Thursday, 29 September 2016

All Oaks


IMG_8456Pulling pins from our mooring at Mancetter just before 08.30 we soon passed this boat, I’ve only ever seen a couple of boats with solar water heating and wondered if it was worth having. I would have thought the downside apart from cloudy days would be having to run a pump to move the water around.

IMG_8463Entering Nuneaton and it’s a place that we always try to get through as soon and as fast as possible like many others do as it has a bit of a reputation amongst boaters. The first time we came through here there was a fight on the towpath involving several youths and another time we stopped to do a quick shop only to find the towpath littered with cans and needles. I’m sure the rest of the town isn’t as bad as some areas along the canal.

IMG_8466You don’t see many of these anymore, especially next to the canal.

IMG_8472After a good and uneventful trip through Nuneaton we soon got to Marston junction and this is where you can turn off left and head up the Ashby canal. We did the Ashby 3 years ago and always said we would go back . It looks like after Christmas we will be in this area again so we may take a trip up there again.

IMG_8484Passing Charity dock and what a sight. It has to be the biggest junk yard on the canal system. Having said that ,we sometimes watch a TV programme called Salvage Hunters with a guy called Drew Pritcherd . He travels around the country looking for antiques and salvage . In one of his programmes he visited Charity dock where he found an unbelievable amount of salvage in the sheds behind including motorcycles worth over £20,000 each.

IMG_8487Charity dock is also well known for the characters and models on display.

IMG_8491Finally arriving at Hawkesbury junction we picked up a mooring for the night behind this boat. It would be ideal for our darling daughter who just happens to be called Chloe Louise !!!

IMG_8495After a good night and resisting going to the pub we pulled pins at 08.40 and headed through the junction and onto the North Oxford. I must be getting good at this Narrowboating lark as this is about the third time I’ve made it around in one go.

IMG_8501After a good cruise and spending a few more pounds in the chandlery at Rose Narrowboats we picked up a mooring at All Oaks wood.It’s a very popular spot and has always been full when we have come this way in the past.

Not long after mooring we heard the toot of a horn outside and it turned out to be fellow blogger Adam and Adrian on Nb Briar Rose whose blog I have followed for a long time. Adam is well known for his very informative boat reports in Canal Boat magazine and is always recognisable by his trademark Tilley hat. It was good to meet at last and say a quick hello .

In the morning it will be a short hop to Brownsover where we have arranged to meet up with a couple of friends and a fill of the cupboards at the handy Tesco store which is just a couple of hundred yards from the canal.


                                                                                               Happy Days

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

His n Hers


IMG_8404After a few good days in Alrewas it was time to move . We pulled pins at 07.35 and reversed back around the corner to the winding hole before going back up Alrewas lock .

Passing up through Moor lock between Alrewas and Fradley this is where there is going to be a new 60 berth marina. According to the owners it will be an environmentally friendly design that will appear to behave like a natural body of water rather than a boat park.

IMG_8413After passing through Fradley junction we turned left and onto The Coventry canal .How about this for his n her boats and Guess what ? Carolyn thought it was a great idea . The only problem I could see with us doing this is that my meals would get cold in the time it took Carolyn to get from her boat to mine.

IMG_8419This post is in the middle of the moorings at Hopwas. As you can see the moorings to the left are 48 hours while the moorings to the right are 2 days.  How stupid is that ???

IMG_8429Reaching Glascote locks we passed this boat which we last saw a couple of years ago and it certainly is a very unusual design .ELIZABETH is a converted narrow boat with an iron hull believed to be from the 1860s which was altered by Warrens Shipyard, New Holland, in 1936. Her British Waterways number was 70540. She has a mahogany cabin and pitch pine decks. Her engine is a Gardner 2LW, with 28 horsepower and two cylinders.

IMG_8432We soon made it to the top lock of the and after leaving the lock we passed Glascote basin where they used to make the very desirable Hudson narrowboats. Of course there is no way that I’m going to mention false rivets.. OOPS !  I just did.

IMG_8441After a night moored just outside of Tamworth near the Golf course we pulled pins at 07.10 with the intention of getting up Atherstone locks before it got too busy. We stopped on the services to fill with water before the lock and three boats past us which made us fourth in line to go up.

IMG_8442We passed several boaters coming down who were having a moan about the Volunteer lock keepers on duty. It seems that there were three on duty and they were all on the top lock, nattering and drinking tea where they have their hut. A bit of a difference to the three at Fradley junction a couple of days ago who each worked a lock of their own.To be honest it doesn't really matter to us if they help or not, we are more than happy to lock ourselves through.

IMG_8445After we reached the top of the flight we moored for ten minutes outside the old hat factory. Its such a shame to see this building in such a state and it’s not a good advert for the town, in fact it puts you off stopping here for any amount of time. It seems like Atherstone has been a centre for hatmaking since Tudor times. In the 17th century when the wearing of felt hats instead of caps became increasingly common, Atherstone became the West Midlands centre for the manufacture low cost hats. Hats from Atherstone were sent all over Britain and further afield, around the world to British colonies. In the aftermath of the Second World War. Despite booms and troughs caused by fashion, the market remained on a downward trend. In the 1970s only three hat factories remained in Atherstone – Denham & Hargrave, Vero & Everitt and Wilson & Stafford. In the 1980s as the market contracted further, Wilson & Stafford bought out the other two firms, but could not continue much longer. The Wilson & Stafford factory survived for another decade and was the last to close in 1999.The building was due for demolition in 2008 in order to build flats, but for one reason or another this work has not yet been carried out.

We carried on cruising for another hour before stopping at Mancetter for the night . Tomorrow we will push on through Nunneaton and hopefully pick up a mooring at Hawkesbury junction


                                                                                                    Happy Days

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Even more boat names


IMG_8097How many times have I heard Carolyn say where’s the Thingy..

IMG_8083You should always have one of these .

IMG_8117Liked this one ,but not a clue what it’s about.

IMG_8123We have seen plenty of Grey Herons but not a Blue one.

IMG_8149Another strange boat name and one that I just had to Google.

The legend tells of young John Lambton, son of a noble family in County Durham, who was fishing in the River Wear on a Sunday. When he was unable to catch a fish, he cursed the river, and immediately hooked an ugly little black worm which he later disposed of, in disgust, in the local well. This worm was to grow into a great serpent-like monster which blighted Lambton village and wreaked havoc in the area whilst John was away fighting in the Crusades for seven years.
When he returned home, now Sir John, he learned about the terrible creature that he had inflicted upon his village, and in remorse, set out to combat this monster. With the advice of a wise woman, he devised a suit of armour strong enough to withstand the power of the serpent and covered with spikes to penetrate its scales.
He successfully killed it, but in so doing inadvertently inflicted a curse upon his own family which was to last for nine generations.
The legend of the Lambton Worm is believed to date from the 14th century.

IMG_8163One for her indoors. I mean her inboat !

IMG_8181I think there is a story behind this boat name. Anyone know what it is ? .

IMG_8170Apparantly Flip is a cartoon character although being an old you know what I have never heard of him.

IMG_8188"One Step Ahead Of The Devil" was a song by BLUE OYSTER CULT . But not sure about Toymachine .                                                               

IMG_8189Just need to find a boat called Fred.

                                                                                                                    Happy Days

Friday, 23 September 2016



IMG_8361Pulling pins from our mooring just outside of Armitage at 08.10 and we soon passed this house. How perfect can you get with your logs, I will have to try and make our roof look just as good if I can find any wood to put on it.

IMG_8368Passing through Fradley junction, many say that Braunston is the centre of the canal system. But Fradley is always busy and full of Gongoozlers (canal watchers).With three volunteer lockies on duty and each one at a separate lock we soon sped through.

IMG_8399How lucky are we .A bit surprised that Alrewas was so empty we managed to pick up this ,which is our favourite mooring right outside the Church and Bowling club.

IMG_8379As you all know the search for my final resting place is still on. Here at Alrewas Carolyn tries to convince me that this is the perfect place for me.She also pointed out that when ever any of our boating friends cruised by they could put some flowers on my grave ,although a few glasses of red wine tipped on would be better. I must admit I cant think of anywhere better at the moment,so it goes to the top of the list, but not for another 40 or 50 years I hope !!!

IMG_8375At the end of Alrewass you drop down the lock and onto The River Trent. On several occasions we have passed through here and even winded (turned) on the river but I think when we leave Alrewas I will attempt to reverse back to the winding hole to turn.

IMG_8392I’ve not done a lot of fishing this year,but when I have there have been a good few fish caught. I caught this lovely bream on a bit of bread flake and was lucky enough to catch a few more of a similar size after this one.


                                                                                                              Happy Days

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Toilet town


IMG_8305Pressing on towards Arewas and Carolyn managed to get this picture at Tixall lock. Not a clue what sort it is but I’m told it looks very pretty.

IMG_8309The Elizabethan gatehouse at Tixall wide as we passed through always looks magnificent. We would have moored in the wide but it was full. Mind you it wouldn’t have been full if boaters didn’t leave 20 feet between them and the next boat. Anyway ,we managed to pick up a good mooring at the end of the wide where we spent the night

IMG_8317The following morning with the mist still on the canal we pulled pins at 07.15 and headed towards the junction with The Trent and Mersey canal.

IMG_8319I just don’t understand how some people can sleep in and miss this most beautiful Sunrise. This is the junction at Great Haywood, where we turned right and headed towards Rugeley.

IMG_8329Passing Maid of Oak. This boat is now for sale and the price in the window is £65,000. Built in 2006 it may well be the last ever Narrow boat built in Oak. It’s on Apollo Duck at £60,000 ,but looks very different in the pictures on there to what it looks like now.

IMG_8336Arriving at Rugeley and who should we bump in to but Tony and Jacqui on NB Timewarp. While Carolyn and Jacqui were up in the town Tony and I sat on the towpath and enjoyed a beer and a good old chat . Tony sells one of the biggest selections of Tillerpins I have ever seen and his prices are very good. Not only that but they also now sell the most delicous Fudge which is made on board by Jacquie. Well worth a stop and a look if you see them on the cut…

IMG_8339After filling the cupboards on Inca we said goodbye to Tony and Jacquie and headed out of Rugeley passing this fine looking Bird on the way. It’s a bit strange to pass through Rugeley without smoke coming out of the massive towers of the power station which closed back in June with the loss of a couple of hundred jobs.

IMG_8346There’s no way you can go through Armitage ( we call it toilet town ) without taking a picture. This is the factory of Armitage Shanks where they produce Sanitary ware. I don’t think Carolyn approved of my toilet talk and jokes as we passed the factory.

We then picked up a mooring about a mile South of Armitage where we will spend the night before heading through Fradley junction and in to Alrewas in the morning.

                                                                                                   Happy Days

Monday, 19 September 2016

Wet dream ?



                                                                                  My favourite boat name of all time ..Look closely!!!


                                                                                                               Happy Days

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Aloha !!


IMG_8227The Canal and River trust with a sense of humour, Can’t say I’ve seen any cute fuzzy ducklings or green hopping frogs.

IMG_8235We had a late start from Gnosall and never pulled pins until 10.00 after saying goodbye to Rich and Sharon on Nb Oakapple. It was then through Cowley tunnel which isn’t very long at 81 yards but it is an unlined tunnel.

IMG_8243There was no way we could go through Wheaton Aston without filling up from Turners. This is the cheapest diesel we have ever had and ended up having 84 litres . We had passed coal/diesel boat Halsall a few days earlier and would have filled up from him,but unfortunatly he was away from the boat when we passed.

IMG_8251A most unusual colour scheme for a narrowboat as we pass this boat as we cruised through Brewood.

After a night South of Brewood we had a decision to make . Should we turn right at Autherley junction and head back down through Birmingham or turn left and head down to The Trent and Mersey canal and have a few days at our favourite village Alrewas. In the end it was an easy decision, we pulled pins at 07.45 and turned left at the junction and headed towards Alrewas. .

IMG_8274Its always a pleasure to go through the unusual lock at Gailey.The round brick building was a toll keeper's office,but is now a private residence. The bridge carries the busy A5 road (Watling Street) over the canal.

IMG_8276After dropping down the lock who should we meet but friends Amos and Charlene. We first met them nearly three years ago on The Ashby canal when we gave them a hand to moor up and have kept in touch through the Blog ever since. They come over every year from Hawaii to spend time cruising on our canals which they absolutly love. It was great to see you both and enjoy the rest of your cruise….Aloha

IMG_8280We then passed this lucky Bull just down from Boggs lock and he was in a field with about 50 lady Cows ,Just look at the size of his………Head !


IMG_8294We then stopped off at The Crown carvery at Radford Bank . How can you beat it for value ? . We had a full roast lunch with Pork,Turkey and Gammon for just £4.49 each … Just the ticket.

IMG_8281Its always a pleasure to be held up by a boat and it’s Butty working their a the lock. I take my hat off to these guys, its not as easy as they make it look.

It was then onto Penkridge where we picked up a mooring just before the winding hole and services. As usual Carolyn wanted to have a stroll around the town so in the end we decided to overnight here.

                                                                                                            Happy Days