Friday, 31 August 2012

Pictures are back and Warwick is left behind.

Well hoo flippin' ray. Blogspot has relented and is once again recognising piccies! The witty inscription below this one would have been, "In Warwick even the ducks are demanding umbrellas", but it's all a bit irrelevant now as it's two days out of date.
Mind you, despite the Met. Office's best predictions, it is once again chucking it down. At least they got some of it right, we were allowed to make our exit from Warwick in the dry.

The Cape of Good Hope, not the southernmost point of Africa but the well known canal side pub at Warwick. It's a while since we availed ourselves of its hospitality but it was always a good night with decent ale.

Now here's a place that has a lot to answer for, Kate Boats Warwick base. this is where we frequently hired holiday boats from and those holidays persuaded us that continuous cruising was the lifestyle we wanted when we retired. So without this building there would probably be no Armadillo and therefore no blog and what would you be doing now if you couldn't read this?
Didn't use the camera much today as there didn't seem much point if we couldn't use them on here, Well we are now moored between locks nineteen and twenty and don't intend moving for a day or two, R & R after two weeks of descendants.

Watch this space.............

Thursday, 30 August 2012

If there were a brick wall handy I would bang my head on it.

The last of the small people departed yesterday, very quiet on board now. We saw them off in the pouring rain, bound for Plymouth. After they had left we sat and watched the rain run down the widows until.......

There should now be a photo' of ducks in the rain but blogspot is off on one of its periodic sulks again and is refusing to acknowledge the existence of photo's and I am unable to upload any. Sometimes I despair of this site. I know it's free but I don't think they would have the nerve to charge for it. And this is the day after I managed to persuade T-mobile to let me have more data after a month of arguing. Am I a technophobe? Too blooming right I am!
Anyway; we are off tomorrow heading south for the Oxford, how far down the Oxford we go is still under discussion but that is the idea at the moment.

Watch this space...................

Monday, 27 August 2012

Warwick Castle, part two.

The boys having departed there was now room for the next invasion of grandsprogs. First thing this morning they insisted on feeding the ducks,

unfortunately the arrival of one of the geese proved somewhat intimidating giving rise to

moments of panic. Note how Esme bravely keeps Elliot between her and the goose. Sisterly love.
Another trip to the castle was mooted and agreed upon so after breakfast we set off. Strolling through the town we came upon an unusual letter box,

Cast in 1856 by Messrs Smith and Hawkes at the Eagle Foundry in Broad Street, Birmingham in the shape of a Doric Column.
On arriving at the castle gate it was obvious that, after our previous visit, we were persona non grata. They had shut the portcullis against us, it looked as though in their haste they had shut the Archer out

and he was eagerly seeking entrance. It turned out that he was not worried about a Yorkist attack but was actually giving a demonstration of the defensive measures taken at the gate. He made a good job of it, left us all a bit nervous of going through even after the portcullis was raised. I had to point out to him though that his sword was in need of cleaning, could have been rust, could have been blood, I didn't linger to find out which.
In the main building there was echoes of another civil war, in the State Dining Room

King Charles Ist looked down on us and in the Great Hall next door that arch-villain, war criminal

and military dictator Cromwell was on display. Difficult to know who was the more unpleasant out of the two of them.

Attempts to remove the sword from the stone
proved futile so they sought advice on sovereignty

from an expert.
We saw all the other shows, jousting, The Warwick Warriors and the falconer but as these have already been featured I won't repeat them.
Two visits with grandchildren and they have all voted Warwick Castle, "Awesome".
I reckon they should be paying me for all this good publicity but I doubt I'll get 'owt, story of my life.
If The Archer reads this, it was good meeting you, take care and get that sword cleaned.

Watch this space................

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Joust a bit about Warwick Castle.

Warwick Castle, once the centre of power in England, the abode of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, known as Warwick the Kingmaker. During the Wars of the Roses, if you wanted to be king, you became buddies with Warwick.

It all ended messily though, after falling out with Edward IV he restored Henry VI, who was totally loopy, to the throne but then got himself topped at the Battle of  Barnet in April 1471.
Nowadays it is a major tourist attraction so we set off with the two boys for a bit of culture. After having enjoyed the spookiness of the dungeons and the naffness of the Merlin tower and having downed a hot dog apiece we were ready for the truth about medieval warfare.

It seems that they used wooden shields and, rather than swords, a poleaxe or a mace,

it looks as though they just used swords for wood chopping but I may be wrong.

There was a huge great sparrow on the lawn, goodness only knows what bird food they put out.
The finale was the international joust.

My compact camera is excellent in many respects but it has one annoying habit, there is a lag between pressing the button and the picture actually being taken

so I got lots of pictures like this.

But eventually managed a few action shots.

Eventually, oddly enough, the English knight won the tournament having beaten the French representative, although the scoring was decidedly dodgy.
So having wrung the last thrill from the day we set off for home,

It looked as though the boys were going to be detained for a while but fortunately their parents had arrived and bailed them out.

Watch this space..............

Friday, 24 August 2012

Some slight eccentricities amongst the artistic bits.

As it has once again been a few days since my last post I'll just use some of the odder photo's from the last few days.

A Reliant three wheeler up a tree, it's not a Robin but the later Rialto model, does that make me an anorak?

Boat, aqueduct and two small boys.

We all know what this is, don't we?

Temporary footbridge being built to enable a wedding party to cross the canal from house to reception marquee. They were getting on fine until we arrived and they realised it needed raising by a foot as Jill had to duck to get under it.

A nest box for the unorthodox sparrow?

Beyond this bridge are the mighty waters of the Grand Union Canal.

Steam narrowboat Emily Ann passed majestically by in total silence, wonderful.

Shrewley tunnel with it's odd, separate horse tunnel.

Noah appears to be doing some sort of war dance as he wrestles Hatton paddle gear into submission.

Looking back up part of the Hatton Flight. A.k.a. The Stairway to Heaven.

Of which Jonah had had enough.

And finally: View Through a Lock Gate.
We are now up the Saltisford Arm at Warwick, brilliant secure moorings at only £4 per night, electric extra.
This weekend we swop one set of grandsprogs for another!

Watch this space..................

Monday, 20 August 2012

Ooh! I was cross but I'm feeling calmer now.

Always a day behind, that's me. Yesterday daughter arrived with two offspring in tow and after a sumptuous repast, again at The Garrick, had departed, depositing said offspring with us. We had just settled down onboard for a post prandial game of snap when we were hurled violently from our seats by the sudden arrival , just for'ard of the side hatch, of an Anglo-Welsh hire boat. Having used us as a brake he then decided that we would make an ideal pivot for his attempts to turn the boat into the pontoon moorings, put his tiller hard over and upped the revs. This resulted in his front fender sliding along the cabin side and then buckling the hinges on the shutter on the side hatch. I feel I should draw a veil over the next few minutes but I suspect the children's vocabulary has been somewhat expanded, just hope they don't use the expansion in front of the vicar. The net result is that we are now at the Anglo-Welsh base at Wootten Wawen awaiting repairs.
This morning we set off from Bancroft Basin for the long climb out of Stratford.

Two willing lock workers in attendance, they are big enough now to shift a lock gate and are really helpful.

Noah was particularly chuffed as he now has his own windlass

which he put to good use although some of the paddles defeated him, mind you they are not the easiest locks in the world.

By Wilmcote however energy and enthusiasm were definitely flagging. They'd both done superbly well.
At Wootton, after chatting with the manager, who is being very helpful, it was out fishing tackle. Good grief, normally we expect a few roach but today

the bream were biteing.

Noah's decided to flip up in the air just as the camera clicked and poor Jonah's never got it's picture taken as it was all a bit fraught as, in the excitement, everybody got in each others way. But it was just as big. One each and then the dinner gong went so the fish will have to wait until tomorrow.

Watch this space.......................

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Would I make a theatre critic? I suppose not.

Just a quick post today as we are preparing for the arrival of the grandsons tomorrow.

Shakespeares birth place. We didn't go in, it was raining and all the tourists were crammed into the various visitor attractions.

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, we actually went to the Courtyard Theatre, a temporary set up while the refurbishment of the main theatre was undertaken. It's theatre in the round and was a wonderfully quirky place, all bare ply-wood sheets and temporary wiring, and Much Ado? The best production of it we've seen, the setting was modern Delhi and all the cast were Asian, it just worked wonderfully. Before the theatre we dined at No. 9 Church Street, what a superb meal, pricey but worth every penny. All in all it was a brilliant night out.

Does it need a comment?
This may be the last post for a while, the boys are inclined to take up most of my time.

Watch this space...................

Friday, 17 August 2012

Stratford, with Shakespearean references.

Yesterday we set off in the crepuscular light of dawn and at the first bridge found this reminder of the days when this canal was owned by the G.W.R. In this context a "Heavy Motor Car" actually referred to a traction engine or steam roller, this was the time before general use of the infernal combustion engines.

By the time we reached the Edstone aqueduct the clouds had wandered off and the sun was casting shadows across the fields.

It looked as if we might get a summers day.

By the time we were on the Wilmcote flight with Stratford in the distance the clouds were back and summer was going back into hiding. We were surprised to find all the locks full and the top gates open, we have now
discovered that if these locks are left full then the top gate swings gently open. We were delighted to find them all set for us but, and there is always a but, by lock 45 we were being accompanied down the flight by five locks worth of water, the pounds were brimming,

 it was overtopping the gates and the by-washes were so strong we could no longer transit between locks. So we sat for twenty minutes while the levels dropped to normal.

Lock 53 has a most unusual, probably unique, balance beam which makes it somewhat difficult to work, in fact it's a beast.

To cut a long story short we arrived in the basin, moored and went off for a stroll,

The Garrick, the oldest pub in Stratford, looked promising. It is what we would call in Devon a grockle trap, designed to drag in the tourists and it did that well, the majority of the punters were definitely from foreign climes but the sandwiches were splendid, the chips perfect and the beer very quaffable and it didn't hit the wallet too hard, just a flinch rather than a scream of pain.
Jill has booked seats for the local Am-Dram society, I think they call themselves the R.S.C. They are having a shot at "Much Ado About Nothing", I hope they make a half decent fist of it.
For the cultured among you here is a piece of poetry with Shakespearean connection:

I acted so tragic, the house rose like magic,
The audience yelled,"Your sublime".
They made me a present of Mornington Crescent, 
They threw it a brick at a time.
Someone threw a fender which caught me a bender,
I hoisted a white flag and tried to surrender.
They booed me, they jeered me,
They damn near stoned me to death.
They threw eggs and potatoes, half bricks and tomatoes,
The night I appeared as Macbeth.

Watch this space.............