|This Month's Totals and Average|
|27.61 miles||0 locks||12.10 hrs||2.28 lmph|
Did a run to collect Pat after she dropped her car to get the alloys cleaned and recoated (one of the tyres was losing air, due to corrosion on the rim). Two outstanding parcels delivered. Generally assisted in doing some clearing up around the house.
Up early and was heading north by 07:15. Good run with no delays, nice and sunny so pleasant driving as well. Arrived at the house mid-afternoon and got unpacked (such as there was). Quiet evening catching up.
A drive to Alrewas as usual for church on Sunday, then back to base via the "farmers' market" at Bosworth town square for a wee nose around - got some cheese. Lunch once back aboard, then generally pottering during the afternoon. The day started cloudy but it quickly cleared to a lovely sunny mornng. By mid-afternoon, however, the cloud had returned and a moderate breeze had sprung up.
Spent Monday preparing to leave the boat (again!) - topped up the water, cleared the loo and rubbish, got the packing done.
Awake early again with the sun, so just got on the move. A bit chillier today, needed a jacket until late morning, but the sun was still hot. Left my mooring and continued south through Stoke Golding as there is no winding hole near. Turned at Basin Bridge, and returned northwards. At Sutton Cheney, a boat pulled out ahead and I quickly caught up. From the look of it, I reckon it was quite deep draught and was having problems with the (lack of) depth of water (due lack of dredging!). After 45 mins, he pulled in at the Battlefield moorings and I managed to speed up. Arrived at the marina around 12:30 and, having moored up and tidied up, grabbed some lunch.
After lunch, headed out for essential stores, and got the extra items requested for home so that I shouldn't have to shop again. On arrival back, I took water, then got the diary, maps and stats done. A quiet evening.
|9.05 miles||0 locks||4.15 hrs||2.18 lmph|
Awake early as sun streaming in through the windows of the after doors. It stayed sunny for the whole day, nice and warm, with just the right amount of cool in the gentle breeze. Serenaded by the skylarks in the adjacent fields and the usual culprits (sparrows, blackbirds, and others I can't identify) in the hedgerows. Generally pottered all day, getting more done to the genealogy project (on the presentation side). The remainder of the time was spent sitting out the back reading in the beautiful sunshine. Back to base tomorrow in order to get ready to head home at the beginning of next week.
Slept in longer than intended so not on the move as quick as planned. On the way just after 09:30, returning southwards. Another sunny day - it looks as though spring (if not summer) has finally settled in. There was a steady stream of boats going north, but I would not say it was busy. A good run down to the marina for lunchtime, so moored outside for a quick bite.
After lunch, let go again and continued south towards Sutton Cheney. Passed the Wharf moorings (all full) and continued for Dadlington. Moored up for the night at 15:30 on my usual stretch, but not at my usual position as that was taken. Still a good mooring. I had time to get the diary, maps and stats done without a rush, but found that the signal was weaker than usual. Managed to get the connection by tethering to my phone so no loss.
|11.64 miles||0 locks||4.80 hrs||2.43 lmph|
Decided to stay put for today. Lovely sunny day, but with a moderate breeze (although I'm in the shelter of a wall of trees). Quite busy again, with several hire boats winding (some having difficulties with the crosswind).
Rang Sky and got the info I needed, then rang Pat to confirm my choice. Let go and continued north through the tunnel. At Quarry Lane winding hole, I turned "Paws" then waited for a boat on the water to clear the cutting at the stop-gate, and reversed through intending to moor on the new moorings. Unfortunately, there was a large amount of blanket weed in the cutting and I aborted before getting my prop fouled - shame as the moorings up there looked so good. Cleared the cutting without mishap and moored just south of the winding hole.
Had lunch while waiting for a return call from Sky to dealt with the e-paperwork. After an overcast but bright morning, the sun came out and it was baking hot during the afternoon. Had a look at the BCF banner ready for the festivals later in the ear - going to have to rework the mountings due to the solar panels - then caught up on the diary and maps. Quite busy late afternoon, with boats coming up to wind (possibly hoping to moor, but it filled up quickly).
I noted this morning that the batteries had only dropped to 92% overnight, and later, that with only 40 mins engine-time, we were back up to 100% again. Very happy indeed.
|0.93 miles||0 locks||0.67 hrs||1.40 lmph|
Decided that I would get out for another short break. Drove to Tamworth and to Hinckley for stores to tide me until next weekend, then prepared to leave.
After an early lunch, I thought I'd get a call made to Sky to gauge a possible switch from Virgin. It took over an hour trawling the internet to get a telephone number. Finally gave up and let go (deal with it tomorrow). Headed out from the marina and, once again, turned north, intending to go to the terminus. Lovely sunny afternoon, a pleasure to be out. By the time I arrived at the south end of the tunnel, it was getting late (for me) so moored up so as not to risk no moorings the other side. Poor signal so had to leave the diary, maps and stats till Tuesday. Lovely quiet evening with the birds singing all round.
|5.38 miles||0 locks||2.17 hrs||2.48 lmph|
A quiet day on Saturday, recovering from the strenuous day yesterday. Continued on the work for the genealogy project, completing the presention for Dawn.
On Sunday, went over to Alrewas for the morning service, then had a packed lunch beside the canal. Spent the afternoon working the river lock - busy initially, putting nearly a dozen through in 1½ hours, then fairly quiet for the next 1½. Plans to be made for the week ahead.
The final day of the Explorer Cruise. I headed off to Oldbury to work "the Crow" - the flight of locks up the Titford Canal to the pumphouse (Headquarters for the BCNS). Boats were already coming uphill when I arrived at 09:00, and the crew had worked over a dozen boats through by 12:00 - some from the Cruise, others arriving for the rally over the weekend. By 12:00, we had put all bar two of the Cruise boats (those we were 'employed' to deal with) and with no sign of the remainder being on the way, we set all the locks ready for an uphill passage and called it a day. Shortly afterwards, the forecast showers arrived, but didn't last overly long. After a quick lunch in the car, I returned to "Paws" by 14:30 for a quiet end to the day.
Communications with Dawn are progressing and I may elect to go north for a 1st meeting with her within the next couple of weeks.
A useful day around the boat on Tuesday - slowly pottering around routine chores - stripped the bed, then replaced the mattress before remaking, a load of washing was put on (not a lot of work on my part, but necessary), dishes were cleared from the last two days (no energy once back to the boat), did a quick run round with the vacuum, and went out for a small batch of shopping. Then had a quiet seat for the remainder of the day .
On Tuesday evening, I noticed that the channels for BBC local news had disappeared. Researching the problem on Wednesday, I found that I had missed the notification that all BBC SD channels would be phased out and replaced with HD channels over Jan/Feb of this year. A re-scan failed to pick them up, so more research. Finally found the extra frequencies needed, and added them to our TV scan list. This appears to have done the trick, but took all day to get it working. Anyone who does not have a DVB-S2 decoder, and/or anyone who does not have a TV capable of decoding HD signals will lose these channels until they upgrade their equipment. The HD channels are supposed to automatically replace old SD channels on terrestrial TV.
In advance of the brewing storm (the third day of lock-wheeling for the Explorer Cruise), I had a "quiet" day. It ended up with me working on the genealogy project in advance of meeting up with Pat's new-found 3rd cousin. Made several corrections to data, and adjusted a few features on the "family web presentation".
(Almost) every year, the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society (BCNS) host what they call an "Explorer Cruise" to encourage more use of the northern reaches of the BCN, and to attract more attention from CRT for maintenance. One of their members acts as guide, taking around 15 boats for a guided tour for a week. There is a planned route and overnight stops, with evening entertainment and daytime educational visits (usually including the CRT lockgate workshop at Bradley). They also ask for volunteers from amongst their members to man the flights of locks to make the trip easier.
This year I volunteered (I have done it before). The group assembled at Withymoor Island on Friday of last week, then toured round via Bentley Bridge (Wyrley & Essington) on Saturday night, then via the Walsall Flight to the basin for Sunday night - thus I was out with the team during Sunday, initially ensuring the flight was full of water (unusually, it was), then assisting the boaters down during the afternoon. We were then out again on Monday to check the Ryder's Green flight (it needed considerable filling, and trolleys removing!), then assisting the boats through (constantly running water down). The group will overnight at Tipton. We get a break until Friday.
Fortunately, after a lovely day on Sunday, the forecast rain for Monday did not materialise, although there was a cold breeze.
Whilst the rain had ceased, the wind had risen by Friday morning and it was cold and dull. The day was spent on e-paperwork - tracker solutions, genealogy, etc. Received an email from the volunteers organiser for the Moira Festival advising that they had been forced to cancel - the site was waterlogged, with more rain on the way.
A trip to Tamworth on Saturday morning for own-brand items from Sainsbury, and topped up the car fuel ready for the next two days around the Walsall area. A brighter day with thinner cloud, and the wind had dropped again.
A lot of rain overnight, leading to another day of sunshine with heavy showers. Shopping day!
In the morning, went into Nuneaton and Hinckley (Dunelm for mattress protector, and Morrisons for sustenance), then to Ikea in the afternoon for the new mattress. A lot of surface water on the motorways, and queues as a result of "safety improvements" and HS2. Stopped off at Lidl for the items I couldn't get this morning.
Another quiet evening after the rushing around.
On the road early. Usual stops for fuel, loo and lunch, getting me down just after 15:00. A mixed bag of weather from mist/drizzle of the low cloud over the hills crossing the Pentlands, Beattock and Shap, to very heavy showers interspersed with beautiful sunny spells. Queues were generally short, although I think those going the other way would disagree.
Unpacked on arrival and sorted things out by dinnertime. Quiet evening with the tele
Another run to Edinburgh for a replacement mattress and desk-chair to help ease the back/hip problem. General assistance round the house, but Pat is mostly coping. Dropped in to the monthly e-coffee with All Saints, Doncaster.
By the end of the week, there is an improvement in the back/hip situation, taking Pat back to where she was when I was instructed to "stay south as I'm coping". We have agreed I may return south on Wednesday - as a result of which, I have volunteered to lock-wheel for the BCNS Explorer Cruise at the end of the month (more on that later).