This Month's Totals and Average
77.17 miles 14 locks 34.21 hrs 2.66 lmph

  March 2015

27th-31st March ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Sunny spells during Friday, but with rising wind. Went into Tamworth to get replacement phone for Pat. Spent afternoon putting apps back on and synchronising data.

Heavy rain overnight into Saturday. General cleaning. Hung some pictures to make it look more homely. Warm day by comparison - no heating during day, and no stove during evening. Occasional showers resumed during evening, after sunny afternoon.

Heavy rain again Sunday morning, with wind still increasing. Clocks put forward to summer-time overnight (wonder if the weather will follow suit). Spent day on computer maintenance. Bright afternoon, but rain back by evening.

Monday started bad! Had arranged for bike to go in for tyre change and MoT, but when started refused to keep running (sounds like a charging system problem). Contacted garage and re-arranged work for 13th April (first they had space to get it done). Went shopping. Weather wasn't too bad during morning, but turned to rain during afternoon.

Last day of the month. Very windy overnight, with heavy rain at times; bounced about quite a bit on the mooring. Rain and wind continued throughout the day. Spent the day poring over maps and books, deciding where our summer cruise is to be this year. Think we have narrowed it down to
  1) Head round to Ellesmere Port via T&M, Middlewich Branch, and Shroppie
  2) Return to Hurleston Junction and head out to Llangollen
  3) Return to the Shroppie, exploring the available mileage of the Montgomery Canal and Preece Branch
  4) Head down the River Severn and Gloucester & Sharpness Canal to Sharpness
  5) Return to River Severn but turn off at Tewkesbury for River Avon and Worcs & Brum Canal back to Birmingham.
Lots to look forward to.

Thursday 26th March ~ Kingsbury to Fazeley (awayday)

Very heavy rain overnight (which had been forecast) continued after breakfast, so hung about till lunchtime. Did work on computer and Kindles.

Sun was out more frequently by after lunch, but wind was still strong. Decided to get back to base. Winded and headed back northeast. Finished off the job from the morning. Lovely sunny evening, but wind still strong - a little bouncy alongside the berth.

2.58 miles 0 locks 1.04 hrs 2.47 lmph

Wednesday 25th March ~ Fazeley to Kingsbury (awayday)

Lovely sunny day, with good forecast for a couple of days. Outlook for weekend not good. Decided to head back out overnight. Turned left from the marina and headed towards Curdworth. Moored just before the bottom lock, beside the Kingsbury Water Park. The water park was originally a sand and gravel pit, but was reclaimed for wildlife and leisure activities. Went for a walk round a couple of the pools, noting a pair of grebes. Decided that we were too near the Dog & Doublet pub not to drop in for a meal, so had dinner out.

2.62 miles 0 locks 1.09 hrs 2.41 lmph

Tuesday 24th March ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Beautiful sunny start to Tuesday. Up promptly to get bike to garage for MoT, then off shopping. Call from garage mid-morning advising of work required. Agreed to take in next Monday. General pottering afternoon, punctuated by occasional short showers of rain and hail.

Monday 23rd March ~ Streethay to Fazeley (week's mini-break)

Woke to beautiful sunshine...... which changed to overcast by the time we finished breakfast! Left fairly sharp, headed into a cold breeze. Worked our way back to Fazeley junction and moored up outside "Tolson's Mill shop". Had lunch in their café then a wander around the shop. Got more kindling at the sawmill before taking "Paws" back to the marina. Topped up coal and gas on the way in.

7.95 miles 0 locks 3.04 hrs 2.62 lmph

Sunday 22nd March ~ Handsacre to Streethay (week's mini-break)

Lovely quiet mooring. Overcast with mod/high cloud, but this quickly cleared to a sunny day (although cold if in the shade). Departed Handsacre and continued towards Fradley, dropping down through the three locks. Turned right onto the Coventry Canal and stopped for water and loo, before moving clear of the services berth to have lunch.

Had a walk back to the junction and visited the shop next to The Swan Inn (we had been told it was permanently closed, but was obviously open again). Took a walk round the nature reserve, then down to the CRT Yard (there had been an Explorers  education day for kids, and a training day for volunteer lock-keepers). Returned to "Paws" and set off again for Streethay, mooring again between the Wharf and the entrance to Kings Orchard Marina.

7.33 miles 3 locks 3.55 hrs 2.91 lmph

Saturday 21st March ~ Tixall to Handsacre (week's mini-break)

Slightly noisy night with the Canada geese. Chilly wind blowing. Winded in the Wide, and returned to Great Haywood Junction, turning right for Fradley. Decided to get ahead as far as possible so that we could have time at Fradley for a walk round the nature reserve at the junction. Pat took the helm for Haywood and Colwich locks claiming her shoulders were sore from when she fell in, and that she needed to get back into practice (not sure which excuse was the real one, if either!). Stopped at Rugeley for lunch and a quick trip to shops, before continuing through Armitage to Handsacre. Stopped for night at Handsacre. Little change in weather all day - cold in the wind, but some warmth in the sun.

9.26 miles 2 locks 4.27 hrs 2.64 lmph

Friday 20th March ~ Great Haywood to Tixall (week's mini-break)

Woke to the sound of a woodpecker knocking on a tree. Bright morning, but with medium/high cloud so the eclipse wasn't as easily seen as it may have been. Left the mooring around our normal time and ascended Haywood Lock. Pulled in to the services berth for water and loo, and Pat nipped across to the farmshop for a couple of items she forgot yesterday. Once ready, reversed to the junction and turned onto the Staff & Worcs Canal. Only went as far as Tixall Wide and moored up in the hopes of watching the great crested grebes in their mating dance. Passed the milestone of 1000 miles since "Paws" was launched.

Plenty of birdlife, but no grebes found. Made up for by our first sighting of a kingfisher (male) this year.

1.00 miles 1 locks 0.75 hrs 2.65 lmph

Thursday 19th March ~ 'The Taft' to Great Haywood (week's mini-break)

A cold damp morning, but with the promise of improvement. Left 'The Taft' after a leisurely breakfast and continued towards Great Haywood. Ascended Colwich Lock, but on the approach to Haywood Lock two boats discourteously pulled out in front from the moorings at Shugborough . We decided to moor up and take a walk to the Canalside Farm Shop . Unfortunately, as we were mooring, Pat slipped off the gunwale and fell in. Walk postponed while we dried her out (only thing harmed was her pride!) and did an extra load of washing. Had lunch before anything else.

Once everything 'shipshape' again, took the delayed walk up to the shop at the junction. Sun had come out and it was a lovely afternoon. After shopping, had coffee in their coffeeshop (opened last year, but new to us - very nice, and reasonably priced). On arrival back at "Paws", decided that it was nice where we were so elected not to continue - water can wait till tomorrow.

Went to bed to the sound of tawny owls calling to the night - great to be out in the countryside.

2.53 miles 1 locks 1.35 hrs 2.62 lmph

Wednesday 18th March ~ Streethay to 'The Taft' (week's mini-break)

Beautiful sunny morning. Got away promptly after breakfast and continued towards Fradley. Stopped for water and loo just before the junction.

Once finished, turned left onto the Trent & Mersey Canal, headed for Great Haywood. Ascended the three locks and continued northwest. A lot of birdlife visible today, easier seen with the leaves not yet on the trees. Lunch on the move. Cloud slowly building during afternoon; felt warm enough when the sun was out, but still cold when it went behind the cloud. Passed through Rugeley, and stopped at 'The Taft' to visit Peter and Julie (BCF members ). Spent a very pleasant evening with them, chatting over coffee and hot cross buns.

12.80 miles 3 locks 5.92 hrs 2.67 lmph

Tuesday 17th March ~ Fazeley to Streethay (week's mini-break)

Woke to rain so took our time getting up! Rain cleared by after breakfast, although cloud and mist still made it feel a little damp. Left the marina mid-morning, only slightly later than planned, and headed to the junction, turning left towards Fradley. Saw "March Mole" moored at the waterpoint at the CRT office so pulled across for a chat with Peter & Pam (mainly about the BCF  Easter Cruise). Once on the move again, we continued out towards Hopwas, stopping at the 'school' visitor mooring for lunch. Mist starting to lift and cloud easing. Occasional patches of sunshine peeking through.

After lunch, we once again continued towards Fradley. Decided to call it a day mid-afternoon, and stopped for night between Kings Orchard Marina and Streethay Wharf. Actually starting to feel warm, so great hopes for tomorrow.

7.93 miles 0 locks 3.20 hrs 2.48 lmph

14th-16th March ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Cloudy day Saturday, but it least it isn't raining. Finished the clearing/cleaning ready for Pat coming back; she arrived mid-afternoon.

Pat spent Sunday rearranging items I had put where I wanted them, then sat reading the paper. Unfortunately, I had a migraine and lost most of the day. Another cloudy day with occasional drizzle.

Monday dawned a nice day, and we headed out to top up on the remaining shopping in the hope we could get out for a few days. I had to arrange for an MoT for the motorbike, and managed to get a slot for next week. Insurance renewed over phone; received licence in post. "Paws" legal again for another year. The forecast is good for the remainder of the this week, so planning on getting away tomorrow morning. Rain set in at lunchtime, but only showers. Topped up fuel ready for a week away.

9th-13th March ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Another lovely day on Monday. Had a quiet day reading and working on the laptop (mostly doing remote maintenance on Pat's laptop).

Tuesday again dawned a sunny day. Great to have windows and side-hatch doors open again. Did the shopping for necessaries, along with the non-perishables from the list Pat sent me to get ready for her return. Just as well, as I received call from builder to confirm all would be completed by the end of the week, and advising someone would attend on Friday (when I had intended to do the shopping!). Went for a walk out towards Kettlebrook, and back in via Tamworth centre and Ventura.

Wednesday - if I hadn't seen the forecast, I could be forgiven for thinking spring had finally arrived, with yet another sunny morning. Forecast, however, for rain later. Generally pottered.

Generally dull day on Thursday. Quiet day, with routine chores.

Very heavy rain overnight into Friday, continued till late morning when it started to clear, eventually turning into a nice evening. Adam from the builder turned up mid-morning and completed all the remedial work. He got away late afternoon. Sam from RCR came mid-afternoon for our health-check and found nothing to worry about. That's us ready for this year's cruising - can't wait to get away. Pat returns tomorrow.

4th-8th March ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Fhi departed for home after breakfast Wednesday - sorry to see her go, its been a great short break (too short).

Totals and Average with Fhi
23.17 miles 4 locks 10.01 hrs 2.71 lmph

Spent the rest of the day re-arranging things back to "normal" and tying up loose ends from the trip. Another lovely sunny day; hope this bodes well for the summer.

Took an unannounced trip to the builders Thursday to see what they were saying. Jon was at the launch of another boat, Judith was in a meeting of unknown duration, and the other director wasn't in. Left strongly worded message with Natalie to pass to Jon - we'll see what happens. Pleasant drive if unprofitable, with high cloud and sunny spells. Visited local CRT office and arranged renewal of licence.

Another good day Friday. Spent all day trying to run cables (power for phone and lights, plus handset cable for phone) behind the skirting-board (lift-out panels were provided for access to pipes and cables, but they are so stiff its almost impossible to get them out!). Eventually completed what should have been a short job just before dinner. Arranged renewal of River Canal Rescue  membership.

Finished the (easily accessible) cabling for the lighting on Saturday. Another sunny day, but forecast is for rain tomorrow.

After a bright start Sunday morning, the rain arrived by lunchtime - and threw it down! It did, however, clear by late afternoon, and turned into a nice evening. Quiet day doing very little.

Tuesday 3rd March ~ Kettlebrook to Fazeley via Bonehill and Kingsbury (short break with Fhi)

Rain overnight, but yet another sunny morning; the wind slightly reduced and slightly warmer. Away again just after breakfast with the intention of heading round to shop at Ventura. Elected to wind at Bonehill and walk the remainder rather than taking the boat all the way and then needing to go another 1.5 hours to wind. Did the shopping (and had coffee at Costa) then headed back to Fazeley junction.

Stopped at the junction to visit the wool and craft shop at "Tolson's Mill". Had lunch before moving on. Once on the move, decided to finish the cruise by running to the winding hole at the bottom of the Curdworth flight, before returning to the marina. Got back in and tied up by late afternoon. Mostly sunny all day, the wind still cold but not quite as strong. We were still cold but still enjoyed the trip. Spent the evening playing "Ticket to Ride" (testing the on-line connection for the future).

6.95 miles 0 locks 2.73 hrs 2.55 lmph

Monday 2nd March ~ Glascote to Fazeley via Bradley Green (short break with Fhi)

Sunny morning, but with strong and cold wind. Got away after breakfast and headed on towards Atherstone . Fhi took a hand at the tiller (with L-plates up) and proved to be a natural steerer, especially in the difficult conditions. Very cold day but braved the elements just to be on the move. Pulled in at the services berth at Bradley Green for water and loo, then moved across to the towpath side for lunch.

After lunch, reversed to the winding hole and turned to head back towards Fazeley. Decided to get as far as the aqueduct just before the junction if the weather permitted. The pound at Glascote was full again despite the leak. Managed to get tied up just before dinner, cold. Film-night aboard (on DVD).

14.10 miles 2 locks 5.77 hrs 2.79 lmph

Sunday 1st March ~ Fazeley to Glascote (short break with Fhi)

Lovely sunny start to day, and to month. Having checked stores last night, decided a couple of things would be required so did quick run to Ventura before setting off. Left marina mid-morning and turned right at junction, heading in the direction of Coventry .

Pound between the two Glascote locks very low due to the leak on the lower gate, but got through successfully, Fhi working her first locks in 15 years. Stopped just after the winding hole for some lunch, .... and the heavens opened! Decided we were not going any further so battened down. By mid-afternoon the rain had cleared and the sun was back out, but decided to stay put. Evening watching TV and chatting.

2.12 miles 2 locks 1.51 hrs 2.73 lmph

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