greeted us this morning but by the time we were ready to set off the sun had started to burn the mist away. Progress up the Atherstone flight was steady as they were all set in our favour except for the two where we had to wait for an opposing boat.
Once moored up we contacted the diesel/coal boat Gosty Hill to see what Iain and Alison’s schedule was for the near future and low and behold they will be in Atherstone tomorrow, how convenient. So tomorrow we will be topping up the diesel tank.
Later we wandered into town for some lovely pies from 19 Gales (Nightingales) and a few bits from Somerfields. There is also a handy automotive spare part shop behind Rothens coal yard where I picked up another 5 litre’s of battery water which will see us through the winter.The town is now all decked out for Christmas with their Christmas decorations hung around the town.
2036 locks, 3928.15 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006
Friday, 6 November 2009
2 Locks, 5.15 Miles. Now moored above lock 10 Atherstone locks.
It was a case of will we or won’t we move this morning with the threat of rain. The sun broke through for a short while so we decided to move. We hadn’t been on the go for long when the rain clouds came back and the rain arrived. Half an hour later it was all over and we completed our cruise relatively dry.
Having travelled this section of canal several times before there was nothing new except a new Narrowcraft built boat that was moored behind us last night. On the market at £69k it had a reverse layout with the lounge at the rear followed by an open plan Pullman dinette and kitchen making the whole rear half of the boat quite open and airy. The kitchen lead onto the separate bathroom and separate bedroom. The bed base was a conventional front – rear bed but appeared to have a fold up side making the bed wider. I was quite impressed by the layout.
Not long after we had moored up we had a phone call from a gentleman with a broad Liverpudlian accent (A Scoucer). He was ringing up to confirm Gypsy Rover’s gig for Saturday night. I couldn’t work out whether he was from the Rocket agency or the gig was at the Rocket club. I then had to politely inform him that (A) we were nowhere near Liverpool, and (B) the Gypsy Rover he had called was a narrow boat not a rock band. How on earth he had got our phone number is a complete mystery. Bit of a laugh, Eh!
2027 locks, 3926.62 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006
Thursday, 5 November 2009
2 Locks, 4.48 Miles. Now moored opposite Alvecote Marina.
What a glorious day for a cruise. The plan for today was a short cruise to the BW facilities at Fazeley Junction for water and rubbish disposal and then on to our present mooring. At Glascote locks we came across a gentleman who was being very precise about lock procedure. It turned out that the boat had only been in the water 2 days and he was trying not to scratch the paint work, he’ll learn (we were like that once) narrow boating is said to be a contact sport regardless of how careful you are.
While waiting for the first of the Glascote locks Nb Beefur arrived which is a new boat to us. It turned out that we had met the lady on board at the BW visitor centre at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal where she works for British Waterways. She has been following our progress ever since and that was about 15 month’s ago. We may catch up again later on the Ashby Canal.
A familiar boat we did see was Nb Northern Pride (proudly flying the NZ silver fern), Barry and Sandra are now home in Gisborne, New Zealand saving hard to return next year, their boat on her winter moorings at a friends end of garden mooring.
2025 locks, 3921.47 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
0 Locks, 1.79 Miles. Now moored at Tamworth.
With uncertain weather conditions we decided to move down to Sutton Road bridge where we could visit Sainsbury’s supermarket. After that we would re-assess the situation. Luckily it was only a short trip as it started to rain not long after setting off. Soon after arriving at Sutton Road a BW dredger and tug went past heading north. We had thought that perhaps it was heading to bridge 88 on the Coventry or even Woodend lock to dredge out below the lock which has been shallow for a very long time. However that turned out not to be the case as about an hour or so later the same 2 vessels came back heading south. Joy riding perhaps?
After doing the shopping we decided to sit the rest of the day out due to strong winds but wouldn’t you just know it, mid afternoon saw a complete change to no wind and sunshine. Ah well, we are not in any great hurry from here so we will see what tomorrow brings.
2023 locks, 3916.99 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Yesterday was not a good day to be going anywhere with heavy rain and strong winds, so we sat the day out updating the computer. This morning was a total change with clear blue skies and sunshine. After saying farewell to Roger and Pip on Windsong we set off by about 10.30am.
With the leaf fall now well under way we suffered quite a lot of leaf foul on the propeller necessitating a lot of regular reverse blasts to clear the prop. Unfortunately we got held up behind 2 boats who were having the same problem but they didn’t know how to rectify it. One boat was a hire boat which pulled over to allow us to pass, as we did so we imparted the information about what to do in these conditions which was gratefully received.
By the time we had moored at Hopwas the weather was starting to change with the next cold front coming through with the threat of more strong winds and rain. With the weather girls on TV admitting that the incoming low was going to be a bit unpredictable we will just have to wait and see what tomorrow brings and make a decision about moving or staying put in the morning.
2023 locks, 3915.20 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006
Monday, 2 November 2009
Sunday, 1 November 2009
3 Locks, 9.69 Miles, 1 swingbridge Now moored at Fradley Junction
It was a take it as it comes sort of a day with it being unseasonably mild again. We had nothing definitely planned other than stopping at Rugeley to pick up a few things at Morrison’s. With the boat club rally at Tixall Wide and school holidays coming to an end there were plenty of boats on the move heading north.
Now the tree’s are loosing all their foliage the wildlife are becoming more apparent. In the past few days we have seen a Mink, Jay’s, Magpies, Robin’s as well as the usual waterfowl. The funniest, for which no camera was at hand, was a Grey Squirrel with a corn cob from a recently harvested field. He had it sideways in his mouth making him as wide as he was long but he was very determined to get it into his winter cache of food.There would be quite a few days supply for him with that sized cob.
After leaving Rugeley we were just pottering along enjoying the day when another boat came into sight. Not taking too much notice of the lady walking close by with a dog which it turned out to be Anne & Chas on Nb Moore2Life. Well we both hove to and the kettle was soon on the hob. After not seeing each other for the best part of a year there was plenty to catch up on. Well time stands still for no man so we had to say farewell and get under way again to find a more suitable mooring before we ran out of daylight. Darkness is now upon us by about 5pm.
We had hoped to moor between locks 19 & 20 but when we arrived there the last available mooring had been taken by a boat that passed us while entertaining Anne & Chas. Ah well, C’est la vie. We pushed on through to Fradley Junction and turned on to the Coventry Canal where initially it appeared that no moorings were available. Just after passing through the small swing bridge across the entrance to the Coventry Canal our attention was drawn to a couple waving and calling out. We were puzzled as to who they were waving to as we didn’t recognise them. It transpired that they were fellow bloggers Roger and Pip on Nb Windsong who told us that there was a mooring available behind them which worked out perfectly.
2023 locks, 3907.16 miles, 76 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 54 lift bridges since Nov 2006