Friday, 30 August 2013


On Sunday we decided to visit The National Arboretum. It is about a mile from our mooring so as we hadn't ridden the bikes for a day or two we decided to take them. The only problem with that was crossing the A38 dual carriageway. With cars doing over 70mph it was a case of seeing a gap and running and pushing the bike like hell.... Not good at my age.

There is no entrance fee to The Arboretum but they do ask you to give a donation to help with the up keep.

 In the centre of The Arboretum is The Armed forces memorial which has the names of over 16,000 service men and women who have lost their lives since the 2nd world war.

                                                 The 16,000 names on the walls.

                                                      The Armed forces memorial.

                     There are more than 50,000 trees with more being added all the time.

                                                      The main memorial from the side.

                   There are over 250 separate memorials scattered over the 150 acre site.

But the memorial which moved me the most was one entitled Shot at Dawn. For some reason it is positioned in a far corner of the Arboretum. The memorial has a semi-circle behind it with the names of every man that was executed due to cowardice or desertion in the 1st World war.
 The memorial was modelled on the likeness of Private Herbert Francis Burden who was only 17 years old when he was shot at dawn. In total 306 men were shot for desertion and cowardice. Today it is recognised as post-traumatic stress syndrome.

                                                    Private Herbert Francis Burden.

               If you are ever in the area The National Arboretum is definitely worth a visit .

Sunday afternoon was spent fitting our new smartgauge. We have always looked at the voltage of the batteries to work out how much charge they had in them. But this not a very accurate way of measuring battery charge. With the Smartgauge it shows you the true state of charge of the batteries as a percentage. So now we should have a better understanding of the way we use and make electricity.

For many years I have been a reader of narrowboat blogs. One that I have always followed is Seyella. So it was really good to meet Geoff and Mags at Alrewas. They were on their way down the lock and onto the river so we didn't have long to speak , but it was good to see you and we really hope to meet up with you again soon.

                                                                     Still catching fish!!!.

Our next move is up to Rugeley .We intend to make an early start on Wednesday the 28th . We are pointing in the wrong direction but we will drop down the lock onto the river Trent then wind (turn) in the river and head back up the Trent and Mersey canal towards Rugeley.

                                        Happy days

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Alrewas bound

We pulled pins on Wednesday at 07.15 with the aim of getting through Atherstone locks as quickly as possible as we were told they can get very busy. We started OK but then had to keep waiting for a boat and butty that were 3 boats in front of us. It turned out that the butty was very old and had spread it's beam making it very tight in the locks and it kept getting stuck. We eventually got through the last of the 11 locks at 10.45.

                         Atherstone locks ,Being assisted by a kind CaRT volunteer.

         After a long and slow day of cruising we managed to find this mooring for the night right outside the pub at Hopwas.

   Not long after mooring this boat pulled up behind us. We thought we might have a noisy night.

It was then an early start on Thursday as we wanted to try and get a good mooring in Alrewas.

        Saw this boat on route.  My old man is called Kenneth and the boat is probably as old as him.
Carolyn working the swing bridge at Fradley junction. Then it was a right turn and onto the Trent and Mersey canal.
We were very lucky when we got to Alrewas as this was the only empty mooring and it was a 14 day one. It was right beside the bowling green and the church....Perfect...
  After another long day and with the weather so hot there was only one thing to do after mooring. (Visit the Crown inn) .And they didn't touch the sides. "Your round next Carolyn"

How bizarre. As I was speaking to my darling little sister on the phone this boat went by. She is also called Sharon.

                                Carolyn thought this boat name was funny. But I just don't get it.


The churchyard in Alrewas is one of the best kept we have seen on our travels and Carolyn was so impressed with it she is going to enquire about a plot for me .....I'm not sure why, maybe she knows something I don't.

If you ever speak to narrowboaters about going to Alrewas everyone of them tells you to visit the butchers in the main street. All the produce is sourced locally and they even slaughter their own meat on site. Well worth a visit......... And we did several times

We have decided to spend a few days here. We have been to Alrewas before when we hired a boat several years ago and enjoyed the village very much. Now we have more time on our hands we intend to enjoy it a bit more. One thing we are determined to do is to go to the National Arboretum as we have been told it is a very moving place to visit. 

So tonight it is the biggest rump steak you have ever seen with Carolyn's cream sauce and washed down with a bottle or two of an Australian Merlot

                           Happy days

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Bye Bye Curly

On Thursday we left Braunston and headed towards Newbold on the other side of Rugby.
On route we came across this hold up. The boat on the right was aground and the other boats were trying to pull him off. After many minutes of trying they eventually pulled him off. It turned out that the boater that got stuck was Terry Darlington from Waterworld and Narrow dog to Carcassonne fame......... Oh well it happens to the best of us.


Our mooring at Newbold. We were very lucky to get it as moorings on the northern Oxford canal  are as rare as Hens teeth. It was right outside of the Barley Mow pub and the landlord kindly let Chloe park the car there.

                                  Sunday soon came and it was time to say goodbye to Curly.

We have had a very good two and a half weeks with Curly and she has been the perfect little shipmate. So it was tears all around (even me) when she left....Love you Curly and see you soon...........and you Chloe xxxx

Later that day as soon as one went another arrived. number 1 son Jamie. And it wasn't long before he was on the tiller.......A natural just like his sister.

                                                                 Double trouble .

A boat name my Dad might like.
               Passed this tug boat on the way. What a good place to keep the generator.

On Monday after saying goodbye to number 1 son we spent the night at Hawkesbury junction where the oxford canal joins the Coventry canal. We were not at all impressed with this part of the Oxford canal . It is very badly overgrown and it looks like no maintenance has taken place for many years. There is also a great lack of moorings. Lets hope the Coventry canal is better than this one.


 Tuesday morning and we pulled pins at 08.30 and went through the lock at Hawkesbury junction. It drops you the great distance of about 18 inches and then it was a right turn on the Coventry canal towards Atherstone. What a great improvement from the Oxford. Not so overgrown and plenty of moorings available. Above is a canal side garden complete with loads of statues.

                            The same garden with a policeman telling boaters to slow down.

                                                            Anyone fancy a project.

                                                                       Or maybe this one.
                                        Passed this takeaway on the canal. What a great name.

  We found this sign when we stopped for water at Hartshill ............  I think you should be OK to cross Carolyn.

                                Inca with washing out on our mooring for the night at Atherstone.

 A picture for David . Carolyn's galley. Same as a kitchen in a house .It is hand built out of solid oak with Pippy oak inlaid panels just like the the rest of Inca. We have all the mod cons. There is a 4 burner hob , oven with separate grill , full size fridge , microwave and loads of storage. Although a bit small Carolyn can cook some amazing food in there.

 With winter on the way and not much sun for the solar panels we thought it best to get another means of producing electric. Instead of running an expensive boat engine just to charge the batteries we now have the benefit of this new Honda generator. It will run for up to 10 hours on 4 litres of fuel so is fairly frugal on fuel.

Tomorrow we intend to have an early start as right in front of us is the Atherstone flight of 11 locks that will drop us down the 80 feet on our way to Fazeley junction and then up to the Trent and Mersey canal

                                                Happy days


Wednesday, 14 August 2013


It was an early start on Saturday morning as we wanted to get through Blisworth before the festival started.

           07.00 on Saturday morning coming up through the top lock into Stoke Bruerne.

We got through Blisworth tunnel without meeting another boat and soon got through Blissworth although it was tight in places with boats moored 3 abreast.
We topped up with water at Gayton junction and then moved on to Bugbrooke.

 As soon as we arrived at Bugbrooke Curly wanted to go on a bike ride and look at the trains. So we rode back to the footbridge which crosses the railway.

 The leaning Pendolino trains travelling at over 100 mph.

Monday morning and it was off again, this time heading to Whilton where we wanted to pick a few things up in the chandlers. On route we stopped off on the moorings above the church at Weedon bec for Carolyn and Curly to pick up a few supplies in the village.

                                             It looked like someone was living on this boat.

We forgot how noisy it was to moor at Whilton as you have the M1 motorway on one side of you and the railway on the other so it was an early night on Monday and an early start on Tuesday as we wanted to get to Braunston . The journey involved 13 locks and one tunnel.

                                            Duck on guard at the Buckby flight of 7 locks.

                                             Curly thought this poster was very funny.

                    And Carolyn thought this boat name was funny ........   but I don't get it .

We met 4 boats going through the 2024 yards of Braunston tunnel and the first one we met was right on the kink in the tunnel. Even with us going at tick over and the other boat going very slow we did touch our bows.  We soon arrived at the top of Braunston locks . The 6 locks drop you down 35 ft into the village of Braunston. There was a cart volunteer on duty on the flight but all he did was stood back and watch us lock all the way down through the flight. Most of the volunteers we have met elsewhere have been very helpful.
When we eventually arrived at Braunston we managed to get a mooring just along from The Mill house pub .So the evening was spent having a meal in the pub.

On Wednesday we walked the half a mile into Braunston village to get some meat and home made pickle at the local butchers.

                                    Curly under going training by her expert Nan in how to shop.

It was then back to Inca and we pulled pins at 10.30 and left The Grand Union canal and headed north on the Oxford canal towards Rugby.

                                    Our mooring for the night just before Hillmorton locks.

Tomorrow we will go through the locks and travel through Rugby as on Friday we have number 1 daughter Chloe coming to pick up Curly. So we will soon have to find somewhere safe for her to park my old car. (did I mention before she got it for free).

See you on Friday Chloe...............

                                                        Happy days

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Stoke Bruerne

On Tuesday morning it was an early start as we wanted to cover the 14 miles to Cosgrove. On route we stopped at Fenny Stratford to take on water and get rid of rubbish .

Just as you leave Fenny Stratford you pass this factory which makes flavourings for foods. You get all sorts of lovely aromas when you pass.

 What a name for a boat. We passed this boat at Milton Keynes (Apparently it's the name of a beer from the USA)
On route we had another run in with a Wyvern hire boat. This idiot pulled into the side to moor up. So we passed him in the centre of the canal. He then changed his mind and decided not to stop .The idiot pulled out and went into the side of us. Yet another scratch to be filled in.
Then it was all the way around Milton Keynes with a stop at Wolverton for Carolyn and Curly to do a Tesco shop.

                             Curly with no fear of heights going over the Cosgrove aqueduct.

We had a quiet night at Cosgrove and on Wednesday we had another early start to travel the short distance to Grafton .

Soon after mooring at Grafton it was out with the fishing rod and Curly soon started catching fish. We spent most of the day fishing and ended up with over 20 fish mostly small Bream, Roach and Perch.
The evening was spent having one of my famous (burnt) barbecues.
                                    The evening was rounded off with a spot of Bat watching.

Friday we moved on to Stoke Bruerne as we wanted to have a look around the canal museum.We got a good mooring 2 locks below the village on the 24 hour moorings.(There are signs up to say that Cart (Canal and River Trust) will soon be charging £25 a night if you over stay!).

                                                       Our mooring at Stoke Bruerne.

        Carolyn in the Canal museum imagining what we would have looked like a 150 years ago.

                                    Curly enjoyed looking at all the old painted canal ware.

The day was rounded off with Carolyn riding on Curly's electric scooter. She enjoyed it so much now she wants one.

We plan to make another early start tomorrow as after the 2 top locks at Stoke we have to go through the 3000 yards of the Blisworth tunnel and there is also a big canal festival on at Blisworth this weekend .So the canal is going to be very busy.
 We then plan to move onto Bugbrooke where we will remain until Monday.

                                                   Happy days