Monday, 29 November 2010

Brass portholes? Hah!

You know it's cold when you get up in the morning and the windows look like this. If only we had realised when we had the boat built what we know now we would not have gone within a country mile of those lovely shiny brass portholes, brass is a wonderful transmitter of heat. We get twice the condensation/ice on the brass as on the glass. We're going to get some transparent acrylic to make secondary double glazing, in the meantime the little Bubble stove glows gently in the corner and does a splendid job of keeping hypothermia at bay.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Just wait until winter arrives.

I guess this is a familiar sight to everyone at the moment.

Here we are from the front, please note we are the opposite way round to all the other boats.

This was a surprise, The Old Bovine is just down from us, Leon says it is the first time they've been in a marina but needs must.The water points were frozen this morning but we all got together and by joining all our hoses up we reached the one point still running so we all have full water tanks, comforting.
Today was B.S.S. inspection and we sailed through (Please note the play on words, I do try) so that's that for another four years.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

The cowards run for cover.

Okay, okay, we've wimped out but have you seen the weather forecast?
Yesterday morning,

after a spectacular sunset on Tuesday

and a sunrise of nearly equal splendour guess what was on the canal,


The countryside was white with frost,

Stoke Golding was looking decidedly Christmas Cardish

and this was the life ring on the roof.
So we've booked into Trinity Marina for a month and I apologise to all the big muscular boaters who are now striding down the towpath in their singlets with half a tree under one arm and fifty litres of red diesel under the other, I know we have let the side down but as I have said before wimp is my middle name, along with idle.
Had to re-book the B.S.C. and it is now on Saturday, must start unblocking all those ventilators, chaining up the gas bottles and sorting all the other daft bits and bobs. Before anyone panics that last bit was tongue in cheek.
I'm not a lover of marinas but the batteries are partying at the back, they haven't had a charge like this for ages and being next to a water point has definite advantages. Mind you I went a purler on the ice while walking the dog this morning and knocked a lump out of a finger, blood everywhere, so it's not all beer and skittles.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Jill, looking dead posh.

On Sunday we had a stroll round Bosworth Water Park, last time we did it the lake was just a sheet of ice, but that was nearly a year ago.
Jill had booked a hairdo on Monday so I had to wait for her in the Red Lion, the sacrifices I make,

here she is studying the menu and looking very smart.

We're on our way back towards Hinckley, the big freeze is coming, so says the met. office, we intend to be somewhere near facilities when it hits.
The sky and clouds were visually stunning today but it did look cold, the snow is due on Friday, oh joy.

Saturday, 20 November 2010


Yesterday we got around to moving on to Market Bosworth,

The wind and rain had finally given up and we were left with a pea souper, we crept onwards

and were glad to see the housing estate that lines the canal opposite the moorings at M.B.
Today we went up into what I think is the most pleasant and friendliest small town on the system.

The shops are all centered on the market place. If you are here anytime don't miss Lampards the butchers, sausages made on the premises and meat of unequaled quality, unbeatable.

After getting the provisions in we adjourned to Ye Olde Red Lion, seven real ales and excellent food but today we just enjoyed the liquid refreshment as we had other plans for solid nourishment.

The best chippie in the East Midlands, cod and chips and a pea fritter, perfect ballast after a couple of pints. The problem now is keeping the eyes open, I think I'll just put my feet up and have a snooze z z z z z .

Thursday, 18 November 2010


What a day yesterday, like the rest of the country we had gales and rain so that was it, even if we had intended moving we would have cancelled. The wind has abated slightly today but as it is rather pleasant here we have put off moving until tomorrow.
I tried to use the internet yesterday but the dongle was getting blown about so much it wouldn't hold a signal so I gave up and went back to a John Grisham.
Earlier in the year I had a magnetic mount fitted to the satellite dish, it proved its worth yesterday, never wobbled an inch, the old sucker (the mount, not me) would have given up the ghost in that wind, hooray for technology.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Bucolic Charm.

Two days at Hinckley is enough so we have wandered of for places rural and fetched up by bridge 31, Woodentop Bridge, not sure whether to keep my eye out for a spotty dog or a traffic cop.

It was a beautiful late autumn morning, frosty, misty and hardly a breath of wind, perfect boating weather especially as there was hardly any traffic, we've seen four boats on the move all day. It has also been the first day for a while when we've had no leaves hindering progress.

In common with many villages Stoke Golding's Church is perched on top of a hill and is visible for miles, unless it's misty.
The seaweed feelers are forecasting rain and gales for tomorrow, that means we'll probably need the sun screen, but it's a good excuse to stay put. Not that we need an excuse to have another lazy day.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Does anyone remember the emu?

An exciting day yesterday, a bus trip into Coventry for Christmas shopping. On the way to the bus stop you cross this decorated footbridge,

called Wings Over Water, which crosses the cut on the line of one of the old colliery railways.
In the past we have taken the boat up into the Coventry basin but this time decided to stay at Suttons and use public transport, if you've got a bus pass, flaunt it. To be honest I don't think anyone on the bus paid, we were all wrinklies.

Next to the Greyhound there is this lovely terrace of cottages, they were originally built for miners at one of the nearby collieries but were subsequently bought by the canal company. I believe they are now in private hands.
Today we set of for Hinckley, no excitement at bridge 14 this time, unlike last year there was no emu

on the towpath, we still have no idea where it came from.
At Marston Junction one boat had just emerged from the Ashby and they warned us there was another just behind them. We had to wait mid canal

until it emerged. The wind drifted us across and nearly up the bank but they cleared the junction just in time for us to work our way round and under the bridge without hitting anything.
It was then a quiet run up to Nutts Lane Bridge at Hinckley.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Well that's alright then.

We have just had a reply to the email I sent to B.W. querying the letter we had received, see post for Sunday 31st October.
Well that's alright then, the letter from B.W. claiming we had overstayed at Cropredy fourteen day moorings was just a "gentle reminder" to people who "may be reaching the end of the fourteen days at the beginning of November", so in fact there had been no "regular boat sightings"at all, they were just worried that I might be there when the moorings are handed over to winter moorers. They also hope that the "friendly worded letter did not cause any distress". Of course not, a blatant lie accusing us of breaking the rules is absolutely fine, fancy us querying it.
So it appears B.W. have sent out numerous similar letters to people who have not overstayed at moorings but may be in the way of their plans to let out half of visitor moorings as winter moorings. I have nothing against the idea of winter moorings but this is going to make life difficult for continuous cruisers as moorings close to facilities will be snapped up leaving no space for visitors.
Rant over.
Weather is about as foul as my mood!
Just heard on the radio news that B.W. is going to encourage the public to come and see all the winter works they will be carrying out around the system, could be interesting.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Suttons Stop at last.

This morning dawned dry and cold with just a light breeze so off we went, destination Suttons Stop, again. We stopped at Rose Boats on the way and booked in for our B.S.C., sixth of December the big day.

Now that is what I call a paint job, seen at the moorings by bridge 26.

All the way along this length you have these things rushing past, I don't think they will catch on.
We had nearly reached The Elephant and Castle when I felt something on the prop., thinking "Leaves" I put her astern and was rewarded with a most unpleasant noise and a complete a refusal to make any progress at all. We managed to get into the side and it was up sleeves and delve into the murky depths of the weed hatch.

Well it wasn't leaves this time and the water was somewhat chilly. Drive restored we continued on our way and moored on the visitor moorings just short of the stop lock. We then found this set of signs that left us rather baffled.

Now what do you need a permit for? Or is it the dog that needs a permit to answer a call of nature? Who can fathom the workings of the B.W. mind?

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Blow, blow thou winter wind.

Having had enough of Rugbys mud we set off for Suttons Stop. Ten minutes later we managed to beat the wind and get away from the side only to be confronted with a boat coming through the bridge, throttle back and there we were, back on the side. After more effort and much jolly nautical language we were on our way.
We stopped for water at Newbold

and then went through that nicely illuminated tunnel. So tasteful.

It seems to be a good year for reedmace, last year there was hardly any, does it have a two year flowering cycle?

The wind has succeeded in stripping the trees of their leaves, half of them seem to have landed on our roof and the rest are lurking in the cut just waiting for a passing propeller to cling to,

this is All Oaks Wood at Brinklow. We debated whether to give up but decided to press on, that is until the prop. clogged again and the wind blew us into the pilings, we can take a hint, looks like Suttons tomorrow.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Rugby weather.

Shopping all done and stowed but not a day to be moving, the rain is coming in horizontally and varying between downpour and monsoon. Marmite is trying to cuddle the stove, Jill is cross stitching Christmas cards and I'm playing with the computer, one day I will discover how to make this machine do what I want, but I just feel that day may be some time away.
We are away for Christmas this year and have the boat booked in at Wigrams Turn for three weeks so it's just a case of killing time until then, I am sure we will keep ourselves amused.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Dilemma at Rugby.

Now at Rugby for a major store ship, we seem to have run low on everything at once, including such essentials as red wine, malt whisky and Jills Amontillado (Armadillo) sherry. The problem here is that you have a choice, you can moor on the mud bath that passes for a towpath and be close to Tescos or you can moor over the way in the park and avoid the worst of the mud, but that means you have to haul all the shopping up a near vertical slope, over the bridge and then back down to canal level. We opted for the mud this time. The dog does not appreciate having its feet cleaned every time she has a walk but you have heard the expression a dogs life..........

Friday, 5 November 2010

Hillmorton and a pleasant discovery.

I don't know how many times we have passed through Hillmorton or have just moored overnight but as we are staying for a couple of nights this time, really do not want to be in Rugby for bonfire weekend, we decided to actually wander about a bit.

The church is next to the locks but, as in so many cases nowadays, it was locked so we couldn't explore it. A shame because it looked quite interesting.

We then wandered under the railway bridge and into Hillmorton itself, it seems to consist of nothing but housing estates but nestling in their midst was a sight to gladden the heart, well one has to investigate and I am delighted to report it had a selection of real ales, including Adnams Bitter, Wells Bombardier and Black Sheep, which proved to be in excellent condition. The sandwiches were o.k. as well. We also found a corner shop and the pub landlord assured us there is a Co-op nearby, just goes to show, you never know what you may be missing.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

To Hillmorton.

Ignoring the howling wind we set off this morning,

the first bridge you come to is bridge 80, Wises Bridge, it has been like this for at least three years, I wonder if there are any plans for it.

There doesn't seem to be much going on at the new Barby Marina, I get the feeling that we are reaching saturation point with marinas.
Having had enough of wind and the usual coating of autumn leaves around the prop we stopped at the top of Hillmorton Locks. We walked down the locks at at the bottom found

our old mates Cookie and Lin

with their venerable boat Windale looking pristine in a new paint job. A cup of tea and a chance to catch up on each others travels.
On the way back up the locks

we passed this ancient pollarded willow with a quite amazing growth of fungus.
Looking at tomorrows weather forecast guess who is staying put.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Late delivery, a bit of heritage plus sloe gin

We are now topped up with diesel and have ample supplies of coal, Gosty Hill arrived at 2300 last night, having started loading at Napton at 0530, serviced thirty two boats before they got to us and when they left us they still had more to do! And Ian was still cheerful!

This morning Nuneaton came through with Brighton on cross straps, they were both considerably higher in the water than when we saw them at Banbury, they had been carrying bagged coal when we last saw them and had obviously delivered it safely.

Sloes + Gin + Sugar, now it's just a question of time and the occasional shake. When we bottle it we add a few drops of almond essence, just rounds it off.
Surprisingly mild for the time of year, we have the doors and side hatches open and although there is a bit of a breeze it does not feel cold, making the most of it to air the boat.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Barby, a reflection on laziness.

Sometimes when I read other peoples blogs I get a real guilt complex, there they are, zooming off to distant points, clocking up miles and taking photo's of immaculate artistry and here we are, managed to pump out and water and travel all the way from Braunston to Barby. I have taken two mediocre photo's of English countryside and we now intend to stay here until Ian and Gosty Hill turn up to top up the diesel and coal supples. No wonder I feel guilty, oh come on, me, feel guilty about loafing? You're joking, lazy is my middle name!