|This Month's Totals and Average|
|59.79 miles||18 locks||28.63 hrs||2.72 lmph|
A dull drizzly day almost all day, there was a short period when the sun managed to creep through. Spent the afternoon at the church, helping Helen with the flowers for the weekend. The remainder of the day was spent on genealogy as it was too wet to work outside.
Pat was up early, and left "Paws" at 06:00 to drive north for the funeral on Saturday. I was also up as the front was too far off the queue and she needed to get through my cabin. After she left, I pottered for a couple of hours, then saw Helen was also up. She asked if she could hitch a lift to Huddlesford and would walk back with Skye. We got away at 08:40, continuing northwest. Dropped Helen and Skye at Fulfen Wood aqueduct - she really enjoyed the short trip. I continued and pulled in at Streethay Wharf for a couple of items of urgent chandlery (got one out of two) then continued on to Fradley Junction. Turned right onto the Trent & Mersey Canal, headed for Alrewas. Another boat had suggested there were volunteers on the upstream locks, but there were none to be found downstream.
Descended Junction Lock, then pulled in for services (water, loo and rubbish) next to the café. Once finished, I moved "Paws" across to the other side and got a bite of lunch.
After lunch, continued down through Keeper's, Hunt's, Common and Bagnall Locks - not a volunteer in sight. All locks today were against me, but the boat behind was happy to close up behind me whilst resetting for himself. Once into Alrewas, I turned "Paws" and reversed through the town until I found a mooring, leaving me ready to 'drive' out on Monday. Moored at Footbridge 47, in the 14-day section.
Finally got the 'plans' page updated to take into account Pat's trip north, and the addition of the IWA Campaign Cruise highlighting funding reductions. Had a take-away from Delhi Divan - excellent as always.
|6.95 miles||5 locks||4.28 hrs||2.79 lmph|
A dull start to the day, with a forecast of rain later. Cleared some urgent e-paperwork then prepared to set off. Got away just after 10am and headed through Fazeley Junction, continuing northwest. Wound our way amongst the farms, through Hopwas and on to Whittington. Moored up at Helen's garden mooring and had lunch.
Pat made her preparations for the drive north tomorrow, I got some odd jobs done.
|6.04 miles||0 locks||2.47 hrs||2.45 lmph|
Cooler overnight - slept in! Rain eventually woke us, and it was a slow start. The rain cleared by the time we had finished breakfast. Eventually on the move at 10:15, let go and continued northwest, through the new housing estates of the suburb of Saint Helena, and on through Polesworth. We passed Pooley Hall on the left - it used to have a private mine and coal was taken from here by narrowboat to the gasworks at Salford Junction just outside Birmingham. The hall and mine area is now a Country Park, which also contains the ruins of Alvecote Priory. It consists of the remaining stones of the 12th century Benedictine Priory, and can be seen from the canal just to the east of Alvecote marina.
Leaving Alvecote, we passed through Amington and into Glascote. We moored at Anchor Bridge 73 for stores and lunch, before dropping down through the 2 locks and into Fazeley. Our overnight mooring was before the Junction, just opposite the CRT yard.
Although it remained cloudy, and cooler than of late, we only had a little light drizzle before lunch, and again just before dinner.
|6.64 miles||2 locks||3.33 hrs||2.59 lmph|
Up and on the move promptly, moving forward the 5 mins to the services berth for loo, water and rubbish.
CRT Volunteers were on duty by the time we moved on, and we started down the flight. Completed the first five with the assistance of the volunteers at Top and Lock 3 in an hour, then pulled in for a break. The sun was quite strong and a cool drink was most welcome.
Refreshed after the half-hour break, we continued down for another 4 locks - no volunteers on in this section. It took us an hour to complete the four locks, then we pulled in again for a lunch break. Normally we would have done the whole flight in one go or only taken one break after the top 5, but we were taking it easy so as not to aggravate Pat's knees.
We took longer over lunch than intended (1½ hours), but were well refreshed for the remaining 2 at the bottom of the flight. Just as we were pulling away, we had a short meeting with Graham Booth on "Rome" before he stopped for the day. It was a good run down the flight, with a boat coming up at almost every lock saving effort of closing the gates.
Leaving the flight behind, we continued round to a favourite mooring at Meadow Lane Bridge 50 - very busy, but we got into a space for the night just after 14:30.
By 'knocking off time' the wind had risen quite a bit but we were safe on the berth. A sunny day throughout.
|3.30 miles||11 locks||3.18 hrs||4.49 lmph|
A lovely morning but with a forecast of thunderstorms later in the day. Decided to stay put for the day. Walked down to the Methodist Church on Coleshill Road for morning service - a most enjoyable morning, very friendly, good selection of hymns with a real organ (a pleasant change).
Headed back to "Paws" after coffee and a chat, and had lunch. Spent the afternoon finalising plans to sort the poor connectivity problem, and ordered the parts. Just as we were starting dinner, we were hailed by Andy & Sue on "Spring Water" - had a chat before they moved on to find a mooring.
The sky clouded over late afternoon, a light shower at dinnertime the only evidence of the threatened thunderstorms.
A beautiful quiet night, with only the dawn chorus (at 04:30!) to break the peace. Up and on the go promptly to catch up yesterday's shortfall and get to Atherstone. Continued the remaining short distance to Marston Junction and joined the Coventry Canal, turning right (northwest). Great to be back onto a canal with enough depth to allow two boats to pass without one going up the bank. Continued northwest through Nuneaton, noting that there was more rubbish in the canal than we are used to up the Ashby. Lunch on the move again. Passed Hartshill and Mancetter, arriving in Atherstone. Initially thought there would be no moorings available, but found a space just big enough and moored up half way between bridges 40 and 41.
Took a walk into town for chocolates at Mr Simms Olde Sweete Shoppe , wool at Crafty Corner and stores at the co-op.
|11.04 miles||0 locks||4.25 hrs||2.60 lmph|
A brighter morning than expected from yesterday's forecast, but still a slight cloud. Emptied the loo at the service point before leaving, then made ready to go. Off the berth at 10:00, heading south, hoping to make Marston Junction, but with a couple of jobs to do on the way.
Passed Dadlington and the Stoke Golding moorings before mooring outside the Ashby Canal Centre , where I booked "Paws" in for blacking - nothing before next June so, not wanting to disturb next year's cruise too much, I took a booking for September 2024.
Letting go again, we moved to the other end of Stoke Golding, to Bridge 23 and Spinneybank Farm . Purchased meat, veg and other supplies for the next few days. Had lunch before continuing.
After lunch, set off on the last leg for the day. Continued south through Hinckley and on past Burton Hastings. We were, unfortunately, running a little behind plan so cut short the day and moored just before Bramcote, south of Bridge 8 at 15:20.
|8.62 miles||0 locks||3.75 hrs||2.30 lmph|
With a forecast of showers, we had thought to stay put today, but the day dawned bright and clear so, once ready (around 10:00), we let go, winded and set off southwards. A very hot day throughout. Plenty of dragonflies and damselflies around (as well as a good number of biting insects!). Heard a yellowhammer for the first time this year. Returned back past Shackerstone and Congerstone, continuing on past Market Bosworth and Shenton to Sutton Cheney, taking lunch on the move. Moored at the new(ish) decked moorings around 14:30 and nipped off for ice cream from Floatie Oakie - excellent!
As we were getting back, the cloud had built, and it had started to rain.
|10.20 miles||0 locks||4.47 hrs||2.28 lmph|
Heavy rain again overnight, but it had unexpectedly cleared by breakfast - decision made to GO.
Cleared up ready by 09:50, so let go and turned left (northwards) from the marina - Pat says she has only been to the terminus once and wanted to go again. A very good run north with birds singing in the trees. Passed the villages of Congerstone and Shackerstone and the farmland between, both arable and pastoral. There is more shelter from trees north of this, the canal passing through an avenue until reaching Snarestone. Noted a 'Plan-B mooring' as we approached the tunnel but, on reaching the official terminus, we found two boats moving off so moored there at 13:00.
After lunch, I spent the afternoon fighting the modem/wifi system (rather than tethering to my mobile) - it has been giving problems for some time. With the better signal, I had hoped to get a handle on the problem, but with no success. Gave up at 16:30 to get the diary written up.
|7.00 miles||0 locks||2.90 hrs||2.41 lmph|
Woke to (the expected) rain, but with the intention of getting away after lunch. As soon as we were finished breakfast, we drove out to Whittington to deliver Pat's car to Helen, a friend from Alrewas church - she would 'store' it till next week when Pat would collect it for her drive north. Returning from the car-shuffle, we were ready to let go, but the rain continued well into the afternoon. Postponed departure till tomorrow, and Pat continued with her 'sorting things out'. Internet problems improved so now caught up.
Over Saturday and Sunday, Pat got more of her unpacking done, with several short trips to the shops (including Sparkenhoe Farm for artisan cheese - they also have a fantastic café)). Plenty of "wee rests".
Thunder and heavy rain overnight. Usual run to Alrewas on Sunday - "Together in Worship" (family service - adults and children mixed into three groups, one creating a collage, one looking at things that frighten us, and a dance/drama workshop putting together a 2-minute presentation, all on the subject of dragons from Revelation). More thunder and rain late afternoon.
Sunday evening we received the sad news that a family friend (of 60 years) had passed away. Pat has decided to attend the funeral, so transport logistics made to allow us to get away, but for Pat to still drive home on 29th. Last minute shopping done before departure.
The internet was down for the whole of Monday so diary and maps delayed.
Pat got away from the house around 07:00 for her drive south. I spent the morning finishing cleaning.
She arrived aboard around 15:30, tired after the very hot, and slow at times, trip. Only essential unpacking done then a quiet evening.
Wednesday and Thursday were quiet days, generally pottering. Preparations made for Pat returning, getting things back the way she likes them, cleaning and making up her bed (used as a storage area and workbench when she's not here ). Researched how I can to get the BCF banner back up (the solar panels have removed the securing points I used to use) - obtained the parts, just need to get the saw and drill out.
Usual first day back aboard - shopping in the morning to refill the fridge, freezer and veg lockers.
In the afternoon, ran the new phone antenna cable (which I'd purchased before going home, and had been on test for a couple of weeks) round from the shell entry on the left side of "Paws" (behind the rear door), in through the electrics locker and across the boat to the modem. Took a bit of time as there are very few points one can get at. All now appears OK.
Slight fly in that ointment was a phonecall from Pat (whilst I couldn't get outside for a good signal) saying that the house hot-water system had failed and she was calling in a tradesman.
Out the house and on the move before 07:00, headed south. Sunny day, with no signs of the forecast rain in the afternoon. Unfortunately, it made it swelteringly hot in the car. Only minor delays due roadworks, but lost nearly 30 mins due to a breakdown in the Sandbach area. On board just after 15:00 and all stowed away by 16:30. The rain eventually turned up at dinnertime, with the thunder rolling and crackling until mid-evening. Quiet evening (apart from the thunder).
At the house, dealing with a couple of business matters (including switching from Virgin to Sky), before meeting up with a new-found cousin (found through DNA matching).
Pat has been cleared to return to "Paws" (she intends to follow me south within a couple of days), but is to come north again when she gets a referral letter for investigation of another problem (waiting list a couple of months).
Pat's car collected, with the cleaned and re-coated alloys.
Now having a better idea of available time over the summer, our plan is to stay in the general area of the Birmingham plateau - the Plans page has now been updated.
Had a great day with Dawn, hope to meet up again later in the year when we return to the house.