Saturday, 27 September 2014

Yet another new alternator.

Our troublesome domestic alternator finally expired on last Tuesday so we had to make our way down to Norbury Wharf where we have been stuck between two other boats.

That's us, second one in, absolutely no 'phone signal, ergo, no internet. The new alternator finally arrived this morning and it was a matter of an hour or so before it was fitted and producing electricity like there was no tomorrow. It also has a free wheeling pulley fitted. This means that when you stop the engine the alternator continues to spin for a short while, preventing the sudden jar on the bearings and also helping the alternator to cool down, or so I am reliably informed.
Once it was up and running we headed out and have made it as far as The Anchor.

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

Sunday, 21 September 2014

The fruits of autumn.

We had a day at Norbury Junction making final arrangements for the work we're having done on the boat. We have finally given up on the brass portholes with their propensity to leak, rattle and run with condensation in the winter and we're having them replaced with alloy double glazed ones. This means that the cabin sides will need repainting and the bottom needs re-blacking. More expense. We're using the time she will be in dock to jet off to Tenerife for a couple of weeks. Until we actually fly we are just cruising up and down, Gnosall to High Offley and back, repeat as necessary.
Yesterday we took a morning constitutional round the lanes at High Offley. Autumn is definitely here,

some of the shrubs are already in autumn colours and the spiders webs

are heavy with dew.
It's a good year for the wild fruits,

blackberries in profusion.

The sloes are looking particularly juicy, hope that there will be some left when we get back so we can make our normal quota of sloe gin.

One stretch of hedgerow was dominated by wild hops.

Hips and haws in abundance, the birds will feed well this winter.

Nice pumpkin in a local garden, it's years since Jill made a pumpkin pie, probably because the pie is one of the least inspiring products of the gastronomic art. Reminiscent of pulped damp cardboard, even Jill's pastry can't make it worthwhile.

This is a robin's pin cushion or Bedeguar gall on a dog rose. It is caused by a gall wasp, Dipoloepsis rosae.

I have absolutely no idea as to the significance of the pink pig.

Built to last, the local post box proudly displays the V.R. of the old queen, God bless her.

Of course there is only one place to finish a walk around High Offley, the splendid Anchor for a pint of 6X.

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

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Not much signal in rural Staffordshire.

This stretch of the Shroppie has the worst signal strength I've found since swapping to 3, mind you the E.E. signal is no better.

We spent yesterday at Brewood as Jill wanted to get her hair sorted and she likes one of the local salons. We also took the opportunity to have a meal at our favourite Indian restaurant, The Curry Inn, just opposite the church. It was excellent as usual. I wish they would put some moorings in between bridges 12 and 13, you get a lovely view of the village but the edges need a good dredging. The actual moorings for the village are in a dank and gloomy cutting. More news from Brewood, The Bridge is undergoing a major refurbishment. Lost count of the number of times it has closed and reopened in the last few years but it looks like there is some real investment going in at last.

This morning it was off and soon over the A5 on Telford's aqueduct. I was going to make some sarcastic remarks about the scurrying traffic on the road, of course as soon as I pointed the camera the road emptied.
We have stopped at Little Onn for tonight and I'm struggling to get enough signal to download pictures so that's all folks!

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

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Down the 21.

Farewell to the Black Country Museum.

We slipped away at 0700 Friday, heading north for the Shropshire Union. Of course we were going to have to negotiate the Wolverhampton 21 en-route.

It was nearly 0900 by the time we arrived at Wolverhampton Top Lock and we were pleased to find that the locks are still a delight to work. Just one hand needed to work the paddles and gates that were amenable to opening and closing.

 We even tried racing a train on the main line, it just beat us.

The flight has an almost rural feel to it even though you are still in Wolverhampton.

In the shadow of the incinerator I made a fruitless attempt to straighten up the bow button. Earlier in the year it snagged on a lock gate on the Trent and Mersey and it must have weakened the chains because over the summer it has taken every slight bump as an excuse to snap another link. The chains now consist more of shackles than actual chain and it takes great delight in pointing in every direction except straight forward. I cannot be bothered to take it off and straighten it up yet again so it will have to be a new one, more expense.
We were making good progress even though we were having to turn all the locks and then we met the proverbial numpties coming up, as the next lock ahead was set for them we waited even though they were just entering the one below it. Half an hour later they finally emerged and we could get on. Have you ever seen paddles raised half inch by half inch?

At lock 18 we met the Narrow Boat Trust's Nuneaton and Brighton heading south fully loaded, attracting much interest from the local population who seemed unfamiliar with the idea that the canals once carried goods.

We let them turn the lock for the butty so the good time we were making on the locks had by now slipped to below average.

These were the gates we had been looking for.

At Aldersley Junction we left the BCN and for a half mile or so we traversed the Staffs.& Worcs. to Cut End, a.k.a. Autherley Junction and turned through the stop lock onto the Shroppie.

A nice lady from the boat following us kindly shut the gate for us.
We wandered on as far as the S.U.C.S. moorings by bridge eight where we are having a day or two of quiet contemplation after all the excitement of the Black Country.

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

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Through the Black Country.

Wednesday morning, ready to leave Brum behind. Heading for the Black Country Museum. It's a choice of Smethwick locks and the Old Main Line or the New Main Line and Factory Locks. So we chose the third option and went for the Gower Branch and Brade's Locks which means you go half way on the new line and halfway on the old.

Along the new line there is a procession of old basins, loops and side arms, some navigable but most filled in as the factories they served are long gone.

Just before Smethwick Junction a couple of factories still survive, filling the air with the acrid fumes and the noise of metal being worked. It gives a faint idea of how it must have been when the Black Country was the workshop of the world.

Smethwick Junction with the Old Main Line heading off. We passed it by and carried on

under the M6 and

past Spon Lane Locks, claimed by some to be the oldest locks on the system.

Albion Junction, where the Gower Branch heads off. You always get three things at a BCN junction, a finger post, a Horseley Iron Works bridge and graffiti.

Brade's bottom lock is quickly followed by the only staircase pair on the BCN.

The middle gates loom high over you as you enter the bottom lock.

Out of the top lock and onto the Old Main Line at Brade's Hall Junction. A couple of miles and a sharp left at Tipton Junction.

Unless you want to leg your boat through Dudley Tunnel is a no go, although you can take a trip into the tunnel and old mines on a Dudley Canal Trust trip boat.

 Moored in the basin at the museum we rapidly made use of the two best buildings there. Good beer in an old Black Country pub and then fish and chips, actually cooked in beef dripping, A gustatory treat.
Tomorrow it's down the Wolverhampton 21 and onto the Shroppie.

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