|This Month's Totals and Average|
|58.58 miles||31 locks||30.36 hrs||2.95 lmph|
Woken about 04:30 with the sun streaming through the porthole. Boats started passing at 07:00. Everybody on the move early. We got away at about our usual time and continued past Streethay Wharf towards Fradley. Wind picked up and cloud building by late morning. Turned right at Fradley Junction and descended Junction Lock with the help of the duty local CRT volunteer. Very busy at the junction. Passing chat with Jim and Sheila on "Islonian". Pulled over for the services berth, then 'pushed across' to the visitor moorings for lunch.
After lunch, continued down through the four locks (Keeper's, Hunt's, Common and Bagnall) to arrive in Alrewas mid-afternoon. Quite busy at the eastern moorings but managed to get in with TV signal. Overcast by this time, but still hoped to get a walk.
Unfortunately, rain came on so didn't get out, but got a visit from Mike and Ethel from "Blue on Blue". Great to catch up again.
|6.64 miles||5 locks||4.04 hrs||2.88 lmph|
Overcast morning with a slight breeze which was coolish. Fitted the new bow-fender. Got all the new seat covers measured and cut. Sun poking through by lunchtime. Purchased replacement gas bottle on way out after lunch - yes, we are definitely on our way this time!
Headed out, and north to the Junction. Turned left and continued towards Fradley. A lot busier than over the past week out towards Coventry, both with boats on the move and moored. Noted that the rape fields were losing their yellow flowers, and found one field of barley getting towards harvesting. Continued out through Hopwas and Whittington. Cloud and wind increasing, getting chillier. Decided to call it a day just before Cheadle's Bridge 81 on the western outskirts of Whittington. Cloud had cleared again giving a beautiful evening.
|6.67 miles||0 locks||2.69 hrs||2.48 lmph|
Prompt start on Saturday, and out for the shopping. Another sunny start to the day. Collected the parcel, got the bits to complete the jobs, did food shopping, and returned ready to get started. Over lunch noted water on the saloon deck, and on investigating found a leak from the fresh-water pump. New pump required so headed out by car to Midland Chandlers for a replacement. Got it fitted with no problem at all (most unusual!), but had lost the afternoon for the other jobs. Playing catch-up tomorrow.
Went to Tamworth Central for the Sunday morning service. Lunch on return. Started on yesterday's jobs and got a good way through them (but not complete - the remainder can now wait). Lovely day throughout; long may it continue.
After mist overnight, we woke to a sunny morning. Got a working plan for the day, and set off after breakfast towards Fazeley. Went through Polesworth, Alvecote, Amington and Glascote and dropped down through the two locks. Stopped just short of the Junction for lunch.
After lunch, moved on to the Junction and turned left, mooring outside the Litchfield's house. Collected the BCF paperwork we needed and had tea/coffee before continuing back to the marina.
Realised I needed a few bits & pieces to complete the intended jobs so generally pottered for the afternoon with the intention of a full working day tomorrow. Day finished as it had begun, with a pleasant sunny evening.
|6.61 miles||2 locks||3.50 hrs||2.46 lmph|
On advice from the boat moored behind last night, up early and looking at the bank opposite. Watched water voles swimming along under the overhanging vegitation, and having their breakfast on the grasses on top of the bank. Could have stayed for hours.
Moved off mid-morning and headed to the top of the Atherstone flight. Made very good time on the descent, the top five with the assistance of the CRT team. No stops today. Continued on past the Bradley Green services point and Grendon Dock. Lunch on the move. Moored early afternoon at our usual place on the east side of Polesworth. General pottering for the remainder of the afternoon, including shawl-knitting and data recovery after crash. Cloud eventually cleared just before bedtime.
|4.86 miles||11 locks||3.76 hrs||4.21 lmph|
Completely overcast this morning, with a misty dampness that only cleared late afternoon. Had visitors of a male and female bullfinch sitting on the towpath two feet from the boat, and several goldfinches flitting around. Although an effort to get going, made a decision as to plans for the next few days (return to Fazeley area for a couple of small jobs, then head round to Burton area until time to head for Rugeley to pick up Freddie). Moved up for water, loo and rubbish mid morning, then moved on again to the Junction to wind (turn round!). Returned northwards for Nuneaton.
Stopped at bridge 19a for lunch (too damp to eat outside), then took a walk to Sainsbury's (about 20 mins each way). On return, let go again and continued northwest, hoping to moor just south of the previous night's mooring. Not to be - we ended up north of the Cherrytree Farm winding hole, but did actually get the TV for the Chelsea Flower Show.
|10.31 miles||0 locks||4.08 hrs||2.53 lmph|
Slow to get moving today. Pottered with small chores for most of the morning in the beautiful sunshine. Finally let go late morning and continued southeast, past CRT Hartshill Yard and on towards Nuneaton. Passed through Nuneaton over lunchtime, eating on the move. Cloud starting to build and a slight but chilly breeze picking up. Passed Marston Junction (which leads onto the Ashby Canal) and continued for Hawkesbury Junction (leading to the Oxford Canal), known as Sutton's Stop from the family who were the toll collectors there for many years. Moored along the stretch just before the junction.
Dinner at The Greyhound Inn (marinated halloumi in a steamed bun, and brie, mushroom and cranberry Wellington being two of the delicacies sampled).
|8.85 miles||0 locks||3.43 hrs||2.58 lmph|
Another beautiful start to the day, this time it stayed nice. Leisurely start, headed for Atherstone. Arrived at the bottom of the flight to find a queue (we were fourth). Eventually started up the flight, following the flotilla, with the occasional boat coming down. Moored up above Lock 6 and walked into town for lunch at "The Larder" as usual.
Had a walk round town after lunch, Pat bought more wool. Let go and headed up the remainder of the flight. Flew up the five remaining locks with the help of the CRT team on duty (many thanks to them for their help). Did a loo-stop above the top lock, then continued southeast. Moored just past the Cherrytree Farm winding hole. Still a lovely sunny evening.
|5.97 miles||11 locks||4.87 hrs||3.49 lmph|
Beautifully sunny start to day. Finally a chance to get away. Church at St Andrews in Tamworth (by car) - very generous gift of organ music by Jack Brierley (the organist there), then topped up water over quick lunch. Closed up the cars for the summer, and finally let go.
Headed out to Fazeley Junction and turned right onto the Coventry Canal. Lovely afternoon still. Ascended the two Glascote locks - two boats coming down so a clear run through (hope that is a good omen for the rest of the summer) - and continued on towards Amington. Clouding over by the time we cleared the locks, and the drizzle had started by Amington. Rain increased as we continued towards Alvecote and on towards Polesworth. Finally eased and ceased as we cleared Polesworth (by which time the steerer was soaked - hope that's NOT a view of the rest of the summer!). Moored at a favourite spot just before Polesworth Railway Bridge (50B) late afternoon. Great to be back out again and on the move.
|6.60 miles||2 locks||2.89 hrs||2.98 lmph|
Drove to Burton and Derby for wander round shops on Thursday. Sunny periods, occasional showers later on. Son and girlfriend phoned in evening with wonderful news that we would be grandparents in December.
Friday started mostly cloudy. Paul dropped into marina for gas and delivered our new bow fender - quality work, and inexpensive. Generally pottered for remainder of day, awaiting parcel tomorrow.
Heavy rain overnight gave to sunny spells during the morning on Saturday. Quick trip to Ventura for wool for Pat to start knitting for grand-child (yes, already!) then twiddling thumbs waiting for the parcel to arrive. Gradually clouded over and showers set in by early afternoon. Parcel eventually arrived 16:30. Rain continuing so decided to call it a day, and wait till tomorrow to leave.
Day started with heavy rain, but it eased to nothing by mid-morning. Needed to see Paul about the fender/woodwork so took "Paws" out for a short jaunt. Headed down to the Junction and turned left for Bonehill. Winded and returned to Peel's Wharf where "Panda Julienne" was still moored. Confirmed the final details of the work, and brought "Paws" back to the marina, topping up with fuel on the way in. Just finished tying up when the rain came down again.
Had visit in afternoon from Paul with our woodwork. Excellent work, and excellent service. During a lull in the rain, went out in car to collect two parcels. Got soaked on way back. Heavy showers with sunny intervals for remainder of day, but turned into lovely sunny evening.
|2.07 miles||0 locks||1.10 hrs||1.88 lmph|
Pat travelled south again on Sunday. I walked back to the Floating Market to see Paul on "Panda Julienne". I had noticed he did engraving work as well as fenders. Discussed getting a bread-board with our teddy logo, and ordered a new fender for the bow. Spent the remainder of day getting final cleaning done. Both went for a walk through the market, to chill out once Pat arrived. Chatted again with the folks from yesterday, and also David and Sue from "Amethyst" (more BCF friends), Peter Bolton (from U3A choir), and David and Mary Litchfield.
Finished Pat's unpacking on Monday and got the stores in. Cooler with more cloud.
Very pleasant day, Tuesday, with some cloud and a warmer breeze. Visit to Tamworth market in morning, and to garden centre for herb plants in afternoon.
Drove north Thursday, in better weather, although it was quite windy.
Spent Friday disconnecting the EE equipment and changing the Virgin contract. Washed the car and cut the grass.
Returned to "Paws" on Saturday. Went for a walk through the Floating Market at Fazeley Junction. Chatted with Mike and Ethel on "Blue on Blue" as I left the marina, then David and Angela on "Norfolk Belle" (friends from BCF , there as traders), Jim on "Islonian" (traders with the same tracker as us), and Dan and Kerry on "Mr Jingles" & "Lyra" (whom I'd met in January heading to Burton). Will have to come down again tomorrow to investigate another trader who may be of service.
Took a car-trip to Tipton Green Church on Sunday, to enquire about any arrangements in existence for the Community Festival in September, as we thought we may be able to attend there. Not a lot of information available. Pottered in the afternoon with small jobs. Another lovely day, but forecast for poorer weather midweek.
Routine shopping and chores on Monday followed by working on the network job; nearly finished. Received notification from EE that connections at the house were nearly complete, but also advised I would need an external TV aerial (which we currently do not have) as the signal is received from the public terrestrial masts. There had been no mention of this during any contact with EE, and we know there are signal problems with reflections from the hospital (one reason we originally went to Telewest for cable). Rang EE but they were unable to suggest any answers, so I cancelled the contract - I have had poorer service over the past 6 weeks from EE than over the years with Virgin. Now plan to travel back north asap to clear up, then we can get away. More cloud today, but still hot.
Rain arrived for Tuesday breakfast. Haircut ready for departure. Clearing up part-finished work ready for Pat returning.
Rain continued most of Wednesday, with occasional dry patches during afternoon. Spent day working on genealogy project, and prep for quick run home at end of week.
Quiet day Sunday. Church in the morning, ringing the changes again by going to Tamworth Central (Methodist). Couple of routine duties, then had a look at a networking problem in the afternoon. Very sunny start, but clouded over by lunchtime. A few very slight showers of drizzle till evening when there was a slight brightening.
Monday started cloudy but bright, the cloud building to lunchtime when it threw-it down, before turning to a warm sunny evening. Took the whole day to find the solution to the network problem, but think I have an answer. Downpour of frozen golfballs as I went to bed.
Another sunny start to Tuesday, with the forecast for warmer and brighter weather - spring finally arrived? Took a run to Mid-Chan at Mercia for a few items for this year's cruise, then routine chores (washing/shopping) in afternoon.
Wednesday through to Saturday continued the good weather, although some very heavy thundery showers crept in on Saturday. Generally pottered doing maintenance and DIY-style work. Had a couple of walks during the sunny weather, one including a chat with Mike and Ethel on "Blue on Blue" who use the same tracking software as us, and I had noticed as part of a "scenic shot" in John Sergeant's TV series "Barging Round Britain".