Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Catch up part 1.

Greetings Reader.....

We have been back on the boat now for over a 
week now, however, we have been plagued by 
Firstly data problems and secondly laptop 
problems  resulting in the bloody thing 
constantly closing down Chrome each time I 
opened it and thirdly my camera ceased to 
function this week.
Not at all annoying.   

I have this year changed from an ancient 
Apple laptop, to a brand new shiny PC, which at 
times I would have happily thrown out of the 
window.  Lets say no more about it except that 
at the time of writing this we are still using 2G a 
day of data and EE and Curry's plus two 
son-in-laws and  Ken from NB Cleddau have 
failed to solve.  This is even with the laptop 
thing switched off and our phones on 4G.

Any suggestions welcome.

But going back to our recent trip.    
So ages ago it seems we picked up WaL from
Great Hayward after our trip home.  

We had had a fine old time, David played golf, 
winning some competition too which he was 
pleased about.  I didn't play golf but had a 
great time in the HOT HOT sun we all enjoyed 
in June, it even involved us swimming in the sea, 
something which does not occur each year.

The Boat Sharers (Amanda and David Lewis) 
had the boat in our absence, they did some 
huge ring in a week which would have taken 
David and I about a month, but they love that 
sort of thing.  A Reader did spot them, 
Hello sir if that was you.

We had a nice 24 hours with them, then work 
forced a departure and after a flit to the 
Farm Shop here to fill up on cheeses, we 
left and headed north.

Five years ago when WaL was launched, 
we went up to Bugsworth Basin, but we had 
no memory of the Trent and Mersey Canal, so 
this was to be a bit of a treat. 

Its totally beautiful just minutes out of 
Great Hayward, hardly any traffic and 
peaceful as a very peaceful place.

The first night we aimed for Sandon.  Last year 
we met John and Louise from
NB Plodding Along, we had nipped over in 
the car form The Shropshire Union canal and 
from The Anchor pub, you know the one, 
untouched since Victorian times.  Anyway we 
had really enjoyed the Dog and Doublet at 
Sandon and I would heartily recommend it.

The next day we stopped at Stone.  We took 
time and fannied about to get good TV reception 
as Andy Murray was playing in the quarter finals, 
ummmmm, afterwards we walked to Co-Op to 
find it closed as they had a power cut so walked 
onto Morrisions.

The next day we carried onto Stoke.  Calling 
ahead to the hire base at Festival Park for a 
pump out, on the phone they were not that 
enthusiastic but they did do one for us as it 
appears there are no boatyards on the 
Caldon Canal, where we are heading.

We stayed there the night, opposite their base, 
as Kirsty (daughter) was arriving with her 
partner Bob that night for the weekend.

They arrived without fuss from London by 
train and taxi for a supper of Chicken Caesar 
Salad (I forgot to add the shaved parmesan oops)

The next morning was dull, rain due at mid 
morning so The Insomniac (David) cast off very 
early before the visitors were actually awake 
and retraced our steps to the junction, just 
down the way.  We had to fill with water at the 
junction as you know what it's like with visitors, 
they use tonnes of water for hair washing.....

Kirsty got wind that there was the Emma 
Bridgewater Factory Shop along here
(Male Readers can pass this paragraph),  so her 
loving father stopped by it and the three of us 
went shopping.  I brought a fabulous jug 
(To add to my collection) and Kirsty brought a 
large platter for cakes, it was £50 retail down to 

We stopped later just past the five locks on a 
brilliantly south facing meadow just perfect 
for more tennis watching, the Ladies Final, 
I have always LOVED Venus and was 
disappointed that she lost, but my new favourite 
is the Spanish lady so I managed to be happy.

Later on in the day we set off again for the pub, 
The Hollybush at Dernford, we had a drink and 
then after not intending to and having supper 
all available on the boat, we had supper in the 
pub!!!  I had homemade lasagne salad and chips 
followed by a delightful sticky toffee pudding 
with custard, really it was the best sticky toffee 
I have had and I get through quite a few of those.

Photos to follow.....

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Last Leg, for now.

Going through Gailey this morning, as we did just over two weeks ago, I gift you with another photo of the event as I believe it is the law for all Boaters to take one going through here.  For pure joy I changed the perspective for you.

You may have twigged Reader that with the shockingly slow pace of posts, that we have indeed returned home now.  This will be blatantly obvious when you just look at the sky. 

The morning in question, in the photo was freezing, we were both wearing winter fleeces and I sit at home in temperatures close to 30 degrees today, it's hard to remember that chilly morning.  I walked the first three or four locks to warm up.   

Gailey Lock.

As I walked down I found these Pretties in bloom although the first which I assume is a plain bramble has just gone off its best.

Honeysuckle but no perfume on this one.

No idea.

As we got to the next lock after this photo above there was an elderly man there already with a dog who kindly shut the gate and we chatted for a short time.  Turns out he had driven here from Walsall, (About 30 mins in the car) he helps boaters here regularly with his rather old dog who mooches around.  I told him that we had actually just been visiting Walsall and that I bet he hadn't meet many boats who have.  He told me that he has lived in his house since 1940 when he was 4 years old.  I'll help you Reader with the maths as David did it for me.  He is 81 and has lived in the same house for 71 years.  Now how many folks today can say the same thing?

My favourite Aylesbury Ducks, I used to keep these until the fox got them all, left all their bodies, this is one reason I hate foxes.

This is Teddesley Park Bridge, built in 1825 I think I found somewhere.  
Teddesley Hall     HERE      was a large estate and in later years another great estate was inherited making a huge estate.  Interestingly the then owner Third Baron I think sold off much of the estate to his tenant farmers in 1919.  For that time this was rather unusual,  I couldn't find out why although I followed lots of links and threads.

Anyway the Hall is long gone.  I do hate not knowing answers 

Debby if you are reading please feel free to name these rather lovely Pretties;

We spent the night at Acton Trussel and in the morning made the short flit to Great Hayward Marina where we have left WaL for the best part of another three weeks, home for commitments including Wimbledon, Lords and a wedding.

Leaving Acton Trussel

Isn't this a bit early for mushrooms?

Well I presume these are extra capacity water tanks.  I hope he fills them at nights.

Bye for now.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Over 21? Then a treat in store.

So it was an early start today to get the flight done, I don't know exactly how early as it was almost night time for me.   Bentley Bridge is about an hour away from Horsley Fields Junction that is to say where the Wyrley and Essington canal meets the Old Main Line of the BCN, the flight is just a smidge on from there.  Today's post is a bit of a photo diary.

I arrived on deck just in time to get that shot of the junction, does not look a great part of town.

A local still inebriated from last night.

But the next moment a lovely looking redevelopment and saving of these old buildings.

Not sure what they've done here.

Broad Street Basin service points

Then after being a bit grotty it opened out into this pleasant mooring space with modern sculpture and grass.

We struck absolute gold this morning.  We got to the top lock at a little before 8am to find this lovely lockie, who had arrived a little earlier and found one pound, either the second or third one down drained and another near to the bottom drained.  He was going to walk ahead of us and fill the locks to flush water all down

And that's what happened, with each lock we completed, there was the next lock filled with the top gate open.
A free flight I thought.  He had walked down to lock 10 and walked back towards us, then later driven down in his truck to the bottom and walked up.  All in all and nearer to the bottom we met three boats in total coming up so it was the easiest flight ever.

Lovely Lockie

Lovely old Lock Cottages too.

Great arty shot there.  My favourite Ox-Eye Daisies.

I did the first five or so locks as my back was grumbling and it needed to move about a bit.

Welcomed sight, filled lock gate opened.

Unexpected sight to see a big plant in the centre of town.

Me now driving and taking wonky pictures.  But see how far down the pound is?

I got grounded here.

Now I did get a bit twitchy here, see how close my back button is to the cill marker?   But David was right, I was about a foot clear.

Then suddenly, as if by magic, was the last lock.

Out onto the Staffs to Worcester again, in the last two odd weeks we have done a large circular ring. 

Lookey Lookey.  I told him as he walked away to start blogging again, but it was his friend.

We were headed for Covern, from there David was going to fetch the car.  Then later this afternoon we went on an expedition to Wolverhampton's Waitrose.  A favourite haunt of ours at this time of year, that is to say when they do their promotion of 25% off all wines.... 
Gin was on offer too!

Supper was a whizz in the car to Penkridge to The Littleton Arms   HERE    another must go to place, actually this was a reward for all my slogging down the flight this morning  ahem

Supper was for both of us, boringly we must be married, scallops, the chick pea, sweet potato and coconut curry that we both though exceedingly mild.  Maybe the trainee forgot to add the curry powder, but it was very tasty all the same followed by homemade cherry bakewell which was lovely.
Eating nothing tomorrow.

It's a WHAT coming?

We left Persall Common this morning and a pretty nice day at last.  The sun almost came out but it was warm and Lisa was very happy.

The countryside was unexpectedly green and lush, all in all quite lovely.  The greenness continued until it stopped as we came into a built up area.

See how clear it is?

Lovely views both sides.

More views

Then around a corner and this was there.

What a GREAT idea for a garden here, keeps the children alive and you can see the lovely water.

Ugliest chicks on the water.
 Water lilies beginning to flower, I've been waiting for them.

So although the rubbish in the canal has a reputation, today was only the second time the prop got mangled.  David tried the usual technique of reversing at speed which had the inadvertent effect of making it much worse, as the banks were all full of reeds and lilies, at the approaching bridge I suggested me getting off and holding the middle rope while Sunny Jim went down the 'ole.  All fine then as he was getting towards the end of the plastic hauling, I called to him, you are not going to believe this but there's a boat coming!
There was shock on both of us I can tell you, first boat manned and moving in days and days....
Well it didn't take him long to jump up, clean up and get out of the way, the Sea Otter owner was patient and understanding....  We apologised for blocking the way but said we hadn't seen a boat in days, he was laughing by now as around the corner came another Sea Otter and he told us that The BCN Explorer Cruise had started yesterday and that 19 boats were coming this way!!  Yikes 

Only the second time, two garden composting bags.

 So this part of the canal is long, narrow in places, green and alternately built up and industrial which makes it interesting to me.  Cyclists went past exclaiming surprise and delight of a boat on the canal (Today of course there were 20 in total) he said he hadn't seen a boat before, we told him we were intrepid travellers from the south.

The odd door makes a change to see.

and another if anyone wants one.

 So to our next mooring was at Bentley Bridge. Today its a retail park full of eateries and I think I remember seeing a big supermarket.  But we didn't need anything and it was quite late in the afternoon for us, so a nice steak supper.
An early night as tomorrow we are heading down the Wolverhampton 21 Flight.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Curly Wurly anyone?

So us like a lot of people had a bit of a lie in, this was the morning after the General Election and the mass confusion that went along with it. 
David woke early after only three hours of sleep, I had done slightly better.

Later on we set off.  The Anglesea Arm is a branch off of the Essington to Wyrley canal and goes off seemingly into the green countryside, its not a long run up but it was attractive. 
Presently we came to this interesting old junction, to Huddlesford, which we had passed by the other end of this branch, it was where the Gardner Engine Festival was being held.  This sign post mentions 'Restoration'   HERE  you can see their website, I think I shall make a donation.

Straight down there is Huddlesford.

No boats of course.

On entering the basin here, was this odd structure, if anyone knows what it is please do tell me.

Arriving in the basin.

This is the lovely basin below, formally for the loading of coal into barges from the mines nearby to the reservoir which is behind the slope in the photo. 

 We went for a ride around the lake as I like to call it.

Could be one of the Italian Lakes eh?


I would guess at an orchid.

Suddenly there was this deer, standing calm as you like.  

I have had it identified by an expert, (David Lewis) as a Red Deer, the expert says she probably has a fawn nearby which is why she didn't run.
We sat on the back of WaL and enjoyed a lunch in the sun, a total pleasure.  Then off we went, we hadn't intended to stay overnight.  
So we retraced our steps down the Arm, then instead of turning left back down the Rushall canal, we carried straight onto the Wyrley & Essington aka Curley Wurley.

We now head towards Wolverhampton.

Love this name.

We stopped briefly at Tesco right by the canal somewhere, and that's where we saw our first boats moored up, they weren't moving though.  
The cruise along the W&E was bendy and shallow in places but always green with wildlife but there were not many moorings.  From what I could see it was bricked edged concrete with nowhere to stake or thick lilies, but hardly any armco.  So it was a slightly longer day.

We approached Persall common, our intended spot for the night. and pretty glorious spot it is too.   About twenty minutes after I took these blue sky shots, the sky filled in and it poured.
Early nights for both of us.

Persall Lovely Common

Look carefully to see WaL in the grass.

 If 'Pinky' White said this, then he was a clever man, I completely concur.

Lunch was steamed salmon with one of David's special salads and a glass of in the sun