Thursday, 19 December 2013

Well we are now safely moored where Falcon will be staying whilst we are away.  The hire car is there ready for us to head out tomorrow.  The presents are wrapped and the bags are packed so just about ready to go.  It will be mid February before we will be back on board. After visiting Lorraine and family we are off to Plymouth for fun and festivities, then a trip to see my cousin Carole in Bristol in January as we take Richard to the airport for his flight back.  Then on 10th January we will be in Southampton to board a really big boat.  The Queen Elizabeth as we are going on a 27 night cruise to San Francisco.  Via New York and the Panama Canal.  With various other stop offs along the way.  So it will be well into February before we will be back on board Falcon and I will be blogging here.

So until then we both wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Did our shopping in Leighton Buzzard, also some washing.  Then we had a couple of nights in Fenny Stratford.  Found Ikea and Asda just a 20 minuet bike ride from the canal.  So we have had some exercise!  Left there this morning, got water and did one shallow lock.  Not long after it started to rain so we decided to moor for the night and it wasn’t even 1 o’clock!  Have started wrapping up Christmas presents as it’s not long now. Friday we head off to Stanstead Airport to pick up Richard.  Then we spend a couple of nights with Lorraine and family before heading off to Plymouth until the New Year.  Getting excited now!!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Cottage at Ivinghoe Lock built the year my Dad was born
Duck there's a bridge..... what duck I can't see a duck
Well we seem to be in the routine of 3 locks per day.  Along with 2 or three miles, just enough to get our batteries back up.  Yesterday was lovely and sunny and the locks were full, which as we are travelling downhill is just the way we want them.  Today however all three were empty.  Just means it takes a bit longer as we have to wait for them to fill.  These are big locks too, room for 2 boats but there doesn’t seem to be anyone to share with at the moment!  We did see one moving boat today, but that was after we had moored.  The pictures are from yesterday as we were going down through Ivinghoe Locks.  Took a picture of the cottage as it was built in the same year my Dad was born.  The locks are older though with dates around the 1870’s.  Shopping in Leighton Buzzard tomorrow.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Well all went according to plan and we went into Cowroast Marina for the night on Wednesday.  Whilst there we were able to make use of their facilities.  Namely the laundry and the pump out!  Both very necessary.  We also got diesel and gas so are well stocked!  Even though the bank balance is somewhat depleted.  We just stayed the one night so Thursday saw us heading out northward.  We are now making our way down (that’s the way the locks go) towards Cosgrove.  The other way took us a week but this way we need to make it last about ten days to get us to our mooring at the right time.  We need to run the engine for a couple of hours each day to keep the batteries topped up and it is much pleasanter to run them when cruising rather than sitting moored with the engine running.  If the sun is out the solar panels top us up, even at this time of year.  However the grey dull weather we have had for a couple of days doesn’t give us anything.  Currently we are moored near Ivinghoe and the sun is shining.  Just about to have coffee before moving on.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

At Marsworth Junction looking towards the Aylesbury Arm
Continuing our way back up the Aylesbury Arm we came out on to the main Grand Union on Sunday.  We had planned to spend an extra day splitting the last 4 locks into 2 days, but when we went to moor once again the water was a bit low, so we decided to carry on to make the final short length on to the main channel.  Spending the night at Marsworth Junction we came up seven locks yesterday and are now moored at Tring which is the summit for this part of the canal.  We are also back to the double locks, Aylesbury is single ones.  Our plan is to go as far as Cowroast (yes there is really a place called that) which is just a few miles further along.  We hope to overnight in the marina there and then start heading north again probably on Thursday.

At Marsworth working out which way to go!

Friday, 29 November 2013

This will keep us warm!
It has been an eventful couple of day even though we have not travelled very far.  On Tuesday we cruised through lock 12, the lock which had collapsed causing the Aylesbury Arm to be closed for many months.  Then the afternoon found us foraging!  Paul had spotted some wood on the tow path so off we set with the chain saw as you can see from the picture!  The wood keeps us warm in so many ways, not the least in the gathering of it!

So Wednesday should have been a cruise of a couple of miles with 3 locks then into Aylesbury Basin.  All was well until the second lock when we were warned by a passing chap that the next pound (stretch of water between locks) was very low.  It was more than low there were big sand banks on either side.  So we rang the Canal and River Trust (CRT) and had lunch whilst waiting.  Seems there is construction work going on the in basin and the workmen were letting the water out so they could do their work!  Not ideal for us. .  Meanwhile we had been talking to Sue from a boat we had first met 5 or 6 days ago.  They were behind us, then as we filled with water just before turning towards Aylesbury, they passed us.  So we knew we were following them.  Sue was walking the dog and told us they were stuck in the basin as the water was too low to leave.  In any case they wouldn’t get through the pound that was stopping us!

 So we walked into Aylesbury and had a short walk around the town.  By yesterday  morning CRT had let enough water down through so that we could continue.  We had already decided we wouldn’t stay in the basin, not very pleasant with all the contruction work anyway.  So yesterday was the final 2 locks down, after turning we filled with water and came back up the same 2 locks, taking us nearly 2 hours the levels were still so low!  So today we will be wending our way back to the Grand Union! 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Well as you will see we are now on Tuesday.  I wrote the piece below yesterday then couldn't seem to post it.  Well yesterday was a busy day with 9 locks in total.  The first 2 being a staircase.  We are now making our way towards Aylesbury.  A beautiful frosty sunny morning, so must be off and away.
Monday 25th November

Well didn’t realise how long since I last wrote here.  Time goes so quickly!!  We pottered on from Milton Keynes and on through Fenny Stratford, not taking a walk ashore at either place, as we have visited before and we will be headed back this way in a couple of weeks time.  Friday morning saw us arrive in Leighton Buzzard.  Tesco has 2 hour moorings, so we were able to stock up.  We also caught up with an old friend of mine, Julie, we grew up together.  We did see her last year in Milton Keynes but on Friday she took us back to her place.  Unfortunately due to commitments on their side and ours we were only able to spend a few hours with her and husband David.   Still long enough for a glass of wine and a catch up! 

We needed to press on southward as lock 35 closes today for a week.  Well we came through there yesterday.  Currently we are thinking we may head to Aylesbury before heading northwards once again.  The Aylesbury Arm had been shut for a while as lock 12 had collapsed, however last night we looked at the stoppages to check everything out and it seems the only problem now is with the towpath.  So we will give it a go.  Watch this space to see how we get on.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

We arrived in Milton Keynes this afternoon.  It has taken us a bit longer as we backtracked through Cosgrove.  Came through there on Sunday and Monday morning moved on to Wolverton where there is a Tesco quite close to the canal so we were able to stock the fridge.  We then winded and headed back to Cosgrove, for very good reason.  Whilst we were at Weedon Paul got chatting to the couple moored in front of us.  Turned out they own some moorings at Cosgrove.  So this morning we went to see them and we now have our mooring for Christmas all sorted out.  That done we winded again and are once more heading south.  We are heading towards London, don’t know how far we will get before we have to turn and head back.  Watch this space.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Nosy neighbour, think the moorhen wanted to share our lunch
Well we did stay the extra night at Weedon leaving there on Thursday morning.  A nice easy day with no locks but a very strong wind.  We got to Gayton Junction and moored for water.  No problem with that as the wind took us right on to the jetty.  Just arrived when a boat came along the arm to turn right out on to the Grand Union, straight into the wind.  It was their first time out with their new boat.  They were blown on to us but no damage done.  Cruising is sometimes known as a contact sport!  In then end Paul got on their boat and took it round the corner, then walked back.  By which time I had the water all connected!  After all that we moved back on to the main canal and decided to stay there for the night. 

Yesterday was a much busier day.  We moored at Blissford and went to look at the village, this was followed by the Tunnel of the same name.  The 3rd longest on the network.  After a lunch break came the 7 locks of Stone Bruerne.  No boat to pair with so on our own.  As with Buckby there was lots of water with several of the gates overflowing.  Still they say better to be lucky than rich and I was lucky.  Two guys walking down through the locks were fascinated, not seen the locks being worked before.  Did we mind if they helped!!  I really don’t know what I would have done without them.  Yes I do, Paul would have had to get off and help.  This would have slowed us down and the light was fading  anyway as we moored for the night.  

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Moored opposite Whilton Marina at the bottom of the Buckby Locks
After our night at Buckby on Monday morning the remaining 6 locks of the Buckby Flight awaited.  The weather wasn’t great, rather grey and drizzly, but not pouring with rain so we thought we would set off.  Well it was a hard morning.  We were following a boat so in theory as we were travelling downhill the locks should have been empty when we go there.  So full is the canal, combined with leakage on the gates at least 2 of the 6 were already full when we got there.  In some instances the water was pouring over the top of the gate.  This made them very heavy to open and close.  These locks are double width so 2 boats can go side by side, so you only need to open one of the pair of gates.  However lock gates are very contrary and a couple of times the offside gate would open as Paul came in!  When they did Paul was able to get off and shut it which saved me walking around! Particularly difficult was the penultimate gate where for a while the only thing moving was my feet on the ground.  Well to my triumph and satisfaction we completed the lot arriving at Whilton in time for a much needed late lunch in the cafe at the marina.  That was us of the day!!

A closer view of the lock gates with the water coming over the top.
Yesterday was much more relaxed and the sun was shining.  We had a leisurely cruise and are now moored at Weedon.  There is a garage here which will wash and dry a load of washing for £5 so am making good use of their facility.  Off to collected the clean dry clothing etc shortly.  Again the sun is shining so we may well stay here again tonight.  The sun will go a fair way to recharging our batteries so we don’t need to run the engine.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Well as I write this we are cruising through Braunston Tunnel, so you will know we have come safely through as I won’t get internet connection until the other side!  We last came through here on Wednesday, but then we were going in the opposite direction!  We arrived in Braunston on Thursday where Johnno came on board to have a look at our impeller!  Something to do with the water pump that Paul had been concerned about for a while.  This was the reason we had come to Braunston.  Long story short, both Paul and Johnno seemed to get black and greasy, they seem to like that, and about 3 hours later job was all done.  Much to Paul’s relief.  We cruised on towards Braunston and moored for a couple of nights.  On Friday we caught the bus into Rugby.  Yesterday was wet and cold so we didn’t venture far.  Today however is lovely and sunny.  We have just come up the six locks from Braunston, the last 4 we shared with another boat with a lovely family on board.  A ten year old girl was working the paddles and the gates.  No mean feat as it can take all my weight and effort at times.  Our plan had been to moor at Norton Junction, however there was no room so we had to work another lock, going downhill now and have moored for the night near Buckby.  Nearly time now for Strictly results show, so bye for now.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Monday 4th November

Well we are now back out on ‘the cut’.  The weekend was lovely.  We arrived in the marina at Yelvertoft on Thursday morning, having rung ahead so we knew which berth we were on.  Straight on from the entrance, so that was easy.  Have had a very sociable time either visiting, or having visitors.  On Saturday friends took us to Daventry, might not sound exciting but these days a ride in a car is a treat!  We are easily pleased!  Saturday night was the Halloween Party, though our dressing up was minimal.  Paul had a hat and me a wig!  The punch was good and I did my best to sample it!  Being in the marina meant we had electrical hook up so caught up on a few chores, hovering etc.  Also made full use of the laundry facilities, so now we are all spick and span and fully charged.  We left about 3 after a pump out and cruised for about an hour.  Tomorrow we will go down the staircase at Watford, then probably moor up and go for a coffee at Watford Gap services on the M1.  Living it up again!  So until next time cheerio.

PS Well as you will have seen at the top it is now Tuesday and we are at Watford Gap Services having a latte and using their internet.  We have come down the staircase of 4 and 3 other locks this morning.  The lockkeeper booked us in asked if I knew what to do and we didn’t see him again.  Don’t think he wanted to be out in the rain.  Well must crack on as I didn’t bring the power lead and we are sat right by a socket.  TTFN

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Well we finally came up through the Foxton Flight on Friday.  There was a lockkeeper so it was a fairly easy trip with the sun shining on us.  Much better weather than we had been expecting.  Spent a couple of nights at the top making sure we had a good TV signal so we could watch Strictly, can’t believe that Deborah went out and biker Dave is still in and hasn’t even been in a dance off yet!!  Paul managed to watch 2 rugby matches as well.  Sunday morning saw us setting off early, think we were awake as the clocks had changed.  Also we had listened to the weather forecast which said there was a storm on the way.  So we were safely moored in the sun by midday.  Think we missed the worst of the storm and no sign of fallen trees across the canal when we moved on, on Monday.  We are now moored at Yelvertoft.  Yesterday we had a couple of solar panels fitted on the roof.  Surprisingly we had sun yesterday and again today so the batteries are charging as we sit here.  Tomorrow we move on to Yelvertoft Marina until Monday.  This is where we started out.  We will catch up with a few friends and there is a Halloween Party on Saturday.  So we are set for a good weekend.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Well in the 5 days since I last wrote we haven’t been very far.  We have cruised to Market Harborough and almost back again.  About 5 miles one way, with no locks but 2 swing bridges.  We are now about a mile from the junction at Foxton.   It is a very rural bit of canal with a couple of road bridges but no villages.  Went into Market Harborough a few times.  It is a nice little town with a variety of shops.  Did a few bits of Christmas shopping!!  Can’t believe we are thinking about that already!  The town is a couple of miles down hill from the towpath so we got the bikes out.  So hopefully we burnt off a few calories on the cycle back.  The 3rd and final time we went I made it all the way up the hill without stopping.  Tho I will say by Plymouth standards it wasn’t a very steep hill, also Paul managed it on the second attempt.  Over the next couple of days we will continue through the 2 swing bridges to Foxton Junction then finally we will go through the locks there.  Ten in total in 2 staircases of 5.  There will be a lock keeper on duty so hopefully he will help, depending on who else is going through.  

Friday, 18 October 2013

Falcon ready to go back into the water this morning

Out for a meal with Miggie and Dave on Wednesday
We are now back in the water.  Blacking successfully completed and Paul did some painting too whilst she was out of the water.  Dave took us back to Debdale yesterday and we spent the night on board but on the side on blocks.  Falcon was put back in the water this morning and we have cruised to Foxton, so we are now back where we were a weeks ago.  Although looking much posher!!  Have to be careful to avoid hitting anything for a while!!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Made an overnight stop at Fleckney before arriving at Foxton Locks on Friday where we stayed for 2 nights.  On Saturday we met up with Barry, Leyann, Miggie and Dave at the pub at the bottom of Foxton Locks.  Whilst talking over lunch we said about Falcon coming out of the water and when Miggie and Dave realised we were staying on board whilst the blacking was taking place they offered to have us to stay.  So here we are.  Sunday was a short cruise back to Debdale Wharf.  Then Monday Falcon was lifted out of the water onto blocks.  We were able to go back on board for lunch and shortly after Dave came and picked us up.  We have said we would like to stay until Thursday but we haven’t said exactly which Thursday!!  Miggie has been at work, but Dave has taken us into Leicester today where we all managed to spend some money.  It has been a very relaxing and enjoyable interlude and we have been very well looked after.  Tomorrow Dave will take us back to Debdale for us to be reunited with Falcon.  I suspect he will be cheering!!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Well another week has gone by.  We made it safely to Kilby where we moored for 5 nights.  On Friday we picked up a hire car and set off for Medmenham, a much shorter trip than I had thought, to spend a lovely weekend with Lorraine and family.  The children have grown so much.  Addison is now at school and did us lots of drawings.  Brogan is a typical two year old, always on the go with an impish smile which just makes you want to laugh too.  Though I am sure mum and dad find it easy to resist at times!  The weekend passed far too quickly.  Monday we managed to have a run to Tesco before we returned the car, spending the rest of the day relaxing after our hectic weekend.  Yesterday we filled with water leaving Kilby after lunch.  It was a lovely day, sunny and very warm almost like summer.  We did 7 locks, only planned 4!  We are now moored in a very pretty place with a lovely view out across the fields.  Later we will be getting the bikes out to visit Wistow Rural Centre.  Went there almost a year ago.  There is a gardens centre and several small craft type shops and of course a cafe for coffee or lunch depending what time we get there.  Not so warm today, but it is dry, uphill on the way so an easy trip back.  Catch you later.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

West bridge at Leicester

Well nearly another week has gone by and now it is October.  We arrived in Leicester city yesterday.  We are moored by Castle Gardens where there is a short pontoon with secure moorings.  We were very lucky with our trip back from Loughborough, plenty of sunshine to go with the lovely scenery and varied wildlife.  We found more elder so Paul has made another batch of jam.  We will be moving on again this morning towards Wigston and Kilby Bridge.  Getting excited now, as on Friday we are picking up a hire car to visit Lorriane and family for the weekend.  So it will probably be another week before I post here again.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Our neighbours in Loughborough basin as seen through the kitchen window!

Well this finds us once again in Loughborough having spent a very pleasant interlude with friends.  Dave and Joan joined us as Cossington Lock on Sunday.  A lovely warm and sunny day.  We cruised 3 locks with them arriving in Birstall late in the afternoon.  This was followed by a lovely roast lamb dinner with all the trimmings, with apple pie for desert at their house in the evening.  Monday morning Dave took Paul with him to the flying field and Paul got his hands on the joysticks for a while.  Whilst he was away Sheree and Alec arrived.  So after lunch we winded and headed northward once more.  We thought that the trip back to Loughborough would be much more picturesque than a trip to Leicester.  Also we have time before we need to be at Debdale for blacking in October.  We were lucky enough to see kingfishers as well as heron whilst they were on board.  It was a lovely couple of days with them on board.  It will seem quiet over the next few days going back over the same locks without them.  We will be heading out, back towards Birstall tomorrow.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Made it into Loughborough on Wednesday after 4 of the big locks on the Grand Union.  Had forgotten how big double locks can be and there wasn’t anyone around for us to pair up with.  Loughborough has a basin within the town with all facilities.  Tesco just a short walk and Thursday was market day.  We moored up and had lunch and as I was about to wash up I looked out of the window to see another boat coming in.  It was Elysium Days, another boat from the June BCN Explorer Cruise.  With Chris and Sue on board.  Had we but known they had been following us up the locks.  We had seen them briefly just coming out of a lock as we set off after a coffee break, but at that point they stopped for lunch so didn’t catch us up.  Too far away to see each other clearly.  So we all spent 2 nights in Loughborough before setting off together yesterday.  Came through 2 locks, so much easier with two.  Not only help with working the lock but with 2 boats in the lock neither boat moves as much.  We are now spending our second night here at Sileby.  It has been a very pleasant interlude sharing time with friends, albeit new friends. 

Sharing Mount Sorrell Lock with Elysium Days

Over the next couple of days we will be catching up with ‘old’ friends.  Tomorrow Paul’s flying buddy Dave and his wife Joan are joining us on board for a short cruise.  They live nearby and we are ending the day with a meal with them.  Weather forecast is good so what could be better.
On Monday Sheree and Alec are joining us for a couple of nights.  All the way from Plymouth.  Via Boston USA!  They seem to think Leicester is on the way home from Heathrow!!  It’s their second visit to us so we must have got something right the first time. 

We will be moving around to and fro the Leicester, Loughborough area a bit over the next couple of weeks.  Falcon is booked in to have her hull blacked on 14th October at Debdale so we have to get our timing worked out!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Didn’t realise a whole week has gone by since I last wrote here.  We have spent a couple of nights in Mercia Marina.  There is a Midland Chandlers there so we managed to spend a lot in there!  Then Paul had the less than pleasant task of replacing the seal on our toilet.  I ‘helped’ by keeping out the way and going off to the launderette to catch up with the washing!  By the time I got back he had finished.  We also caught up with Tony and Jane on The Pearl who we met on the BCN Explorer Cruise back in June.

Looking up the River Trent away from the Canal
So Friday 13th saw us moving on again, arriving on Saturday at Shardlow.    Saturday was quite a busy day for us as having cruised in the morning, after lunch we had a walk to the shop in the village.  Then another walk along the River Trent and back along the Trent and Mersey Canal.  Along the way we picked some blackberries and even found some apples to go with them.  Ending the day with a meal in The Clock Warehouse.  To make up for all that exercise we didn’t go anywhere yesterday!   

So this morning on the move again, along the River Trent, past the mouth of the Derwent and on to the Soar.  The River Soar is part of the Grand Union (Leicester Line).  Tonight we are moored at Kegworth and on our way towards Loughborough.  

Monday, 9 September 2013

Stocked up in Rugeley, Morrisons and Aldi both fairly close to the canal.  Moving on the next day for Fradley Junction.  Where the Trent and Mersey Canal meets the Coventry.  A short cruise along the Coventry would have brought us back to Tamworth where we were in April.  However we are staying on the Trent and Mersey. 

Fradley in the sun when we arrived
We spent 3 nights at Fradley.  The first day it rained a lot although we did get out for a walk in the afternoon in a clear break.  Also managed to pick lots of blackberries which were yummy. 

Armed Forces Memorial

On Saturday we got out the bikes and cycled to the National Memorial Arboretum which is home to the Armed Forces Memorial.  Very humbling to read all the many names of personnel who have died in conflict since the end of WW II.  Yesterday saw us moving on to moor at Alrewas.  We went to the George and Dragon for Sunday lunch.  3 courses for £6!  We know how to live.  It was delicious.  Today, after a visit to the butchers, we are heading on again towards Burton on Trent.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

We set off from Weston on Saturday morning and after 2 locks and a right hand turn at Great Haywood Junction we arrived at Tixall Wide in time to moor for lunch.  Tixall is a favourite place from when we were hiring.  As Wide suggests it is an area of very wide canal, almost like a lake.  We moored behind another boat which was also flying a Devon flag.  Narrow Boat Inca, with Gary and Carolyn from Paignton.  We spent much of the time there chatting to them.  Gary, no I still haven’t looked at your blog but feel you are watching me write this!!
We were busy too for the two and a half days we were there.  Paul painted the hull one side then we polished the side and cleaned the windows.  Then this is where the wide bit comes in, it was easy to turn and moor again to do the same again on the other side of the boat!

So this morning we left Tixall and are now headed towards Rugeley where we will once again stock the cupboards and the fridge.  All this fresh air does give you an appetite. 

Friday, 30 August 2013

Left Stone this morning having spent 3 nights there.  Quite a nice little town with a Morrison and a Co-Op.  Also a launderette so I got caught up with the washing.  Not that, that will last long though!  It is the only place where we ever stayed for more than one night when we were on a hire boat.  Also Paul managed to get some fabric to make a new cover for our top box as the one we have now (a trailer cover from Go Outdoors) seems to be gradually shredding.  We have been trying for that everywhere we went, even in Plymouth the last time we were that way!  Trouble is no one has stock these days and we are not there long enough to wait for an order to come in!!  So this was in an outdoor shop and one of the 2 pieces he had was ideal.  Sort of an orangey red so we will be visible.  Well this is just a lunch stop.  Will probably stop at Weston Upon Trent tonight.  So until next time TTFN

Monday, 26 August 2013

Well last post was almost a week ago!  For much of that time we have been without signals of most descriptions!  Again we are back on the Trent and Mersey Canal heading south.  Just stopped for coffee then we will shortly be passing Stoke Football Club.  The Caldon Canal was very rural and pretty.  17 miles and 17 locks, plus 3 lift bridges, each way!  So plenty of variety.  We did make the extra effort and walk into Leek, a small town still retaining it character.  The canal finishes in a very pretty basin at Froghall complete with lime kilns.   Unfortunately,  there is a very low tunnel at the end so we had to moor before and walk for the last bit.  Last night saw us moored at the end of the Caldon ready to return to the Trent and Mersey this morning.  

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Wrote this yesterday but then no internet to post it.  This morning same place full access!  So here's the latest....   Just about to cast of so bye for now.

Tuesday 20th August

Didn’t go anywhere on Saturday, decided to explore a bit where we were.  Ended up in Tunstall, which was walking distance.  Suffice to say we won’t be visiting there again!  Though we did have a nice lunch in the Betty Boop Cafe.  Sunday saw us travel only about a mile which brought us into a marina at Etruria.  I was hoping for a launderette at the marina but there wasn’t one.  However ‘Dave’ from one of the boats offered to take me up to one in the town and bring me back after.  We had been having some trouble with our water heater.  Well basically it wouldn’t work!  Not too bad at this time of the year as when we cruise we get hot water from the engine and we don’t need the heating.  The marina thought they would be able to look at it on the Monday, however when the time came their equipment wasn’t compatible with our heater.  So once again Dave came to the rescue taking Paul and our heater to the official agent, TWICE.  The up side is all is now working and we are back on the network.  We are making a slight detour off of the Trent and Mersey and have ventured onto the Caldon Canal.  It comes to 2 dead ends.  One at Leek and the other at Froghall.  So in a few days time we will be on the return trip.  But for tonight we have moored at a village called Milton and despite seeming to be in the middle of nowhere we have TV and phone signal and if this is posted successfully then internet too!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

 Friday 16th August

Well we are now at Stoke on Trent.  Arrived here this morning.  Yesterday was a busy day, starting at 8.30 we worked 15 locks.  Phew.  Lucky with the weather, what started as a grey damp day cleared up to blue skies and sun.  So mooring at Kidsgrove we thought we would go for a walk.  Just on our way back when the heavens opened!!  We had to shelter in the pub!  So today just one lock then a long tunnel at Harecastle.  We are now moored by Westport Lake and within walking distance of Aldi!  Again the sun is shining.  

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Well having written an update yesterday we had no signal so I couldn’t post it.  We have just moored for lunch so hopefully this will make it on line.  Just come up the lock at Bunbury, a staircase of 2 locks.  We worked it with another 2 boats.  Us and another boar going up and the third boat coming down!  Not something we have done before.  So once the water was level in the 2 locks the other boat with us went into the top lock, we moved across.  The boat coming down came in with us.  Then the boat travelling with us moved across the lock so we could enter with him!  Phew.  Thankfully we all made it safely to where we wanted to be! 

Saturday 10th August
Well we made it all the way to Ellesmere Port.  There is a big waterway museum there which we visited on Wednesday.  There are lots of old boats there, some of which are open for you to go on.  Also a row of houses built for workers and furnished over the period of about 3 decades.  The only way on from there is the Manchester Ship Canal.  We saw a couple of ships going through and they make us look like a match box toy!!  So we have made our way back to Chester again.  Spending one night in virtually the same spot as previously, just facing the opposite direction.  So we are now heading south for a while, before we turn east towards Middlewich.  

Sunday, 4 August 2013

We arrived at Chester on Friday.  Mooring literally at the base of the city walls, also very close to Tesco.  Chester is a lovely city dating from Roman times, with lots of black and white buildings.  Very picturesque.  We walked some way around the walls, looking at the Cathedral and the Roman Amphitheatre.  Our niece Cheryl lives in Manchester, so she came to see us yesterday.  Always good to have visitors.  Today we have moved probably about half a mile.  Not too far, just down a staircase of 3 locks.  Started to rain just as we were deciding to move away.  Not too much though.  So moored again still in sight of the walls of Chester but now we have 8 miles of lock free canal which will lead us towards Ellesmere Port.  Whether will get there tomorrow will depend on how early we set off!  So until then, bye all.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Well yesterday saw us leave the Llangollen Canal, so we are now back on the Shropshire Union and heading towards Chester.  About 14 miles and 12 locks, so maybe a couple of days cruising.  However at the moment it is raining.  Odd how used we have got to having wall to wall sunshine.  Still for the time being we will stay put in hope it will clear up later! Have to get Paul to make one of his Famous coffee’s later, got to give him something to do if we are not cruisin’!  If you are passing, drop in! 

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Wednesday 24th July
Well we have successfully made the return trip over the Pontecysylite Aquaduct.  Yesterday we came on to the Montgomery Canal.  Only is short (7 mile) stretch of it is navigable and you have to book entrance through the locks in advance.  We came in yesterday and leave tomorrow.  So not seeing too many boats here.  It is a very peaceful setting much of the area given over to nature reserve.  Lots of mayfly and damsel flies, although we have yet to see a duck!  Lots of trees growing along the towpath edge so for much of the time it was like we were cruising in a green tunnel. 
Saturday 27th July

Well today I am posting two updates as one.  The Montgomery Canal was lovely, and still the weather is being good to us.  We did have rain one night, but can’t remember now which one that was.  We haven’t been able to get internet signal for a while, so I am just hoping that I will be able to post this once I have finished.  We have made a return trip to Ellsmere yesterday where we re-stocked in Tesco.  The supermarket is very close to the canal so that is handy.  We are now making our way back towards Wrenbury.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Side with towpath

Side with NO towpath
Well we have finally made it. Yesterday we came over the Pontcysyllte Aquaduct.  It was absolutely amazing.  On one side is the tow path with lots of people walking along.  The other side of the boat is just the edge of the trough, less than 6 inches of metal with the River Dee flowing way down below.  I did take some pictures but it really doesn’t do justice to it.  Have posted a couple from the phone.  Once we have done the return trip in a few days time we will download from the camera.  No way was I going out on the gunnels’ on that side of Falcon.  We are now spending a couple of nights in Llangollen.  Off on the steam train today, and Horseshoe Falls tomorrow.  Hope you like the pics.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Well our journey along the Llangollen is progressing.  So far we have travelled 28 miles and worked 19 locks and 3 lift bridges.  So plenty of variety.  The scenery is beautiful, although the canal is quite windy in some places, also shallow so we have been aground a few times, but so far not too stuck.  Last night we moored at Ellesmere.  Mostly the canal is quite remote from housing.  A few villages and several pubs.  I am writing this but not sure when I will get to post it as the internet is very elusive. We are enjoying the sunshine though, lots sunscreen and big hats!  Looking for shade when we moor up!  Getting excited now about finally getting to cruise the Pontcysyllte  Aquaduct over the River Dee.  This has been our ambition for many years.  All that far up with no tow path on one side, just the narrow width of the channel.Well hopefully I will be able to post this soon, so further updates will be a bit sporadic as it will be a while before we leave these rural pastures.  Will probably check out the Montgomery Canal too whilst we are passing.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Well this morning was time to move on from Nantwich.  We didn’t go far, just a couple of miles then we turned into the Llangollen Canal.  We came up the first set of 4 locks mooring shortly afterwards.  Managed to moor by some trees so have some much needed shade.  So here we have stayed for the rest of the day.  Paul has been painting one side of the hull, whilst I have been sat in the shade reading!!  He said painting was relaxing.  So was reading!!  I am sure the rest of our trip will be less relaxing as everyone tells us this is a busy canal with lots of hire boats.  So we shall see, and then let you know!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Well since Thursday we have been steadily pressing on.  Enjoying the glorious sunshine.  We have had 2 sets of five locks.  The Tyrley Locks leading us down into Market Drayton and then another set at Adderley.  As we have mostly been away from towns, just the occasional small village, so our phone and internet coverage has been a bit hit and miss.  Today we have descended 14 of the 15 locks at Audlem.  A very pretty village.  Went for a walk there earlier and had lunch in the Old Priest House.  We  had planned to travel a bit further today, to moor for the night in the same place we had stayed several years ago in a hire boat.   However that was a very open area so today we opted to stay here by the trees and enjoy the shade!  Not often you say that in England.  Just 3 more locks and we will be in Nantwich where we plan to stay for a couple of days.  

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Thursday 4th July

Well in the last few days we have left the Staff and Worcs Canal and are now on the Shropshire Union.  Although still in Staffordshire!.  The canal is very rural.  Lots of tress and fields.  Yesterday we went to a village called Brewood (said Brood).  Very pretty with some shops.  We visited the butcher and the baker!  So stocked up for a few days.  We are heading now towards Market Drayton.  Will probably get there tomorrow.  We are heading downhill now at the locks.  Not many along here the country side is fairly flat.  Can see for miles.  Well just a few lines today, we are about to stop for lunch. TTFN

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Didn’t realise it had been a whole week since my last entry, also the last day of June.  Where does the time go? Well we made it to Merry Hill on Monday and got all our shopping in Sainsbury’s.  Tuesday was an early start.  We descended the 8 Delph Locks before mooring for an extended lunch!  We then set off down the 16 Stourbridge Locks.  We then decided to cruise along the arm and in to Stourbridge itself.  This turned out to be a good decision as being a dead end it provides the home to the Stourbridge Canal Trust.  So we stayed there 2 nights until Sheree and Alec came to join us on the Thursday.  There was plenty of room there for them to leave their car, so we were able to take a trip.  So Thursday we cruised down 4 locks at Stewpony (we thought the horse meat scandal was finished!) on to the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal.  3 more locks brought us to Kinver where we spent the night.  Walking into the village for a lovely meal at Basil’s Brasserie in the evening.  Unfortunately the weather wasn’t very good to us and we did get a bit wet!  Friday morning Paul winded and we did a couple of locks before stopping for lunch.  We should have been a bit quicker as the rain started again as we turned back onto the Stourbridge Canal!  Sheree and Alec left us on Saturday after lunch and this morning we have moved on, back down the 4 locks onto the Staffs and Worcs but this time we have turned right and are now moored about a mile south of Swindon.  But not the one just off the M4!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Just about to go under the M5

We have some cute neighbours

On the engine arm.  Paul is trying to hide
from the camera,
you can just see his hat!
Left Ocker Hill on Thursday morning, up the 9 locks of Ryders Green, to join the New Main Line canal.  Then the 3 locks at Spon lane which brought us onto the Old Main Line.  We spent the night in the Engine Arm.  First off Friday morning we were retracing a bit from Thursday.  Much of this part of the canal is underneath the M5.  Amazing to think that we have driven that bit of road with no idea what was going on underneath!  Well we made it to the Black Country Living Museum for mooring that night.  Saturday was a very interesting day exploring the museum.  Well not so much a museum, more of a village and coal mine.  Buildings have been taken down and rebuilt within their boundaries so it really is like travelling back in time.  This morning we went on a boat trip!  Into Dudley tunnel.  It is too low for us to take our boat in so we did the trip instead.  Inside is the singing cavern, a huge ‘auditorium’ which was originally where limestone was mined, but these days they hold concerts and even weddings there.  So after lunch we decided to move on.  Weather not too good (where is our summer) I was OK for the 3 locks, but Paul got a bit wet after.  We are now once again at Bumble Hole where we will spend the night.  Spent a night here at the beginning of June before we joined the explorer cruise.  We are once again heading for Merry Hill, but this time we will carry on instead of turning back.  Looking forward to seeing Sheree and Alec who are coming to join us on Thursday for a couple of days.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The weekend rally at Pelsall was excellent.  There were over 100 boats moored along the canal by Pelsall Common.  Some old original working boats and butty’s, as well as more modern boats.  On the Saturday Paul helped out behind the bar for a few hours and on Sunday I helped on another stall.  There was entertainment both Friday and Saturday evening.  All of this was provided for free.  Paul also helped with taking down tents etc on Sunday when the rally finished.  From there we headed up to Chasewater reservoir on Monday.  Yesterday we have been retracing our route back towards Dudley as we are hoping to visit the Black Country Living Museum later this week.  Today found us in a line of about 7 boats descending a flight of 9 locks.  Water was low in some of the pounds, one was actually empty, so we all had to let some through to get moving!  So now we are moored for the night at Ocker Hill.  

Friday, 14 June 2013

Well this is our final day of the BCNS Explorer Cruise and we have certainly explored!  Our second night was spent at Tipton, where the next morning we had a talk in the library about all the canals which used to make up the BCN back in the days when canal boats were the main form of transport.  We then made our way to Wolverhampton, which was the stop for the next night.  However we didn’t get into the town and the next morning we turned and set off for Walsall. Firstly on the Wyreley and Essington Canal, and then on to the Walsall Canal.  This was quite challenging as the canal is not much used so there is much weed growing which slowed us down.  During this week Paul has spent more time clearing the weed hatch than he did all last summer!  We did make it safely into the basin at Walsall and had a look around the town.  A mix of old and new buildings, with a large Tesco nearby which was handy!  On Wednesday we had a visit to a Canal and River Trust workshop where they make lock gates.  I didn’t realise how much solid oak I was trying to move at a lock, without the part that is hidden under the water they look huge!  Yesterday we cruised the Tame Valley and Rushall Canals, much clearer of weed, and today are on our last lap towards Pelsall where we will spend the weekend at the BCNS Rally.  

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Well we arrived at Merry Hill on Wednesday.  The canal works its way along the side of a hill and in the hollow below is a HUGE shopping mall.  We needed to get a map as we kept getting lost!  I did leave Paul pottering about on board on Thursday whilst I went off on my own for some retail therapy.  He didn’t need to panic though as all I came back with was bread and some other groceries.  On Thursday we did turn and moor back in the same place so we were facing the right way to set off this morning.  We are now on the BCNS Explorer Cruise.  There are about 18 boats.  I am sure we made a curious sight last night all gathered on the bank getting to know each other and the plan for the week ahead.  So, as last time I write this as we are travelling through the Gosty Tunnel.  This time the tunnel light is working fine and we are travelling in the opposite direction.  So tomorrow we will have turned to come back through here again, closely followed by Netherton Tunnel.  Once we come out the other side of there we will be starting on fresh waters for us.  Well I can see the light at the end of the tunnel so this is all for now!

Monday, 3 June 2013

Well we got back on board about 9pm on Saturday having dropped Richard at Bristol Airport for his flight to Wroclaw.  Though we fared rather better than him.  His flight was diverted to Poznan, some two and a half hours by coach from his home, which he finally reached at 6am the following morning instead of about 11.30 the night before.  Still at least it was Sunday so one days rest before work!
We had a lovely time in Plymouth.  THE Wedding of the year was lovely.  Of course Lisa looked lovely as all brides do.  Phil brushed up quite well too.  Managed a group photo then Bride and Groom went off to the lake for a photo shoot, getting back just before the rain started!  Everything was in one venue, St Mellion Golf Club, so the weather didn’t make too much difference.  Our week went by quickly again, the sun being out every day bar the Monday of the wedding I think!  Again we managed to catch up with several friends.  If it wasn’t you, sorry there is always next time!
So it is 3rd of June and we are underway again.  As I type we are travelling through the Gosty Tunnel.  Paul has just realised the tunnel light is not working.  For once we didn’t check it before starting.  Ah well there’s nowhere else to go anyway. 
We have now been living on Falcon for a year.  Don’t know where that time has gone!  Still enjoying our life of change and adventure. 

We are now working our way to Merry Hill which is a shopping area a bit south of Dudley.  On Friday we meet there with about 19 other boats to go on a ‘cruise’.  More of a convoy of 20 boats.  It is organised by the Birmingham Canal Navigation Society (BCNS) and we are spending the next week cruising with them around the canal systems of Birmingham.  We don’t go into the city.  We head up towards Wolverhampton, then towards Wallsall with talks and visits organised along the way.  The week finishes at Pelsall where we will take part in a weekend rally.  Something very different, so if I don’t blog for a while you will know it is because we are busy.  Probably chatting to all the others there! So until next time.  TTFN

Friday, 24 May 2013

Well we made it safely back on board on Tuesday as planned.  Wednesday and Thursday we have been making our way along the New Main Line through Birmingham, which has brought us to Hawne Basin near Halesowen.  We have traveled through 2 tunnels.  The first was quite a long one, the second was quite low.  At one point we weren’t actually going anywhere, but thankfully arrived safe and sound.  Tomorrow we are off to Plymouth again!  For the wedding of our niece, Lisa to Phil, who has seemed like a family member for several years now anyway!  We will be picking Richard up at Bristol Airport on the way.  So it will be 3rd June before we will be back on the move again.  So until then TTFN.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Well Bournville was very interesting.  Lots of beautiful old building including a carillon which is part of the primary school so only open on Saturdays.  The village is somewhat dominated by the chocolate factory which is the reason the village grew around.  Then of course there is Cadbury World.  We did go and look in the shop but managed to resist temptation.  However we did give in and have a hot chocolate complete with cream, flake and marsh mallows in the cafe.  Lovely it was too.  Well that was on Wednesday, and now we are back in the heart of Birmingham.  Yesterday had a walk around the Jewellery Quarter and a visit to the Pen Museum which was very interesting.  Today we are going to Plymouth just for a few days, back on board on Tuesday.  So for now adieu. 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Part way along the 11 locks at Aston on Sunday morning.

Well a couple of days since I last wrote and still not much sign of that big yellow ball in the sky.  I can’t even remember its name!  A fair bit of the wet stuff though.  Still, the worst of the rain has been when we were moored.  Saturday was a reasonable day with only 3 locks when, by the end of the day, we had been through Salford Junction.  This was interesting as not only is it where the Birmingham and Fazely, Thame Valley and Grand Union Canals all meet, over head is big road intersection with the M6, A38(M) and other major roads.  We moored for the night just after, little knowing what Sunday had in store for us!!
We set off Sunday morning with the 11 locks of the Aston Flight ahead.  All the way along there were no moorings.  We finally moored on the lock pins at the bottom of the Farmers Bridge Locks.  There are 13 of those!  The lock pins are there only for accessing the lock, you are not supposed to stay there.  However we stopped for lunch and Paul watched the Grand Prix.  So 3 o’clock saw us setting off again on what turned out to be a very dismal flight of locks indeed.  Admittedly not helped by the drizzling rain.  We had been told it was very industrialised in Birmingham.  What we didn’t know was the blocks of offices or flats had been built over the locks, making a wind tunnel.  Any way we managed all 13 in about 2 hours which we thought was good going!  So about 5 we arrived in the heart of Birmingham.  We found moorings adjacent to Gas Street Basin where we could stay for 48 hours. 
Yesterday we set off to explore the city on foot.  Found our way to the Bullring via several different shopping malls!  Also along the way were some old buildings too.
Today has been a couple of hours gentle cruise by Edgbaston, past the University of Birmingham and we are now moored at Bournville.  Will let you know if we find any chocolate!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Well it has been a busy day today.  First stop we filled with water then on to the Birmingham and Fazely Canal.  New waters for us.  We started at Fazely so you can easily work out that we are now on our way into Birmingham!  Making our way steadily up hill.  11 locks today.  Following another boat, so all but one lock was set against us.  Which means, I had to empty them before Paul could enter for me to fill it up again!  Still it did stay dry.  We are now moored near Curdworth, not far from the M42!  It has been very windy today, with Paul struggling to get away from the tow path at times.  It has been very pretty with open countryside.  Trees all covered in green now and lots of blossom, the only thing missing was the sunshine!  Ah well there’s always tomorrow.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Well first off all I must start with an apology.  I write off line then paste in when I am on line.  So today when I went to post I discovered this entry for April 22 which never actually made it on line.
So the reason I have been 'silent' is because we have made a trip to Plymouth for a week then Hereford for a weekend.  So  read below and all will be explained!
April 22
Well only 2 locks at Glascote, which brought us to Tamworth where we are now moored.  We arrived here on Friday.  Then Paul’s cousin Alison and her husband another Paul arrived on Saturday to spend the night.  We took them for a cruise.  Back through the 2 locks at Glascote then winding and back down through the same locks.  Alison grabbed a windlass and helped me at the locks.  Quite busy, but everyone going the same way, so not so good.  Also one of the bottom gates swung open after we had opened the top paddles so had to quickly close the paddles.  Thankfully no harm done.  Also went aground slightly when winding to come back.  So all in all they had an eventful trip!  Well won’t be posting again for a while as we are staying here or nearby and will be going to Plymouth on Friday for a week.  Followed by, a weekend in Hereford for Pauls RAF reunion.
So we may well see some of you soon.  Be back here in May.
May 8th
We had a good trip to Plymouth. Caught up with as many people as we could, sorry if we missed you out.  Followed by our trip to Hereford where Paul caught up with the guys in his RAF entry.  Not seen any of them since 1968! So you can imagine a lot of catching up to do.  It was their 8th reunion although the first we had been to. 
So now we are finally back on the cut.  Set out from the boatyard, where we had left Falcon whilst on our travels by car, yesterday afternoon.  The 2 locks at Glascote once again.  Saw a mother duck with 12 tiny ducklings showing that spring has really arrived whilst we have been away.  Still close to Tamworth.  We will be staying here for a couple of nights, probably moving on, on Friday.
So until the next stop, bye for now.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Well it has been an eventful couple of days.  We left Coventry Basin on Monday morning stopping just outside to fill with water.  Whilst there a gentleman in an invalid car came by and stopped to chat.  Transpired that in his youth he used to unload the coal from the barges when they reached the basin.  We spent a very pleasant half hour just chatting to him.  No locks along that stretch of the Coventry Canal so whilst Paul was cruising I was busy getting on with some washing.  That evening found us moored just before Nuneaton.  Just had to go and explore there after a short cruise on Tuesday morning.  That took care of much of the rest of the day, although we did move on another 5 miles before evening.  Today we have come down the 11 locks at Atherstone.  A very interesting trip due mainly to the gale force wind constantly trying to blow us on to the towpath.  At one point the water in the pound was low and Falcon stuck on the bottom and I had to go back to the previous lock and let some water through.  Luckily the locks are not too far apart and the up side is I did burn some calories!! Lock wise we were very lucky mostly meeting boats coming the other way (meaning you can leave gates open or gates are left open for you).  Also an off duty lock keeper was out for a walk and he came with us the whole flight and helped out.  Someone was smiling on us today.  We are now moored about half a mile from Polesworth which will mean another run ashore tomorrow.  A smaller place so won’t be so long there.  

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Well we finally made a move on Thursday and with a couple of overnight stops made it into Coventry Basin about lunch time on Saturday.  We did stop en route to have a lead made up for our fourth battery, previously we only had three.  We walked into the town centre yesterday and had a look around but only bought coffee.  We needed that to brace us for the walk back. The good thing about being moored in the basin is we have a level mooring site so Paul has been able to get on with a few odd jobs in the stern, whilst I have been catching up with some washing.  So a general admin day today.  We will move on again in the morning, in a northerly direction.  Nuneaton is the next place we will go through.  Doesn’t sound so inspiring but it will take us on our way.
So bye for now from the both of us.