Thursday, 9 November 2017

More than a week later

We finally made Birmingham on Monday of last week, then after just one night there we moved on towards Oldbury.
Lovely rainbow at the rally
On Wednesday we went up the 6 locks there on our way to Titford Pumphouse. We have come here for the weekend to attend the end of season rally of the Birmingham Canal Navigation Society (BCNS).
We arrived on Wednesday so we could help setting up on Thursday. So Thursday saw us helping to put up a marquee.
A couple of people there we knew but a steep learning curve trying to remember everyone's names.
We did have some rain and hail on Saturday resulting in this lovely rainbow. Falcon is the second boat.
Moored just before Gosty Tunnel
There was a blues band on Saturday night and Paul spent some time serving at the bar.
By the time we were out and about on Sunday the marquee was already down. Our timing was good!
Several boats were leaving, but as we were staying until Monday we took windlasses and helped out at the 6 locks. 
When we arrived on Wednesday all the locks were ready and open so we made good progress so it's seemed only fair to return the 'compliment'.
We are 5th boat to the right of the bridge
On Monday Anne came to see us so when it was our turn to come down the locks having one extra pair of hands made it quicker.

At the moment we are in Hawne Basin. Spending 2 nights here before moving on a short distance to Withymoor Island where Falcon will stay whilst we go on holiday.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Passing the end of the Stratford Canal
After an overnight stop at Alvechurch we pulled into Hopwood on Thursday with the intention of a quick coffee stop. However when we popped to the nearby garage for milk we saw the Hopwood House Inn did 2 steaks and a bottle of wine on a Thursday for £22. So we decided it was too good to pass by. So Friday saw us through Wast Hill Tunnel mooring at Kings Norton.

Passed this group of fungi this morning
Yesterday we got the bus to Cotteridge to use the launderette we have used before. Unlike Paul I still have to pay bus fare, so when it cost £3 for a day rider we decided to get our money worth. So after a trip back on board for lunch we were back on the bus to Northfield.  As it's further from the canal we had not been there before. More shops than we expected. We managed to buy a few bits!
Busy working
Today with the clocks changing we were awake early so setting off just after 9! Arriving at Bournville and managing to get a mooring on the offside visitor moorings Paul has taken advantage to paint one side of the hull.  Always something to do 😎

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Top of Tardebigge

What it is all about!
Had some terrible rain on Thursday so the only place we went that day was to the pub. The Boat and Railway at Stoke Works. We have been gradually working our way up the Worcester and Birmingham Canal towards Tardebigge. On the whole the locks come in convenient groups of about six at a time. This has made nice division for daily trips. However as you can see from the panel left the flight at Tardebigge is 30 locks. 29 having to be worked in one go! We arrived at the bottom of the flight on Saturday and
Tardebigge Wharf
waited until later when our friends Anne and Chris, who live in Redditch to come and pick us up. They had invited us to their house for a meal and to watch Strictly. Then to spend the night. A lovely time was had by all. On Sunday they brought us back to Falcon, then parked at the top of the lock flight and came and helped us with all the locks. So after 3 hours, including a coffee
Tardebigge Tunnel, through there tomorrow.
stop we arrived at the top. Having 3 of us working the locks made it a MUCH easier trip. Thank you both very much.
Yesterday was a very different day. Paul's brother's Blake had been in Birmingham for the weekend, so we got the train from Bromsgrove and were able to meet up with him before he got the coach back to Plymouth. The last couple of visits we have made to Plymouth have been very brief and we haven't seen him, so it was good to catch up. Today we are having a lazy day. Tomorrow we have one more lock before the tunnel. We will then be at the summit and on the level all the way to Birmingham.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Moored by Hanbury

 After a lovely weekend with Lorraine and family we are back on board. Moving on from Tibberton we stopped at Dunhampstead last night. Luckily we seemed to miss storm Ophelia. It was very windy and we saw the red sun.
Today we have traveled a bit further, passing the
junction with the Droitwich Canal.  Lovely quiet mooring. Can just about see the lock ahead. The first of 6 we will be working through tomorrow.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Out of Worcester

Having travelled a few miles away from Worcester, on Saturday we decided we would turn and head back there for the weekend.

Leaving Worcester for the second time
Unfortunately not all went according to plan. When Paul went to start the engine nothing happened. So we called out River Canal Rescue for only the second time in 5+ years. It did take him 2 hours to arrive as the engineer came from near Banbury! He discovered that our starter battery was past its use by date! He did get us going, and after reversing about quarter of a mile back along the canal and backwards down a lock we were able to turn and continue on into Worcester.
Once there we met up with 
Offerton Flight of Locks
friends Anne and Chris. Chris works for a motor factor company and had got us a replacement battery at cost price 😀 Then he helped Paul to fit it. There was a bit of a panic when Paul said the battery had fallen in the canal. Anne and I thought that wasn't the most environmentally friendly way to dispose of it, only to find it was the new one that had gone in! Once again thanks to Chris who laid on the towpath and managed to grab the handles at the top of the battery and lift it out. Amazingly after a wipe off it worked!
Since then we have worked our way northwards and are now moored at Tibberton. Though at the moment we are in Marlow spending the weekend with Lorraine and family.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Into Worcester

Arriving at Gloucester Docks on Wednesday we stayed there a couple of nights before moving on to the River Severn and a longish trip to Upton on Severn on Thursday, a week ago now.  On the way we passed 4 barges which are used to transport gravel along the river. All named after fish. Perch, Chub, Pike and Elver.
Perch following us up the River
After spending just one night at Upton we moved on in the morning. We had seen the barges passing us during the morning. On their return down river we noticed how much lower in the water they were sitting. The water almost seeming to come over the sides. As we moved on Perch came up behind us! Unladen it seemed huge.
We were hoping to see her docking but we were too far ahead.
5 days after coming off the river we passed this
We spent a final night on the river on the rising pontoon just before the locks at Worcester. Spent a couple days looking round, shopping etc. We are now on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, which as you may guess will eventually take us into Birmingham.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Sharpness at the Weekend

Left Paul making the coffee
Alison and Gill arrived safely on Friday. On Saturday after a damp start to the morning it soon cleared away and we had a lovely cruise to Sharpness. Behind us is the tower which used to house the steam engine that turned the turntable for the railway bridge which used to cross from England into Wales.
Old lock keepers cottage at Sharpness
Paul made coffee while we girls had a short walk. Then we all went for a walk around the headland. After lunch in the Dockers Club, went on to look at the new lock which is the one now in use to enable boats to pass from the River Severn onto the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.
Paul on the stern with another Gill
Time then to head back to Shepherd's Patch. Gill stood at the stern with Paul.
Sunday was a quieter day. The 4 of us just having a stroll along the towpath as they were heading back in the afternoon.

Since then we have made our way back towards Gloucester. This picture was taken on the veranda outside Sainsburys.
If you can make it out we are the fourth boat.
Just a short cruise tomorrow will bring us back to Gloucester Docks.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Back on the water

Reedbed Barge
After a busy week away we returned to Falcon on Sunday. Monday after returning the hire car we left the marina, and after spending another night at Saul Junction, on Tuesday we headed back to Gloucester Docks. We had intended to spend 2 nights there but as the weather forecast for today was wet we left again on Wednesday afternoon. Passed this barge several times now planted out with reeds. There are several abandoned hull hulks along the canal. Last night we stayed again at Saul but this time on the North side of the junction.  Moving on this morning, the forecast was right and we did get wet, but not too bad! We are now moored at Shepherd's Patch. Near to Slimbridge Wetland Center and the Tudor Caravan Site. Tomorrow we hope to meet with Alison and Gill who are coming in their motor homes. The picture below is across from our mooring. Note the lovely sail boat, and the roller blind effect of the clouds!
Opposite tonight's mooring

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Saul Junction

After our very social day in Pershore the next day we moved on to Tewkesbury. The weather wasn't so good but Paul was well
Moored at Gloucester Docks
dressed and I took shelter in the cratch! Monday saw us down on to the Severn and into Gloucester Docks. Here we had more visitors on Tuesday when Alison and Beryl came to see us.  Beryl's first time on board and she was interested to see our home. Paul even managed a short spin around the dock. Wednesday and Thursday saw us moving on along the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.
A very large work boat. We'd seen it the previous
 day working with towpath repairs!
We moored at Saul Junction for the night and watched the work boat turning just after.
Yesterday morning we moved into Saul Marina as we are now spending a week in Taunton with Alison.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

River Avon

We spent Bank Holiday Monday in Stratford but we went by train. Making the most of the lovely weather. After a walk around we got the ferry back across the river! A different way to travel!
So it was Tuesday before we traveled the last bit of canal to moor in Stratford.
Welford Lock on River Avon
 We dropped down on to the River on Wednesday afternoon, starting our trip down to Tewkesbury. On Thursday we arrived at Evesham with Thursday's job being a trip to the launderette.

The locks on the river are very large and some are different shapes. Being a river you don't have to close the gates on leaving the lock. Which in some ways makes it easier, but not if you are following a boat as you have to close the far gates before you can start to fill the locks and the gates are very big!

This was our view on Saturday morning
We spent Friday night at Cracombe Turn. This is what we woke to on Saturday morning. With a mist on the water it was beautiful. We made our way down to Pershore where we had arranged to meet up with friends Anne, Chris and Vicki. Later to be joined by John, who we used to work with, and his son Ben. They had been camping in Tewkesbury and came to join us. Thankfully the weather was lovely and we were able to use a picnic table. Today we have travelled to Tewkesbury in the rain!
Picnic with friends

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Moored at Wilmcote

Even got me in the pic, finger bottom left!
Well we have been making good progress along the canal. We stopped on Wednesday to call in at Wedges, a bakery near Hockley Heath where we had an all day breakfast which was every bit as good as the last time we called there.  Thursday was a busy day working down 16 locks. Half way down we met friends Dave and Jan on Yes Dear who were on their way up. With no where to stop and a line of boats we arranged to meet half way that evening in The Boot. A pub conveniently located mid flight. A very pleasant evening it was too.
So Friday saw us moving on to the South Stratford Canal, new water for us. It is a very rural canal, cruising amongst the trees with the sun shining through. We did at one point pass under the M40, you can just see a van going over the bridge.
Still several locks but more spaced out for a while so I get back on board rather than walking all the way!
Moored at Wilmcote now and off later today to visit a friend who doesn't live far from Stratford.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

On to the Stratford Canal

Well we have had quite an eventful few days catching up with friends and family. We came up the remaining 8 Aston Locks and 13 Farmers Locks into Birmingham on Tuesday. All of the Farmers Locks were set against us, but we made good time.  Sat and had a cuppa, then walked back down most of Farmers Locks to help our friends Anita and Kevin on Nobody Knows and Ian on Little 'Un up the flight. It was hard work, but we had a good catch up later in the pub!

Paul, Gareth and Rhys!
After spending a couple of days in Birmingham we moved on towards Bournville and then on to Hopwood where Gareth and Rhys came to see us on Sunday. They were on their way back from the Lake District to Devon. First time they had been on board. Very good to see them.

Today we turned on
to the Stratford Canal
Lock 1 on Stratford Canal, thankfully left open
The first lock is a guillotine lock and used to be a stop lock to separate the Stratford Canal from the Birmingham and Worcester Canal. Today the lock is left open. We think we should reach Stratford by the weekend. Didn't realise it would be the Bank Holiday!

Sunday, 13 August 2017

On the way to Birmingham

Turning at Fazeley Junction
On Thursday we traveled to Fradley Junction and there turned right on to the Coventry Canal, which was taking us towards Tamworth and on to Fazeley Junction. The 2 junctions are only about 10 miles apart and with no locks in between I have to think carefully which is which.
It is fairly obvious really as Fazeley Junction takes you on to the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal!
We are still heading towards Stratford on Avon but are taking the long way round so that we can be at Hopwood next week to meet up with one of Paul's brother's and our nephew. So it will be well worth the extra effort!
Today after turning at the junction we have climbed 11 locks of the Curdworth Flight. Quite hard work it was too. After that lot I am almost looking forward to the 13 locks of the Farmers Flight into the centre of Birmingham! Still that will be another day 😎

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Great Haywood

Our mooring looking towards Shugborough
If you look carefully through the trees on the left you can just about make out Shugborough Hall. We did visit in April when we were heading north.
In the last week we have been busily heading south. We have come through Harecastle Tunnel, made our way through Stoke on Trent and Stone. Although we haven't got wet through the weather hasn't been the best. We have worked about 26 locks and traveled about the same amount of miles. We are heading to Stratford on Avon.
When passing through Great Haywood we usually make a short detour on to the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal to stop at Tixall Wide. Having decided to carry on as it wasn't sitting out weather, the sun has now come out!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Overnight at Rode Heath

Lock 60 on the Trent and Mersey Canal
Yesterday we worked 14 of the 26 locks known as 'Heartbreak Hill'. I don't think it's as bad as it sounds. With other flights once started there is no mooring until the end, with this flight there is opportunity for overnight stops at several point. Rode Heath being one. We moored opposite the pub, which has been very useful as we can use their WiFi! We were very lucky managing to avoid most of the rain. Also only another 12 locks between here and Kidsgrove. Not all the locks are as deep as the one above, also, unusually many of the locks are set in pairs. Back in the days of working boats this speeded their passage. Most of the locks still remain as double with only a couple filled in. It does make for an interesting trip. You can be coming up in one lock as another boat is going down in the other! We will probably spend 2 nights at Kidsgrove, as whilst it is not the most picturesque of places there is a useful launderette and a large Tesco, so we will be busy!

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Middlewich and beyond

Brine Pump Middlewich
Well we finally made it to Middlewhich on Saturday. Picking up our favoured mooring. Not far from Lidl with TV, internet and phone signal! We don't ask for much.  We realised that, by chance, we had timed out visit to co-inside with one of the 4 open weekends of the Brine Pump. So Saturday we went to have a look. The pump is still in much need of repair but was pumping brine up until 1977. Work was then stopped due to much local subsidence. We found it all very interesting so on Sunday we joined a guided tour around Middlewich telling s all about the salt production of the are dating from Roman times.
So Monday saw us moving on and with one overnight stop we arrived today at Wheelock. Staying here the night to sample again the lovely fish and chips. Hopefully there won't be too much rain tomorrow and we can continue on to Kidsgrove.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Afloat Again

A favourite mooring spot of ours
You may need to check back a couple of entries as last time I went to post I found an entry not posted, so they are a bit out of order!
We are currently at Rudheath. A small village on the outskirts of Northwhich. There has been quite a bit of rain today. Paul is catching up on some jobs. Yesterday he did an oil change. Today he is finishing off a few bits connected with that. We got back on board on Sunday following the funeral which was on Friday. It seems like we had been away a long time. In fact it was 3 weeks ago today that we set off to Taunton.
We are heading once again towards Middlewich, however this time we will be continuing on southward, probably through Stoke on Trent, so staying on the Trent and Mersey. Yet to make a final decision.
Whilst we have been away all the paintwork repair have been completed so we are all set to go 😎

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Another picture of us! This time at the Casa Mia, Sandbach
Just found this lurking in drafts, written on 30th June and I thought I had published it.

Well another week and we are moored in about the same spot as a week ago, but this time facing the other way. Middlewich is a good stop off as there are several supermarkets and small local shops just a short walk from the Canal.
The week in-between we have gone up the 8 locks heading southward to Wheelock where we spent a couple of days. Unfortunately the summer which arrived with a rush a couple of weeks ago seems to have deserted us again!
Thursday we had a table booked for a special Napoli Night at the Casa Mia in Sandbach. When we went there for lunch a couple of weeks ago we enjoyed it so much we booked for their special evening. They have one a month, each themed from a different area of Italy. The menu is set 5 course, and was delicious. With good wine and company to go with it we had a wonderful evening. There was also a chap singing and playing the accordian.
Then on Friday we had to work another lock to be able to turn, which left us 9 locks over 2 days to return. We are now heading back again towards Anderton in hope of getting the paintwork on the boat done.


St Mary's Church, Taunton

Sorry there has not been much news here recently. Our cousin, Paul Trott, who has been battling throat cancer for most of this year finally gave up the fight on Sunday. Thankfully we had made the decision to travel to Taunton beforehand and had seen him in hospital on several occasions. We are staying here in Taunton to help Alison, his wife, as much as we can at this harrowing time.
Once we are back afloat will let you know in which direction we are traveling.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Back at Middlewich

The Happy Couple
Well as you can see we are still enjoying our lifestyle, been too distracted to write anything on here!
We moved northwards from Northwich on Monday, over a week ago now. The locks here on the River Weaver are very large
as they are able to take seagoing
Saltersford Lock, big enough for sea going vessels
vessels from the Manchester Ship Canal. We went as far as Frodsham, a small town we remembered visiting before, picking up a nice mooring by the swing bridge. Thursday was market day so we caught the bus in and had a look around.
The lock keeper at Dutton Lock had told us a large steam ship was coming in off the ship canal on Friday, so we stayed at our mooring by Sutton Road Bridge so we could watch her go by.
Most of the bridges along the river swing, but we are low enough to fit underneath​. However the Daniel Adamson was a lot higher.
Sutton Bridge swinging open.
It was very interesting watching the bridge open and the ship go by. As you can see below she is quite a bit bigger than us. She gave a lovely toot from the steam as she passed by.

The Danny passing us, check out the wake

On Saturday we turned and started heading back to Acton Bridge where the Danny was now moored and we went on board for a look around her. Into the engine room and the lovely art deco salon.
With another trip to Northwich to stock the cupboards we came back up the Anderton Lift on Monday.  Later that day friends Anita and Kevin arrived on 'Nobody Knows'. We spent an evening and morning catching up with them before it was their turn for the lift down to the River. Yesterday we left Anderton arriving back in Middlewich today.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

River Weaver
Arriving in Northwich on Saturday we spent a couple of nights there stocking up the cupboards. Although not a large town there is a choice of several supermarkets within a short walk. With 2 very blustery wet days at Vale Royal moorings we Traveled up River on Wednesday passing these works on the way to Winsford.
Winsford moorings
The moorings at Winsford are run by Cheshire Council and not CRT. This is as far was we can go on the river. It opens out into a flash but have been advised it is very shallow in places. Wednesday was Paul's birthday and my cousin Dawn and her husband Dave drove over from Stockport and we all went for a meal at the Red Lion. Very nice it was too. As with most of the moorings along the river this one is 48 hours, so Friday morning saw us heading back towards
Another good meal, you can see Falcon through the window
Northwich, but not before Cheryl had joined us. We cruised the 2 locks and 5 miles then got the bus back to collect her car. By then the only sensible thing to do was go out to eat. The Bombay Quay, an Indian restaurant overlooking the water proved to be ideal.


Thursday, 1 June 2017

Anderton and on

Enjoying the sun with Cheryl
 We had a lovely sunny day with Cheryl. Hard to believe that was a week ago. We gave her lots of boating experiences. She helped us to work down through 4 of the Middlewich Locks and along the way we filled with water and got a pump out! Oh yes she did get a short cruise too, but not very far as we didn't want to leave Middlewich! Mooring before Big Lock we did walk down to look at it. All the locks on this stretch of the Trent and Mersey are narrow, then unusually the last one (or first​ if you are southward bound) is a wide one.
On Saturday we went for a stroll around the town. There was a street market and we found the regional Town Crier Competition taking place. So after stocking our cupboards on Sunday we moved on. With an overnight stop Monday saw us arrive at Anderton where once again we met up with Diane and Kevin, visiting the Stanley Arms for a very nice meal. Tuesday we moved on to spend a couple nights a a pretty spot looking out over the River Weaver Valley before turning and heading back to Anderton. Today we are taking the lift down to spend a couple of days on the River Weaver. Again Cheryl is joining us, so she must have enjoyed herself last week. Not going to be such good weather this time though. Drizzle at the moment, hope it changes soon!
Town Crier Competition​

Friday, 26 May 2017

Now in Middlewhich

We passed through Stoke fairly quickly, only stopping for water and lunch. Not the most picturesque trip. However just north of the city is a lake which made a lovely overnight mooring.
Waiting at the southern end of Harecastle Tunnel
to be given instruction to proceed.
North portal of Harecastle Tunnel,
Note the colour of the water
Saturday morning was a short cruise bringing us to Harecastle Tunnel. About an hour of cruising in the dark in a convoy of boats. Entry is controlled by Canal and River Trust. We were first. At the northern end the water is a strange milky rusty colour due to ironstone strata. This brings you into Kidsgrove. Pretty moorings with a short walk into town, not so pretty! However there is a launderette and a Tesco, so that was Sunday taken care of.
The best building in Kidsgrove
Stopped here for water and fish and chips!

It does exist, note the name, we found her!
Boaty McBoatface
Another couple days of cruising through pleasant countryside​ we arrived in Middlewhich on Wednesday. Mooring by the road, not so good, but next to a boat called Brecon with Diane and Kevin on board, that was good. After a while chatting we ended up in the King's Lock pub where we had a lovely meal. Diane is originally from Sandbach and when we discovered Thursday was market day we got the bus for a visit. There are some beautiful buildings around the town and we had a lovely day.
Old Hall Sandbach
Today Cheryl is joining us for the day, we have some locks ready for her to help us with! We will be continuing our way north.