Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Sunday 29 June 2014

Historic Boats and lunch with Friends

We were collected by car this morning as we loitered at the nearest bridge to where Yarwood is moored.  The What a Lark crew, David and Lisa, turned up in their car to pick us up and transport us to Braunston for the Historic Narrowboat Rally.  David and Lisa had never been to the rally and were keen correct this omission and had also arranged to meet our 'stalkers' and their 'boat sharers', aka David and Amanda.   I had booked a table at The Admiral Nelson for lunch so once the cars were parked off we went to view the boats and watch the parade.  Today fortunately the weather was much better than yesterday with sunshine rather than heavy rain showers which are always going to put a damper, excuse pun, on any outside activities.

 Nutfield and Raymond reversing on to their mooring
With Raymond moored up we were given the opportunity of a tour of the boat with and explanation of how a family lived on board and operated the boat, all very interesting.  I found a handsome brass lamp (tunnel lamp) that we subsequently bought for Yarwood and now awaits Joe time and ministrations to get it fitted.

 A pair leaving and heading up the flight as we arrived at the Admiral Nelson for our lunch

 A busy and popular canalside pub/restaurant

 There's always one!  Lunch in the Admiral
L-R David C, David L, Lisa C, Joe and Amanda L
It gets worse...but it amused everyone else

 Watching boats, Amanda, Lisa and David

 And coming down the locks are a pair, Kangaroo and Australia, that are actually working

 Loaded with bags of granite chips and rafted together

 Scumbled cabin tops and polished brass gleaming

How lovely is that?

Saturday 28 June 2014


We are now moored out near bridge 102 outside of Braunston.   It is the Historic, or as Joe insists, the Hysteric, Boat Rally so Braunston is likely to be rammed with boats and gongoozlers.  Our visitors Adam and Adrian of Nb Briar Rose called in to see us and Yarwood before Joe then joined them for a lift into Braunston where himself was getting a newspaper and a loaf and Adam and Adrian were going to join Sarah on Nb Chertsey for the parade.  It is now teeming with rain!!  It may be some time before I see my husband again as he went off with no coat and planned to walk back..
What's the betting that someones mood will be as black as the sky currently is??

Joe, Adam and Adrian

Warwick to Flecknoe

We pulled pins at 8.30 on Thursday morning, another fine day as far as the weather was concerned but a hard days locking in front of us.  We pass the Saltisford Arm where we had visited Jo and Keith the previous day and head up to the two Cape Locks. 

Cape lock with The Cape of Good Hope pub in the background
 Arriving at the first Cape lock there is a C&RT 'operative' busy blacking the beams which was a bonus because he opened and closed the offside gate as the two boats came in.   Today we had eight or ten locks to do, depending on energy levels, but the broad locks were all well spread out so no opportunity to tie the boats together and release Joe for a bit of lock work.  We also planned to stop of for shopping so Yarwood pulled over at Bri 46 where there are moorings alongside a Tesco store and No Problem continued on to Bri 42-41 with access to a new Morrisons.

 Vic at the tiller as No Problem head off to Morrisons
We picked up No Problem again as we both approached the next lock at Radford, worked a couple of locks and stopped for a quick lunch of homemade soup, crusty rolls and, yes and, cake! Moving on after 30mins we worked up through to Long Itchington and called it a day.  We were thinking to get to the Blue Lias which would have been another couple of locks but prudence tapped us on the shoulder and said if there are no moorings to be had we were then staring at the Stockton lock flight!  

 Floyd and Penny checking in

 Moored at Long Itchington and Meg taking it easy
Off again Friday morning at 8.30 and up the next two locks to the Blue Lias where we watered Yarwood and No Problem lingered, they will get water at Napton later.  In front of us now we had the eight locks of the Stockton flight so once again the boats were roped together and Sue brought them up through the locks, Joe and Vic operated the lock and I cycled ahead turning locks (emptying them) and getting the gates open so Sue could come straight.  We worked in  teeming rain but by now we had got ourselves into a good rhymn and everything went smoothly.  Sadly however, no photo's from me as my lovely Lumix TZ40 has died on me.  It is less than a year old so today I will searching to see if I still have my receipt.

Locks done, it's tea time

A farewell cuppa and cake as we finish the broad locks and prepare to go our own way, No Problem off towards the Thames and us towards Braunston and a date with Wharfhouse Narrowboats.

Thursday 26 June 2014

Hatton in two and a half hours

We set off yesterday morning at 8.30, Yarwood in the lead, Nb. No Problem behind and four miles to go before reaching the summit of the Hatton flight of locks.  Amazing, the grass along the entire length of our route had all been CUT! Well done C&RT, more of the same please..
On reaching the Shrewley tunnel the dogs and I headed up the ramp and into the horse tunnel that would take us up into daylight at the top of the hill where we walked along a track over the hill to meet the canal again.

 Shrewley Tunnel with its separate horse tunnel to the right

 No Problem and Yarwood 'hovering' while another boat exits the tunnel

 And here comes No Problem out of the tunnel

 Followed by Yarwood

 I stopped to pass the time of day with Lisa on Nb. Chyandour, they had ascended the Hatton flight the previous day

 Yarwood and No Problem rafted together and being steered by Sue

When we got both boats into the first lock, Vic and Joe set about tying them securely together so that only one steerer was needed to bring the boats down the flight thus releasing another body to help with the locks.  Joe has done this a couple of times before so Sue was persuaded to give it a go.

 Part way down and a view of Warwick in the distance

 Lock readied and in go the two boats

 I had got the trusty bicycle out of the hold and went ahead filling locks and opening gates leaving Joe and Vic to empty the locks and open and close  bottom gates.

 Two and a half hours later and we were mooring up, job done!
We took ourselves off to The Cape of Good Hope for a well deserved pint and a bite to eat.

L-R Me Keith and Jo

Sue and I then went and found Keith and Jo of Nb. Hadar where they are moored in the Saltisford Arm where we enjoyed a cuppa in the sunshine with our hosts.  We had a quick tour of the arm seeing all the improvements that have been made before wandering back to our respective boats and our men. Lovely to see you both and keep on getting better and stronger Keith!

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Down the Lapworth and lock buddies located for the Hatton!

After a quiet nights stay at Hockley Heath we pulled pins at 7.30 yesterday morning and headed for the top of the Lapworth Flight of locks that would take us down to Kingswood Junction and the Grand Union canal.   We pass through two lift bridges before the locks start the second of which was a real bugger being harder to wind down than up!  I got the bicycle out at the top lock as using it on flights of locks is so much more efficient now that the dogs have stopped having me off the darn thing...

 Lock shuffle between Yarwood and an ascending boat, the only boat we saw on the flight

 The only way is down..

 Last lock, service block next stop
When we exited the last lock things started to get busier with an Anglo Welsh  boat turning in front of Yarwood towards Stratford and the water point and another coming up the lock.  I helped the holiday boat get tied up on the service point before bringing Yarwood  in behind and as we tied up three more boats turned up, it was like Piccadilly Circus.
With Yarwood serviced I broke out the beer, Joe reversed Yarwood and we turned on to the arm that would take us from the Stratford canal onto the Grand Union and so on towards our planned mooring at the Tom of the Woods bridge.

 Moored up, Nb. Warwick in front of us.
Once moored I made us some lunch and then texted Sue on Nb No Problem as I knew that with their new engine now fitted in their boat they were likely to heading for the Hatton flight at the same time as us, "Do you want a lock buddy?" I asked and the answer which arrived almost instantly was a BIG yes!  I replied letting them know where we were and then set off to give the dogs and myself a walk across country towards the NT. Baddesley Clinton.
 Baddesley Clinton House

 Joe armed with compass trying to sort out a signal for the TV, Nb No Problem moored behind us
I had just returned to the boat and started to get chairs out when a bow appeared coming around the bend behind us, No Problem had arrived preceded by the collies running the towpath.  Floyd and Fletcher recognised them and the boat immediately and there was a lot of excited canine greeting going on as we helped to get NP secured.

Sue photographing four dogs, one man and four biscuits!
 We sat out enjoying a beer or two and catching up with each other, agreed a starting time for tomorrow morning and the descent of the Hatton flight.

 Warwick moves off
Sue got some new fenders and a windlass from Harry on Nb. Warwick before he moved off

But before moving off Harry had to secure the boat cat....without being tied aboard he disappears at any bridge hole that takes his interest, the cat that is, not Harry!

Monday 23 June 2014

Alvechurch Weekend etc.

What a cracking weekend and what a difference good weather can and does make.  On Friday afternoon having secured a mooring I say out in the sunshine and read my ebook and chatted to passersby.   On Saturday morning Himself and I caught the train into Birmingham ( the train station is but a two minute walk from the mooring) where I bought a new Kindle Paperwhite as my current Kindle is becoming a bit flakey, some more shorts, dog treats at the market and sirloin steak because Himself fancied meat for a change.
On Sunday we had visitors!
Graham and Evelyn Booth, he of Waterways World and boat fit-out fame and she of Lockside Antiques, came a calling bringing with them their two Labrador girls, Amber and Ruby.   With such lovely weather we sat outside the boat and coffee'd, caked and chatted for a couple of hours before our visitors took their leave and Joe and I went across to The Weighbridge for Sunday lunch.

Sunday visitors, L-R Evelyn, Graham, Joe, Floyd, Ruby and Amber

 The Weighbridge pub tucked behind the Alvechurch Wharf
We 'discovered' The Weighbridge when Yarwood was launched at Alvechurch and we found ourselves immediately iced-in.  The Landlady is vegetarian so the veggie options are more imaginative and extensive than the usual veggie fare offered by pubs so yesterday while Joe enjoyed a Lamb rogan curry I tucked into apricot and goats cheese nut roast with lots and lots of fresh seasonal vegetables... absolutely lovely!
We watched the F1 Grandprix in the evening and at just after nine pm the boat moored across the cut on longterm moorings fired up his engine!!  He ran the engine for the next couple of hours, BBQ'd and played music; I was less than impressed and can only hope that his bloody engine seizes up very soon! What a tosser!

Watering and Hopwood
 This morning we slipped away at 6.30, watered at Hopwood just up the road and headed off towards Kings Norton where we turned right onto the North Stratford and made our way to Hockley Heath some 15 miles in all.

This evenings mooring, Hockley Heath

Friday 20 June 2014

Short hop to Alvechurch

Having excelled ourselves on Wednesday and finding ourselves at the top of the Tardebigge lock flight rather than sitting at the bottom as envisaged we took an executive decision and had a day off on Thursday
Well I was more off than Joe, I slept much of the day, as did the two dogs, Joe changed the oil in the main engine and gave the engine room a clean; clever, industrious boy. 
So this morning we prepared ourselves to move off, service the boat prior to the Tardebigge tunnel and give one side a wash down as it was covered in dust from the towpath surface.  I stayed on the boat through the tunnel whizzing the vacuum around and changing the bedding over between the washing machine and the tumble dryer.  As soon as we got through the tunnel and a suitable bridge hole presented itself Joe pulled over and myself and the dogs disembarked.
 The towpath is in there somewhere... 
C&RT have really let things slip with veg control this year the Shroppie and the Staffs and Worcs have been awful even on designated moorings the grass and nettles have been left uncut. 

 Joe is just approaching Smallwood tunnel and the dogs and I are going up over the top.

 Over the top of Smallwood tunnel the path wending through the wheat crop

 We arrived at the northern portal of the tunnel just as Yarwood emerged below us

 Alvechurch Marina.  This is where Yarwood was launched two and a half years ago

Weekend mooring

We managed to secure half a mooring at the end of a line of boats and the boat we buttoned up to kindly moved forward enough for us to get our side doors operational...the bow is sitting in the reeds but that will do nicely.   We will stay here for the weekend now and we are thinking of hopping on a train into Birmingham in the morning, I need to replace my Kindle as it is becoming somewhat erratic and keeps losing my page plus another pair of shorts would be useful and the Birmingham food market is beckoning me...