|This Month's Totals and Average|
|64.57 miles||1 locks||26.06 hrs||2.52 lmph|
Woken by a boat going past at 07:50, which saved us from oversleeping again. On the move promptly and moved down, past all the moorings and the junction, onto the services berth. After the usual items (empty loo cassette, top up water, dump the rubbish), we reversed back to the junction and turned onto the Oxford Canal. Quite busy already this morning, with a steady stream of boats going through.
After ascending the "stop lock" (a few junctions have these locks of only a few inches as a safety precaution against loss of water from one canal to another), we continued eastward, passing under the motorway bridges (M69 then M6) and the villages of Ansty and Brinklow. This part of the canal often runs parallel to the railway, but mostly has trees both sides. Like Birmingham, there are a number of loops (on the Oxford, created when the route was straightened). Most cannot be navigated, some are now used for moorings, none are fully navigable. Lunch on the move. Moored mid-afternoon at Bridge 58.
Took a walk to Hobbycraft and Halfords in the retail park.
|12.89 miles||1 locks||5.37 hrs||2.58 lmph|
Long lie, mostly because we didn't waken till a boat went past at 08:10! Took our time getting up, but were ready to drop in to All Saints Church by 10:15 - Liz took the service this morning with Jacqui giving the talk. Decided we couldn't be bothered moving today so a quiet lunch and afternoon. A lot of passing traffic, and footfall on the towpath.
No sign of the vole this morning, although Pat saw him when taking a "call of nature" about 04:00. A dull start to the day, but on the move promptly. Mistiness turned to a light drizzle during the morning. Continued southwards from Hinkley, back into the broad agricultural farmland. More traffic today. At Marston Junction, we turned left onto the Coventry Canal, again heading south. Passed Charity Dock with its "village" of shop mannequins dressed in all sorts of costumes. Moored on the approach to Hawkesbury Junction ("Sutton's Stop", named after the family who manned the toll office for many years) - the drizzle clearing to a sunny afternoon.
|8.02 miles||0 locks||3.15 hrs||2.54 lmph|
Up promptly on another sunny morning. Cars parked up for the summer, then let go from the marina just before 10:00 and headed south - set free at last . Signs that spring is finally getting going - the rapeseed plants had changed to yellow and the hawthorns were decked in blossom. Stopped off at Spinneybank Farm Shop at Bridge 23 for meat stores and bread, then had lunch before moving on.
After lunch, let go again and continued southwards for Hinkley. The afternoon had clouded over but it was still warm. The canal on the approach to Hinkley becomes much wider and deeper allowing slightly faster passage, even though there's no rush. Entered Hinkley at its west side, through a suburb of warehouses, although they do not encroach onto the canalside (there is good tree cover along both sides). We moored just west of Bridge 16. This is the best place for walking into town, although not needed for us today.
Spotted a water vole paddling along at the opposite bank just before dinnertime. It was visible for nearly half an hour. Spotted it again later in the evening.
|9.24 miles||0 locks||4.01 hrs||2.31 lmph|
Rain and wind continued through the night and into Friday morning. Did a shopping run to Lidl and Sainsbury. Phoned Margaret to call off seeing her on Sunday - the forecast is for continued rain, and a 1½-hour drive each way to Doncaster is not sensible when the church service would probably not take place. Spent the afternoon on routine chores whilst dodging the rain.
Rain had stopped and wind had eased by Saturday morning, and sun came out for a short spell early afternoon. Generally quiet day.
Sunny morning, although it dulled down by lunchtime. Took a walk up to town to the farmers' market first thing - small, but some good stalls. Returned to "Paws" for the usual morning service online at All Saints, followed by coffee. Lunch, then decided to head to Doncaster to join them after all for their afternoon service in the church grounds (we thought the forecast looked more promising). Unfortunately, just as we arrived, the decision was taken to abort the outdoor service, but they held a short communion service inside for the 25 who had turned up. Once again, our thanks for the hospitality and friendship shared by those we've met at All Saints. Dry drive back, but the rain came on very heavy from mid-evening.
Monday dawned a beautiful warm sunny day. It remained that way the whole day - apart from the very heavy rain showers. Routine chores such as changing beds and washing, and collection of parcels. Puzzled over the ongoing network problem but still couldn't get a result - returned it to the back-burner again.
Drive into Nuneaton Tuesday morning for Dunelm, then a call to daughter for moral support on her essay for the OU. The cloudy, showery morning gave way to a sunny afternoon. Cleared out the forward hatch of bits and pieces that will never be used again. Checked what "gardening" stuff we had ready for this year's plants.
Sunny morning Wednesday. Out to get this year's plants for the cabin roof - bedding plants for the "cauldrons" and culinary herbs for the troughs. Spent the afternoon planting these. Lunchtime cloud and drizzle cleared again late afternoon.
Out food-shopping on Thursday morning to get last minute items before final departure. Another beautiful sunny day, with a good forecast for the forseeable future. Afternoon of final preparations - water, loo, ash, rubbish etc.
A dull and dismal morning - wall-to-wall cloud, a threat of rain, and a brisk biting wind. Set off promptly and continued the ½-hour south, past the farm shops at Stoke Golding, to the next winding hole and turned. Cold already!
Returned northwards for base. Rain came on, adding to the poor conditions. Bright points in the journey were a sighting of a water vole just west of Sutton Wharf, and a flock of swallows - there's hope we'll get a summer yet.
Finished mooring just after 13:00, soaked and frozen! Late lunch, drying out and warming up. Had planned on a shopping trip to Nuneaton in the afternoon, but stayed tucked up inside instead.
|8.37 miles||0 locks||3.46 hrs||2.42 lmph|
Another beautifully sunny morning although the forecast suggested showers all day. On the move promptly with the intention of going south of the marina for the 3rd night out before returning tomorrow.
Pat decided to take a refresher on winding "Paws" and did very well indeed - didn't hit a thing! Returned back southwards enjoying the sunshine. More traffic on the move today, including hire boats (from Ashby Boats at Stoke Golding, as well as from Calcutt, Black Prince and Napton).
Passed the marina just before midday (no rain so far) and continued south. After a couple of hours, we moored at the picnic area at Dadlington. A heavy shower of rain came over just after we moored but no sign of the forecast showers - lovely.
|12.34 miles||0 locks||4.73 hrs||2.61 lmph|
Sun blazing in the portholes from around 05:30; beautiful morning. Decided to stay where we were for the day (rain forecast from lunchtime). Lazy day just pottering with a few odd jobs. Rain did indeed come on just after lunch, but cleared by late afternoon.
Dullish morning with a forecast of rain most of the day. Quick shopping trip ready for a couple of days out. Topped up water, then let go and headed north. Short showers most of the trip, but clearing to a beautiful afternoon. Great day for watching/hearing wildlife - along with the usual suspects singing away (blackbird, robin, wren, chiff-chaff, coaltit and great tit) we also saw goldfinches, a kestrel, house martins and a good number of blackcaps. There were also a couple of hatchings of mayfly.
Passing through the tunnel and arriving at Snarestone, we moored at Bridge 61 for afternoon cuppie, then went for a short walk to the Ashby Canal Association shop/welcome station.
|6.85 miles||0 locks||2.67 hrs||2.56 lmph|
Cold overnight into Friday, but rain stayed away. Major storing at supermarkets and Farm Shop . Afternoon spent putting shopping away and more unpacking by Pat (I just kept out the road!).
Pat spent Saturday with final unpacking. Showers throughout with occasional short bursts of sunshine.
Sunday dawned a lovely sunny day. Usual e-visit to Doncaster to join our friends at All Saints for "Live Stream Faith" and e-coffee. During the afternoon, finished adding another "derelict" canal to the maps (Stockport Branch Canal). Rain came on after lunch but didn't last long. Hope to get out for a short trip during the week (short, as we have a planned appointment next weekend that we need the car for).
Pat got away from the house around 06:30 for her drive south. Boat vacuumed bow-to-stern, refuse/rubbish cleared out, all dishes washed, cooker cleaned, water topped up (no excuse for complaint ). Seals replaced on two of the loo cassettes. Pat arrived 14:20 and did some of her unpacking - I cleared off to my 'room' for the duration! A dull day throughout, with occasional moderate showers.
Other than the ducks having a fight at 03:00, a quiet night. Shopping trips to supermarkets and chandlers took up the whole day (along with a lengthy phonecall from daughter). Mostly sunny, but with occasional heavy showers. Great to have the hatch open till bedtime.
Early rise, and early departure for the (belated) return drive to "Paws". Dull when I left, but quickly brightened up to a sunny morning. Light showers around lunchtime turning to very heavy showers for the last hour of drive.
Opened up and unpacked. No nasty surprises awaiting me this time . Fixed a faulty navigation light (I knew about it before going north), and checked for spare loo lip seals which could do with replacing - trip to chandler when out tomorrow. Quiet evening.
Short stay at the house. 2nd Covid vaccinations on Friday. Emergency repair work on wireless network required replacement part - ordered Saturday, arrived late Sunday, fitted Monday. "Wasted" time used for mapping plans.
Early rise, and early departure for the drive back to the house. The initial damp dullness cleared quickly and it was sunny for the remainder of the morning. By the time I reached Newcastle, it was dulling again, and the rain/hail had started by Morpeth. Very heavy hail shower (requiring slower driving) came as I passed North Berwick, but it had eased by the time I got to the house mid-afternoon.
Lovely morning on Sunday, and awake early. As has become normal on Sunday mornings during lockdown, joined the "Live Stream Faith" broadcast from All Saints Church, followed by the e-coffee morning - seemed funny meeting up with Pat online for coffee! Decided I'd surprise the team at All Saints by turning up in person for their small afternoon communion service and outside service with singing. Had a great time with them, then the drive (1½ hour) back to "Paws" for dinner. The rain managed to just stay off during the outside service, but came on heavy late evening.
Bank Holiday Monday started dull, and by lunchtime had turned to moderate rain. With the plan changed to travelling home on Thursday, I went out for shopping to tide me over. Spent the remainder of the day attempting to set up the revised network (as per discussions with Nick). By evening the wind had picked up - a wild night!
Although the heavy rain had gone and Tuesday dawned sunny, the cold strong wind continued. Completed the cabling work on the network and all functions correctly, so now I just have to hide the cables somewhere. Wind started to drop by bedtime.
A generally quiet day on Wednesday. Packing etc ready for a short period back at the house. Weather was a mixture of sunny spells and cloudy periods, with occasional showers. The wind picked up again mid-afternoon.
Exceptionally peaceful night, no background noise at all (almost deafening!). Took my time getting going, just enjoying the sunny morning. On the move by mid-morning, whereupon the clouds started to build. Decided that, instead of stopping for lunch then continuing, I would just make a run for it and get back before the rain came on (it was forecast for later). Arrived back for a late lunch, during which the rain arrived. It did brighten up during the afternoon and I went for a short walk.
Received a call from Pat to say that appointments for our 2nd Covid vaccinations had arrived. I have decided to drive north on Thursday for the appointment Friday, then come south again on Monday, with Pat following on Thursday (after some remedial work is completed on the house roof). I'll have to adjust my shopping plans accordingly - I don't have enough to last, but don't want a lot.
New month - a reminder that this year, we have introduced another means for visitors, both to the website and to the boat, to actually find our location. It uses the what3words app. (This is available for all platforms, and uses a unique combination of 3 words to specify a 3m square anywhere in the world). We hope this is of use - in your browser, just type https://what3words.com/ followed by the 3 words quoted each day or click on the words (it works best if you then select satellite view).
|6.90 miles||0 locks||2.84 hrs||2.43 lmph|