Monday, 30 March 2015

Diane feeling better - not so much wind!!

Monday 30th March 2015

We woke this morning to the sound of rain drumming on the roof - the wind had died down considerably and in the distance there was a wonderful sunrise - how perfect can that be?

The GLW was left in bed to catch up on the sleep that she was deprived of by my snoring (apparently); I got on with work and later on she woke up to coffee and all of her reading stuff.

Our intended target was Stoke Bruerne which was basically straight cruising and maybe a couple of locks optional.

Diane wanted to get a few things done inside first so I left her with it and got the boat ready to leave and the just, well, left.

It has been over 3 years since we have been down this way and whilst we may not remember it as well as say Stone to Stoke, it all comes back very quickly.

Diane quite liked the look of this place up for sale, but somehow
I think it had a bit to do with the purple balustrading
Passing widebeams - rule no.1 - go slower...

...the pull of the water drags Ferndale across into the path of the
second widebeam following closely behind...

...shear brute strength got her back to pass safely

Reaching Gayton Junction we wanted to do empty a cassette; Diane was at the tiller, a boat was moored on the water point; she simply aimed at the space in front of them and then turned to the right and brought the stern around so that with just a little bit of pulling of the centre line Ferndale was moored up - given the wind - not even given the wind - she did an excellent job.
The cassetted was quickly emptied, but by then the boat behind was finished with the water; they pulled off; we pulled back and we filled up as well.

Coming out was really quite easy as we only had to move out a fraction and turn back onto the Grand Union, passing by Blisworth Marina and just a mile onto the tunnel.

Once again Diane wanted to take Ferndale through the tunnel but drew the line at passing the oncoming boat - that will come later, but for now I assumed control and passed said boat and handed control back to the "skipper".

Tunnel Girl through Blisworth....
Exiting from the tunnel it felt quite warm, mainly because it was really quite cold during our underground passage and also the sun was breaking through the cloud cover.

...she gave me control only to take the photo before....

....taking it back again!

CaRT are doing more work on the towpath; we had noticed throughout the morning cruise that the off-side cutting back of the trees and vegetation had been done; anyone who says that CaRT are not doing anything is blinkered or has their own agenda - keep up the excellent work - it will take time to get it all done.

The old legger's hut and some of the towpath upgrade

The towpath now prepared for something a lot better.

We opted out of going down two locks to the long pound and stay at the top level where there was a mooring just prior to the restricted area.
Stoke Bruerne - lock in the distance- we'll just duck in here
and moor up

Later on we wandered down the locks, noticing that a pair of boats were entering and coming up through lock 16 - there appeared to be only the two people working the two boats through.

We also noticed that the top gates to lock 17 had been left wide open - with the way the bottomgates were leaking, I dare say it wouldn't have taken too long before the short pound between the locks would have been drained. Well someone had to fix up their laziness and we were on hand to close the gates - didn't take a lot of effort to do the right thing.
A few minutes later as we strolled back up past them still in lock 16, the guy said hello to us - Diane replied, I remained silent - my protest at them being concerned only with themselves.

Rain again later in the afternoon; Diane had a little nap - not sure that she is 100%, but she was better after it; a not too strenuous evening and now here I am writing the blog before I am off as well.
Oooh, I think I will be in trouble with the heading for this blog when she finally reads it tomorrow, but that can wait.

I will need to head down toWatford in a few days time to fill out some more forms for the UK government, but that will be from Milton Keynes, when we get there.

9 Miles, 1 tunnel
YTD: 217 Miles, 91 Locks, 6 Tunnels, 2 Lift Bridges, 8 Swing Bridges
Totals: 3111 Miles, 2212 Locks, 104 Tunnels, 36 Lift Bridges, 159 Swing Bridges

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Time goes, wind blows, we stay still

Sunday 29th March 2015

Summertime arrived overnight and as is usually the case, the sun disappeared for the day behind rain laden clouds driven quickly across the skies by gale-force winds.

We certainly weren't going to be moving anywhere today - instead just hunker down inside where it was just a bit cosy.

We watched the multitude of hire boats traveling past with just a single person out the back on the tiller under their waterproofs and looking just a bit miserable. Have to give them their due, with the exception of one, they did slow down to a reasonable speed which allowed them to handle the wind as well.
As you can see from both photos, the surf was up....

...could well have expected to see a water-vole with a surfboard

By early afternoon the rain had disappeared but the wind increased even more - we were rocking so much from wind that we wouldn't have noticed a boat going too fast.

So what did we do instead of cruising - well I had that pesky water separator to put back together and resinstal it, test it and then run the engine to be doubly sure.
Batteries still to check - they were OK; a small leak in the Reflecs fuel feed-line was checked and hopefully now OK.
Now was that all I did - oh wait, there was one other thing that I did.

I "watched" the ICC Cricket World Cup Final on cricinfo which gives a ball-by-ball description - Australia v New Zealand.
Those kiwis had played so well during the tournament that if they had been up against anyone else I would have been cheering for them, but not when we are playing them.
In the end it won't be remembered as a classic final, but the result means that Australia is officially the best in the world.

Continuing to look at and apply for possible employment.

As promised by the BBC weather app the winds started to die down after 4pm; we were continuing to contemplate our journey southwards this week, bearing in mind that next weekend is Easter; there was some football so whilst the computer was busy backing up files I may have switched the TV on to watch just a little bit.

Other than all of that it was a pretty quiet Sunday, but come to think about it and looking back at what I have written - I've been a bit bl___y busy today - I think I need a rest.

No travel today

Saturday, 28 March 2015

School's Out for summer.. no,no,no...just 2 weeks.

Thursday 26th March to Saturday 28th March 2015

We had originally decided that we wouldn't be moving on Thusrday as the weather reports were all saying that rain was forecast; we also needed to do a couple of things in town; and to enjoy the services of the wonderful NHS.

Sure enough it came to pass that the rain was with us overnight and into Thursday morning - easing off just enough to allow us to trek into Rugby - about 3 km.

Outside a famous school - guess by the goalposts.

Half the town is school and the other half..well,..not

Diane wanted to visit a walk-in medical centre about her prescriptions, so we visited St.Cross but there was only a nurse practitioner there who could not authorise the repeats.
Back into the town centre and we did the things that we wanted to do and then back to the boat to warm up a bit - along with the earlier rain was a cold wind and a distinct lack of sunshine.

Later on I ventured out under orders but also visit Halfords to see if I could find a replacement screw for the bleed valve on the water separator which I had inconveniently snapped of during an engine check - it necessitated by-passing the separator from the fuel feed line.
Diane also had a list of items from Tesco which was directly across the road.

Friday is cruising day - after getting a bit of work done in the morning. It was off to Braunston as our destination -firstly water at the bottom of Hillmorton Locks and then through the locks and onto Braunston - there were plenty of boats heading northwards, so we were assuming plenty of mooring spots that would be available - we weren't disappointed and easily managed to find a convenient one.

This crew decided they would moor between the two water points - overnight

She finally had a chance to use her new windlass, now I need
to think of another birthday present

Hillmorton Locks

Barby Marina - despite recent TV coverage, you do get what
you pay for!

Definitely spring - it's there in black and white

You are not close to Braunston until you can see the church spire

Trips to Midlands for blue and pink, but no luck on the water separator replacement screw, however we wandered down to Baunston Chandlery where we struck gold - or rather brass - 2 brass screws which were the proper replacements.

Diane then went up into the village - the Braunston Butcher apparently had a meat package with her name on it - exactly what would be in it would be clear once she got there and decided what to buy.
In the meanwhile I went back to the boat with the intention of doing some more work but simply couldn't manage it - a half day off would recharge the worn out batteries and allow some recuperation.

Which is exactly what it did do as we caught up with Stella and Dave, both of whom cheered us up immensely, and later on we saw Mike who is just in Barby Marina doing some work on Dave's boat.
Stella and Diane

Mike and yours truly

I had started to lose track of the days and was beginning to think that Friday was Saturday - so terribly confusing, especially since I need to know for when Diane asks me "what day is it?"

Anyway, Saturday did arrive and we headed off not too early but not too late - it has been a while since we had tackled double locks and with most set against us we did struggle a bit in the wind, but we made it up the flight in just over the hour.
fellow bloggers nb Lillyanne

Somewhere amongst all of those boats, there is a lock

and another, just a bit further up

So then it was Braunston Tunnel ahead - seems that Diane is building up to tackle Standedge Tunnel sometime in the future - she had decided to continue doing tunnels and do this one under her own power - no she wasn't legging it, instead she controlled the boat all of the way through - she will gladly tell you she was relieved not to have a boat coming towards her - she wasn't quite ready for that.
Happily doing tunnels these days - a far cry from when we started

One more down - bring 'em all on
Onto the Buckby flight and we shared the locks with nb Guinevere and crew - we gather that they do some work with scouts and the 7 or 8 of them were out for the weekend to re-famliarise themselves with the boat, the locks and I believe one of the pubs along the way.

I/we have a favourite mooring place just past bridge 27 with a view over the valley; the M1 in the distance (sans-noise).
The wind had been pretty blowy throughout the day and made life just a little difficult holding for and entering locks; coming off the side; and now we were where we wanted to stop, it made it a little bit harder to moor up.

It has definitely been a lot busier with much more boat traffic, but then again we have to remember that school holidays have started - let's all enjoy the next two weeks.

At least this weekend means an hour less of them...already we have seen quite a few boats with what look like just kids on board - but bear in mind they are all looking younger to us.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

I been replaced by a device containing batteries

Wednesday 25th March 2015

In signs that winter is still hanging around, there was need to remove ice from the solar panels this morning; a reasonable frost was on the ground; and it was nowhere near warm enough to roam around naked - especially inside the boat.

But despite all of that it was still a very nice morning and as we filled with water and the cassette was emptied, the sun was starting to have an impact.

The captain decided that she would attempt the turn at the junction, whilst I set the lock - if only we had been a bit earlier we would have had it our way, but the other boat at the water point finished sooner and they had the luck - still it was only 30cm for the lock.

Diane went round smoothly and only needed to reverse slightly and she was into the lock and off the Coventry.
There was no transfer of paint from boat to canal-side - ever grateful for that.
doing the Hawkesbury Junction - carefully lining up the bridge hole

...under the bridge...

...a little reverse to adjust...

...line up for the lock...

...and straight in...

...crazy woman

As we gently cruised past the moored boats (on both sides), we were welcomed by the chap on nb Willoughby who identified himself as Peter Humphries - he said that he enjoyed reading the blog, so in my eyes he's a top bloke.
Although it's only a share boat, Peter, the only criteria is to enjoy it for the time that you have available to cruise - enjoy and hopefully we will see you around again.
Unfortunately we were too slow to take a photo - will have to strongly chastise the captain later on, when I get her inside.

Today was a purely cruising day after the "massive" lock at the junction, so I decided that I would spend time inside getting some work finished off.

Diane had sorted out all of the things that she thought she would need - anything extra and she just whistles - the obedient slave comes a-running.

Anyway she had about ten pairs of gloves out there, an extra coat, fleecy hat, fruit, water, tea, and to replace the lively conversation that we have together, she opted for the battery (and solar) powered radio - outdone by another battery operated device.

The traitor radio - sure it has knobs and buttons - but don't we all?
She seemed quite happy with her choices - and I disappeared below to work, make the tea and wait to be whistled for to attend to narrow parts lined with boats on both sides and a boat approaching (one area of her education we will need to deal with this year).
Under the M6

There are still stretches of very muddy, almost impassable towpath....

....obvious signs that it is slowly being rectified

Still, all-in-all, a long cruising stretch like this restored everything back to a peaceful balance.
Later,  the Newbold Tunnel was next to feel the freedom of the girl ..

Through and out successfully - I want to see her do the Standedge Tunnel
We finally moored at Brownsover, and realised that we hadn't had lunch, but needed to check in at the Boots chemist, so we trundled off there, checked in - no prescription received yet, and opted for the easy Frankie and Benny's option for lunch - before we returned via Tesco.

I think I am still needed, if only to carry the shopping back to the boat - let's see a radio do that then!

13 Miles, 1 Locks, 1 tunnel, 1 swing bridge
YTD: 189 Miles, 75 Locks, 4 Tunnels, 2 Lift Bridges, 8 Swing Bridges
Totals: 3083 Miles, 2196 Locks, 102 Tunnels, 36 Lift Bridges, 159 Swing Bridges

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

It's just #@&$kin rubbish !!

Monday 23rd March to Tuesday 24th March 2015

So the morning after a great win from ManU and it was great to be alive - pity that the weather didn't come along for the ride as well - guess there has to be something for Liverpool supporters.

We slept very soundly indeed; it was lovely and quiet - this will be the place to moor in future - but not on a Sunday.

The forecast was for colder conditions for Monday and better for Tuesday as we headed off.

There are more and more boats appearing now and where previously we could go for a day or so without seeing anyone else moving, it is now 10-12 boats a day.
I guess winter is definitely over.

Atherstone locks where ahead of us and Diane wanted a shopping trip in Atherstone itself; we were in luck with the first 6 locks - all in our favour and we moored up after that to go a restock the pantry - just an hour in total and we were off again to finish the remaining 5 locks and after that it was straight cruising.
Interestingly we managed to de-rubbish and empty the cassette whilst going through the last (top) lock - no we didn't just chuck it into the canal.
Diane was organised and had it all ready to pass up and I took care of it at the services point right near the lock, she finished off the paddles and the lock gate - clever girl that wife of mine!

With all of the locks and the shopping, Monday would be a longer cruising day for us than normal and as we decided on a suitable mooring place, we contemplated also where to fill the diesel tanks.
she wanted a shot with the old style telegraph pole
in the background

A stop at Springwood Haven for diesel fixed that and Diane casually asked the young guy filling the tanks about drilling another hole in the washing line holder that fits onto the tiller arm - "no problems" he says.

In the end it was a bit longer than we planned and involved a half dozen trips between boat and workshop but we are pleased to say that it is now done - just took a little longer than anticipated, but they are very friendly there and with the diesel at 65.7 ppl we were well pleased.

We eventually moored just through Wood Bridge and had another peaceful night.

Tuesday was just a quick run down to Hawkesbury Junctions which was over almost as quickly as it started.
did manage to spot this little fellow

After a day's cruising,what better way to relax than a spot
of time travel
Not perhaps a marketing winner 

We have to agree with Maffi in his blog rubbish-and-filth where he writes about the journey through Nuneaton and the amount of rubbish that is dumped along and in the canal - absolutely disgraceful - there really is no pride by the people who live for the place where they (and their children) live.
just some of the cleaner areas...

...just ridiculous...

...perhaps for viewing underwater wildlife programs

But once through there the rest was fine; the sun was out shining again and we were able to moor up quite easily just before the junction.
Marston Junction - lovely and quiet - the Ashby off to the left
we went straight through....

...and Diane taking Ferndale through Marston Junction.

A pleasant walk in the afternoon completed the day for us and here we are for a bit of a lazy night.

15 Miles, 11 Locks
YTD: 176 Miles, 74 Locks, 3 Tunnels, 2 Lift Bridges, 7 Swing Bridges
Totals: 3070 Miles, 2195 Locks, 101 Tunnels, 36 Lift Bridges, 158 Swing Bridges