Monday, 11 October 2010


Monday 4th October to Sunday 10th October

27 Miles, 11 Locks, 1 Swing Bridge– for this week

Total: 299 Miles, 306 Locks, 9 Tunnels, 9 Swing Bridges

At the start of any week it is difficult to imagine the way that the week will pan out.
Mondays are unique in the week – they signify the end of the weekend and the return of work time and I remain completely fascinated watching others as they make that journey off to some remote office or worksite on a Monday morning – I say fascinated as it has been almost 7 years since I have trudged (I mean – gone) off to the office on a basis resembling more than even once a week and for most of this year not at all.

Really they are like ants travelling along one behind the other.

By way of saying all of this is that I have reached a level of individuality with which I am more than pleased.

Monday this week was a milestone for me – armed with the knowledge, possessing the right equipment and poised with the desire, I tackled the previously daunting task of changing the engine oil. Again thanks to Steve at Willow Wren, this actually became an enjoyable task, taking a little over an hour to fully complete – the only difficult task was fitting my frame down into the confines of the engine well with a warm engine (thankfully not going).

My previous visit to Atherstone had not realised a lack of suitable coffee shops and I have to say that this visit did not dispel that previous finding. I am sorry to say that it will remain the one point of disappointment about this lovely little town; but I will be returning and I will investigate the 10 or more pubs that I have located – so for now, I say adieu to Atherstone.

Tuesday was a travel day down the remaining 6 locks and a few more miles – I had spotted a likely mooring place when I had come the other many weeks ago, so I was determined to see how this would turn out.

The place in mind was opposite a pub by bridge 59 – Samuel Barlow – named after one of the early working boat fleet operators.

Samuel Barlow pub - by Bridge 59
The day was fine, if rather breezy, but managed to settle in early afternoon – the measures of a good mooring site were sated – good internet and at least fair TV – both settled for excellent – on that basis alone I will be back.

Wednesday was a chance to explore and also to stretch my weary legs, so off on a bit of a stroll along the towpath – found a Tesco’s to purchase more supplies and then back to the boat to investigate the pub. Over the bridge and through the carpark – started off slowly with a coffee – mmmm better than anything I had had for a while; but wait what that sound that I heard – it was the undeniable tones of a fellow Aussie – the owner of the premises, Paul, was originally from Cairns, via Sydney and Melbourne and had been here for about 15 years.

Sampling of the local product then became an imperative, and of course trading a bit of our life stories went along with that.

After a couple of more drinks a few of the locals arrived and introductions all round meant more people to talk with and to drink with.

A few more hours later I knew it was time to leave and said my goodbyes all.

I needed to return the following day to make sure that I had not embarrassed myself and I was reassured by Paul that all was OK.

I could not recommend this pub highly enough – friendly, passionate, lively – but a word of warning – don’t get to drinking too much with Swifty and Ronnie – they are evil people to the unwary.

Fazeley Junction

Away I must and Thursday saw a short cruise down into Fazely, an overnight stop - I looked back on our past movements and we/I have been through this junction three times now - each time approaching from a different direction and each time exiting in a different direction.
More movement on Friday to Whittington.

Saturday arrived and there amongst my emails was a message from Elly and Mick, two fellow Australians, in fact two fellow Victorians, over here to look at boats and other things in preparation for their trip in 2012 and buying a boat for 12 months ( I say it will be 2 years).

Elly and Mick
We had been in contact and I was looking forward to meeting them and chatting with them. A short cruise to Fradley junction gave them a better place at which we could meet – at least one they would be able to locate; and so we met on Saturday afternoon and chatted over a coffee about where they were up to and what I was doing and a lot of things about boats, banks and getting here.

Such a nice couple who have a plan for there lives and I await there arrival on the canals sometime in the next 2 years. They know that they are going to enjoy it. Catch them on their blog  Narrowboat Dreaming.

Good luck you two.

One for Diane - look at the boat named "Sanity?" - it's the "Fudge Boat"

And finally we come to Sunday and what I thought would be a short cruise rather extended itself to Rugely and mooring here for the night.


But along the way the evidence of autumn became so much more apparent than I had seen in the last few weeks – the trees are turning in colour, leaves fluttering down, leaves finding their way to the prop, the warm sun on your back and the gloves and coat to keep warm from the cold air – the season has changed and we move forward to what we need to do next in the cycle – for tomorrow will be Monday and the ants will be on their way again.

For those of us old enough to remember the world in 1980 and that fateful day in December when the news flashed with the story that John Lennon had been shot dead - Saturday marked his 70th birthday – what would the world really have been like if he had been lived - we can only imagine.

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