Monday, 18 May 2015

Branston Water Park

We put off moving until lunchtime today. We were waiting for the rain to stop.  All went well to start with, the sun was trying to shine and it was quite warm. When we reached the fourth lock that all changed, the heavens opened and threw hail at us. Lots of hail, sharp painful hail, it wasn't fun!

As the weather forecast for tomorrow is worse than today we decided to carry on cruising, as quickly as it started the hail ceased. We continued through the river section from Alrewas to Wychnor and onwards until we reached Branston Water Park. By that time most of the decent moorings were occupied and we decided that we would stop rather than risk having to moor against an unstable bank.

It wasn't one of the most enjoyable cruises we have done but we are now warm and fed so life is good.

Today's journey was 7.5 miles and 8 locks

This year we have traveled  151.4 miles, 138 locks, 2 swing bridges and 4 tunnels

In 2014 we traveled 425 miles, 334 locks, 2 swing bridges,17 lift bridges and 23 tunnels

In 2013 we traveled 459.1 miles, 434 locks, 7 swing bridges, 15 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2012 we traveled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 22 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we traveled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we traveled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have traveled 3103.5 miles, 2667 locks, 122 swing bridges, 92 lift bridges and 129 tunnels

Friday, 15 May 2015

Fradley Junction

After much consideration we decided not to trade at Fazeley Mill. Although the weather forecast for the weekend isn't too bad the early part of next week is forecast to be wet so we decided to make as much progress as possible before then. 

After I had collected one parcel from the post office we moved a short distance to be within walking distance of Argos to collect my second parcel. We then spent a couple of days doing bits of work around the boat before stocking up on groceries and heading back to the Trent and Mersey.

We had hoped to moor before making the turn on to the T&M but the visitor moorings were fully occupied so we have moored for the night just below the first lock at Fradley. We did spot a boat that belongs to a former travelling companion but nobody was home.

We will probably move on tomorrow as the moorings are right beside a road which means we have to keep the cats in.

Since my last post we have traveled 11 miles, 1 lock and 1 swing bridge

This year we have traveled  143.9 miles, 130 locks, 2 swing bridges and 4 tunnels

In 2014 we traveled 425 miles, 334 locks, 2 swing bridges,17 lift bridges and 23 tunnels

In 2013 we traveled 459.1 miles, 434 locks, 7 swing bridges, 15 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2012 we traveled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 22 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we traveled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we traveled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have traveled 3096 miles, 2659 locks, 122 swing bridges, 92 lift bridges and 129 tunnels

Sunday, 10 May 2015

After the Market

Yet again I haven't updated things. After our night moored by the Tame Otter we continued our journey to Alvecote where we spent a week, trading for four days over the bank holiday weekend. It was nice to meet up with some friends we haven't seen since last year and catch up on what they have been doing. A few of us entered the pub quiz while we were there and our team won! We also had a nice visit from the Hobbins clan.

We left there on Thursday morning and made the short journey to Fazeley. On Friday I took a trip into Tamworth with my friend Jen, didn't spend too much money but had a good time. I'm waiting for a couple of parcels to be delivered which should arrive tomorrow, after that we may hang around here as there is a craft fair at the mill next to the canal on the 17th or we may start making our way slowly to Burton on Trent. A lot will depend on the weather forecast.

Since my last post we have traveled 9.3 miles and 4 locks

This year we have traveled  132.9 miles, 129 locks, 1 swing bridge and 4 tunnels

In 2014 we traveled 425 miles, 334 locks, 2 swing bridges,17 lift bridges and 23 tunnels

In 2013 we traveled 459.1 miles, 434 locks, 7 swing bridges, 15 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2012 we traveled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 22 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we traveled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we traveled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have traveled 3085 miles, 2658 locks, 121 swing bridges, 92 lift bridges and 129 tunnels

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

At the Tame Otter

Today has been a hard and bad tempered day. I have been virtually out of commission because I've hurt my back, being in pain does not improve my temper. Ray has been having a 'bad day' as he puts it. This involves constant misjudgments which are never his fault. any suggestion from me that we stop, that I give him a break or anything else is met with 'I'm fine'. When he trashed our chimney by going through a bridge too close to the offside I lost my temper. Oh dear.

Anyway we are safely moored at the Tame Otter, if I wasn't aching, tired and skint I would suggest a pub dinner. Cheese on toast would do me but as I have defrosted some fish I better cook it!

We don't have far to go tomorrow which is good because there is rain forecast

Today we traveled 15.7 miles, 3 locks and 1 swing bridge

This year we have traveled  123.6 miles, 125 locks, 1 swing bridge and 4 tunnels

In 2014 we traveled 425 miles, 334 locks, 2 swing bridges,17 lift bridges and 23 tunnels

In 2013 we traveled 459.1 miles, 434 locks, 7 swing bridges, 15 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2012 we traveled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 22 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we traveled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we traveled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have traveled 3075.7 miles, 2654 locks, 121 swing bridges, 92 lift bridges and 129 tunnels

Monday, 27 April 2015

On our way to Alvecote

We had a reasonably successful weekend at Stone. The weather could have been kinder but we had a good time, made some new friends and met up with some old ones.

We only have a few days to reach Alvecote for the bank holiday weekend market but we have made a good start. We dropped down through the our Stone locks last night before going to the Star for farewell drinks with Kit and Mike who we won't see again until late September. The less said about the Star the better, it was the pub with no beer!!

Today we continued our journey to Rugeley, stopping on the way to get rid of our rubbish, top up our watertank, fill up with diesel and buy a gas cylinder. Add a stock up shop to that and my wallet is rather light! There are five of us following the same route so we keep being passed by and then passing each other.

Last night and today we traveled 15.1 miles and 10 locks

This year we have traveled  107.9 miles, 122 locks and 4 tunnels

In 2014 we traveled 425 miles, 334 locks, 2 swing bridges,17 lift bridges and 23 tunnels

In 2013 we traveled 459.1 miles, 434 locks, 7 swing bridges, 15 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2012 we traveled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 22 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we traveled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we traveled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have traveled 3060 miles, 2651 locks, 120 swing bridges, 92 lift bridges and 129 tunnels

Friday, 24 April 2015

Stone Floating Market

Oops, I've been very lazy. Actually it has been partly down to computer problems but I really should have posted sooner.

After a weekend at Rode Heath, we traveled up through the rest of the Cheshire Locks, through the Harecastle tunnel and then down through the Stoke and Meaford locks to Stone. Now I don't like tunnels but Ray was having a bad day so I was on the tiller for most of the tunnel and it's a long one. The journey only took us four easy days so we moored before reaching Stone and enjoyed the unseasonal sunshine. It gave us a chance to get some jobs done. We also walked into Stone to put up posters for the market.

Today was our first day of trading, it was very quiet but we expect that on Friday. We did have a reporter from Radio Stoke Breakfast Show come and do a live piece about the market so that was good publicity and the weather forecast for the weekend looks better than it did earlier in the week.

Since my last post we have traveled 17.1 miles, 22 locks and 1 tunnel

This year we have traveled  92.8 miles, 112 locks and 4 tunnels

In 2014 we traveled 425 miles, 334 locks, 2 swing bridges,17 lift bridges and 23 tunnels

In 2013 we traveled 459.1 miles, 434 locks, 7 swing bridges, 15 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2012 we traveled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 22 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we traveled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we traveled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have traveled 3044.9 miles, 2641 locks, 120 swing bridges, 92 lift bridges and 129 tunnels

Friday, 10 April 2015

Rode Heath

Yesterday didn't go entirely to plan. This was partly due to poor maintenance by CRT, partly by the Chaos Fairy and partly by me stepping on solid ground which wasn't.

We intended to move up to Wheelock, empty the loo, have a shower at the shower block, give the water a top up after having done some washing then head for Rode Heath. When we got there the Chaos Fairy (who we didn't know was the Chaos Fairy) was moored on the only working waterpoint having her breakfast! She assured us she would soon be moving, it was nearly midday. Here be Dragons managed to get close enough to the tap to water up but we decided to wait and wait and wait. Eventually when she saw us joining hoses together to reach the tap she apologised and moved. During this time we could all of had a shower except that the shower was closed for refurbishment.

All this meant we were following the Chaos Fairy up through the locks. At the first lock she trapped her rope in the lock gates, leaving it behind as she ascended. She asked a young man to try and rescue it for her using her boat hook but these are deep locks and there was no way her boat hook was long enough to reach it. If I had opened the lock gates it would have freed the rope which would have promptly sunk and probably ended up tangled round our prop. So I climbed on the prow of Morgana with a boat hook, hooked the rope then Ray nudged the gates open with Morgana so I could rescue the rope and return it to her. She had carried on through the next lock but lacking her rope to control the boat in the lock, as a result the inrush of water caused the boat to surge forward, hit the head gates and snap two of the four chains on her front fender.

As most of these are paired locks Kit thought the quickest thing to do was to assist her through the locks and set the locks for our two boats with Ray, Mike and I following behind. This went well until the Chaos Fairy went ahead into a lock Kit had walked up and set for her before walking back to reset for Mike. As Kit then walked to assist her she heard a scream, it was a 'fear for a life scream'! Kit rushed u to find that one of the Chaos Fairy's dogs had fallen in the lock from the boat. Luckily they wear life jackets with grab handles so Kit lying on the lockside reaching down to grab a rope to stop the boat from moving forward in the lock while the Chaos Fairy climbed onto the front of the boat to hoist the dog out with the boat hook.

The Chaos Fairy decided she was having a bad day and decided to stop for a cup of tea.

After that thing went much better but we were far later than we planned so decided to moor below the locks at Rode Heath and move on this morning.

The sun was shining, it was a lovely late afternoon so we sat outside the boats and I decided to open a bottle of last year's elderflower champagne. I poured four glasses, picked up two and stepped on a nice green patch of grass about eighteen inches from the edge of the canal. I dropped straight down a hole as deep as my knee, Kit had visions of me fracturing my ankle which thankfully I didn't. She was very impressed that I didn't drop the glasses and barely spilt any wine. I was a little bruised, had a couple of grazes and was somewhat shaken up. With Kit here I had my personal healer on call so she administered first aid and I'm OK.

Today was just a short hop up through two locks to Rode Heath where we intend to spend the weekend and maybe do a bit of trading.


Yesterday's journey 5.2 miles and 12 locks

Today's journey 0.5 miles and 2 locks

This year we have travelled  75.7 miles, 90 locks and 3 tunnels

In 2014 we travelled 425 miles, 334 locks, 2 swing bridges,17 lift bridges and 23 tunnels

In 2013 we travelled 459.1 miles, 434 locks, 7 swing bridges, 15 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2012 we travelled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 22 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 3037.8 miles, 2619 locks, 120 swing bridges, 92 lift bridges and 128 tunnels