This Month's Totals and Average
125.22 miles 98 locks 66.56 hrs 3.35 lmph

  September 2015

26th-30th September ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Decided to take advantage of the high pressure system and settled fine weather to get a bit of painting done. Hoped to get the areas 'damaged' by lock-walls and poor pilings covered before winter finally sets in. Got rust treated and a coat of undercoat on, but found that I couldn't do a straight line between two colours by hand with the boat rocking around. Tried fitting masking tape but couldn't even get the tape straight! Project shelved until Pat goes home.

Went for a drive in the car to the National Memorial Arboretum  on Tuesday (Pat wanted to see the memorial from Camp Bastion, which had been brought back when our troops pulled out).

Washed and cleaned the bike on Wednesday ready for the weekend. Took it out for a decent run to prove running OK. Minor problem which should be easily fixed.

Friday 25th September ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Area of high pressure sitting over UK giving settled sunny weather. Sunny, but chilly. Went to two coffee mornings to support the World's Biggest Coffee Morning  event in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Spent afternoon trying to resolve file-sharing problem which has emerged due upgrade to Windows 10 (failed!).

Thursday 24th September ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Very heavy rain overnight, but cleared by breakfast. Lovely start to day, although there were some periods of cloud during which the wind felt quite chilly. Admiral postponed the Friday trip to Burton on grounds she insists on TV Fri/Sat for new series of Strictly - not sure when this will now get done! Walked along towpath to Ventura Park and back. 'Catering' spent afternoon baking (possibly in the hope of placating the Skipper!). Last batch of catch-up washing and remaining ironing not done.

Wednesday 23rd September ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Forecast for lovely sunny day so got going promptly. Washed the tonneau cover and the cover for the bike, but they took time drying as the sun didn't really get through till lunchtime. Emptied and dried out the aft lockers. Washed the internal decks. Some ironing done. Clouded over again by mid-afternoon (so much for the forecast). Contract 'gardeners' spent the day cutting back trees and bushes around the marina.

Tuesday 22nd September ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Alternating sun with cloud. Trip into Tamworth for market. Planned ironing didn't get done, but another batch of washing did.

Monday 21st September ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Generally rainy. Trip to Sainsbury for stores (they close on Wednesday for refurbishment). More ironing, then more washing. Apart from that, lazy day. Plan to take "Paws" round to Shobnall basin at Burton to discuss stern-tube work (plan to leave Fazeley Friday).

Sunday 20th September ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Long lie in! Lovely sunny morning, but slowly clouded over during day to give cool cloudy evening.

Another round of shopping (car started first time so battery not too bad after discharge). Planned longer drive to give vehicles a good run cancelled by Admiral at last minute. Ironed yesterday's washing, and another batch washed. Watched some of Davis Cup tennis.

Saturday 19th September ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Up early to allow Fhi & Nick to get away before the traffic got heavy. Another bright start to the day.

Totals and Average with Fhi & Nick
30.36 miles 4 locks 14.22 hrs 2.42 lmph

Tried jump leads from their car to Pat's but couldn't get Pat's started. Fhi & Nick departed for home, but Chris from "Slimy Sal" volunteered to try - he works for the Fire Brigade and has a jump-starter in his maintenance truck. After about half an hour, got it started. Went shopping, with me car-sitting leaving the engine running while Pat shopped.

Beds changed round again and remade; load of washing done; back-dated ironing done. Pumped tires on car and bike. Bike started first turn of the key! (the solar panel had obviously done its job). Call from Fhi & Nick at 16:30 to say they were home safe. All back to normal by dinner-time. Lovely warm sunny late-summer day.

Great having our visitors; look forward to seeing them down again.

Friday 18th September ~ Glascote to Fazeley via Hopwas and Kingsbury (short break with Fhi & Nick)

Another lovely day; forecast good. Up fairly early to maximise the time for guests. Descended the Glascote Locks and returned to Fazeley Junction. Continued straight on towards Fradley, past Bonehill and through Hopwas, winding at Tamhorn Park just on lunchtime (Nick on the tiller for the experience of winding). Lunch on the move once turned. Returned to Bonehill and moored at Sutton Road Bridge for Fhi & Nick to get stores at the retail park. Starting to cloud over a bit.

On the move again, and returned to Fazeley Junction once more, showers setting in. Turned right for the bottom of Curdworth Flight. Winded at the bottom of the flight at Kingsbury with Fhi on the tiller this time. Returned to the marina in time for dinner. Rain had cleared away again, turning into another lovely evening. Again chatted and watched TV.

15.59 miles 2 locks 7.25 hrs 2.43 lmph

Thursday 17th September ~ Fazeley to Glascote via Bradley Green (short break with Fhi & Nick)

Lovely morning, sun out if cool. Fhi up first. Had breakfast and did essential shopping. Let go from marina and headed out to Fazeley Junction, turning right for Kettlebrook and Glascote. Ascended the Glascote Locks (2 locks), with Nick learning very fast and Fhi bringing the boat up the second lock. Lunch on the move through Amington and Alvecote, Fhi taking a good hand in the steering when not eating. Onwards through Dordon and Polesworth with Nick taking a turn with the L-plates. Arrived at Bradley Green mid-afternoon and winded before reversing to the services berth. Topped up the water, but didn't need any other services.

Once on the move again returned to Glascote by late afternoon, with Fhi & Nick sharing the driving. Special dinner for Fhi's birthday (most convenient day nearest). Evening chatting and watching TV.

14.77 miles 2 locks 6.97 hrs 2.41 lmph

Wednesday 16th September ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Nice start to day, but with forecast of heavy rain later. General cleaning and resetting beds for visitors.

Fhi & Nick arrived just after dinner. Spent evening 'catching-up' and watching TV. Plans re-worked due new time constraints.

Tuesday 15th September ~ Curdworth to Fazeley

Woke to a dull, cloudy start. Had been rain overnight, but cleared by breakfast. Moved off, and descended the Curdworth Flight (11 locks) - volunteers were out, but were only covering three locks. Rain came back again by late morning. Stopped after the bottom lock for lunch. Sun came back out!

Finished lunch and moved on, sun vanished and we got soaked again. Arrived back at base just as the rain cleared. Still couldn't get the car started - it will have to wait until we get back after our short break out with daughter and fiancé. Lovely sunny end to the day.

5.39 miles 11 locks 3.53 hrs 4.64 lmph

Monday 14th September ~ Birmingham Centre to Curdworth (en route to Fazeley)

Almost a re-run of two weeks ago!

Early rise as the forecast for later in the day was horrendous. Reversed out from Brindley Place and headed to the top of Farmers Bridge Flight. Descended the 13 locks with the assistance of a CRT volunteer, then continued down the Aston Flight (11 Locks). The bottom gate on Lock 10 would not fully open, although we managed to scrape our way through (reported to CRT). Damp and dismal - misty, occasional slight drizzle.

Cleared the flight and turned right at Salford Junction, bound for Minworth. Lunch on the move. Drizzle turning to light rain at times. Descended the three locks at Minworth, hoping to get moored before it got any worse. Moored just above Curdworth Top Lock. . . . . . and the sun came out!

9.24 miles 27 locks 6.57 hrs 5.51 lmph

Sunday 13th September ~ Bumble Hole to Birmingham Centre (en route to Fazeley)

The expected rain this morning never materialised, and we woke to another sunny morning. Headed back to the main festival area for "Church in the Beer Tent" (community praise service, with all local churches and festival visitors welcomed), then back to "Paws" for lunch. Would have been happy to stay at the festival for the afternoon, but the Admiral said it was essential she get back to base.

Once finished lunch, extricated ourselves from our 'boat sandwich' and went to the first winding hole to turn. Returned to Windmill End Junction, turning right and back through the Netherton Tunnel to Dudley Port Junction and the BCN New Main Line. Turned right, headed for the centre of Birmingham. Continued past the 'roundabout' and stopped at the services berth at the top of the Farmers Bridge Flight. Cloud increased throughout the afternoon - quite cool by the time we finished.

Once complete, winded and headed across to the Oozells Street Loop and the visitor moorings at Brindley Place.

10.54 miles 0 locks 3.98 hrs 2.65 lmph

Saturday 12th September ~ Bumble Hole - Black Country Boating Festival

Very heavy rain overnight, continued till mid-morning as showers. Transpired that some mooring pins had been pulled out overnight by socially-challenged persons, but no apparent damage. Took a walk around the tents and other static stalls during the morning. Went for late coffee / early lunch at St Peter's Church, then had a walk around the boat displays, ending at "Kew", the stand for the BCF . Pat returned to"Paws" to do some baking while I stayed to help man the stand. Had a visit for coffee/tea from John & Jan from "Jubilee". Dinner and evening aboard.

Friday 11th September ~ Dudley to Bumble Hole - Black Country Boating Festival

Up promptly to nice sunny morning. Moved across to services berth as soon as overnight moorer vacated it, then away on the last leg of this voyage. Headed back via Tipton Junction to Tipton Factory Junction and turned right along the BCN New Main Line. Descended the three Factory Locks with the assistance of a CRT lock-keeper then continued along the line to Dudley Port Junction - less of the brown weed today. Turned right and passed through the Netherton Tunnel, arriving at Bumble Hole for the Black Country Boating Festival (BCBF) . Checked our berth from the mooring plan and turned onto the Dudley No.2 canal, mooring just after the gauging narrows.

Checked in, had lunch, then went for a walk around the site. Collected our 'welcome pack' and got a timetable for the weekend's activities. Noted several other boats belonging to BCF  members, and renewed contact with some of our friends. Arranged to have dinner with them (courtesy the BCN Society  volunteers) in the beer tent. Lovely sunny day until evening, but rain starting fall by the time we had finished dinner.

4.84 miles 3 locks 2.70 hrs 2.90 lmph

Thursday 10th September ~ Slade Heath to Dudley (en route to Bumble Hole)

Up early, with long heavy day in prospect. Light cloud, but showing signs of clearing. Under way by 07:20, heading south for Autherley and Aldersley Junctions. Passed through the narrows without a boat coming the other way (another advantage of being early!). Arrived at Aldersley Junction to find two boats waiting - so much for utilising the early start. By the time we got started up the flight, another two boats had arrived. Sun was definitely coming out by this time. Got into a routine of the boat ahead drawing a paddle as they left a lock; lock empty by the time we got there; we drew a paddle for the boat after. Made good time, apart from the period where one of the boats a few ahead decided to let a boat down before going through. Good etiquette normally, but not waiting for a boat three locks up to arrive before taking the lock - holding everyone up behind.

Cleared the flight (21 locks) in 3½ hours, and settled into the run out of Wolverhampton towards Tipton. Lunch on the move. Kept getting weed round the prop so a slower journey than expected, but arrived at Tipton Factory Junction by 14:30. The run along wasn't overly scenic, with factory rear-walls for a back-drop. Turned right at the junction and headed for Tipton Junction and the Black Country Museum  which has excellent moorings - not visiting this time, but have been in the past and will return again another day. Moored up and cleared the weed hatch - a lot of brown weed and a piece of rope. Lovely sunny afternoon and evening.

11.46 miles 21 locks 7.76 hrs 4.24 lmph

Wednesday 9th September ~ Penkridge to Slade Heath (en route to Bumble Hole)

Slightly early rise to ensure we were at the shops for 09:00. Still cloudy, but slightly warmer this morning. All necessaries done, and away by mid-morning. Ascended the spaced-out string of locks between Penkridge and Gailey - Penkridge, Filance, Otherton, Rodbaston, Bogg's, Brick Kiln and Gailey. Stopped above Gailey for services, then moved clear for a lunch break. Had a brief chat with Edwin aboard "Ferrous".

After lunch, continued towards Wolverhampton, stopping for night after Bridge 72. Remained cloudy all day, but more sunny patches in between than yesterday.

7.82 miles 7 locks 4.52 hrs 3.28 lmph

Tuesday 8th September ~ Tixall to Penkridge (en route to Bumble Hole)

Cloudy and cool to start the day, with a mist lying over the Cut and the fields. Long lie, then slow start. Generally pottered, and finally got away mid-morning. Sun attempted to get through most of the morning, but never quite managed it. Ascended Tixall Lock, and continued round the outskirts of Stafford before ascending Deptmore Lock. Quite busy in both directions and there were short queues at each lock. Stopped for lunch opposite the Moat House in Acton Trussell.

After lunch, continued up through Shutt Hill Lock, then stopped briefly below Park Gate Lock to visit Midland Chandlers . Continued up through Park Gate and Longford Locks before stopping on the outskirts of Penkridge for the night.

The planned walk into town for stores was postponed till tomorrow morning when "engineering" was informed that there was a blockage in the galley sink outlet. Fixed fairly easily, thank goodness, but now running late on plans - will need a full day tomorrow to catch up.

8.52 miles 5 locks 4.88 hrs 2.77 lmph

Monday 7th September ~ "The Taft" to Tixall (en route to Bumble Hole)

Another beautiful start to the day. Back to "The Taft" for an informal praise/thanksgiving service, lead by James & Hazel from "Gabriel", after which we went our separate ways. We fuelled "Paws" at the "pigman" then set off westwards for Great Haywood. Ascended Colwich Lock, then stopped by Shugborough Hall  for lunch.

Continued after lunch, ascending Haywood Lock, before stopping at the Junction for services and the farm shop . Once on the move again, we turned in at the Junction, onto the Staffs & Worcs Canal to head down the west side of Birmingham. Moored up at the south end of Tixall Wide for night.

4.16 miles 2 locks 2.59 hrs 2.38 lmph

Sunday 6th September ~ "The Taft" - 20th Birthday celebration of BCF

Beautiful sunny morning, if considerably colder than previous days. Slower to get started than we would have wished and only arrived up at "The Taft" just in time for the Sunday service. Excellent service and Communion lead by Martin, with participation by other members in the form of readings. An impromptu choir lead the singing. Lovely lunch afterwards, then general fellowship during the afternoon. Supper was also available during the evening. Hot sunny day all day, with almost a cloudless sky. Our thanks to Peter & Julie for their work in organising a fantastic weekend.

Saturday 5th September ~ Rugeley to "The Taft" - 20th Birthday celebration of BCF

Up and breakfasted promptly. Bright morning, mostly cloudy, but with sunny patches. Baking started ready for Sunday lunch. Moved round corner to Taft Bridge 69 to find mooring for weekend's festivities. Surprised to get moored as near to bridge as we did, and met John & Janet from "Buttercup", inviting them aboard for coffee. Walked over bridge and round to join the festivities for the 20th anniversary of the BCF .

Barbecue lunch, followed by team 'games'. Met some great new friends. Bread & cheese tea followed by home-made entertainment was on the cards as we returned to "Paws" to finish our baking for tomorrow. Sun came out for most of day; warm but not overly hot. As I type this, I have just had a visit from a kingfisher, sitting on our tiller.

0.83 miles 3 locks 0.47 hrs 1.76 lmph

Friday 4th September ~ Whittington to Rugeley (en route to Rugeley)

Another bright morning - lets hope it stays that way today! Leisurely start, and continued on towards Fradley Junction. A bit more traffic today, after the past few days of very few boats. Nuts and berries in abundance now on the trees and flowers; summer drawing to a close. Stopped at the visitor mooring before the Junction and did the loo before having lunch.

After lunch, left Fradley and turned left at the junction - I single-handed "Paws" up Middle and Shadehouse Locks while "catering" did a quick run to "Cheese Boat"  moored opposite the services berth. On her return, we continued northwest, ascending Wood End Lock and passing through Handsacre and Armitage before arriving at Rugeley. Stopped at Bridge 66 for stores, then moved to the other side of town before mooring again just by Brindley Bank Aqueduct.

13.30 miles 3 locks 6.12 hrs 2.66 lmph

Thursday 3rd September ~ Alvecote to Whittington (en route to Rugeley)

~ Merchant Navy Day ~

The national day of remembrance for merchant seafarers who, in the course of their trade, lost their lives as a result of armed conflict. During WW1 and WW2, British Merchant Fleets lost 52,000 men, women and boys to the sea, and that is their only grave. September 3rd was chosen as the memorial day for two reasons -
   1. it was the day WW2 was declared,
   2. SS Athena was sunk by a German submarine on the first day of war, with the loss of 117 civilian crew and passengers - the first merchant ship sunk in the war.

Up and on the move promptly. Moved the 200 yds from mooring to Narrowcraft Boatyard at Alvecote. Bright morning with the prospect of plenty sun. Engine serviced - slight delay in starting as we couldn't get on the services berth. Found that there is problem with stern gland, which should be investigated further fairly soon. Discussed and decided to arrange for when we get back. Brightness in day dwindled with our mood. Occasional slight moisture in the air.

Got away about 13:00 headed for Fazeley. Lunch on the move before arriving at the Glascote Flight. Descended and continued to Fazeley Junction. Continued ahead, but stopped at the CRT Office / services for water, rubbish and to report minor problem on two of Curdworth Locks. Got away again hoping to make Streethay, but eventually decided we'd had enough by Whittington so moored by Cheadle's Bridge. Generally cloudy during the afternoon, although some brightness returned as we moored up.

9.72 miles 2 locks 3.77 hrs 3.11 lmph

Wednesday 2nd September ~ Bodymoor Heath to Alvecote (en route to Rugeley)

Not awake as early as hoped, but still away promptly. Said our goodbyes for this year to John & Judith - hope to see you again - then descended the bottom 3 locks of the Curdworth Flight. Dull start to day, but slowly brightening. Arrived at base and stopped for services. Had intended to take the car up to Ventura Retail Park, but the battery was flat. I'll get the 'brick' charged up by the time we get back (sigh!).

Shopping done at Tesco local, only half what was needed. Had lunch. Got parcel away for new family member born a few days ago. On the move again - and down came the rain! Heavy showers for remainder of afternoon. Turned right at Fazeley Junction and headed for the Glascote Flight (2 locks). Fortunately, the rain stayed off while up-locking, but (steerer) got soaked at other times! Continued through Amington to Alvecote and moored for night just short of the marina. Engine service scheduled for tomorrow morning.

7.20 miles 5 locks 3.72 hrs 3.28 lmph

Tuesday 1st September ~ Curdworth to Bodymoor Heath (en route to Rugeley)

Rain, heavy at times, continued most of the night, but we woke to a fairly sunny sky. Call of nature got us up slightly early so we were on the move fairly promptly. Called "Serena", confirmed they were still moored, and advised we were on our way. Descended the first 8 locks of the Curdworth Flight. Water levels were high, and the road was against us all the way, but we still made good time, getting to the "Dog & Doublet" by mid-morning. Moored next to "Serena" and had a great 3 hours chatting with John & Judith about our respective exploits since we last saw them last year. Returned to "Paws" for lunch.

By the time lunch was finished, the rain had started again, and was getting heavier! Decided not to move again today. Dinner at "D&D" with John & Judith. Great food (as usual), great company.

1.84 miles 8 locks 1.83 hrs 5.38 lmph

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