|This Month's Totals and Average|
|72.68 miles||35 locks||37.10 hrs||2.90 lmph|
Heard tawny owls calling during the night. After the rain of the last couple of days, this morning dawned warm and sunny with almost no wind. Took down the BCF banner etc., and prepared for departure. Left Fazeley, saying goodbye to the members who were still there, and turning left at the junction towards Fradley. Brief stop at Bonehill for emergency stores, then onwards. Noted the fields were very soggy. Just before Hopwas, was surprised to meet "Chyandour" coming the other way - the Carters had apparently tried to get through Alrewas towards Burton, but the river section was closed (new plans for them today). Noted that the River Tame below Hopwas was running very fast and high, with the neighbouring fields flooded. Cloud had started to build by lunchtime. Stopped at Whittington for a bite of lunch before continuing.
After lunch, continued on under a thickening sky. Moored up at our usual place outside King's Orchard Marina, just as the drizzle started. The drizzle increased over dinner to heavy rain which lasted well into the night.
|7.67 miles||0 locks||3.23 hrs||2.37 lmph|
More boats arrived for the Fellowship weekend during Friday, and we all gathered in the church hall at St Paul's for a social evening and 'bring-and-share' supper. Great to meet up again with friends, and meet new ones. The weather stayed fair for the evening. Darren arrived and became a guest aboard "Paws" for the weekend.
Saturday morning, we collected at the church hall again, for breakfast of bacon and sausage butties, then repaired to the main church for a brief act of worship and a morning of discussion under the leadership of Martin - the theme was "Prayer, and the Purposes of God". After a late packed lunch, the afternoon was spent in social activities including games and quizzes, leading to a barbecue meal then self-provided entertainment (stories, poems and songs). The wind had risen by late evening, the rain eventually setting in.
After a wild night, Sunday started wet and windy. We gathered in the hall for a short worship period based around 'bring and share your contibution'. We then joined the congregation of St Pauls for their morning service (communion). Darren headed home after the service. After tea/coffee, we retired to the Fazeley Inn for Sunday Roast Lunch, before going our separate ways. Some boats left after the meal, others (including "Paws") planned to stay and start off in the morning. The wind died down but the rain continued in heavy showers for the rest of the day.
More rain overnight, but by breakfast the cloud was clearing to a sunny morning. Leisurely start, then let go for the remainder of the trip to Fazeley. Barely away (at the Fulfen Wood Aqueduct) when I saw a kingfisher. Again, very busy with traffic both ways - allowed two boats (obviously in a hurry) to get past. Continued on past Huddlesford Junction, through Willington, Fisherwick and Hopwas to the outskirts of Fazeley. Noted 6 oil-soaked ducks as I approached Sutton Road Bridge, and pools of thick dirty oil around the boats moored. Stopped for lunch, and reported it to CRT as a pollution incident.
After lunch and a few extras shopping, set off again two hours later (CRT had just arrived to assess). Headed round to the Junction and turned right towards the marina. A long string of BCF boats greeted me so continued to the marina, winded, and returned to the first available space near the footbridge. All 14 of the boaters currently moored went out for dinner at "Kudos", one of the local Indian restaurants (great meal, great company).
|8.04 miles||0 locks||3.44 hrs||2.34 lmph|
More heavy rain overnight, but it had cleared to a slight drizzle by breakfast. The drizzle eventually died out to lovely sunny evening. Very busy again with traffic. Had a quiet day to myself. Spoke briefly with Edwin as he passed on "Ferrous".
Rain continued overnight and through the morning, heavy at times. Where it was lighter, did the necessary shopping and prepared for departure. Had lunch and waited for a very heavy shower to clear.
Just after lunch, the rain cleared to a drizzle so I let go and set off for Fazeley to attend the Fellowship Weekend of the BCF . Worked down through Wood End, Shadehouse and Middle Locks (no volunteers to be seen, but may have been their lunchtime). Turned right at Fradley Junction, headed through the swingbridge and on through Fazeley Village. It was a lot busier than I expected on a wet day at this time of year. Moored up at the entrance to Kings Orchard Marina as usual. Apart from a heavy shower just after I moored, the sun was actually poking through giving a pleasant end to the day.
|5.90 miles||3 locks||3.06 hrs||2.91 lmph|
Up promptly and packed the car. Very misty morning, but cleared fairly quickly. Drove back south to "Paws", stopping for essential items as I passed Rugeley. Rain came on as I arrived late afternoon. Unpacked and had a quiet evening.
Spent Tuesday morning with Kenny, Louise and Jade - she fell asleep in my arm for over an hour (so contented). Remainder of the day catching up on 'paperwork'.
Went over to Edinburgh to visit Fhi on Wednesday to help her celebrate her birthday. They were back over to us on Thursday and Friday, continuing the job of trying to find our back garden (which has got rather forgotten recently).
Went out for dinner Saturday with Kenney and his family to celebrate his birthday. Quiet day Sunday before the drive back south.
Last night's rain continued through till after breakfast, only gradually declining through drizzle during the morning. Cleared up from the weekend, then packed the car for a week at home - principally to see Jade. Drizzle died out just before lunch, giving a good run for the remainder of the trip. Arrived home late afternoon and had a quiet evening.
Headed round by car to Windmill End on both days, to assist on the 'stand' for BCF at the Black Country Boating Festival . Saturday was a hot sunny day, Sunday a little cloudier (eventually turning to rain in the evening). Very busy indeed over both days. Great to catch up again with friends (old and new) in the BCF.
Word received during Saturday that grand-daughter's name is Jade.
On the move promptly as Fhi had decided she would travel home after lunch (rather than tomorrow morning). Let go and returned to Fradley Junction, turning left onto the Trent & Mersey again. Ascended Middle and Shadehouse Locks, then on and up Wood End Lock. Got back to the marina for late lunch. Fhi then packed and headed off home mid-afternoon, leaving me to reorganise "Paws" back to "single occupancy".
|Totals and Average with Fhi|
|83.58 miles||29 locks||27.88 hrs||2.86 lmph|
As she had left early, I decided I would go to the Black Country Boat Festival over the weekend.
|47.80 miles||32 locks||2.90 hrs||3.07 lmph|
Wind had risen slightly again by morning (and continued to rise during the day). Up slightly early, but got ready at a more leisurely pace. Whilst letting go, Fhi's mobile slipped out of her hoody pocket - rescue magnet recovered it, but we're not sure whether it is still alive (usual resuscitation techniques used, but not sure whether its in a coma or dead). Eventually let go and continued our run towards base, back through Polesworth, Alvecote and Amington to Glascote. Stopped at the Co-op for minor stores, but it was too early for lunch so we then continued down the 2 locks and on to Fazeley. Lunch on the move as we continued for Hopwas and Whittington. Moored up outside Kings Orchard Marina again for our last night out. Still very pleasant, even if the wind was causing problems with leeway.
|14.38 miles||2 locks||5.96 hrs||2.75 lmph|
Yesterday's forecast for today was for a sunny day throughout, so we were surprised to rise to a dull drizzly morning. On the move promptly as we were to go to the next winding hole to turn before retracing our steps to base. Arrived at Stoneleigh Quarry winding hole to find it unusable due to weeds, so had to continue to Cherry Tree Farm. Having added a further 20 minutes to the extra hour needed due to lack of mooring at Atherstone Top, we arrived back at Top Lock late morning and dealt with the services.
Once completed, we joined the queue to descend - a further delay of 15 minutes, although this was mitigated somewhat as a working boat pair let us ahead of them as they would be slower (many thanks to them). With CRT Volunteers on Locks 1 to 4, we made exceptional time. As we had had sustenance while servicing, we continued down the whole flight without a break. A family of swans decided to freeload our last two locks. The wind had been rising all morning and it was getting tricky.
Clearing the bottom lock, we continued back towards Meadow Bridge. Just after Grendon Dock, Fhi's hat blew off! Did an emergency stop and recovered it, but unfortunately got stuck against the bank with the wind. Tried poling-off, tried using the engine, only got away when a passer-by gave us a push just as the wind dropped for a few seconds. Five minutes later, we were moored at Bridge 50 for the night. Very late lunch. Nice and sunny by this stage, but with the strong wind.
Wind died off during the evening to give a lovely end to the day.
|3.57 miles||11 locks||4.76 hrs||3.06 lmph|
Far nicer morning, today, sun peeping through and a lot warmer again. On the move promptly, moving past Bradley Green services and on to the bottom of the Atherstone Flight (11 locks). On arrival we found 3 boats waiting to go up so it took us nearly 40 minutes from arrival to actually getting to start up the flight. Felt like a slow run up from 11 to 6, even though there was a good stream of boats coming down. Noted the flower memorial to Margaret from Fazeley Mill as we ascended Lock 8. Had a brief chat with Crystal & Mike (originally met them as lock-keepers on the Foxton Flight) as we ascended Lock 6. Moored in the pound between 6 and 5.
Had a bite of lunch, before walking into town - the usual selection of shops visited (wool shop, sweet shop and card shop!). Once back, moved "Paws" forward to Lock 5 ready for the remainder, to find 3 boats again waiting to go up. Had a brief chat with Derek & Ann on "Ursinity" as they passed having come down. It took over an hour to get started up. Once on the move, we flashed through the remaining 5 locks (with assistance from CRT Volunteers on 3, 2 and 1).
No spaces in the section immediately above the lock, but found a space right at the end of the next section, immediately before Bridge 39. Fhi walked back into town via the bridge at the lock to get a Chinese carry-out for dinner. A lovely sunny day throughout.
|3.57 miles||11 locks||4.76 hrs||3.06 lmph|
A very damp day greeted us this morning - cool and rainy (but we had been expecting it). Long lie, then took our time getting started. On the move mid-morning, heading past Huddlesford Junction and through Whittington, Fisherwick and Hopwas. Noted that the reed beds were getting out of hand again. Fhi saw a kingfisher as we approached Fazeley so she was very happy. Lunch on the move.
At Fazeley Junction, we continued ahead onto the main line of the Coventry Canal, ascending the two locks at Glascote - very busy here as there were two boats coming down with another two following us up. Rain had eased to occasional drizzle, with the sun attempting to get through. Continued on through Amington and Alvecote, then Polesworth and Dordon. The rain came back again for a short period just before we moored up. Moored at our usual place before Meadow Lane Bridge (50) as the rain ceased again.
|14.46 miles||2 locks||6.00 hrs||2.74 lmph|
Beautiful, if cold, start to the day, with few clouds and warm sun. Last-minute things readied for departure - clear loo, clear rubbish, top up water, car to carpark.
Fhi arrived just around 11:30. Got her gear aboard and unpacked, then we had some lunch and a chat.
Her choice of route was a trip to Atherstone and back, so after a leisurely lunch, we let go and headed out of the marina, turning right onto the Trent & Mersey Canal. She had asked for additional tuition on single-handing, so the descent down Wood End, Shadehouse and Middle Locks took slightly longer than normal. Generally took our time as we were just happy to be out and about. Turned right at Fradley Junction, passing through the swing bridge, again with tips on how to do it single handed. Continued on the detached portion of the Coventry Canal as far as Kings Orchard Marina, mooring in our usual place between the marina and the bridge. Lovely calm evening with little movement of the air and still with sun until it set.
|5.91 miles||3 locks||3.50 hrs||2.55 lmph|
Spent most of the remainder of the week doing odd jobs around the boat - changed water filter, fitted new catches to aft lockers. Gave the whole boat a rinse down to clean the dust which had enveloped us when the farmer opposite cut his field. General preparations for having a guest aboard, including some baking. Fuelled up, and got coal and kindling in (just in case).
Cleared the top of the battery-box, extricated the lid, then changed the batteries. Everything then put back in - long, heavylift, awkward job. Very stiff afterwards so had a quiet afternoon. Pat continued her trip home. Turned stormy late afternoon.
The national day of remembrance for merchant seafarers who, in the course of their trade, lost their lives as a result of armed conflict. During WW1 and WW2, British Merchant Fleets lost 52,000 men, women and boys to the sea, and that is their only grave. September 3rd was chosen as the memorial day for two reasons -
1. it was the day WW2 was declared,
2. SS Athena was sunk by a German submarine on the first day of war, with the loss of 117 civilian crew and passengers - the first merchant ship sunk in the war.
Up slightly early as Pat wanted to get away. She was heading to Catterick to visit friends on the way home (staying overnight). I took a trip to Fazeley for a haircut and shopping. Spent the afternoon relaxing, walking round the National Memorial Arboretum. . Procured a new full set of batteries on the way back.
A beautiful sunny day to start the new month. Pat continued with her cleaning and packing over both Sunday and Monday. Carry-out by car from Delhi Divan at Alrewas (they had a big party on and I could barely move when collecting our meal, but tasted just as good as usual).