Saturday, 22 April 2017


...made our way to Stone in Staffordshire.

A favourite mooring spot between Sandford & Burston


It's rare that we see herons actually catching anything.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Great Heywood

We have continued northwards along familiar but fantastic countryside, we have moored at Great Haywood in sight of Shugborough Hall. A very pleasant Sunday lunch was enjoyed at the nearby Clifford Arms where we met up with Roly, Bev, Cathy & Martin. 

Watch the birdie

Colourful working boats

Sails in the landscape

Serene scene.

Inquisitive youngster.

Famous grouse

I have been suspecting for some time that the leisure battery alternator I fitted last year has not been performing well. I put a meter on it today and found that the output is low at tickover and disappears to nil when the engine is revved. So a dud then ... unfortunately although it's only been fitted to the engine for less than a year, I purchased it as a spare two years ago so out of manufactures warranty. No matter I will take it for repair at first opportunity I get. The solar panels will keep the battery's in good charge till then.

Moved a short distance today onto the Staffordshire & Worcestershire canal, to moor at Tixall.

Aqueduct over the river Trent

Tixall mooring.

Fitted one of these double sockets with usb chargers in the saloon today, will come in handy for phones and tablets.

Thursday, 13 April 2017


Been a grey day, coats and wooly hats were this crews boating attire today along with the majority of other boaters. There was one skipper who heralds from Cape Town wearing shorts, I did notice that she had especially hairy lower limbs though. 

Nine locks in the Atherstone flight were descended slowly, not much in the way of traffic today but I would expect that to change tomorrow.

Sheep mutation

It's that time of year

One of the Atherstone locks

A popular early crop for farmers

A long day at the tiller got us to Hopwas, this will allow a short cruise tomorrow.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Hawkesbury Junction

Untied FL from the bank at 08:30 a bright day with less nip in the air than yesterday.  

Only one boat was on the popular Brownsover moorings when we passed, at the aqueduct after Masters bridge C&RT are doing a good job of bank repairs. 

Rugby's urbanisation is left behind as we pop out the other side of Newbold tunnel. From here to Hawkesbury Junction we cruise through quiet farmland and along high embankments. Stretton Stop swing bridge being our only obstacle to the journey.

Although not a lot of traffic seen on this trip Hawkesbury is very busy and we managed to squeeze into a mooring once we had taken the turn on to the Coventry canal.

Looking back from Sutton Stop lock.

We popped into the Greyhound just for a pre dinner drink, but ended ordering our evening meal there as well.... very good it was too.

Monday, 10 April 2017


Sunday was a glorious 20C - we had a great afternoon which included Sunday lunch in  Neil Morrissey's pub The Plume of Feathers in Barlaston, with good friends Gordon, Dot, Bev & Roly.  Afterwards Roly gave us a lift back to our boat 56 miles away ....what a star.

Monday was dry but cool as we headed out of Braunston, it was good to be back on the tiller. 

Passing the new Dunchurch Pools marina on the  North Oxford, note the entrance is wide beam sized.

A wide opening into the marina.!

Hillmorton's flight of 3 locks are twin or parallel locks. These locks are the busiest on the network, they have a volunteer crew of lockeepers who have their own website here.

Locklines carved into lock gates beams.

Locklines commemorate the birth of Canal & River Trust in 2012.


We have moored for the night at Rugby Golf club.

Festina Lente clock in Rugby town.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Back on board

All was well with FL when we climbed aboard, only a few cobwebs to deal with and a winters worth of dust and dirt to wash of the roof.

The battery bank was showing 100% charged thanks to the solar equipment, the Vetus engine burst into life first turn of the key. Not bad after being deserted for five months rafted in between other boats without shore power.

Stoked the Epping to warm the boat through, checked the bilges were dry and reconnected the water pump and filled the water tank.

We stayed in the marina for two nights and both had the best nights sleep we have had since we left the boat last October. FL is an anti stress machine.

Stocked the galley from the nearest supermarket - Tesco's at Daventry. The exterior steel got a wash down, put the new cratch cover back on and after topping the water tank we were good to go.

Midland Chandlers have their spring Freaky Friday (20% discount day) this week, we went along to get 20L of 'Intertuf 16' it was marked up as £149, with the 20% discount it brings the product down to £119 the same as advertised on their web site which is still a couple of quid more expensive than other chandlers -  Canal Cruisers in Stone sell for £117.  No wonder they are known as Midland Chandlers Swindlers.

Hailed Jules Fuels to pull alongside and drop a couple of bags of coal.

Sunset in Braunston

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Spaghetti Westerns

Back in the early 60's Almeria was the film location for the so called spaghetti westerns, the dollar trilogy were my favourites. Every kid with a cap gun wanted to be Clint Eastwood. 

We ended up at Texas Hollywoods Fort Bravo an hours drive away at Tabernas, still a working film set, an episode of Doctor Who was filmed here in 2012. 

A bar room brawl, cancan dancing and shoot outs with mean looking cowboys was the entertainment, I liked it all, Sue not so much.

He shot the sheriff 

Riding into town looking for trouble


These girls cold twirl.

On the way home we stopped at a olive farm to sample and purchase a few oils to take home with us.

Four of our boating buddies are heading back to the canals this weekend, we will follow on shortly. We are not going to do the long drive to the Chunnel, we have booked the ferry to Portsmouth from Santander.