Friday, 31 July 2015

The Visit


IMG_3280Every Summer and School holiday are number one and only Granddaughter comes to stay with us .Luckily my Mum ,Dad and number one sister and brother in law Philip said that they would drop her up to us and spend some time on NB inca.

IMG_3275Myself ,Philip ,Sharon and Dad decided to visit the National Arboretum at Alrewas.

IMG_3270We last came here two years ago and it is well worth a visit if you are in the area.

IMG_3261We remember them today tomorrow forever.

IMG_3263The men and the women of the armed forces killed on duty.

IMG_3265The arboretum is kept in immaculate condition and there are only four full time gardeners.

IMG_3266Even the Fairground Showmen have a special place in the Arboretum.

IMG_3293After a great day enjoyed by all , we ended up having a very good meal in The Crown at Alrewas in the evening. We later said good the bye as they went off to their hotel for the night and then back down to Sunny Devon the following day…

                                                                                                  Happy Days

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Short Intermission


                                                     There will now be A Short Intermission


             ( Due to poor Internet reception even though its 2015 )


                                            Happy Days

Wednesday, 29 July 2015



After a wet day moored above Hopwas we puled pins at 08.15 and headed towards Fradley junction .

IMG_3223We passed this boat on the way.I guess these owners like turtles .The Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta).

IMG_3228Passing Streethay Wharf and am I glad we had the hull of Inca Metalized last year. I dread to think what this welding job is costing.

IMG_3230At Fradley junction we met up with Jack and Tina on NB Sandoy. As you can see there is a bit of a similarity with Inca. We passed them last year on the Llangollen but didn't get the chance to have a talk.

IMG_3232In fact they were both fitted out by Sabre Narrowboats. Sandoy was the 50th boat they produced with Inca being the 51st. There were only a few boats made after that as the company ceased trading. We all went on each others boats and were amazed at the similarities. There were a few differences ,but both boats have the same quality that Sabre was renowned for.

IMG_3250It was good to talk to Jack and Tina and compare our boats. Hope to meet up with you both again sometime in the future..

IMG_3253Reaching Alrewas (pronounced Ol-ree-wuss) and we were lucky enough to pick up one of our favourite moorings outside of the bowling club. Tomorrow we have a very special package being delivered from Devon…and her name is Curly

                                                                                           Happy Days

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Dinkum ?


IMG_3198After a bit of a slow start to the day we pulled pins from the Nature reserve at Curdworth bottom lock at 09.15. We soon arrived at Fazeley junction and if you are into knitting this is the place for you …Wool and even more wool ,even on a boat.

IMG_3200The birds at Fazeley junction.

IMG_3202What a great boat name .I haven't got a clue what it means but no doubt our friends from down under Bob and Bron on NB Celtic Maid can tell us.

IMG_3203No its not a Yot ..   its a Narrowboat !!!!

IMG_3205After we did a big shop at Tamworth and filling the cupboards we pressed on and passed through Hopwas. There are some bank repairs going on near the firing range. As you can see instead of putting Armco in they are using wooden stakes and a membrane. They then back fill with soil and the idea is that the plants grow back forming a natural bank.

IMG_3215After mooring just above Hopwas near Tamhorn Farm a Narrowboat passed us on Tick over only to be followed by a Canal & River Trust work boat at full speed . After passing us he forced the Narrowboat into the bank and overtook him in a most aggressive manner. I just hope the Narrowboat owner reported this incident to the Trust. Most of the Trusts employees we come across are brilliant, but like in all walks of life you do get the odd idiot…

IMG_3217Not long after mooring a boat pulled up beside us and it was our friend Chris on his new boat Bosley. Wow what a lovely boat .We only had time for a quick chat as Chris was on his way to Tamworth . But it was good to meet up again and we will catch up again soon.

                                                                                                      Happy Days

Sunday, 26 July 2015


IMG_3176We pulled pins from Curdworth at 07.45 with the intention of doing all of the 11 locks which make up the Curdworth flight and then try and moor below the bottom lock which is located next to a nature reserve. This is Curdworth tunnel and it should be renamed Spider tunnel as I have never seen so many Spider webs before. The roof was just covered in them.

IMG_3180With all of the locks against us and the odd fallen tree we made good time.

IMG_3181After passing Aston Villas (Who ever they are) training ground we reached Curdworth bottom lock. It took us just over 3 hours which was a very short but enjoyable cruise for us.

IMG_3186We picked up this mooring just below the lock and had an early lunch before setting off to have a look around the Nature reserve.

IMG_3190Twitching….. We spent some time in this Viewing Hide watching all of the activity on the lake. It was good just to sit back and chill in a wooden hut for an hour or so…..You cant beat a good Twitch !!

IMG_3192I managed to take a picture of this Heron just as he took off from a tree opposite.

After a night here we have a few lock free days ,so Carolyn will be relieved to hear that. With number one Granddaughter coming up next week for her summer holidays we need to do a big shop . With a Sainsbury near to the moorings past Tamworth we plan to stop there tomorrow and then move on and pick up a mooring somewhere past Hopwas.

                                                                                                 Happy Days

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Leaving Brum !!


IMG_3115We are now on our way out of Birmingham and are making our way towards Fazeley. We have been told by several other boaters that if you are going this way you need to go all the way to Curdworth before you stop as its not safe with some referring to it as Bandit country. The journey will involve dropping down 27 locks with an estimated time of 7 1/2 hours. We left our mooring at 06.55 and filled up with water at the services above Farmers Bridge locks.

IMG_3117As we start our decent down the 13 lock flight we soon start to go under the buildings which are built over the canal and locks.

IMG_3119Carolyn's not very happy coming through this part as there are lots of people sleeping rough below the buildings.

IMG_3127Nearly at the bottom of the flight and Carolyn now has Guard dog Hamish to protect her as we pass under the railway..

IMG_3132The next fight of locks is the Aston flight of 11 locks. The Graffiti is everywhere. If there's a flat surface that the Scroates can reach they will spray it. At least they didn't paint over this bridge name.. I worked in Dartmouth , Devon for 23 years .                                                                               

IMG_3136Dropping down the Aston flight with the old gas holders in the distance.

IMG_3141One of the few boats we passed coming in the other direction. A bit like us ,but also known as Water Gypsies.

IMG_3143As we travel out of Birmingham we can see what was meant when they called it Bandit country. Even some of the houses have Razor wire around their garden walls to protect them .

IMG_3150I have never been up and down the weed hatch so many times. This lot completely stopped us from moving. Its the most I have ever removed in one go from the prop.

IMG_3172We passed this KFC on route and with it being lunchtime Carolyn ran in and picked up a few pieces of Chicken .It had to be the smallest pieces of Chicken we have ever had being half the size of what you normally get. I just wondered if they have bred a new form of Midget Chicken.

IMG_3167Good job this never got around the prop. Its the first time we have ever seen a fridge floating down the canal.

IMG_3175Eventually after 7 hours we reached Curdworth and picked up this mooring just before the tunnel. In the end our cruise was mostly uneventful , but we have heard stories of people experiencing problems on this part of the canal system. After seeing all of the smashed windows of the factories on the canal side plus the graffiti and the measures that the locals take to protect their properties I would definitely recommend NOT stopping overnight between the centre of Birmingham and Curdworth.

                                                                                                                   Happy Days

Friday, 24 July 2015

Rugby World Cup


After Carolyn spent a few good hours enjoying the plethora of shops in New Street and the Bullring we had a final walk around the centre of Birmingham before we left.

IMG_3089Look what we came across in the city centre. Its all to do with The Egg chasers Rugby World cup. They are currently touring the country to promote the event. The Webb Ellis Cup is awarded to the winner of the Rugby World Cup and Carolyn was more than happy to have her picture taken next to it. England was chosen to host the 2015 competition in July 2009, beating rival bids from Italy, Japan and South Africa. The first game is on September 18th when England take on Fiji at Twickenham……

IMG_3091They even had the local ITV news team there and the 6 o'clock news came live from the event.

IMG_3098On our way back to Inca and opposite the museum we passed this very bright statue of Boulton, Watt and Murdoch  .The three men pioneered the industrial revolution in late 18th century England. James Watt's improvements to the steam engine and William Murdoch's invention of gas lighting have made them famous throughout the world. Matthew Boulton, entrepreneur and industrialist, harnessed their talents in a company that made everything from tableware and copper coinage to steam engines.  All three men are buried in St Mary's Church Handsworth, known as 'the Westminster Abbey of the Industrial Revolution'

We have now reached the end of our stay in Birmingham and we have both been pleasantly surprised by the good moorings and the area surrounding the canal. We have enjoyed visiting the Library, Museum and looking around the city centre. Its definitely a place we will come back to in the future.

                                                                                  Happy Days

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Out and about


IMG_3044With Carolyn's eye not getting any better she has been told to go to The Birmingham eye hospital A&E straight away and get it seen by an expert. The hospital is just over a mile away from our mooring and with the canal going very close to the hospital we decide to use that route instead of getting lost walking along all the roads. On the way we pass a lot of old derelict canalside buildings. Its amazing how much industrial work has been lost from Birmingham over the years.

IMG_3031Its good to see they are trying to keep the canals safe and free from crime.

IMG_3055After a successful trip to the Eye hospital for Carolyn it was time to get out and about and have a look around Birmingham. The first place we visited was the library . It has only been open a couple of years and it seems that half the locals love it and the other half hate it . It caused a lot of trouble when it was built mainly because of the cost of it . It was said to have cost £188 million

IMG_3063The Library is well worth a visit and with it being free to get in I enjoyed it even more. At the very top is a viewing platform with views stretching for miles across Birmingham.

IMG_3072The specialist Shakespeare Memorial Room was designed in 1882 by for the first Central Library .When the old building was demolished in 1974 the room was dismantled and later fitted into the new concrete shell of the new library complex. When the Library of Birmingham was built, it was again moved, to the top floor. It houses Britain’s most important Shakespeare collection, and one of the two most important  collections in the world. The collection contains 43,000 books. After spending a week in Stratford a short time ago it was good to catch up with our old mate Bill again.

IMG_3078After a couple of hours at the Library it was off to the Museum and Art Gallery.

IMG_3079Yet again its free to enter and well worth a visit.

IMG_3082Carolyn particularly enjoyed looking at The Staffordshire hoard. The hoard of mostly gold and some silver was discovered in 2009 and contains 11lbs of gold. No wonder Carolyn is showing an interest in it.

IMG_3083As usual we didn't have time to see everything which is good because it gives us a reason to come back sometime in the future.

IMG_3076The hall of memory is a war memorial .

IMG_3077With so much yet to see and only a day left before we set off again its going to be another busy day tomorrow especially as Carolyn wants to hit the shops . With New street and the Bull ring not far away plus what ever else she finds I don't think we will be seeing much of each other.

                                                                                                    Happy Days