Thursday, 2 March 2017

Trapped? Behind a dark cloud is a silver lining!

Friday 24th February 2017 to Tuesday 28th February 2017

After riding out Storm Doris, Friday started with sunshine and a chill in the air and we could see a lot of the after effects of the storm – plenty of branches (of all shapes and sizes), along with a solid layer of leaves and other rubbish, but no physical damage to us which was the main thing.
We had a much more physical barrier to take care of on Friday – the Hatton flight – Diane, after the trial of locks into Leamington Spa was eagerly looking forward to the flight with the determination of a line-backer.

About half-way up the flight the sharing of the locks disappeared after which she handled the boat with ultimate care and skill.

It might be a bit chilly but the sun was out

We passed by nb Lillyanne between lock 33 and 34 – Mick was single handing through the locks and doing a mighty fine job; Pip with her wonky broken ankle was resting and making the tea.
Yep, still have them to do

Tiny bundles towards the right of the picture - first lambs of the season
The top of the flight was reached in a shade over 3¼ hours – not bad on our own – we managed to chat along with a couple of couples from Wales for the last two locks; Diane gave a lift to a guy and his daughters through a lock so that they had the experience – they were on holiday from Newcastle and the wife/mother was in hospital with appendicitis (or rather recovering from the op) so it was something that they could talk about.

After watering up, elsaning (is that even a word – well emptying the cassette) and then mooring up, we headed for the café to satisfy Diane’s need for a bacon sarny. Can highly recommend the café – it all seemed very good.
After all of that we headed off for a few more miles and through Shrewley Tunnel and finally moored up at Rowington, overlooking the hills and enjoying the views.
We had passed here a number of times and it always seemed a lovely place to moor up – so we finally did and it was.

All through the journey we found so much rubbish from the storm; a couple of times we needed to clear the prop of twigs and other stuff (no plastic bags); emptying the “cow-catcher” at the front of more branches.

After a lovely quiet night when we couldn’t hear anything of the M40 motorway, we debated which way we would go when we got to Kingswood Junction – continue north through Knowle or turn left and do the Lapworth Locks.
On purely the basis of miles and locks, and Diane wanting to try a bakery along the way, we turned left and straight to the locks.
Again we shared the early locks and after a couple of hours the boat was eased out of the last of the 19 locks; the weather was overcast but without anything more than a few drops of rain.
At the second last lock a passing cyclist stopped to tell us about the damage that the storm has left along the canal and that there were some trees down; passing through Hockley Heath a boater repeated it but more specifically that it was around the yacht club – turning around meant 19 locks down back to where we had started – we decided to press on and see.

So, onward to Bridge 20 and Wedges bakery – for lunch. We were decidedly unimpressed with the level of service we received – simply amounted to non-existant; the food however was very good. Somehow or other they do not do any hot sandwiches after 2pm even though they are open until 5pm – not even paninis – not so much what they said just the dismissive unhelpful attitude that is at odds with customer service.
The food tasted lovely - the service was crap
Diane had checked the signals when we got back to the boat – TV was very good and the internet was acceptable for me to work – plus the weather was setting in again and so we decided to stop there for the night, but not before a bit of discovering about the area (Waring's Green).
We walked a bit further on and found a lovely pub called The Blue Bell Cider House, into which we found ourselves entering; the rugby was on, it was cosy, it was completely inviting, so we sampled the delights of the pub.

They also do Sunday roasts and we booked for the following day.

The lovely thing about boating is that finding mooring spots along the way that are quiet and relatively secluded mean that a good night’s sleep is always going to happen and this was a lovely place for just that.
Not only the canal was blocked but arboreal obstacles on the towpath
Come Sunday morning and being a bit over a mile away from the yacht club, we decided to take a bit of a walk to confirm about any tree(s) that might be down.
Just before bridge 15 we found the offending tree – right across the canal – absolutely no chance to get around it – nothing to be done except make sure that CaRT knew about it, which we did.
The offending tree - not going to be going too far with this in the way
Looks like we would not be going too far for a little while, so the next best thing is find out what was around.
What did we find?
A lovely clubhouse at the yacht club where we had a morning tea – appears that they have food as well, so we may just try that.
Our Sunday roast was exceptional – it was about lineball with the best we have had whilst we have been here – so much (a medium meal) that Diane could not finish it and all good.
On Monday we continued our exploring and found a Co-op (always good for milk supplies); a couple of pubs, one of which we will go back to for a meal; a petrol station (in case we need an alternative diesel supply) and easy access to Warings Green Wharf for red diesel.

We will be here for a few days until the canal is cleared but we now can see that we are all set for a bit of a stay here, but mostly we moved along to the yacht club and moored up opposite in a light and clear area with all signals being very good.

If only - when that bag of tomatoes is not handy.

One of the feeder reservoirs - not a good day for sailing out there

This is not a picture with Diane showing the size of the fish that got away -
this is a two-way road.

Oh and also we are about a mile away from a rail station with a 30 minute trip into Birmingham.

I think we are set.

It does seem that out of all sorts of adversity there are always positives to be found and I think that we have found a little gem of a spot that we would not otherwise have discovered.

Tuesday and still no movement on the tree and no response from CaRT as to a timeframe - would just be nice to have some idea - as nice a place as it is we would not like to be stationary for the next three weeks.

Anyway we went a-walking today, deciding to have lunch out at the Hungry Horse pub, forgoing the chance of the Pie-Night at the yacht club.
There is a menu for the over 60's and Diane fancied a couple of courses from it, but as she is still a long way from that point it was my responsibility as the qualifying person to go and order from, as she put it, "the Old Gits Menu".

Afterwards it was back to the boat; the weather had started to get much colder and there had been some snow whilst we were eating; fortunately the precipitation had eased off a lot for the walk back.

Not long after getting back inside the warm boat we could hear another boat moving - Moving?? - alas it was just a boat reversing back from whence we wanted to go, but by this stage some of the rain had appeared again.
Finally they moored in front of us, and Diane found out later that it was NB Rune whom we had last seen at the bottom of the Hatton flight.

Tomorrow we are at least hoping for some answer on the tree and for the weather to improve just a bit - maybe drier!

12 Miles, 40 Locks, 1 Tunnel, 2 Lift Bridges
YTD:  82 miles (132 km),73 Locks, 3 Tunnels, 2 Lift Bridges, 2 Swing Bridges
Total: 4714 Miles (7586 km), 3224 Locks, 127 Tunnels, 68 Lift Bridges, 174 Swing Bridges

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