Saturday, 22 October 2016

The sunshine after the rain.....

So this morning was a lovely bonus after last evening rain, 

I mean just look;

The view of Braunston bottom lock from Dark Lane.

I left David with WaL to water up and meet me at the bottom lock.  I went up to the village shop, they of course didn't have what I wanted so I walked along to Dark Lane the lane that leads you to down to the Chandlers at Braunston bottom lock.  They of course didn't have what I wanted so, after checking from the bridge I saw David and WaL approaching the lock I chatted to a very nice man who was the volunteer here today, after checking to make sure no boats were coming down the flight,  I borrowed his windlass to empty the lock.  

The man was sat on a bench in full sunshine.  He did tell me that last year here at Braunston, there had been enough volunteers to man the flight with two people each day.  But these people had drifted away and the numbers of volunteers had plummeted.  He felt that this was due in part to non contact from CART.  He told me that on arrival the volunteers phone to Foxton Locks, report that they have arrived, at the end of the day, they call Foxton and report their departure.  That is the beginning and end of any contact with CART.  I think this is a great pity.  

My own 86 year old mother is a volunteer at our local hospital, the hospital contacts them all regularly by letter and personal visits for feedback, there is an annual Volunteer Week across the Trust, drawing attention for appreciation of all of them plus they hold several receptions through the year for the volunteers to meet each other and be thanked in person by the Head of the Trust.

Going back to Braunston and our locking volunteers I do always make a point of thanking them personally for their efforts and tell them I appreciate them, do you?

So returning now to the first lock, I popped up to the bridge over the bottom lock to see where he was....  no sign only a blue boat entering!  Now I was a bit surprised but very pleased to see an unexpected boat to buddy-up with, now all we needed was WaL.....
It seems that David had cast off from the water point and heavens knows how had left the rope behind.... Now that has to be a first right?  He had put WaL onto the Disabled mooring spot on the centre line and hoofed it back to the WP to collect the rope, seen the blue boat, called to them to join him (Bet they thought him mad)   then having retrieved the rope proceeded.

By now another boat had arrived coming down the locks.....  
All was received in good nature I have to say, a senior moment no doubt David?  Next time he'll forget the boat!

The Crooked House but in recent years its been "Straightened" so now it just a wee house. 

NB Puddleduck that we joined with today.  This is Liz who made lovely company today, Thank you!  They were on the way down the GU and towards the river Lee.

We carried on to Norton Junction where all the moorings had been nabbed.  So we carried on and popped ourselves under some trees.  Had a quick lunch and started some jobs, well continued some jobs.

We have had a white film over the back end of WaL, BAR KEEPERS FRIEND was suggested and worked brilliantly.

We had considered having the stern  repainted with the blacking last winter but don't need to now. 

My job, taping then varnishing the front wooden frame

The other side being polished.

We started off then a shower came over and soaked everything, had a tea break then started again.  Another shower came over and rain stopped play and we packed up.  Then the sun came out again....
But no, I had had enough in and outs.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

A fine company of visitors

So another early turn for the visitors, I hope they don't come visiting for a rest!  Just after 7am today and the engine started.  Now today there was only four locks to do, here was the first of them.  I wasn't going to fight Amanda to do this one as she derides such pleasure from them.  She is a most hard working and experienced deck hand....

So just go see what she did today;

David L just at the ready to help as my David reversed through the narrow space here. (Not required today)

Amanda at the ready to lock wheel.

My favourite pub in the early light under the beautiful 187 yr old bridge

Now in the picture above, on the far left you can see the old pump building that housed the pump.  It was designed by a Mr Thomas Newcomen.  David and I had a large surprise when visiting friends on their ocean going yacht in Dartmouth harbour, we went into the Tourist Information Centre on the quayside and they had a mini museum behind the desk giving space to Mr Newcomen's achievements, also an engine of his, removed from the pump house in 1968 from Hawkesbury Junction.  You can read more about this man HERE.  Scroll down to the " Surviving Engines" section.

She REALLY is a pro... but had a senior moment here today.

Sutton Stop, so called after the Sutton Family who lived here and whom several members became lock keepers during the 1800's.

Through the lock and onto the top of The Oxford canal.

This really did turn out to be the best of the day.  The sun was shining, the sky was uninterruptedly blue.  It didn't last, the sun went in and the wind picked up.
I made breakfast which was bacon and fried egg sandwiches.

Hardly any traffic about as you might expect that time on a Sunday morning in October.

Winter hats adopted.

I made a batch of white chocolate and ginger crunch for the fine company.  We ate quite a bit after breakfast and before I poured the sparkle.  Going through Stretton Stop, the odd place where there is a hire boat company and a wee foot bridge over the canal.  I was inside fetching but the drinkers had knocked over a glass flute, these glasses are actually plastic so are they still called glasses?  Well anyway, before I could get on deck to see what all the laughing was for, Amanda had jumped ship, grabbed a broom, washed the floating glass and grabbed it... and was running back with it.

Chocolate and ginger crunch.

Successful flute fisherer's.

Endless fun with Selfie Sticks to be had.

Arriving at Hilmoreton locks.

Actually I didn't do anything with this windlass.

The workers

We met an unfortunate hire boat here, really struggling with their boat as it had picked up wire around the prop.  The hire company had said that they had enough time to return to their base the next day, but I thought that rather unkind as they had no speed whatsoever and pulled the boat into the lock by its rope.  That would have ruined my holiday.

On and down into Braunston in the rain, Amanda and I retested to the warm cratch next to the stove..... no point in us girls getting wet and colder now is there?

The men disappeared to fetch hidden cars and Amanda and I cooked lamb biriani with sweet potato and butternut squash. Rather good and that will definitely be repeated.

This went past here, new owner but the former owner had one of the most widely read narrow boating blogs, HERE.

The new owners of No Propblem, I hope they have as much fun on her as Sue and Vic.

Friday, 14 October 2016

In no particular order....

Bright and dull this morning, no actually very dull and early, my David set off from the bottom of the Atherstone Flight.  It was 07:07 at kick off and only one of us were dressed.
The "Boat Sharers' were quickly dressed,  Amanda the first when she knew the first locks were ten mins away.  
All of a sudden I was alone, but did get dressed and joined in the fun.

One of the first locks going up.  That's me being a passenger with David Lewis driving.

A batch of very fruity flapjack I made especially for the workers.

Spouses doing the locks and walking.  

Other spouses NOT working terribly hard

Reader just so you know, my David loves doing locks as does Amanda.

A STUNNING boat we passed, with different murals on each side, now I don't think I want WaL painted thus however I loved it.

You will have to see the other side further down, as I titled this posting, its all "In no particular order today"  this is owning to me using my camera for photos plus my phone and David & Amanda's phones too.

My role today was to pop to Co-Op in Atherstone to get milk. Reader you may remember that in the spring I "Lost David" on the boat when I popped to this Co-Op, I walked the entire length of the flight thinking that he was ahead of me when in reality it turned out that he was in the same lock still as the one where I left him.....  That really was a bad day.  

It was a chilly run down to Hawkesbury Junction but a nice one with close friends, leg pulling and flapjack.

Coffee is served.

The journey through Nuneaton was ok I thought, no rubbish floating in the canal or sofas....  Just the Tardis on someones mooring, like you'd expect.

We got to Charity Dock.  Now lots of people think this place is amusing.  David and Amanda are clean and tidy types and I wanted to get a shot of their faces as we passed by but this wasn't possible.

Not sure how this boat is even half floating....

Batman and Robin

"Shergar" is alive and well

On and along to Hawkesbury  Junction.  I wanted to eat here as its my favourite pub I have come across on the canals so far.  I just love the eclectic mix of people who gather here.  I have called to make a booking five days previously and 6pm was the only table they had available.  I took it.
But first more jobs to do.  As you may have figured Reader, David and I have no experience, knowledge or ability in boat maintenance, so we ask the experts....

Prepping the black.

Stuff everywhere

Amanda doing vital work holding WaL off the armco.

My David paying close attention to instructions.

With the black painted and then the black below the rubbing bar with a different paint which I was doing.  David Lewis touched up the grey and altogether it was a fine job.  

David turned the boat half way through and we completed the other side too.  All in time to shower and change to go to dinner at six.  

Dinner was terrific.  Three of us ordered pies.  They were stupendous, I had pulled pork with apple and cider gravy and  David Lewis had beef with stilton, David had belly of pork which he said melted in the mouth.  

Fantastic bridge

My fav pub going in.

My fav pub coming out with me on the bridge.

David L et moi arriving at a lock at Atherstone.

Here below are the photos of the other side of the boat Alfie.

Early start tomorrow again.

Monday, 10 October 2016

An early flit

07:07 start this morning, for David of course, needless to say I wasn't entirely ready...
We went through Hopwas, a dad and his little boy were walking to school, the school is on the canal side and the little chap called out to us with a beaming smile that he liked our boat! That started the day very nicely. 

Approaching Hopwas, going under Hopwas Wood Bridge

The run down was slightly chilly and uneventful, other than at Hopwas there were a pair of my favourite ducks, Aylesbury ducks.  These are the ones I used to keep when my children were tiny, happy memories of the girls and I scooting around the garden trying to round them up.  Horrid fox finished them off in the end.  
Since then I have not been a fox lover.

We passed NB Olive moored up here too.   HERE   There isn't too much information here, does anyone know more?  She was looking very smart today.

On and into Tamworth.  I hadn't noticed these murals before.  

And I had't noticed the completion of this smart development on the canal side either.  Its situated right on the junction of the Fazely Canal junction which goes down into Birmingham.  We had toyed with the idea of finishing off in Birmingham but not to be this year.

Add captionThis caught my eye on one of the two locks in Tamworth, exactly 100 years old.

Out of Tamworth and on towards Atherstone where on arrival I thought this was a rather attractive water garden feature.....  but no, it is an almost sunken hull with weeds growing out of it, moored up against a nice looking garden.  When do these vintage hulks become unsightly wrecks beyond saving?  I love the vintage boats, but I don't think I would tolerate this one at the bottom of my garden. 
Unreasonable woman....?

We got a good mooring by the road bridge,  very handy as Fine Company was arriving later on.  Musical cars was played by David and in time for supper he met the Boat Sharers Amanda and David in Braunston.

Supper was sausages five veg and Amanda brought to the party a raspberry and pistachio Semi Freddo  if you don't know what that is then look here...   HERE