This Month's Totals and Average
28.56 miles 14 locks 14.89 hrs 2.86 lmph

  December 2014

Wednesday 31st December ~ Fradley to Streethay (Festive Season Cruise)

Last day of the year. Another cold night, another beautiful morning, but the forecast is for change. Chores in the morning, then crossed to the services berth for water, loo and rubbish.

After lunch, let go and ascended Junction Lock (17), took 5 minutes to buy some kindling from fuel-boat "Auriga", then turned left onto the Coventry Canal again. There was more ice on this stretch than on the T&M, but it was patchy - the stretch past the Brookhay pumping station had nearly a mile of no ice at all, but approaching Streethay it quickly returned. Stopped for night at Bridge 85 (where I had stopped on the way out). Cloud beginning to form so maybe temprtature will start to rise.

3.45 miles 1 locks 1.68 hrs 2.66 lmph

Tuesday 30th December ~ Fradley (Festive Season Cruise)

Once again a cold night, with about 8mm ice on the water at dawn, and once again day dawned clear. Clouded over mid-morning and the temperature came up considerably - sufficiently to get the ice off the roof. Sky cleared again mid-afternoon

Decided to have another night here, and move tomorrow. Assisted narrowboat "Whitby" (member of the Historic Narrow Boat Club ) down Keeper's and Hunt's Locks; she was towing a work-barge.

Thought I'd have a treat for dinner so went to the "Mucky Duck" (The Swan Inn) for a couple of pints and scampi & chips.

Monday 29th December ~ Alrewas to Fradley (Festive Season Cruise)

Another very cold night, with about 6mm ice on the water at daybreak. And yet another beautiful sunny day. Decided to wait until after lunch before moving off (someone else can do the ice-breaking!). Took a walk into the village during the morning for extra stores.

Once I'd had lunch, let go and headed back up the four locks towards Fradley. Took it very easily due to the sheets of ice still floating around, but eventually arrived back at the visitor moorings on the main line at Fradley. There were a good number of walkers out today, and I had help from several through the locks. Took a walk up to the Junction Gallery and chandlery to refresh my memory on their winter hours. Was informed by staff from The Swan that they were now closed indefinitely.

1.96 miles 4 locks 1.63 hrs 3.65 lmph

Sunday 28th December ~ Alrewas to Wychnor and back (Festive Season Cruise)

After the coldest night yet, another beautiful morning. Slight crust of ice on the water and frost everywhere.

Waited till after lunch, when things had started to thaw, then headed down Alrewas Lock (12), through the river section and down through Wychnor Lock (11) to the winding hole. Turned and came back up again. The river section was marked as amber, but the worst bit is where the river crosses just below Alrewas Lock (and that looked OK). Coming back up, I ended up going round the final bend back into Alrewas Lock crab-fashion, but it wasn't dangerous. Took water then parked-up again on the same mooring.

2.62 miles 4 locks 1.62 hrs 4.08 lmph

Saturday 27th December ~ Fradley to Alrewas (Festive Season Cruise)

Woke to a crystal-clear sky, the snow/hail from last night was frozen solid. The sunrise  over the fields, shining on the white snow was fantastic (photo doesn't really do it justice).

Waited till everything started to melt with the increasing heat of the sun, then cleared off the ropes, gunwales and counter for departure. I'd had my 48 hours at the mooring and was required to move on, so let go mid-morning and headed for Alrewas . Took everything very easily as the ground was still covered with a layer of ice, but thoroughly enjoyed the different perspective of the cut in 'winter clothing'.

As usual (when possible), went right through the village to the moorings at the east end just before Alrewas Lock (12) at the river - I prefer it - and moored up for lunch. After lunch, took a walk into the village to top up stores. Coming out from the stores, I found a light rain had set in, so it was a damp walk back. By mid-afternoon, the rain had cleared, but it remained overcast.

1.96 miles 4 locks 1.73 hrs 3.44 lmph

Friday 26th December ~ Fradley (Festive Season Cruise)

Very cold overnight, and dull still at breakfast time. Watched the forecast and decided that I was on a good berth so would just stay put!

Pottered during the morning, and went for a walk along the towpath in the afternoon. Helped a couple of boats through the locks, and chatted to the crews. Rain started mid-afternoon so tucked myself up aboard.

Rain turned to snow by teatime; large flakes. Turned to small hail by late evening then froze overnight. Found a problem with the satTV - snow builds up on the dish and cuts off the signal!

Thursday 25th December ~ Streethay to Fradley (Festive Season Cruise)

Cold overnight, but beautiful crisp morning. The horses in the field next-door were frolicking like it was spring. Light aircraft noted taking off from the airstrip. A few chores, phonecall home for seasonal wishes, and opened the presents that had arrived here, then got under way with the intention of getting to Alrewas  for mid-afternoon.

Nice run in the sunshine round to Fradley Junction, turned right, dropped through Junction Lock (17) and moored at the services berth for loo, water and rubbish (and a couple more calls with season's greetings). Just finished when the rain came on (none forecast for today!). Gave up waiting and moved across to the visitors berth.

After an hour of rain and another very cloudy, the sun came out again mid-afternoon - not moving now!

3.45 miles 1 locks 1.76 hrs 2.54 lmph

Wednesday 24th December ~ Fazeley to Streethay (Festive Season Cruise)

Very nice morning so up quickly and nipped out to get a couple of things I'd forgotten and would need over Christmas. Let go mid-morning and headed out to the junction (again) and turned left (again) towards Fradley. I had hoped to get further, but the delay in starting would mean being short by stop-time.

Did my usual stop at Hopwas school moorings for a bite of lunch then continued in the hope of getting as far as possible. Was surprised at the number of boats on the move, considering it is near the end of December.

Eventually got too cold, and pulled in just before Streethay Wharf mid-afternoon.

7.98 miles 0 locks 3.06 hrs 2.61 lmph

Tuesday 23rd December ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Another lovely day. Went up to Ventura to get the 'fresh' stores needed for the Christmas Break, then generally chilled out.

Monday 22nd December ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Still windy, but moderately warm. Bob arrived as agreed, and we cropped out the damaged piece of water pipe, inserting a metal bridge piece between the cut ends. All now well.

Sky clearing by mid-afternoon, so took short walk into village and did final check for mail before Christmas.

20th-21st December ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Generally quiet weekend. Mostly cloudy, but with only a few showers. Coolish. Wind picked up during Sunday creating a bouncy night Sunday night.

Moved "Paws" across to the services berth and topped up fuel, got a new gas bottle, more fire supplies, and did the loo while across. All ready if I decide to go out over Christmas.

Friday 19th December ~ Rescue Mission

Was just clearing up from breakfast and heading for a shower when Ruth (standing in for Jackie who's on holiday) knocked on the 'door'. One of our moorers had moved their boat to Alvecote, but had not had a good experience up there and had taken cold feet to bring the boat back. Ruth asked if I would go and crew the boat round - my pleasure.

We headed round by car and went aboard. It was quite windy in the marina and made for a difficult reverse, turn and exit, but got there without incident. Set off, headed back towards Fazeley. A friend was to meet us at the Glascote locks to help work us through. When we arrived, we found a queue of four boats waiting to descend. It turns out that a culvert was either blocked or collapsed and the pound between was empty. CRT was in attendance to refill the pound and assist the queue to clear, and we were soon on the move again.

Despite the forecast for no rain, we had a couple of showers on the run round, but nothing prolonged. Arrived back at our marina and 'parked' their boat back on the berth.

Late afternoon, headed up to Ventura to do the shopping I had intended to do in the morning, but I enjoyed the run on a different boat, with different company.

16th-18th December ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Bob came Tuesday and we did the 750-hour service together, but he forgot to bring one tool to sort the cooling system pipework. Agreed he would return Thursday or Friday. Phoned Thursday to delay until Monday.

David from WifiOnBoard came on Wednesday to evaluate our on-board wifi system and see if we could improve reception. Our current mifi unit is now very old technology and not pushing data through at any reasonable rate. The antenna we have is, again, old technology and has no amplification built in (won't pass on weak signals). He recommends replacing the mifi and antenna (and ditching the range extender currently in use). The equipment to boost the marina wifi is expensive and we decided that it would not be financially sensible to replace it for the use we would get. We'll mull over his findings and make a decision.

Monday 15th December ~ Day Trip to Kingsbury

Lovely morning so decided to get out for a short trip. Everything squared away quickly and set off towards Curdworth.

Hadn't gone more than half an hour when something got wrapped round the prop. Pulled in got down the weed hatch. The water was VERY cold, but fortunately, the offending item was easily removed and I was on the way again.

Got to the winding hole below the first lock of the Curdworth Flight (no more winding holes until the top of the flight; too far) so turned the boat and backed up towards the lock, clear of the winding hole, before mooring up. Had a walk up the first four locks, met a couple of gents out walking who said the towpath was very muddy, so decided to turn and had a treat for lunch at the "Dog & Doublet" before returning to "Paws".

Mid-afternoon started the run back but passed the marina with plenty of time to spare till sunset so continued to the junction, turning left towards Fradley. Only went as far as the Bonehill winding hole before turning and getting back to the marina just as the sun was setting...... and just in time for a heavy shower of rain!

7.14 miles 0 locks 3.41 hrs 2.09 lmph

8th-14th December ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Having big problems with connectivity. No phone, no internet, txt working intermittantly. T-Mobile technical helpline deny a problem, but one of the EE retail outlets in Tamworth say there are two masts down for maintenance (why could the helpline not tell me that!).

Contacted WifiOnBoard to see if they could advise on poor internal wifi. Plan to meet with them middle next week.

Weather mainly cold and damp, but with sunny periods. Gales and heavy rain overnight into Thursday, but cleared by breakfast to a sunny morning. More rain overnight into Friday, but clearing during day. Frost set in by dusk so cold night.

Saturday cold but sunny. Moorers Christmas party in evening at Three Tuns. Very cold night. Sunday similar but with slight increase in wind and dulling over by dusk.

4th-7th December ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Slight showers overnight into Thursday, but fine and dry most of the remainder of the day. Took a trip on the bike up to Midland Chandlers  at Mercia Marina, then stopped off in Burton-upon-Trent on the way back (got the thread I was needing).

Again showers overnight into Friday, and again a lovely day, if cold. Pottered for most of the day. Forecast for a very cold night so ensured stove well stoked up for bedtime.

Very cold overnight into Saturday, with ice on the pontoons and some frozen taps reported. Another lovely day but felt it was warmer in the afternoon. Forecast for overcast and rain overnight, bringing the temperatures up, but sunny again on Sunday.

3rd December ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Up early again; another lovely morning. Cleared away again ready for Adam; then found that T-Mobile transmitter had gone down, no signal! By late morning was wondering if Top Notch had been ringing and not got through so went round to the marina office. They'd heard nothing. Was heading back when the Top Notch van went past. Got the old machine out (including disentangling the electric cable), and got the new one in with a far neater layout of pipes and cables. Adam also glued down the areas where the veneer was detaching.

Adam left late afternoon, and I nipped up to Hobbycraft to get cross-stitch thread and a bobbin winder (they didn't have the thread so looking for another supplier of Anchor thread). Treated myself to my favourite dinner.

2nd December ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Got up early; lovely morning. Everything cleared away and as much as possible removed from saloon and galley to give maximum space to work. Call from the builders mid-morning - sorry, but nobody available today, will have to reschedule for tomorrow. Put necessary items back into galley and saloon and made them habitable again. Not happy! When they attend tomorrow, they are to fix the veneers that are detaching themselves, but say that the deterioration on the outside woodwork comes under maintenance. While I understand it will need work, it should not need taking back to bare wood and revarnishing after only 6 months. Even less happy! Owner's Manual still not supplied - they've been given 2 weeks.

One upside to today - I've finally been paid!

Lovely afternoon so walked all the way into Tamworth and back

1st December ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

New month, same old weather - damp.

Contacted Indesit, they said that since it was supplied as part of new "house" it would need to be the builder that contacted. Contacted Top Notch and gave them the list of problems. The arranged for a spare (new) machine to be sent down tomorrow and they would get the current one fixed at base. I could keep the new one if happy, or they would exchange back once fixed. Await comment on the remainder of the items. Finally managed to get in touch with Bob who has not been well. Have arranged a mutually convenient time to do the service.

New moorers at the marina, those who are taking out 'winter moorings'.

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