Monday, 29 April 2013

Where the Dickens are we

We pulled pins at 08.45 and where soon in wast tunnel. It was wet in places with a lot of water dripping off the roof.

                                                      Wast tunnel roof

                  Coming out of the tunnel. It took us exactly 30 minutes as the guide book said it would.

Next it was onto Kings Norton to fill with water. We had half a tank left from Friday But as we were passing a water point we thought we would fill up.

The taps are inside a locked box and you have to use a special waterways key to open it.
 The hose going into the front of Inca where the water tank is.
We are now travelling through the outskirts of Birmingham and when we reached the moorings at Warstock Carolyn did a quick shop in the local co-op.
Next it was our first lift bridge which is named Shirley draw bridge and off went Carolyn to operate it. The guide book said that it was a one button simple operation electric bridge. After waiting for several minutes and nothing happening i could see Carolyn talking to a women. Then all of a sudden the bridge went up.

What happened was that Carolyn pressed the button and the barrier came down to stop the traffic and all the cars stopped. Then nothing happened until after several minutes the woman explained that you had to keep your finger on the button through out the whole process, which she did and it worked a treat. What a shame about all those people having to wait in their cars....Anyway another lesson learnt.

                                               That train made us jump.

                                      We are now in the peace and quiet of the country.

                                     This is right on the canal at Dickens Heath.

We are now moored just outside Dickens Heath in a lovely country setting with a very fast broadband speed of 16 mbps but no TV reception. Never mind i can still watch Emmerdale on catchup TV.

 Today we have covered just over 8 miles with no locks and it has taken us nearly 4 hours.


Sunday, 28 April 2013


We left Alvechurch on Friday morning and headed for Hopwood. We decided a long time ago that we would try to avoid travelling and weekends unless it was absolutely necessary. Not long after mooring we heard a steam whistle in the distance . It was Narrowboat President and it's butty boat Kildare. President was built in 1909 by Fellows Morton and clayton. They where similar to what Eddie Stobbart is today. Both boats are owned by the black country living museum and tour the country

Narrowboat President almost gone aground as it approaches Hopwood

                                           President and Kildare

                                            President passing Inca

Just after President and Kildare passed a group of Pirates on 2 hire narrowboats approached our mooring. They tried to pull in behind us but the first one crashed into the back of Inca. There where 5 young men on each boat dressed as pirates. The one on the front did apologise but the rest just thought it was a great laugh. I did let them know that i was unhappy with their actions. Although Carolyn said i should have kept quiete. Luckily no damage was caused. The Pirates moored and left for the pub so we decided for a quiete night and moved 100 yards up the moorings.

On Saturday morning the hire boat in front of us moved off and decided to scrape all down the side of Inca. A few choice words where shouted out of the window. After all this is our home.

Saturday was spent altering the 12 volt supply to the front of Inca. There was only one 12 volt socket on the boat and that was at the back. As we are running everything on 12 volts eg .Tv, Satellite, laptops and i-pads we needed more sockets.

Today is a day for chilling and dog walking.Then tomorrow we go through Wast hill tunnel which at one and a half miles long will take us about half an hour to get through.We then pass through the outskirts of Birmingham and onto the Stratford-on-Avon canal.

Friday, 26 April 2013


We had a very relaxing day on Wednesday covering just 1 1/2 miles and 5 locks. It was an early night in preperation for the Tardebigge flight of locks. With 30 locks to cover it was going to be a very testing day.
    Carolyn in action.(only 29 to go)
All was going well until lock 32. I was at the front of the boat helping Carolyn do the lock paddles when she screamed "Hamish has fallen in the lock". I ran and jumped across the boat to find Hamish jammed between the lock wall and the boat. I pushed the boat with all my strength away from the wall and grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and pulled him out.Apart from being very shaken he came out without a scratch on him. Both dogs are now secured in the boat or on a lead on all locks
             Hamish was wedged down this gap
 Hamish feeling a bit sorry for himself.
Carolyn on the tiller. Which means i did do a few locks
Nearly there, look at those muscles. Only one lock left. This is the old pump house in the back ground.

We did it in just over 4 hours
Just after the top lock there was a water point and refuge station so Carolyn filled the water tank while Gary did the waste.We then went through the Tardegigge and Shortwood tunnels arriving at Alvechurch at 4 o clock . Just after arriving a boat pulled in behind to moor. The man got off his boat and walked to the front of the boat. He stepped onto the bow to get his rope but as he did the front of the boat swung out .Not realising this he stepped back and SPLASH in he went. Did we laugh ?
In the evening we decided to eat out at at The crown in Alvechurch..What a disappointment, it was not good , bit of a shame as we don't eat out that often.
The guide book says that the Tardebigge locks represents a boater's rite of passage. so it was back to Inca and a couple of glasses to celebrate a very good and enjoyable days boating.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Today we covered just over 5 miles and 6 locks and it took us just over 4 hours. We did stop at Hanbury wharf to pick up a long throw windlass to try and make it easier to do the locks.

                     Today we went through our first tunnel on Inca.

                                         It's dark and wet in here .

                      Hanbury Wharf on the junction of the Droitwich canal.

We are now moored at Stoke Wharf about 18 miles from Birmingham and are getting ready to tackle the famous Tardebigge flight of over 30 locks.

Monday, 22 April 2013


Tonight we are moored in the village of Tibberton. It's a lot more rural than Worcester last night. The village has 2 pubs and a post office and it is very quiet which suits us.

                                                    Carolyn on the tiller

Passing a large sports stadium with the sign on it saying Worcester Warriors. I think it is something to do with egg chasing.
On some of the locks today the paddles where so heavy Carolyn could not lift them. So i had to do them . The only problem with that is Carolyn is not very confident at steering the boat in and out of the locks . It is very awkward as the lock is 7 feet wide and the boat is 6 foot 10 inches. Giving very little room to get in and out. Inca is already showing a few battle scars On the hull

                                       Carolyn is as good at taking pictures as she is at driving boats .

Today we have been through 8 locks and covered just over 3 miles and it took us 2 and a half hours. We have spent the afternoon sorting out lockers and trying to make yet more storage space. We are just about full up now with very little space for anything else.

Managed to keep the the diesel fire burning tonight so will use that instead of the central heating. Its now 22 deg and lovely and warm. Time for a drink ....glug glug.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Free at last

Today we left Upton marina and all the security and easy living that it provided.

                                            Leaving Upton marina

                                            We are happy
And so is he
The power of the river Severn.
We will be a lot happier when we are on the canals.
Entering Diglis lock (operated by a lock keeper)
We are now off the river Severn and onto the Worcester and Birmingham canal.
A bridge with a hole on the left hand side. I think it might have been for telegraph cables.
We are now moored on the outskirts of Worcester. We have covered 10 miles and gone through 8 locks. It has taken us 6 and a half very enjoyable hours. Now we are chilling with a glass or two of wine deciding on our next move.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Happy birthday

It was Carolyn's birthday and we had a visit from Susan , Danny , Chloe and Curly. They had a few hold ups on the motorway so when they arrived it was straight up the restaurant for a birthday meal.

                          Curly, Carolyn, Danny (Jamie's young lady),Chloe and number 1 cousin Susan

                                                      Birthday girl

                  That's me sorted ,a rack of ribs and look there is salad as well. And all for £7.50

                                                I love my nan

                                         Curly trying her hand at fishing.

As we had problems earlier in the week with our toilet cassette i thought why not kill 2 birds  with one stone. So for her birthday i bought Carolyn a new cassette for her birthday present .And it came with a free toilet seat. What a result i thought. I am not sure if  she was that happy with it , but she is smiling.

                     Larry , Moe and Curly. Those of you old enough will know who they where.

The main reason for Chloe coming to visit was to steal pick up our car which i was forced pleased  to sign over to her. Good old Mum and young Dad. .....again.



We have been really busy for the last couple of days sorting out Inca.We have bought more storage containers and small shelving units and have just about filled up every available space.On Thursday it was a trip into Worcester to buy a small tumble dryer (I was told we can't possibly live without one).So it was off to the retail park where we bought a small 3.5 kg one.

While in Worcester we decided to have a look at the locks we would be going up to get off the river Severn and onto the canal system.

This is the approach to the lock on the right. If you go left you meet the weir.

If you get in trouble above the lock the flow of the river would carry you down and over the weir.As you can see in the photo there is a line of buoys to prevent this happening.Although 3 weeks ago a boat lost power and drifted down into the buoys.The people on board where rescued and the boat was recovered later.

                           The river Severn is now in green on the board and safe to navigate.

                                               What the colours mean.

                                        The approach to the next lock is on the right. Then it's off the river and onto the canal network.

It was then back to Inca and try to find room for a tumble dryer that we can't live without.


Wednesday, 17 April 2013


While walking the dogs yesterday i saw a man fishing in the marina ,with in 10 seconds he had caught a Zander (looks like a pike). 10 seconds later he had another fish hooked.So it was straight back to Inca and on the Internet to buy a license. Photos of huge fish to follow.

It seems like i missed out on a bacon roll at my old companies breakfast meeting.Never mind we had a good breakfast in the marina restaurant instead .(sorry i couldn't be there lads, hope you enjoyed it and came out full of enthusiasm as usual),  I must stop eating like this as being a fat you know what and living on a narrow boat don't really go together.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Marina life

With the river Severn on amber boards and very strong winds we are staying in the marina a bit longer than planned.We are paid up until Sunday but can stay longer and pay on a daily basis although this is very expensive.
Molly and Hamish are now getting on well with marina life , but still not to sure about those Swans

                 On Sunday we had the Severn rescue teams practising in the marina
                                    Rescue team in action

                                                Still smiling

                                       Upton rowing club also use the marina slipway

Just like being back at work !
The toilet system we have on Inca is a thetford cassette.There is a magnetic switch to let you know when the tank is nearly full. The switch operates a light which tells you to change the cassette.If the light fails for any reason the cassette overfills. Guess what happened ? .I wont go into much detail but guess who was the qualified person to deal with this.  The switch inside had jammed .After removing the top slide cover it was possible to clear the float ,should be ok now. (I hope)

Carolyn is making the most of the car and gone into Malvern to get a few bits and pieces. She said she would not be long. Ha Ha.