|This Month's Totals and Average|
|55.06 miles||22 locks||26.35 hrs||2.92 lmph|
Rain arrived overnight into Saturday, and stayed until just before teatime (when it turned into a lovely evening). Didn't venture out; did some playing with my music software. Forecast for tomorrow better.
Sunday started cold and damp, but turned into a lovely day. Went to St Barnabas' Church in the morning, and pottered in the afternoon.
Another nice day Monday, so took the bike out for a run. Ended up at the Wednesbury branch of Ikea to get some new pillows - wished I hadn't, as there is a closure on the southbound on-slip of the M6. The queues were horrendous and some of the driving was downright dangerous!
Noted that "Mountbatten" was supposed to be at the eastern end of the Llangollen Canal so took another trip up there on the bike on Tuesday. Weather a bit misty to start, but cleared to a lovely day as I passed Stoke. Got it right first time this time, finding them beside the winding-hole at Burland, loading coal from a lorry (found out they had been "hiding" up the Prees Arm last time I was up). Great to see Jon and Hannah again. Rain arrived just after I got back.
Heavy rain showers overnight continued into Wednesday morning (glad I went out yesterday!). Generally pottered all day. Had tree-surgeons on-site at the marina, tidying up the tree cover.
Thursday and Friday rained most of the day. Did a bit of necessary shopping but weather not conducive to doing much else.
Sun was out again Saturday morning. Went for long walk out towpath to Glascote Top Lock, through the centre of Tamworth (getting a couple of bits of shopping) then out to Ventura before heading back along the towpath from there. Our illustrious Mail service has badly let me down - a letter (containing my repeat prescription) posted 1st Class on Tuesday still hadn't arrived by Saturday afternoon! Fortunately, the local pharmacy was willing to contact my GP and issue an emergency stock of tablets. Not a great end to the month.
Generally feeling cooler over the weekend. Quiet day Friday, shopping and general pottering. Phonecall from David & Mary (from "Kew" inviting me to lunch at their house on Sunday.
Phonecall from Pat on Saturday on her return to our house after her week's "holiday" at our timeshare, saying that there had been a big leak in bathroom, and ceiling in kitchen underneath had falling down. Generally stayed by phone for updates as she dealt with plumbers and insurers.
Went to St Paul's church for the morning service on Sunday, then to David & Mary's for lunch. Lovely meal and great company, thank you very much. Call from Pat to say insurers happy to cover, now awaiting them arranging work.
Some rain overnight into Monday. Feeling damp so cooler still during day. Quiet day aboard.
Quite a contrast on Tuesday with brilliant sunshine to start the day. Decided to have a day out on the bike. Still sunny on return mid-afternoon, but clouding over by evening with forecast for rain.
Overnight rain cleared, but still dull. Routine chores and shopping on Wednesday. Dull all day but no further rain.
Decided to have another day out on the bike on Thursday. Headed towards Nantwich then generally along the Llangollen. Hoped I might see fuel boat "Mountbatten" as Hannah had said she would do some decorative paintwork for me. No signs of them from the road, and nobody I spoke to had seen them. Lovely drive though, sunny most of the day.
Quiet day Friday. Rain threatened most of the day (it was forecast), but never came.
Overcast with high cloud to start the day. Got on the move promptly, returning through Streethay, Huddlesford and Whittington. Moored at Hopwas for lunch. Fairly quiet morning as far as traffic concerned.
After lunch continued the last section back to Fazeley Junction and into base. More traffic again around the Fazeley area. Cloud pretty constant throughout the day, sun trying to get through but never making it. Generally cool.
|8.79 miles||0 locks||3.49 hrs||2.52 lmph|
Woke to a bright sunny morning, so got moving fairly promptly, headed for Fradley. Ascended Bagnall, Hunt's, Common and Keepers Locks before pulling in at the services berth at Fradley. Bad road today (all locks against me). Once finished, moved across to the visitor moorings for lunch. Chatted with a team from Aberdeen aboard a hire-boat.
After lunch, took a short walk up to the shop next to the "Mucky Duck" (The Swan Inn), just to see if they had anything of interest. Nothing taking my fancy, returned to "Paws" and ascended Junction Lock. Turned left onto the Coventry Canal and stopped for a brief chat with Peter aboard "March Mole" who was taking water and getting a late lunch. Continued SE under rapidly thickening cloud. Getting quite cool, so moored up just before Bearshay Bridge 87 for the night.
|4.66 miles||5 locks||3.21 hrs||3.01 lmph|
Mixture of a day weatherwise - alternated between totally overcast and almost wall-to-wall sun. Decided to stay put for the day. Took a walk into the village for a few stores and the exercise, then moved "Paws" to the water point for a top-up, and back to her berth. Quiet afternoon pottering.
Another lovely sunny start to the day, although a lot cooler. Pottered about getting going, but left mid-morning headed for Burton. Shortly after getting away, caught up with a small narrowboat puttering along at about 1.5 mph. He seemed not to have any intention of letting me past. Eventually, he pulled in at a pub and I got ahead again. Ascended Dallow Lock and pulled in at Shobnall Basin again to discuss my docking.
Provisional booking made, had lunch then set off again, only to find that the same small narrowboat was ahead again, and still not letting me past. I went forward to help him at Branston Lock, but he then appeared to 'expect' me to close his top gate for him (by this time I had two other boats behind me as well). He eventually stopped at Branston Water Park so we all got ahead again. Continued up Tatenhill, Barton Turn and Wychnor Locks onto the river, then up Alrewas Lock to my preferred mooring in this area. Moored up considerably later than expected, but then chatted with the team from the boat who had been behind all afternoon and had helped working through the locks.
Another busy day for traffic. Apart from a short period mid-afternoon where I thought it might rain, the sun had been out most of the time, but it started to get chilly by evening.
|10.07 miles||6 locks||5.11 hrs||3.14 lmph|
Lovely start to day. High cloud and sun visible through it. Very leisurely start - let go mid-morning, headed for Willington. Lovely run to and through the village, and on to Mercia Marina , where I stopped for Midland Chandlers . Bad news though, they are discontinuing their maroon fenders (we have them for 'colour coordination'). Oh well, plain black next time, I suppose.
Left the marina and moored outside for lunch before continuing NE as far as Stenson Lock. Winded just before the lock and returned to last night's mooring at Eggington. Very busy day traffic-wise, both private and hire-boats. 'Summer' wildlife still in evidence, dragonflies and butterflies (Red Admiral and Cabbage White) still flitting around.
|8.02 miles||6 locks||3.06 hrs||2.62 lmph|
Day dawned with a hazy sun. It tried all morning to get fully through but never quite made it. Took a walk into the village before setting off. Descended Alrewas Lock onto the river - the reed beds have grown considerably since I was last this way! Descended Wychnor Lock off the river and continued northeast towards Burton. This stretch is rather noisy, with the A38 running parallel for some time. The noise didn't seem to worry the wildlife as I noted a kingfisher and a flock of long-tailed tits. Descended Barton Turn and Tatenhill Locks before stopping for lunch at the Branston Water Park moorings. Cloud starting to get the better of the sun, and breeze rising making it cooler.
After lunch, resumed towards Burton, descending Branston Lock before stopping at Shobnall Basin to enquire about drydock possibilities. Dock/boatyard manager on holiday until Monday, unable to help. Continued on towards Willington, descending Dallow Lock before clearing Burton. Moored for night just NE of the River Dove floodplain aqueduct. Quite a few boats out today, possibly making the best of the good forecast for the weekend. Several hire-boats out getting very good weather for their holidays for the time of year.
|10.03 miles||6 locks||5.00 hrs||3.21 lmph|
Beautiful morning - early cloud cleared quickly giving almost wall-to-wall sunshine. Took my time getting away and continued to Fradley Junction. Turned right and descended Junction Lock with the assistance of the CRT Volunteers, before stopping opposite the yard for lunch and a walk. Had a chat with Guy in the 'Welcome Centre'.
Continued after lunch, descending the four remaining locks (Keepers, Hunts, Common and Bagnall) to Alrewas. Very good road today, with all locks set for me, and most having a boat approaching as I left. There were some spaces at the visitor moorings on the west side of town, but I continued to the east side to my preferred mooring above Alrewas Lock. Unfortunately, it was very busy here, but I managed to squeeze in at the end of the moorings. Cloud had built a little during the afternoon, but there was still sunshine to be had, and a very pleasant evening.
|5.60 miles||5 locks||3.21 hrs||3.30 lmph|
The forecast improvement in the weather came, with a lovely sunny morning. Quick trip to Ventura for stores to last me for a week out, had lunch, then moved across to the services berth and took fuel from Jackie.
Left the marina and headed the now well-'trodden' route to Fazeley Junction, turned left and out past Bonehill for Hopwas and Whittington. Sun remained out most of the time and it was warm in the sun (pretty cool when it did go behind one of the few clouds!). Uneventful journey, although surprised to see two hire boats out at this time of year. Our favourite mooring just to the north of King's Orchard Marina was full so reversed back to the south side for the night. Lovely evening, but a cold night in prospect with the lack of cloud cover.
|7.89 miles||0 locks||3.28 hrs||2.41 lmph|
Very heavy rain set in again Monday teatime and continued almost all night. Woke to a sunny breakfast Tuesday, but more rain on the way. Generally pottered. Took a walk to Ventura for exercise as much as anything else, but got a couple of items at Sainsbury while out.
Rain persisted overnight and into Wednesday, with an increased wind. Another quiet day.
Another nice day Sunday, but forecast for remainder of week is for change. Pat spent Sunday finishing cleaning round and doing her packing. I generally kept out of the way!
The weather turned on Monday; woke to steady rain and higher winds. Pat headed north mid-morning to visit friends in Harrogate (she'll continue to the house tomorrow). I finished changing things round so that things I want are to hand and things I'll not need are stored more out of the way. Went round to the office and paid the outstanding electricity bill and got a new gas bottle. All ready now for the winter period - hope it is as good as last year.
Once again the roads around Lichfield/Tamworth/Burton echoed to the sound of motorcycles as the annual bikers' "ride of remembrance and respect" descended on Alrewas . Ride to the Wall 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 . The first 'Ride' was in 2008 when around 500 bikes attended (Martin had thought he might get about 50). It now starts from 11 assembly points and attracts over 7000 bikes each year.
This year, it was announced that the cheque presented to the Arboretum from last year's gate was £90,000. A new Standard for RTTW was dedicated by the Padre during the service. A dull day throughout, but the aerobatics and poppy-drop by a biplane and the flypast by the Dakota of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight both took place - a great spectacle.
High pressure system still dominating UK, giving settled conditions, although there was more cloud this morning to start the month.
Thursday, did a shopping trip to cover the weekend till Pat goes home, did a few changes on the 'display' options on the car (Pat can't follow the instructions in the handbook), did a little work on the bike, then got a hair cut.
Fuelled bike Friday ready for weekend. Minor problem from Wednesday solved.