Posts Tagged ‘coventry’

Day 45 – Atherstone to Brinklow

Friday 7 August, 2009

The day dawned. It looked quite promising. Michael wore his shorts.

Alex Hajok joined us today and helped us up the remaining locks of the Atherstone flight. It was very slow due to the number of boats on the move and sharing locks with a another boat. Fact of the day from the extremely boring man off the other boat: “Sea Otter only make boats to order now. They do up to 55ft, but this is only 27ft.” Times three, at least….

Michael popped to the shops to stock up on bacon, beer and buns (for afternoon tea)* whilst Alex and Bernard cleared the remaining two locks. There was a veritable queue waiting come down when we reached the top.

The sun shone and it got very hot. We lunched on the move and met Harnser at Hawkesbury. We first shared a descent of the Hatton flight with Harnser a few years ago and Bernard has seen them a few times since.

We tied up for the night below Stretton Stop, near Brinklow where we bade farewell to Alex. She caught a bus to Coventry, thence a train back to Atherstone. At the mooring we were adopted by a local feline. It could probably smell our dinner.

Menu: cooked breakfast or cereal and toast (very late); Scotch eggs with salad; Chinese steamed salmon with noodles, followed by cheese and port.

*Only the buns were for afternoon tea.

Day 43 – Weston upon Trent to Fradley

Wednesday 5 August, 2009

After another late night in the pub with a fellow boater we eventually surfaced just after 8.00am. Michael prepared breakfast whilst Bernard changed the engine oil. It seems we are gaining about 0.3 litres of diesel in the lubricating oil each day. We set of at about 9.15am towards the first lock of the day. The weather was forecast as fine but we had a drop of rain to start with and then it gradually cleared to intermittent sunshine.

During the morning we passed Great Haywood junction and completed the great circle via Trevor, Wigan, Leeds, Huddersfield and Stoke on Trent (and all the other places in between!). From now on we are retracing our steps back to Lower Heyford but hopefully managing to find some different stopping places.

At Rugeley we stopped for some shopping and were pleased to meet Michael’s parents who joined us for lunch and hitched a taxi-ride back to Handsacre. The fare was paid in fresh runner beans.

The day passed uneventfully and for the first time in passing through here we were able to moor close to the Swan at Fradley junction where we had a few b***s.

Menu: cooked breakfast or cereal and toast; cold beef salad; lasagne with garlic bread.

Day 5 – Hopwas to Great Haywood

Sunday 28 June, 2009


Quick update on yesterday (or the forgotten things section): during the early hours of day 4 we were passed by a Bolinder-powered narrow boat presumably on their way to Braunston. After blogging last night we spied a barn owl on the prowl.

Fradley Top Lock with Petit Bateau

Fradley Top Lock with Petit Bateau

Today started without any service ringing and continued to be a day free of any distant tinkling. Instead we had a straightforward run without any locks before reaching Fradley junction at around 11am. We enjoyed a remarkably swift passage through the three locks up to the long pound between Wood End and Colwich locks.

The Armitage Shanks factory proved to be the greatest attraction on the route today. Not only did we see the best part of a million toilets, but also a sign warning of a mighty 11.000 volt electricty supply.

Ironic sign by toilet factory

Ironic BW sign outside toilet factory


Michael’s final act on board for the weekend was to wash the foredeck and in doing so to wash Luke’s feet – sort of a Jesus moment. Michael left us at Rugeley leaving a safe five hours before his train departed from Birmingham. A trip to Morrisons just prior to this saw the fridge filled up once again.

Armitage "tunnel"

Armitage “tunnel”

The sun has taken its toll. After Rugeley I stayed inside for almost all the remainder of the journey as I have turned very pink. Luke has awarded me a pinkest nose prize. Factor 80 for the rest of the week I think.

We are now moored up 29 metres north of Swivel Bridge (no. 108) on the Staffs & Worcs. It turns out that a swivel bridge isn’t another type of swing bridge but is actually made of bricks. A bit of clever naming there!

Today’s menus: yet more breakfasty sandwiches, gammon and egg salad for lunch, and Luke’s sausage, bacon, egg, beans, mushroom, tomato and chips stew with dumplings followed by yoghurt curd with chocolate and cinammon mousse. Cheese and port rounded off the evening.

Tomorrow might well see a mediterranean day with an early start, midday siesta, and a late finish all in order to avoid the heat during the height of the day. On the other hand, if it rains, we might go back to sleep.

Below are all the pictures for today. If I get time to sit down tomorrow and wrangle with WordPress we might end up with a more attractive looking blog page. Watch this space…




Wood End lock

Wood End lock

Simon attempting artyness

Simon attempting artyness

ZZZzzz... again!

ZZZzzz… again!

Day 4 – Bulkington Bridge to Hopwas

Saturday 27 June, 2009

We’re back outside a pub again – two this time!

An overcast day today although our start time was somewhat later than previous owing to Michael’s tendancy to stay alseep through noise. The first morning with four people on board had Luke confused and wanting to stay asleep when we needed to move his bed.

Hartshill BW Yard

Hartshill BW Yard

A gentle start and a fair run before the first activity. Showers were fitted into this period. We passed the picturesque BW yard at Hartshill (see photo). The Atherstone flight was very slow – over two hours. We spent much of it following and helping a “green boat” down resulting in a number of locks being worked twice.

Sign to The North

Sign to The North

After the final two locks (“Have we done the locks yet” – slumbering Luke) at Glascote, much further along, we stopped at Fazeley Junction where Bernard and Luke enjoyed a visit to Tesco, presently stocked with zero fresh fruit and veg. Moving a short distance further we reached our mooring for the night, a couple of paces from two pubs in Hopwas. Bernard, Luke and I proceeded there with remarkable haste while Michael prepared dinner.


Today’s menus: breakfasty sandwiches including black pudding, monster lunch from Luke – ham sandwiches witha rice salad and egg mayonnaise, spag bol for dinner followed by strawberries, cheese and port.

Sunday cruising tomorrow – heading for Great Haywood but we make no promises 🙂

Beer on the Atherstone Flight

Beer on the Atherstone Flight

Michael preparing dinner. "Handsome"

Michael preparing dinner. "Handsome"

Day 3 – Napton Bridge to Bulkington Bridge

Friday 26 June, 2009

We’re not in the pub tonight. It looks very boarded up.

This morning was very misty and we experienced a mighty downpour just before Wigram’s Turn. It was just after this that there were three skylarks vying for the highest point in the sky. We passed through Braunston without incident (just). It was only afterwards that we encountered many and various boats heading for the rally – Hilmorton locks were extremely busy.

mini-SNV32356 mini-SNV32360 mini-SNV32363

Wildlife watch: somewhere between Hilmorton and Rugby, we saw a red woodpecker! Fortunately the ant count has been somewhat lower today (probably a result of Bernard’s “kill one at a time” policy).

We moored for water at Rugby, and made a stop for provisions (adding to our steadily growing herb garden). Unfortunately the weather changed drastically at this point, and an unplanned lunch-stop was called for whilst the rain abated.

Newbold Tunnel

Newbold Tunnel

Luke got very excited about his first journey through a tunnel, but the expected rabbit warren turned out to be a long bridge with exciting lights (which extinguished themselves as we left, leaving the next boat in darkness).

Careful planning ensured that Michael joined within seconds of our arrival (on time) at the agreed meeting point.

Warp 9

Warp 9

Table for four, please

Table for four, please

Today’s menus: Various breakfasty sandwiches, lunch – pork and mustard sausages and assorted salads, dinner – steak and leek casserole with an oriental twist followed by melon and a choice of cheeses with port, and finally single malt whiskies.

Tonight’s sleeping arrangements will involve the extra excitement of an added snorer. Luke’s experiment with anti-snore spray last night was applauded (nobody in neighbouring boats was awakened) but only partially successful. Further trials continue.