Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The Indian rope trick, without the rope!

Well after a bit of gloom but at least rain at nights, just look at today.  
We started nice and early before anyone else was awake and troublesome and started the Atherstone Flight, eleven locks in all.  From our direction i.e. heading south, the bottom locks are well spaced out so I rode on WaL in-between locks. 

I met a very nice lady and we chatted about her hand knitted jumpers she made, sadly her favourite one her husband loathes.  My mother is a great knitter.

First lock going up the flight.  Oh my word what lovely blue skies.

An overhanging tree has dropped these colourful apples.

David perfected this very old Boatman's Trick along here.  We had seen it done when we were very new boaters and were impressed, then we had modified the trick, I then called it The Indian Rope Trick when I took it and ran up the steps, we did that sometimes in double locks, but today it all went swimmingly;

WaL comes in.

Get ready......

Perfectly slow the boat so it almost stops.

Don't fall on the steps.

Shut gate for wife.

It was a very easy run through the locks without any hitches, a few boats came towards us saving turning locks 
(Emptying them) and when we got to the town proper there were seven volunteer lockkies on today, one making the tea, one painting and five helping with the gates and they are a marvellous bunch.

Soon we were on our way south towards the pretty moorings at Hartshill, normally busy but today empty but by teatime two other boats had joined us.

The afternoon was spent washing the boat in the sun, then as the forecast said no rain tonight David left off the Tonneau cover.  Of course it poured and the Met Office were slated again....

The prettiest of all stretches on Coventry canal

Purpley sky before it poured

Supper was roast chicken with salad and sweet pots wedges

Monday, 18 September 2017

It's that man again

Here we are again Reader, didn't that ten days go past quickly?  We had spent the weekend in London with a daughter, we went shopping together while David and another daughter went to Lords.  This is a snap I took from The Triangle in Crystal Palace.  For any non Londoners among you, CP is on a hill, and this is the view of the city centre from there, it fuzzy but you can make out The Shard and The Walkie Talkie, The Gerkin is not quite so clear.  The Americans have The Empire State and we have a vegetable.  David awake at 5am this morning with a jolt.... did he switch a switch on the engine charger plug-in thingy.......?  

If not the bloody thing won't start, which is actually where this blog started back in April 14   HERE  

David was quite correct too, he hadn't and the boat didn't start. Dogs, new tricks and old spring to mind.

We arrived back at Kings Orchard Marina, I can recommend this modern marina, very friendly and helpful people, I didn't see the showers etc but I expect they are lovely too.  The nice people sent a man around, who arrived earlier back earlier than expected too.  
Bish Bosh Bash it was going, the heating went straight on and after David had loaded up the fridge, (Reader there are benefits of being married to an insomniac, he was at Sainsburys food shopping at 7am).  
I am not allowed to stock the fridge anymore, since he "Semi-Retired" that is, I was unchallenged in the fridge department for approx 25 years, but not now, I have willingly gifted him that task.

That evening we jumped back in the car and nipped over to The Ashby canal, to see friends John & Louise from 
NB Ploddin' Along   HERE  they had driven over to see us form their home in Derbyshire earlier in the blog when we were on the Trent and Mersey canal, we met them when about four and a half years ago, they passed us by and I yelled out that I had read his blog.....  We caught up with them later on and are now firm friends.  
I am bitterly sorry that I neglected to take a photo of either of our evenings.  But I will next time.  
We ate at that super place on the Ashby The Dog and Hedghog, it was very busy on a chilly September evening which is a bit of a recommendation in itself

Supper was steak and ale pie with chips and sticky toffee pudding to follow 

Next mooring bright and not very early, David steered WaL carefully out of the marina in a stiffening breeze.  

Now tell me someone clever who knows their water based Highway code, when pulling out of a marina blasting the horn to alert other boaters, being unsighted due to greenery, who has right of way? 
This day as we crept out, but being 70ft we can't see.  
We spotted two moored boats along side the immediate marina entrance on the left hand side, which is where we wanted to go,  there were also two boats coming in the same direction,  one of which could of held back but didn't, he carried on passing the moored boats, knocking one of them very gently, as we all passed each other three abreast his face was like thunder.    I am not sure what else we could have done, it was very breezy, we had hooted, but if he could see our long nose surely he could have thought its a long boat, I'll hang back here.......?

But onwards, you get a suggestion of the wind from this photo.   

These two made me laugh, they were suddenly hanging onto their ropes and told David that as there was a storm coming tonight, they were going to move it away from trees.  Such was the urgency there was no time to dress, or maybe they are from Newcastle.
I took this shot for Carol on NB Still Rockin'   HERE  she had commented earlier that it was too cold for shorts...  but here he is in shorts, sunglasses but note with gloves on and his thickest winter lined fleece, he declares he has hot legs.

We went through the Tamworth locks and were just creeping past the moorings when a cry went up of DAVID!!!!  

We both jumped a mile, it was Patsy and Tony off of NB Pedal, now remamed to NB Geriatric Express, we hadn't seen them since we came up the Caen Flight together over three years 
ago  HERE

A quick calling out then on we went and moored at the foot of the Atherstone Flight, jumped in the car and raced back to Tamworth to chew the fat with good friends.

Not seen this pair in over three years.

After last nights blow out and sparkle wine and nibbles with Patsy and Tony we had a light super of cheese and pickle rolls.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Home James, home, AGAIN!

 Will you just look at that sky Reader, it was a bit chilly, but I needed my sunglasses.  Just a short potter along to the top of the Curdworth Flight this morning.  Almost there when I spotted this chap.....

A bloke up there with a screwdriver.

However does he get up there?

So he has a mate too just visible, makes my knees go funny just looking up there, its as wrong as going up in a hot air balloon.

He's perched on a ladder tied on with string.  Hope his wife has a good insurance policy on him.

They were both jolly and waved.

Then the first lock, I thought it was in tribute to our friend 
"Lesley Kimantas" of NB Yarwood fame, but David pointed out to me that it is likely to be simply for Lock 1......  nah.

For your honour Lesley.

So we changed places as I had backache again, its slightly possible that I did one or two too many locks yesterday, so David and Amanda joined ranks and were soon giggling together.  Its lonely at the back of a boat when your best friend is giggling and leaving you out.....  But can you see Reader, there is only one gate at each end.  Makes locking totally joyful.

Amanda on camera duties this am.

We had a lovely interlude just here, by meeting up with NB Halfie    HERE   We last saw John & Jan we think 16 months ago in Braunston.  So great to have seen you both again.

NB Halfie just behind me.

 So I have heard David say how pleased that I am now driving the boat, he says he hardly thinks about me driving in the locks........  

Seeing his expression below I am not convinced, are you?

Some pretty craft work here

We had been told that the Curdworth Locks here on the Birmingham Fazeley canal are beautifully cared for and I have to agree.  Amanda took these very pretty flower shots.

Pretty but I'm not keen on pink and red together.

Last Lock

 We finished the canal and it was definitely the way we would choose to go into Birmingham again.  Single and nicely working locks all the way with great views over farmland, the Hatton Flight are deadly dull as you can hardly see anything.

We turned left at Fazeley Junction and headed towards Kings Orchard Marina again, the scene of David's upset a few days ago when he couldn't locate the marina in the car to meet Amanda.....  Its much much easier to find by boat!

We had a lovely rural mooring for the last night when we saw these tractors working, can you see the dust blowing?  No chance of that now, The lower flatter machine is operating heavy discs to break up all the ploughed ground and the other tractor with the big red machine on the back is a seed drill... i.e. planting the seed for next years wheat....  Not your thing? Well the pictures I suppose they were really for David Lewis left at home alone....

The next morning early we pootled along the hour's trip to the marina, moored up, packed up, loaded up and driven home for another ten days.

See you later

Friday, 15 September 2017

Delightful Farmers Bridge

Up very early today, Amanda and I had a quick cup of tea delivered in her bed for a change then action stations, up and dressed.  We untied the ropes before 8am and away, creeping past all the moored boats. 

Amanda and I make a speedy and slick lock operating team and we wanted to be the first down the Farmers Bridge Flight.   We had it in the bag. 

This posting is a bit of a picture gallery of the three flights we did today so that I don't forget too much.

So this is the very old pub, alongside the Worcester Bar

Water supply was a major problem and a source of conflict with connecting canals.  At first the Birmingham Canal and the W&B were physically separated by what was known as Worcester Bar, but in 1815 they agreed a compromise whereby the two canals would be linked by a lock, with the W&B paying a compensation toll for all traffic passing through.

I stole the above quote from a CART webpage

Worcester Bar

I think the City has done a wonderful job in preserving some of the old buildings around the canals.  There were clearly many more but they were built cheaply out of cheap materials so its great that as many as there are have survived to the C21st.

Vintage boat against a period building against a modern carbuncle, actually its quite a nice carbuncle.

Dressed for a chilly start but Amanda and I soon started shedding layers.

old bridges remain

Great gin bar door on the left  hand side......

I have it on good authority that Bill Clinton went in this bar for a pint on a visit, but I can't remember who the "Good Authority" was, was it you John or Leon?

Boaters Roundabout here, caused an fair bit of quick discussion as to which side we should go around it.  In the end the Capt decided on the left side and did a very good job.

To the Left is Wolverhampton and to the Right eventually is Fazeley where we are heading.

Around she goes.

Where we have come from, David has done most of those locks, bless him.

And into Cambrian whalf.

First Lock 

This flight is really fascinating all the way down.

BT Tower

Three locks down and we meet a boat in front of us, a single hander and of course going down.
The little darling let us go in front of him, by way of a thank you David gave him a bottle of beer and Amanda and I lifted the paddles on the top gate for him as we went.
Everyone was a winner!!

Nice chap letting us pass him.

Some of that modern arty farty writing that so enrages some Boaters

Another old bridge into a former siding...

This is what was behind the fencing.  Kept the original warehouse surrounded by modern flats.  What would the old Boatmen say about it????

Not sure I would want to live over water on stilts with no direct sunshine all day.

Doors in bridges

Doors in bridges

Someone clever please tell me why they had doors in bridges?

Amanda got warm, but look on the left, I would imagine it was a wee toll house or watchman's hut, let's look inside.....

Well he'd be warm at least...

 Along a bit and around a corner and there was a choice of route, a fumble for the map, Amanda and I jumped off to get the top lock ready, it was on a bit of a bend and then hilarious, we both had taken our jackets off with our candle keys in the pockets of the jackets..... 
How David laughed as he manoeuvred WaL into position to pass the keys over.
Amanda and I DID laugh.

The Aston Flight

Marilyn Monroe and Bridget Bardot, 

Rope marks from boat towing, echoes of history.

Fabulous name

 David went inside to make lunch leaving us two in charge....  I have new sunglasses, do you like them?  I haven't worn them much since.

This picture below was moments after we watched rats feeding on dropped bird seed at the bottom of a garden.

A few more locks, The Minworth locks, there we for a terrific downpour, Amanda, I and several civilians sheltered under a bridge, David had to self fend.

Our mooring tonight.  Fab.