Monday, 26 September 2016

Goodbye to Molly Rose for 2016.

Monday 19 September.

Day around the boat.

Tuesday 20 September.

Into Hazel Grove by Bus to pick up a rental car. A bit disappointed as we ordered the smallest car available and normally are given the next size up. Not this time. We drive around the corner to Visit Uncle John (Barry's uncle) for a cuppa and chat before heading off to Macclesfield to pick up the material Diana wants for the dining room curtains. A huge warehouse with a massive selection. I can see why Diana likes this place. We leave there with an extra 10kg of luggage to bring home. We take the road to Whaley Bridge which we have not been on before. Quite windy for a well used road with us stopping when we could to let the locals race past.

Wednesday 21 September. 4 miles.

Motor off past New Mills then turn around and stop to fill the diesel tank and empty the holding tank before travelling back past the marina to turn around before backing Molly into position for the winter. The afternoon is spent packing what we will travel home with. All this is put into the car and we move into the holiday let at New Mills. F & C for tea. We make use of the dryers to finish drying all of the washing.

Thursday 22 September.

I am back to the boat to finish putting Molly to bed while Diana completes drying all the washing. After I have removed all the domestic water, disconnected the batteries and vacuumed I return to pick up Diana and we put all the linen away and place the dehumidifier pots throughout the boat. This done we leave and do a couple of bits and pieces in the car. We realise we still need to return a couple of things to the boat and do this on the way to the Soldier Dick (pub) in Furnress Vale where we will have tea.

Friday 23 September.

All packed up and ready to leave. loaded the little car with cases, bolt of material, hand luggage and off we go to Manchester Airport. Drop off the car and take the shuttle bus to the terminal and walk to the railway station. We have about an hour to wait so have an early lunch which turn out to be a good choice. Went to the platform and when the train arrived we loaded all the gear in and found our seats. we had requested forward facing, a table, power and close to the luggage rack. we got 2 out of the 4 so ended up traveling backwards to Scotland. train not very full from the airport but after stopping in Manchester the train was full almost all the way. Once we settled into the journey it was announced they had a fault with the refreshments trolley so there would not be a service today. Three and a half hours later, in not that comfortable seats we arrive in Glasgow on time and just as Murray arrives on the platform. We take a cab to his place and settle in for the week.

Pilkies Derbyshire tour

Sunday 18 september.

Jim and Anne arrive at the Marina having driven down from Preston to take us on another of their tours. We head off southwest to Chapel-en-le-Frith then turn West and steadily climb through beautiful scenery to one of the high points of the Peak National Park. This area is known for it's Blue John  stone which comes from one of the caves and is not found anywhere else. There are some high cliffs with many paragliders soaring along the edge. We now descend down a steep winding busy tourist road to the beautiful village/town of Castleton. There is no where to stop and continue on to Heathersage and visit the tomb of "Little John". He spent his later years here. After a bite to eat we moved on to Eyam. Eyam is known for it's actions during the plague. The town isolated itself when a villager got the plague and had no contact with the rest of the country until there were no further cases, thus stopping the spread of the disease into surrounding areas. There is a National Trust house, Eyam Hall. Owned by one family for 11 generations. They still own the house and live in the village but have leased it to The National trust for a number of years. It is well presented with a lived in feel to the house and gardens. We continue with a walk around the village and then look for a Pub, after all it is Sunday. We have our Sunday Roast in the village of Foolow on our way back to the marina via Chapel-en-le-Frith and Whaley Bridge. The Tour finishes with coffee on Molly Rose before Jim & Anne return to Preston. Thanks to you both for a Great Tour.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Furness Vale

Wednesday 14 September. 8 1/2 miles. 

Nice day to be boating. Stopped at Marple. While moored up we were passed by the boat that moors next to us at Furness Vale. They were on their way home too. After some lunch we went into town to take a load of books to the Charity shop where Diana found a shirt for me. Needed some polish for the boat and dehumidifier crystals to leave over winter. A cup of coffee then back for the last few miles on what is a lovely canal, mainly because it is on the side of a hill rather than down in a ditch. As we approach the last bridge, that is the beginning of the marina, we pass our Neighbors who have moored up for the night. They wanted a bit more time on the canal before leaving their boat.Nose  into the berth about 1800 and hook up to power before settling in for the night.

Thursday 15 September.

Wash the top and pontoon side of the boat. When it is dry it gets a polish as well. The weather is ideal, although a warm day the sun is hidden by clouds in the morning and then passes behind some trees so the boat is not too hot to work on. Quite noticeable how low in the sky the sun is. Takes most of the day but did have interruptions from passing locals and boaters.

Friday 16 September. 2 Miles.

Bit of a sleep in after a busy yesterday. Rain clears late morning so a bit of patch up painting is done. This is dry by late afternoon so off we go the mile up the canal to turn around outside Tesco's. A bit of food to keep us going for the next few days. Then back the mile to the marina where the boat is now backed in for washing and polishing on the other side. This leaves just 4 more miles to do. We need to go a mile north to New Mills where we will get a pump out and fill the tank with Diesel then turn around and go back past the marina to Tesco's where we turn again to come back to the marina and back in which is the way we leave it over winter.

Saturday 17 september.

Wash the other side of the boat before we walk into New Mills to buy a bit of hardware. Diana stays to check out the charity shops while I return to the boat and set about polishing the second side. It takes all afternoon.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Into the top pound.

Sunday 11 september, 1 1/2 miles, 12 locks.

As we are getting ready to set off 2 boats come past so we know that there will be a delay going up. I am keen to move off to reserve our place in the que, and just as well because as we moved around the corner to the bottom of the locks another boat follows. The prospect of a slow climb up the locks is confirmed when taking to the boat ahead he tells me that they have been following the first boat and they have trouble getting their boat through bridges. there are few boats coming down so we need to empty all the locks before we can enter. We are fortunate to have a keen man in the second boat. He goes ahead to help the first boat and eventually figures out what their problem is and makes some helpful suggestions. He also opens the paddles on the lock he is leaving so it is almost empty by the time we get there. After about 3 locks Marion turns up to help which is much appreciated. Two and a half hours after we start we clear the last lock and pull over for a cuppa with Alan & Marion on the towpath. We say our final goodbyes and move on a short distance before mooring up for the day.

Monday 12 September, 4 1/2 miles.

Loverly day as we trundle through the countryside. Diana has an anxious moment as she is required to stop traffic to open a swing bridge. It is all electronic so no effort involved. Further on we reach another swing bridge which is normally open but it is not. Diana can't swing it so I nosed the boat forward and climb off the front. It takes a while to notice the locking system is broken, luckily it is in the unlocked position. It is unbalanced and very heavy to move. It looks like with the broken lock and being unbalanced it has been hit by a boat. Once we are through and closed the bridge again I ring the Canal trust to tell them what has happened. "Yes we know about that and waiting for parts". Further discussion is had about signage and a notice about the situation. As we are about to move off a hire boat comes steaming around the corner, I put my hand indicating he needs to stop but he thinks we are moored up until he sees there is a closed bridge in front of him with nowhere to go. I accept a few knocks and bruises are inevitable but being hit because of inattention is not that pleasant. When we get to Macclesfield there is room on the pontoon and as Diana is keen to see an antique dealer she has been told about in town we moor up for lunch. Diana heads off and I stay with the boat. About 1700 she has done what she needs to do and so have I. I then walk to town to pick up our pre booked tickets to Glasgow from the station, meet Diana and have a coffee and visit the chippy on the way back to the boat. We are staying the night.

Tuesday 13 September. 7 miles.

Away in the morning for a bit more trundling along on a warm sunny day. They are talking about a heatwave. Around lunch time we pull over at Bollington, eat lunch then walk into the lower part of the town for a change. Back on the boat for a few more miles before mooring up past Higher Poynton looking across at Lyme Park Keep. Beautiful evening on the towpath with drinks and nibbles. This lasted until the dark clouds move over with thunder and lightning followed by torrential rain which lasted for over an hour before the front passed. We expect a sunny hot day tomorrow with only 9 miles to go.

Saturday, 10 September 2016


Saturday 10 september. 4 miles

Picked up at 1030 and into Congleton market to buy some Oatcakes & black pudding. We have now discovered that Real Oatcakes (not supermarket ones) have a far superior taste and are eating them almost every lunchtime. Today is Heritage day and there are some places to visit for free. First stop is the Church where I take the opportunity to be a Campanologist. I Climb up a spiral staircase to the bell ringers level where I get an insight into the workings of the bells. At my request they give a demonstration of a 3 bells peel. When they have finished the question is "does anyone want to try". Too right I do so after a bit more instruction and under dual control I get to ring one of 8 bells in their tower. We look through the church, visit an 18th century bath house in a private garden, check out some old buildings we had not seen before, then return to the boat for Black pudding Oatcakes. When it was time to sail off we had an additional 3 crew members join us. Marion looks after her 5 & 7 year old great grand daughters after school and often takes them for a walk along the towpath where they are always asking to go on stranger's boats. They didn't know what was planned so too very excited little girls and their Great Grandma travel about 2 1/2 miles to the last bridge where they can get off. Alan has driven there to pick them up. As we approached the first bridge the girls notice their Grand Ma and Pa on the bridge. They have come on their bikes and follow along the towpath.

Friday, 9 September 2016


Wednesday 7 September.

Not a good day. Diana woke with a bad case of vertigo and nausea. After lunch it was a question of what and how much did she want to do. We walked to Tunstall to stock up on food and found a Lidl which helped improve Diana's day as she hadn't found one this year. We didn't buy much as their selection of chocolate was not as good as we remembered. By the time we got back to the boat it was too late for the tunnel so settled in for the afternoon with Diana sitting in the sunshine on a towpath chair. That evening we were surprised by a visit from our Congleton friends who knew we were at Westport lake but had not been there before so plugged in the GPS and found us 22 minutes later. Great to see them unexpectedly. Bedtime and when Diana puts her head on the pillow the world spins again. She spends most of the night trying to sleep in a chair.

Thursday 8 September. 8 miles, 1 lock.

Diana feeling better but far from 100%. Doesn't want to bend down to aggravate the problem. We eventually get away and arrive at the tunnel with boats emerging so not much delay before we pass through. Once in to the sunshine again we turn onto the Macclesfield Canal, climb the 1 foot of our only lock today and then stop for water. A short distance further on it is a lunch stop. As we approach Congleton we stop and talk to our friends son who is working on his boat and then to his and our surprise Marion turns up on her push bike a bit short of breath. Apparently bike riding is not a common event. Shortly after we are moored up At Congleton Wharf. We are invited to go out for dinner and join the family celebrate, grandson, Harry's 17th birthday. We have now meet 4 more members of the family. A lovely gathering and very good meal as well. Back to the boat for an early night. Diana managed to get her head down OK.

Friday 9 September.

A quiet morning with the chance to do some work on the boat. After lunch we are off, by car to the supermarket. On the way we call in to watch Alan in a Crown Bowls tournament. Always a fascinating game to watch with the uneven surface. By the time the bowls finish and we had done the shopping it was Fish and Chips back at their's. Must say I was pleased that the F&C shop had a new product. Mushy Pea Fritter. I first experienced one of these in 2010 on the Ashby canal and have been looking for one ever since. Back to the boat at a reasonable hour tonight.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016


Tuesday 6 September. 7 miles, 6 locks.

Continuing north. First lock almost immediately after setting off and quite deep as well. Through Trentham with well kept properties on one side and overhanging trees on the other followed by open country until the bypass around Stoke joins us. This doesn't last for too long and we are then into the final 5 locks before we leave the Trent & Mersey. The plan is, up 2 to clear the rough bit then stop for lunch. What happened was, with the boat traffic coming the other way we kept going to take advantage of empty locks. Once at the top and with Middleport Pottery less than 2 miles away we press on and tie up outside, giving Diana a couple of hours at her "must visit pottery". 10 minutes further on we are moored up at the familiar spot of Westport Lake where we spend time on the towpath with .. you can guess the rest.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Continuing North

Tuesday 30 August.

Out and about on another Pilkington tour. Today they have found a National Trust Property near Ticknall. There is a limited choice today as normally Trust properties are closed on Mondays but as yesterday was a Bank holiday and they were open they choose to close on Tuesday. Calke Abbey is presented in a different way. The owner had traveled the world collecting artifacts, looked like he had a fetish for birds and animals. The taxidermist's of the area would have had a lifetime of work as everywhere you turned there were cabinets of stuffed Birds, Animals and trophy heads.  He turned into a bit of a recluse and the house has been left as it was when he left. It was in need of much renovation but the trust decided to make it watertight and stop any further deterioration. The house is presented as an example of what needs to be done to some of the properties they acquire. Once we had been through the house we spent some time in the large grounds which included a small church, a large walled garden, orangery and selection of sheds with much old hand machinery in them. On the way home we needed a Pub for a meal and ended up in Willington at the Green Man. Had had the best Sunday Roast there last year and although the place had changed hands the meals were pretty good. Back in Rugeley we had coffee on Molly Rose before Anne & Jim made the return trip to Preston, a couple of hours away.

Wednesday 31 August. 5 miles, 2 locks.

A day of boating through the countryside remembering last year on this section, to arrive at Great Hayward for a couple of nights to catch up. Generator out for 3 loads of washing.  Walk to the Farm shop and cafe. After tea we walked through the grounds of Shugborough Hall taking some interesting "fading light photos". Generally a quiet evening.

Thursday 1 September.

A no rush day. After lunch we went back to Shugborough to walk through the gardens that were closed last night. Still walking a few miles most days.

Friday 2 September. 5 1/2 miles, 3 locks.

Walked to the Farm shop for some bread and veggies. Filled up with water before continuing north at a gentle, no pressure pace. The locks are spaced well apart and once through the first one where we are second in the que the boats get spaced out as well. Had lunch on the move so with time to spare thought we would walk into Burston, which looked interesting in the book. As we approached we realised we had stopped here with Ray and Rosemary so decided not to. Well that was until we passed some other boaters who were walking back. They convinced us that it was worthwhile to walk a little further to where there was a nice pub. Yes the pub looked nice but that was all there was so back to the boat. It was such a nice afternoon and we are only an hour or so from Stone so we stay put.

Saturday 3 September. 3 miles, 2 locks.

Checked the forecast as soon as we got up. Heavy rain due to start at 1100. A quick breakfast and off we go anticipating to be in Stone by 1100. I recon we have time so pull into the Aston Marina for a pump out and then up to the first lock. I empty it and in we go. By the time we get to the top there are two boats waiting behind. I'm pleased we are in front as I guess they are all heading for Stone to beat the weather and moorings are going to be in high demand. On the approaches to Stone we pull over where we were this time last year with Rachel & Trevor. Diana goes to look ahead. She finds one spot and it is one of the best in town. We first found this one on our way south when Ray & Rosemary were with us. We take the chance that someone coming the other way won't get there first as there is a lock to do on the way. All good as we moor up just after 1100. Good plan, worked well. Pity the forecast wasn't accurate. The rain started just as we set off. Must say though, after 1100 it got a lot heavier. By mid afternoon the rain has eased so walk into Stone to the hardware shop and Costa's. As we get to the main street it is full of gazebos. Yes it is the monthly Farmers market and it has just finished. So into Costa's where we catch up on blogs etc. Home via the chippy and a quiet night onboard.

Sunday 4 Septemeber

It is Fathers day in NZ so a good reason to partake of a Sunday Roast. I wander off into town on the off chance the motor accessories shop is open. It is not. Diana turns up soon after as there are a number of Charity shops in town and she will have a look before lunch Only a couple open. Back to the canal for lunch at the Star. Meat was very nice but the veg were over cooked. Never mind a nice Fathers day lunch. Pottered around on the boat with a bit of painting to finish. Walked down the towpath a bit to get rid of the rubbish before settling in for the night.

Monday 5 September. 4 miles, 7 locks.

Busy morning on the canals. Early off the boat to see if I could buy a bit for the boat. Unsucsesful. Then we both went to do a supermarket shop before Diana checked out the rest of the Charity shops. The canals are still busy so we time our departure and join the que at the first lock. Not to much delay as there are boats coming down. Manage to fill the water tank at the second lock without loosing our place. Did one more before stopping for lunch at the bottom of the Meaford flight of 4. Trundled on with a short stop at Barlaston to visit the Big Boys Toy shop, unfortunately they ar now out of business. We have the option going on to Stoke and 6 more locks or stop at a familiar spot adjacent to Wedgwood factory. to enjoy drinks a knibbles on the towpath.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Bank Holiday Weekend

Thursday 25 August. 6 1/2 miles, 11 locks.

We meander through the countryside passing the Hartsill boat yard where there are old canal buildings, one of which has a lovely clock on top. Diana wants to take it home to put on our sheds out the back. It would really suit the property. We have been past here twice before but going the otherway you don't see it coming as it is just after a bridge. This time there is time to slow down and get the cameras out. As we approach the Atherstone flight I check the weather as we have always struck rain here before, no exception today as we enter the 3rd lock the drizzle starts. Nothing like the first time through when a thunderstorm struck going up. It was so bad we put the boat in a lock and waited inside for it to pass. After the 5th lock we moored up and walked into Atherstone  for a look around and a bite to eat. It is a town I enjoyed the first visit so was keen to walk around again. It has one of the best looking railway stations I have seen. It would have been even better in the days of steam when there was not all the electrification gantry & lines around. Late afternoon we continued down the last 6 locks of the flight, which are in 3 pairs mooring up just before the next downpour. 

Friday 26 August. 3 1/2 miles.

Just a short run to Alvecote where a number of historic boats are heading for a rally this Bank Holiday Weekend. Arrive and have some lunch before we walk to the pub where the boats are. But first we catch a taxi to a chiropractor in Fazeley. Diana has had a sore back for a few days now and it isn't getting any better. She was lucky to get an appointment at short notice. After the treatment it is a taxi back to the pub. There are about 20 - 30 boats in the marina with a row of working boats all backed in so it is easy to have a look at the boatman's cabins at the back. There is not a lot going on as everyone involved are doing there own thing. Diana's back needs a rest so a quick meal (average quality) to support the event then back to the boat.

Saturday 27 August. 6 miles, 2 locks.

The Historic Narrow Boat Gathering officially starts today so we are off down there again. First up we talk to a Canal & River trust volunteer who is showing off one of the trusts work boats. This is used for education so is decked out as it would have been during it's working life. We are taken into the boatman's cabin and shown how every nook and cranny was used by a family of up to 6 living in a space only slightly bigger than 6' by 6'. Next we walk down the line of boats. These people are fanatics and every cabin was decorated to the nine's. Many photo opportunities here. It was good to be there but it was a bit like kite flyers getting together. They wanted to be and play with their friends and not concentrate on the public. We went back to the boat for lunch and then set off at 1415. At 1400 the old boats started one of their competitions. They come down the canal and  turn in a wining hole then go about a mile and turn again. They are scored on their ability to turn. So as we come around the corner three boats have turned and 20 plus are heading towards us. We pop in behind number 3 and at snails pace weave our way past the oncoming boats in front of the public. Molly got a mention over the PA system as we went past. The next mile was probably the slowest done so far. Clear of the parade we continue through Tamworth, mooring up for a while as a thunderstorm goes through. Stop for milk & bread, fill with water then down the last two locks this year. They are all up from here on. Through Fazeley Junction and stop short of Hopwas for the night.

Sunday 28 August. 8 miles.

A mix of quiet countryside and noisy highway on a busy canal. It seemed like every boat coming the other way wanted to meet us in a bridge hole. Some didn't see us coming till the last minute so reverse gear was getting a bit of use. Arrived at Fradley Junction, where the Coventry meets the Trent & Mersey canal, in time to meet up with Roger and Pat who moor their boat about 10 miles and 14 locks down the Trent & Mersey. They came by car. The four of us partook of a Sunday roast in the "Swan", the pub at the junction. They then took us the two miles to The National Memorial Arboretum at Airewas. We made our first visit on the 27th August last year. A very moving place to visit. Back to Fradley junction for a cuppa before we returned to our boats.

Monday 29 August. 7 miles, 3 locks.

Up to the, reportedly busiest junction on the network, around the corner and straight into the first and open lock. There are volunteers to help so Diana doesn't have to put any strain on her back. Second lock much the same. Who said it was busy? About a mile further on at the next lock there is are no volunteers but we are second in the que to go up and there are 3 waiting to come down. Nothing unusual in that But, one of the paddles is broken so the lock takes an age to fill and the gate arms are short making them very heavy. No way Diana will move them without help. Lucky there are many boaters hanging around. 45 Minutes later we settle in at a stately pace until we stop for lunch on a beautiful day before continuing on to Rugeley and a stop at Tesco's. It is a day to enjoy so here we stay tonight.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Northern Oxford.

Monday 22 August. 9 1/2 miles, 3 locks.

Set off from Braunston at a reasonable hour and turned right up the Oxford Canal. A nice warm day to just cruise along at under 3 mph with the noise of the M45 to interrupt the peace of the country for a short time. Stopped short of the Hillmorton locks for lunch before walking down to the Canal settlement for a look. When we went through here in 2010 everything was closed up. Now every thing except the cafe is closed. Back to the boat to set off down the locks. Well it's Monday and there are hire boats every where and one of the paired locks is broken. As we are behind about 5 boats going down we get to enjoy the entertainment of enthusiastic amateurs. One kid fell off the top of the boat onto the front deck and I saw a 4-5 year old with a bleeding nose while a 6 year old sister was happily swinging a windlass. Eventually we are through and heading for Tescos at Rugby before a planned mooring outside Rugby for the night. As we approach Rugby we spy a kiwi flag and then recognise the name Waiouru on the boat. Quick reverse and try to fit into a 58ft gap behind. As it doesn't fit we hang off the back and chat for a good half hour before continuing to Tescos. It is now later than planned so stay the night there.

Tuesday 23 August. 8 miles,  1 tunnel, 1 swing bridge.

I pop back into Tescos to pick up another loaf of bread but it appears I got the last one last night. We leave Rugby and once through the Newbold tunnel it is countryside again. We find a spot with some shade and a wide towpath for lunch. Out with the generator and two loads of washing get done. With the hot weather it should dry quickly. We move on and after passing the M6 decide to get a bit away from the motorway noise before stopping for the night. We don't mind trains as they go past quick and reasonably quietly. We have nibbles and drinks on the towpath on a lovely warm summers night. We have changed our minds about quiet trains. They are passing every 5-6 minutes and a number of them are freight trains which don't go past quick as they are so much longer. Note to self, Make sure there is some form of vegetation between trains and boat.

Wednesday 24 August. 13 miles, 1 lock.

Under the M69, then alongside the M6 we reach Hawkesbury Junction where we pass through the 1 foot stop lock before doing a 180 deg turn onto the Coventry canal. Fill with water and head off north around Bedworth and past the Entrance to the Ashby canal. Went there in 2010 and would have liked to do it again but it takes 2 days to get to the nicest bit, so we go straight through. Next is Nuneaton where we meander through with a stop for diesel. Once out the other side into the country we moor up for the night. The rain starts about 2 hours later.


Saturday 20 August.

Bit of a sleep in this morning. Pat & Roger came to visit. We meet them on the way into Liverpool in 2014. They have a daughter in Wellington so come down under every southern summer. We introduced them to Art Deco last year and they will return for the third time next year. Their boat is moored about an hour away so they drove over. After much talking on Molly Rose we walked back up the canal to a canal side pub for a late and enjoyable lunch. After we walked them back to their car we took a familiar stroll through Braunston before returning to the boat for tea and sleep.

Sunday 21 August.

Today we are picked up by Dave who drives us the 35 minutes back to the new house they moved into 3 weeks ago. We meet Dave and Angie on the way out from Liverpool and doubled up with them going up the Wigan flight. Later on we joined them down the flight and had a few days cruising with them to Manchester. Most impressed with the design of this modern house and although mostly white interior the colours used in the furnishings blended it all together. Had a great feeling about it. They took us to a pub on the outskirts of Leicester for a Roast, it was Sunday after all. Roger and Pat joined us for the roast. We all adjourned back to the house for coffee and had a good old chinwag before returning to the boat where we finished the day with a light snack before bed.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Done with Doubles

Friday 19 August. 9 miles,15 locks, 1 2000yd tunnel.

We wake to a rainy day so motivation to move is not high. Mid morning it is looking better so off we trot. A couple of miles along we are following a familiar boat so it is looking good for pairing up on the locks ahead. There is a bit of light drizzle but not unpleasant to be standing on the back steering. It is quite noisy with trains close by to the left and the M1 to the right. A little further on the noise reduces as there are roadworks on the M1and I smile to myself as of the three forms of transport we are the second fastest. We join the other boat in the first lock. We have not traveled with them before but first talked to them on the Thames before we did the tidal bit. Since then we have criss crossed with them several times. So up we go and at lock 2 the drizzle turns to persistent rain and continues all the way up. At the last lock they didn't arrive so we went up by ourselves and stopped for lunch. Now we are inside eating the rain stops. About an hour later they come past, they had stopped at a wee shop beside the canal. We follow them as we turn left towards Braunston. This completes our new canals for this year. By now the rain has stopped and, surprisingly, there was no dripping water in the tunnel. Out the other side and down the last 6 locks, This went quickly as there were a number of boats coming up so the locks were full. As we approach Braunston around 5pm we are not optimistic about finding a good mooring but luck was with us. I spy a small gap, that I'm not sure we will fit into, but as there are people on an adjacent boat I am prepared to ask them to move forward to give me room. They must have read my thoughts as he appears and says that we will fit as a 60 footer has just moved on. From when we left the River Thames, 12 days ago, we have done 100 double locks and now we are back onto narrow canals. Quite looking forward to only 51 locks left and 3 1/2 weeks to do it in. Although we have been pushing it along we have enjoyed the canal and there is nowhere really that we feel we missed out on.

Thursday, 18 August 2016


Thursday 18 august. 10 miles, 7 locks 1 3000yd tunnel.

It was a foggy day to start with an eerie feeling, the trees poking through the fog and great reflections on the canal. We were almost ready to leave when a boat goes past going our way so I ask them if they would wait 5 minutes for us. They agree. We had been through a lock with them earlier. The couple and their two younger teenagers had spent a month in NZ a couple of years ago. With their help we raced up 5 locks where we were to moor up so we could walk up the last two locks to the village. No chance of a mooring up there. On the way up the locks I discussed what we were doing and they chose to do the same except they would stay the night. When we got up to the village we did the tourist side of the canal then stopped for a coffee, after which we crossed to the other side where there were just as many photo opportunities. The other boat is owned by her parents who live on it fulltime. When it is holiday time the couple and their two kids drive to where the boat is and her parents drive the car back to where it had come from. After two weeks holiday the parents drive to wherever the boat is and they swap over again. Seems like a great arrangement to me. We saw the family a couple of times in the village. So why so much about them? They were a delightful family with well balanced and mannered kids. The people that give you faith in the future of our world. I do hope they get to NZ again and meet up with them. About 1300 we set off up the last 2 locks with help from the public as this is a place where many come to see canal boats. As we approach the Blisworth tunnel I am reprimanded by the Smithy at the entrance for going too fast. Into the hole we go. It is double so the concentration is not as intense as a narrow tunnel. I have time to look around. What do you see? Brick linings, water dripping and in some cases pouring in. This has been happening for years and many interesting stalactites have developed. Not long after leaving the tunnel we pass the junction to Northampton, 17 locks down and 17 back up does not make it an attractive option to visit. We continue slowly through mainly open country with few buildings to see until mooring up for the night at Weedon next to the west coast main line with trains passing every few minutes.

The reference to Merlin's. Yesterday as I was walking down the locks I heard an aircraft with an obvious powerful engine and thought to myself, nothing special. As the Spitfire went past I looked up to see him complete a couple of barrel rolls. Today as we passed the Northampton Junction I was concentrating on taking a photo. When I put the camera down I look up to see a Lancaster disappearing in the distance.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

1 Step up

Wednesday 17 August. 10 miles, 1 lock.

Looking to put in a big day. Away before 0900 traveling around the edge of Milton Keynes. Mostly amongst trees and parkland with a few clumps of houses. Many moored up boats to trickle past until we get to Wolverton where we spend 1 1/2 hours supermarket shopping. I decide not to stop for lunch to make up some time. 2 miles later we are into the first of the locks up to Bilsworth tunnel. For 5 miles there are no towns on the canal but the view and atmosphere make for a nice days boating. We reach the bottom of a flight of 7 locks but because of the heat moor up for a while. At the top of the locks is Stoke Bruerne, a well known canal centre where CRT have a museum. I walk up the locks to check it out while Diana puts her feet up. Too much walking to villages recently and her hip is playing up. I don't know what the Temperature is today but working locks with no shade doesn't seem like a good idea. I spend some time in the museum and make  plan for tommorow. I wont tell you the plan I will blog what happend later.

Bottom of the hill.

Tuesday 16 August. 8 1/2 miles, 1 lock.

About an hour into the morning travel we go down Fenny Stratford lock. The drop is a masive 1ft 1inch and takes us to the bottom of the hill with 11 miles before we start up the other side. The Canal Guide suggests we vist Willen and Great Linford so stop for lunch at the bridge giving us access to Willen then off to find the Church of interest. 20 minues later we arrive to find the church locked and the main point of interest is inside. Wander around for a while ad then see a note with a phone number to ring for access. Shortly after we are in. The ceiling is very tall for the relitvel small church and inerior is painted pink, picked out in white and gold. Quite different. Back to the boat with less than a mile to moor up for Great Linford. We take what looks like the quickest route and end up at the top end of the interesting part with thatched, brick and stone buildings. Then down past the pub to the old Manor House and associated church and buildings. We walk back to the boat along the tow path and this isn't the quikest route. Back on the boat and move to moor up opposite where we have just been. Not a long day travelling but a lot of walking so we are left with a few miles to catch up tomorrow.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Charity shop fix

Monday 15 August. 5 miles, 5 locks.

Walked into Leighton Buzzard for a look around. It is a Market Town with a good selection of shops in the main street. There are a few chain stores but they are generally in adjacent streets so don't detract from the Market Town Feel. Diana had a fix of Charity shops, before lunch & internet at Costa. Bought a small amount of food before going back to the boat and headed off around 2. We went past a large hire boat company before the first lock and were imediately followed by hire boats. Very pleased we didn't leave any latter as we were 2nd in the que already. We meandered through the country side for 3 miles before reaching a flight of 3 locks. Volunteers were on hand to help and organise who should do what. Interesting results some times with pairs of boats going up and down which requires a crossover in small pounds between the locks. Carried on to do one more lock and as we approached I could see it was going to be difficult to moor up with a boat on the lock mooring. When we got there the couple of the boat were pocking around in the hedge so assumed they were picking blackberries. No the were trying to catch a baby Moorhen. It was covered in green paint. There was paint stuck to tree roots and the side of the canal. Looks like a pot of paint had been dropped while painting a boat,  We have past a number of boats moored up with crew out with paint brushes today. Back to the moorhen, The one in the hedge was eventually caught with a net when it came out into the open. When we left they were trying to entice another one with bread and the net at the ready. They were planing on taking them to a vet to get cleaned up. Soon after we moored up. Interestingly the bloke on the Green boat behind us was removing masking tape from his boat. I finished the day preforming an oil change.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Sunday Roast

Sunday 14 August. 5 1/2 miles, 9 locks.

Away a bit later this morning but still at a good time. A couple of old boats had gone down the lock so I went to fill it up before we got underway, and what did I find? A windlass. Even the long time boaters can have a memory lapse. As we are following the old boats we have to fill each lock before we go down so progress is not fast. At the second lock we are pleased to see a boat catching up but alas they are travelling with another so we are still left to go down by ourselves. The locks are spaced out a bit more now so there is a sence of a rest between each one. We are in open country and in many places there are no hedge rows so we can enjoy the panaramic views. Around lunch time we see an advert for a nearby pub so phone to make a booking. Not interested in walking the 880yrds to find out they are booked up. It was a 16th century Thatched, village pub with a carvery. In the past most places with a carvery are big and very commercial, this retained its village character and provided a good range of meats and veg with a complimentary ice cream to finish.  Diana had a Stem Ginger sticky pudding. No room for tea tonight! Took a few photos around the village of Slapton before walking back to the boat and continuing on through 2 more locks before mooring up just short of Leighton Buzzard. In the distance we hear a brass band playing and contemplate walking into town but, enough is enough, we have been on our feet all day.

An Up & Down Day

Saturday 13 August. 7 miles, 16 locks.

Away at a reasonable hour and slowly worked our way through the first 4 locks by ourselves. Although we were still in Berkhamsted it felt like a country canal. At lock 5 Diana gives a gasp "Where's my windlass?" Yep it is at the last lock. There was a Heron there and the camera was in full flight and the usual sequence of events when we leave a lock was broken. Most of the climb so far the locks are reasonably close, this one was a good 3/4 mile behind us. Off she went at a good pace hoping that no one would have taken her most precious windlass in the collection. This gave me the chance to prove to myself that I could, if need be, take the boat through a lock solo. Well I can. Takes time and one doesn't want to rush and get something wrong. Once I was through it was about the time I expected Diana back so moored up and wandered back down the canal and found her at the first corner with a happy face. 2 locks later we are at the top of the hill. 420ft above the river. We trundeled along for about 3 miles and stopped for lunch before it is time to change the mindset and start down the otherside. There is a flight of 6 locks and while trying to get enough water into a leaky lock to open the gate another boat appears. They were a great help as their boat lives nearby and they are very familiar with the locks and they have a crew of 3.  We were going so well until a boat comming up got caught by the wind and turned him right around so that he had to go into the lock backwards. This all takes time. Last lock has an ice ream shop so we managed to lick away at one of those. The other boat left us at the bottom of the flight and we continued managing to join another boat through the next 2 before they stopped for the night around a couple of corners to a swing bridge which was opened by a nearby fisherman and we stop before the next lock. Generator out and 3 woads of washing done before diner and an early night.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Climbing the Chiltern Hill

Friday 12 August. 3 1/2 miles, 11 locks, 1 Swing bridge.

Another beautiful day. After 3 locks we arrive at the boat yard to find the oil filters sitting waiting. Next was the vehicle swing bridge, Diana's favourite, Yeh right. The next 5 locks were close together but more than walking distance apart. By now it was hot and a lunch stop was required. We are on the eastern end of Berkhamsted and Diana had been told, by a passing boater at one of the locks, that it was worth a stop. We are not sure where town centre is so we head off down a couple of locks where the canal is graced with two canal pubs and a boat yard. Best place to moor but of course every one is taken so it is through the next lock and then not much further on we find a spot. Walk off the tow path past a supermarket straight on to High St. The intention is a quick look and then a few more locks in the cool of the evening. After a stop at Costas for a coffee, internet and charge the devices it is onto the photo taking. As we head back to the boat we have a change of plans. Fish & chips for tea with the promise of an early start and a long day tomorrow. We Will See!

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Wayward boats and photos.

Thursday 11 August. 4 1/2 miles, 9 locks.

The boat in front moves off and we decide to let them go until I spy activity on the lock behind. Looks like a solo boater and we prefer not to go through with some of them as it means more, rather than less for the Lock Girl. A quick crank of the engine and we are away. By the time we get to the first lock the other boat is in and going up. Diana helps them and they will wait for us at the next lock. They are an older couple (our age) and their grandson. We go through the next 7 locks with them. At one of the locks there is a bit of a wait as divers are doing a survey of the lock walls. It did mean that there were others to help us through. Most of the time the other boat would leave the lock first. The one time when I went out first there is a widebeam boat drifting loose. It looked like we would get around behind but it drifted quicker than I could get there. Diana grabbed a rope from the back and we tried to pull it back then with a bit of maneuvering we pushed and pulled it to the bank. It had been attached to a couple of old sticks one had come out and the other broken off. We left it tied to another old stick and a fence post. Probably adrift again by now. After the 8th lock we stopped for lunch and the others went on. I tried to find out if the oil filters I had ordered had arrived but with no luck. I wasn't keen to go too far in case we had to pass the boat yard before we could moor. I will pick up the filters tomorrow. Where we were was not the best place to moor so we go through one more lock and find our companions had moored up for the night so we are now just in front of them. The disaster of the day was: 
Diana tried something different in downloading her photos.but hit the DEL button instead of the Import button. So no photos of Divers, wayward boats or a number of pretty lock cottages. Good news is that it wasn't a 680 photo day.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Moving North

Wednesday 10 August. 6 miles, 12 locks.

Left our smelly mooring and went up the first two locks before we pass aTesco supermarket with moorings provide, would be sill not to stop. At the next lock  we are joined by another boat. First time we have shared a lock so far. At this lock there is a Canal Centre so we plan on stopping and loosing our companion. As it turns out there are no moorings so we see them again at the next lock. After that we let them go when we stop for lunch. With lunch over we  are preparing to move when a boat goes passed so we race off behind them and go through the next 8 locks with them. We had seen them several times before on the Oxford, Thames & Grand union. After the last lock they have a spot ahead where they plan to spend the night and we take the first available mooring which is behind the first boat we shared a lock with. Finised the day with a walk around the old part of Hunton Bridge.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

A mucky day

Tuesday 9 August. 7 miles, 6 locks.

No rush to move. I spent some time on the phone trying to locate an oil filter as the next oil change is not far away. After talking to abou 5 boat yards the best I can do is hope someone will ring me in the morning to have the filter ordered and delivered to a boatyard 2-3 days away. Next thing is a pump out. I ring the yard across the canal  and he tells me to come on over. Well before we leave I ring him to check where to go but he can't see me. Not surprising really as he is in their other yard about 5 miles away. We set off late morning and are assisted through the first lock by volunteers. Next we pass the boat yard that is sorting out the oil filter so I call in as I have now found some alternative brands and they may have them. No they don't but fortunately the person who was going to ring me tomorrow had turned up and I was able to sort it all out. With luck the filters will be waiting for me on Friday. We carry on to the next boatyard for a pump out. Takes some time to manoeuvre into the entrance of the marina, turn around and moor up. "Sorry we can't do a pump out, our tank is full", to which I reply, "that makes two of us". Did another lock and stopped for lunch. I give the next marina a call to confirm they can do a pump out and what time they close. This is the next objective for the day. Another tricky entrance, not helped by someone tied up to the pontoon giving little room to manoeuvre. At least now we have an empty tank. Moved on a bit further and passed through a lock beside Cooper Mill. This place had a nice feel about it with modern houses and the old mill was now flats. Decide enough for the day and moored up just out of town. After a while it seemed like something was wrong with the pump out as we were getting an unpleasant odour. Guess what, behind the trees is the sewerage plant. Can't be botherd moving so shut the windows.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Around LHR

Monday 8 August. 15 miles, 13 locks.

An early start today as the Teddington lock keeper only lets you onto the Tidal Thames 20min before high tide. This has you running with the outgoing tide for the majority of the trip. High tide today is 0650. The drop from Non-tidal to Tidal is only a couple of feet. Two boats set off and as the others had done it before we followed. Very pleasant conditions with the sun low in the sky. We pass some rather nice houses but not as elaborate as those around Henley.There is also a variety of boats from lovely old timers in pristine condition through to the rust heaps people choose to live in and the odd sunken boat. As we pass Richmond we pass under the raised sluice gates which are open for 2 hours each side of high tide. The rest of the time they are lowered to keep a constant depth of water upstream and then boats have to use a normal lock to get through. Below this point there are no further locks. After travelling for  an hour 15 it is time to turn up the Brent river, There are about 4 channels in the same area and even the boat we were following had difficulty in identifying the correct one. It was quite obvious once you were in there. Through a lock and back onto the canal system. Took on water then headed north with 12 DIY, double locks to start the climb back to the Midlands. Very heavy gates and winding gear so Diana had a good workout and with me having to assist on some. When we got to the Hanwell flight there was a notice to say if you wanted help then ring the volunteers. Did this and they were helping someone else at the time but would get to us soon. We set off up and occasionally saw a volunteer but they were busy with other problems of water management so in the end we went right through basically unassisted. We had intended to stop for lunch half way up but with all the water shortage issues and three boats behind us we kept going. Stopped for lunch about 1400. We got away later heading up the Grand Union Canal until reaching the Slough Junction where we stopped for the night. Went to a local pub for tea. I think I identified all the characters from "Last of the Summer Wine" in there. The day started Southwest of Heathrow then crossed both approaches before we ended up to the North. It was morning rush time as we went down the Thames with a continuous line of large aircraft on the approach.

Interesting point: When we left the Thames were were just 4 miles upstream from the Hammersmith bridge where I had walked along the river when visiting Richard back in 2003 also we were about 3 miles direct to where he and Mel lived. Guess I can say I have been to London in my boat and that there is very little of the Thames I havent seen when you also consider I had done the tourist boat trip to the Thames Flood Barrier back in 1990.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Three out of four, not bad

Monday 25 July. 13 miles, 6 locks.

Last night we were told that Kelmscott Manor was close to the River Thames. This was the summer home of William Morris and Diana is keen to see it. After a bit of research we discover it is near the top of the navigable section and it is open on Wednesdays. We set off at a reasonable hour knowing that we need to put some miles in to be there on time. First lock is off the Oxford canal and down onto a short connection to the river. Just a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the city we are out in the country with cows grazing, geese and ducks swimming and the general air of canal travel is back with us. So this is how the day progressed. The next 5 locks are all manned which makes life easy. At the second lock we buy our 7 day temporary licence to be on this river as it is not administered by the Canal & River Trust. Most of the day was countryside interspersed with delightful lock cottages. When we reach the 4th manned lock it is lunch time so we have our lunch while waiting for the lock keeper to have his. We can do them ourselves if we want to. There are few bridges. Three carrying country roads, one a major road and two foot bridges. It was a good feeling going under the two stone arch bridges as I feel like I have done 3/4 of a bucket item. Sailing my boat, on the Thames under Tower bridge. Well did all those things except it wasn't Tower bridge. Tucked into the river bank with mooring pins in a farmers paddock. The farmer may ask us for a mooring fee.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Oxford. Where English used to be heard on ever corner.

Friday 22 July. 5 1/4 miles, 4 locks, 4 lift bridges.

An early start as moorings may be a bit tight in the centre of Oxford. At the second bend we are at Kidlington, the northern suburb of Oxford and although there are houses nearby it feels like we are in the country until we are within a mile of the centre of Oxford. Pull up where there are moorings with the intention of walking ahead to see what is available. We are behind a Scott and Dutch couple we had meet in Banbury. They say where they were had been a good spot and then, talking with boaters coming out of Oxford we are told that there are moorings ahead but best we go and have a look because they think we are in the best spot. After lunch we walk the mile down the towpath into the centre of town, visit the information centre then do the 2 hop on hop off bus tours. Good for orientation. Spent a couple of hours with the cameras clicking. Diana over the moon with subjects. Finished at Jamie's Italian. Very nice too. Coffee and biscuits on board before bed.

Saturday 23 July.

Chatted to the neighbors across the canal as they put a canoe in and then three very excited small boys we taken for a paddle. Walked into town down some streets the bus tour had taken us. Came across a small alley way market with good quality food. Further into town we joined the thousands of tourist. The Colleges are closed and have been taken over by the international student groups doing there English history immersion trip. It was bedlam with que's every where. We bought lunch at a supermarket and eat it on a bench on a bridge over the river Cherwell. This is the river we have been following for over a week. It took an age to find a cafe for a coffee which we eventually did mid afternoon. Back to the boat via a different route. Dinner on the back of the boat with peace and quite. We are not used to this pace of life. I think Diana exceeded her record for number of photos taken in a day, I didn't do too bad either.

Sunday 24 July. 880 yds.

Moved down closer to the centre of town so we can stock up the cupboard before venturing on to the River Thames. Moored up in front of the Scott and Dutch couple who moved down on Friday. Walked into town with the intention of a coffee and some internet. Crowds just as big as yesterday and difficult to get into a cafe. Eventually did, before supermarket shopping and back to the boat about 1500. I was keen to move on to get back to the pace of life we have come to enjoy but not sure that we should venture onto the river late in the day. Checked the forecast and rain was predicted for a couple of hours so decided to chill out. Early evening the Scott/Dutch couple appeared on the towpath for a drink and we joined them. Soon after boating friends of theirs, who were moored on the river joined us. This was great as they had recently been where we were about to go.

A week on the Oxford

Saturday 16 July. 10 miles, 12 locks.

Moved off in time to moored up at the pump as they opened at 1000. 80 litres of diesel and a few knick knacks later we were on our way. pulled in at Cropredy for a late lunch on the boat. Walked into the village for an icecream, checked out the church and antique store. Cropredy is known for its music festival which is in about 3 weeks. Not sure if we want to participate as have heard stories of boats 3 to 4 deep leaving barely room for boats to transit over that weekend. Moving on we arrive at Banbury and Diana is sent ahead to see if there is a spot. She finds a mooring in the centre of town next to Castle Quay shopping centre. Had the potential to be a bit noise as we were partly under a pedestrian bridge. Turned out to be a very quiet night. 

Sunday 17 July. 440yds, 1 lock.

Off in the morning to stock up with food. Found a Tesco local with limited choice and they told us where the Morrisons was. Did a good sized shop, including Vogels bread and lugged it all back to the boat. Back into town again for lunch and check out the buildings including " Banbury Cross". We needed to catch up on the washing and moved out of town to run the generator. Moored up in an industrial area. Nice and quiet till 7 in the morning. we were next to an Iron foundry.

Monday 18 July. 6 miles, 4 locks

Walked back the 440yds into town so Diana could buy some makeup at a very good price and I had a haircut at OAP rates. Lunch was a coffee and pastry before back on the boat and heading off. Turns out we had moored up almost in Morrisons car park so we could have avoided the heavy load yesterday. The temperature was in the mid 30's so stopped for a break at Twyford Wharf. Then we probably made a bad decision and walked over a mile into Kings Sutton. We were joined by a local lass, Naomi, who gave us good information about and what to visit. We followed her to her place where we were invited in for a drink. A pint or two of water later we were once again feeling like exploring. spent nearly an hour looking around at the Church, thatched cottages and stone buildings before buying an ice cream and taking the walk back to the boat. It is now early evening and a bit cooler so put in another 3 miles and 3 locks before stopping for the night.

Tuesday 19 July. 5 1/4 miles, 3 locks, 1 lift bridge.

Another hot day so away a bit earlier cruising down pleasant countryside until we reach the lift bridge. A good basic bridge, well balanced so all you need to do is pull on the chain and it will open. The chain was installed by someone of 6ft stature. Diana can't reach the chain. A bit of problem solving to be done. I nose the boat into the bridge and climb off the front with a throwing rope to pull it down. Don't need to use the rope as I can reach the chain and open the bridge with Diana sitting on the arm to keep it open. Lucky 2 other boats turn up so Diana gives up her sitting duties, gets back on the boat and off we go. We will see what happens on the way back. About 1300 we need a break and eventually find a small bit of shade that will get bigger as the sun moves around. A pleasant lunch and after 4 hours the area of shade is a lot bigger, we are a bit cooler so move on. Around the next corner is a lock and a lovely shady spot so that's it for the day. Walk into the village of Upper Heyford where there is, surprise, a nice church, thatched cottages , stone buildings of various ages etc. Talk to a local in his garden and told we need to visit the pub. Great idea as we need a drink. Stay for diner and back to the boat in the shade.

Wednesday 20 July. 8 miles, 5 locks.

Set off stopping at Lower Heyford for water. The canal is still much the same wandering around the contours with open farm land and hedge rows, occasional bushy sections to give us shade. Another hot day. We pull in beside a disused quarry as Rachel had sent us some information on face book about Jane's amazing tea gardens. It only opens 4 days a month and today is not one of those. After a bit of a trek we find the place. Talked to Jane's partner, although be wouldn't admit to it. Nothing special to us, more a hippy type set up and a very small garden. The trek back was a different route and we went through the old quarry which is now a nature park. Interesting mix of rugged rocks and re-generating flowers etc. Lunch on board then off again finishing the day on the approaches to Thrupp. Walk down the path and end up at the pub for a drink before back to the boat for dinner. Looking at going into Oxford tomorrow.

Thursday 21 July. 880yds, 1 lift bridge

Pretty hot overnight so didn't sleep that well and didn't get up early. Talked to the lady on the boat behind and she suggested we take in the Church at Shipton-on-Cherwell. Again a nice church but nothing spectacular. Had a noisey around what is a small village and found a couple of large houses. Later in the day we are told that is where Richard Branston used to live. Moved off around midday and stopped in Thrupp for water and a pump out. Went through the lift bridge and moored up for lunch. There is a well patronised tea rooms here so would have been rude not to go there for lunch. We have run out of internet at the moment so this was an opportunity to use there wifi and catch up. Later in the day we are told about the ruins of Hampton Gay Manor. They are in a farmers paddock with keep out signs all around but we know that they don't apply to Kiwi's. Can't be bothered moving again so a pint to cool off before diner on the boat seems like a good way to end the day. Oxford tomorrow?

Friday, 15 July 2016


Wednesday 13 July. 12 miles, 3 locks.

With a short day yesterday we need to reduce the distance to Oxford by quite a bit. Within a mile we have the 3 paired locks at Hillmorton to climb. I like paired locks as there is double the chance that one of the pair will be empty. As we come around the corner we see the gates open and volunteer lock keepers on duty. Next lock we are following a hire boat and one lock is set for him. He was making a pigs ear of it so the volunteer sent us through ahead. Third lock, straight in and out. Easy. Drifted on down towards Braunston with many sights bringing back memories of 2010. Turned right at the junction with little other traffic around and pulled in for lunch not much further on. As we hadn't done a village today we walked in to Lower Shuckburgh. I nice stone church with different styles of masonry made it worth the visit but not much else. Didn't get inside unfortunately.  Moored up short of Napton Junction.

Thursday 14 July. 7 miles, 9 locks.

It is not long before we are on the Oxford canal. New territory for us. There are 39 locks to Oxford. the first 9 take us to the canal summit. A bit of a slow start as we pick up water before the first lock then while going up the lock Diana finds out from the lock keeper there is a nice village shop in Napton on the Hill so we moor up and walk up the hill into town. The shop does its own baking and serves coffee etc. Lunch is in order but they were a tad slow with service. While we waited we meet an older couple of cyclist who had just returned from a cycling tour of the Outer Hebrides. The village had a variety of cottage designs and ages. Eventually back to the boat with 8 locks to do. There was a stream of boats coming down so all the locks were set for us and extra hands on the locks. Diana finds out that the last but one lock had gate repairs being done to it and one boat coming down had a 4 hour wait. By the time we got to the top there were still 5 boats in the que to come down. I suggest that our time spent in a village was better than sitting in a que. Moored up near the village of Priors Hardwick. It was such a beautiful evening we walked the half mile across a farmers paddock to the village. We took photos of cottages, churches, manly old but a few new houses. There is a restaurant there which I had wondered if we might stop to eat but when I passed the car park it looked like it was out of our league. Jaguars, Audi's, Range Rovers fill most of the spaces. As Diana walks past the owner insists that she go inside as he has something for her. What an incredible place this was. Owned by a Portuguese, he had bought an old pub site unseen at 2am one morning many years ago and had turned it into a quality restaurant. There were pictures on the walls of many famous people and the motor racing elite had made it there place. Worth a look at  Back to the boat for sausages and mash.

Friday 15 July. 5 miles.

Looking to get a bit further down the track today. Stop for lunch at Fenny Compton. Read up about a village a mile to the East so walk up the hill for a look. Turns out to be heaped in history as the village of Wormleighton is the ancestral home of the Spencer's. Once again a variety of buildings dominated by the orange coloured Northampton Stone. Talked to a local and are told that only two buildings in the village are not owned by the Spencer's. Too late to move on and with a pub next door the choice for diner is obvious. 

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Schools in.

Tuesday 12 July. 2 1/2 miles

Overcast morning. Walked to the co-op for milk and bread and brought crossaints back for breakfast. Had a chat with those on the boat in front and behind before moving off just as the first of the drizzel started. None forecast till late afternoon. A short time later I hear a horn tooting and presume it is a car going over a hump back bridge but the tooting continues so I look behind to where a boat has rapidly caught us up. I get no hand signals but see a kid on the boat and guess he is playing with the horn. A bit later I feel the presure wave and look around to see the boat very close so move to the edge and invite him to pass. As he goes past he asks if this is the way to Braunston! About now the dynamics of two 7ft wide boats travelling in the same direction on a narrow canal take over. As he powers passed me I almost stop with the pressure of his bow wave. When he is halfway past I ride his stern wave which means his motor is trying to pull two boats. I speed up and he slows down. Soon after there is a narrowing of the canal so I power off but we are still travelling at the same speed I ask him if he is going to make the gap. At this point it all gets too hard for him and I go through the narrow first. Soon after we have reached the spot where we are going to moor up and he goes past. I hope he found Braunston.

Drizzel has stopped and we made the 35 min walked into Rugby. It was getting cold and without a jacket I frequent a couple of Charity shops and spend 4 quid on a nice warm one. We take in some of the architechture and then a late lunch. Call into the info centre to find out what to do and what to plan for on the way back. We are given the Blue Plaques brochure and a map that she points out a couple of buildings to look at around Rugby School. We decide to do the school ones. Well when we get to the first we see some more down the road and then some more till eventually we have to turn back towards the boat or we will never get away. As we pass an open doorway Diana puts her head in and starts taking photos. From behind us a bloke on a bike says go on in if you like. Off course we did. Then he says you can go over the court yard and down those step if you like. The place had beautiful buildings and gardens. As we were about to leave he turns up again and askes if we would like to look in the Chapel. Too right we would. Well it was a couple of hours before we got to the Chapel as he gave us a guide tour through so many of the buildings that are not seen by the public. We were lucky that summer holidays started last week.
To Michael the porter, Thank you. I hope Diana will have pictures on her blog to show the magnificence of the buildings and interiors. OK it is now almost 6pm and the drizzle is back as we walk the 35 min back to the boat. I'm not happy where we are moored so don my wet weather gear and head out of town as the rain becomes continuouse. It is not too long before we find a suitable spot for the night and tie up behind the same couple we were behind last night.

Monday, 11 July 2016


Friday 8 July, 12 miles, 2 locks.

Set off watching the engine temperature gauge very closely. Sat at its normal temp all day so no conclusion on what happened yesterday. It was a bit windy, blowing the boat about and difficult to handle at times. Did the 2 locks through Tamworth and moored up to the east at the village of Polesworth. Walked into the village to a variety of architechture, black & white, thatched, stone and an Abbey dating back to the 10th Century. Found a chippy so had F & C in the park for tea before returning to the boat.

Saturday 9 July. 6 miles, 11 locks.

It absolutly through it down last night and still was when we woke. It is forecast to improve around lunch time so we are not moving. Late morning the rain stoppd and it looked like it would be OK for a while so went back into the village to look in the Abbey that was closed last night. It had an interesting interior but nothing different to others we have visited. A lovely Sensory garden that won a civic award in 2006. The original 10th Century Gate house is all that remains from that era and is now used as a house. Set off about 2pm. Just before Atherstone there are 3 sets of locks, 2 in each. After those 6 we have a choice of  stopping or doing the remaining 5 to get to the top of the Atertone flight. We decide to go on as we should be through reasonable quickly.
Lock one, good. Lock two, A boat comming down decided to pinch our water. By the time the lock is ready we let a boat behind go through because in chatting to them earlier they have just been told they are about to have their first grandchild and need to get back to their marina. Felt a bit sorry for them. They had started down the flight when they got the call and had to contine down 6 locks before they could turn around and come back up the same six. We first meet then on the 5th one going down. Lock 3, 4 & 5 were straight forward except at the top lock and olde guy, about my age started talking and I guess it was 30 minutes later before we got away and then moored up by Hartshill for the night.

Sunday 10 July. 9 miles.

Being Sunday a Sunday roast is the plan especially as it is Diana's birthday. Asked a few people about a good pub and they all recomended The Greyhound at Hawkesbury Junction. We are booked in for 6pm. Off we go through Nuneaton, past the Ashby Canal Junction and arrive at Hawkesbury around 5pm. Tiddy up and walk to the pub for a very nice meal to finish with ice cream and a special coffee. Should have mentioned Diana's treat. I got the generator out this morning so she could use her hair dryer.

Monday 11 July. 11 1/2 miles, 1 lock, 1 swing bridge, 1 tunnel.

An overcast start to the day with wind gusting to 30mph. Not looking forward to the "U" turn required to get onto the Oxford canal. In the end it turned out OK and there were no major crashes. Spent a good portion of the day within earshot of, alongside or under the M6. Passed the spot where we had Dinner on Molly Rose as guests of the previous owners in 2010. Have moored up on the outskirts of Rugby at Newbold on Avon.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

On our way to Oxford

Tuesday 5 July.

A Summers, chill out day. Moved the boat a few yards to where we will get sun in the morning overlooking the wider expanse of Tixall Wide. Farted around on and with the boat all morning. Walked into Great Haywood for a coffee and to take advantage of the cafe's power and internet.

Wednesday 6 July. 10 1/2 miles, 2 locks.

Time to get back on track. Enjoyed the scenery where we were then moved off to Great Haywood Junction. There we had a pump out, filled with water and had lunch at the top of the first lock. On our way by 1400. We decided to make sure we were through Rugeley before mooring up for the night as we had been told not to moor there last time we went through. We were surprised to see a large number of boats moored up in reasonably good neighbour hoods. Stopped to go to the supermarket as there is a good Morrisons not to far from the canal. As we left the towpath, there in front of us not more than 100 yards away was a brand spanking new Tesco superstore. It is great to have these facilities so close to the canal. A bit late away from there but the evening was pleasant enough. I was aiming to stop at a spot we had stayed on this day in 2010 with Robert & Mary. I knew we were close and as I passed the spot it looked familiar but going a bit quick to stop so went for the next good spot. It didn't come so ended under trees about a mile on.

Thursday 7 July. 7 miles, 3 locks.

Only 3 locks on the programe today. Away about 1030 and arrived at the first lock number 2 in the que. There were 4 boats comming the other way. Approaching the top lock at Fradley Junction the mind goes back to 2010 when as we approached this lock the reverse gear failed and we made a controlled crash into the approaches. Today is different. Straight in, volunteer lock keepers on duty to work the locks. At the junction turned right onto the Coventry canal and trundelled on down until the engine overheated so pulled over and moored up in front of a Pub. It was the only thing there. Had a good look to see what the problem was, talked to a couple of boaties and between us decided we couldn't figure it out. Rang, River & Canal Rescue, (AA of the waterways) who made some suggestions which I tried. In the end they sent an engineer who couldn't tell me why we had overheated and checked every thing out as OK. Late now so staying the night next to a busy railway line. Tomorrow I will watch the temperature guage like a hawk.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Half a summers day

Monday 4 July. 6 miles 1 lock.

Beautiful summers day. well it started that way. I went into the "Hough Retail Park" to get a replacement toilet seat for the one that had been holding on by two, then one and eventually no screws. The shop was about a 20 minute walk towards Stafford. Managed to get one that was all the right measurements except its length that was a bit longer than the broken one. Fits but only just. It will have to do. Caught up with Diana at another retail centre where she looked in most shops and bought very little. Back on board for lunch then up the canal to turn around. I was expecting to go 3 miles and 1 lock to turn then back throuh the lock and 3 miles back to where we started from. As it turned out there was a boat club a mile up the canal and before the lock. Their entrance was just big enough to turn in. We also filled with water as the tank was getting very low. Trundled down the canal under an overcast sky and a cool wind to end the day in the Tixall Wide. The canal widens out into a bit of a lake and the bird wife is meant to be good here. As it turned out our summers day had left us by now and the birds were all hidding out of the rain.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Kiwi visitors

Saturday 25 June.

On my own. I get into a bit of maintenance. The front doors have been sticking so after removing some gunk I re-glued the jams and forced them apart. Cleaned up part of the roof and put on some rust preventer and finally a bit of painting. Pity it rained before it was completely dry.

Sunday 26 June.

I have a good book that has grabbed my attention and spent a good portion of the morning reading. Sanded where the rain had affected my painting. Weather not looking like I should try again. Being Sunday considered a roast but didn't think having a roast by myself was worth the walk into town. Added a strip of wood to the engine covers to stop some of the water entering the engine bay.

Monday 27 June.

Diana is due back so a domestic morning. I hear from Diana & Murray that the train trip is a bit of a roundabout way with 2 changes including an hour at Crew. At Murray's suggestion I hop on a train to meet her in Crew, with us back in Stone late afternoon. Wetherspoons for diner, Curry night. On the way to the pub we pass a Kiwi from Taranaki and his partner from England. He is now resident in UK. Had a good natter before continuing to the pub.

Tuesday 28 June. 1 mile 3 locks.

Ray and Rosemary, kite flying friends from Rotorua are joining us today having flown in direct from Auckland this morning.
We have outstayed our welcome above the locks so time to move. Off back up the canal for 10 minutes where we could turn and then head back down, through 3 locks to the centre of Stone. Managed to moor up in the spot vacated by the Kiwi boat. The morning was spent cleaning up the guest cabin which is normally my workshop and storage space. After lunch we walk to the station to meet Ray & Rosemary. It has been a pleasant morning with sunshine and cloud. Shortly after we leave the station the predicted rain arrives, light at first but before we make it to the boat coats are on and brollies up. Settled into the boat then to keep awake it is into town for a look around and a coffee at Costa where power and wifi are available. Rain comes back again so we wait on board for a break in the weather before we walk the 200 yds to the pub for dinner. Rain is back by the time we finish which means a damp dash back to the boat. We have achieved the visitors aim to stay awake till late to reset their body clocks.

Wednesday 29 June.

What a wet and windy day. Do nothing until mid morning then off to Costa's for coffee, wifi and charge the devices. Lunch on the boat and weather still dreadful. Not moving today. Forecast is for a temporary improvement mid afternoon so with the first sign of sun and blue sky we set off to explore part of the canal and buildings around Stone centre ending up at Costa's for coffee, power and wifi. Dinner on the boat with the weather still OK. Looking for an early start tomorrow and show the guest locks and canal life.

Thursday 30 June. 9 miles,  5 locks.

Weather forecast is OKish. A quick breakfast and down the first lock, pull in for water before we head off showing the delights of canal travel to Ray and Rosemary.  About an hour later we moor up to explore the hamlet of Burston. We have been past a few times but hadn't stopped. What a little gem of a place to visit. So pleased we could show off the sort of place we enjoy. Mid afternoon we moor up at Great Haywood opposite a Cafe & farm shop. First stop is for coffee,  then a walk to the marina nearby to get some oil, back to the farm shop for a browse.  We were here in 2010 when it was newly opened by a Kiwi girl. It has developed considerably since then with the cafe being part of it. Then a walk into the village where we found a nice pub for dinner.

Friday 1 July.

Another activity we enjoy is visits to Stately homes. Shugborough Hall, Home of Lord Leicester, is one of the best and canals go past on two sides. We spend the day there. Luckily we are inside the couple of times it rains..

Saturday 2 July. 5 miles,  1 lock.

With a cafe just across the canal we couldn't resist their breakfast and a good coffee before setting off. I  wasn't looking forward to the turn onto the Staffordshire & Worcestershire  canal as the wind strength was up a bit. We made it around the corner and motored up a delightful stretch of canal to Stafford. Bused into the town which is rich in history and many old buildings. Another pub meal before taking a cab back to the boat as it was too hard to figure out the bus timetable. The cab was cheaper than the 4 bus tickets in.

Sunday 3 July.

Today Ray & Rosemary leave us. Once they are all packed up we take a stroll around the local area. We then trundle the bags to the near-by pub where we partake of their Sunday Roast. Next we ring for a cab to go to the station. It was not till the third company that we could get to the station in time to make their train to Manchester Airport.  They fly out to Sweden tonight.  Great to have friends on board. Memories for us in the future.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

China moves north

Friday 24 June.

Diana packed up her large suitcase for her visit to Glasgow. 24kg! 8kg a day! Not quite the full story. Most of her crocker has been taken to Murray's in preparation for our departure for home from there. If we had left it till later we would have had to maneuver 3 bags on and off trains later.
Walked to the station the long way to avoid crossing the railway twice. There we no ramps so I didn't like the idea of carrying the 24kg up and down more than I had too. After she had left it was into town to check out a few places and buy some bits and pieces. I called into all the Charity shops looking for a large scale road map. It can be difficult getting some perspective of where we are when our canal map only shows 1 mile each side of the canal. Stone is not that big so it didn't take long. Lunch on the boat followed by some maintenance. Hope to make some improvements during the few days here. Scraped down some areas of rust and  put some rust inhibitor where necessary.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Rolling to Stone

Wednesday 22 June.  ... miles  ..locks

Starting to wonder if this week is summer!  Set off passing through Barlston,  a place of memories as this is where Robert & Mary, friends from New Plymouth, joined us in 2010 on Lannarrow. Travelled at a leisurely pace through rural tree lined canal arriving on the outskirts of Stone where we can moor up for 5 days. When I say outskirts, we are about 5 mins down the towpath  to town. After lunch on the boat we make the 5 min walk and sort out some of the things that need to be done while we are here. Where  can we moor up at without being moved on,  where is the boat yard to get some work done, where is the station for Diana to go to Glasgow on Friday? etc. Then into the main street looking for a few bits for the boat. Ended up at Costa Coffee to use the free WiFi.  Ending the day with sausages & mash on board.

Thursday 23 June. 0 miles 4 locks.

Summer is still with us.  Leisurely morning chilling out.  After lunch we were planning to go to town, Diana had spotted the most Charity shops in a row so far and was keen to explore.  The boat yard let's us know the part we are waiting for has arrived and they can fit it this afternoon. Down 2 locks and pull into the yard, breasted up 4 deep. Well what an interesting day. They take out the bilge pump and it works OK. They change the switch and it works OK. They put it back in the boat at it works OK sometimes. After many attempts to figure out what the problem is and the time is close to knock off we give up and reinstate the system as it was. This isn't going to be a problem if the sun keeps shining. We get a pump out and spin the boat. I wasn't sure we had enough room but on the mechanics advise we used the pole and turned with a foot to spare. Back up 2 locks and we moor up same place as last night pointing in a different direction.  Been a long day so off to Wetherspoons for diner. Thursday is curry night.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Domestic Gypsies

Tuesday 21 June.

It was a beautiful morning waking to the sun streaming in the window at some very early hour. Not used to this.
Decided not to move and have a catch up day. I dried out the back of the boat and talked to the engineer about why the bilge pump might not be working. We hope to get it looked at over the weekend. It was wash day so the generator came out onto the towpath and after fiddling for a while it leaped into life and purred away for some time. With the generator running we have 230 volts so the vacuum cleaner came out and the electronics were charged up. We looked a bit like a Gypsy camp with the engine boards leaning against the fence, the generator running, clothes line tied to a mooring ring and other paraphernalia beside the boat. Mid afternoon the washing is almost dry so we need a walk and Wedgwood world is about 30min away. They have changed the entrance since last year so within 15 minutes we are having coffee and cake there. Wander through the free bits to see if anything has changed. I'm a bit disappointed in the style they are making at the moment. Only thing that had "class" was a brown and gold pattern. Tempted? No. The espresso cup and saucer were available at $90.00. Nice day in the sun. There is a vintage boat rally further down the track and during the day saw many old boats chugging past us.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Clouds with Silver Linings

Monday 20 June, 5 miles, 6 locks

What a misserable start to the longest day of the year. Woke to steady rain so turned over and fulled the duvet up for an extra hour. The forcast expects a brief improvement around 11, so we wait. At 11 it brightened up a bit, at least the rain had stopped so we walked up to Tesco's extra about 15 minutes away. 2 hours later we head back to the boat for lunch. Rain starts again and the forcast is talking about an improvement around 1500 and once again they we right. It has stoped raining and looking more promising so we fill with water and head off down the first flight of 3 locks with patches of warm sunshine. Stop in Stoke to pick up some rail tickets for Diana to go to Glasgow to do her Florence Nightengale bit for Murray who is having an op this weekend. The time now is 1800, the sun is out and it is a pleasure to be out on the canal. We keep heading south to clear Stoke before we stop. After one more lock we moor up opposite the Wedgwood factory. Visited last year so no need to return this year. Sat on the back of the boat for wine, cheese and bickies.
So you see it's not all gloom and doom.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Steam and pots

Sunday 19 June. 3 miles.

We set off with two plans. The number 1 plan falls into place as we round the corner and a mooring is available outside Middleport Pottery. There was a craft fair on so toured the 10 or so stands 50% a waste of time with a couple of interesting ones. Then to lunch and the days special was the same as 8 months ago. Back pudding & cheddar oakcakes,  yum. Diana did a couple more rooms of Burleigh pottery while I had the chance to see the first days running of the steam engine that ran the factory in the past. The engine had been restored some time ago and they often demonstrated it using electricity. They now have a new boiler to run it on steam. Great to talk to a bunch of enthusiastic guys who had worked to make it happen. Mid afternoon we leave and set off the short distance to Etruria. Not long after we move we realise that Yesterday was summer and are now moored up testing if I have fixed the leaks.

No rain today

Saturday 18 June. 7 miles, 1 lock, 1 tunnel.

Overcast morning.  Worth the risk so put some gunk around the window. On the move by 1030 at a leisurely pace and at times in sunshine. Stopped for water at the not vert deep stop  lock, in fact the drop would have been less than a foot. It was there to stop one canal company from pinching the water of anothers. Just before joining the Trent & Mersey canal we moor up for lunch.  30 minutes after we set off again we are waiting at the entrance to the one way Harecastle tunnel. About an hour later we go through by our selves popping out the other end in 35 minutes,  just 1 mile short of The Poteries.  Moored up at Westport Lake for the 5th time. So ends a day without rain and we spent some of it underground.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Saw the sun today

Friday 17 June.

Need to hang around for a while. The sealant that John left me is a bit old and won't flow so he will pick up a new tube on his way back from Liverpool today. Dried out and prepared the area that needs the gunk in preparation for later in the day. Weather is not too bad with a short showing of the sun around midday. The Gunk is due to arrive just after 1500 and guess what the rain arrived just before 1500 so I need to dry out the area again and then have a window of an hour for it to dry before the next rain. About 1700 it is looking like it might be OK but every time I think I will try, black clouds appear. Good old hindsight say I could have done the job. There is always tomorrow! I need to do the job in Congleton as the towpath is on the right side. As soon as we go under the next bridge the towpath changes sides and will be on the wrong side for about 3 days. We have overstayed the time allowed on this mooring but I don't have any option. I looked at shifting the boat 100yds or so where the boat can be left longer but there is not enough room before the bridge.

June's Rainfall in 2 weeks.

Thursday 16 June.

Emptied the bulges after heavy rain last night. We're invited out for tea & scones. Very nice too. Alan took us to town and dropped us at the Antique Centre. Some nice stuff, could have been tempted if I didn't have to get them home. Did a bit of shopping and stared to walk back up to the canal. It just through it down. We had coats but still got back looking like drowned rats. Too wet to try and seal up the leaks.
Took Alan & Marian to the Young Pretender. Best pub for pies that I have come across. Compulsory stop in Congleton. Back for a cuppa and bed.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

First Locks of 2016

Monday 13 June.

Woke to a bleak day with low cloud and drizzle. Not going anywhere yet. Watch a few hire boats go past in full wet weather gear. Poor buggers, just have to be somewhere today. Heavy rain off and on most of the morning and until after lunch. About 1400 it had brightened a bit so I walked the flight of locks to see how muddy and slippery it was. Not the nicest but not dangerous. Had a discussion about the prospect but by the time we thought the weather was alright, time was against us so didn't move. That marvelous thing called hindsight said we should/could have gone as the rest of the evening was the best weather of the day.

Tuesday 14 June. 5 1/2 miles. 12 Locks.

At the top of the locks there is an amenities block with loos, shower, washing machine and drier. A running water shower was a great way to start the day.
Weather was overcast with the likely hood of rain but today we will set off. First lock was set so straight in and down. Second lock caught Diana out. It needed filling. I watched her go to the wrong end, look puzzled then return to the top end, lift the paddle and fill the lock. It has been a while but it wasn't to long before the old routines came back. A good run down with a number of boats comming up which meant most of the locks were full for us to go into. 2 1/2 hours later we are at the bottom and stop for lunch. There is a boat flying the union and NZ flag so we make ourselves know. They are in their 5th year doing the same as us with the southern summer based in their Nelson home where they also have a yacht. The discussions continued and it turns out that both of the males have the same item on their bucket list. Sailing our narrow boats under Tower Bridge. I think next years plan is in the making. Pity they were travelling in the other direction as I'm sure we would have had good traveling companions. Motored the 4 miles into Colgenton where we were meet by Marion who had sorted a mooring spot close to their home. After a bit of boat tidying it was around to their place for a cuppa before we were taken out to diner at a pub in Astbury. A quick tour to Barthomly to view the church before home to bed.

Wednesday 15 June.

Skyped Richard as it was his birthday. Great to see and talk to him and the kids. Marion was down at the boat by 1000 to take us to the supermarket which was a big help as the canal is at the top of the hill and the supermarket at the bottom. Soon after we arrive back, 5th wheeler friends from Matamata call in on their way south. Lunch on the boat as there is no guarantee that the weather will stay nice enough to be outside. I had asked Marion's son who fits out narrow boats to come around to look at a leaking window we had discovered a couple of days ago. Well it just chucked it down when he arrived so all he could do was give me advice on how to seal it when it dries up. While he was here another leak appears in a roof vent so looks like I am on leak fixing for a few days.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Sunday Roast (almost)

Sunday 12 June. 5 miles.

The day starts overcast with signs of rain not far away. After sorting some internet problems we up sticks and head off for the water point. Should have set off a few minutes earlier because as we approach another boat is arriving. Wait 20 odd minutes before he moves off and we move alongside. 15 minutes later as our tank is almost full the rain arrives. Finish putting the gear away and sit in the boat out of the rain. Within half an hour the rain has abated to a few spots so off we go. Weather stayed much the same until arriving at the top of the Bosley locks and stop for lunch. This is a flight of 12 locks, the first we encounter. They are also the locks that Diana got very cold at last year and probably brought on her Bells Palsy so there is some reluctance to do them in the cold and/or rain. We watch the weather until 1600 which is the cutoff to get down at a reasonable time. We were tempted a couple of times to give it a go when the sun peeps through. Tonight we are moored at the top of the locks under a cellphone tower so coverage should be good.
Not a pub in site so no Sunday Roast. Never mind Diana is cooking a meat and veg substitute. Pork chops, spuds, cauliflower and cheese sauce.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Early start

Saturday 11 June, 7 1/4 miles

A still and misty morning. The canal is looking good. Engine started by 0730, now that's pretty early for this retired couple. Diana did the domestics while travelling. Arrived at the bridge where the canal had been closed just on 0900 to be meet by a group of Canal & River Trust workers. We passed on through and when I looked behind there was a Diver in the water and they were lifting one of the stop planks out. I wonder if the canal had only just been opened and they were removing all the stop planks! When I say Diver, he was in a dive suit without a helmet as he didn't put his head under water, I guess if I had to get in that water I would want a full immersion suit on. Stopped very close to where the leak had been. The only sign of activity was the equipment and muddy tracks left behind. Bollington is one of those places it is nice to re-visit. Diana has a special shop she frequents every time we stop. There is a good butcher and a nice cafe. Back to the boat to head on down country but with a bit of black cloud around I check the minute by minute forecast and rain is due in a few minutes so we have lunch. The rain is an hour late but eventually it stops and we set off with a few spits here and there. As we approach Macclesfield a dark cloud appears and I am calculating when it will strike. Lucked in, as when we come around the corner there is one spare spot on the pontoon. This is the first time we have passed when it hasn't been full. Moor up, heavy rain starts, cup of coffee. We are now spending the night here hoping that tomorrow morning will be like this morning and we will move on.