|This Month's Totals and Average|
|128.74 miles||51 locks||60.38 hrs||2.98 lmph|
Beautiful sunny morning, although rime covered everything. Short day planned, so just pottered getting ready. Let go just before 10:00 and made the short run to Fradley Junction, mooring before the swingbridge. Went for a walk round via the Welcome Station and Keeper's Lock, chatting with the volunteer lock-keepers, before returning to "Paws" for lunch.
After a leisurely lunch, got on the move again, through the swingbridge and turning left onto the Trent & Mersey Canal. Ascended Middle and Shadehouse Locks with the assistance of volunteers, then continued on to Woodend Lock. After a lovely sunny day, the cloud was starting to build. Ascended the lock and finished the short distance to Kings Bromley Marina, mooring just north of the entrance as our mooring doesn't start till tomorrow. Showers forecast for this evening, and more prolonged rain overnight (supposed to clear around breakfast time). Showers arrived dinner time.
|5.76 miles||3 locks||2.97 hrs||2.95 lmph|
Showers overnight, and another cold morning, although the sun was out first thing. Decided that tomorrow's forecast was better (more sun and marginally warmer) so elected to stay put today. Cloud built all morning (as forecast) and became dull and overcast by lunchtime. Generally pottered all day, clearing a couple of bits of e-business.
Overnight temp went below zero for the first time this year (-2°C). Beautiful sunny morning, but rime on all surfaces. Final chores before departure - rubbish out, water topped up, electricity read and disconnected. Delayed about an hour by a queue for the services berth - seemed as though everyone wanted to do their loo or take fuel. Finally got on just before 10:45 and did the loo and topped up fuel. Ruth couldn't make up the bill for the electricity so I'll have to drop in next week. Refund cheque from Pridewater for unused berthage awaited me. Passed a prezzy of home-baking to Ruth and Jackie as thanks for their help over the 5 years' tenure.
Once completed, headed out en route to "Paws' " our new 'home' at Kings Bromley. Went to the Junction and moored to collect kindling at the sawmill, then turned towards Fradley and out to Bonehill. Stopped again for lunch and a walk for stores.
Everything ready, let go and continued towards Fradley in bright sunshine (although still cold). Scattered cloud increased over the afternoon, and so did the traffic - very busy with southbound boats for the whole of the afternoon. Out on the well-trodden (steamed?) route through Hopwas and Whittington, arriving outside Kings Orchard Marina just on 16:00, with the sun just about setting.
|7.29 miles||2 locks||3.31 hrs||2.80 lmph|
Another cold night with rain, and another cold start to the day although the sun was out. Generally quiet day, pottering, preparing for departure. Sun out most of the day, with occasional light showers.
Very cold overnight, temp going down to 2°C. Spent the morning clearing the grass (they had been cutting at our Dordon mooring) and scattered rat-bedding from the floor. After lunch took the car to Kings Bromley and got the bus back - no public transport passes the marina so it involved a 20 min walk to Lichfield golf course, then three buses to Tamworth. A new neighbour, Fiona, came into the marina office while I was chatting, and very kindly offered to drive me to Lichfield, saving the walk and one bus. That move now out of the way, I intend to move off from Fazeley on Monday, hoping to arrive at "Paws' " new mooring Thursday morning. Un-forecast rain came on while I was out so got a little soggy waiting for the second bus in Tamworth. Finally had to light the stove in the evening.
After slight overnight rain, beautiful sunny morning when we woke. By the time we had breakfast and got on the move, it was mostly cloudy (and very cold). Had a quick planning meeting before we left - Hubby was on his way home from Italy and Fhi felt she could do with being home, so wrote off tomorrow and opted to go straight to base today.
On the move at 09:30, heading back through Polesworth, Alvecote and Amington. Descended Glascote Two and headed round to base. Several light showers of rain during the trip, none forecast.
Fhi did her packing and got the car ready. She left just before 14:00, and I had a late lunch before going out for supplies. Fhi rang at 20:30 to say she was home safe.
I now need to organise a car-shuffle to get my car to Kings Bromley before I can take "Paws" up at the beginning of next week.
|7.29 miles||2 locks||3.31 hrs||2.80 lmph|
Leisurely start to a dull day. Moved forward to Atherstone Top Lock and found a CRT volunteer there to help. Continued downward, with another volunteer closing behind us for a following boat. Continued onto the lower half of the flight (the volunteers leaving us at Lock 5), a steady descent with a good road most of the way. Made good time over the whole flight.
Clearing Bottom Lock, we made a short stop for lunch, then continued on through Bradley Green to Meadow Lane Bridge 50 where we stopped early for the night at a regular mooring.
Fhi spent the afternoon making cupcakes and biscuits (yummy!).
|3.41 miles||11 locks||2.86 hrs||5.04 lmph|
All had long lie-ins today (Fhi finally surfaced at 08:30). After breakfasts, we had a planning meeting - decided that the loo and water could wait until Atherstone Top Lock (rather than reversing up at "Sutton's"); longer day today, then shorter tomorrow hopfully with some baking in the afternoon.
Under way mid-morning, returning northwards past Bedworth and Charity Dock into Nuneaton. Fhi decided I was driving today, and she would get some knitting/crochet done. Moored for a lunch break at Wash Lane Bridge 21.
On the move again, and continued out of Nuneaton, past Boot Wharf ("Chyandour" still there, still no signs of our friends) and on to Hartshill. Onwards again to the top of the Atherstone flight, stopping at the services berth for water, loo and rubbish. Once ready, reversed back to the visitor moorings.
Walk into town for emergency fresh supplies. Fhi stopped at the wool shop - again! Walking back to "Paws", we smelled a chinese takeaway, and decided that was preferred to what we had planned. Walked back to collect a meal at dinner time.
Some sun, but mostly cloudy. Chilly breeze all day.
|11.01 miles||0 locks||4.24 hrs||2.60 lmph|
A duller morning today, but with promise. Had planned to be promptly away, and did so. Continued southwards for Coventry. Passed Hawkesbury Junction (known to the working boat-people as "Sutton's Stop" after the family who manned the toll for several generations) and continued on. As usual, the water got more filled with rubbish the nearer Coventry we got, and the leaf mold at this time of year collects on this stretch. Eventually arrived at the basin on schedule and moored just before lunchtime.
After a quick bite of lunch, went for a walk into town. Fhi wanted to visit the teddy shop - found a beautiful red panda but too expensive (it was 3 foot tall!), so bought a panda key-ring instead. Also had a wander round the indoor market and topped up our spice jars. Returning to "Paws", we let go and returned to "Sutton's", mooring just north of the junction.
Although the sun had been out since mid-morning, it clouded over again late afternoon and turned colder.
|13.27 miles||0 locks||5.01 hrs||2.65 lmph|
Another sunny morning, but quite cold. Took a walk into town after breakfast - Fhi wanted to visit the wool-shop, but also found the sweetie shop. Returned to "Paws" for lunch.
After lunch, we set off through the outskirts of Mancetter and on to Hartshill, just bimbling along. Continued through Nuneaton - noted "Chyandour" moored at Boot Wharf, but no sign of Stephen or Gwynneth. Onwards past Marston Junction and Charity Wharf, mooring on the stretch before Bulkington Bridge. Sun still out.
|8.97 miles||0 locks||3.77 hrs||2.38 lmph|
Lovely sunny morning, and stayed that way until late afternoon. Up, fresher than expected, but took our time getting ready. I elected to lock today, so after moving off, Fhi took over as steerer. Away just on 09:00 and headed southeastwards through Polesworth to Bradley Green. Continued to Atherstone Bottom Lock and started the ascent. Steady climb up the first 6 locks, with Fhi doing very well. Pulled in above Lock 6 for lunch.
After a leisurely lunch and a seat in the sun, moved off again and ascended the remaining 5 locks to the top of the flight. All locks against us, and we were drawing a paddle for the boat behind - nothing coming down today. By the time we reached the top, the sun had gone and the possibility of rain threatened. We had a brief shower just after dinner, but it rapidly cleared again.
|6.71 miles||11 locks||4.92 hrs||3.60 lmph|
Final prep for Fhi arriving (top up water, empty loo, quick vacuum round) - she arrived just before lunch. The chosen route for the week is to Coventry and back.
Got Fhi and her pet rats " bedded in", then did a run to the supermarkets for stores (Fhi has special dietary requirements). Had a late lunch on return, then decided we might as well get out as the day was still sunny and warm. Had a word with Roy & Joan before leaving, then let go and headed to Fazeley Junction, turning right towards Coventry. Ascended the Glascote two locks and pootled along through Amington. With the sun getting towards setting, we moored opposite the Samuel Barlow at Alvecote.
Quiet evening, chatting and catching up (with Strictly on in the background).
|4.01 miles||2 locks||2.00 hrs||3.00 lmph|
Well, they were right to change the forecast - woke to rain. Did the remainder of the shopping Monday morning before lunch, then completed the remainder of the backdating of map tracks (all tracks now up to date, so I can get on with other features). The remainder of this week will be gearing towards having Fhi (and her pet rats) on board from next weekend. Drizzle finally died out late afternoon.
Tuesday morning took a car-run to chandlers for oil and filters, stopping off at Barton Turns to see if any of the 'speciality' shops sold oil lamps (no), and at King's Bromley to agree a date for entry (1st Nov, but they'll take a car a couple of days early). Afternoon spent on oil and filter change. Mostly cloudy all day.
Wednesday started with a trip to the local waste disposal centre with waste oil, filters and old batteries. Shopping at Halfords for a replacement oil jug on the way back. Afternoon spent on small jobs - fitting anti-wind chains to flue and cover, and attempting to adjust the side-rail fairleads - but ended up with a broken drill and a broken tap for my trouble. Not very happy end to the day. Some sunny spells, but mostly cloudy although warm.
Decided to get some baking done Thursday, ready for my guest coming at the weekend. Took a walk round to David's house to advise of our move. Also discussed the potential Mission next year. Again short sunny spells in a mostly cloudy day.
Friday was a generally good day, although cold to start (6°C when I got up!). It improved over the day to lovely sunny afternoon - let's hope it stays that way for the week. Did a little more baking, and generally getting ready for visitors.
Woken early by ducks cleaning the boat side. Overnight showers became more continuous rain by Sunday morning, although the wind had dropped. Didn't fancy getting soaked, tomorrow would do for moving (as the forecast received yesterday suggested a good day). Decided mid-morning to check the forecast and found it all changed, tomorrow to also be raining!
As I had almost run out of fresh stores, I was forced to move on, so let go after lunch and returned through Whittington and Hopwas back to Fazeley, mooring at Sutton Road Bridge at Bonehill. Walked to Sainsbury's for necessaries, then took "Paws" back to base. A far colder day today (11°C), after yesterday's 23°C, with rain and wind!
|7.97 miles||0 locks||2.97 hrs||2.68 lmph|
Wind rose considerably overnight into Friday, but only a couple of showers. Decided to stay put - it would not have been pleasant battling that wind (even the dog-walkers took the 'short walk' today). Rain came on mid-morning. Had a lazy day, working mostly on the maps. We had been out a couple of weeks ago looking at some of the alternative marinas in the area, and put out some feelers for berths. I had a call from King's Bromley in the afternoon saying that they could now offer us a berth. After consultation with the Admiral, a deposit was placed so we will be moving some time over the winter (as we are paid up to the end of March at Fazeley).
Saturday was a slightly better day (comparatively) - the wind had decreased a little overnight but there was still drizzle, so elected to stay another day. It slowly improved over the day, with the sun actually showing through for very short spells. Still more mapping - have now completed to August on the last year of catchup (2016), nearly up to date with tracks (although other things to do still). A toot announced the arrival of John & Judith on "Serena" as they passed on their way to their over-winter moorings. They stopped for a chat - great to catch up with them again.
Woken by loud voices outside the boat, decided I'd not get back to sleep, so got up. Intended to get on the move early but the tracker decided to have an 'off' day and I couldn't get it to log in. Eventually on the move at about normal time, but still hoping to get moored before the forecast rain came on. Headed through the town and ascended Bagnall Lock. By this time the sun had got through and the fleece was discarded. Ascended Common Lock in a rising breeze - its usually breezy at this lock anyway, but the increase in the wind boded badly for later on. Ascended Hunt's, Keeper's and Junction Locks with the assistance of CRT Volunteers (there seemed to be a lot of them out today), and turned left onto the Coventry Canal. Realising I was doing well timewise, I decided to forego a stop for lunch, still hoping to beat the rain. We got a little bit of dampness at Bearshay, but it didn't come to anything and I moored at our usual mooring by Kings Orchard Marina. Lunch on arrival. Had a slight shower just before dinner but it didn't come to anything.
|5.43 miles||5 locks||3.18 hrs||3.28 lmph|
Beautiful morning - wall-to-wall sunshine, light breeze, birds singing - one could be forgiven for thinking it was mid-summer rather than autumn. Left Shobnall and headed back 'uphill' towards Alrewas. Ascended Branston, Tatenhill and Barton Locks, then Wychnor Lock onto the river section. Ascended Alrewas Lock off the river and looked for a mooring - quite busy today with four boats already moored at the east end of the town. Managed to squeeze in just before the water point.
Lunch, then a walk round the town in the warm afternoon sun. By the time I returned, the east mooring was full. Forecast for the next three days not good - I'll try to get to Streethay tomorrow before the rain sets in.
|6.82 miles||5 locks||3.70 hrs||3.20 lmph|
On the move promptly on a lovely sunny morning. Descended Dallow Lock and headed out through the suburbs of Burton. Re-assessed my plans for the remainder of the week. Since I would have to come out by car anyway, I decided to leave Mid Chan until later as well. Continued out as far as Stenson Lock and winded in the entrance to the marina. Returned as far as Mercia Marina and stopped for lunch on the towpath side.
After lunch, continued back towards Burton, ascended Dallow Lock again, and moored at the same place as last night. A lovely day throughout, although the wind was a little chilly early morning, and the sun was straight in my eyes on the return journey - still, a great day's boating.
|14.55 miles||2 locks||5.64 hrs||2.93 lmph|
A watery sun with a slight breeze greeted us today, although the sun did eventually push through the cloud. Moved off and descended Alrewas Lock onto the river section - very benign today. Descended Wychnor Lock, off the river, and continued along the noisy section alongside the A38 - did get a wave from a lorry driver, though. Descended Barton Lock, but stopped there chatting with an American couple who were interested in the canals. Another boat showed behind so continued, down through Tatenhill Lock, mooring at Branston Water Park for a break for lunch.
By the end of lunch, the cloud had thickened up again and the breeze was strengthening. Let go again and continued into Burton, down through Branston Lock, and mooring on the stretch to the northeast of Shobnall Basin. Took a walk to the chandlery, but found they didn't have in stock the items I wanted (but would be getting them at their next routine stocking).
|6.79 miles||5 locks||3.66 hrs||3.22 lmph|
Spectacular sunrise just before 07:00 this morning, with occasional wisps of high cloud, only light airs, and a mist along the Cut. But COLD! (it dropped to 1°C overnight!)
Pottered getting ready, then set off for Fradley Junction. Uneventful run to the junction, day warming up slowly as we went. Quite busy with traffic. Passed through the swingbridge and turned right at the junction onto the Trent & Mersey Canal, descending Junction Lock with the help of a CRT Volunteer. With a boat on the services berth, and another waiting, we moored opposite. When it was our turn, moved across, did the 'business' (water very slow today) and moved back across for lunch (slightly later than planned).
After lunch, moved off again and continued downward, descending Keeper's, Hunt's, Common and Bagnall Locks into Alrewas. At each lock the boat behind caught up, and closed the bottom gates for me. I took a risk that there would be a space at the eastern mooring - it paid off, there was only one boat there, so a good mooring (with good TV) for the night. The boat behind caught up again just as I was finishing tying up, so I went forward and penned them through Alrewas Lock onto the river as a 'thank you'. Afternoon had turned very pleasant, with the sun mostly out. Decided on a treat fro my dinner - went to Delhi Divan for a take-away ☺.
|5.69 miles||5 locks||3.54 hrs||3.02 lmph|
The rain arrived just before midnight and, as forecast, continued for most of the day. Stayed put, and worked on the 2016 tracks for the maps, and other hobby projects. Rain eventually cleared mid-afternoon, and a watery sun peaked through.
Bright if not sunny this morning. Up and on the move promptly, returning to base for the things I didn't get yesterday. Called in and got the gas and coal, and paid the 'lecky' bill. Once on the move again, headed to the Junction and turned left towards Fradley. Stopped again at Sutton Road Bridge for lunch and shopping.
All ready now for a few days away, let go and headed out of town, passing through Hopwas on a lovely afternoon - the sun came out for short periods, keeping it on the warm side. Continued through Whittington and on past Huddlesford Junction. Finding my usual mooring north of Kings Orchard very busy, I reversed back to the south side of the marina, mooring just at Bridge 84 (a good mooring if the forecast heavy rain all day tomorrow arrives).
|10.22 miles||0 locks||4.19 hrs||2.44 lmph|
With another reasonable day, completed the engine cooling water, then felt I could do with a treat! With a reasonable forecast for the next few days, I decided we would go out for a short break.
After an early lunch in order to catch Jackie before she went for hers, we let go and reversed off our berth. By the time I was half-way out, another boat had turned into the marina and moored at the services berth. I elected to reverse round him, and moor outside. Just clearing the bridge and we met two boats coming from the junction, and both moored at the water-point. Oh well, didn't need the stuff tonight, so continued on for Kingsbury. Lovely sunny afternoon.
The Kingsbury mooring was very busy, so winded and returned northwards, mooring for the day just south of the gravel pit bridge. Fitted the new battery for the bow-thrust (also purchased yesterday), and completed the splicing job (full set of new lines now in use).
|2.90 miles||0 locks||1.30 hrs||2.24 lmph|
The new month dawned sunny, with a very light breeze. Lazy start, then got in the few items of necessary shopping locally. Drive into Lichfield centre in the afternoon. Couple of jobs planned for tomorrow, then thinking about getting out again.
Unfortunately, Tuesday was a dull, damp and windy day, not conducive to working in the engine'ole or outside on paintwork. Took the opportunity to work on the maps again - completed the tidy-up of certain waterways' lines, and put the new versions into the map pages (now I can go back to working on the 2016 tracks).
The weather on Wednesday morning was far better - mostly sunny and warm enough to work. Got started quickly on the engine'ole jobs. Replaced the worn cable for the 'clutch', a simpler job than I thought it would be. Drained, flushed and refilled the central heating system with new anti-freeze. Drained and flushed the engine cooling system, but found that I didn't have a socket to remove the big 'nut' on the top of the engine head, and would be slightly short on concentrate to refill - a quick trip to Mid Chan and Halfords got me the tools and liquid necessary, so ready for tomorrow morning to finish the job.