|This Month's Totals and Average|
|42.54 miles||69 locks||29.88 hrs||3.73 lmph|
Misty morning, but bright and warm. On the move promptly and returned to Aston Junction and the top of the Aston Flight (11). Found that again the locks were against me, so resigned to a slog down the hill. Again made good steady progress, locking at over four per hour. Stopped at Aston Business Park, between locks 8 and 9, to reccy the moorings there. Noted the convenience store and sandwich bar, so decided to have a slightly early lunch. Beautiful fresh, handmade sandwiches (jacket potatoes, lasagne and similar also available). Staff and café dressed/decorated for Halloween.
Resumed and descended the final 3 to Salford Junction. Had only seen one other boat the whole flight; it had overtaken while I was at lunch, so still leaving the last three against. Continued for Curdworth with the sun through and a beautiful afternoon. Started on the three Minworth Locks. Caught up with the boat which had overtaken, clearing its prop at Minworth 2. Saw them in the distance as they left Minworth Bottom, but they had drawn a paddle for me. As I left Minworth, noted two kingfishers. Continued round to the top of the Curdworth Flight, and moored for the night. The trees have decided it is actually autumn - a sudden change from the greens and yellows to a wide selection of oranges and browns. Large fall of leaves unfortunately making for slippy towpath. A lot of ladybirds around today.
|7.98 miles||14 locks||5.84 hrs||3.76 lmph|
Another damp morning, although still warm. Delayed departure to get to a shop for essential stores I forgot about yesterday. A little annoyed when I got to the shop and found that, unlike most other shops on Sunday (10:00), it had opened at 07:00!
On the move mid-morning, headed down the Farmer's Bridge Flight (13). All locks were against me, and didn't see another boat all morning. Despite standing chatting to walkers at several locks, still managed to do better than four per hour. Turned right at Aston Junction and moored again just above Ashted Top.
Dull but warm again all day.
|1.67 miles||13 locks||3.31 hrs||4.43 lmph|
Lazy start, knowing I had nothing timetabled until mid-morning. Off the boat to walk round to Ladywood Middleway to attend the Merchant Navy Association AGM. Very interesting day. Two fellow members came back to "Paws" for a cup of tea while waiting for their train - had a great time reminiscing about our times deep-sea.
Generally drizzly day, but quite warm (especially for the end of October).
Woken about 05:30 by a robin singing its heart out - went back to sleep! Woken again about 07:30 by construction work on building site next door - decided I'd better get up. On the move by 09:00 expecting a hard slog up the hill. Met the narrowboat "Centenary" with a group of Scouts at the bottom lock so the whole flight was set in my direction (Centenary is operated by the Stratford upon Avon Narrowboat Trust and is available for hire by youth organisations and as an RYA Training Centre). Although I never met another boat and had to open/close all the gates myself, I made excellent time up the flight, averaging 8 minutes per lock without feeling as though I were rushing). Cleared the Top Lock and headed across to Brindley Place. Got the last mooring (luckily, as the other moorings around were also full). Quiet afternoon. Warmer again, although the cloud was thicker.
|1.61 miles||13 locks||2.80 hrs||5.21 lmph|
Woke slightly early so got up and got on! Heavier cloud, but no sense of rain. Away promptly, continuing towards Birmingham centre. Knew there was a boat behind, but it was quite a way back. After a slight delay at a bridge 'ole for oncoming boats, by the time I left Minworth Bottom, it had caught me up. We played cat & mouse for the rest of the day. Lovely couple with their two youngsters, out for their first cruise in a hire boat. Completed the Minworth Three and continued for Salford Junction. I had been 'iffing' as to which route to take, Aston or Garrison, but decided to go Aston because I could stop above Lock 9 for lunch. The hire boat also came that way.
The locks were all down so I was getting a good run. I changed my mind and got a snack at Lock 9 so that I didn't have to stop - if I had stopped, every lock would have been against me. We continued up, but other boats had caught up with us and wanted to go faster. We ended up with one of the boats supplying a lockwheeler for the front boats to move the whole convoy faster. It pushed me a little more than I would have liked, but also reduced some of the work. I turned left at Aston Junction (everyone else continued up Farmer's Bridge Flight) and moored just above Ashted Top Lock, at Aston Science Park (used on the recommendation of the BCN Society leaflet). I'll tackle Farmer's Bridge (13) tomorrow.
|8.21 miles||14 locks||5.32 hrs||4.17 lmph|
Higher cloud this morning, with a few patches of blue between. Not so cold overnight. On the move promptly, continuing up the flight. First lock (8) against me, but met a boat coming down at the next lock so easy run through. Just clearing Lock 6 with another boat coming down; a hire boat who expressed an interest in buying a boat for themselves. Gave them a quick tour of "Paws" to give them an idea of the inside of a private boat, for which they were very grateful. Continued upwards through 5, 4 and 3, each with boats coming down, so an easy run through. The last two were set for me even though I worked them myself. Moored up at our usual spot above Top Lock just before lunch - enough for today, with heavier days to come.
Lunch serenaded by two robins 'having a chat'. Most of the boats passing today have been hire boats - half-term week for English schools. After a short period of slight drizzle over lunch, weather gave a mixture of cloud and sunny periods for the remainder of the day. Quiet afternoon reading (ready for the heavy next two days' climb into Birmingham centre).
|1.82 miles||8 locks||2.15 hrs||4.58 lmph|
Had been watching the forecast and a period of high pressure should be controlling the weather for the next week, so warmer and remaining dry. The Merchant Navy Association are to hold their AGM in Birmingham next Saturday so decided to take "Paws" up. Finished the last minute prep (the things I'd forgotten!) - noted a pair of green woodpeckers in the trees at the marina car park - and set off mid-afternoon with the intention of spreading the 38 locks over as many days as possible. To break the Curdworth flight, decided to moor at the "Dog & Doublet".
Headed out from the marina, towards the Curdworth Flight (11). Noted that there were still some quality berries on the bushes, although the trees were shedding leaves in abundance. A kind couple out for a walk helped me through the first lock which was against me, but met another boat coming down at the second. Ascended the third to the moorings at the pub and moored up as planned, just as the light was starting to fade. Managed to refrain from going to the pub for dinner! Cloudy most of the day and a little chilly, but hopefully improving over the next few days.
|3.55 miles||3 locks||2.01 hrs||3.26 lmph|
Weather duller with more showers. Cooler again than of late, with overnight temperatures well down in single figures. Continued on outstanding jobs, either working on them or planning and arranging parts. Visited Glascote Church (by car) on Sunday - excellent service from the Superintendent, with good-going old hymns. Monday spent getting ready for a trip out.
Cloudy start, but brightened during the morning. Took "Paws" shopping in the morning - needed kindling for the stove, and the cheapest near us is at the sawmill at the Junction (they chop up all their unusable offcuts and sell them in binbags for £4.00 - good seasoned dry wood). On return, intended to stop at the marina office for coal and firelighters, but a hireboat followed me in with a split calorifier so let them onto the services berth for attention first, putting "Paws" back on her own berth till after lunch.
Having had lunch, took water then moved across to collect the coal and lighters. Stowed that, then went for food shopping. Cloud started to build during the afternoon, with a short sharp shower.
|0.89 miles||0 locks||0.75 hrs||1.19 lmph|
A mixture of cloudy and sunny spells, with the occasional shower thrown in. Quiet couple of days at the beginning of the week, not really doing much. Wednesday took Jenny (a fellow moorer) up to Burton Hospital for tests - unfortunately they are pretty sure it is cancer (more tests in a few weeks). While waiting, did more investigation at Shobnall on the TV project.
Answering a call of nature at 01:30, noted a crystal-clear sky with an almost-full moon. The rain had stopped and the frosted droplets on the grass were giving the impression of tinsel on the ground.
Woke to heavy rain - decided I was not going anywhere until it stopped! It cleared to mostly sunny by mid-morning so set off back towards Fazeley. Cloud scudded across the sky but never caused any trouble. Returned through Polesworth, Alvecote and Amington to Glascote. Moored at Anchor Bridge to go to the Co-op, and get some lunch. Afterwards, let go again and descended the Glascote Two, getting back to base by mid-afternoon. Quiet evening with the tele.
|7.35 miles||2 locks||3.24 hrs||2.88 lmph|
Cloudier morning, with a dampness in the air. Pottered around for the morning. Sun came out late morning so decided to get turned. Let go just after lunch and continued to Bradley Green services, then winded and returned towards Polesworth. Thought I'd have a slight change in scenery for the second night out so moored west of Bridge 50 (I would have had to stop anyway to let another boat past as they appeared not to know what the speed limit was). Continued warm and sunny right through to dusk, when the rain came on!
|2.87 miles||0 locks||1.28 hrs||2.23 lmph|
All right! Now getting bored in the marina again! Lovely morning so decided after lunch to go out for a couple of days. Having just been round to Alrewas, decided to go towards Atherstone this time. Headed out and turned right at Fazeley Junction, and round to Glascote Locks. Quite busy, with one ahead going up, and two coming down, so got help. Continued onward through Amington and Alvecote in the sun, but it started to cloud over and get colder by the time I reached Polesworth. Moored at one of our favourite spots, just west of Bridge 50a.
|6.59 miles||2 locks||3.17 hrs||2.71 lmph|
Continued pottering with jobs and routine chores. Purchased and tested a replacement TV aerial. Worked moderately well so procured the permanent fittings. Need a couple of bits from the house to complete the job so will get that done when I return after my trip home next month. Weather remained cool but sunny.
Started on the jobs for this winter period. Trips to chandlers and DIY merchants. Trip to Selly Oak to meet up with Peter from "Solar Kingfisher" as a follow-up to our afternoon at the Black Country Boat Festival. Fixed the fault on the forward marina power hook-up. Fitted the battery cables from Peter. Fitted a new battery for the bow-thrust. Investigated alternative TV aerials (see below).
Saturday evening took the car to Yelvertoft to support "Canal Fever", an evening of entertainment with a canal flavour to help raise funds for the local play area and skate park. Our friends James & Hazel Bell from "Canal Ministries" were to be part of the programme. It turned out that Jan & John Halford were performing with them. Met a number of other friends from BCF . Great evening. On Sunday, James & Hazel were to be leading the worship so went back again for the service.
Weather cooler, but generally sunny.
What a change from yesterday - lovely sunny morning although considerably cooler than recently. Heating on early for Pat getting up. She left the boat at 07:30, headed for the house. I generally kept out of her way until she had gone (safer that way!). As usual once she leaves, I was initially at a loose end, what was I going to do?
Sorted out the bow locker, and got the coal etc ready for colder weather, and moved a few things round to how I want them for the winter. There had been an abortive coffee morning yesterday at the marina in aid of "Macmillan Cancer Support" . Due to the weather, they made very little so decided to go it again today. I went round to help. A total of £115 was raised over the two days.
In the afternoon, I went for gas but the marina didn't have our size (Calor are saying they cannot supply due to lack of bottles). I found that Drayton Boats (round the corner) had some so went round in the car. On return, took "Paws" to the services berth for fuel then put her back bow-in to see if the SatTV would work (we have been having problems with trees which have grown). Hooking up the mains, found that the bow socket was inoperative (something else to investigate and fix!).
Weather remained great for the whole day.
Day dawned with drizzly rain, and got worse! Glad I was not riding with the others in "Ride to the Wall" this year - it would not have been a pleasant trip. Took a quick run in the car to Atherstone in the morning for a couple of items from the wool-shop for Fhi. Afternoon spent in final packing and filling the car (during the only dry spot in the day) ready for Pat to have an early get-away tomorrow. Rain continued well into the night.