|This Month's Totals and Average|
|30.20 miles||11 locks||14.28 hrs||2.89 lmph|
Quite foggy Saturday morning - may have been a good decision for them to drive last night. Eventually burned off by lunchtime, giving a bright sunny afternoon. Spent the day changing the boat around - 5-foot bed remade as a 4-foot ready for Pat, rearranging things back into the space used for the rats, other general tidying up after visitors, quick trip for essential stores. Pat had planned to come south on Wednesday, but due to worries over the weather forecast, now expected on Friday.
Cool wind had picked up by Sunday morning. Generally quiet day.
Overnight decision made by visitors that they would save half a day (Saturday) by driving home tonight after dinner. Very cold morning with a ground frost, but still sunny. Set off promptly, returning southwards through Colwich Lock and on through Rugeley and Armitage. Stopped for lunch once through Handsacre. Fhi took most of the steering today, with Nick on the locks. Day warming up quickly.
After lunch, continued on, past the marina entrance and descended Wood End, Shadehouse, and Middle Locks, winding at Fradley Junction (this links the new territory covered this trip to that covered on previous trips). Having winded, returned up Middle, Shadehouse and Wood End Locks back to the marina. Dinner aboard before Fhi & Nick headed off home. Great time together - looking forward to our next trip out.
|Totals and Average with Fhi & Nick|
|40.34 miles||16 locks||18.90 hrs||2.98 lmph|
|10.14 miles||5 locks||4.62 hrs||3.28 lmph|
After a good night's sleep, woke fresh to a cold but sunny morning. After breakfast, Fhi and Nick went up town again for stores. When they returned, we set off, moved the 100 yards to the winding hole, and turned. Returning down Aston, Sandon, Weston and Hoo Mill Locks, we arrived at Great Haywood junction, stopping outside the farmshop , where we had lunch. The morning chill had quickly dissipated, and it was now quite warm.
After lunch and a wander round the shop, we cleared the loo cassette before continuing down through Haywood Lock and mooring on the section by Shugborough Hall . A lovely evening, I stayed chatting to the couple aboard "Tarka" moored behind (I found out they are also based at Kings Bromley), while Fhi and Nick took a walk into the village. Just before dinner, we saw a hot-air balloon taking off from over the river (possibly from the grounds of Shugborough). Owls heard calling during evening.
|10.14 miles||5 locks||4.62 hrs||3.28 lmph|
Up and on the move early (for me!), and continuing northwards. Nick again doing most of the driving while Fhi got on with her crochet. Ascended Colwich Lock, then Haywood Lock to Great Haywood Junction. The day was again mostly cloudy, with the chill breeze - if the sun could get through, it would probably be quite warm. At the junction, we continued northwards up through Hoo Mill Lock, Weston and Sandon Locks before pulling in for lunch. Well fed again, we continued again up through Aston Lock and into Stone, mooring at the Scout Hut. Fhi and Nick took a walk into town, then we had dinner at "The Star".
|11.89 miles||6 locks||5.97 hrs||3.00 lmph|
Another beautiful day, particularly with the prospect of getting out again. Spent the morning with last minute prep for departure - loo changed, water topped up, rubbish dumped. Fhi and Nick arrived just before lunch and got their gear aboard. Quick bite to eat, then let go for a trip to Stone and back.
Turned left out of the marina and headed northwest though Handsacre and Armitage. Helped another boater at the moorings by Spode House - someone had moved their boat for them and run it aground on an obstruction. We managed to refloat it for them and get them on their way. Continued through Rugeley, noting the history of Christina Collins as we passed Brindley Bank. By this time, there was more cloud and a very cool breeze had started. Moored just east of Wolseley Bridge, and went to the Wolseley Arms for dinner.
|8.17 miles||0 locks||3.69 hrs||2.21 lmph|
Up early on Saturday morning to drive down to Braunston, where the BCF were holding a Spring Conference. Starting and ending with short sessions of worship, and with plenty of time for refreshment and fellowship, the main business was a workshop on the subject of how to deal with the awkward questions we may be asked about our faith. Rev Stephen Gardner took the workshop, involving all present, and put his points across with humour. A great day with friends, and educational too.
Although cooler on Sunday, still a beautiful day. Started clearing up to receive visitors on Tuesday (daughter and son-in-law are joining me for a short trip out - the rats are also coming!).
Monday brought a cool breeze, but warm sunshine. Steve from Burton Boat Co at Shobnall came to discuss the work next month - plan now agreed and he's away to order the parts. Afternoon spent shopping for the extras needed for the remainder of the week - daughter and son-in-law arrive tomorrow, and they both have special dietary requirements. Think everything is now ready for them.
The wind had died away by Sunday morning, and the day dawned beautiful and sunny. Water topped up, and more coal purchased (hoped I might not have needed to by this stage). Completed the cable runs as far as the aft end (but not tidied yet). Couple of heavy showers of hail.
Canada geese very vociferous today. Trip for more kindling. Cables tidied and panels replaced except at the very aft end. Although the day started sunny again, it dulled over slowly throughout the day, turning to drizzle mid-afternoon.
Tuesday was a beautiful day all day, with sunshine and only light airs. Hopefully that is the actual start of spring. Had a quiet day letting my back recover from lying on the deck working in the space in the skirting boards! The end is in sight, however.
Another beautiful day - doors and ports open from after breakfast until sunset! Final parts for the 'comms job' arrived so hopefully that will be finished tomorrow. Drive out for stores. Routine chores.
Although cloudier, still a warm day on Thursday. Completed running the new power and network cables under the rear steps and behind the 'coats' locker. One minor problem to sort tomorrow. Received phonecall from Burton Boat Co confirming requirements for the docking, and volunteering to come up next Monday to have a look at the job in advance.
Friday spent tidying up after the 'comms' work. Drive to chandlers for a couple of items. Slightly cooler today, but still fine.
After hail overnight, Sunday again brought rain and high winds. Looking forward to weather that's a little more settled. With input from the TP-Link helpdesk, we realised that, since I was actually using a 'router' (rather than a pure 'modem'), the default settings on the mesh should be set to "AP mode" rather than "Router mode". All is now well with that part of the communications problem.
Quiet day Monday. Showers and moderate winds all day. Wind rising in the evening as Storm Gareth approached.
Very poor day Tuesday, with high winds and heavy rain. Ran a few more tests on the comms, and looked to see if I could rearrange the parts to rationalise the cabling.
Wednesday continued with the high winds and heavy showers. Parcel arrived with "wifi hotspot booster". The outside antenna should connect to the marina's wifi, enhance the signal and pass it by USB to a small wifi transmitter inside. Got it set up, but no time to test it.
The heavy rain cleared after breakfast Thursday, although the strong wind continued. Major storing in the morning, then testing of the 'booster' in the afternoon. Found that the 'passcode' given me by the marina wasn't being recognised - to investigate tomorrow.
More rain overnight into Friday, but again it cleared shortly after breakfast. Enquired at the marina office, and they gave me a new passcode. Tried that, and it also failed (for further investigation, but I have my suspicions). New 4G antenna arrived - it did improve the signal slightly (may be better when I get it properly rigged. Found that I must have left a couple of tools I need back at the house, so out to purchase duplicates.
A warmer day on Saturday, fair until late afternoon, but still with the strong wind. Replacement cable for the telescopic TV aerial fitted, and since I was going to be working in the void under the front deck anyway, I changed all the fittings to 'F-type' screw (like satellite). Fitted the bracket for the front 'mesh' node and started the cable runs through to the middle cabin, removing redundant cables as I went. Back now aching . Most of the afternoon, I had company in the form of a great tit, serenading me from a tree 5' from the bow.
Sunday brought rain and high winds - the tail end of Storm Freya. A day for staying tucked up inside.
After a night of gales and rain, Monday dawned with sun and white clouds. Quick run out to get more wood (considering the forecast). Heavy rain showers early afternoon. Went out around 15:00 for a quick drive to the chandlers. Got as far as the Branston interchange and came across stationary traffic (about 15:15). There had apparently been an accident at the Clay Mills junction (3.5 miles along). We eventually moved about 17:30 and crawled for about a mile before stopping again - two police vehicles under lights had squeezed through the centre of our queue. At around 19:00 we finally started to move again, with ever increasing pace. By this time, all I could do was turn round at the first available point and return to "Paws". The only remains of the accident was a lorry with a stove-in front, and the two heavy-lift rescue trucks who attended. I got back to "Paws" at 19:30 for a very late dinner, and nothing to show.
A cooler night into Tuesday, but another lovely day. Collected medicines at the pharmacy, and made my run to the chandlers. Telephoned an expert on wifi, getting a sympathetic ear but telling me it was a lost cause. Great news received during the day - phone call from Kenney to say that he and Louise were expecting their second child (just been for 12-week scan), due 17th September.
Heavy rain from bedtime continued into Wednesday morning, easing to heavy showers for the rest of the day. Started on replacing the wash-basin in the bathroom - it had suddenly cracked (possibly a flaw in the glass) just before I went north. Managed to get the old one out, but having difficulties with the quantities of sealant used by the original installer (difficult to remove to get flat surfaces!). Water topped up during one of the fair periods.
Thursday started bright and sunny, but slowly deteriorated to heavy rain again by lunchtime. Investigations continue into the wifi/3G saga (liaising with the support desk at TP-Link for their thoughts). Basin finally in place, we'll see tomorrow if it is still leaking.
No signs of any leaks round the basin this morning, so will consider that job put to bed. Went for stores in afternoon. Received a replacement wifi-mesh system, and may be a couple of steps nearer a solution, but more discussion needed with TP-Link. Nice start to day, but again deteriorated to showers by after lunch and more prolonged rain by dinner time.
Mixed bag as far as weather goes on Saturday - pretty windy most of the day, with some sunny spells and scattered heavy showers. Work continues on the wifi problem, testing the mesh system with input from the TP-Link helpdesk. Routine chores around the boat.
Early rise to get down early. Day started out damp and dismal. By the time I reached the border, we had received short spells of sunshine and others of thick fog! Finally settled to a reasonable day, clouding over again by the time I reached the marina. Unloaded and unpacked, then headed out for essential stores (eg milk). Quiet evening.