This Month's Totals and Average
113.90 miles 47 locks 59.36 hrs 2.71 lmph

  May 2014

Saturday 31st May ~ Braunston to Willoughby (en route to Fazeley)

Lazy start, pottered around for the morning - fuzzy cleaning, then back up to Tradline  to collect the "soft shackles" they were making for us.

Moved off after lunch, watering at Midland Chandlers , heading back up the Oxford Canal towards Sutton's. Found the good mooring we had used on the way south so decided to stop there again. Shame about the antisocial steerers who don't bother to slow down for moored craft (we had our mooring pins almost pulled out twice, once by a Viking hireboat and once by a Willow Wren hireboat), or are the hire companies not telling people to slow down? Some people must think that with piling hooks and/or chains on Armco barrier, the need to slow down has gone away; but there are still areas where only a spike will do!

3.46 miles 0 locks 1.21 hrs 2.86 lmph

Friday 30th May ~ Braunston (en route to Fazeley)

A dry night heralded a bright but cloudy morning - at last, a long lie in! We had a lazy start then went for a daunder up to the village. On return, we had lunch at the Gongoozlers' Rest  again.

After lunch, and a chat with Austin and Liz from "Just Siviting", we went up to Tradline Fenders  to see about some ropework. A lazy afternoon followed (we probably should have been doing something, but....., well....., there's plenty of time).

Thursday 29th May ~ Crick to Braunston (en route to Fazeley)

Early start to get clear of the marina before boat movements commenced for the day. Weather dull and damp, but with a suggestion of clearing later. Headed down to Watford Locks where we got straight through (after doing water and loo).

The intention had been to go as far as Norton Junction and stop, but it was so nice to be on the move again and, with the weather continuing to clear, after lunch at Norton we continued towards Braunston. We got out of the Braunston Tunnel and the rain came on (Pat's "Braunston Curse" continues!). We were working the top lock when we heard that there was another single boat two locks ahead and a couple breasted-up in between. They elected to let us through to pair the other boat down to share the workload.

We managed to find a mooring opposite The Boathouse , so stopped and decided we needed a meal ashore after the hard work at Crick! Late afternoon, the weather cleared again to mostly sunny with only a few clouds (shame we got soaked earlier!).

9.71 miles 13 locks 5.82 hrs 3.90 lmph

27th-28th May ~ Crick Marina

The team from the builder, in between stripping their stand, found time to come aboard to discuss problems, and measure up for completion of a couple of items. Bob got our initial engine service done. Most of the rest of the time was spent clearing and cleaning from the show. Stored up again ready for the run back to base.

24th-26th May ~ Crick Boat Show

Woke to rain, and it continued most of the weekend. Sunday was the best day but underfoot was like Glastonbury for boats. Very busy three days showing "guests" round our home; almost all were surprised at what we have managed to have built in.

Typical day started at 07:00; rise, breakfast, clear up, make beds, change loo cassette (just in case), water where necessary, extra baking for the staff on the stand, wipe down the paintwork (even though it was just going to get rained on again), then get ready for the public at 10:00. We were both taking groups round so we had between 4 and 6 aboard at any one time, and they just kept coming! By close at 18:00, we were all tired (fortunately, we just had to make tea and sit quietly in front of the television; the staff had to clean round the stand and get back to the hotel before their evening meal). I managed to get to the Toyah concert on the Saturday evening (absolutely brilliant, not long enough!), and we both managed a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon to have a walk round the show ourselves (builder's staff covered while we were away).

Obviously disappointed that none of John's boats got "Best Boat in Show", but we all had a great time. For anyone looking to buy a boat, this is the best place to get ideas, and make initial contact with builders.

Phone signal has been horrendous during our stay, so only just getting caught up (Thurs 29th). Apologies to our avid readers.

Wednesday 21st May ~ Crick Marina

Another clear day, which got hotter as it wore on. Spent the whole day washing down, drying off, painting, and generally tidying up. Got some home baking ready for the next few days.

Tuesday 20th May ~ Norton Junction to Crick

After thunderstorms overnight, the day started fine and clear. We got under way and turned onto the Leicester Section of the Grand Union at Norton Junction, heading for Watford Locks. We were lucky when we arrived as there was nobody waiting so got straight onto the staircase. By the time we got to the top, there were four waiting to come down, and three waiting to come up. It was lunchtime by this time, so we stopped for a bite to eat, and checked emails - there was one from the builders asking for photos, and details of our arrival at Crick; we rang them back, one hour we said.

Back on the move, we continued through the Crick tunnel (beware, the northern third can be very wet! We got to Crick mid-afternoon, tucked into one of the berths assigned to the builder, and started the cleaning process. No phone connectivity at all so we suddenly have become incommunicado for the duration.

5.36 miles 7 locks 3.41 hrs 3.62 lmph

Monday 19th May ~ Flecknoe to Norton Junction (en route to Crick)

Another lovely morning, with the birds singing, few clouds, and the wind reduced from yesterday. Got on the move fairly quickly aiming for the first place to turn round, which came at Bridge 107, so allowed us to head back towards Braunston.

Traffic busy at the start of the day, but tailing off towards lunchtime. Stopped at Braunston for routine chores (loo, water and provisions) then had lunch at the Gongoozlers' Rest  (a narrowboat café providing hot and cold food and drink) before heading up the flight of 6 locks in partnership with "Burmese Blossom" from the Canal Club Time-share Fleet.

Continued along the Grand Union Main Line to Norton Junction where we moored for the night (No suitable moorings from the south side of Braunston Tunnel until just before Norton Junction).

9.49 miles 6 locks 4.95 hrs 3.13 lmph

Sunday 18th May ~ Willoughby to Flecknoe (en route to Crick (with deviation))

Another prompt departure with the intention of watering at Braunston, then headed on to Napton for the night. Approaches to Braunston very busy. Found that Midland Chandlers  was open so also stopped there before getting lunch on the move.

On resuming, turned right onto the Oxford Section of the Grand Union Canal (Historic Note:- This section was originally part of the Oxford Canal, but was bought by the Grand Union "consortium" and widened as part of their bid to provide a wide-beam canal from London to Birmingham.) Very windy on the run out to Napton, and ended up "stuck" on the bank (bow-thruster also playing up; need to investigate). Eventually found a space on a piece of good banking after Bridge 102, and moored for day. Did a bit of cable-rerouting around the desk area to remove trailing leads. (very poor phone signal)

6.02 miles 0 locks 2.85 hrs 2.11 lmph

Saturday 17th May ~ Cathiron to Willoughby (en route to Crick)

Got away fairly promptly and headed to Rugby. Stopped at the retail park for provisions to last to Crick. Decided to have lunch before moving on.

Ascended the Hillmorton Flight (locks are paired to allow faster passage), then realised we would not get to Braunston today so pulled in at Bridge 79, 3 miles short of the junction, between Barby and Willoughby. "Water-Way" (our planner software) has it marked as good mooring on their electronic-guide software - we agree.

8.50 miles 3 locks 4.47 hrs 2.57 lmph

Friday 16th May ~ Sutton's to Cathiron (en route to Crick)

Pottered for most of the morning with routine chores, then departed just before lunch. Getting round the junction was difficult due to traffic. We needed to reverse back to the junction from our mooring then turn right. Unfortunately, just as we cast off and started the reverse, three boats came out from the junction, one came up from Coventry , and another two came from ahead. Nobody was giving way so we ended up mooring again until everyone had sorted themselves out.

Peaceful run from there on the North Oxford, headed towards Braunston Junction. Found a mooring just by Tuckey's Bridge (43) that we remembered from last year's holiday so stopped there.

10.00 miles 1 locks 4.35 hrs 2.53 lmph

Thursday 15th May ~ Sutton's to Coventry and return

Got away for a reasonably early start, headed into Coventry . Didn't meet any other boats coming north. There appeared to be a slight decrease in depth of water between bridges 5 and 2, reducing speed, but nothing to cause difficulty. Bridge 2 has a "lump" in the towpath making for a slightly more difficult passage through the bridge'ole.

After window-shopping round Coventry  and visiting the Museum of British Transport, we returned towards Sutton's, mooring on the section towards Fazeley (we didn't want to go through the junction and lock only to find no moorings).

11.49 miles 0 locks 4.46 hrs 2.58 lmph

Wednesday 14th May ~ Mancetter to Sutton's (en route to Crick)

Woke to another nice sunny morning. Got away just after breakfast, and had a pleasant run down to Hawkesbury Junction - "Sutton's Stop" - arriving just after lunch.

After the usual routine stuff, ended up chatting with other boaters moored.

Dinner at The Greyhound  - excellent meal as usual (advisable to book in advance if one can).

9.88 miles 0 locks 3.71 hrs 2.66 lmph

Tuesday 13th May ~ Polesworth to Mancetter (en route to Crick)

After a showery night, we woke to a lovely sunny morning. Looked out of the window to see a kingfisher  land on a branch opposite the boat. Set off with intention of going to the top of the Atherstone flight then going for a walk to explore - didn't quite work!

All the boats coming the opposite direction where saying there was an emegrency stoppage at lock 10 to repair paddle gear, 1030 for 2 hours. No problem, we would stop at the bottom and walk to Atherstone , then take the boat up later - didn't quite work!

By the time we reached the bottom, the stoppage had been lifted so we reverted to plan A, only to get told at lock 9 that a workman had driven his mower into lock 1, and there was a stoppage there till they got it out! Then the heavens opened with large lumps of hail.

We were stopped at pound 5 so we walked into town from there; had a very nice lunch at "The Old Bakery Café". Headed back to the boat. By mid-afternoon, they had removed the offending mower, and we were free to go on. Having clearing the top lock, we found a mooring for the night just before Mancetter Bridge 36. After a changeable day, a quiet sunny evening in the countryside.

4.92 miles 11 locks 4.40 hrs 3.62 lmph

Monday 12th May ~ Fazeley to Polesworth (en route to Crick)

Unsettled start to the day; can't make up its mind whether it would rain or be sunny. The "events supervisor" decided that we would leave after lunch, after checking at the post office for mail. Work continues on the website (worked out how the distances/speeds would be done, and get April (almost) completed in between routine chores, and the visit to the post office.

Let go from the berth, but end up chatting at the marina office on the way out so end up about 45 mins late (but what's an hour between friends on the cut).

Headed up to Fazeley Junction and turned right onto the Coventry Canal (weather turning less favourable as we go) for the run around Tamworth - straight run through the Glascote locks this time - and continued as far as Polesworth. Lovely rural scenery once we left Tamworth. Moored up for night (lovely evening) just west of the railway crossing to the east of Polesworth.

6.55 miles 2 locks 2.89 hrs 2.96 lmph

Sunday 11th May ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Long lie in after a very rainy night. Weather had cleared somewhat after breakfast so took a walk up to Ventura retail park (just for the exercise, you understand).

Spent most of the afternoon getting the 'boat' page for this site completed (almost).

Saturday 10th May ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

First bottle of gas empty. That's four weeks from taking over, less the few days we had up north.

Routine chores & emails, then chilled (including more done on website background-work).

Friday 9th May ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Decided to stay put for weekend, then head off Monday or Tuesday for Crick, via Coventry .

Spent the morning shopping again (amazing how much you realise you've forgotten to bring!)

Cleaned out the piggie - not the first clean, in case anyone misinterprets, but this was special in that she found her own way home across the boat's deck for the first time, after exploring round our chairs.

Thursday 8th May ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Contacted the TV people again and discussed the problem. We decided to check continuity on the signal cable. Found the fault! There was a short across the co-ax cable on the rear of the antenna socket supplied by the builder. Short removed; fault gone; plenty TV.

With that success under our belt, we decided to attack another project. We got the weather station rigged, so we can now tell exactly how cold it is in the morning! The next stage for this will be to connect it to a laptop and 'publish' the data (for another time). Update 24 June; station got caught under very low bridge with no chance to get it down in advance; unfortunately no longer fit for further use

With the rain coming back on again (and we can now record how much comes down!), we decided to get a few routine chores out of the way, and start some tentative plans for the run to Crick.

Wednesday 7th May ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Got a call first thing from the builder, asking if we would be around at lunchtime as Jim, the signwriter, had the final graphic ready; we said no problem. Found that we had a problem with the loo, and had to bail out and disinfect the sump. Jim the signwriter duly turned up and completed the work; excellent traditional 'Roses & Castles' work. In the afternoon, we contacted the people who fitted the SatTV to see if they could shed any light on that fault. He gave us a couple of ideas to try but to no avail.

Tuesday 6th May ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

After a very wet night, with rain coming through under rear hatch, rang builders to advise of problem, and to find out when they wanted us to turn up at Crick. Headed into Tamworth as it was market day.

Spent the afternoon looking at some of the outstanding problems, and realised that we would be unable to easily fix them ourselves, and would have to wait for the builder. Worked on more styling problems for this site (with little success at this stage).

Monday 5th May ~ Huddlesford to Fazeley via Amington (short break away)

Another beautiful day (who said English Bank Holidays brought foul weather!). Away slightly earlier today with the plan to head round the north side of Tamworth before returning to the marina.

At Bonehill Road Bridge, we noted we were passing Ventura Retail Park so stopped for lunch before we reached the junction. After lunch we continued on the Coventry Canal past Fazeley Junction and headed up the Glascote Flight (2 locks). Noted Rob & Jo's new boat "Watt Now" sitting outside the "Gate Inn" - hope they had a good lunch. Continued on to Amington winding hole and turned for home.

Noted Rob & Jo were still enjoying the delights of the pub. Returned back down the flight to Fazeley Junction and thence to the marina.

13.03 miles 4 locks 7.89 hrs 2.16 lmph

Sunday 4th May ~ Tamhorn to Huddlesford via Fradley (short break away)

Beautiful start to the day; sun shining and birds singing. Took our time savouring the atmosphere then got under way, continuing towards Fradley.

Stopped short of Fradley for lunch, then continued, but there was a screeching from around the propshaft area so stopped to try to unravel the mystery. In the engine-hole, the shaft could be turned, nothing was extra hot, and the engine (out of gear) sounded OK. In the weedhatch, the shaft could be turned and nothing could be felt in the prop (there was too much mud to see anything at all). Decided to try moving again; no screech, so the mystery was never solved.

Winded at Fradley Junction and set off back towards Fazeley. The bank just north of Whittington around Cheadles Bridge 81 looked inviting so moored up.

11.40 miles 0 locks 6.79 hrs 1.68 lmph

Saturday 3rd May ~ Fazeley to Tamhorn (short break away)

Cold start to the morning, but beautiful sunshine. Decided to try and get out for the weekend. Needed a couple of things from the shops, but on the way back into the marina "the Mate" dropped the boat keys into the water (she's now been demoted to galley slave!). Fortunately, one of our neighbours had a magnet and managed to retrieve the keys.

Finally got away after lunch and headed back towards Fazeley and Fradley Junctions. Found a nice quiet spot at the north end of Hopwas Wood just short of Whittington (Tamhorn Park Bridge 72) so stopped for night.

4.09 miles 0 locks 2.18 hrs 1.88 lmph

Friday 2nd May ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Got an early call from the builder asking if we would be staying at the marina today as they wished to deliver the first two squabs for extending the beds. We said yes. The squabs arrived but we found that there would only be room for storage for three rather than the necessary four. Called the builder and advised this would be put on hold till we saw him at Crick.

Did the routine jobs like emptying the loo cassette and taking water, then tried to get a couple of the other wee jobs done. Metered the TV signal lead to see if there was a break, but none found, so will call the installer after the holiday break. Tried to get the stove lit, but it kept going out; more practice needed!

Quiet evening watching DVDs (again).

Thursday 1st May ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

New month - hopefully get a bit of cruising in!

Went shopping up into Tamworth for enough to do us for a few days, then returned for lunch. Then the heavens opened! Decided we were not getting soaked so set to work on a bit more background for this site (well, at least I was using the time profitably).

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