Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Monday 31 March 2014

Fletcher in the wars

We have had a bit of a blip this weekend. Having travelled to Essex to celebrate Mother's Day, or as my Mother insists, Mothering Sunday, we had to find a vet yesterday, urgently.  Fletcher had been stung, or as it turns out, bitten by a viper on Saturday afternoon.  By Sunday he was a very unhappy boy and obviously needed medical attention so we found a Vet providing out of hours services and drove into Southend with him.  He was kept in the animal hospital overnight, having had his blood tested to determine if there was any damage to his internal organs he was then put on a drip, given strong pain killers, anti- histamine and anti-biotic.  We will know at lunchtime today whether we rescue him and bring him home or whether he needs to stay in hospital another night. Fingers crossed he is well enough today to rejoin his 'pack' today.

Friday 28 March 2014

Day two at Aston Marina

Taking advantage, as one does, of the electric umbilical cord i.e. shore power, all the washing is now completely up to date, dog bedding smelling fragrant, though not the dogs as yet and the boat has been vacuumed from stem to stern.  With poor weather forecast for the afternoon I set about washing and waxing Yarwood's starboard side, the port side having been done at the weekend.  Whilst I was polishing the boat Paul (Nb. Caxton) came over to say hello and fix a time to meet up later in the day.   With chores completed Joe and I and the dogs then walked along the towpath into Stone and got a few bits before stopping at The Star for a pint and a sandwich.

 The Star, a lock side pub in Stone
The afternoon delivered the promised awful weather and it was still chucking it down at six when Elaine and Paul joined us on Yarwood for what Paul refers to as a 'sticky beak', i.e. a look around.  By seven the rain had eased somewhat but by no means ceased so we went off in their car to The Three Crowns for dinner and a mega catch-up.  It has only taken two years for all four of us to get together and we are going to take full advantage of our current location and plan to go out again after we get back from our Family weekend in Essex.
 Post Dinner at The Three Crowns
l-r Lesley, Joe, Elaine and Paul
Photographer for the evening..and, excellent host

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Shugborough to Aston

I think you might describe this morning as 'crisp'.  For the first time this year the lines (ropes) were frozen and took just a little persuasion to untie.  We set off just before eight am heading up through our first lock at Great Haywood aiming to get on the service point at the junction.

 Company, interested in us but fascinated by Floyd..
 As we approached the junction, Nb. Damper Van was just coming through from Tixal, Joe held off and let them turn right/south in front of Yarwood before we went and secured a spot at the services.  There was already an early bird boat filling with water, a hire boat out of Mercia Marina, with a couple of experienced boaters aboard, Carol and Sue, who turned out to be avid narrowboat blog readers. 

 Sue and Carol heading off, water tank topped up
 Bon voyage Carol..
 Yarwood serviced we set off on our eight mile, four lock, journey.

Spot Yarwood
Turning into Aston Marina just ahead of the rain we got ourselves moored up and I went and did the necessary, paid up and got security tabs etc.  So now we have a few days of shore power to condition the batteries and a safe place to leave Yarwood while we travel south to see family and importantly, my Mum on Mother's Day...she doesn't know, it's a surprise!

And who is this below?
We will be catching up with Paul and Elaine tomorrow when they get back from their gallivanting...

A response from Napton Narrowboats re speeding boat

This morning I received an e-mail from Napton Narrowboats about the photo I sent them yesterday of one of their customers acting like a plonker..
Here it is:


Thank you very much for sending us the picture of Grace. Strangely enough our customer on Grace called up yesterday to advise that somebody had taken a picture of them, but they weren't sure why!
The customers have been boating before and we do make sure that, in our BMF accredited handover procedure, they are reminded about the speed limit and the wash created by the boat.
I called our customer this morning and she was very apologetic, obviously not realising that they were going quite so fast. Although the stern wave is quite large, there is very little bow wave, so I stressed the point about keeping an eye on the wave created behind the boat as they cruised along, and how the waves created will vary with the depth of water, not just the speed.
Many thanks again for letting us know, as the boat is out on a three week trip. So an early complaint about speed will be a great modifier of their behaviour for the rest of the trip.

Well done Howard !

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Speeding Boat, Fool at the tiller.

Nb. Grace of Napton Narrowboat Fleet. 
Having tried to urge this boat to reduce speed as it approached me I got the camera out of my pocket and aimed...speed reduced but as soon as the fool at the helm passed me on went the gas again.  I have sent the photo to Napton Narrowboats.

Monday 24 March 2014

A walk through Tixall and a Basset Hound called Solo

This morning post breakfast, a shower and a quick tidy through the boat I set off to walk the dogs.  It was a crisp, clear, sunny day following a clear night that left the ground frosted.  Yesterday we had headed off up into Cannock chase so today I set off to do a circular walk along the Staffs and Worcs canal, through Tixall wide and back through the Shugborough Estate.  As I approached Haywood lock there was a boat coming through so I paused to help them before continuing to the junction and turning left under the bridge on to the Staffs and Worcs canal.

 Approaching Great Haywood Junction
 Out on the wide I passed a fellow bloggers boat Marpessa 2 This is Emma and Nick's boat and of course Murk the dog.  Murk barked as my pair passed the boat but otherwise all was quiet.

 This is a memorial to Beau a boating Basset Hound.  The owners have planted a tree at the wide in his memory.

 Tixall Gate House viewed from across the wide.  The House this served is long gone but if the magnificent building is the 'gate' what would the 'house' have been like?

 Tixall wide, with Marpessa2 in the background.  apparently the canal was widened to look like a lake from Tixall House.
With my circumnavigation complete it was time for a quick refreshing cuppa and then out came the bucket etc. and I washed and waxed Yarwood before heading off to the village and a pint in The Clifford Arms.

 The boys awaiting there pork scratchings

 On the way back to the boat we met the couple on Nb. Cousin Jack who had planted the memorial tree for their Basset, Beau.  Here is Solo their latest boating Basset Hound.

 Pork scratchings all round then
 Fourteen month old Solo
And again...

I have a real fondness for this breed as we had a Basset Hound, Sara, when I was a child.

Sunday 23 March 2014

Sunday afternoons

We have just demolished a traditional Sunday Roast, remnants to the dogs including cabbage and Brussels sprouts, (God help us tomorrow) and we are now enjoying the wonderful Johnnie Walker and Sound of the Seventies on Radio 2 while the dishwasher earns it's keep!

Sunday at Shugborough and Cannock Chase

Essex Bridge.. the ancient packhorse bridge over the River Sow, a tributary of the mighty River Trent, that gives access to the Shugborough Estate
 The facade of Shugborough Hall, originally home to the Anson family but surrendered to the National Trust in the 1960's in leverage against Death Duties/Tax.  I must admit I have just a weeny bit of sympathy for the landed gentry in view of death duties...especially as those duties are now being applied to extremely modest estates now...

 Same again but in 'technicolor'
 This little chap is newly arrived in the big world and still damp from his dams ministrations

 And here is Mum, an English Longhorn
 Our lovely weekend mooring
 Shugborough Hall from the boat
 Off on yet another walk
 Up on to Cannock Chase, 26 square miles of loveliness
 We were up there today in sunshine and hailstone showers and almost the only people we met were cyclists.   The last time I was here was January 2010, we were iced in at Great Haywood Junction along with Nb. Matilda Rose, Nb. Moore to Life and Nb. Rock & Roll.

 Stepping Stones
 And then the sun shone...wow!

Saturday 22 March 2014

Shugborough for the weekend

Another day when the weather was forecast to be rather more conducive to boating in the morning  than the afternoon and how true.  Lovely sunny start to the day with moderate wind but showers and stiff gusts this afternoon.

Yesterday morning I was going into Tesco's at 7.15am and dodging around the cleaners and shelf stackers to get fresh food that will see us through into next week.  Forty minutes later I was dumping the bags on the boat and changing trainers for walking boots as we set off towards Shugborough and Great Haywood and our weekend destination.

 The new Tesco store, open 24hrs and convenient access from Bridge 66 on the T&M.

 Nanook like, Joe faces the day

Walking along Brindley Bank towards the Aqueduct that crosses the River Trent, the river a constant companion to the canal throughout this stretch.
 Tramping along the towpath of the Trent and Mersey this past couple of days has been such a pleasure...post Nuneaton on the Coventry wasn't too bad either come to think of it..
I have a big grin plastered to my face, oops, men in white coats approaching...

 Crossing Brindley Bank aqueduct

 A fine display of daffodils at Navigation Farm, Br 72 Little Haywood

Moored at Shugborough

Friday 21 March 2014

Fradley To Rugeley

Watching the weather forecast for the latter part of this week it seems that the mornings were to be rain free so taking this on board we decided to move off sharpish each morning and get ourselves settled and 'ship shape' for when the heavens open.   I am now comfortably ensconced in Yarwood's  back cabin while the wind and rain lash the outside of the boat..

 Joe taking Yarwood around to the left at Fradley Junction and on towards Rugeley

We set off from Fradley Junction yesterday morning, it was bright if a bit breezy..., read very breezy! 

I scurried in the opposite direction to get the dogs safely across the canal via a bridge rather than a lock gate; I never encourage the dogs across locks, they wait where I tell them while I operate the locks on our journeys.  On the one occasion where Fletcher went into a lock, from a lock gate I might add, it was not easy to rescue a panicked five stone Labrador but fortunately lessons have been learnt and both dogs behave impeccably at locks but we are consistent, no crossing lock gates ever!
Jogging up the towpath towards our first lock there was a boat descending so we got Yarwood on the lock landing and I went up to help the single handler through.  I could see another boat waiting to come down and it looked familiar..  It was Nb. Compass Rose another Barn Owl Narrowboats the same boat fitter as Caxton and Yarwood.

 Compass Rose, Barn Owl boat number 5 originally built for an artist so the saloon had been a studio

 Shade House lock, the second of the day, ready and waiting for Yarwood
 Passing through Fradley Wood
 Wood End Lock, the third and last of yesterday's cruise

 Emerging from Armitage 'tunnel'

 Rugeley 'B' coal fired Power Station, those cooling towers dominate the town

Moored just short of bridge 66 in Rugeley and at bridge 66 there is now a new 24hr Tesco!