Trip Reports 1998
January 14 1998
Attempted to start engine batteries fine but weather just too cold for engine to fire up, eventually batteries ran down and had to be recharged.
February 15 1998
Warm winter day, engine started with ease. Went to Sankey for lunch with Steve and Sheila Collie.
March 28 1998
Engine service replaced fuel filter, oil filter, oil, and copper washers on fuel line, air filters and general check and clean up.
April 9 - 14 1998
EVESHAM FLOODS - Click here to go to separate page.
May 2 1998
After the floods the boat was slightly damaged, with support rails bent and paint scratched on the stern. We had already decided to have the boat painted by Starline Narrowboats at Upton-on-Severn, so took her this weekend for the job to be done about 1 week later than planned. May 2nd was Saturday and we went to Sankey for the evening.
Sunday May 3 1998
We left Sankey at 10am Chadbury lock was full of rubbish and the gates would not open fully. The rubbish in the trees was amazing the long straight form Chadbury was covered in paper, plastic and fabric in every bush and tree. That was generally the story all the way down to Tewkesbury although the rubbish got less, as we got further down river. About ½ way between Fladbury and Wyre Piddle we came across a cruiser “Sharwane” and she had struck something in the water, this had damaged her steering and she could not continue, we breasted her up to “One Moore” and took her to Wyre Piddle. We continued to Tewkesbury on the way we saw many boats still on fields and in hedges where the floodwater had put them. At 6pm we arrived at Tewkesbury and moored up on the river moorings at Tewkesbury Marina. We ate at the clubhouse in the evening and were pleased to see ‘Sharwane’ arrive at about 8pm all fixed with new steering cable.
May 4th Monday 1998 (Bank Holiday)
We left Tewkesbury mid-morning and traveled the 2 hours or so to Upton-on-Severn, on arrival we discussed our requirements for the boat painting, sanding, of gunnels, brass cleets on the bow and the sign and Evesham crest on the boat sides with Ian of Starline Narrowboats, we then left by car and returned home.
Sunday May 9 1998
Went over to Upton to meet the sign writer and discussed the details of the Evesham crest and One Moore Evesham sign on the boar side.
Saturday May 23 1998
James took us over to Upton to collect the boat and bring her back to Evesham over the Bank Holiday weekend. Ian had done a fantastic job, we are delighted. The journey back to Evesham was uneventful apart from lots of people making comments about the boat. She did look good, when we got back the moorings were supposed to be fixed after the floods. The new poles should have been replaced by Rob Langston. New poles were going in where the old ones were, the mooring had not been touched, and we were not pleased.
Sunday May 31 1998
We leave the mooring at 6.30am for our trip to Sharpness, Steve and Sheila came with us having left a car at Tewkesbury. The weather was warm and sunny and the trip to Tewkesbury was uneventful and very pleasant, on route I put a bracket in the cratch to hang the painted watering can on, I also finished screwing together the footstool that Wendy had painted. We arrived at 5.15pm, after watching ‘Corry’ we went to eat at the Clubhouse and very good value it was to. Steve paid the bill, which made it even nicer.
Monday 1st June 1998
We got up late and did a bit of maintenance, had breakfast and left the mooring at 11am. Weather windy, chilly but dry. Having got through the first lock and onto the large 2nd lock on the Severn, we were almost squashed against the jetty as the large ‘Oliver Cromwell’ trip boat came out of the lock. The boat got scratched and marked as she came very close to us. The 2 ½ hour trip to Gloucester was great, the odd shower didn’t really spoil it. I sat on the stern steering the ‘Wendy’ chair and footstool was very comfortable. We moored at about 4pm after dumping the dunny on the new moorings outside the dock. After a small problem with the dunny dump we moved back into the dock to moor for the night. Andrew had a snooze and Wendy cleaned the brasses. Ppm we went to ‘Berrys’ for dinner but they were closed, after a bit of a walk about we decided to eat at ‘Topoly’s Italian Restaurant, 49 Southgate Street, Gloucester. I ordered an Italian steak dish but ended up with chicken due to a mix up and Wendy had seafood pasta all very good washed down with a nice red wine. Back to the boat and bed about 10.30pm.
Tuesday 2nd June 1998
In the early hours of the morning the rain started heavy rain, by 9am it was still raining and we decided not to move today. We sorted photographs and I filled in my log and at 12.30pm decided to go to the pictures for the afternoon film ‘Mousehunt’. When we got to the cinema we found that the film was not on that day, we had misread the program details picked up yesterday, so we walked into town did some shopping and them spent a relaxing pm on the boat. In the evening we decided to try the pictures again, this time ‘Sliding Doors’ was the film directed by Peter Howlett (of bread fame) and very good it was too. We returned at 9.30pm ish to Gloucester Dock and had a Pizza at Pizza Plazza right by the water in the Docks. Our pizza between the two of us was enough and very nice it was. The rather expensive red plonk spoilt an otherwise nice meal.
Wednesday 3rd June 1998
The weather this morning was much brighter and at 10am we headed off down the Sharpness Canal, although overcast and quite cold in the wind this canal is always pleasant, we stopped at Saul to dump the dunny and take on water and also look for Boden and Martin Philips but not a sign. We carried on in good weather and just before the first bridge at Frampton spied Boden with the black sheep pennant in the window but no sign of Martin. This part of the canal is quite high and the view was lovely, slowly chugging on down through Puton and onto Sharpness arriving at 4.15pm. Quick check on the TV picture yup OK and then a walk into Sharpness ½ day closing and not much going on in the dock so returned for a night of TV and very fine M&S curry, Wendy had purchased that morning in Gloucester. We moored just up from the water point very quiet.
Thursday 4th June 1998
The weather was bright and sunny and after a late start we decided we would have a short chug today and moor at Frampton, poss BBQ that evening as the forecast was good. In the morning we had a general maintenance and clean up couple of hours and then off at 12 noon. By mid pm we had arrived at Frampton as Boden was still moored there we decided to pull up behind her, as we got closer we could see she was being sign written (by Bob) we later found out. We enquired about Martin and were told that Bob was not sure of his movements but would phone later. Wendy got talking to him about canal art and asked where she could obtain some ‘Bleed Free Tape’ as she noticed he was using some. He said he obtained his from London and promptly gave Wendy a roll and would not except payment, what a nice chap. We walked into Frampton a must for every trip it’s a lovely village very varied in house styles and sizes and very well kept. The weather had turned cold so the BBQ was off. We purchased some faggots, peas, chips and cottage pie from the village shop and some prawns from a van outside the shop for our dinner that night and then wandered back to the boat. At 6pm Martin Phillips arrived and the next happy hour or so was spent chewing the fat and having ‘just the one’. TV and meal on board for the rest of the evening.
Friday 5th June 1998
Left the mooring at 10.45am and having stopped at Saul for the dunny dump chugged onto Gloucester in fine if slightly cold and dry weather. Arriving at 2pm I wandered up into town to get a paper and some beers and at 3pm we leave Gloucester Dock in pouring rain. The rain carried on for about 2 hours and then turns to showers. Wendy and I share the steering not much to see, not even another boat apart from one going the same way as us and overtaking. The journey is pleasant enough but takes a lot longer that going down. In conversation with the lock keeper at Lower Load Lock it appears that the Severn has an extra foot of water and quite a flow, the journey takes 3½ hours. Then onto Tewkesbury and a short wait going round and round before going into the lock, we tie up at Tewkesbury Marina 7.25pm. Dinner in the club, very good as always especially the homemade Lemon Meringue pie – excellent.
Saturday 6th June 1998
Late start breakfast in the clubhouse showers first. It’s very humid I’m sweating just sitting in the clubhouse. Engine checks all OK. Wendy went into town for paper off at 11am. Today is my day off. Apart from helping at the locks and the odd break for the loo, Wendy did all the steering. I sat in the bow feet up reading the papers. Weather a bit cold bur still very pleasant. We arrive at 3pm in Pershore, a very good run through mainly due to the fact that we were able to go straight into all the locks on the way. This saves an awful lot of time. We manage to squeeze into the moorings on the recreation ground, a narrowboat moves up for us, nice couple. Chinese takeaway for dinner watch the TV bed at 11pm.
Sunday 7th June 1998
A lazy start breakfast with the Archers and off at 12 noon. Heavy showers now and again bur otherwise bright and warm. Home late pm.
June 8th – July 17 1998
Weekends and evenings short trips to Bridge Inn, Offenham still being repaired after the floods and one Sunday to Cracombe Turn. Intended to have BBQ but didn’t in the end set out lights for following weekend River Festival.
Thursday 9th July 1998
Went from our house to Workman Gardens in readiness for the festival weekend.
Saturday 11th July 1998
Andrew off to work today and Wendy has done a deal with Aileen to do her jobs on the actual days of the festival so that Wendy can enjoy the weekend without putting in so much time (partly successful). It’s difficult for Wendy not to be involved in some way and on the Saturday she keeps nipping off to check this and that. Everything goes according to plan except the Bear Radio Road show is 4 hours late and getting set up is more difficult that it need be. Entries are 96 boats about maximum. The weather was fine but cloudy until we paraded on the Avon for the best-dressed boat competition when it starts to rain. Getting the boat in and out of the mooring is interesting we are on the inside next to the jetty with 2 boats on the outside of us. We manage it without incident. Pm it rains and rains hard, as luck would have it about 8pm it stops raining and the illuminated boat parades. About 20 boats took part and an excellent display it was as usual. The winner, it was the same boat as last year. Boat dressed like the Starship Enterprise (Star Trek) it took 14000 lights to illuminate the boat as well music quite a sight. Steve and Sheila Collie joined us in the evening, Brian’s boss at MSF with his wife stopped by for just the one. The evening finished at about 12 midnight, the Mayor and Mayoress Robbie and Diana Raffeal and John Payne leader of Wychavon Council, joined us for late drinks, all very pleasant.
Sunday 12th July 1998
A very damp start to the day, after overnight heavy rain. Final judging of the Best Dressed Narrowboats by the Mayoress and Mayor. Then the prize giving and Wendy won 1st prize. We left at 12 noon. Sankey for lunch and then home for 4pmish. A very enjoyable weekend.
Saturday 18th July 1998
Off to the GIG. Stage one, we leave
Evesham at 6.45pm and arrive at the Fish and Anchor, Offenham, at 8.30pm
and have dinner, Chilly Con Carne for me, Chicken and Leek for Wendy. Very
nice. At about 9.45pm we move the boat up to Harvington Lock. We
were double breasted at the pub moorings and the other boat was away early so we
had to move. Very quiet mooring below the lock. We played a game
called 'Batten Down the Hatches' from the compedium of Games that Wendy won for
the Best Dressed Narrowboat at last weeks festival. Bed-11pm.
Sunday 19th July 1998
Rose late - 9.30am. Weather
overcast but warm, and we started the journey to Stratford. All went well
until Pilgrim Lock when we got caught by the wind and due to the other boats
moored in awkward places, had to turn around and go back until we could turn and
go again. All OK at second attempt. The sun came out and it is now
really warm. A lovely day. At Cadbury Lock we were treated to a
young man singing and playing his guitar in another boat as we came up the lock.
I took some video of him sitting on the back of his boat enjoying the attention.
During this journey, we also came across a couple in a small Narrowboat, hired.
As she called him Dad, we assumed Father and Daughter. She clearly wanted
to be anywhere but on the water and was most concerned that she looked good and
had clean hands. He on the other hand looked and acted just like Mr Bean.
At Luddington we had to wait for the lock to empty, and in doing so, the force
of the water banged the boat against the side of the lock and put yet another
mark on the new paintwork. We eventually arrived in Stratford at 5.25pm
and moored up opposite the theatre. We decided to go to the new 'Picture
House'. We saw Godzilla. A bit like a modern King Kong, with
excellent special effects. A very good couple of hours entertainment.
After the film, we went to Meer Street to the Indian restaurant. We used
to go here years ago when we lived in Stratford. The name had changed but
the place looked the same and the food was excellent. Back to the boat and
bed at 10.30pm.
Monday 20th July 1998
We rose late and after a walk into town
for shopping we left at 1.15pm and proceeded up the Stratford Canal. I had
forgotten how narrow the locks and bridges were and I managed to wack the
entrance to the first lock. I had forgotten how dirty the water was and
how shallow the water is. The weather is warm and overcast. We
proceed slowly. Hire boats in front without much idea of what to do.
We try and help, without success. The flowers are a problem on top of the
boat and I finally insist they have to go. After more lock and bridge
wacking, due to me not being able to see where I am going, we give the flowers
to a lady in a cottage between locks 41 and 42. She was delighted with our
gift and was going to put them in her garden by the towpath. After the
next lock, she came running up and presented us with a bottle of red wine.
Nice thought. We continue through Wilmcote and it's my turn for a sit down
after doing all but three of the locks today. This is a lovely canal,
narrow with twists and turns. We cross the aqueduct with Wendy steering
and then after passing some BBC men and women, apparently doing live link-ups
with Japan, we arrive at Wootton Wawen at 7.30pm, just in time for Corry.
We watch a couple more TV programmes and then eat at the Navigation.
Getting to the Navigation is tricky. Along the towpath, under the short
aqueduct which is very low and I bang my head and then across the road to the
pub. The meal is excellent. Mixed Grill for me and Chicken and
Mushroom Pie for Wendy. Both packed with meat and veg. We walk back
to the boat and after a couple of ports on the stern enjoying the evening air,
Tuesday 21st July 1998
The day is hot and sunny and after engine
checks and replacement of the rubber engine noise muffle, which had fallen off,
and a walk to the craft center for Wendy, well worth a visit, we leave later
than planned at 11.15am. We find ourselves following two other boats and
at lock 38 after going through narrow bridges, we have quite a long wait.
The canal is well kept and although the gates are heavy and the paddles are
difficult to turn, it's a very pretty stretch. At lock 34, the boat in
front of us gets stuck fast going in. Something has prevented the gate
going all the way home. Tying Nb One Moore to the stern of the stuck boat
and both in full reverse does not shift her. By now 6 boats are queued at
the lock and people have collected and are trying to help. Several beefy
men decide to waggle the gate, and with the boat in reverse it finally and
slowly comes out. A lot of probing behind the gate then takes place but
nothing is found. The boat then re-enters the lock and all is well.
We all continue through with no problems. The day is still hot and sunny
and I steer the boat while Wendy does the locks. The locks here are quite
evenly spaced and it's easy to see the next lock in most cases. While
Wendy prepares the next lock, I come out and shut the gate or leave it open if
another boat is coming. At some stage this afternoon I got bitten on my
left leg, just above the ankle. Maybe a horsefly or a small snake, I could
not say. I did not feel it at the time. More of this later.
More little bridges and cottages go by and lots of wildlife. It is a
pleasure though not to see one fisherman. At 5.15pm we reach Kingswood
Junction and turn through the tiny new-ish gap towards the GU Canal. Why did
they build this passage which saves going through 2 locks so narrow? There
is plenty of room to add another 6 inches either side. The brickwork is
badly damaged where boats have wacked the sides and entrances. So silly.
Wendy wants to moor at the 'Tom of the Wood' pub for the night and I am given
instructions to turn left onto the GU. The canal is now wide in comparison
to the Stratford and the banks are metal pilled and upright. The Stratford
banks are grass and fields where animals come to drink. Oh so different.
After 200 yards or so we come to the 'Tom of the Wood' except it's called the
Navigation. I remember stopping here years ago in 'Just the One' with Mary
and Brian our co-owners at the time. I remember particularly because we
had not had the boat long and I went ahead instead of astern and nearly crashed
into the bank. It was only the fast moving Brian leaping off to push the
boat from the side that prevented it. 'Can't be the right pub, must be
further on' says Wendy. So on we go. 40 minutes later she decides we
are going the wrong way. Should have turned right onto the GU not left.
We try and turn round. There might be just enough room but the wind is too
strong and we continue to the winding hole at the 'Black Boy Cruising Club'.
We enquire is Mr Olds is about (the person we bought Nb One Moore from, then
called TOGOBO) and were told that he had moved his boat to Litchfield.
It's now 6.30pm and we moor up outside the Black Boy pub where we eat.
Faggots for me and Steak Pie for Wendy. All very tasty. The portions
here are very good. The pub is modern, fast food type but with a very
extensive menu and good fast service even though it was full with plenty of
customers. We retire at 11 ish. A very good day. My foot is
now itching like mad.
Wednesday 22nd July 1998
We leave the Black Boy pub moorings at 8.40am and go back the way we have come to the junction of Kingswood. We see the fishermen again. The weather is overcast and quite cool. I steer and as we have no locks until the Hatton flight, sit back and enjoy the surroundings and Wildlife. Few other boats around. We pass the 'Tom of the Wood'. Looks very nice. We will moor there next time we pass this way. We go through the Shrewley Tunnel, water cascades from the roof and we get quite wet. And then to Hatton Top lock where we arrive at 11.15am. As luck would have it, the lock is ready. One boat is already in. It's going down one lock to turn around and then back up again. We join it and decide to wait in the pound for another boat to go down with. There are 21 locks in the Hatton Flight and apart from using one lock of water for 2 boats instead of one and saving water, its easier with more people closing the gates and opening the paddles and with a forward party preparing the next lock. We don't have long to wait and a Black Prince 60 footer with 2 families on board arrives. I go into the 2nd lock and wait. This proves to be a big mistake, as even though we have closed the gate behind me leaving one gate open, the n/b (steered by a woman) manages to come in and wack the back of n/b 'One Moore' denting the stern rail and damaging the new paintwork. I am not amused and suggest in the following locks she goes in first and ties up before I enter the lock. She agrees, the flight takes us 3 hours to do without further incident and I stay on board while Wendy and 2 men and 2 girls do the locks. It's quite cold and windy and at every lock mooring up for the Black Prince is a problem. She will go into reverse at just the point someone pulls the bow in so steering the stern across the lock. The steerer then throws the rope to someone on the stern end of the lock to bring her back to the side. I offer advice and suggest that she go forward once the bow has been secured, instead of backwards to bring the stern round. She accepts the advice, but fails to follow it. I on the other hand enter every lock perfectly, touching neither side or boat as I enter each lock. I feel quite proud of myself. As the other boat is tied up front and back, I also see little point in doing the same, so just use the engine to keep it in position. The downward trip is very pleasant. I accept a beer and apologies about the dent in the boat. We chat about this and that, as you do. They have a problem with the engine cutting out and are staying in Warwick to call out Black Prince to sort the problem out. We head for Cape Locks and the Cape of Good Hope Pub. Getting out of the bottom lock is tricky because a n/b is moored half way across the gate on the right and we have to maneuver round him. My foot is now throbbing and oozing puss. We moor up at Cape locks about 3.00pm by the water point and Wendy gets water while I go to the pub who very kindly organise a taxi to take me to the chemist in Warwick to get something for my foot. It's now painful. The chemist sells me antihistamine tablets. I also buy a videotape for the camera and some paracetamol tablets and then after a short wait, return by another taxi to the boat. Now I have the pills to take, means no booze. I am on the wagon on my holiday!!. We ate at the 'Cape of Good Hope'. Steak for me and Wendy and very nice it was too. After the meal I feel quite poorly so we return to the boat and it's an early night. My leg is still oozing puss and in more places now. Wendy put a dressing on it.
Thursday 23rd July 1998
I have slept very well and my foot seems
better. At 9.00am we get up and clearly it's not better. I now have
blisters all round my leg and it is painful to walk. I can't go on like
this and will have to get medical advice. Warwick has a large hospital
with an A&E department and we are advised to go 2 locks down and moor up by
the next bridge. We can then walk to the hospital about ½ a mile away.
This we do and at 11.15ish I am seen by a doctor (a big black man of African
decent I think). He tells me I must rest the leg and keep it up and
prescribes some antibiotics. He also wants me to go back tomorrow.
There is nothing for it we cannot go any further today. About ½ mile down
at the cut is Kate Boatyard and we moor up there. It's a pleasant day,
cloudy with sunny spells. I am writing this log sitting in the boat with
my leg up as instructed. It's stopped itching and is not painful unless I
put weight on it. Time now 7.20pm. We eat on board, EU steak and
potatoes, strawberries and cream with cake. Very nice. TV and then
to bed at 11pm.
Friday 24th July 1998
A good nights sleep for both of us even
though the factory next to the boatyard went on half the night. Over to
the hospital for a check up of my leg which is much better this morning.
Appointment 11am seen 11.18am out and back to the boat by 11.45am having had the
dressing changed and been told to 'keep the leg up'. Some hopes on a boat.
Excellent service from the NHS. At 12noon on the dot we leave Kate Boats, who
did not charge us for overnight mooring, due to my predicament. Wendy took the
helm and I sat in the bow with my leg up. It's fine dry and sunny and
quite warm and we chug through the industrial bit of Warwick and onto Leamington
where we stop for milk and a paper. I stay on the boat and a voice
suddenly says, " She looks a bit different to the last time I saw her
". Turned out to be Mike Turner who had seen n/b One Moore at the
Evesham Festival a couple of weeks ago, all covered in flowers. Mike and
Sue, his wife, are in n/b Shottery Belle and are going the same way as us and we
decide to go together to make life easier for the locks to come. And
so we continue, Wendy and Sue do the locks and Mike and I steer and chat.
This is an interesting stretch, well kept, clean water. The locks are kind
to the girls with boats coming down as we are going up. I think the only
lock, which has to be filled, is the Staircase, Basecote Locks. Mike and
Sue stop at Itchington and we decide to go on to the Blue Lias, a few locks up
and we arrive at 5.45pm and moor up. I phone Mike Wooding and he
says he will come over later to see us. So we shall watch Corry, then go
and have something to eat in the pub.I had Steak and Wendy had Steak pie.
The Woodings arrived at 9.15ish and Sean slightly afterwards. A jolly good
time was had by all of us and we left at chucking out time.
Saturday 25th July 1998
We left the mooring 9am ish in glorious
sunshine and quite hot. A boat was just coming out of the lock at Stockton
Bridge and we waited for them in the next lock. As it happens, there were
two boats, not one, but the first still came in and up with us. The other
boat turned out to be one of the 7 Royal Navy Nb's across the UK. Chatting
to the skipper, he told me that the boat were available to hire at standard
rates or to Navy and associated personnel at reduced rates. We rose
steadily. It's amazing how quickly a flight of locks (8 in this flight)
can be achieved with a good forward crew and boats going the other way. We
reach the top in 1½ hours ish and leave the other boats to catch up with each
other. The canal is quite open and wide and I sit in the bow with my leg
up while Wendy steers. At Calcutt locks there is much activity. Hire
boats coming and going, boats up and down. We wait but a short time and
are away again. Slowly past the moored boats to Napton Junction and a left
towards Braunston. This stretch of the Oxford GU is great. Long wide
straight sections with views of rolling countryside, birds, ducks, rabbits,
cows, sheep. All manner of animals to watch out for. About ½ way
down is a very tight 90° left turn and under a bridge before a right turn.
It's worth making sure nothing is coming the other way and you are going slowly.
We did this bend some years ago going the other way and were forced into the
bank. This section was narrower then and I am pleased to see that BWB have
made this section wider and cut down the bushes and trees. At Braunston we
stop by the Turn, at Midland Chandlery and buy some rope fenders, dump the dummy
and check the engine which is running rather fast. I adjust the tickover
and then it won't start. I have a problem with the starter electric's.
A contact somewhere is not quite right. At this point the Woodings show up,
looking for items for their new boat. You don't see someone for months and then
you see them twice in two days. Very nice too. After taking off all it's
connections and putting them back on again, after cleaning, all is well and we
chug on into Braunston and down to the bottom lock. This junction is
always busy and we had been warned that it was 'very busy'. However, we
only had to wait for one boat to lock up and down and we were in with a hire
boat only out for 3 days from 'Gayton'. The steerer had been boating
before, many times (and it showed). He and his wife would love to buy a
boat but they live in Bournemouth and to travel to a canal was some distance, so
for the moment, they hire 3 or 4 times a year. We are soon at the top and
through Braunston Tunnel. We met 2 boats on the way through, no problems.
Mind you, it's wetter in the tunnel than outside. A short chug now to the
Norton Junction and onto the Leicester Section. It is now cooler and the
sun has gone for the day. Everything is flat, no contrast. The
Leicester section seems more closed in trees and bushes on both sides. We
are now heading for our evening mooring. It's 6.45 and time to stop.
The only available pub is at Watford Gap. We pass under its mainline
railway and spy super moorings outside the Stag's Head Restaurant. Not
really what we were expecting. Looked a bit posh. Well, there is
always Watford Gap services by the towpath on the other bank if for some reason
we could not eat here. We washed and changed and walked through the
gardens, where some people were sitting and up to the entrance. Very nice
we thought. We approached the bar, 'Yes Sir' said a young man with an
Italian accent. " Table for two please" I asked. "
Have you booked" he said. " No" I said. " No
problem" said he " would you like the restaurant or the bar
menu?" Now this place was busy and Wendy suggests that we might wait
a while for a table, perhaps we should have a meal in the bar. We are
shown to the bar and are seated at a table. I get the drinks, Guinness and
a red wine. A short time later, our order is taken and a short time after
that, our steaks arrive and they are beautiful, cooked just as we ordered them
and with all the trimmings. Puddings follow. Lemon Meringue pie for
me and summer pudding for Wendy. Both perfect. Another drink and
then back to the boat for 9.15pm. We were both tired after our long day on the
cut so we retired at 10.00pm and slept soundly. The sleeping soundly was a
bit of a surprise as a 100yards away on one side was the main M1 and 100yards
away on the other side is the railway.
Sunday 26th July 1998
We left the moorings at 8.30am and continued towards Crick. A few hundred yards passed and we came to our first lock and as luck would have it, a boat was coming out, so in we went. After the first 2 locks, a sharp right hand turn put us into the bottom lock of the Watford Staircase. A BWB man told us what to do. Open paddles red, and then open paddles white. This we did. This staircase is very attractive. Side ponds full of plants and fish and a pretty couple of cottages at the top. We go from lock to lock with ease and are soon at the top where three boats are already in a queue. Apparently it gets very busy here and a long wait is not unusual. Under the M1 and the canal narrows and twists and turns until we reach Crick Tunnel. This is shorter than the Braunston's some 1500 yards but much wetter. We meet a boat going the other way but again, pass without a problem. On the other side the sun is out and it's quite hot. We pass under bridge 11 and enquire how far Crick Marina is, "¼ mile" another boater shouts. ¼ mile later we turn into the marina and moor up. Wendy hops off and Doug, the harbourmaster approaches her. " Mooring for a week please". No problem and Doug directs us to a visitor mooring. This vast marina must have at least 50-60 boats and all amenities except any sort of clubhouse. It's quiet and miles from anywhere. Just what we want. We phone our friends to come and collect us to take us home and at 1.30pm they arrive. In the couple of hours while we wait, I change the engine oil and Wendy tidies up and packs. We are sorry to leave, but needs must.
Engine Clock 05701
Sunday 2nd August 1998
After the previous nights bash at Ragley
Hall with the Collies and some friends of theirs, I am not feeling too good
(upset tummy) and we leave the house later than planned, about 10.30am.
Wendy having packed all cars. Wendy drives the Astra and me in the Jag, we
drive to Normanton on Soar and leave the Jag in readiness for our trip home in a
weeks time. Then onto Crick in the Astra to board 'One Moore'. The weather
is hot and sunny. On route to Crick, Wendy realises she has left her
mobile phone 12v charger at home and contacts James at home to bring it to us at
Crick on his motorbike. After getting lost, he eventually arrives and we
leave at 3.00pm after having to go back to the marina for Wendy to find her
glasses. She ran to the car but could not see them. We eventually
found them on board and off we went. More of the same very nice canal and
views of the countryside. At bridge 33, I spy a boat coming the other way.
I think I am closer to the bridge and carry on. From a distance, it looks
to me that he has stopped and then I see smoke coming from his chimney and he
speeds up. Going quickly astern does no good and I wack the side of the
bridge and he wacks our stern as he comes out through the bridge. "
Weekenders" he cried, " it was my right of way". "How
do you work that out?" I said. "I was closest," he said.
" That's why you speeded up then," I said. "I didn't"
was his reply. "That's why I saw the smoke from your engine
then" said I. At that point, he started waving me away with his
hands. I win I think. The name of the Nb was 'Salamander' or look out if
you see her. We continue on without further incident, enjoying the lack of locks
and our surroundings. We moor up just after bridge 42 at the junction near
North Kilworth. We eat on board, Steak and Kidney pie, Smash and peas.
Monday 3rd August 1998
We wake to rain and the forecast is not
good. Chugging in the rain is not my idea of fun so we wait. At
12noon it stops, but we decide to stay where we are and spend the day reading,
radio and TV. At about 2.00pm it starts to get quite cold so I light the
fire to warm us. Curry for dinner, meal for two from Safeway. Very
Tuesday 4th August 1998
It's fine and sunny but the forecast is
mixed. We leave at 9.00am and continue through some lovely countryside.
Through Husbands Bosworth Tunnel. This stretch has everything. A
super wooded glade, vast open countryside, cows, sheep, bullocks, bulls, and all
sorts. We enjoy just chugging. Breakfast on route of sausages in
rolls. Lovely. Eventually, we reach out first locks for some time.
Foxton is a famous set of 2 staircase locks, each consisting if 5 locks.
We had been informed to allow ½ day for these locks, as queues are common.
We are lucky and go straight in at the top. 70 minutes later we are out at
the bottom. I have stayed on board and steered through the narrow, one
boat at a time locks, and Wendy and a BWB lady did the hard bit. The BWB lady
even went to the shop and bought the anti vandal key, that we would need for
Leicester, for us At the bottom, we turn left and continue through much of
the same. This stretch is really lovely. Miles and miles of lovely
canal. From the moment we turned onto this section of the GU, it's all
been great. Just before we reach Saddington Tunnel, the canal towpath side
changes and thick concrete replaces metal to hold up the bank. The other
side drops away and we realise we are going round a hill. The Tunnel is
supposed to have 'Bats' but we don't see any At bridge 74 we stop and
Wendy walks into Fleckney to pick up provisions. I rub down the scratch
and chip marks encountered on the trip so far in readiness for repairing.
An hour passes and off we go. We now hit locks. Almost a novelty.
They are all without exception, today empty and need to be filled for our
decent. After about four locks, we catch up with another boat. It's
very windy and I have some problem getting in to the lock. In the other boat are
Germans in a hire boat. They look disapprovingly at my attempts to get in.
All the locks today have given problems because of the high wind. Our
intention was to stop at Kilby Bridge and go to the pub there. We are
informed on route that the pub is closed so we pull up at 6.30ish just south of
Kilby Bridge and moor by the towpath. Steak and Pork fillets for dinner.
TV and early bed.
Wednesday 5th August 1998
My alarm goes off at 4.00am and after tea
and coffee, we leave our moorings at 5.10am, just after dawn. Today we go
through Leicester and many people have advised us that unless we go through
early, we could be in trouble. The problems are mainly vandalism and
theft. We leave the cratch cover on and the doors back and front, locked.
It's warm, even at 6.00am, the sun is poking through and it is a gorgeous
morning. At Ervimes lock, just 3 locks down from Kilby Bridge, I find that
we need our anti-vandal key to operate the locks. Each paddle is locked
and the passage through is slow. But we are alone. Nothing else is
moving apart from the cattle and sheep. At south Wigston, we pass some
very well kept houses leading down to the canal. Up and on through Blaby, it's
great. More cattle and now horses fill the countryside. It's hard to think
that you are in the industrial midlands, as the canal seems to be out in the
countryside. At Aylestone Mill Lock, a moored boat has broken down, water
pipe gone. I offer him a section of pipe I have on board and it seems to
do the trick. He goes off to find some jubilee clips to finish the job.
This is the last lock that we need the anti-vandal key for. Are we past
the worst bits? The canal now goes through a narrow channel where we meet
two boats going the other way and then to St Mary's Mill Lock which is quite
pretty. At Freemans Meadow Lock, the canal and River Soar meet. A
huge weir welcomes you to Leicester Centre. The next mile or so is taken
up with a long straight section with many ornate bridges. Much new
building is going on to out left. University student accommodation, some
of it. We wend our way through Leicester keeping an eye out for vandals on
the bridges, but no problems. The canal is dirty with rubbish - shopping
trolleys and thick Duckweed. Shame, it spoils the otherwise interesting
and attractive views. At North Lock, the river and canal separate again
and it's very narrow and shallow. The reflection on the river makes it
difficult to know which way the water flows and we proceed with caution.
Under more bridges and buildings, some derelict, line the route. At
Belgrave Lock, the buildings finish and it's back to the river again. A
weir, a park, kids playing, the sun shining, it's hot , everybody's idea of a
lovely summers day. We wait for a boat to come out of the lock. This
is only the second moving boat we have seen since entering Leicester. This
city should be buzzing with river and canal activity in the height of the summer
season. It's reputation for vandalism must put a lot of people off.
That's a shame. It's a great run though. The lock won't empty.
Water is rushing in the top faster than out the bottom. It's almost as if
the city wants us to stay and in some ways I wish we could. I re-open the
paddles and with much pushing of the balance beam, gradually the gate opens.
Phew that was hard work. We are now on the River Soar proper and the water
is clear and dark. To our right there seems to be a wildlife park.
Much activity and people enjoying the sights. We stop at Birstall. I walk
into town for some money. It seems we have run out. Quite a walk to
the bank but all sorts of independent shops for whatever you need. A good
provisions stop. After an hour or so, we set off. Dunny Dump at a
boatyard which is not even on Nichollsons, so it must be new and water by the
pub at Syston. We chat to another boat couple and 3 Hell's Angels' type in
the pub. We are now getting quite tired and after some more super views,
we Moor for the day below Cossington Lock at 5pm, 12 hours after we started.
The mooring is a bit overgrown but after putting in steaks, we are secure.
We dine at the Cossington Mill restaurant, which is not mentioned in Nichollsons
even though it's been there since forever, but it was on the Geo map. It
was perfect. Plaice stuffed with prawns in a honey and lemon sauce for me
and a veggie and puff pastry pie for Wendy. Excellent. Good food and
service in a quiet country restaurant. Perfect. A short walk back
and in bed by 9.30pm, exhausted but happy with our day.
Thursday 6th August 1998
Wendy woke early and by 7.30am we were
both up drinking tea and coffee. We don't intend to do much today.
So after a morning of engine tinkering and general checks for me, all in my
undies in the engine compartment, I was a bit concerned in case another 'Netting Weekend' boat came past and caught me in my nicks but all OK. A
quick shower and a chat to the BWB man, who told us his recent history of a
divorce and re-partnership and then in the now very hot early PM sun, we set
off. The river is really very nice, and in some ways like the Avon.
One major difference is that the water is quite high up and you can see for
miles. The Avon is low and its views are often of high bank. The
river meanders through 2 locks and we then reach Barrow upon Soar. This
pretty place has houses one side and countryside the other. As we proceed
through past some very well kept large houses, we comment on how the
owners seem to be competing with each other in that the garden layouts are the
same. Then, further up, the sheds seem to be all the same just different
sizes or quantities. We dump the rubbish and then stop 100 yards or so
above the lock at 3.00pm. It's very pleasant in the semi shade. I
walk into town, about ten minutes,which is only a few shops, a couple of pubs
and not much else. We relax. Indian Takeaway for dinner. The
Bengal Tandoori and Balti Restaurant, which is excellent and only a few yards
walk, by the lock. TV and bed 10.30pm.
Friday 7th August 1998
I sleep badly and wake up with a stomach-ache. A trip to the loo sorts that out. My, that was a good curry last night. The morning is spent relaxing and for me, finishing my log up to date. It's now 10.50am, time for a coffee I think. We leave around noon and start the final section to Normanton on Soar. From Barrow, the canal winds through gentle countryside. Piltings lock in a flood lock. We have not encountered these before. It's strange to go through a lock with both gates open. The approach to Loughbourgh is quite tatty and the canal looks tired. As you continue through the surroundings, towpath, houses, buildings etc improve and one can tell that some effort is being put in to make the canal more attractive. We stop for water just after Loughbourgh Lock where we have seen 'Corixa' Syd Arkless's boat. They have gone shopping. While we water, we wash the boat as well. At the next Lock, we dump the dunny and rubbish and then onto the final stretch. We pass a huge factory being built for 'Astra', apparently, a chemical company. Just round the corner, we bump into the BWB man who told us his life history earlier in the week. In the distance, we see Norman Church spire and then the Soar boating club, home to this years GIG '98. We made it. The time is 3.00pm. We are directed to moor bow in next to 'Will Crooks', the boat owned by Joe Jones. Others arrived yesterday and this morning.
The next 2/3 days I shall leave to the postings from the Internet to describe,
and photos of the event, now on the web. This was our first GIG and it was
wonderful to meet folk old and new. It really was a fantastic weekend.
Monday 10th August 1998
Today we must leave for home. We
have a short chug to the lock to dump the dunny, charge up the batteries and get
rid of the rubbish, say our goodbyes to the few who are left and then drive to
Crick to collect the Astra left at the marina the week before, then home to
Evesham, arriving late pm.
Another great week. All rivers and canals new to us. Brilliant.
Saturday 15th August 1998
I leave work early (4pm) and at 5pm,
James, my son, drives us in the Astra back to Normanton to start our journey
home on 'One Moore'. At 6.30pm, we arrive and James is away again, minutes
later. Wendy then discovers that she has left her telephone on the back
seat of the car! Hearing our problem, a chap from
'Adagio' named Pete moored next to us, lends us his mobile to phone James to
return with the phone, which he does. After sorting out and switching
everything on, all is OK. We wander down to the Plough for some nosh. We
pass some nice, well-kept houses and arrive at 8.30 only to be told that the pub
has stopped serving food, it's run out!. We debate what to do now and
Wendy explains to a waitress that we are on a boat with no food. 'Leave it
to me' says the waitress and suddenly, they do have food and we order what we
want. Steak for me and Steak and Kidney Pie for Wendy. We move
inside and its tables that were reserved are suddenly clear. The waitress
explains that they have had a promotion on and it's cleared them out. Odd
sort of promotion when you end up turning business away. Anyway, the food
was acceptable and we wandered back to the clubhouse for a couple of pints and a
chat to the members, who were delighted to se us.
Sunday 16th August 1998
We intended to leave early but ended up
leaving at 10.15am. We head on up the River Soar in sunshine and warm
temperatures. At Zouch Lock we spy Chris Deuchar's 2 boats, but do not
have time for a chat as we are called into the lock. We just fit with 3
other boats. The river winds through open countryside. At Kegworth
Deep Lock, I am told to keep a close eye on the sill. As we go down, I see
why, the lock has a very large deep shelf. The Power Station now dominates the
skyline and it's not long before we reach Redhill Lock and the marina a little
further on. No sign of Little Mo! It's then a short hop to the end
of the Soar we turn left onto the River Trent. Turning right takes you to
Thrumpton weir, which is huge. Shame we didn't have time to stop in Thrumpton, I
would like to have seen, Hugh, Pugh, Barney Magroo, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grubb
or Chippy Minton, perhaps next time. The river here provides a junction for the
Erewash Canal. The Trent going North, the Soar and the Trent and Mersey
Canal, which we are soon on, leaving behind the river Trent at Sawley.
This is a huge lock. In fact 2 locks, both operated electronically using
the BWB key to switch them on. Once through, it's wall to wall boats for a
long way. Boats of all shapes and sizes, a huge boatyard and marina. We
wave to some people we met in the clubhouse last night and say goodbye to Pete,
who has been with us this morning, in his Nb. At the end of Sawley Cut is
a small bridge and flood lock then to Derwent lock on the Trent and Mersey
Canal. After days and days of going down in locks, we now start to go up
again. The gates are heavy and the locks wide. The air smells from
the nearby sewage works. We continue on to Shardlow and spy 'Laplander'
moored in a small inlet just off the canal. Looks like a garden. Time is against
us and we can't stop here but we should do. There is a lot to see and do
in Shardlow if you are a boating person, shame we have to move on. The
canal is now quite narrow and nothing special. A new bridge (1997) at 3A
and bridge 4 looks new. More views of another power station. It is
now quite windy. We pass a duck with 12 ducklings. Didn't she do
well! The canal is quite woody here and the towpath overgrown
somewhat. The view is less attractive. At Weston Lock by bridge 8 we
are doing fine, tied up by the centre rope in the lock which is gently filling
up, when a boater who wants to go down opens up the paddles, thinking he is
helping and sends the boat all over the show. Why can't people ask before
they attempt to help? The boater's wife also informs Wendy that you can't
open the gates with the paddles down. Some people have some strange
ideas. We continue on to Swarestone lock which is very deep and thankfully
manned, by a group trying to restore the Derby Canal and are looking for
donations, which we are pleased to contribute to. Very nice people.
We moor up just after bridge 17 on splendid moorings by the Ragley Boat Stop
pub. I can't remember pub moorings before where they have electric hook up
and water. The food in the pub is very good and the service cheerful and
quick. About 200 yards of large garden separate the pub from the moorings
and while we eat, many people wander down to look at the 4 boats moored
up. The pub is very much a family type and it's a little scruffy but a
very good stopping point. Nipped up the stern gland here and the water
dripping seems to have stopped now. Saw 'Little Mo' here also. They
were on their way back to Redhill Marina. The railway line is also very
close to this mooring, probably only 50 yards away.
Monday 17th August 1998
We leave at 9.00am. The morning is
crisp with clear blue skies. The canal is quite wooded with clear views
beyond. Not much boat traffic around and very few hire boats. At
Stenson Lock and marina, we gently rise in the lock. On this stretch
apparently, the correct way to open the paddles is to open the ones on the
opposite side to the boat moored side. We saw Jack and 'Zepher', Blue Heron, but
no sign of Judy or Stan and Spay also without anybody on board, and the American
nice chap with the ponytail from the GIG whose name escapes me. We have a
brief chat with Jack and then off again. The canal opens out a little and
the A38 runs along side, making it noisy. We pass an old BWB dredge type boat,
which looks as if its been there for years. I wonder sometimes, as you often see
boats like this, if BWB know how many boats they have got and where they all
are. At Dallow Lane lock, which is interesting because it's directly under a
bridge, the engine stops for some reason but is quickly started again. There is
a house being rebuilt, with great boards all round and barbed wire. They must
have a huge vandal problem. Bass Brewery and Marstons dominate Burton on
Trent. Smart canal side properties, one has a skull and crossbones flag
flying in the garden. What's all that about?. A large park and some
industry. At Snobrall there is a large marina and we again see the BWB man
from last week, now on a boat with new love. Nice boat!. The weather is
cold and it starts to rain as we leave Burton past a huge brewery
warehouse. Through the open doors waiting for lorries to load up, you can
see thousands and thousands of cans of beer. The canal continues fairly
straight and at Branston, home of the famous chutney, we pass a Marley tile
factory. Tiles of every shape and colour cover a large area along the side
of the canal. At Branston Lock, the engine stops again. I adjust the
tickoven and all seems well. There are excellent views here especially of
the power station. Bridge 36 is very narrow and low with just enough room
to get through. The canal here is very rural, a large gravel pit is on the
right and the A38 stays with us on the left. The locks on this stretch are
very well maintained and winding is easy. At 4.30pm, we reach Alrewas and
tie up by the towpath just by bridge 49 and next to the Old Boat. Mary and
Brian meet us in the evening and we have an excellent meal in the pub.
Mary and I have Venison, Brian has Monkfish and Wendy has Lamb. We sleep
Tuesday 18th August 1998
We leave at 8.30am in clear blue skies
and it's warm. As we leave the lock, the boat going in seems to have a
problem with his engine. Smoke pouring from it. The owner seems to
think it's OK and is running OK. At bridge 50, the emblem flag on top of
the boat touches the arch of the bridge, the first time this has happened and
it's very narrow. At 9.55am we reach Fradley Junction and after dunny
dump, water, helping a lady out with a film and speaking to Peter Harper on the
phone ( we had hoped to meet up with Peter and Gill here, but they were along
way away) we turn onto Coventry Canal, or is it the Birmingham Fazely,
seems to depend which map you look at. We have been on this stretch
before and so I decide to update my log and Wendy steers. Streethay has
changed a little bit. The marina is now finished and looks very
nice. At Hopwas, we say hello to Joe Jones on Will Crooks. He
arrived that morning and was seeing Syd that night. Syd's boat was on her
mooring but no sign of Syd. At Dunstall Bridge some dredging work is going
on and we have a small delay. I steer for a while and almost run into a
boat coming the other way. Couldn't see it, sitting on the stool, as I
was. Maybe if he had sounded his horn, it might have helped draw my
attention to it. Anyway, no damage done. It is now 1.45pm and we are
about to turn onto the Birmingham Fazeley Canal. The canal now runs for
some miles through open countryside, past Drayton Manor Park and no locks until
we reach Curdworth Flight. These locks are reasonably well spaced and we
are lucky that most of them are in our favour. I do the locks while Wendy
does the steering. After 4 locks there is a shout from the bank.
"Are you Andy Dyke?" "Yes" I reply. "I am
Martin, a lurker from the net. Glad to see the boat is looking
good". "Thank you" I said. We exchange pleasantries
and then we are away again. We pass a very nice looking hotel, Marston
Farm with excellent moorings, but it is a bit early to stop. This is a
very pleasant flight, open countryside, and at the top, a very pretty
glade. Just after the tunnel, we stop at Minworth, outside the Kingsley
Beefeater at 5.30pm. Excellent moorings. I tighten up the water pump
gland and it's now dripping less. AS I am doing this, 2 cars pull up in the pub
car park and a lady gets out of one and into the other, a Jag. Passionate
Kiss and off they go. Up to no good, I will be bound. We eat in the
Kingsley, sausage and mash for me and chicken pie for Wendy and very good it is
too. Home and in bed by 9.45pm and soon to sleep. At 11.30pm, we are
awoken by cars hooting and radios on. The traffic noise is loud and we
seem to be under the Birmingham Airport flight path so it's very noisy.
Wednesday 19th August 1998
We wake at 6.00am intending to leave at
7.00am, what with one thing and another, mainly me taking photos of the fabulous
sunrise, we eventually leave at 7.45am. It's hot and sunny and we wander
through the canal past large company buildings and some housing. The canal
is very well kept. Even some special gates for wheelchair users, which
operate by remote control. At 8.45pm I wait in the lock while Wendy goes
to the Canal side Drome Transport Cafe for Bacon and Egg sandwiches.
Lovely. As we continue it gets more and more industrial apart from the odd
space or park. At 9.45pm, after travelling along side of the M6, we turn
towards Birmingham, under Spaghetti Junction. We pass through Cuckoo
Bridge and Wharf, which is very pleasant. Aston Bottom Lock has
experienced some vandalism. The lock gate is burnt and charred. The fire must
have been quite intense, as all around the grass and building next to the
gate were also charred. Thankfully, the gate still worked. The canal
here is full of oil and grease and much rubbish. It's very built up.
It's also very quiet and we haven't seen another boat all morning. The
towpath is well used by runners and cyclists. The flight continues with
locks close enough to be able to open the next lock ready for Wendy to chug into
without mooring up. The water level is very low here and at one point
Wendy touches the bottom of the lock. At 11.45 we reach the top and turn
right towards Farmers Bridge and a short trip for me, before the next flight,
which is 13 locks and some of the most interesting we have ever been
through. All the locks except 2 are with us and we see one boat on this
flight. The flight goes under huge brick arches which support railway
lines, small little bridges from days gone by. It now goes under large
buildings, under roads and also passes derelict and smart new buildings.
It passes offices and homes and is fascinating. As you get higher, more
and more people are around. We chat with lots of them. All are
interested and we are watched every step of the way. It's hot and sunny
and the large building provides timely shade. All the way today, we have
kept the cratch cover on and the curtains closed with the doors locked and
bolted. It's better to be safe than sorry. I take lots of video and
photos. It's great. At the very top is a large open area with boats
moored up and a pub. More people are enjoying the boats and the
sunshine. It's very much a lunchtime place for many people. The
National Indoor Arena dominates the skyline and we slowly wend our way round to
Gas Street Basin, which is fantastic. People all over the place.
Pubs, hire boats, shops, new buildings mixed with old and refurbished.
Super. We travel through the basin and onto the Worcester and Birmingham
Canal and moor up at 2pm. It's very hot. Other boats soon join
us. Wendy has a kip and I write this log. The time is now 3.30pm and
we leave the boat and walk into Gas Street Basin, across the bridge and into the
ICC where we get some information as to cinemas in the town. We are
directed through the ICC and into Centenary SQ and then through a small covered
shopping area, where we bought a sandwich. We sat on the steps outside and
ate them. We then walked through Victoria Square and into New Street.
This whole area has been developed for shoppers, tourists and
to attract worldwide businesses to Birmingham and the whole area is
superb. We walk down the pedestrianised New Street and find the Odeon
Multiplex Cinema, where 10 different films are on offer. Armageddon,
starring Bruce Willis is starting at 4.45pm so we plump for that. We only
have 10 minutes to wait. We buy tubs of ice cream, chocolate for me and
vanilla for Wendy. The film is excellent. A space sci-fi about a
huge asteroid 'the size of Texas' heading for Earth and destroying all living
things if it hits. Bruce and the Team save the day. Great special
effects. It's 7.35pm when we come out and we walk back to the boat.
The people around now are quite different and I feel a bit intimidated by some
of them. We play 'Spot the white man' and lose, as there are very few
about. Back at the boat, we wash and change and then head back to the
Basin for dinner. There are lots of pubs, restaurants, bars and clubs at
Gas Street Basin. Something for everybody although it is mostly young
people. We eat at 'Chicago', an American style Diner. I had pork
ribs and spicy chips and Wendy had Broccoli and cheese filo parcels with a peach
cooley sauce and tacos with dips. All excellent and very good
service. The music was quite loud but very acceptable. The very hot
day now became a cool evening and we sat on the stern, after walking back and
having a nightcap of Port. An excellent day which was very varied and
interesting. Bed 11.30pm
Thursday 20th August 1998
We wake to a cool grey day. Wendy
has her sleepy head on and we rise late, shower, breakfast and leave at
10.00am. The Worcester and Birmingham Canal moves out of Birmingham along
the side of the railway, past the University, and some housing and apart from
the add factory, it's quite rural. At 11.10pm we stop at Bournville and
moor up by the station. The moorings are poor. A large shelf sticks
out at water level and tying up is difficult. The towpath is
scruffy. We walk for 15 minutes or so to Cadbury World where we spend an
interesting three hours. We saw round part of the factory, learnt the
history of the Cadbury family and how they make and market the famous chocolate
bars around the world. There is also a village and hall here but we did
not have time to see that part. From Bournville we continued up through
King's Norton Junction where we saw some kids on a motorbike on the
towpath. It's quite cold now. The King's Norton Tunnel is one of the
longest in the country and it takes 30 minutes to pass through. It's quite
wet inside. We meet only one boat, a hire boat full of well tanked up
lads, but we pass OK. The canal here is quite woody on both sides.
It is a shame the sun is not shining. Just after 5pm, we arrive at
Alverchurch and moor up by the Crown pub, by bridge 61. I am glad to have
stopped because the meter for the batteries has gone above 17 Volts. We
have a charging problem somewhere. We seem to be over charging the
batteries. Must keep an eye on them. As we finish tying up, it
starts to rain. We just made it in time. The Crown pub was busy,
even though we went to eat quite early. Faggots and mushy peas for me, and
Chicken ham and mushroom pie for Wendy. All very good. Slept
Friday 21st August 1998
We intended to leave early today but when
we woke, the morning was cold, grey and wet. The forecast was for better
weather later in the day. At 10.30am, we leave the moorings at Alverchurch.
It's raining, but only very slightly and I need the umbrella. The canal
here winds its way through open countryside with clear views and some small
wooded areas. We pass some boys playing. Some of the canal side
properties are very nice. Through 2 shortish tunnels and at 12.05pm after
dumping the dunny and refilling the water tanks, we enter Tardebigge Top
Lock. It's now hot and sunny but very windy and navigating the locks is
somewhat difficult. This flight is one of the most spectacular in the
country - 30 locks in all, followed by 6 in the Stoke flight. We are
following another boat so I go ahead and refill the next lock ready for Wendy to
chug straight into. The top paddles are very stiff and Wendy cannot open
them. At lock 57 a new pub called 'Tyler's Lock on the Water' looks
attractive and encourages boaters. Home made food is available. It's
mentioned in 'Nichollsons' as the 'Engine House Restaurant' in the text but no
symbol on the map. Another Error in Nichollsons! We continue to fall
and see the odd other boat coming up but very few. A BWB man on a wheel buggy
checking the towpath, sees what I am doing and opens three more for me on his
way down. Nice chap. We have a slight wait by bridge 54, another
boat coming up, so I take the opportunity to photograph and video the fantastic
view. An IWA Save Water volunteer helps with the locks. The wind is
still causing problems with the steering and there is varying levels of water in
the compounds. Some are very full and some are shallow. As you
approach the locks in the full ones, it is a good idea to remember that a
6" shelf sticks out around the entrance to the locks. These are
hidden by the water and easy to hit unless you line up just right. Locks
40 through to 36 are very close together. We meet a few more boats coming
up and I suppose it is working out to be 50/50 empty and full. There are lots of
people walking the towpath and some with dogs. There is also quite alot of dog
s**t all over the place. We have encountered this for the last 3 weeks in
various places. I do wish owners would keep dogs on a lead and clear up the mess
their dog makes. How can you watch your dog when you are 100 yards from it. I
wonder why there is no BWB rule or a bye law preventing dogs running along
unchecked by a lead?. As you get closer to the bottom, the wind drops and it's
very hot. Tardebigge Locks give way to Stoke Locks at lock 28, which ends
up at Stoke Wharf, a Black Prince hire Boat Facility and general boatyard.
At 5.30pm we exit Stoke Bottom Lock. A very pleasant afternoon. We
moor up just after the Stoke Works area, which is now a huge Bayer Factory, by
the Boat and Railway Pub. It seems we have been close to railways and
roads at moorings all this week and this is no exception. The towpath
moorings are good although moor rings would be useful. This evening Wendy
washes her hair and for the first time we use the generator to power the 240V
hair drier and electric curlers. All very successful. The Fish and Chips
at the Boat and Railway were very tasty and the service good. Back to the
boat at 9.15pm and almost straight to bed. Even though we have been close
to roads, railways, and under flight paths, we have slept very well all
week. Must be the combination of fresh air, exercise and a few beers pm
and ppm. Tonight is no exception.
Saturday 22nd August 1998
Once again, we are awake quite
early. This morning, we shower and leave at 9.45am. The electric
battery-charging problem seems to have gone away. All systems are go and
yesterday, the engine and electric's all behaved, as they should. Within
½ a mile or so, we start the first of 6 locks at Astwood. The top paddles
are still stiff and the gates leaky. We pass a sign which is nice to see -
'Dogs must be kept on leads. No Fouling'. The canal narrows here and is
quite different from further up. Large tall, thick dense reeds line both
banks. We pull up two of the reeds to take home and plant on our
moorings. We see fishermen's poles sticking out of the reeds but the
fisherman is hidden. This goes on for several miles. The canal is
mostly bush or tree-lined so there is not much of a view. One can relax
however as there are no locks. On route, we have breakfast consisting of
Cheese on Toast. We pass Hanbury Wharf, which has lots of moored
boats. Through Dunhampstead Tunnel and on to Tibberton. This village
is quite small and pretty. Under the M5 and a huge bridge to support it,
we meet locks again that will take us all the way down into Worcester.
It's hot and sunny again. We start to meet a few boats now coming the
other way. Viking Afloat have a hire fleet at the marina in Worcester and
we see some of these boats, but many private. The locks are spaced out,
just too far to walk to the next one. We pass a huge Leisure Complex and
Golf Course. At one lock I use a rope to pull a young lad up from under a
bridge. He climbed down and could not get back up again. 'Boys will
be boys'. We meet another couple walking the towpath who are interested in
our boat. Their boat is laid up. They are from Loughbourgh and I
explain that we had been up there a couple of weeks ago. They advise us to
moor at Viking Affloat Marina and not in the town. At another lock, a
young lad asks for my key so he can wind the paddle down for me. I decline
his help. It's a shame, but I had the feeling that my key would disappear
with the lad once I gave it to him. I am always suspicious, probably
unfairly, of young scruffy kids at locks. In built up areas, we always
have the bow doors shut and locked, sometimes the cratch cover down and
sometimes, the stern door locked as well. Better to be safe than
sorry. At 4.30pm, we turn right off the canal and through a very narrow
tunnel/bridge into the marina. Mooring here is free overnight. Wendy
enquires at the reception desk and, sure enough, we can moor just by the opening
to the marina. Wendy wants to clean the outside of the boat. Most of
the dirt has come from the rope fenders, caked in silt from lock walls rubbing
up against the boat and leaving mud patterns on the hull and gunwales. I
walk into town, which is only about 10 minutes, and find the Odeon Cinema.
I book 2 tickets for 'Lost in Space' and am advised that there is a nice Italian
restaurant just down the road. Back at the boat, Wendy has finished her
cleaning and at 6.15pm we walk into town for an early dinner. The food and
service at 'Valentinos' in Foregate Street, Worcester, was excellent. Beef
Stroganoff for me and Pollo Diamanto (chicken in sauce) for Wendy, both with
rice pasta and chips. We also had garlic bread made from a pizza base -
very tasty. The wine was also good. Only one slight complaint, which
was that the plates were cold and Wendy's food was warm, not hot when it came to
the table. At 8.00pm, we went to our seats in the cinema and at 10.30, we
came out. The film was very disappointing and not what I expected at
all. Still, you don't know if you don't go. Worcester at night is
not a nice place. Even at 10.30 there were crowds of youngsters. We
saw one man being carried, as he was too drunk to walk. There was one
woman complaining that a man had just kicked her car and put a huge dent in
it. A lot of drunken men and women. We walked back to the boat as
quickly as possible and after a glass of Port on the stern, looking up at the
clear night sky and listening to trains rattling by, we retire to bed at
Sunday 23rd August 1998
We awake today to rain and it's quite
cold. After breakfast and the 'Archers', it's still raining and we decide
to stay put. I update this log and Wendy does some 'Evesham in Bloom'
committee work and reads the papers. I finish this update at 1.50pm and
it's still raining! The weather for the rest of the day is much the
same. We go for a walk pm independently. Wendy first. She
comes back with the Mail on Sunday but no financial pages and no magazines and
without milk. So I go out and return the paper for our money back. I
wonder the town but no milk. ppm we watch TV.
Monday 24th August 1998
We are woken at 5.00am! Not by the
trains or a road, but we now discover that we are moored next to a Royal Mail
Depot. No chance of going back to sleep, so we drink lots of tea and
coffee, shower, have breakfast and leave at 9.30 in cold drizzle. At
Sidbury Lock, a boat called 'Pollybrick' is moored on the lock moorings.
As we pass the window, I can see him using a laptop computer, perhaps checking
the e-mail, or the newsgroup!. I ask him to move his boat further up the
moorings off the lock moorings and after a short while he does. We now leave the
narrow locks behind us. We pass Royal Worcester China and then moored up
by the first of 2 big locks in Diglis Basin. Across the other side of the canal
we spy 'Just the One'. Our first boat. She looks more or less the same
except for a solid wooden structure over the centre cockpit and 2 new boxes with
loover sides on the rear deck above the engine compartment. A bike rests
on her bow rail. As we are looking at her, a chap starts talking to us,
who we establish to be her present owner. Mervin Halling bought her about
3 years ago from the people we sold her to. He paid £2200 and we sold her
for £2000 so the guy we sold her to did at least make a profit on the
boat. He obviously didn't enjoy boating as he sold her so quickly.
Anyway Mr Halling was having a great time on her and we are pleased to see that
she is being looked after and well used all year round. As we enter the
lock with another Narrowboat, it's raining hard, but by the time we come out of
the bottom lock and onto the River Severn, it's quite nice. We exit Diglis
Lock at 11.30am and head off down the Severn - Chair out and radio on.
Smashing! We stop at Upton to let Ian have a look at the engine. We
are considering having the cooling system converted from raw water to
keel. He and his expert have a long look and will let us know the cost in
due course. He can't do it till next April anyway. We then travel on
in brilliant sunshine to Tewkesbury where we tie up for our last night at 4.00pm
on our usual mooring in the marina. Well actually, by the marina still on
the river. £5.00 per night. We pay for one night and meet the new
harbourmaster, Paul. Very nice chap. After Coronation Street on TV,
we walk into town. I fancy a curry but can only find one up at the top of
town by the cross, and it's very small and not licensed. More of a
takeaway really. A bit further up Barton Street, we come to Woody's, a
bistro. In we go and we are the only people there although four more
arrive later and we get chatting, as you do. Mr Rowe tells us all about
the restaurant, his family, his future plans, his part time job as a Shakespeare
Birthplace Guide, Tewkesbury mustard (which he is about to produce and sell) and
we chat back with similar topics. Wendy has forgotten her glasses but
that's no problem as the restaurant has some she can use. We order Surf
and Turf for me (fillet) and Duck for Wendy, Creme Bruilae and Chocolate Cake to
finish. All excellent and very tasty. We wonder back to the boat and
sleep soundly in the quiet.
Tuesday 25th August 1998
Home today to Evesham. The early morning is sunny and warm and we set off at 9.00am. We meet a few boats on route as we wonder slowly up the Avon. At 12.30 it starts to rain but it's not too bad. It's nice to be able to exit the locks and not have to shut the gates behind us. Pershore lock is deep and has a centre fill as well as the gate paddles. This lock can be dangerous if the water is put in too quickly. We arrive in Pershore at 2.00pm and Wendy nips to the supermarket to shop for home. 20 minutes later, we are on our way and after a pleasant, dry, and in the late pm sunny chug, we arrive back in Evesham at 6.15pm. A fantastic trip.
Engine Clock 05787
Well that's it. Thanks to all the people we met, at the GIG and elsewhere. I think this has been the best holiday so far on One Moore. A truly wonderful time.
Between the end of August 1998 and November we did not go far. Weekend trips to Wyre Piddle, Sankey, Bridge Inn or the Upper Avon.
Sunday 1st November
We ‘put the boat to bed for the winter’. All pipes drained down and bedding and furniture taken off.
Final clock 05811
Start of season 05585
Total hours chugged 226
No mayor problems at all. A very good season all round.
Winter was generally mild. The hardest frost was only –2c or –3c and then only for a short spell.