Sunday, 30 October 2011

Another lovely day!

Today started off as yesterday had finished, drinking and eating, this time morning coffee and cake on ‘Briar Rose’.  James did a quick bit of work on ‘Briar Rose’ for Adam and Adrian and so after the cake we set off back the way we came for Brinklow Marina.


Doug and Adrian tucking into sponge cake (baked by Doug)


On the way back we bumped into Lyn and Paul on ‘Piston Broke’ – we’re quite often seeing them around these days.


A dog on a cold tin roof! (Oscar still likes to get on the roof occasionally!)


Adrian ahead of ‘Briar Rose’ at the top of the Hillmorton Locks.


Adrian and Doug chatting while ‘Chance’ goes down in the world.


This was like this 3 years ago! one day it will fall on some ones’ head.


‘Chance’  at a quick stop in Rugby, to go to Tesco’s…


Entering the Newbold Tunnel – tunnels always seem exiting.

We arrived at Brinklow Marina at 3.30pm as Doug is having a lift home with Adam and  Adrian to get the car back here.  We are booked into the marina for 4 months over winter but don’t plan to come in permanently for another couple of weeks yet.


Sunset over Brinklow marina.

A weekend with nb Briar Rose

On Friday we made our way towards Brinklow to meet up with Adam on Nb Briar Rose for a planned weekend trip to Braunston and back.  Adam had left Brinklow marina about 1/2 hour before we got there so we followed with about 6 or 7 boats between us –it seemed very busy but was probably due to fact that people had not moved much on Thursday because it was so wet.

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We passed through the Newbold Tunnel before getting to Rugby.  The tunnel is famous for its lights which flood it like a rainbow.  Sadly there are now too many bulbs which have blown and it’s all looking a bit grim.

We stopped off at Tesco in Rugby and while Doug was shopping James watched a British Waterways chap pull this lot out of the canal from under the road bridge in less than 20 minutes!………

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We moored up with nb Briar Rose by the golf course just outside Rugby.  Adam had managed to find a place for both boats and the place for ‘Chance’ was perfect down the last foot of space (bless him).  Adrian joined us at 7.30 pm having taken the train from work.Braunston 061

‘Chance’ and ‘Briar Rose’ moored up for the night.

On Saturday both boats headed up the Hillmorton Locks where we met up with, and had a quick chat with, Ian and Irene on  Nb ‘’Free Spirit’,  (fellow bloggers) - hope to meet you for longer next time!

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Adam, Adrian and Doug at the top lock at Hillmorton – having a quick coffee and home made ginger biscuits made by Adam.

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Passing the somewhat infamous Barby Marina still very much unfinished but with a few boats moored together as there are still no pontoons!

We arrived just after lunch time at Braunston.  As there weren’t many spare moorings we breasted up together and then took a walk to the Admiral Nelson pub at lock 3.   Surprisingly they didn’t do a lunchtime snack menu so we had a pint and then walked into Braunston village and had a bite to eat at The Old Plough.

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Breasted up at Braunston.

After a walk around and visits to various chandlers we then headed back towards Brinklow and  mooring for the evening  just after bridge No 88.

We had a great evening aboard ‘Chance’ with Adam and Adrian -  plenty of food and drink of course!

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Adam,  Adrian and James  (James looking surprised for no apparent reason)

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Adrian, Doug and Adam after several more bottles of wine (not really!)

Friday, 28 October 2011

A quick visit to Coventry

On Wednesday we took the bus into Coventry by walking back passed Hawkesbury Junction in the beautiful sunshine to Longford where we found the bus stop.

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A couple of shots of Hawkesbury Junction in the morning sunshine.

Arriving in Coventry we walked to the Canal Basin to find it virtually deserted.  We were hoping to get a coffee and a bun and sit in the sunshine but no cafe.  Out of the few “units" which were occupied we could have had our nails done or had a body piercing! (but that’s all)

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The iconic statue of James Brindley in Coventry Basin.

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The lovely old weighbridge office at the Basin – not in great condition unfortunately.

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The 10 ton weighbridge by Avery who make kitchen scales as well!    

When we arrived back at the boat we continued on for an hour or so to find a nice quiet mooring (apart from the trains!)   Ideal for Oscar and lovely views over the countryside.  We guessed we probably wouldn’t me moving on Thursday as it was forecast to rain for most of the day.

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Moored after bridge 19 and the “pinch point” AND at the end of the fairway! 

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As you can see Thursday was very wet so we didn’t move.  We did manage a few walks in between the showers with Oscar and went and picked a few bags of sloes to make some sloe gin for Christmas.

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The view out of the front of the boat this morning.  Last night we were joined by nb ‘Jemima’.  Today we will travel onto the village of Brinklow, and stop around lunchtime for a walk into the village.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Hawkesbury Junction bound….

Yesterday morning, there was a wonderful sunrise.  This was taken at 7 o’clock but our point-and-press camera doesn’t do it justice.

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Here ‘Chance’ and Nb ‘Lola’ are moored about a mile below the Atherstone flight of locks.  We had a pleasant journey up the flight, a few boats coming in the other direction, and Doug cycling along the towpath operating the locks. The weather was good again although the canal was about 8” down from its normal levels which made slow going in some parts.

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We moored up between locks 6 and 5 of the flight and walked into the town of Atherstone.  We’ve never visited this nice little town even though we’ve passed this way twice before on our last boat.

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A very attractive market square – and the main street is full of individual shops and not the usual high street chains.

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Here we are at one of the prettier locks (no. 5)

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We moored in the middle of nowhere (again) last night – picture taken from bridge 28.  Oscar had walked all the way down to the Valley Cruises (marina) and back – and was looking forward to a lie down!

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This our first photo of the day.  Taken from bridge 28 is Caldecote Hall – a massive Victoria mansion which looks brand new! and is currently being converted into 50 apartments,  (taken on max. zoom – sorry.)

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Our trip through Nuneaton was not without it’s surprises - a burnt out boat at bridge 21.  The boat in the background had a burnt out generator on the bank next to it!  The graffiti on the bridges and walls was dreadful sadly but, on the positive side, we didn’t hit anything underwater this time around. 

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Just passing the entrance to the Ashby Canal.  A lovely lockless canal which we hope to do again one day.

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Next to assail our senses was  “Charity Dock” -  with all its paraphernalia (this is just a taster)!  Not the most beautiful of canal-side scenery but interesting all the same.

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Here turning into Hawkesbury Junction – we’ve had bright sunshine in our faces for the entire trip today – wonderful but not good for photos.

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‘Chance’ in the stop lock at Hawkesbury.  Just after the lock we found a good mooring – very lucky as all the moorings the other side of the lock were taken.  Just as we tied the ropes Chas and Anne on nb Moore 2 Life arrived (we read their blog).

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‘Chance’ moored next to nb Moore 2 Life.  Lots of electricity around this site!

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Taking Oscar for his last walk of the day we came across this massive sub station by the canal – we could have charged up our batteries just by mooring next to it!

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Opposite the sub station we just had to take this shot – it’s not every day you can stand under a pylon!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Sheep shape and Bristol Fashion!

Yesterday, after traveling for all of 1/2 hour, we moored at Hopwas by the village school and caught a bus into Lichfield.  We’ve been before but it was great to return.
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The beautiful west front (with 113 statues) of the cathedral.  It’s the only medieval cathedral in the country with 3 spires.
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The fabulous Rood Screen in front of the Quire.
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The Lady Chapel and the Shrine of St Chad at the far east end of the cathedral.  The stained glass windows dating from the 1530’s have been taken away for restoration but the effect of the plain glass in it’s place on the structure is wonderful.
Walking back through the town it’s surprising what can creep up on your blind side…..
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This morning we left Hopwas and continued for 40 minutes to arrive at Fazeley where we met Maggie and Michael to cruise towards Atherstone Locks with us.
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A not-so-good glimpse of the impressive Pooley Hall.  Dating from1509 it’s the oldest inhabited building in Warwickshire.
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Michael giving us a break from the steering while Maggie and Doug eat cake and James balances on the gunnel to take the photo!
We were just past Polesworth when Maggie heard a sheep bleating!  Doug said “I hope its not in the canal” but, sure enough,  it was!  It was exhausted and trapped against the the metal armco piling which was lining the edge of the canal.  It had no ‘chance’ of getting out.  We managed to grab it with the boat hook and, with one of the mooring ropes, we made a noose to go around it’s neck so that we could hold it securely.  While Doug held onto the sheep and Maggie held onto the rope we were able to hold it tight into the boat.

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It was far too heavy to lift out or even help it up and over the piling.  So we decided to then tow it for over 60 yards to a part of the bank where it could get out by itself.  Doug was holding onto it to stop it going under the boat and into the propeller!
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The poor sheep was so exhausted it still couldn’t pull itself out of the water so Doug had to jump off and pull it out!
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Finally the sheep was out of the water and out of danger and it wandered off into the field -  not the field it should have been in but at least it was alive.
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The sheep seemed to recover from its ordeal quite well!!
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An eventful half an hour - thank goodness there were four of us on board to deal with it!
Maggie and Michael left us after we moored up to walk the 8 miles back to their car at Fazeley (yes they’re quite fit!) -  thanks guys for a lovely day and look forward to meeting again in the future.
Within half an hour fellow bloggers Paul and Kath and family moored up next to us on nb Lola.  We met them at the locks at Tamworth earlier and finally managed to catch up with them for a long awaited chat a glass of wine on board ‘Chance’.  We are having dinner and then going to them tonight for a drink or two.  Another great day!
Nb Lola and Chance moored just before the Atherstone flight of Locks.