|This Month's Totals and Average
Lovely day yesterday, with a forecast of good weather over the weekend and into next week. Decided to take the opportunity to go. Weather today mostly cloudy but still warm and fair.
I had taken on stores yesterday so took water, moved to the services berth and took fuel, gas and did the loo. Left the marina mid-morning and headed to Fazeley Junction, turning left onto the section to Fradley (again). A few less boats on the move than last time out. Stopped at Hopwas School Bridge moorings again for lunch, but this time moved on. Didn't want to actually get to Fradley Junction as I didn't want to find no berth without dropping down a lock in twilight, so was looking for somewhere NW of Bearshay (preferably with a SatTV signal). Found nothing suitable before New Bridge 91, so stopped there. It has a pallet storage facility opposite, and there is truck movement all night, with attendant use of horns! Don't think I'll be using it again.
Generally cloudy, warm with occasional sunny spells and heavier rain. A quiet time, with few movements in the marina. The forecast rain for during the day did not tempt me to go out. Became a member of the marina's chess club (we only have four members!). Took the title off the reigning champion, much to the delight of the other two members. Doubt whether the luck will last long. Planned CRT Winter Stoppages around the area will curtail any long-distance trips in November, but I plan to get out for at least a few days.
Cloudy overnight, but wind died off. Morning dawned mostly cloudy with occasional sunny spots - a lot colder (in comparison).
Woke feeling like death warmed up. Nose had been blocked or running like Niagara Falls, and coughing. An effort to move, but actually got away promptly (heaven knows how!).
Headed towards Fazeley Junction, dressed with T-shirt, jumper, and anorak. Still felt cold. Arrived back at the marina just on lunchtime so had a bite to eat, then sorted the 'facilities' and stores. A very quiet evening in store.
A beautifully quiet night, with the sun rising over the fields. It almost seems decedant to be sitting on the afterdeck, reading a book in the warm sunshine in the second half of October! A glass of wine would not have been out of place (but it was only 10am).
Decided that since the ex-hurricane was not hitting the UK until Tuesday, I could indulge in a full day doing nothing. I may suffer tomorrow if the rain comes in early, but it is only 3 hours to base from here - I'll take the risk.
Heavy rain overnight, with the wind increasing, but fair by morning.
Let go from Alrewas heading back towards Fradley. Uneventful, but no other boats around so ended up working the first four locks alone (finally getting a bit of practice). Moored opposite the old BW yard and had lunch, then went for a walk to the shop, chatted with two of CRT fund-raising team, Mark and Pearl, then stopped at the Cheese Boat on the way back.
Let go again and headed up through the last lock before the junction. A couple realised I was single-handing and offered to work me through. Seemed slightly put out when I said I wanted to do it myself. Cleared the lock and moored at "The Swan" to let Mark and Pearl have a look at "Paws".
Left the junction and headed back onto the Coventry Canal. Moored just before Bearshay Bridge 87, slightly later than planned but still in time to get dinner ready before "Strictly" started.
A beautiful autumn morning. The overnight rain never really came to anything, and the sun rose over the fields which held a light mist.
Moved off through the swingbridge and turned right onto the T&M. Just started working the first lock when one of the CRT volunteers turned up so was assisted down the first three locks. Boats coming up meant an easy passage through the next two which brought me into Alrewas . Moored just after Bridge 46 and had lunch before walking into town. Checked the pedestrian route to the NMA, then collected stores on the way back.
It was still only mid-afternoon so decided to get the boat turned ready for the trip back. Let go and dropped down through Alrewas Lock onto the river and continued to Wychnor Lock. There is a winding hole just below the lock so dropped down, winded (turned round) and came back up the lock again. Returned along the river and back up through Alrewas Lock to the same mooring as earlier. Spent a pleasant hour chatting with Tony and Julie from "Nettie Peggie".
Day dawned bright and sunny, although cool. Mostly stayed that way, just the occasional cloudy spell. Forecast rain overnight again.
Headed off promptly, leaving Hopwas behind. Passed through the old firing range and into the countryside. Noted that the blackberries were almost past, and the red berries of holly were ripening. The occasional butterfly and dragonfly still around though. Passed through Whittington and the outskirts of Lichfield, and stopped for lunch just before the marina at Kings Orchard (a sibling marina to ours).
After a lazy lunch over a few chapters of book, set off again towards Fradley. Arrived mid-afternoon with the sun still shining, although a slight breeze had picked up and the leaves seemed to be falling like light rain. Moored just before the swingbridge, and decided to take a walk along to the chandlery/giftshop. Found they were on 'winter' hours (closed on Thursday afternoons) so assisted a single-hander up two locks, and another boat down one, before returning to "Paws" for the evening.
Forecast for the next few days is better (rain overnight, but daytime reasonable). Decided I'd have another adventure - let's try single-handing!
Spent the first part of the morning checking and double-checking I had everything I needed, then set off after morning coffee. Headed to Fazeley Junction and turned left towards Fradley. Planned to go for about an hour then stop for lunch. Nice run out through the western suburbs of Tamworth; the sun almost came out (I could see it through the cloud). Stopped at Hopwas School Bridge for lunch, and was just debating whether to go on to Fradley or stay put (it was starting to drizzle) when "Dawntreader" pulled in astern. Ended up chatting with Mick and Gill, and decided to stay put.
Pat headed north Tuesday morning first thing, and I was left to my own devices from there on. Trying to get my head around where everything is (a lot of stuff I'll never use, and can't find what I need!). Did a shopping on Wednesday and had a successful day sorting out things I'd never got round to. Had another look at the stove, with the manual in front of me - found it had been put together wrongly (could be why it never stayed alight!)
Weather heavy showers with some sun in between so not great for either bike or moving the boat.
Thursday attended the funeral of Denis Price in Worcester. He was a veteran of the D-day landings, a sniper, but had no family to mourn his passing. (I got lost driving down in the mass of junctions around Birmingham, and soaked for my trouble as well.)
Weather not conducive to going anywhere - heavy showers and mist over the weekend, turning to heavier rain and high winds by Monday. Finally seem to be getting the hang of the stove. Thank heavens, as the weather is starting to get cooler - probably just relative after the hot summer.
Thursday and Friday spent clearing up and doing odd jobs. Preparing the bike for Saturday. Weather generally good.
Ride to the Wall is the annual bikers' rally of remembrance. Started in 2008, RTTW was the brainchild of Martin Dickinson who knew of Rolling Thunder in the USA and realised we in the UK did little to honour our Fallen (neither military nor civilian). As a biker himself, he decided to create an annual rally, riding from set departure points to the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas . Last year (2013), it was estimated that 8000 bikes attended and over 18000 people paid their respects. This year, the day started with rain, but the sun came out just as the service started - as the padré commented "Have faith, and it will happen".
Sunday and Monday spent cleaning the boat out, and Pat preparing to return north to the house so that she can continue her 'winter activities' including Scottish Country Dancing. I'll be staying aboard and keeping little miss Smokie company. We'll be going out on the new adventure of 'single-handing'. Sunday was good weather but Monday started with very heavy rain and gale-force winds (although it cleared and calmed by teatime).
October dawns a lovely sunny day. Noted that we could now see into the trees and watch the birds, the trees being thinner with leaves. Noted also that a lot of the holly bushes had copious quantities of berries.
Got under way and headed through Amington and Glascote to the locks, descended and continued to Fazeley Junction. Turned left onto the B & F, and thus back "home". Got a new bottle of gas, and dealt with the facilities then put "Paws" back onto her berth again. A fantastic voyage - looking forward to more trips out.
Spent the afternoon 'clearing up' from the trip.