Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Thursday 15 March 2012

Right hands and then...left hands

Last time on the Yarwood blog..... we were sitting on the lock moorings along with Nb Caxton waiting for repairs to lock seven on the Lapworth flight and the flight to be reopened. 

So yesterday morning a BW work crew turned up to check on their repairs of the previous day and set about adding a layer of cement render over the newly fitted anchor bracket pronouncing that the flight would 'probably' be opened mid afternoon.

Returning from walking the dogs lunch time I could see that the cement hadn't gone off so  I called BW for an update and was told that the flight would be opened at close of business, half four, five o'clock.   We decided to leave the descent until the morning.
So that's the Right Hand version.

Blow me, twenty minutes later a BW crew appeared accompanying an Alvechurch hire boat up the flight.  They, the BW crew, laid some plywood over their repair, re watered the empty pound and announced that the flight was open!

And there's the Left Hand version.

We wasted no time, Yarwood leading the way and Caxton following, we zipped down through 14 locks, serviced the boats at Kingswood Junction and headed off south on the Grand Union.

 The trusty lock-wheeler (bike) is unwrapped and pressed into service

 Yarwood makes the turn on to the Grand |Union
 Here comes Caxton with Chris at the helm
 A bit of reverse to get Caxton's 68' round the turn
And that's us moored up at Tom O' the Wood moorings at bridge 63 for the night. 

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Huston, Euston, we have a problem..

We had set off this morning by eight o'clock which is a bit unusual because we have out of the habit of early starts...however we had the Lapworth flight ahead of us so needs must..
A's into gear off,  we went off in the chilly morning mist.   Lifting the first lift bridge was a bit of a struggle, but that is probably that lack of practise over the last eight months.

 Yarwood approaching the first lock of the day

 I was soon into the swing of locking

 Until we arrived at lock six.. and found a de-watered pound between lock six and lock seven and a BW chap walking up the flight to tell me that there was a problem.  The top gate on lock seven had been broken the previous night and was hanging off.  A BW work team had been summoned but the repair was likely to take all day.

 The anchor strap that the gate collar fixes to had sheared.  This would require a completely new anchor to be fitted and cemented in place before the flight could be opened.

 Fixing the anchor strap

 We had pulled back out of the lock, moored on the lock landing and put kettle on. 

And later in the afternoon a strange but familiar boat showed up and moored behind us...

It was Caxton.  

Russell and crew are taking Caxton to her new mooring at Yardley Gobion for Paul and Elaine, Caxton's new owners.   The plan tonight is to have a meal in The Navigation and then as soon as we can tomorrow we will head down the flight together and then tackle the Hatton flight in tandem.

Monday 12 March 2012


The view last night from the side hatch

Yesterday was a glorious day with unseasonably warm weather that brought the population of Shirley out to play.  There were jiggers, dog walkers, racing cyclists, dawdling cyclists, lovers hand in hand and extended families all out enjoying the day but by early evening the temperature had dropped and we were again left alone along the towpath.
This morning was up-an-at-em as we planned to move further along the Nth Stratford canal to Hockley Heath in readiness for our descent of the Lapworth flight; but first I needed to get in some provender at the Ghost Town known as Dickens Heath but a ghost town or Stepford Town, that boasts a Tesco's!  How useful.  I kitted myself with the usual rucksack and walked up to the store, managing to trip and fall flat on my face en route. |Nowt broken, I picked myself up and resumed the errand.  

 Yarwood is somewhere behind us...somewhere

Once back at the boat I dumped the shopping and set off along the towpath with the dogs, Joe following us with Yarwood.

 We passed these and thanks to the wonders of the BBC and Countryfile, and specifically Adam Hensen, I know that the chaps with the white cummerbund's are Belted Galloways

 Tonight's mooring, Hockley Heath

We moored up at lunch time and decided to stay put.  I took the boys off for a circular walk around the countryside hereabouts  leaving Himself to play in the weed hatch....again
Bye for now.

Nice legs..Mr Frog

Spotted yesterday and rescued from the 'path' one Mr. Frog

Sunday 11 March 2012

Sunday...a day of rest?

We had ourselves, the FOUR ourselves that is, a walk to the Shirley branch of B&Q this morning.  Himself had been a bit concerned when I happened to mention on Friday during our run out of Brum that the engine room was pretty hot.  So on Saturday he disappeared into the bowels of Yarwood to find out why...
Engine coolant not circulating to the skin-tank (SKIN-Tank - the  narrowboat version of a car radiator) was his diagnosis.  After some careful consideration and a rummage in the engine manual he devised a plan of action and hence our visit to B&Q.
We returned to Yarwood with sundry plumbing bits. 
He then resumed his position in Yarwood's bowels and I went to polish brass followed by wrecking session in the galley - this means I prepared tonight's dinner but the galley looked wrecked after my efforts.  I have walked the dogs again, Joe has determined that the engine cooling issue is now resolved and is now playing Angry Birds in the back cabin and I am imbibing a glass of vino while I trype this and catch up with other boaty bloggers.
Cheers, happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday 10 March 2012

Bye bye City, bye, bye

Yesterday we took our leave of Birmingham servicing Yarwood at the BW facilities opposite The Cube before moving out.  Instead of walking the dogs along the towpath towards Kings Norton I stayed confined to the boat while we continued to 'experiment' with the washing machine/generator mix.

Yarwood moored in front of The Cube taking on fresh water
Fletcher lends a helping paw to this laundry stuff
Whilst Floyd guards the towpath outside the boat
Yarwood approaching Norton Junction where we will turn off of the  Worcester and Birmingham canal on to the Nth. Stratford canal.
The start of the North Stratford canal
Negotiating the stop lock with its historic guillotine gates
Yes, I am still on board playing with washing machines and tumble dryers and taking photo's through the front hatch doors as we approach Brandwood tunnel

I managed to get myself and the dogs off of the boat as we got past the tunnel so we could get some exercise.  Passing under a high bridge, a youth  hanging over the parapet starting barking at the dogs, I just nodded a greeting and carried on through but Joe was less fortunate...
Joe found himself the target of some cretinous youth's anti-social behaviour, the spitting of  phlegm at passing boats. 
What possesses someone to act in that fashion?
I suppose it is better than bricks and bottles...
but doesn't it make you want to administer a fatal beating to the obnoxious little tyke?
A newly layered hedge as we get into the countryside

Passing through the lift bridge at Shirley
Off went the boat with me 'ome packed init, I followed on with my two Labs

A finally, moored up for the night. 

My spies tell me..

My spies tell me that Caxton is on the move.  Caxton was spotted on the Staffs and Worcs canal this afternoon heading towards her new short term mooring at Yardley Gobion.  Paul and Elaine , Caxton's new owners, will be arriving from Australia at the end of the month to claim their boat and start their much anticipated adventure on the cut. Give them a wave if you see them.

Looping the loop.

After a bit of a late start yesterday morning, the "Let's get off early" falling foul to the idiosyncrasies of the washing machine and generator combination - don't ask - we set off to wind (turn) Yarwood and get her serviced before escaping the City.    I had suggested/requested that we take the boat around the Icknield loop which has no towpath so has not been explored by myself and the mutts on our daily meanderings.  
 What once would have been a busy canal servicing the needs of industry all around its course is now a quite back water, the industry has gone for the most part, the factories and warehouses torn down or derelict.
Yarwood's bow edging around the loop with the retaining wall of the Rotton Park reservoir looming up in the background.

 At the top/bottom of the loop is the Rotten Park Reservoir, built to service the canal,he Icknield loop acting as a feeder into the Main Line.
Nansen II.  Built in 1951 by WJ Yarwood at Northwich as a tug and ice-breaker.

There is a BW work yard at the base of the Rotton Park reservoir and a collection of BW Heritage boats moored here.

 Heritage working pair Scorpio and Leo.  Built 1935 by WJ Yarwood for the GUCC

BW yard under the reservoir embankment

 A current BW boat.  

Oh what a grey day...well it started grey anyway.  In the background as we pass through the bottom of the loop is a a golden temple, you can just see it left of centre.

 More dereliction

 Approaching the other end of the loop and the Main line.

That's it, we have turned back onto the Main line and are headed back into the City

Thursday 8 March 2012

Dog invasion

Baxter and Muttley (dogs) came a visiting today -- accompanied by Graham and Jill from NB Matilda Rose.   Great excitement all round with Floyd and Fletcher energetically greeting their canine pals.  Blankets were fetched from beds, and left  on the towpath, demonstrations given on how to run up ...and down the side steps in...and out of the boat.    Lots of squeaking and chewing of heads and muzzles and then the dogs started...
I took photo's but a senior moment had crept in (again) and there was no chip in the camera to save them to (it had been left in PC the night before).  Jill will have done a better job so there should be something in the blog-a-sphere to commemorate our gathering..
After a quick boat review we all walked down the Farmers Bridge lock flight, four humans, four dogs to lunch in The Bull.   Rose, the landlady, had been asked the previous day if this invasion would be acceptable and had given a thumbs up and sure enough we all got a lovely welcome, enjoyed a lovely meal and the dogs were given water and doggy treats to round our visit off.

On our return to Yarwood, Muttley presented us with his new party piece; if one climbs up these side steps one can step straight on to this galley worktop and check out any food that might have been left there...simples!    This has never occurred to Floyd and Fletcher but they were eyeing Muttley's antics with a lot of interest.
It was great to see our travelling companions again and it won't be long now before we will join them at Gayton Junction for the start of our summer on the Fens.

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Doing very little

We didn't do much yesterday. 
We probably won't do much today, a bit of food shopping ( we are out of dishwasher tabs, heaven forbid...) and inspired by a conversation with Jill of NB Matilda Rose yesterday we are off to the cinema to see either The Artist or The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.   My money is on the latter, a comedy with Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Celia Imrie and Bill Nighy; I'll let you know what we thought of the film later.

Monday 5 March 2012

Heading back into Birmingham

Following our weekend at The Black Country Museum moorings we pulled pins this morning, turned the boat and pulled onto the service point to do 'the necessary', filling with fresh water, disposing of rubbish and emptying toilet cassettes.  We also took the opportunity to give the boat a wash - well at least one side of the boat...
Yarwood serviced and washed.

 TWO TUGS TANGO - Yarwood passing William, a Stowe Hill BCN style tug

 Pudding Green Junction - what a cute name!   The junction of the Wednesbury Old Canal with the New Main line.  We will come back another time and visit more of the BCN as we have barely scratched the surface and this is quite fascinating...if a bit scary as well.

I've done the walking - 5miles, and produced a lunch so now I'M IN CHARGE!  Yes, I'm on the tiller again for a short time, heading into Brum - taking photo's whilst steering with my spine....

Sunday 4 March 2012

Take a vegetable and...

All that fresh food I bought last week has had me tied to the galley - not a problem as a bit of bondage can go a long way.....so they say,... wouldn't know, she says back peddling frantically...

I have been busy producing veggie meals from the River Cottage Veg Everyday book that Mother bought me for a Christmas pressie.   We have had Leek Risotto which got a thumbs-up from Himself, last night's effort was a Moroccan squash and chickpea stew - DELICIOUS!! - no honestly, it really was!  Today I have prepared a fennel and squash lasagna which is about to go in the oven while I prep a salad accompaniment and tomorrow I am going to subject Himself to Spinach, squash and goats cheese pasties. 
I know, I know,  all you macho meat eaters are busy googling a route to Yarwood's mooring just to rescue my Man from this veggie torture but don't trouble yourselves - as long the meal has bags of flavour, and they do, Himself is very happy to eat them..
For vegetarians out there...Hugh's veg book is great!

It's raining it's pouring

It's raining, it's pouring the Old Man is snoring... Well at least one of us was last night.   We moved Yarwood down yesterday onto a proper visitor mooring but it means that her back end is very close to the road bridge and therefore our cabin is also very close to the road bridge.  Himself can sleep through almost anything whilst my sleep patterns are rather more erratic, the night before comatose but last night, wide awake...  I ended getting up and arranging a makeshift bed on the floor in the saloon with the dogs where after numerous games of Scrabble on the DS I drifted off to the Land of Nod. 
The advantage of this arrangement is that Floyd and Fletcher don't have to go far to wake the Breakfast Fairy though and at about half six this morning  they pointed out to Me that they were starving!!
So up, dogs fed, tea made, fire stirred into action - it is teeming outside  now by the way - update the blog and think about what I might do for the human breakfasts today...
Have a nice  day everyone!

Saturday 3 March 2012

Main lining

I am just starting this update as Himself is upside down in the weed hatch amusing himself; men and their hobbies!!

We decided that we would get out of Birmingham for the weekend so once up I trekked up to Tesco's for a weekend supply of vino collapso and a newspaper leaving Joe to prep the boat ready for the off.

 Reflections on the main line
Reflected railway arches in the cut 

 We watered at Cambrian Wharf; two water points, four taps, but NO water pressure so even though it was only us there it took well over an hour to fill the tank, still needs must and we didn't have any appointments in the diary so....
We then filled with diesel at Sherbourne Wharf (92p litre) and set off westwards towards Dudley.

 I got off with the dogs just past the Soho loop and walked the towpath.  It was a lovely day, most cyclists failed to run me or the dogs into the ground or the cut so things were looking up!

Telford's stunning aqueduct carrying the Engine Arm across the Main line.

I got back aboard after five and a half miles, made a cuppa and took the tiller until we arrived at the first of the Factory locks.  Approaching the lock we could see people at the lock and the gate was opening.....then closing?  It turned out to be three kids of 11/12ish messing about. 
 I called to get them to open the gate, and as we carefully approached they asked if they could ride on the deck as they had never been on a boat....
We obliged. 
So carefully laden with three kids that were  warned to 'hold on' we went into the lock.  I went up and worked the lock, prepped the next one and returned to open the top gate and help our human cargo off; they ran off shouting their thanks and laughing gleefully. 

 Yarwood in the top of the Factory flight of locks just before we turn left thru Tipton and on the Black Country Museum moorings.
Moored up at the Black Country Museum - they found a mooring for us where the heritage boat normally moors - the visitor moorings were occupied by a couple of work boats...

Re. Men's hobbies and weed hatches.  Himself removed a refuse sack and contents but announced that access to Yarwood's weed hatch is easier then Caxton's - does this mean he is going to spend more time there or will he restrain himself???