Friday, 24 March 2017

Birmingham from all sides

Sunday 12th March to Wednesday 22nd March 2017

Well we have put a few miles under the base plate since I last blogged and it is about time that I bring this up to date.

After spending our time at MerryHill, the boat was winded under Diane’s expert use of the tiller and we headed back the same was that we had come – up through the one lock and we moored at Bumblehole for one night before we would head back into Birmingham.
Ignore the washing and admire the lovely day which greeted us
We did enjoy the one night here and it was so very quiet indeed, but we did need to get back into the city, so after readying the boat we were off.

This time the transit through Netherton tunnel involved me being the complete passenger for the whole trip – I was in charge of photos and teas – whilst Diane was in charge of the boat – this was by far the longest tunnel that she had ever attempted and no problems at all.
The "Tunnel-Queen"
Whilst the sun was out for the entire journey back to the NIA the air was still quite cold.

During our cruiseback we had a phone call from the jeweler to advise that all of Diane’s rings and her chain were ready to pick and they were ready to lighten my wallet.
Without any delay we were on our way (after mooring up) and it was all worth it see the smile on her face to have the valuables all fixed and ready to wear again.
Happy to have her rings back - her smile was more glittering than the rings
Once back and all moored up we got a text from Diane’s cousin (well her husband anyway) – were we free for dinner that night – all set; we would meet them there – a new restaurant on us – 1847Birmingham – a vegetarian place – two of them were vegan.
Diane's cousin Debbie and husband James....

...and youngest daughter Rachel

Dinner was excellent and we really enjoyed it all, so we can recommend it.

The following day Diane was heading down to Watford to see her doctor about the results of all of the blood tests and pick up new prescriptions – all standard stuff, but she needed to talk to him in person about a few issues which were all resolved to Diane’s happiness and she was back late afternoon – our time in Birmingham was now at an end – but we did stay for one more day before heading down the Farmers Bridge Locks and after that we mad a right turn at Aston Junction to go down the Ashted flight.
A trip to the new Birmingham library and to prove that we really are here,
the  BT tower in the background
I was on locking duty and Diane was on the back of the boat – all was going well until we arrived at Ashted Tunnel; my normally placid and even-headed wife became a bit distraught.
The tunnel is well lit with good lighting, but all it helped to do was show up the spiders hanging down from the tunnel roof and the light themselves – did I mention that she is a confirmed arachniphobe.
Not a happy face there - the spider's got to her

Ashted Tunnel - she won't be going through there again - ever!!

After that I had to inspect all bridge holes and the final tunnel before she would go through any enclosed space.
I do appreciate good graffiti....
We turned left at Bordesley Junction to do the locks on this stretch – we hadn’t been through here since 2008 when we had a hire boat – I have to say that the state of this section has not improved – it was still full of rubbish and we regularly picked up stuff on the prop – fortunately it mostly came off with some hard reverse.
...but I can't abide by the amount of rubbish in the canals - just a small amount here.

Some may have come from here

We had thought that it might be a nice idea to check out Star City – we had not been here before and our understanding was that it was another large shopping centre.
Imagine our surprise when we found out that it was essentially an entertainment centre – movies, fast food outlets and some restaurants as well as miscellaneous games centres.
Not quite what we had expected, but the mooring was very good, very quiet and we felt secure.

Needless to say we were off again the following morning. Our cruising schedule is about to be governed a bit by the weather conditions that were about to arrive – not that it would stop us from cruising, just the time of the day.

We took the very sharp turn at Salford Junction in a couple of passes and then we were away – the Birmingham and Fazeley was a great deal cleaner and after a couple of miles it was pleasant country scenes – the weather was starting to get a great deal colder by the time that we moored up at North Wood at lunchtime – and the rain was not far away after that – luckily we were in the pub enjoying lunch – this cruising life is pretty well easy – by the time we left, most of the rain had gone.
We had needed to have a drink as a celebration for St.Patricks Day.

The mooring was far enough away from any noisy roads and the views were pleasant.

Have to say that locks down through the Curdworth flight are as good and pleasing as any that we have seen anywhere on the system – just a delight to work and a delight to enjoy the well-kept nature of them.

It was onward again on the following day – our aim was to complete this end of the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal; fill up with diesel at Fazeley Mill Marina; fill the water tank and then moor up at Sutton Road Bridge.
This was all achieved all before 11am – not bad eh?
The background at Fazeley Junction - like I said earlier - good work by the artist
is always welcome
A visit to the retail park; a coffee at Costa (we were hanging out for some coffee); back to the boat.
Someone had mentioned that the Fazeley Fryer was a great shop for it’s chips and although it was a mile back we hardly hesitated – the walk would do us the world of good – it was not a wasted trip – recommendation to you all.

Rain and wind were forecasted for the next few days so naturally as we were in a favourable place, we just sat right there.
One of the items on our list to do was a visit to Tamworth Castle – we had been through here a few times and never been before – it was simply a lovely visit – a castle situated on an ancient location; a castle that had over the years changed its purpose and a castle that had been lived in until around 1900.

That's the old castle up on the hill; the old bridge a bit further forward, and the
___-battleaxe in front

The revamped gate

The church

Looking down into the central courtyard...

...not quite the same view that the guards would have seen almost 900 years ago

Probably the sight my mother-in-law would like to see

Diane in her "let's look like a statue pose"

One other reason for the prolonged stop here was that we had put the new prescriptions for Diane into the Boots Chemist and on Monday morning all was ready – there were some new pills to be sourced in for her.

You know, there are some days when you just say to yourselves that it would be nice to just spend another day where you are and relax and so we did and had a thoroughly cosy day inside the boat – the wild wind outside made it an easy decision to make.
Yes, it was cold outside - thanks for asking.
By Tuesday morning the wind had subsided and we decided that it was time to move – as lovely as it is here we had the desire to go on and after untying we were off – it was slow going along this section of the Coventry – really nothing new in that.
In 2008 we tested this life on a hire boat and on our 3rd day on the boat, our 3rd day of learning the ropes, our 3rd day of testing it all out, we had made it down the T and M to Fradley Junction for the first time and made that right hand turn onto the Coventry and through that narrow section with the swing bridge. We slowly passed by the moored boats and then past a boat going the other way.
The comment that I still remember coming from the guy steering the other boat was “bloody Coventry, it’s always been shallow, hasn’t it?” – as if I had any idea, so I simply replied “yes”.
An early memory of boating but it has always stuck with me – pity that the Coventry  hasn’t changed in all of that time.

Diane thought that the mooring point closest to the water point before the junction would be nice – save having to move to fill up – luck was with us – perfect positioning.

There was a cassette that needed emptying; rubbish to get rid of; a perfectly lovely lake to wander around; and a cafĂ© waiting to be occupied – where they sold gas cylinders as well (just so happens we needed one) – Diane thought that it would be OK for me to wait for the rain to ease off from the torrential and simply be downpour before I headed off to replace our empty cylinder.
Like a drowned rat I returned, but full cylinder was in hand.

There are scary things that happen to us all on our boats – I have a couple of scenarios that haven’t arisen as yet, but the scariest of all possibilities happened to Diane on Wednesday early evening.
She got up to close the curtains; it was quite dark outside and just as she peered out to see what it was like, suddenly a face peered in at her and scared the livin’ bejesus out of her.
The culprit on the outside was Martin (nb Moriarty), who with other half Cathie, had moored up not far behind us.

Needless to say we met up after having some dinner, and made our way to The Swan for a quiet drink – it was however a crowded bar, with the main one closed for renovations and there was a make-shift one downstairs in the “crypt”.

Warmer inside The Swan with Cathie and Martin

Yep - two giggling schoolgirls

The girls were on one side of the table acting like giggling schoolgirls, whilst Martin and I were on the other talking sensibly yet again – don’t be surprised to see the photos of black eyes for Martin and I later on.

38 Miles, 39 Locks, 6 Tunnels
YTD:  150 miles (241 km), 119 Locks, 13 Tunnels, 3 Lift Bridges, 2 Swing Bridges

Total: 4782 Miles (7696 km), 3270 Locks, 137 Tunnels, 69 Lift Bridges, 174 Swing Bridges

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Moving when we want – as simple as that!

Wednesday 8th March to Saturday 11th March 2017

We did, in fact, moor up for a couple of days in the environs of the Black Country Museum.
For anyone who has not been here, then do yourself a favour and get your backsides along to it and see how things were 100 years ago – it certainly wasn’t “the good ol’ days”.

The following day we were off again – but only after I had finished my work for the day – off to where? – to Stafford to catch with some dear friends – Lynn and Phil (nb Valentine).
Phil has been a bit unwell lately – so much so that he had a stay in hospital (at the pleasure of the NHS), but is well on the mend now.
having seen plenty of Stafford over the years we have come to
love the town and this alleyway shows off some of the older

There is no doubt that when we see these two we do have some great laughs and it was no exception this time.
We all met at The Soup Kitchen in Stafford – a well known eating place – excellent for lunches and afternoon teas.
Lynn and Phil - so glad that we have been lucky to have them as friends

We caught up on how everyone was, all of us and the family, saw photos of Lynn and Phil’s new grandson, George, what we would all be doing this year and beyond, and generally had a great time. Oh and the food was pretty good as well.
Just on 3pm we had to say our goodbyes – we had a train to catch back, but it was another lovely day – this week has been full of nice times already.

Wednesday night was 2 for 1 at Mad O’Rourke’s Pie Factory, so not only were we able to sample the wares there, but it was at a reduced rate as well.
Diane had the forethought to ring and book a table, which turned out to be a wise thing to do – we arrived about 6:20 (for 6:30) and whilst it wasn’t full, all of the empty tables were booked, so we might have been hard-pressed to find somewhere to sit.
A local institution 
We got some drinks, ordered the pies – she had the 100% Bullocks and I had the Bear Grylls – now good friend Andy (nb Festina Lente) would have rejected them as pies as there was only a pie crust on top and not all of the way around – but we enjoyed them both very much.
The Menu...

For us it was sufficient and we briefly entertained the idea of dessert, but then declined.
Would we return? – yes, I think we would – it is a place with plenty of atmosphere and the food was excellent.
...the Fayre - 100% Bullocks...

...and Bear Grylls

It had been a day jam-packed with being on the go and enjoy it all.

We decided that we should move on again on Thursday – we would head down to Merryhill for a few days, and as after moving across the canal to use the services one last time at the museum, we untied and slowly edged our way out of the arm – this time we turned right onto the Wolverhampton Level towards the Gower Arm instead of towards the Tipton Locks.
The locks at Bradeshall, including the staircase, were so easy to use. It is difficult to think that they would get much use, but they are in very good working order – maybe it is because not many use them and therefore less likely to be abused that they are so good.

Anyway it was a bit circuitous to end up on the Netherton Tunnel branch, but we made it – with the sun shining and a bit of warmth in the air, it was definitely the day to be cruising.
The Netherton Branch - that is the Wolverhampton Level
Aqueduct that we have just gone under, after having gone
over it less than an hour before

Netherton Tunnel is straight as an arrow - this is the north protal
where we entered....

...Diane has taken the helm and that light is the very same north portal
in the previous photo

The contrast with the coldness of the Netherton tunnel was stark – and a bit wet as well – most tunnels do have that seepage factor so we expect it.
This is not a short tunnel by any means – at 2768m – and I steered the first half and Diane did the other half – this is by far the longest section of tunnel that she has done and I maintain the stance that she is as good as anyone in controlling a boat.
Eventually heading back into daylight, we were out into some lovely peaceful and quiet countryside before encountering surburbia again – we may moor up here on the way back.
and now we see daylight and in this case sunshine
The section along to the junction at Blowers Green is, for us, a bit on the slow side – our base is a bit too close to the bottom (as indeed is the top of the water), but it is such a lovely cruise and on such a lovely day, who really cared.

Coming into the basin at Merryhill, there was only one other boat here and a huge choice of places to moor – we chose the one that had the most light and on the opposite side to the the two pubs.
It really is so open here and without any worries at all – the last time we were here was the night of the England v Germany football match in 2014 and although the Sports Bar (now no longer there) was full, there had been no problems, so felt safe in mooring here again.
There we are moored up on the right in the basin, but it was a glorious day
The location afforded us the chance to do a bit of stocking up on things that we needed to – a nearby Aldi as well as the Merryhill shopping centre saw to all of that.

We have just simply enjoyed the few days that we have spent here without doing anything special at all – we have taken the time to spruce the boat up a little – a wash and clean was needed anyway.
We have just relaxed and stayed put.

9 Miles, 4 Locks, 1 Tunnel
YTD:  112 miles (180 km),80 Locks, 7 Tunnels, 3 Lift Bridges, 2 Swing Bridges

Total: 4744 Miles (7635 km), 3231 Locks, 131 Tunnels, 69 Lift Bridges, 174 Swing Bridges

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Diane’s in the kitchen smelling knickers ‘cause she has new balls.

Sunday 5th March to Tuesday 7th March 2017

Sunday morning was really quite relaxing – we settled down with the papers and enjoyed the coffee that went with them and the sun was streaming in through the window – lovely!!

But too much enjoyment does not go unpunished, but on this occasion we opted for the exploring option – walking down to The Mailbox to re-verify what was down there – seems pretty much as usual – a couple of new places have opened up – we tried Tom’s Kitchen – and then it was back to the boat before the rain came.

Practically dragged into the outer foyer of BBC Birmingham
under fear of extermination

The rest of the day was a mix of work and relaxation – isn’t that a bit what life is about anyway.

Monday was similar to Sunday, weather-wise, except for the prospect of rain. Diane had seen in their blog that Helen and Tony (nb Holderness) were moored just down near Aston University and would be heading up the Farmers Bridge locks the following morning – our services were offered to help work them up.
So, on a text from Helen we headed down – windlasses at the ready – and met up with them at Lock 12 (2nd lock coming up) and with Helen and Diane filling the locks, letting Tony take the boat out and then chatting all the way up, and with the locks being readied for the boat to go in, we exited the top lock a little over an hour after they had started.
It was a great workout without exhausting ourselves – we got the old muscles working again – just wait until tomorrow and we will feel it.
With 13 locks behind, Helen and Tony were glad to see the top - now finished
After mooring up, we joined them on board for a cuppa and a piece of cake before Tony got to it (just kidding Tony) and as we all do, exchanged our stories of what we have been doing and planned on doing – we had last met at Bourne End on the Thames last year.

Both Helen and Tony have volunteered to be part of the celebrations in Hull for this year for the City of Culture 2017 activities that will be taking place – their enthusiasm for all things Hull has convinced us to get our backsides there when we are a bit closer – so Hull will be the place to be.

We agreed to meet later in the afternoon for a drink and maybe something to eat.

It was off to The Wellington with a promise from Tony that they had Titanic ales – like their Plum Porter – he was not wrong and we all had a lovely time in the upstairs bar.

Enjoying - no that should be enjoyed, a drink
It was getting on a bit and no-one felt like having to go back to the boats to eat so on Tony and Helen’s recommendation we all rolled into the Barajee Indian restaurant on Broad Street.

The service and the food were of such a high quality it was pleasantly reassuring to have such a great place to eat so close by – my allergies to onions, garlic and leeks were very ably dealt with and I know that the others enjoyed their selections.
The price was very reasonable as well – so we can all recommend it.

There are times when you wish the night not to end and this was certainly one of those, but we needed to get back to the boats with the promise of seeing Tony’s skills on show as he was reversing the boat back from their mooring to head down to Sherbourne Wharf.
All the skills were on show - Helen was at the front protection the new paint job

Clearly the skills were were honed and nb Holderness
cleared through the bridge hole with no problems

The following morning we saw for ourselves that his playing down of the skills was grossly exaggerated – he performed the task with consummate ease and with the disappearance of Holderness under the bridge we waved our farewells – for now.

We had had every intention of spending more time moored where we were, but together we had the epiphany of heading off ourselves and within probably 30 minutes we too were moving away – heading west – in the Wolverhampton direction, not intending to go that far.
It would be a shame to not enjoy a brilliant cruising day in March

A bit of the industrial landscape

...and some of the canal 'scape

We duly moored up, after watering, at the Black Country Museum – Diane had the intention of sampling the wares of Mad O’Rourkes Pie Shop on Wednesday.
Just leaving the water point and heading towards that vacant mooring spot
 before anyone comes through the bridge hole

Later on, enjoying the sun and a coffee at the Dudley
Canal and Tunnel Trust's new cafe

Now someone may be wondering about the strange heading for this blog – so here I go to explain it all.

When we were back in Australia over December and January, we tootled along to a street market in Caloundra (Queensland).
I did as I normally, walk along casting a non-discerning eye over the goods on offer – I take in, evaluate and the usually dismiss what I see and move along to the next stall.
Diane is more circumspect and will spend an inordinate time on some things and on other she will just dwell there.
At one such stall was an older fellow selling round, slotted balls with ceramic or nylon balls inside – the promotion/promise was that putting one of these in with the washing you wouldn’t need to add any laundry detergent (powder or liquid) and you would only need to use the rinse cycle. Diane of course could see the benefits; I could see the wallet simply being a fair bit lighter.
As usually happens, the wallet does get lighter and I have something else to carry.

Anyway she wanted to try this on the boat.

So after preparing the machine to remove any traces of existing detergents we (read that as Diane) gave it a go.
The only thing that is said in the literature is that heavy soiled items may need some pre-wash attention – we would have done this anyway.
So washing machine switched on; rinse cycle only; no heating cycle at all – 32 minutes later (it was the longer rinse cycle of the two available) – all done – Diane checked it all out and gave a thumbs up.
Everything passed the sniff test – to make sure that the personal odours had all gone.

We repeated this with the next wash – this time it was a larger wash – normal 6kg load – and on the quicker rinse – 27 minutes later and about a third of the usual amount of water used and virtually no drop in battery level – the machine door was opened.

This time it went through the serious sniff test and here she was in the kitchen sniffing all of the clothes (including the knickers) – all of the smells were gone and the clothes were all clean – all down to her new ball containing new balls.
Diane with her balls in hand
So less water, less power, no detergent, less time – we could be onto a winner here – glad that she stopped to talk to the guy selling them.

9 Miles, 3 Locks, 1 Tunnel
YTD:  103 miles (166 km),76 Locks, 6 Tunnels, 3 Lift Bridges, 2 Swing Bridges

Total: 4735 Miles (7620 km), 3227 Locks, 130 Tunnels, 69 Lift Bridges, 174 Swing Bridges

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Movement - I've seen it again

Wednesday 1st March to Saturday 4th March 2017

Wednesday came along and with it a lovely morning with the sun out quite brightly. After breakfast our first task was to venture up and see if there was or had been any activity in relation to the tree across the canal.

We knocked on the hatch of NB Rune and had a chat to Julia and John about the area and where the facilities and shops and most importantly, the pubs where located; we had the inevitable chat about the blockage up ahead and the skills that they shown the previous day in bringing their boat back to moor where they did – reversing quite a fair way and between moored boats.
So onwards to the downed tree, and as we neared I could hear distinctive sounds of a chain saw in the distance – too much to hope that the tree was being worked, but sure enough as it came into view, there was less of it and about a half dozen guys working on both sides of the canal.
In fact it looked almost like it was navigable, but of course it was not quite there yet.

We spoke with the guy in control and he estimated that it would be about another hour and we could get through – which would make it just before 12 noon.

We were impressed with the amount of work that they had got through and their estimate of such a short time to finish.

So back to the boat we went, advising of the situation to John and Julia; Diane was eager to get going – not from any other point of view than it meant that we could make in to Birmingham that day and save her a 40 minute walk to The Lakes railway station for our planned journey to Watford the following day.

Anyway, we cruised slowly through Bridge 15 and up to the tree, which unfortunately still had a bit of resistance in its limbs; the guys needed help to get close to the sections in the middle of the canal so one of them jump on the bow and was able to attach a steel cable to the offending trunk and the JCB at the top of the cutting dragged it clear; a couple more precise connections of cable to tree managed to allow a second tree to be moved out of the water.
Edging slowly closer to the tree in the middle of the canal - the guy on the extreme right is John from nb Rune

If you look closely at the right side of the boat you can just see the top of the head of the contractor reaching to tie up
the top of the 2nd tree - I am holding onto the back of his gear to make sure he doesn't fall in

There were a few “smaller” limbs to remove but we were cruising through by 12:30.

Apparently most of the delay was CaRT getting the landowners permission to gain access to the place to extricate the tree(s).

We were both impressed with the work that all of these guys were able to achieve; given the heavy workload that they have had since the previous Thursday when the storm hit, they have done a remarkable job and they were on their way to another tree clearance near Bridge 25 after they finished this one.

I have said it before, we both think that the work that CaRT and their contractors do for the canals and for boaters is excellent; perhaps in this case we might have hoped for a bit more information about when it would happen, but we cannot complain justifiably about the work that they all do.

It was with a little regret that we had to leave such a lovely place – the mooring were very good and once you look around you do find facilities that you need or find ways of getting through.
Boating is about facing situations that arise – it simply is not and will never be the same as living in a static residence.

We now had about a 12 mile cruise with just one lift bridge to negotiate and as we found a few more smaller trees in the water to steer around, but all went well on the trip.
We stopped at Lyons Boat Yard for diesel and had a great chat with the owner about his cruising plans and other plans that he was doing.
That too is something else that is remarkable about this boating life – the manner in which we all talk about our lives and what we are doing to people we have only just met but with whom we have this incredible bond of a love of narrowboats and getting out and about.

Lock No. 1 - always open - thankfully

King's Norton Junction

Gas Street Basin

Diane will tell you that you are not really in Birmingham until you can see
the BT Tower - so, here we are

We cruised into Birmingham after just 4 hours and as you always can do, easily found a mooring spot where we prefer to stay when we are there; it was definitely still light – being just on 5pm, but after securing the boat we started to feel quite exhausted and simply collapsed in the lounge to recover, knowing that we had another journey the following day, albeit by a different mode of transport.

By getting into Birmingham the previous day, there was less of a rush for us as we had eliminated a long walk to the station and a train to catch into Moor Street.
So we were able to take it a bit easier; managed to get rid of the rubbish; use the other CaRT facilities opposite Cambrian Wharf; Diane was able to have her customary coffee in bed; and we managed to secure the boat properly for us to leave her for a day whilst we headed down to Watford for a meeting with the vampires (sorry that should read the lovely nurses who take the blood for the tests) and of course catch up with Maggie and Paddy and collect 3 months of mail.
There was quite a bit of news to catch up on, not the least being that after 36 years they had sold their house and would be moving in about 8 -10 weeks.
We had suspected that they were thinking about it when we last visited them late last year, but sometimes you just think that it is a “that would be a nice thing to do” and nothing comes of it.
Anyway they had done everything, including finding a new place to buy – a very large bungalow – a situation that works so very well for everyone concerned.

So now we will have to change our postal address with so many companies that we have dealt with and stop some of the junk mail that we have kept receiveing but doing nothing with – a bit of a “clean-out” if you like.

I had neglected to mention that we booked with Virgin trains for the two return tickets (a total cost of £40 with reserved seats) but it was the first time we used the electronic tickets to the phone to travel – Diane had done it with flights in Australia – so a first for us and it turned out so easy – now converted.

The return trip was a routine affair; rain all morning continued until we reached Birmingham as we made our way back to the back to restoke the Reflecs back into life and warm the boat up; returned all of the gear that we had moved back to the usual places and for me to start getting some work done.

At last the weekend and the first planned job that I had was to make sure that Diane’s first coffee of the day would be one directly from Costa – which just happened to be no more than 50m away – in the revamped NIA (or Barclaycard Arena).


… I thought a lovely long got shower would be a good start to the day and by the time that I had returned, she who must be obeyed was already out of bed, dressed and ready to go to Costa with me – so why not.
Well, we left the boat at 7:30am, the Costa store was only just opening, so we thought, why not go and get a paper – easier said than done, but we found one.
We did have a coffee at Costa, just not the one near the boat; we did return briefly to pick something up and by the time we did get back to stay on the boat it was after 2:15pm – where did just on 7 hours go.
This shopping arcade reminds us of the great number of similar
ones in central Melbourne

The something that we picked up were a couple of rings and a chain and we had headed to the Jewellery Quarter, found a jeweller to reshape the band on one ring, do some repairs to the chain and fix the other ring including replacing a lost diamond; from there it was to Ikea, then to Primark, spent a bit of time in the Apple Store learning how to work with the iCloud better and looking at a new iPad for further down the line, dropped into the Walkabout pub on Broad Street for the Man United match against Bournemouth and some lunch and THEN it was back to the boat.

Ahhh! - Guinness, 5 screens that you can see at any one time,
now if only ManUnited had won
Needless to say that by that time we had easily reached our 10,000 steps goal for the day and knackered ourselves out – ready for a sit down and rest – luckily, not long after we did get back, the rain started – I did feel for the guy on the boat across from us who was down the engine hole on his cruiser stern attending to secret men’s business, but was getting wet in the process – the things we men have to endure.

But we were cosy warm and comfortable and stayed that way until bedtime!

12 Miles, 2 Tunnels, 1 Lift Bridge
YTD:  94 miles (151 km),73 Locks, 5 Tunnels, 3 Lift Bridges, 2 Swing Bridges

Total: 4726 Miles (7606 km), 3224 Locks, 129 Tunnels, 69 Lift Bridges, 174 Swing Bridges