Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Aston Marina

 It was a nine mile cruise from Tixall Wide to Aston Marina, pulling into the marina and on to the same berth we vacated in April was a bit fraught at first as the wind did it's worse, it took several attempts to get FL alongside, but once we were tied up and the electrickery cable connected it was like relaxing into a well worn sofa.

Our daughter brought our old banger over on the late night ferry and stayed with us for a few days.

Port cabin side has been cut & polished.

Our niece invited us for a super curry, her mum was over from Wisconsin  so we were able to catch up with my sister & brothers too.

Mike, Andy, Nikita, Robin (playing on floor), James, Jacqui Alan, Viv and Yvonne doing a Nana pose.
Monkey Forest is a place we have visited before but always too late in the year to see the wildlife. This time they were out doors while we spent a couple of hours wandering in the forest.

While checking over the engine I found the air intake silencer split (the Vetus engine doesn't use an air cleaner). I tend to lie across the top of the engine when cleaning the bilge so I may have damaged it. Cost me £68 for a new one ... ouch. 

The split silencer.

I also found a fuel leak from the injector return hose, a new hose and clips sorted it.
I like to double clip fuel hose if there is room.

New air intake fitted.I must repaint the rocker cover at some stage.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Tixall Wide.

The Coventry canal meets the Trent & Mersey canal at a T junction in the middle of a flight of locks at Fradley

We turned left and joined a queue of boats at Middle Lock, lock keeper's at this lock and Shadehouse Lock got the boats moving through swiftly.

Met a lovely older Canadian couple who are on their fourth canal holiday, they prefer the history in the villages and towns than the scenic parts " We got scenic aplenty back home" -- forgot exactly where they are from but it was close to Half Moon Bay BC.

Also met a young couple - she bought the holiday for her boyfriends birthday - they are loving it and will definitely be back. Being bikers they usually holiday in Europe, touring on her Yamaha R6 and his Fazer 1000. This narrow boating lark suits all types.

Another ex tunnel, this one at Armitage. 

At Rugeley we came under fire from stone throwing oik's none hit FL but moored boats near us were hit. Getting out the camera usually gets the little rodents to scarper.
A Rugeley oik scarpering.

View from the side hatch.
We moored for the night at Taft bridge opposite a smallholding.

It was a glorious sunny Sunday cruise to Tixall Wide below some photo's of the journey

The Moscow State Circus at Shugburgh Hall

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Fradley Junction

 Woke up to rain it was midday and dry when we set off for Fradley Junction. A strong wind made manoeuvring difficult at times.

Moored on the visitor moorings and visited the Swan which has a new landlord since last time we were here. No Guinness but a descent stout from the Titanic brewery was served.

Lot's of hay walls in the landscape

A group of lads straight from a paint balling combat day were enjoying a drink in the bar. I didn't realise how violent paintballing is. By the size of some of the wields, lumps and bruising on some of these guys a trip to the hospital instead of the pub may have been in order.

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Web photo

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Shane likes to go paintballing.

Thursday, 15 September 2016


Tuesday - Untied FL from the bank at 09:30 and ambled along in the September sun, occasionally pulling over to let faster boats on a schedule to pass. At Hawkesbury Junction we turned right onto the Coventry canal and moored just before the water point. 

Decided we would treat ourselves to a pie & a pint of Guinness in the Greyhound at the junction, this proved wrong on two counts, first there was no room at the inn (unreserved tables) secondly the Guinness had run out. I consoled myself with a glass of Theakstons mild while waiting for our order of take out fish & chips to be cooked. 

Wednesday - a longish but uneventful cruise to the top of Atherstone locks where we met up with Roly & Bev. An advert for the Barge & Bridge is on the wall adjacent to the moorings traditional ales and a warm welcome ... seemed an ideal location to have a convivial catch up with our friends!

Looks like it's been out of business a while.

We had our catch up and a good lunch in the Red Lion Hotel instead.
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A more inviting building.

Today -  it was a misty start to the day, the mist not giving way to full sunshine until 2pm. We had heaps of help en route down the Atherstone locks, volunteer lockies were on hand at the top lock, Roly walked up with windlass in hand at the next couple and from then on there were crews ascending as we lowered FL through a further eight locks. Tamhorn 12 miles further north would be our mooring spot

Misty morning- the derelict building is an old hat factory

Gathering in the spuds- if you look at the top - this machine is over flowing with King Edwards..
Balls bridge.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Braunston to All Oak's Wood.

The cratch cover on FL is looking quite scruffy, over the last two years we have sewn faulty zips shut and patched other parts. It needed changing so we took a berth in Braunston marina for a few days and while there we have had FL measured up for a new one.

The old one is eight years old and has always been a good fit - studded to the boat and cratch board with press studs. I dislike the manufacturers that use bungy's to hold the material in place (it seems to me they don't need to be exact with their measuring using bungy's in this way) I contacted one manufacturer who not only wouldn't make one without using bungy's would leave the bottom edge loose!

So I was pleased that AJ Canopies at the marina would make one how we wanted, - the same style as the old one, plus the fitter recommended a good tweak to the original design that we will run with.  The new cover will be ready mid October.
Entrance to Braunston marina.

Moored in the marina.
Fraser making a template for FL's cover.
 We are now heading northward, today has been a lovely warm day for cruising, we passed the site of a new marina on the North Oxford canal, plenty of activity on the huge site between bridges 81 & 82.

Who needs a cratch cover.

First locks for a while

Newbold's short tunnel.
It's the first time we have been through the three Hillmorton lock without a lockie being in attendance. We passed through Rugby and moored at All Oaks Wood after a four hour afternoon cruise.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Stoke Bruerne museum.

A lot of villages grew up beside canals after the channels were dug, filled with water and trade began to flow, not so Stoke Bruerne, here the engineers dug their canal straight through an established village, effectively splitting it in half.

Trip boat 'Indian Chief' outside The Boat Inn

Part of the Museum display.

Another trip boat outside the museum.

Blisworth tunnel is a couple of hundred yards to the north of the village, the last obstacle to a complete canal from London to Braunston, it finally opened for traffic in 1805.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Beer is bad for you.......

....especially when you spot as I did in the Braunston super market a selection of quality ales on offer at eight bottles for twelve quid. I humped a dozen back to the boat in my rucksack then couldn't sleep because I'd pulled a muscle in my shoulder.

Blurred Kingfisher

Stephens lift bridge.

Nadkey bridge

Caves bridge.

Farms along the canal are busy gathering in the winter feed.
Rectangle bales on one side of the canal

Rounds on the other,