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.



Landlubbers

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.





Northwich,

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.



Thursday, 18 May 2017

Moving On


How many babies!
 After a hectic week away we were glad to be back on board. Our first stop was at Tixall Wide, but that was nearly a week ago now!
On Saturday we turned out on to the Trent and Mersey Canal heading north. With an extra passenger, Jill had come back with us. So for a while Paul had 2 Jill's on board. We took our
time slowly
Mid point on the Trent and Mersey with 2 Wind Lasses
heading northwards. We arrived in Stone on Monday. This is a lovely little town and a fovourite place of ours. It was a bonus having help with the locks. Yesterday Jill's brother Dave arrived to take her back to Bristol so she could collect her car and drive the rest of the way back to Plymouth. Today we have moved on towards Stoke on Trent.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Back to Stafford


Moorhen on her nest.
Well for once all went according to plan and we worked the 2 locks and winded coming back to Compton to moor for lunch.
With no more locks for a while we cruised on to Coven for Saturday night. The next couple of days we spent traveling back the way we had come. Arriving at Stafford Boat Club on Thursday morning. Time to catch up with washing. Only to find Annie and Colin from NB Eli were moored here. We first met them at Braunston on our first year out and have 'bumped' into them several times over the years. Annie invited us to join them for a BBQ that evening, which we were only too happy to do.
So at the moment Falcon is safely moored in Stafford and we are in Hereford at Paul's RAF reunion. 50 years ago 309 San signed on the dotted line.
From here we have a quick trip to Plymouth to finalise details for our new tenants, before returning to Falcon on Thursday.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Compton


Lovely hyacinths
 Well in the week since I last wrote we have been making our way southwards. We left Tixal wide on Saturday and made leisurely progress. The weather was good. Warm and sunny. Sat out on the towpath one day. A nearby fisherman gave Paul his left over maggots when he went, so Paul spent a couple of evenings with his rod over the side! Didn't catch anything though.
We can tell spring is here as there is much more green on the trees. We have also seen several lots of ducklings. One a family of 13! Also one lot of moorhen chicks, 3 of those. If only they would stay still long enough for a picture. This was the best I could manage.
Can you spot 8 ducklings, honestly they are there.
This morning we reached the junction with the Shropshire Union, however we stayed on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal and tonight we are in Compton. We arrived about 3 and have been to the launderette and have just had a meal in The Oddfellow. We have been here before and they do a lovely rotisserie chicken. You can see them cooking from the pub 🍗
Tomorrow we will move on through 2 locks so we can turn round and head back the way we came 🙋

Friday, 21 April 2017

Tixall Wide



 We were back on board on Monday and left the marina on Wednesday. Not moving very far we are now on the Staffordshire and Worcester Canal.
Spending a few days at Tixall. My favourite mooring. The swan nest we can see from our window. Looking the other way is a coot on a nest.
Tomorrow we plan to move on towards Hailey. Just pottering about for a couple of weeks until Paul's 50 RAF reunion at Hereford in early May.
Swan on nest

Monday, 27 March 2017

Great Haywood Junction

Well we got the water heater fixed and returned again to Rugeley, arriving on Friday. Only spending 1 night there before moving on.

Can you spot the kingfisher?
We have had some lovely weather for a few days. Yesterday we  went for a walk around the Wolseley Garden Park where the above photo was taken. After lunch we moved on a short distance to moor in sight of Shugborough Hall. A lovely large National Trust property that we have passed many times but have not visited. We plan to go tomorrow. Then on Wednesday will go into Great Haywood Marina to leave Falcon whilst we head off to Plymouth as our tenants are moving out. So probably won't be writing again for a while. Will catch up where we can but are planning to do some work on the bungalow. After 5 years of renting there are a few things to do.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Arrived at Rugeley

Arrived at Fradley Junction on Thursday in time for lunch. We know this area quite well having been here several times in our hiring days! Friday was spent working one swing bridge and  2 locks to bring us to the other side of the junction. Paul spent most of Saturday watching the rugby. A disappointing end for England!


Site of Armitage Tunnel. 
Sunday saw us moving on again as far as the marina at Kings Bromley where I did lots of washing. There were even washing lines so I was able to peg out! Not often I get that opportunity!
We have a problem with our water heater, so yesterday we called in at a boatyard to see if they could help. They have to order parts so we have come to Rugeley to restock the cupboard. One of the ordered parts has been sent from Plymouth!
The picture​ was taken at Armitage. The tunnel has been removed but the canal isn't wide enough to pass and as there is a bend I had to walk through to check all is clear.
Tomorrow we will turn and head back to the boatyard ready for the work to be done on Thursday.
After a sunny start this morning we had hail earlier. Wonder what is in store tomorrow!

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Out of Tamworth

Well for once we stuck to our plan. We spent the weekend in Tamworth. Got our bikes out a few times. The canal is a short distance from the town with good cycle paths so off we went. Been a while since we last used them so Paul had to do a bit of maintenance.

Gary and Carolyn on Inca
 We also did some maintenance on Falcon, giving her a wash down on both sides.
Yesterday morning friends​ Gary and Carolyn came passed us on their boat Inca. Not seen them for a couple of years. We had a matter and they
Paul's fish and chips!
Moved on. We are headed in the same direction, so we may see them again.
We had to stay put as we had booked cinema tickets for that afternoon. Odeon Silver Screen. If you are over 55 its only £3 for ticket and cuppa with biscuit! Love a bargain! We went to see Sully. The story of the plane that landed on the Hudson River back in 2009. Tom Hanks played Sully, the pilot that landed it. Very interesting and thought provoking film.  We both thoroughly enjoyed it.
So this morning we moved on and have returned to The Plough for lunch and internet. As you can see large portions. Paul is concerned as he hasn't got his tartar sauce. Only problem, not enough room for desert!
Well with the sun shining we will stay here tonight and move on in the morning.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Return to Tamworth

We left Tamworth on Tuesday having found that our waste tank was rather full and we needed to move on to Kings Orchard Marina for a pump out!  in the end we didn't get there until Wednesday as we didn't have time to reach them before closing time!

No its not upside down, its a picture of the water!
So Tuesday night we stopped at Huddesford and on Wednesday morning we visited The Plough where we had a lovely breakfast.  It was so lovely that we didn't eat again until the evening!
Having reached the marina I decided to do some washing and then we decided we would return to Tamworth for a couple of nights.  We are still waiting for Colwich Lock to reopen so we can continue northward.


Getting water by Fazeley Junction
We spent a night at Hopwas on the return trip.  A small village, no shops but 2 pubs! One each side of the canal.  So now we are back in Tamworth and will probably be here until Wednesday.  At the moment Paul is watching the rugby.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Coventry Canal

At the moment the weather seems to be very changeable.   We seem to get one lovely sunny spring day followed by a day of pouring rain. Not a complaint though as we have a rest day followed by a cruising day!

Look carefully at the white dots. They are swan not sheep!
We have traveled the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal all the way from Birmingham to, yes you guessed, Fazeley!
Over the 5 days we have come down another 17 locks. There are a few more
Market Drayton footbridge. The theme park is just alongside the canal.
Not open until Easter.
Boats on the move, not sure if that is due to the weather or the area.
Having left evidence of the big city behind us since Thursday afternoon
Fazeley Junction, just joining the Coventry Canal

The scenery has been very rural. Passing just small villages and a very large water park made from disused gravel pits.
Just before lunch we turned at the junction onto the Coventry Canal which will lead us on to the Trent and Mersey. We are on the outskirts of Tamworth, so tomorrow it will be down with the bikes and a cycle off to the shops!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Leaving Birmingham

Working down the 13 Farmers Locks
Well for once we stuck to the plan, leaving Birmingham yesterday. It was dry when we started out down the Farmers Locks flight of 13 locks.
It is sleeting. Look carefully Falcon is there!

It wasn't long though before the rain started! Which at times turned to sleet. The locks were all empty too which meant we had to fill them first, just takes a bit longer. We completed all 13 in 2 hours so were very pleased with that. Stopped for lunch, some very welcome hot soup. Whilst there we had a video call from Lorraine. Yesterday was her birthday. It was lovely to chat and see her too.
The rain had stopped meanwhile, just about long enough for us to get going again for the remaining 8 locks of the Ashton flight.
Having worked very few locks since November it was in at the deep end!
Not going anywhere today, although we have walked to Aldi this morning. (Other supermarkets are available). Moving on again tomorrow. More locks ahead but more spread out.


Sunday, 26 February 2017

Away and back again


Our mandarin neighbour
We finally set off out of Birmingham on Thursday getting as far as Bournville. Yes the chocolate village and home to Cadbury World. We have been there before so didn't venture that side of the canal. On Friday we got the train to the NEC to the 50 Plus Show. We were more interested in seeing the NEC really but it
Lisa came to visit
was a good day out.
Spent the next few days cruising southwards towards Alvechurch arriving there on Monday. The lovely mandarin duck was our neighbour for a few days. My cousin Carole came
Tonight's mooring
to see us on Wednesday with her friend Sandra who lives near Alvechurch.
Thursday saw us heading back towards Birmingham in the midst of Storm Doris. All was well until we came out of Wast Hill Tunnel to find a tree across the canal. CRT were unable to help until the next morning so fortunately we were able to cut our way through as neither of us wanted to spend the night in a cutting with trees either side of us. So with another overnight stop at Bournville we arrived back in Birmingham on Friday morning.  Just in time as Lisa arrived in the afternoon to spend the night. She came with our mail and in the evening we went to see A Judgement in Stone at the Alexandra Theatre.
At the moment the plan is to stay here until Tuesday and then start slowly heading north. But weather forecast could change all that!