Saturday, 26 September 2015

Update - Part 2

Fazeley to Huddlesford
7 miles
We spent a couple of days in Fazeley before heading off to see the historic boats and traders at the Huddlesford Festival. We weren't sure how far out we would have to moor as we hadn't booked for this one as it was really a last minute decision to go, but as we were heading upto Birmingham afterwards along the Birmingham and Fazeley canal we decided to go right to Huddlesford Junction, wind and then we would be able to moor up facing the right way. On the way up we passed Keri walking George, they had just arrived after picking up their new (well old - but new to them) butty Lyra from Gloucester.

Butty Lyra
We managed to moor up not far out of Huddlesford and in a nice open spot, we then had a wander back up to say hello to Keri and Dan and we saw Barry too on the Home Brew Boat. The time flew by and before we knew it, it had got quite late and we were discussing what to eat, it ended up with Keri and Dan coming back to LJ and James knocking up a nice risotto. It gave us a chance to try out our new seating arrangement which worked very well.

Saturday morning we had a wander round, there were trade boats, historic boats, stalls were set up in the field with displays of classic cars and a few Romany caravans. At lunchtime we said our goodbyes and headed back to LJ where we decided to move on again.

Huddlesford to Fazeley
7 miles
We enjoyed a nice journey back to Fazeley, James wanted to get a few pens prepared for turning as he had some commission to do, so I took over steering whilst he was busy inside. At Hopwas we said a quick hello to Yvonne and Roger on Fizzical Attraction as we passed by. At Fazeley we continued onto the junction, turned right and moored outside the Mill.

On Sunday we popped in to the Mill where the two remaining business' there were packing up as their leases had come to an end. Apparently they had all been given notice in June, after they had sold a lot of stock off cheaply in closing down sales the landlords then decided that they could stay another two years, I don't think anyone took them up on this offer. It seems the Mill is going to be converted to flats but now sounds like that won't be happening for a couple of years.

Fazeley to Bottom of Curdworth Locks
3 miles
We wanted to stop again by the water park, I think it's a great place to stop and I had a lovely walk with Dudley round the various lakes. On Monday it was pouring with rain we so hibernated for a while, a few familiar boats and faces passed by, Adam on Adrian on Briar Rose said a quick hello after they had come down the flight and then a few of the traders on their way up to Birmingham for the floating market.

The ornate Drayton foot bridge

Moored at the bottom of Curdworth Locks

One of the many lakes

Curdworth Locks
2.5 miles and 11 locks
In the afternoon the sun came out so we made our way up the locks, we started off as usual with James steering and me working the locks, after a couple we swapped and I steered and James worked the locks, then we swapped back for the top couple. I much prefer working the locks to steering, I'm quite slow getting into the locks but I suppose that's down to practice and I don't particularly like being down in the lock, its not too bad coming up though. We stopped at the top where we were going to spend a couple of days so James could get on with the turning but when morning came it was a bit damp and forecast rain later so we decided to push on into Birmingham and he could catch up on the turning once we were there and the weather better.

Curdworth Top Lock to Birmingham
9.5 miles and 27 locks
Tuesday we headed off first it was through Curdworth Tunnel and then onto the Minworth Locks. At the middle lock I dashed into the cafe, got a couple of bacon sarnies and caught up with James again at the top lock. This one is a bit of a pain as you have to leave it empty otherwise the lock cottage gets flooded. As James carried on with LJ I walked along with Dudley for a while, after we jumped back on I got some dough ready for proving, before I knew it we were at Salford Junction turning left staying on the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. Just as we approached the bottom lock of Aston it poured down, under the shelter of the railway bridge James dashed inside to get his waterproofs on as I got the lock ready, by the time we were out of the lock the rain had eased a bit and then stopped altogether. We continued up the flight passing a couple of boats coming down so the remaining locks were all in our favour.

At Aston Junction we turned right keeping on the Birmingham and Fazeley and after half a mile or so we were starting up the Farmer's Bridge Locks. These were all full so a boat must have been ahead of us, after a couple a CRT volunteer came our way and was getting the locks ready for us, he was emptying them and opening the gate of the next one as I closed the gate of the one LJ left, by the time I got up he was closing the gate and going on forward as I opened the paddles to raise LJ. We continued this way up the rest of the flight and made good time into Birmingham.

Keri and Dan were following on a couple of days behind us with their boat and butty and were due in Birmingham on Wednesday, we said we would help them up the Farmers Bridge flight so wandered down and waited for a while at Aston Junction, no sign of them so we continued onto Digbeth Junction and waited, still no sign so off to Bordesley, we finally caught up with them half way up the Garrison flight.

We were making good progress getting the two through and started the Farmer's Bridge Flight just as dusk was setting in. We got the motor through the bottom lock and just resetting it for the butty when Barry on the Home Brew boat joined the queue, Sandra was away so he was single handing. After we got the butty through I turned the lock and opened the gates for Barry then went up to join the others. A few of the other traders had turned up to help so I continued to help Barry up. As we all continued up the flight in the dark more people were joining the party, by the time we all arrived at the top, at gone 9pm, there were nine of us helping the two boats and butty through. So not content with doing our own 38 locks over the last two days we did another 20 today.

We were pleased we took Dudley with us as we had left at 1:30pm and it would have been too long to leave him. He was a very tired boy though as we had done about 8 miles in the 7.5 hours we had been out.

This hotel was just being refurbished last time we came this way

I am now up to date again and we are getting ready for a great weekend in Birmingham with loads going on.

563.5 miles and 464 locks

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Yet another update - Part 1

I really should make more of an effort to keep the blog updated!!

Shackerstone to Snarestone
4 miles
Once we had watched to parachute display on the Sunday afternoon we decided to head off for Snarestone and the current terminus of the Ashby Canal. We arrived just before dark and wondered if there would be any space available on the visitor moorings at the end, there was and we were really surprised as it was completely empty and we spent the night on our own. 

Another section of the canal has been watered since we were last up here and we walked down to the bridge which is currently being re-built. It is an accommodation bridge and when this section was closed the original bridge was flattened, they managed to recover most of the unusual bricks and the new bridge is being built much wider and stronger to be able to take the modern machinery the farmers now use. It is now constructed of concrete for strength but is being faced with the original bricks to keep the traditional look. We couldn't walk any further up the canal as it was all fenced off at the bridge. 

The new bridge under construction

Looking back on the newly opened section
On Monday and Tuesday we got on with some more jobs on the boat, first James did an oil change on both the engine and gear box, then I spent the rest of the day scraping and washing the engine 'ole ready for painting, and I managed to get a coat of red primer on followed the next day with grey bilge paint. James was inside re-sealing all around the tiles and work surface in the galley, as well as a few other jobs. 

Snarestone to Hinckley
16 miles
We set off on Wednesday heading for Trinity Marina as James had ordered some replacement glass for our stove, the old one was very pitted and we didn't think it would last another winter, it also looked a bit of a mess too and as we had re-blacked the stove itself it needed a new piece of glass. James had been told it would be in on Wednesday but we arrived after they closed so we moored up outside the pub in a stretch signed as visitor moorings.

First thing Thursday morning James popped to the marina but the glass hadn't arrived but it should be coming today by courier and they were one of the last on the delivery round so it wouldn't be until late in the day. Late afternoon James popped in again, still no glass.

Friday morning still no glass so they said they would phone their supplier and come and let us know what was happening, they didn't so James went to find out, when he was told it now wouldn't be in until Monday. We decided we weren't going to hang around that long, we already felt we had wasted a day there. James found a glass supplier on a nearby industrial estate and we could go a get a piece cut to size. It was, surprisingly more expensive, but at least we could get on our way again. 

Little and large

Hinckley to Gypsy Lane
7 miles
We had lunch in the pub then headed off, turning right at the junction onto the Coventry Canal. We've enjoyed our trip up the Ashby again.

Bye Bye Ashby Canal

Right to Nuneaton

Just before Gypsy Lane .... again

Gypsy Lane to Atherstone
7.5 miles
The moorings, were as usual, very busy and we managed to get onto the end. On Sunday we walked down to Aldi to stock up but walked through town first, we thought it would be pretty quiet being a Sunday and nothing much open, but we thought we would have a stroll down the High Street anyway. It did seem surprisingly busy and then we both noticed some old cars parked up, then up in the main square we stumbled across the Historic Motor Show. We had a stroll round looking out the models of cars we have owned over the years! Time really does fly. 

Harts Hill Yard

Moored at Atherstone

Historic Motor Show

The main square

Atherstone to Polesworth
5 miles and 11 locks
We left Monday morning and went down the pretty Atherstone flight, it was very busy coming up and we met a boat at every lock. We continued onto Polesworth and arrived to very busy visitor moorings in the rain where we tagged onto the end.

Moored at Polesworth

Polesworth to Alvecote
1.5 miles
We did the short trip to Alvecote and moored up opposite the Samuel Barlow pub. In the afternoon we popped in to see Ade of A P Boat Building, he restores and repairs wooden narrow boats and where James managed to get the pieces of nb Birchills and nb Dane last year. Ade had let James know he had come across a piece of nb Saturn which he would let us have, this is great news as it's quite a well known boat as it attends a few shows and is based at the end of the Llangollen Canal. This will be made into pens and as with Birchills and Dane 25% of our profit will be given to the custodians of the boat to help with its upkeep.

When we arrived we noticed the area by Samuel Barlow's car park was empty, there are normally a couple of historic boats there, this looked an ideal spot for our new sofa to be delivered. I spoke with Matthew at Samuel Barlow to ask if it would be ok to move over in the morning to take delivery, of course, he was happy for us to do this and was grateful that I had asked. So early Wednesday we moved across and just as we were tying up Glen from Elite turned up dead on time at 8am.

Opposite Samuel Barlow

By the car park, ready for a delivery

And in place

Alvecote to Fazeley
4 miles and 2 locks
After receiving our delivery we headed straight off for Fazeley we had few ebay deliveries to pick up at Argos on the retail park. It is great that you can now do click and collect at Argos. 

Fazeley Junction

Moored in Fazeley

Total 534.5 miles and 426 locks

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Shackerstone Festival

We've had a fantastic time at Shackerstone's 21st Festival, it was a busy weekend with things taking place throughout the day in the main arena as well as the canine arena, lawn mower racing arena, the wild west arena and the marquee. There were also plenty of historic boats lined up along the canal as well.

The weather was better on Sunday so some photos are cloudy, whilst others have a lovely bright blue sky.

The Royal Air Force Falcons Parachute Display Team are based at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire and display at venues all over Britain and Europe throughout the year. This was their first appearance at Shackerstone and they attended both days providing excellent displays.

Jason Smyth Adrenaline Tour is a quad and motorcycle stunt show with ex world Motocross championship rider.

Joseph's Racing Pigs are six rare breed pigs - Tamworth, Gloucester Old Spot, Saddleback, Berkshire, Oxford Sandy and Oxford Black. The lady who was commentating was very enthusiastic and entertaining.

The Spitfire was brilliant and more than just a fly past.

Lawn Mower Racing - you had to be there.

The Wild West

Historic Narrowboats

Steam Engines

Classic cars and caravans

Classic Motorcycles

Security Dog Demonstration


Wildcats Aerobatics Display Team
We had just come out of the pub where we enjoyed lunch to just catch the end of the display.

On Saturday evening we had a ride on the steam train, first class of course, to Shenton and back, then relaxed in the beer marquee for the evening entertainment, we didn't stay long as we had left Dudley home alone to recover from his busy day.

Dudley even enjoyed a cuddle with a new friend