Saturday, 30 April 2016

Braunston to Ladder Bridge.

Friday was a short cruise down to the bottom of the Napton Flight for a Happy Friday drink with our cruising pals Bev & Roly. We get sent a Happy Friday drink picture from our friends where ever they are most Fridays's become a tradition.. not always snapped in a bar but usually they are..... below we received yesterday.

Bev, Roly & Sue (The Folly Inn)
Paul and El with Barry & Wendy.(Emerald Isle, Mojacar)

Dot & Gordon with Lynn & Phil (The Holy Inadequate, Stoke)

Diane & Ray ( Ikea )

Saturday we were up early setting off in sunshine with no wind weather. Deposited our dumpables at the facilities below the first of nine locks today. Destination was Ladder Bridge 5 miles further south.

Some pictures of the journey:

Big smile.

Boat in a pond must now be the most photographed vessel on the Oxford canal.

Marston Doles, last lock of the day.

Napton hill where we started today's cruise.

A sea of Rapeseed.

Sue keeps look out for Klara on Ladder Bridge

Water road.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Cratch cover & Battery

FL has been in need of a new cratch cover since we bought her three years ago. We had been let down by a few different suppliers (not replying to emails, phone calls etc, etc). Here in Braunston marina is a supplier we could actually talk to face to face and pin down. Deposit paid FL will get her new clothes on her return this way in October

The starter battery has been straining to turn the engine over the last couple of weeks, if the engine had failed to start first revolution FL would need a bump start. So I exchanged it with a new one from Midland Chandlers who do a 5% discount for local marina moorers, we moored in Wigrams Turn Marina once .. so we qualified.

643  old unit.
I measured the battery and took note of the position of the + & - terminals to make sure I got the right fit for the wiring.  The salesman informed me all I needed to bring was the 643 number off the label, terminals the other way around would have a 644 number.

It snowed in Braunston yesterday, we thought we'd missed the freezing weather but we were wrong, some forecasters are predicting a cold spell to last a few weeks.

Monday, 25 April 2016


Saturday - Conditions were bright and cool as we set of for Hawkesbury Junction, a seven mile, lock free run passing through Nuneaton, passing the entrance to the Ashby canal before skirting Bedworth to the junction with the North Oxford canal.

Took on water before making the 360 turn under the bridge and into the stop lock in one go (no wind today). We did plan to stop at Hawkesbury Junction but as it was such a good day for cruising we pressed on to moor at a favourite spot opposite Thorns farm beside All Oaks Wood.

Passing the Ashby Canal

Tending her eggs.
Sunday - I think we were up before the larks, 06:00 FL was moving away from the bank, the farmer was already at work, the air was still, cold and damp. A mist was swirling across the canal and through arched bridges. Best part of the day, a superb time to be veiwing the natural world at 3mph, pristine countryside all the way to Newbold tunnel, and we have it all to ourselves... for a while.

Rugby and Brownsover are through the tunnel, we arrive at the three Hillmorton locks as the volunteer lock keeper is clocking on. Eased up the locks we are into perhaps the finest country views this canal has to offer and they stretch all the way to our destination at Braunston.

Misty early morning start.

Rain cloud passed over head .

Arrived in Braunston at midday just in time to go for a Sunday carvery at the Boathouse. Braunston in the past, was a place for the working boatmen to meet up and enjoy each others company... the leisure boaters continue the tradition.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Nana Nap.

My lord it was cold as we set off at 09:00, the thermal vest was on underneath jumper, fleece and jacket, hat and gloves too. Atherstone's eleven locks were ascended in two & a quarter hours.

Just six miles travelled.


Bluebell wood.
We have just come back from a Happy Friday lunch time drink with Roly & Bev in the Anchor at Hartshill so I will cut this short and publish, a nana type nap is in order.

Andy, Roly, Bev & Sue

Happy Birthday Madge.

We left the Fradley mooring at 09:00, fleece's on to keep out the chill, the sun is out in a blue sky so all good. The landscape is rural for most of the route to Fazeley Junction. The Coventry canal inexplicable dissolves into the Birmingham & Fazeley canal the only evidence are the nameplates instead of numbers on the bridges. 

A quick service stop at Peel's wharf to fill up the water tank and get rid of the dumpables before we are passing through Fazeley Junction where the B&F heads off south under Watling street bridge towards Birmingham, we are now back on the Coventry canal heading east through the two Glascote locks, two college students film our progress through the locks. The canal continues on a north easterly route past the suburbs of Tamworth before heading south under the M42 through Polesworth and back out into the countryside, where we moor behind Klara, Roly & Bev were out on the towpath, we joined them for an ale to celebrate the Queens 90th.

Name plated bridges.

Stop planks are housed behind the bridge storage door.

Watling Street bridge tow path getting repaired.

Lots of Union Jacks hoisted today, this one on Pooley Hall.

 MotorX track at Polesworth.

Huge geese or small horses.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Change of canals

Played the what time is it game when we woke this morning ... getting on for 10am ! 

The sun was up with no cloud or wind ... no fleeces required for the cruise today. Tea & bacon banjo's were taken on the rear hatch as we bimbled along enjoying the Staffordshire countryside - reminding ourselves why we love this life style so much.

We stopped at the fuel boat for coal - seems ridiculous buying coal when the day is so warm, we had to wait while the small holding owner amusingly had to recaptured three escaped piglets. Once they were back in the pen she passed over two bags and we were on our way.

Soon we can see the huge Rugely power station built in the 60's next to a handy coal pit (the coal pit is long gone). We stop for supplies at a huge canal side Tesco, there is a large Morrisons store on the opposite bank, evidence of this growing town.

Armitage is the next town passed through, here the huge bog factory sits beside the canal blocking out most of the light and warmth from the sun.. we shiver for a while.

An old milk factory at Kings Bromley wharf used to pong a bit according to L.T.C. Rolts book Narrowboat

At Woodend lock we looked for distant views of the three spires of Lichfield Cathedral but we couldn't spy them. Two more locks and we are turning off the T&M and on to the Coventry canal at Fradley Junction, here we moor till tomorrow.

Herd resting beside the river Trent

Power station at Rugeley.

Large brood or a 'paddling' of ducks, if they were on land the term 'twack' can be used among others!

The gorse in the hedgerow is colourful

The old milk factory at Kings Bromley Wharf.

FL disappears into Woodend lock

Moored at Fradley Junction.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Old Nag

A fine warm day for the first day cruising southward. We travelled ten miles and worked five locks to moor at Shugborough.

Leaving Aston lock.

Aggressive swan trying to tear down our flag.

I lost £1 betting on this old nag in the Grand National..

Moored at Shugborough..... the river Trent runs parallel with the canal here.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Back out on the cut

Finally we have detached FL from the grid and moved out of the marina.

Not cruising far, an hours cruise including two locks to an appointment at Canal Cruising Co. to have the side hatch hinge welded back into position. With most of the their hire fleet in front of the dock it took a bit of jiggery pokery to get FL to a position to be worked on.

FL in between two dry docks.

Charlie the welder.

All sorted... more painting for me to do.
Glad to have that sorted out quickly, we were concerned the top hinge might snap too and we'd lose the door in the canal!

We have now moored in between Star lock and Yard lock. We are going to see some chums in the Royal Exchange for an au revoir  ale.

Weighed myself in Boots today the machine printed this certificate as proof that I am a fat bas*%#d have become portly. I was only 14 and a bit stone in December the downside of three months in the sun for those like me without any willpower. Interestingly I've grown 0.7" over the winter too.

Only once in my life I have dieted, I tried to loose 10 lbs in a year ..... after 6 months I still had 13 lbs to go.