Thursday, September 21, 2017

Widebeam Eyes

It was an early, early start this morning as we wanted to get through the tunnel before a wide beam which had a passage at 8.00am. We slid out the chains as quietly as we could at 6.30am, and pushed out before starting the engine with eyes like Greyhounds knackers.. 
We sneaked into the tunnel and  Del's eyes turned into widebeam eyes, as we got through with ease, with the waiting widebeam ready to go at the other end..

We then took the turn at a busy Norton Junction and made our way up to the locks at Watford.
When we arrived a guy in a small mustard yellow fiberglass boat was just coming into the lock. The paddles were open and so was his gate, so he was draining the pound behind him.. Al shouted he needed to close the gate or we won't be able to go through, and with that he closed it with the paddles fully open.. BANG! the gate closed, nearly taking the guys legs with it..
He scurried out of the lock and jet skied past us..
As we entered the lock the lock keeper turned up to remove his sign saying "there was no lock keeper". We told him what had happened and he rushed up to let water down for us.. Things were fine till we tried to get out of the lock and the gate that banged shut wouldn't open fully. After a bit of TLC we got it open enough to squeeze out.
After that it was easy as the lock keeper had the locks ready for us.. We got to the top and found a nice mooring with a view..
The weather was going to change at around midday and we were moored up by 10.30am, so more jobs were in order. First Del wiped the roof down with the drips from the tunnel and then went on the hunt for more wood. He found some close by and loaded up the roof till the drain holes of the cratch were just above the water level.
While doing that Del noticed some green in the cratch cover so used the Fabsil to clean it and also did the hatch and horn covers..

All this was done just before it tipped it down..
We had a nice lunch and Al finished it of with some lovely Date and Apple Rock cakes..
With all good signals here we chilled in the afternoon.

Picking up provisions

It was a misty start to the day.
We set off from Clifton at 9.00am and the first thing we noticed was the building work going on at Hillmorton locks.. We posted a post about the new bridge going in at 66a and work has already started and the towpath has been closed in sections here.
We got to the locks at Hillmorton and once again one of the two locks has been closed.. They have drained and fitted gates to these locks just last year and now we are told a balance beam is broken, what is happening with our licence money.
At the top it was washing on and tumble dryer to catch up on our week away.
Also Crumpets for breakfast.
It is getting very overgrown round here and now difficult to pass, come on CaRT.
We noticed something else new, the marina at Dunchurch was open and filled with boats, handy for winding and also a winter pumpout and diesel.
We soon got to Braunston and found a mooring, in fact there were quite a few moorings..
We walked up to the chandlers and picked up a replacement oil and air filter and also picked up some new pins as the ones we had were looking tired and a bit burred over at the ends.
When we got back we decided to get through the locks as it was a nice day and tomorrow didn't look so good..
We paired up with a hire boat and they had boating experience and soon got us to the top lock.
We moored up here for the night as Tooty was chomping at the bit to go out after his week in the cattery.
Al cooked a lovely toad in the hole and Del did some engine room chores, cleaning the bilge and filling the stern tube greaser.
We chilled in the evening. We had no phone signal and no TV signal, and a very poor internet signal. In a funny way, It was quite nice really!

Wild Wedding Week

Derwent6 went into Brinklow Marina for a week and Tooty went on holiday to Lord's Hill cattery.
We had to hire a car and one of the first things we wanted to do was some clothes shopping. We had a few other things to do down in Kent and stayed for the first few days with our good friends Bernie and Sarah.. We had a great couple of days with them.
On the Thursday we made our way down to the Kent coast and booked in a hotel. During the day we went round Folkestone for a quick Fish and Chips on the seafront.
Followed by going to the Battle of Britain war memorial, something Del had always wanted to do..
In the evening we went to the wedding of Sam and Dan (knowing both sides of the family)
We had a lovely time with them and all their friends and family.
In the morning after breakfast we were up and out and over to see friends Zoe and Greg in Whitstable where in the evening we went out to a lovely Thai restaurant.
We left them on the Friday and then went down to Wiltshire where we met back up with Bernie and Sarah and their son David..
David took us to a lovely Italian restaurant and then to a pub with a live band to finish off the evening..
In the morning the boys went gliding over at Pewsey  Hill..
We left to go back to Derwent6 at lunchtime and got back at 2.00pm. Hungry, we went out for a Toby Roast dinner and yep we were knackered by the end of all this..
On the Monday we got up early and collected Tooty, and then the shopping to fill the cupboards on Derwent6, We also had to buy a new satellite dish as the old one had had it day..
We were all ready to go at 3.00pm and fired up the Beta engine and pulled out of the marina..
Mmm it was good to be back on the cut again. We passed through Rugby and noticed all the extra moorings at Brownsover with new mooring rings..
We moored at Clifton and ended up staying an extra day here.. Yep it was a boat cleaning day, inside and out... Hoping to move tomorrow!

Beating the rain

This weather doesn't help at all. We looked at the forecast and saw it was going to rain at midday, so we set off at 8.30am in the hope we would get a mooring at All Oaks..
It was very autumnal again today with the mist covered cobwebs in the grass..
It was very quiet with boats and cruising was easy. We passed under the busy M6 motorway and on towards Rose's narrowboat hire base.
Here there is a little swingbridge you have to operate, but it doesn't hold you up.
We turned up at All Oaks Wood and just as we arrived someone pulled away, perfect timing!
Tooty was off, just like he always does and we got ready for the forthcoming rain..
It rained at 12.00 just like they said and it was cold enough for us to put the heating on for an hour..
Al cooked a lovely Roast Gammon with all the trimmings which went down well with a glass of wine..

Ash in Ansty

The weather looked good till lunchtime so it was a chance to move on a bit..  We set off at 9.00am and moored just where Del had seen some more wood.. You just can't cruise past a fallen Ash tree..
After we had loaded the roof with some Autumn wood for those cold nights, we cruised nice and slowly looking for a mooring. We got to Ansty and managed to get on the visitors moorings..

It turned out to be a good decision as we were only moored up for half an hour before the heavens opened..
Del settled into watching the football and Al got on with some cooking.....we had a lovely lasagne with Blackberry crumble...

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Fryday fun

With it raining when we surfaced, we thought it best not to move today.. It turned out to be one of those lazy days and Tooty seemed to agree.
Del went on the hunt for wood and found some by the lock, but on further observation found a 'fill your boots' spot which might have to happen tomorrow..
In the evening we walked along to The Greyhound which has a beer garden with a marquee, together with horse stables that have been transformed into an impressive bar, and is called THE WHIPITT INN.
It was Fryday night where you could order some fish and chips in the paper for £2.60 and they had some live music too..
It was a great concept, but it wasn't very busy for some reason, but we enjoyed it..

Beating the weather

We pulled the pins from Polesworth at 8.30am and made our way towards Atherstone. We stopped to drop off our rubbish at Bradley Green and then hit the locks... These are also single locks and they normally have a bit of a queue to get through them.. They start in blocks of two locks and there are eleven to do.
We had one boat in front of us and things we going well through the first two, then two boats set off in front of us so we had three in front of us through the next two locks. Then another boat set off after the next two locks and he was a single hander.. 
So it was a bit of a wait through the bottom half of the locks till we got to the last four where there were some very helpful volunteers who got the locks ready for us. Here we saw a foal which had just been born and was having trouble standing with its mother, a lovely sight to see..
We got to the top of Atherstone locks and the weather got a bit chiller and cloudy, as we headed for Hartshill.
You could tell the leaves were starting to fill the canal as the Axion Propeller had to be stopped a few times to let the leaves fall of it, Autumn is on us..
The canal winds it way through the trees and hillsides with some tricky little bridges to keep your concentration up, very nice cruising.
We then got to Nuneaton, and you never know is going to be like, but it was in fact a lot cleaner than it has been.. There has been a lot of housing development here and the gardens now go down to the canal, which has stopped people just chucking stuff in the cut as they have to now look at it..  We quite enjoyed it, though there was some remnants of an old rusty motorbike still sticking out of the water, so still work to be done here..
We passed the junction of the Ashby which now has a small section opened at the end towards Meacham. Problem for us is that it only has a 16 metre (50 foot) winding hole at the end, but we still love the Ashby and love seeing the progress they have made up there.
It was then on to Hawkesbury Junction past the old pumping station and then the sharp turn onto the Oxford Canal.
We did the small stop lock at Sutton stop and were lucky enough to see a mooring before the bend. Derwent6 fitted snuggly in and Tooty was off in a flash into the woods to suss things out for tonight.
We had sussed things out too, as we soon got a shower and got ready for a pint down The Greyhound, the local pub.
The food here is fantastic and we just managed to get in..  We only had a 100 metre walk back to Derwent6 where we crashed out.