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!


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Preparing to leave

We are now moored in sight of the mail box.
On Monday we went to the Alexandra Theatre to watch Thoroughly Modern Millie with Joanne Clifton of Strictly fame. It was an amazing show which we both 'thoroughly' enjoyed!
We knew it was first night in Birmingham, but didn't realise until we were there that it was first night of the tour. Can recommend it, however, doesn't come anywhere near Devon! Bristol being the closest. Not only can she dance, but can sing too. Michelle Colin's was in it too.
Yesterday we got the train to Walsall. We did go there a few years ago by boat, but the train was much quicker! Today it was our intention to move on and I suppose we have. About quarter of a mile. We got water and moored for lunch. It then started to rain so we are staying the night moored just behind where this boat is.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Once more to Birmingham

Gas Street, where the Main Line meets the Birmingham and
Worcester Canal
We made it to Merryhill on Thursday only to find that Sainsburys where we had shopped in November had closed down! Still PC World was open so Paul got himself a new tablet. Another Acer. So between that and the rugby Paul has been well occupied. We stayed there until Monday when we had, for us a long day, and cruised on to Hawne Basin and spent the night there catching up on washing and stocking up with coal and diesel.
Lots of building work and the new library
We also met up again with Anita and Kevin on Tuesday before returning once again to Birmingham. Friends Barry and Leyanne came over from Rugby to see us. So another trip to the pub! 
Today we have had a few flakes of snow and it's very cold so will be staying around Birmingham for a few days yet. At least we have all facilities here.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Locks away!

We headed out of Birmingham on Wednesday. This time we thought we would take a different route back to Windmill End! Previously we have used the New Main Line, very straight and


Galton Pumping Station
 flat. However this time we thought we would go on the Old Main Line! As you may guess from the names this one was built first! It is windy and has 6 locks, 3 up and 3 down, to get us to Windmill End.  We usually make a stop at Galton, either for coffee or lunch. This time it was lunch and as we were on the Old Line this time we were moored on the
The old and the new!
Above is the M5
higher level.
Moving onwards we traveled on under the M5, not the most picturesque! We spent Thursday night at Oldbury where on Thursday morning we shopped in a nearby Sainsburys. However we were surprised to see a garden centre with cafe and mooring where we had visited only a year ago was closed down. Leaving there we negotiated the 3 locks at Brades Hall Junction. The first 2 are a staircase. Just about an hour and half later we moored for the night at Tividale. For a change we are heading now for Merry Hill!

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Return to Birmingham

We spent a few nights at Windmill End. Paul helped Kevin with cutting back some trees around his mooring and as a thank you we now have a roof full of wood. So we will be keeping nice and

Amazing Show
warm over the coming weeks!
We returned to Birmingham on Thursday. Not many boats here so plenty of mooring. Went to see Anton and Erin's on Saturday at the Symphony Hall. Just a short walk from our mooring. The show was every bit as good as we had been expecting. They had 6 supporting dancers and Lance Ellington, one of the singers from Strictly. Only booking tickets the day before we had excellent seats with uninterrupted view.
Will be here a couple of days yet before heading back to Hawne Basin again.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Gosty, Ghosty or Gorsty

We had returned to Coombeswood Canal Trust at Hawne Basin so we could help out on their work party on Sunday.
Part of the work party returning from emptying the first load!

You can see the light at the end of the tunnel!
Arriving there on Friday afternoon we got on with the important jobs of pump out and laundry, also buying some more coal. Not the time of year to be running out! Also their prices are so good. With pump out at only £8, CRT is more than twice that and we have paid more than £20 on some occasions. The bar and the kitchen are open at weekends. What more could you need!
The top of the tunnel sir shaft. It pops
 up in someone's front garden!

On Sunday morning we had to be ready to go at 9.30, bit of a shock. There were about ten of us and we all went in the work boat to clear some of the trees and undergrowth near the entrance of the Gosty Tunnel. Though I have seen it spelt as all of the above in different places! We were very glad of our lunch when we got back.

Eventually this morning we left the basin and returned to Windmill End. We plan to catch up once again with Anita and Kevin tomorrow.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Back to Windmill End

After spending a pleasant weekend in Birmingham on Monday we got the train to Leicester to catch up with friends Joan and Dave who live in Birstall. They came and picked us up at the station and we spent a lovely day with them chatting, eating and drinking. We managed to keep busy on Tuesday, so didn't start on our way back to Windmill End until Wednesday.

Frosty Friday morning at Bumble Hole Cafe at Windmill End

Busy polishing the brass
A lovely frosty Friday morning out side the Bumble Hole Cafe at Windmill End. So lovely to see blue sky after so many days of grey skys.  We are getting water and meanwhile Paul is busy in the stern polishing the tiller arm. The rain makes all sorts of marks along it. Once all was done we set off to Hawne Basin for the weekend.

Friday, 13 January 2017

It's all white now!

View from the galley window this morning
We finally left Hawne Basin on Monday, heading back to Windmill End, a favourite spot for us at the moment. We caught up with friends Anita and Kevin in Ma Pardoes on Tuesday evening. Then yesterday saw us arriving in Birmingham. As the forecast is for snow and wind we have taken shelter in the city. Will be staying here for a couple of days at least. The snow has now stopped and the little that laid is fast disappearing.
Hope all is well where you are.