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