Trip Reports 1999
March 22 1999
I serviced the engine without Brian this year he couldn’t make it. Changed oil, engine and gearboxes changed fuel and oil filters, tried to tighten up alternator to tighten belt but I still think it’s a bit slack. The red ignition light is still flickering when the batteries are fully charged. Engine started like a dream and all systems are tightened checked and working fine. At this time I also decided to service the distorted Torgem fire we had on board and after due consideration and the fact that most of the parts needed replacing we plumped for a new fire. Enquiries from the canal newsgroup gave some information as to where to obtain spares but the general suggestion was to dump it and buy a new one. This we did a ‘Villager Heron’ was the same size and we purchased it from ‘Midland Chandlers’ Braunston, on Saturday 13th March on our way of M&B for the weekend. Should have paid more attention to the date being the 13th the fire was all packed up. A few days later, on unpacking we noticed that the front glass was broken and the feet did not match. The fire could not be fitted, as they would have looked odd. To cut a long story short and after several phone calls to Midland Chandlers of Midland Swindles as they are known on the net, the fire was returned, they were unable to help. Now in Pershore there is a firm that sells the same fire, the same make everything but with cast iron feet, not bent metal ones and they all match. They were unable to help as to fixing holes on the feet so they could be screwed to the boat. We purchased the fire some £50.00 cheaper than M.C.!! and asked Philip Wendy’s nieces husband to weld some metal on with holes for attaching the fire down which he did. The fire was then attached and now looks great.
Saturday 3 April 1999
Sankey in ppm all very nice, had table with Roy and Aileen. Stayed over night.
Sunday 4 April 1999
Moved the boat down to Workman Gardens early am. Wendy and I are working this Easter in the shop because the French Market was in Bridge Street. Here the boat stayed till Monday. On Sunday pm we took Char and Alan (French Market people) Richard and his new lover Robin, Steve and Sheila on a short 2 hour trip to Sankey, where we bought some gas and back. All very nice.
April 8 1999
Collected serviced alternator (spare) and new spare bushes from Dave Shave.
Wednesday 14 April 1999
We leave out Evesham mooring at 12noon its cold and dry but the forecast is not good. The Avon is deserted, apart from the odd boat. We see young lambs, rabbits, and herons and as it’s the closed season, no fisherman. Wendy unpacks and tidies and I steer. Chadbury and Fladbury locks are both against us and at Wyre lock we met up with the culprit, a narrow boat with Mum, Dad and 2 children on board. We arrive at Pershore at 3.30pm and within minutes of mooring up at the splendid new moorings on the recreational ground, it starts to rain. The new fire has been lit on route and is working well. All systems on the boat are working as expected. We walk up into the town 2 new tubes for the light in the bedroom and some provisions from the co-op. I also post the cheque to Syd for the Canal Planner that arrived this morning. Indian takeaway in the evening and TV.
Thursday 15 April 1999
The weather forecast is not good, rain, snow and wind for the pm so we decide to leave at 9am and another boat the only other one at Pershore leave at the same time. Sammy the other narrowboat moors at the lock and the crew fill the lock when we arrive its just ready and with a little difficulty go in first. Sammy’s skipper is a little aloft and not very chatty, he exits first and is on his way. The trip to Tewkesbury is uneventful and it’s cold but still dry. We arrive at 2.30pm and just get moored up when the heavens open, rain and hale. Wendy has been cleaning and polishing on route and One Moor looks splendid. The fire has produced some black streaks down one side from the chimney and this is cleaned off. I wonder up into Tewkesbury for a walk and Wendy carried on with the cleaning. We intend to eat on board, left over curry but at 7.30pm we noticed that the Clubhouse at Tewkesbury Marina is open so its faggots and chips for 2 and then back for 9pm to watch the third part of The Last Train on TV.
Friday 16 April 1999
As we are going down the Severn today to Gloucester we have checked the tide times and have been advised that high tide in Tewkesbury is 11am and we should aim to go down at about 2pm. We rise late. I check the engine and fuel levels, Wendy tidies up. We go and see Pat and Peachy and have a brief chat to them. We shower in the Marina and then leave at 12noon. Gilbert is operating the Avon Lock today and we go through and moor up just the other side before the lock closes for lunch. We have the left over curry, we should have had last night and at 1.30pm leave for Upper Lode Lock on the Severn. The gates open as we arrive and after a chat with the lock keeper informing hi, of our destination we exit at 1.45pm and are on our way. Last night in the Gloucester Echo, 4 people were dramatically rescued from the weir here when their boat engine failed and there was nearly a disaster, fortunately the boat got stuck just before going over the weir. There is about 2-3 feet of swell today and we are traveling with the tide in now 3pm and we have just passed the Red Lion, about ½ way. We arrive in Gloucester at 4pm and for the ½ hour it’s been raining. A walk into town for provisions and Wendy to have a blow-dry. In the evening Richard and Robin join us for dinner at Berry’s, which is excellent as always.
Saturday 17 April 1999
We rise late and I walk into town for a paper while Wendy cooks breakfast, full mucky. We leave the docks at about 11am and head for Saul Junction and the gathering. It’s cold but very pleasant. The bridges swing open as we approach and we slowly make our way down the wide canal. At Parkend Bridge we moor up for about 20 minutes and wait for the bridge keeper to finish his lunch. It’s about 2pm when we arrive at Saul and we moor up towpath side behind about 30 boats. We register the boat for the gathering and are reminded not to drink the canal water or ‘suck the ropes’ we are also informed not to dump the dunny in the cut. Apparently this information has to be given to us as part of BLOB licence agreement and insurance cover. We have a look around the few stalls and walk down to the place where they sell the diesel, a helpful bridge keeper had found the phone number for us earlier and we could phone to see if they were open, they were not. We also found ‘Boden’ Martin Philips boat but no Martin; the information given to us at registration said there was a group in the beer tent that evening so at about 5pm we went back to the boat for a rest and some food. After dinner of pre-cooked ready meals from Sainsbury, which were very tasty we went down to the beer tent. ’Bob’ the local brew for me, wine for Wendy, we met up with Martin and family and two of his friends from a boat called ‘Dream Maker’ and had a jolly evening. Excellent group of 3 people, the 2 guitarists were also singers and the third member played an electric violin, we left at about 10pm as it was getting a bit cold and went back to the boat. The fire was still in and ‘One Moor’ was very warm, the new fire is working well but we have a problem with black muck running out of the bottom of the chimney and down the side of the boat, we will maybe have to get an inner chimney, so this tar like stuff runs back into the fire.
Sunday 18th April 1999
We rise quite early, have breakfast and investigate the diesel situation. The fuel supplier is closed so no diesel today, that’s a shame because it’s the cheapest fuel for miles and I had wanted to fill up, we have plenty to get us home so after a few minutes walking round again and Wendy donating a flower tub to the Cotswold Canal Trust for them to sell and raise some money, we leave at 12noon having said goodbye to Martin and his chums. The weather is good and I sit in the bow while Wendy steers. At 2.30pm we arrive at Gloucester and tie up. This weekend is the highest tide of the year and the Severn Bore has been up this morning. Wendy asks the lock keeper, what the situation is and is told that the river has now flowed out and we should have no trouble but to look out for floating debris in the water. At 2.55pm we leave Gloucester Dock, the flow is very fast and we need lots of power to advance up the narrow section leading to the river proper. There is much debris in the water mainly logs and twigs bur we do see several branches son 15 foot wide. The going is slow, the rain comes and goes and we take it in turns to steer. The engine is running almost flat out and is performing well, at 5.15pm we pass the Red Lion Pub and start to debate whether we will reach the Upper Lode lock by the 7.15pm finish time, at Haw Bridge we phone the Upper Lode lock keeper to advice him of our position he says we should reach him OK but phone again at The Yew Tree pub. At the Yew Tree we phone as instructed and he gets the lock ready for us at this time its also raining hard and had gone very cold. At 6.50pm we enter the lock without any wait and the sun comes out to greet us. Tewkesbury Lock closes at 6pm at this time of year so we moor up on the new moorings just by the lock; eat on board, TV and bed.
Monday 19th April 1999
We rise late, both shower and I check the fuel level, we appear to have 16 gallons. When we left Tewkesbury to go down we had 18 gallons 10 hours chugging 2 gallons of diesel, not bad at all. We leave Tewkesbury at 12noon and head for Pershore. There is much evidence of new life lambs by the dozen, ducklings, and several swans on nests. It’s cold, dry and bright today. We see about 6 other boats on the move more than any other day. I steer and listen to the radio and Wendy potters. We both ‘do the locks’; at 5.30pm we pull into Pershore and tie up again on the splendid new moorings, solid concrete jetty with wooden sides into the water. There are plenty of mooring poles, each one about 10 foot apart and about 4 foot high excellent. Curry ppm on the boat with TV.
Tuesday 20th April 1999
The forecast today is wet and windy. I get up first and walk to Wychavon offices to get a copy of the planning meeting agenda for the meeting on Thursday regarding our shop sign. We leave at 12noon after kippers for breakfast and it’s pouting with rain. I take the fist stint at steering, Wyre lock is open and we go straight in, mooring is difficult as always in this diamond shaped lock. As the level rises another boat appears going the other way. I steer to Fladbury and again the lock gates are open, I drop Wendy off and proceed into the lock, I throw the centre rope up to Wendy and then slip off the gunnel and nearly fell in, fortunately only my right foot gets wet and I manage to clamber back up the boat. After several attempts Wendy manages to shut the bottom gates and slowly fill the lock. She now steers and I go inside to dry off a bit and write this log. The new fire is very effective and keeps going without much attention, it has stayed in most nights and needed little attention the following morning. It’s now 14.05pm and we are a few minutes form Chadbury lock, we arrive back still in the pouring rain at 3pm. Not the best of holidays but enjoyable non the less.
Thursday 22nd April 1999
In the morning I attend the Wychavon Planning meeting for our shop sign, which was refused on the grounds that it’s the wrong colour, type, style, etc. etc. but we have got 12 months to remove it and replace it with something they do like or we can appeal, not sure what next to do. I am writing this on board, its 2.30pm and we are taking One Moore to have a tank fitted to the outside so that she will run keel cooled and we can use her in the winter. The work is being done at Evesham Marina just above the lock on UANT waters. As we don’t have a UANT Trust licence we have to pay £8 just to travel the ½ mile or so to the Marina and back again after the work has been done in a week or so. Outrageous
Sunday 16th May 1999
Well the week or so was a bit optimistic the keel tank took 2 weeks not one but the end result is very good indeed. There is a problem with the temperature in that it’s running at about 40oc. The engine temperature was about 50oc climbing when put under pressure and I had asked for the operating temperature to be 10oC or so higher for general cruising, I don’t know what the answer is. Paul is to check with his engine 'guru', there is also a slight list to port, so some be re-blasting will have to be done, while the boat was out she has also been re-blacked and the BSC has been done.
In general terms she sailed (so to speak) through the examination without any major problems. Some work needs to be done details later when the work is complete, should be by this Friday 21st yesterday (15th). We took the boat up to Harvington lock for the night; we left Evesham Marina at 6.30pm and walked into the ‘Mill’ at Harvington for dinner at 8.30pm. At first we were told that there were no tables and they were fully booked, fortunately I know the Manager and having explained that we had come by boat especially to dine at the Mill he found us a table The food was excellent and the house wine full and red. Venison for me after a starter of crab pancake and Pack of Lamb for Wendy after a two moose (avocado and salmon) starter, desert was pear in red wine for both of us, coffee to round off an excellent meal.
Sunday 23rd May 2 1999
Today we left our mooring at 9am and travelled back to Evesham. I am writing this waiting for Lee, Elaine, Lenny and Maggie and Harri. We are off to Sankey for lunch and an afternoon cruise. The afternoon cruise turns into an all day job. Sankey for lunch is all very nice and then our guests decide they would like to go for a longer chug than I had planned and we go through the lock up at the ‘Bridge Inn’ at Offenham. We have been having ‘just the one’ ever since we left our moorings and we are all very merry. At 7.25pm we arrive back at the mooring and home, we all watch Coronation Street on TV dinner follows, a little something Wendy and Maggie knock up from things left over in the kitchen and a few more drinks at 11pm there is a knock on the door and Lee’s girlfriend Nicky is the one knocking, she lays into Lee verbally and then storms off leaving Lee in tears and rather spoils a very pleasant day. Apparently Lee was supposed to collect Nicky hours ago, but he was having such a good time with us he hadn’t Nicky is very possessive and doesn’t like Lee doing things on his own. All in all though a great day out.
May 31 1999The work on the boat was delayed somewhat and we eventually collected ‘One Moore’ on the last weekend of May Bank Holiday. As I said earlier the BSC certificate was obtained without problem, the main areas that needed attention were, ventilation – more in the stern door and the vent over the cooker increased in size, new thicker battery connecting wires, cover over a gas pipe in the electric cupboard in the galley, re-route fuel return pipes in the engine, replace the connection where the gas pipe enters the boat from the gas bottles into the bulkhead with a non-corrosive joint, replace 3 fire extinguishers and find a small gas leak. The leak was eventually traced to the cooker and as it was so old and could not be repaired they condemned it so it could not be used. The work including the new keel tank had now all been completed all is very well. The engine temperature that was causing a problem was solved by upping the thermostat rate to 76oc and now works perfectly. A great job done the total cost £1,179.75 including VAT. Less than we were expecting.
As it was Bank Holiday weekend we decided to visit Pershore and properly try the engine on a long run. The boat now makes a different sound, gone is the whoosh of the water exiting the boat after cooling the engine and now we have a putt, putt sound. There is a little more exhaust fumes that there used to be, mainly because the water and exhaust used to exit together and this dampened the fumes. We were told that the new dry exhaust would make more noise but this is not the case and if anything if seems a little quieter. This must be due to the double silencer arrangement we had fitted. The temperature is fine. Dropping at locks and coming up again on a run. We arrive in Pershore on Sunday pm and are lucky to get the last available mooring. There has been quite a lot of rain over the last few days and the river is quite high. We overnight OK we even try the cooker but something is not right and the amount of gas coming from the burners is only just enough to boil a kettle, we will have to replace it. Overnight the river came up again and the river was officially shut Mike and Eileen on Kelly, who were also at Pershore for the weekend decided to risk it and went back to Sankey. We were told that some other boats also traveled and had great trouble getting into Wyre lock because of the flow of water over the weir, we stayed put. The following morning I returned to Evesham by car, which I had gone to collect the night before after Brian came to collect me and went to work, I returned that evening and Brian, Wendy and myself took One Moore back to Evesham, the river was still high but passable with care.
Apart from a few trips to Sankey, we have not been out much so for far this year. The next major event was the Evesham River Festival, this year the theme was Pirates and we decided to be a little different and dress the boat as Radio Caroline (Pirate Radio of the 60’s). Hours of work went into building the masks, the studio in the bow, the fabric cover and lettering, I obtained original 60’s radio jingles from the station via the Radio Caroline Website and Wendy and I dressed up in the wigs and 60’s clothing including original Radio Caroline T shirts. The boat looked great and we felt confident that we would win the best-dressed narrowboat prize, we also lit the boat with about 1300 small lights covering the masts and putting flashing lights in the studio. The effect was excellent, but knowing how good some of the other illuminated boats would be we did not expect to win this event.
July 10 1999
During the Saturday (10th July) Brian and Mary and a French student staying with them, Dave and Ellie, arrived for the weekend and other chums came in the evening. We paraded in the Best Dressed Narrowboat competition and got into Sunday’s final, even though I say it myself One Moore did look bloody good and the sound system (James’s hi-fi with my tapes of the jingles and ‘Caroline’ by the Fortunes and Neil Diamond ‘Sweet Caroline’ playing) sounded fantastic. In the evening we had drinks and merriment as usual and at 10 o’clock we flashed up the lights for the illuminated parade. All the lights worked even the flashing ones and she looked great. As we passed each section of bank the vast crowd of possibly 3000 people clapped and sang along to the songs. That applause made the huge effort worthwhile, out of the 17 boats that entered we got into the top 6 finalists but not into the top 3 winners, a great night. Mary, Brian, Dave, Ellie and the French student returned to Moore House to sleep and we stayed on board. The next day was again hot and sunny and mid morning we paraded again in our 60’s gear with the music playing up and down the river in the final there were 3 boats on the narrowboat section us, Kelly who ironically had also chosen Radio Caroline and another boat like bunting, we felt confident that we had won. The prize giving at 12noon was a surprise we came 2nd! The winner was the craft with the bunting. Apart from us, the assembled crowd could not believe the result either. The ‘independent judge’ must have been advised who to vote for but we, and everybody else will never understand how we lost. At about 1.30pm John Stych on Penny Lane and ourselves went to Sankey for lunch seemed a shame not to make the most of our efforts so we played the tape all the way there and back again. At 5pm we returned to our mooring and dismantled everything with the help of Len and Maggie. All down in a couple of hours.During this time we had ordered a new oven/grill and hob for the boat as the other one has had it. Wendy collected it from Seven Valley Cruisers in Stourport on Thursday 15th July and on Saturday 17th Brian came over and with Wendy’s help fitted it into the boat. I had to work as Lee was on holiday. When I returned after work the job was complete apart from the cosmetics, which was my job and the replacing of the heat screens around the cooker, which Wendy and I did on Sunday. Wendy put the finishing touches to the paintwork during the following week and the end result is great. The total cost including the fittings was £450 a good investment. Thanks to Brian for the free fitting.
The following weekend we travelled with Penny Lane to George Billington Lock (Fish & anchor) at Offenham. We had complete trials of the new cooker and all 4 of us had dinner on board on the Saturday night. The following day John and Janet left to have lunch with their daughter and we stayed and relaxed in the boat. All changes to the boat are now complete and all systems tested we are ready for our holiday.
Saturday 31st July 1999
Today we are off to Stratford-upon-Avon at 9am on the first day of our hols. It’s hot and sunny, we have arranged to meet Catherine and Tony in Stratford this is a welsh couple we met while on holiday in Tunisia or maybe not! The phone goes at home at 6.30pm its Wendy’s Father Grandma is not at all well and can she (Wendy) come over. We jump into the jag and head for Cheltenham, when we get to Cheltenham Grandma is in bed pale, confused very thin and at 92 or 93 years old, just old and infirm. The care staff have been coming 4 or 5 times a day for some weeks and Grandma eats and drinks very little and is therefore very weak, we stay all morning wondering what to do, Bob (Wendy's Brother) and Mel (his wife) are away on hols and will be back in a week or so. One of the caring team, Cathy, advises us to carry on with our hols but keep in touch. We can’t do anything anyway nature will take its course and grandma is a very strong willed person.
We decided to carry on but instead of going north to Stratford go south, going this way keeps us in the same area as Bob and Mick so it will be easier to get back should the need arise. At about 3pm we leave our moorings and head for Pershore, its hot and sunny and quite busy which is nice to see. Chadbury lock is manned which makes life easier. The chug is slow and hot and we arrive in Pershore at about 6pm no moorings left. We follow down the boats looking for somewhere to possible breast up to suddenly we spy ‘Saucy Sue’ whose owners tell us that they are moving up to join some friends and we could have their mooring, we just fit in the space. Excellent just one problem which rather spoil the situation is a group of girls who are having a lovely time jumping in the river, no problem with that, but the foul language from young 12-14 year olds would make Bernard Manning blush, anyway they eventually leave and we have a curry and TV and keep our fingers cross that the mobile phone does not ring.
Sunday 1st August 1999
Today is going to be hot and sunny with possible thunderstorms. We decide to stay put for the day. We read the papers, potter about, have brunch a very pleasant day only spoilt by a row I had with a couple who did not keep their dog under control and came up to us while we were eating, I said they should keep the dog on a lead they disagreed. In the evening we were joined by Mary, Brian Steven and Lauren they are on their way back form Bristol visiting Tia and Ben; they stayed about an hour and head off back to Rugdey. Left over curry for us.
Monday 2nd August 1999
Today we leave at 9am and head for Tewkesbury its fresher today after the storms of yesterday. Pm the air is clearer but it promises warm and humid later. We go very slow and are overtaken by a couple of other narrowboats its nice to be on holiday. We intend to stay overnight at Tewkesbury Marina as usual, but we arrive at 2.30 and it’s a bit early to stop. Jim Coombs, a customer from work is also there with his wife and large cruiser, all sparkly and clean, we chat for a while and then head off to the Yew Tree pub on the Severn which Jim recommends. We arrive at 4pm just as the heaven opens a repeat of the day before. Another few boats join us and one breast’s up. Shower and eat in the pub very good food, Tiger Prawns in a garlic dip for me and Salmon and Broccoli for Wendy, excellent value and quality. A bit of TV then bed at 10.30ish.
Tuesday 3rd August 1999
Today it’s raining and has been all morning. Its now 12.30 and still raining. I am writing this still on the mooring at Yew Tree. We eventually leave at 1pm and head north. Wendy’s mother is about the same, certainly no worse so we feel confident to travel further from Cheltenham. Its hot and sunny as we approach Upper Lode Lock a boat is stranded in the channel his engine has just died, we breast up and take him the 100yds or so to the jetty wall and tie him up under the instructions of the lock keeper. Once through we head up the Severn two other boats that came through the lock with us pass us and wish to go faster than we do. One of these boats a 65-70 footer has a sparkly Harley Davidson motorbike in the bow a huge great thing, apparently the bow side drops down to allow the bike to be taken on and off. As we get to Upton its raining hard and finding no moorings on the river. Moor in Upton Marina good safe and as we are known there the mooring if free. We eat at the Kings Head in town steak and prawns for me and steak for Wendy, very nice to. Back to the boat TV and bed.
Wednesday 4th August 1999
We leave Upton early 7.30am and head for Stourport. There is an early morning mist but this soon lifts to leave a fine hot day. There is little traffic about and we just sit back and enjoy the wide river and countryside views. At Worcester we can see the start of the IWA moorings for the meeting at the end of August. We just make Holt Lock before the lunch break and continue on. About 1 mile from Stourport we spy another boat in the trees on the right hand side of the river, asking is he OK brings the response No once again we break up and take him to Stourport he was going to Worcester, the flow of the water makes this to more difficult and we make slow progress even with the hammer down. We have to use the wide lock to get up into the basin and after a few bumps get in successfully. As always a crowd soon forms and I am pleased I did not completely cock up the entrance we go from lock 1 to lock 2 perfectly still tied together and we didn’t touch anything right from lock to lock. Once in the basin we head for the water point, drop off our steel passenger get water and dump dunny and head off after wishing them well with their poorly boat and receiving grateful thanks. Its still only 4pm so we head for Kidderminster in the canal now. The water is suddenly full of silt and in dark brown. The moorings are full we proceed slowly with caution one has to be more careful on canals, everything is so narrow compared to rivers. One lapse of concentration and you are in the bank. The trees over hang and we pass two or so boats on the journey, God knows where they will moor in Stourport. It’s overcast now and cool after the hot sunny day. There are 2 locks on this stretch before Kiddy, the second of them lock 5 has to be one of the nicest on the system, we don’t see it at it’s best today when the sun shines its lovely. At 7pm we moor up outside Sainsbury’s on the public moorings. I fetch curry from the supermarket and we eat on board and sleep very soundly. It’s been a long, but very pleasant day.
Thursday 5th August 1999
It's a leisurely start today. We wake late. Shower, breakfast in Sainsburys and then, after engine checks are away at 11.00am. Almost as soon as we leave it starts raining but not for long. The staffs and Worcs is a lovely canal. Locks nicely spaced, lovely countryside, long glades with solid rock on one side. There are boats about and we have some delays at locks but we have known it much busier. Up through Wolverley, Kinver and on to Stewpony. At the junction at Stourton, we turn right onto the Stourbridge Canal. I want to shoot some video of One Moore coming out of the first lock and of the junction. Wendy is steering and I am getting the locks ready on this short 4 lock flight. At the critical moment, I go to where I know I have put the camera and find it gone. It's been tidied up for security reasons!. Wendy and I have Words. The moment is gone. We carry on up this pretty flight, with houses on one side. The water is now very clear. We wind through this narrow canal and at the Wordsley junction turn right down the arm to Stourbridge. The canal is deserted and shallow and the is lots of rubbish and weed. All the way down the towpath side, there is some major work being done on the bankside. It's now early evening and we intend to moor at the end of the arm. When we arrive, there are no moorings and no pub. Just a very shabby looking area with perhaps 50 boats all breasted up over an area of 2/300 yards and a narrow path for one boat to get through and turn round. There is a trip boat full of people. We comment that a trip along this canal could put you off canals, not inspire canal holidays. We have no choice but to turn round and go back the way we have come. Back on the main canal we decide to go up the first 4 locks and moor at the pub that is there. Wrong! No pub. On we go up the locks. The canal is surrounded by industry and we pass the Stewart Glass Factory. We had intended to stop here but the timing was wrong and the mooring on the factory, was most unwelcoming. No proper signs and what looked like builders rubble all over it. On and up through some residential areas under roads and at last about two thirds of the way up, a pub. It’s now 9pm and they have stopped serving food! At 10pm in the dark we leave the top lock and moor up. Thank God it’s been a lovely fine hot day. I would not have fancied doing that in the rain. It is now a bit late to eat so we have a cheese sandwich and bed. Good TV picture here.
Friday 6th August 1999
Boy did we sleep well last night. Must be all that fresh air. We are now at the junction of Stourbridge and Dudley No. 1 line. We leave the mooring at 11am ish, weather fine and dry. We are now in a mixture of country, houses and some industry, it’s interesting to see something new round every corner. We pass a boat that warns us about weeds up ahead and sure enough as we hit lock 1 at the bottom of Delph Locks it’s full of weed. These locks are known for their waterfall overflow in times of high water, alas there is no excess of water today. The solid mass of weed comes up with the boat and I wonder if it will hamper the problem, but all is OK. Two men now join us and six young lads and one senior woman who show great interest in the boat. We get chatting, as you do, they are from Rotherham and in Birmingham for a family 21st celebration. The ‘doo’ is tonight and they wanted to kill time on the canal. Wendy is doing the locks with me steering. The lads, eager to help are soon opening and shutting gates. Wendy’s foot is starting to hurt so we swap roles and I get them opening paddles as well. They are quick learners and as we near the top they are doing all the work for us, under my tuition. They are sorry when we reach the top and it’s a shame there is not a boat going down for them to help. From the top the view is great thousands of houses and country in the distance. Off again to Merry Hill Shopping Centre where we moor up and walk the 300 yes or so to the shops. The canal here is all-new with good solid brick sides and high fences overlooking the very ugly shopping centre. We visit Boots and but a foot support for Wendy and this logbook. We had intended to have brunch today but with one thing and another have not. It’s now early pm and we are advised to go to the waterfront area if we want a pub type lunch, this is a 10-minute walk from the centre. It’s an area a bit like the Gas Street Basin but much larger in terms of water. Very good mooring is available and there are several restaurants to choose from. We chose the pub and have steak and kidney pie and a couple of drinks, all very nice. We leave at 3.30pm and wend our way through countryside as well as residential and some industry. The water is very weedy and floating rubbish is all around. We moor up at the junction of Dudley No. 1 and No. 2 canal a pretty area outside a voluntary run conservation unit; they look after the area and local wildlife. There is no pub but one close. We are advised not to proceed to move later it will be safer to stop where we are, so we do. Good TV picture, corn beef hash and bed. It’s been raining on and off all day some quite hard and this continued through the night. At 3am some lads bang the boat and shout ‘Wake up you bastards’ this has the desired effect; fortunately the drunken lads carry on without further problems
Saturday 7th August 1999
We wake to rain, after showers and a very good mucky breakfast we leave the moorings at 11.45 and head down Dudley No.2. This canal is much of the same lots of narrow low bridges and the Gosty Hill Tunnel. This tunnel is narrow room for one boat and low and we just fit, about 2 inches to spare. At the canal end Hawme Basin we dunny dump, water and enquire about winter moorings, everybody is very helpful. After ½ hours or so we return back up the canal. On the way back through the tunnel the boat roof at the bow corner scrapes the top and makes a hole in the cratch cover. Under one bridge we collect a fuel pipe from the water this pipe, about 10 feet long would do serious damage to a boat prop if got caught. Back at the junction we turn towards the Netherton Tunnel, this wide tunnel with towpath on either side is over 300yds long. It’s cold wet and full of fumes. We pass one boat going the other way and after 33 minutes we exit the other end. It is raining hard, the canal now becomes dead straight and we continue to the end. We then turn left onto the BCM mainline. We intend to moor at Tipton Boatyard where according to Nicholson’s there is good overnight mooring – wrong – it’s a boat scrap yard and not at all suitable. On we go in the rain at Factory Locks we ask advice about mooring and he advises Coseley Stop. He helps us with the 3 locks and 20 minutes or so later we arrive at Coseley Stop. This is a cutting and very remote even though houses, factories and roads are only a few yards away. Yobs have set fire to trees and grass all over this area and we don’t fancy it. Through the short Coseley Tunnel and onto Deepfields Junction and the Boat Pub. The moorings look good, we go on past to see if there is anything further up but there is not and we turn al the junction we go on past the pub again and after a 17 point turn in the narrowest canal arrive back at the Boat Pub. Wendy has a recki and returns with the news that the Pub is closed. Bad news I re-grease the stern gland pump and then head off to find another pub or restaurant. Having re examined the boat I come to the conclusion that it’s closed. As I walk round the path, a car stops in the road and the driver informs me that the pub is open and does food, I hurry back to inform Wendy of my good news, upon our return we meet the landlady and 2 pub dogs, one of which promptly craps on the carpet. We are introduced to the ‘New’ barmaid who is a large lady covered in badly done tattoo’s. We have a Guinness for me, I have had better and a glass of wine for Wendy which is very nice. “Can I see a menu?” I enquire. “Ah now then the food is a bit limited I’m afraid” said the landlady, “Egg, sausage and chips” that’s it, not quite what we had in mind we had another drink Banks No.9 for me this time, very good. We decide to eat on board suddenly the landlady produces a Chinese takeaway menu and says we can have it delivered to the pub, she is a bit embarrassed by the lack of food, we readily agree and order via the mobile, half an hour and one more drink later we have paid for the delivered takeaway and say our good byes. A real, rough and ready, old fashioned pub, almost ‘Spit and Sawdust’ but with down to earth heart of gold people. An excellent couple of hours the Chinese is very good and we bed early.
Sunday 8th August 1999
It’s rained again overnight and we have not sleptt well. I’m up at 7.15 making the tea I have to write my log as it’s 3 days since it was done and today it’s changeover day. Mary and Brian will be arriving at 11am, so I must get cracking. Wendy tidies the boat and makes breakfast and I write this log. It’s raining and dull. At 9.50 there is a tap on the window Brian early and I’m still in my dressing gown. End of 1st week an interesting and enjoyable week will we revisit the BCM? Maybe in time.
HANDOVER DAY – Sunday 8th August 1999
Left Boat Pub at 11.30am
We eventually found the boat at The Boat Pub, but we had been to another Boat Pub!! We feared that the Wolverhampton Pirates had abducted Wendy and Andrew. However, this was not the case. Smooth change over Wendy and Andrew impressed with his new car. We decided to get going, as we really didn’t like this part of canal system. We chugged on for ½ hour before reaching 1st lock in flight of 21. Has started raining. We are passing factory after factory with huge fences and razor barbed wire – Dark Satanic Mills. There was even a house with railings round it. Coming down to Wolverhampton Race Course scenery begins to change. M hasn’t been so wet since she was swimming in Spain in May!! Lovely Railway Bridge at lock 16 arch to canal super. Have decided to finish these locks as no suitable moorings. Have just completed lock, M going inside to dry off, whilst B looks for suitable mooring. B doesn’t care its raining umbrella keeps cigar dry and stops water going in red wine. One observation in chugging nearly all day we have only seen 2 boats. 6.25pm stopped just past Coven towpath just like a swamp. Looking forward to my dinner. Lizzie (the Lurcher dog) got a bit worried but Brian’s gate worked, also doubles up as a clothes drier. Ate our steaks on board, very nice too. Not bad picture, have sat down for evening 7.00pm – 9.30pm time for bed – still torrential rain. Never saw so may dejected wet boaters looking for moorings. Never mind tomorrow the sun might shine.
Monday 9th August 1999 10.45am
Weather holding for us but overcast and quite cool. Didn’t start very early as Mary had poorly tummy – no, not too much red wine. It is quite busy. We stopped at Gailey Wharf to get water, empty dunny, ditch gash. Quite a queue, one gentleman kept us entertained, he hit everything in sight. We decided to have a cup of tea and let the hire boat go. It is a pretty stretch, unfortunately for a long time it is flanked by the M6, it must have been idyllic before it was built. It is an extremely bust part of the canal system. Saw a hotel boat full of wrinkles!! Also saw a working boat with butty, this of course made traffic jam worse, luckily we were just in front of it. Very pretty locks with nice bridges. Came across a lovely old cottage with generator in garden, time had stood still the occupants were sitting in the front room, they reminded us of Renee and Dick. We were told they had to shop by boat. We have decided to chug to Stafford Boat Club.
Have passed some very nice properties on the outskirts of Stafford. A lot of flooding in the River Valley, (hope Rugeley is dry). We arrive at Stafford Boat Club moor opposite. It doesn’t look open for visitors. There are about 6 men working on the jetty, we are speculating as to how they have financed such a beautiful boat club, we think they may have sold off some land, (we stopped at 2.30pm in the country and had some lunch on board, let the hire boats go ahead). We stop at Stafford Boat Club 7.15pm. Sitting down having a glass of wine, it is a bit cool but we have managed to avoid most of the rain. The men who are working on boat jetty, have said we were more than welcome to go over and have a drink in clubhouse and moor in basin, however we have put aerial up and we feel a bit weary, so we declined but what a nice thought. They know One Moore is coming back, so the visitor mooring might be finished, they have a lot of work to do and they seem to be members of the boat club. Brian’s beard is looking like ‘designer grubble’ Lizzie is getting the hang of this boating, had good run at the locks, really enjoyed herself.
Tuesday 10th August 1999
We don’t believe it Mary has been bitten by a horsefly on her right knee puffed up like a balloon and extremely painful, luckily has some antibiotic cream. It has been raining all night and flooding is evident in fields. It is quite cold, after a late start 10.30am. We decide we need a phone and a chemist, so far there has only been a little shop at Gailey Wharf to buy provisions – luckily we came well prepared. Have just come through Tixall Lock – what a performance, Peg Leg Mary Having lunch at Tixall Wides, salmon sandwiches. There are grebes diving very pleasant spot. We are 10 minutes from Rugeley (perhaps Ben can write a song). Who said holidays are a certain amount of pleasure and a certain amount of pain. Mary knows which one is winning. We stop at Haywood Junction to empty dunny. Decide to get some nice fresh salad from Farm Shop – Woe is us, canal Farm Shop closed on Mondays!!
FRAN – BRIAN Western Australia – “ZOE” Lovely boat, had it built for them, spending two years doing British Canal System, really nice couple, helped us tie up. They lost quite a lot of money due to the low rate of exchange, nearly £10,000. They are trying to think of ways to raise more money so they can stay longer, sell a bit more of their farmland to developers. Next lock gentleman helped Mary do lock, think he felt sorry for her as she is wearing shorts and has big bandage on knee, everyone else is wearing long trousers. The weather has been kinder, only spitting with rain. Nice stretch of canal saw Kingfisher and Swallows skimming surface. Came across a really scruffy boatyard, rubbish everywhere really dirty chap, but building a hull!! Hoo Mill. Arrived store 7.15pm very busy nice pleasant chug the new buildings and houses are a credit to how nice a canal can look, the sun also shone on us. Lizzie has enjoyed today, played football (with plastic ball A found for her) at the lock, we met some Germans who wanted to know what breed she was (Lizzie). Also Lizzie got off bat and Brian used poop scoop and bags. If this goes on Internet, please boaters who have dogs on board do likewise
Wednesday 11th August 1999 ECLIPSE –STONE STAFFS
Woke about 8.30am Lovely Park to walk Lizzie behind mooring. Gentle start, M’s tummy better also knee has gone down considerably. The weather is overcast but pleasant. Decided to stay here and witness the eclipse, quite a few boats moored up, busy little place. Had breakfast, watched eclipse from ‘One Moore’ through welding glass; Mary hobbled into Stone, we have visited before, just prior to buying house in Rugeley. Stone has a long history associated with the canal, and in it’s heyday was a thriving community supposedly has more pubs than any other town its size. Left Stone 1.45pm. The lock are now going up, luckily we have met someone coming down. Some of the locks are very deep all of them have bridges over, which beats walking all the way round. We have decided to chug to the outskirts of Stoke some pretty countryside and it is WARM and not RAINING. At Trentham Lock a lady came to help M as these locks are extremely hard work, got talking their boat is called VECTOR, we thought we had recognised it, tug. Moored at SIMPSON in MILTON KEYNES. Had been up the Macclesfield Canal with couple from M.K. who used to own hotel boats DUKE and DUCHESS, now have new boat called BISON, small world, nice chat lovely boat. We moor up at BRIDGE 106 we hope to be near the pub, where is the pub? Six other boaters are asking the same question!! Luckily we have provisions on board. Met lady off RAGAMUFFIN, moor on Kennet and Avon, two dogs very old spaniel and 2 year white retriever. Lot of people out for an evening stroll, stop and chat. Have early night, as we want to start early
Thursday 12th August 1999 (Glorious Twelfth) no grouse here, plenty of ducks
Leave suburbs of Stoke 8.30am. Got through Stoke not too much trouble, have decided to go and look at Harecastle Tunnel. Stopped in Stoke Mary had a walk with Lizzie on towpath. Decide to have a look at Harecastle Tunnel, pass huge steel works, Shelton Steel Works, incredible metallic thuds from inside this totally enclosed building. Halfway going past the factory are two openings in the building spooky!! It is very interesting at Harecastle; boats waiting to go through only 8 boats go through at one time. The tunnel-keeper has the grass cut and it is all very tidy. We look at the old tunnel, which is no longer in use and has collapsed in places. An amazing engineering achievement. Boat won’t start!! 2pm
For a couple of days now, the engine has not started easily. Push in the start button and nothing happens for 1 – 2 seconds, then it starts. Now at Harecastle Tunnel, she has refused to do anything. Diagnosed the solenoid valve and changed it for a new one (found in spares box) still no joy. Then noticed that solenoid was not being earthed as bracket had failed. Gave up and telephoned engineer from tunnel-keepers house. Engineer arrived in 25 mins! Drilled stanchion, rebolted bracket and fixed up new earth wire, worked perfectly £40 well spent. Tony Perry – 01782 779033
Left Harecastle 4.00pm weather fine. Stopped at ‘China Garden Pub’ walked to shops to get supper. Intended stopping at Etruria Lock but lots of fishing (xxx). Decided to enter Caldon Canal met boat coming down who said kids throwing missiles forearmed is forewarned. Chugged along through Hanley, suburb of Stoke again one can imagine thriving factories making pottery. However, the story is vastly different today – very few are working and others are a tribute to the builders of yesteryear, some look precarious almost ready to fall into the canal. Came to Bridge 14 where young people had gathered, they decided to spit at us, Mary got the camera out, boy did it work a treat they were about to try again, M made as if to come off side, they scampered, what power. Canal has changed completely very pretty. Now overcast saw pub, The Foxley, closer examination smashed windows. Went on to Milton good mooring, another boat alongside. Ate supper bed exhausted.
*IVY HOUSE BRIDGE LIFT BRIDGE - Arrive quite late, we didn’t have guide until Milton, quote from Caldon Canal Guide, needs BW key – often cause of much frustration if instructions are not followed. What …….. instructions, after much pontificating, swearing – we get through, oh! Dear I can’t believe what a mess, never mind only 1 car waiting.
Friday 13/14 August 1999 – not sure we should get out of bed today!!
It is raining but quite warm. Brian walks into Milton to get paper. Mary showered and washed hair knee is much better today. Mary walks into Milton, well worth a visit. An old pit-town but quite prosperous, supported by an excellent choice of shops, supermarkets, deli, two butchers, florist, shoe shop, clothes shop and a most interesting book shop. Selling books on Staffs, Derby, old postcards, gardening etc. On Fridays Grimsby Fish Van, selling fresh fish we got some sole. Setting of 11-ish. The canal is now very pretty could be Wales; flight of 5 locks quite hard work, really well kept. Lovely panoramic view, hills to the North. Stopped at Eldon for lunch. Wonderful sign in middle of canal (photo to illustrate). Eldon Boat Club very neat and tidy, nice clubhouse, not open to the public. Railway follows canal, although not in use, rails remain. Chugging along nice part of canal, narrow in parts reminiscent of Brewood, few spots of rain. Not too busy, few people about. Flight of 3 locks quite hard, very rural. Lock 2 we are enjoying ourselves. Gentleman walking dog, dog barks and lunges at Lizzie, she jumps out of the way, straight into canal. Brian couldn’t do much for laughing. I suppose this makes her a real canal boating dog now!!
Park Lane Wharf – Endon
Dunny dump/rubbish/water. Spotless, old gentleman in cottage, many years ago the canal went in front of cottage, altered long time ago, now goes behind cottage. It really is nice scenery, tranquil, coming down steps M slips, skins are, bumps bum. Everywhere is so damp. Go on again, very interesting. Go into lock heavens open, boat waiting to come in, it is like a hailstorm. B throws waterproof to M. everyone is amazed how quickly it has changed nasty and slippery. Lady off boar fell M slipped. We must enjoy boating or like danger. Must add Brian didn’t escape danger particularly fierce undercurrent made him hang on tightly. We have moored up at Flint Lock it is in a valley surrounded by trees, the river runs parallel to canal in the woods No telly lovely spot, owls hooting, bats skimming canal.
Saturday 15th August 1999
Left Flint Lock at 8.30am to proceed to Froghall. Got to the end of Caldon Canal – not a lot there. Mary is going to Leek by bus, perhaps. Went to find telephone and Post Office. Phoned W & A so sorry to hear the news of Wendy’s mum’s death on Tuesday. Phoned Brian’s Mum to wish her a happy birthday. Never did find the Post Office, then tried to find where to get bus to Leek, not one to give up easily, M notices a factory with Security Guard believe it is a copper mill, he looks as if should know knock on window, puts book down, ask him about buses. “Oh, yes one every ½ hour, just across the T-junction. Great M thinks waits until she can cross very busy main road, waits at bus shelter 11a.m. nearly gives up when bus comes down hill on wrong side. Bus driver (Brian) sees person with rucksack – waits until she can cross – Mary goes to Leek. Great journey, middle of nowhere. Earliest bus back is 15.25pm. Brian assures M there is one as he is the bus driver all day. Nice day out little antiques market, pleasant market town, everyone friendly. Find lovely market local butcher, greengrocer. Mary buys a few pressies. Have light lunch, soup herb scone/butter meringue (really naughty). Heavens open once again M makes way back to Bus Station, Brian is there he goes to Scotland on holiday, tells me where to go in Stoke on Trent. People on bus join in. The weather is awful and driving quite difficult on country lanes. Dropped off at canal cheery wave from everyone on bus. Step back in time. Return about 3.45pm Brian has changed oil/newspapers in bilge, cleaned boat.
N.B. The final ¼ mile of the Caldon Canal is not navigable to narrowboats, due to a low tunnel. At the terminus is a wharf where the lime was loaded into boats for transport to the potteries. This lime was produced at the wharf in limekilns, being the product of burning coal and limestone. The limestone was brought down from the quarries 800 ft above the village on a tramway. The evidence of all this industry remains to be seen today. The terminus was also the start of the Uttoxeter Canal. The stop lock is still there but the rest if it was filled in around 1850. Also at the terminus is a fine BW sanitary station, water point and rubbish dump that none of the visiting boats can get to!!
Move further up Canal once it stops raining. Moor further up canal at spot unusual ramp, which we were told by a boater, was for recovering horses from the cut. M would be interested if anyone has information on how many, how often, what happened when horses went in canal. 7.45pm – Going to have dinner, game of scrabble – bed. Weather fine/thunder storm/torrential rain. Could hear stag in the forest.
Sunday 16th August 1999
Very overcast, but on the horizon are a few blue patches. Canal is now very narrow indeed, one boat width only a real leafy hollow. We have met a few boats on route luckily at passing points. We stop at Cheddleton; have a look at the steam railway, very nice, run entirely by volunteers, all very friendly and so proud of their station. The sun is shining yes the sun is shining. Very busy little spot, little boys and girls blowing whistles that sound like steam trains. We walk up to the Boat Inn have light lunch, M has strawberries and cream to celebrate sunshine leave Boat Inn 2.30pm lovely day so far.We pass Lizzie’s lock pretty flight, with charming cottage at top. Debated about going down the Leek Arm, but it is narrow and windy, also a lot of boats, will do it next time. Stopped again at Endon Land Wharf, spotless. Decide to move on to pub – closed for refurbishment. Have followed a young couple, who are travelling in tandem hard work, have a polly dog (flat coated retriever). Young man is sign writer, cabin painter. They also stopped at Cheddleton and had a ride on steam railway. Nice evening terrible TV picture, but can hear Coronation Street – lovely evening – no rain.
Monday 17th August 1999
Leave mooring 9.00am have lovely walk in the country with Lizzie. Stop at Milton for paper, tidy boat do a of bit washing. There are lots and lots of pigeon lots alongside the canal some are really grand I suppose this isn’t surprising as there used to be several mines around this part of the country. We have never seen huge luscious looking blackberries, all just out of reach!! People show a lot of interest in Lizzie. Go through IVY BRIDGE – SWING BRIDGE piece of cake, when you know how, gentleman in Black BMW raises hands when I started lifting bridge I felt like making rude gesture, but rose above it. Stopped at Bridgewater Pottery M walked in, as she knew name. Had lovely time, you can join in a painting class have a coffee in café. The pottery is very functional but attractive designs, not cheap but could withstand lots of wear. M arrives back and gentleman is talking to Brian from wall of factory on opposite side. He has a black lab and a little whippet he admires Lizzie. We believe it was Matthew Rice, Emma Bridgewater’s husband, he says he would like to install mooring at factory side, to encourage boaters to look round the factory shop, I hope this happens as 1 it would be nice to encourage visitors also good use of canal facilities. The heavens open, I can’t believe the amount of rain we have seen this week. Eventually we decide we must male a move, don waterproofs and go. It is not quite so bad now there is a double staircase lock, which is quite difficult, lady helps. Lot of youths hanging about Brian goes on to Etruria which is just yards away to moor up for evening. M helps lady lovely boat moor at Rugby, live in Aldershot. There are quite a few boats here people are wet and tired. One lady is standing on back of boat saying ‘I am enjoying myself oh! Yes I am. She really is funny. Some great people here two boats in front travel together North Country lads, “off t’ club – leaving lassies on t’ boat”. One grows bonsai trees. There are some lovely retirement homes on opposite side canal – lovely gardens, geese, and statue of James Brindley. Terrific telly picture. Rainbow in sky.
*ETRURIA– his close friend Erasmus Darwin suggested this name to Josiah Wedgwood. Erasmus Darwin lived in Lichfield; his house has just recently opened to the public. Old fashioned herb garden and lots of hands on exhibits for children worth a visit.
There is another flint mill but have been told its wasn’t as good as Cheddleton, so we give it a miss. There are quite a few boats and a queue for locks. Steady progress through Stoke. Stop at Barlaston – Flight of Feathers, hope to have lunch but no food at lunchtime. This village is very close to the Wedgwood factory and I believe must have housed and maybe still does the people who work there. Left at 2.15pm lit fire, as it is quite cold. Steady flow of boats. Stopped at Stone Boatyard, diesel, and calor gas good chandlery. Chap cane to speak to us, recognised boat ask if we were going to gig – Mike Skimmer (?) not sure of second name Explained you would be arriving Friday night (W&A) will see you at Stafford Boat Club. Stone 6.00pm quite a long way up – in the reeds. Thunder storm approaching. Brian gone to get curry. We managed to avoid most of the rain. Some lovely property on the stretch of canal. Smashing curry, one of the best we have had in a long time. Fire on, good telly picture, nice and snug. Thunder and lighting outside.
Wednesday 18th August 1999
Mary went into Stone to get paper, extremely wet, must have been a lot of rain. Forgot to mention last in Stone, we met two ladies who were on their way to Gloucester Rally, with their horse, which was pulling the boat. I do hope they make it, what a challenge. Beautiful morning now, the nicest so far. Very pleasant scenery saw kingfisher. Stopped for lunch at pleasant spot and enjoyed afternoon sun, as did several other boaters. We then went on and as it was bust though we would moor up at Hoo Lock. However, gentleman told us that one paddle was broken. BW had just arrived, so we decide to go through. Stop at Great Haywood, water/rubbish/dunny. It is a strange feeling chugging this part of Trent and Mersey we have walked it many times and driven through villages without seeing the canal. Very nice evening we moor up at Rugeley. We resist the temptation to rush home have a long luxurious bath sleep in 5” bed, Decide to eat on board. Loads of boats moored.
Thursday 19th August 1999 - Rugeley
Brian went back to Talbot Street, to take back some of our kit and swag, collect mail. It seems a bit surreal being only a stone throw from one’s abode. Mary sneaked into town wearing dark glasses and a hat in case someone recognised her!! There are a lot of boats moored here. There is no sign saying there is a Safeway’s or any other shops. The moorings are secure and towpath neat and tidy. However, there are no rubbish skips or water points, perhaps one of the stores could sponsor one. There must be a fair bit of revenue coming from boaters, as nearly everyone comes back to their boats loaded with goodies. Rugeley needs this revenue, I’m sure Rugeley could do more for boaters. M is going to look into this. Maggie our next-door neighbour (M&B) came down to visit One Moore and had coffee and light lunch with us, she thought the boat was super and very interested in the layout. She had little chug on boat to bridge. David and Maggie are going to join us at Great Haywood this evening for drinks on board. Lots of boats underway, queue at Colwich Lock 3 boats, met a gentleman who said he was in a queue of 8 on the way down. As he said “You don’t buy a boat that does 3 miles an hour and hope to do anything in a hurry, anyway you can have a good chinwag with all the other boaters”. How true. Shugborough Lock busy, some children help me with the locks. They are fascinated by the rise and fall of the water. Although it started off overcast it is now a lovely afternoon. 4.15pm we have moored up at Great Haywood M going to write journal, Brian pottering Lizzie sleeping in front of fire. Lot of people gathering for evening who are going to the gig at Stafford. They keep and saying “Hi Andy”. A wonderful steamboat comes pass Brian takes some photos. Chap moors up behind us named Guy we explain we are delivering the boat to Stafford for Wendy and Andrew. Jolly crowd I imagine you will have a cracking weekend, lets hope the weather is good. Maggie and David pop up from Rugeley to see us, have supper pie, potatoes and veggies. They leave at 9.30pm to pick Thomas up from disco. Starlit night quite cool we will have to be up and away early as fair amount of boats about.
Friday 20th August 1999 (Handover day) 8.30am
Fairly bust boats going back to hire company. Overcast but warm. Cross Tixall Wides as usual this charming spot has quite a few boats moored up. Stop at Milford for paper, then on to Tixall Lock, much easier this time round. M has no bandage on knee nice weather. Pass a beautiful bungalow, 9 hole Pitch and Putt in garden, compost heap bigger then our garden. Takes us a little longer to reach Stafford then we imagined. Arrive at Boat Club, nice welcome from Julian several boats have arrived and some people in caravans. We pack up and clean boat ready to hand over to Wendy and Andrew. Enjoying the ambience of the Boat Club. People rushing about. Finish tidying boat at 4.00pm
All in all a very interesting journey, pretty scenery and on the whole the canal was clean and debris free apart from the outskirts of Stock. Mixture of weather, thunderstorms, torrential rain and some sunshine. Seen some lovely boats and met some great people. WE hope everyone participating at the 'GIG' has a great time. Who knows we may be taking part in the activities next year.
Cheers - Mary and Brian Perkins.
Wendy and I arrived just after 8pm having left home in Mary’s car at 6.45pm, a good journey. After a very quick drink on board and even quicker debrief (M&B are keen to get home) M&B depart and Wendy and I head for the bar and food, Beef Lasagne – very good, Wendy leaves after the food to tidy the boat and I stay for just the one, chatting to other GIG attendees.
Saturday 21st August 1999
Today according to the itinerary is for socialising so that’s what we do, we wonder this Stafford site talking to others looking at boats and ending up in the bar. It’s hot and sunny and the beer is good. In the evening we cook our BBQ packs in the communal cooking area and eat in the cool evening air. The entertainment is a folk group specialising in canal songs, called Buz and Sam are excellent and then bed 12 ish full of Ale and Brandy.
Sunday 22nd August 1999
Today is another hot sunny day it starts for us at 10.30am in the clubhouse with a full mucky – excellent one or two of the others in the group are nursing huge handovers, notably Guy and Bruce. Apparently the evening before Bruce was so drunk that he could not remember the words or music to his own songs. After breakfast came the auction we sold our gas heater and green house heater and bought an egg box made of wood with metal grill front Wendy wants to paint it. We come out about even so all is well. The afternoon brought quizzes, games, chat and a few beers. The ppm brought the usual curry dinner. We sat with Gill and Peter Harper from Midnight Diamond and all had a good time. The evening finished earlier than the previous night and the mood was quite subdued I wonder why.
Monday 23rd August 1999
We leave at 9am once again the weather is good. ‘Badger’ has already gone followed by ‘Poppy’ and then us. We head south I have written before about this stretch so will not go over it again suffice to say it’s a lovely canal. We stop at (Teddesley) Marina and have to hatch plate re welded it was about to come off in my hand. It cost £23 and a good job done. We chug on through Penkridge, Gailey Wharf and at 5.30pm we stop at the Anchor, Bridge 72 just outside Coven. We shower and sort the boat out, excellent TV picture we watch Corry and head for the pub. At that point Gill and Peter arrive they join us later in the pub. Wendy and I both have steaks which are delicious we chat and drink and return to boat 10.30ish. An excellent day.
Tuesday 24th August 1999
I don’t sleep well but not as bad as the night before when Wendy’s snoring kept me awake most of the night, what a racket. Anyway we get underway at 9.00 waved off by Gill and Peter. It’s colder today and overcast, we travel through the open countryside and the narrow sections of canal to Autherley Junction we pass the bottom lock of the Wolverhampton 21 and the BCM, it’s more built up now and through Compton and Wightwick the canal properties are well kept and attractive. At Bratch Locks there is a delay of 30 minutes or so we arrive at 1.55pm and leave at 3.15pm not bad. At he staircase at Botterham Locks we meet a couple going up who know all about canals having been on canals for 27 years, of course they cock up the staircase and in the end are forced to take advice on how to proceed. I and other boaters around are at this point helpful and inform them they need to fill the top lock first and then proceed. Having done this they and then we proceed. Through Swindon Locks which are quite attractive to Greenforge we moore up at 5.30pm. We are both very tired and eat early in the Navigation Pub. The food is very good Pate and toast for Wendy, Salmon and Prawns for Andrew followed by Steak and Kidney pie, all very good, apart from the fact that they ran out of ‘Red Wine’ a very good meal. We retire early and are in bed at 9.30pm and asleep so after
Wednesday 25th August 1999
We get up late; it’s been raining all night and the forecast is for heavy rain am and fine pm. We breakfast and potter I write this log. It’s now 12.45pm we left a few minutes later in fine warm weather and proceeded through the lock and on down. After about ½ an hour it started to rain, we stopped at Stepney Lock because the rain was so heavy I had trouble seeing where I was going it didn’t ease so we kept going after ½ and hour or so at Kinder it stopped and the sun came out. We have done this canal both ways before and this stretch is lovely in the sunshine. After the rain the water riles from the trees and grass as it heats up and a mist appears across the canal, we continue on to Waverley Lock and more here, it’s 6.30pm the TV picture is OK we shower, watch Corry and then eat at the Lock Pub Surf and Turf for me which is excellent and Beef Stroganoff for Wendy also very good. We return to the boat after a couple of drinks and retire.
Thursday 26th August 1999
We wake early and are away just after 7am. It’s drizzly rain but that soon stops and its warm and dry. We stop at Kidderminster – Sainsburys for shopping and breakfast and are away again to the sound of the 10 o’clock bells. As we exit the lock a narrowboat pulls out in front of us Hartwell from Aylesbury owned by the Witts family even though I am feet from his stern he will not let me pass Canal Hogg! I ease off and let him go we went our way slowly through the canal past my favourite lock Caldwall Lock and arrive in Stourport bang on 12 noon. There are 8 boats ahead of us in the queue for the lock into the basin, we stop in the basin to dunny dump and take on water and them onto the Severn at 2.30pm. It’s quite warm and |I take the tiller we travel with an old wooden working boat and are lucky that the delay at locks is only a few minutes. At 5.30pm we reach the IWA Festival Site on the Racecourse at Worcester. Julian waves at us as do Mike Wooding and Jack from narrowboat Poppy. We are directed to our mooring at F15a. We are first to arrive of the 5 boats in the 15 mooring. After dinner we walk to the Festival site, which is some distance away. At the gate we are asked for our green security arm bands, we had left them in the boat not realising that we needed them there was no persuading the security guard to let us in. I walk back to the boat and then once the armbands are obtained in we go to the Boaters Quiz. We join the others from the Cutweb Boaters Club. The quiz 9 round of 10 questions some pictures rounds was very entertaining and educational, a few pints later we walk back to the boat and needed the torch we had taken with us, we sleep soundly.
Friday 27th August 1999
We wake late walk to the show. Purchase a bilge pump; our engine room bilge has some 4-5 inches of water, mainly rainwater. The bilge pump has never worked from the day we purchased the boat. The use of newspapers has always soaked up any excess water before but there is not too much for paper, we also see a TV aerial system that looks good. The TV reception on the boat here in Worcester is terrible we cannot get a single channel. The chap selling the system says he will come to the boat tonight and let us try it. Mid afternoon we return to the boat and I fit the new pump, all goes well until it suddenly stops and will not start again no matter what I try. Boaters gather round and after suggestions take the pipe off it must be blocked check the level will it pump that high, is it blocked are the batteries OK all checked and no problem solved I remove the pump to return it tomorrow. It’s now 6.30pm and I go and fetch the TV aerial man from caravan B3. Upon our return another boater joins to see the result, which is quite impressive. The unit needs to be plugged into 12 volt, a boater appears with a plug all is OK. The unit is left with us for overnight testing. We eat on board and bed 11ish, it takes me some time to drop off there is some noise from outside the boat and some more noise from inside the boar snoring!
Saturday 28th August 1999
I am up early keen to set up the TV system properly. The pole that holds the aerial has developed a tilt due to the bunting so this is removed and about 1 inch of pole cut off the bottom to restore the upright position. All wiring complete the aerial work a treat. Wendy goes to meet Mary and Brian who has come by car accompanied by Lizzie the dog they return to the boat and after a drink and a chat they go to the show and I tidy the boat, I join them later and take back the pump to the ‘Whale’ stand. The pump is fully tested and found to be working perfectly, back at the boat after lunch I know it’s not the pump, after much messing about refitting pipes and resetting of pump to a different position in the bilge and shortening the pipe the pump start to work and all the water is pumped over the side. Brian and Mary leave at 5.30pm we dine watch some TV and then wonder to the show site for the evening entertainment. Wendy is limping well tonight, her foot still causing some problems. The entertainment a pantomime put on by the WRG (Waterways Recovery Group) has obviously has a lot of effort put into it but they sound is terrible and we cannot hear. We retire to the beer tent for a couple and then home, we sit for an hour or so drinking port and taking in the evening air. Splendid bed 11pm.
Sunday 29th August 1999
A lazy start, Wendy has a gippy tummy upset. Breakfast, Archers – dump the dunny and rubbish on the travelling ‘Lavender Boat’, provided for by the Festival for the boaters, write this log time now 1.15pm. We then wonder down to the show I wanted to video the boats and as I am doing so I voice is heard ‘I know that bum’ it’s Jennifer, John and Janet Stych’s daughter. They are all at the show with Johns other daughter and her husband. We join together and visit the beer tent and then ‘do’ the show. I try hard to persuade John to buy an Eberspacher a water heating device instead of the gas one he intends to fit, but I am not successful. After the show we return to the boat for a few more drinks and then they return home. A very pleasant afternoon. We eat on board and then bed.
We rise late, shower etc and lazy around all morning. Steve and Sheila arrive early afternoon having done some shopping for us in the way. We go to the show and of course the beer tent. We decide to go and get water and Steve and I travel down to the water point at Diglis lock. The pump has been making odd noises and we wonder if there is not enough water in the system for it. Steve does the washing up on route. On the way back down, some lads throw apples at us and one hits the roof. The pump has not improved. On our return we have barbeque steak and eat on board, Steve and Sheila leave at about 10.30pm and we retire to bed. Another very pleasant day.
We leave the mooring at 8.45am and travel to Diglis lock. We are booked in for the 9am locking but the passage is slow and we are late. The lockkeeper opens the other, little used lock, for us and another 8 boats are put in. At 10am we leave the lock and head for Tewkesbury. It’s overcast and quite cold. Wendy steers, I do the washing up. I also tidy the cupboards and have a look at the pump. I take it to bits but can’t see anything obviously wrong, but then I don’t know what I’m looking for. I reassemble the pump and it seems to work as before. One thing is for sure, it needs a professional check up. We make good time and arrive at Tewkesbury at 1.15pm there are already about 8 boats waiting to lock through. The lock is closed for lunch till 2pm. Typical! You would have thought that LANT, knowing dozens of boats would be coming through that way after the festival, would have made some provision to open at lunchtime. At 2pm the lock opens and the first in the queue start to go through. There are now some 24 boats in the queue. All shapes and sizes have been arriving at the lock. At 3.30pm we exit the lock and travel to the Fleet Inn at Twinning where we breast up for the night. Two more boats breast up to us. We dine in the Fleet, filet steak for me and lamb shanks for Wendy, excellent! A couple of bottles of very nice red wine, TV and bed.
Wednesday 1st September
We leave the moorings at 9am and travel slowly to Pershore. It’s hot and Sunny. The river traffic is quite heavy and we have to wait a short time at the locks. At 2pm we arrive and moorings are short. Jack and Shirley are here on Poppy and they offer to breast us, but a slot becomes vacant and all is well. It’s now 4pm and I have finished this log up to date. The pump that has been playing up, has finally decided to die. At least it waited until we got almost home from a 5 week(ish) trip. We laze around for the rest of the day, as you do, chatting to boaters and wanderers on the Pershore rec. In the evening we have a familiar curry and a few beers.
Thursday 2nd September
It’s our last day and we are in no hurry to go home. We eventually leave at mid day and chug slowly back to Evesham. We catch up with Martin Ludgate and his crew and we travel more or less together all the way back. We arrive back home at 6pm. A smashing holiday with few mishaps. The weather could have been better but all in all a great trip.
The following week I decided to replace the pump. I was advised by Aquaflo to get their pump with 30psi as it was connected to the Paloma water heater, I was also advised to increase the flow rate as this would help with regulating the hot water. The pump was purchased from Stourport and fitted. I fixed it to the bulkhead as per instructions and it all works fine. The ‘problem’ with the Paloma water heater has also now been solved. Must have been the pump all along.
Over the next few weeks we used the boat only once really. On a Sunday in late September we took Mike and Val and Roger and Jackie to the Anchor for lunch. We were joined by John and Janet in their boat ‘Penny Lane’. We left at 10.30am and gently chugged down river. The weather was cool but sunny. Arriving at the Anchor in good time for lunch, or so we thought. Upon arriving in the pub, after mooring and having to breast up on 2 other boats, we were informed that they had a party in and had finished lunch. Charming! John recommended the hotel next door and after checking, yes they could do lunch for 8, off we went. We had a splendid meal and time at a very reasonable cost. We headed for home late evening and a splendid day was had by all.
Not much use in early October either, mainly because of the weather. On Tuesday the 12th we went off to the Bridge Inn, Offenham for lunch. Before going I decided to pump out the bilge, off it went shooting water out of the pipe for about 4 feet. After 5 minutes and still going, I lifted the engine cover to discover that water had been almost up to the engine, 20 minutes later, it was still pumping out. I need to clean up an oil spillage as well. The day was fine if a little cool, but the trip was enjoyable if short. All systems are working well and we are looking forward to October 31st when we take her to Crick for the winter.
Engine Clock – 06050.
Sunday October 31st – We leave the mooring as planned at 8am. We have been up since 6.30am getting everything ready. Sheila stayed with us the night before and we had a very peasant evening with a meal down at the crown on waterside. Evesham lock was full and a paddle had been left up. This was strange as Trevor the lockkeeper knew we were going through early and we expected the lock to be empty and one bottom gate open. The weather was fine and dry. The river is quite high and we have to power up a bit to keep going against the flow. The locks are mainly with us and we make good progress. At Marcliff lock, just below Bidford On Avon we meet Clementina, the hotel boat who refuses to leave the narrow lock entrance so that we can leave, eventually we manage to slip past her and are on our way again. At Luddington we meet The Countess of Evesham restaurant boat going the same way as us. She overtakes us but waits for us at the first of two locks that take us up into Stratford. We stop for water on the rec and then at 4.15pm go through the lock and up into the basin and onto the Stratford – Birmingham canal. We moor in the basin. Wendy wanted to go to No6, a new fish restaurant in Union Street. Unfortunately when we got there it was shut being Sunday evening. We had a meal in the Slug and Lettuce. Just like old times. We used to eat here a lot when we lived in Stratford. We used to walk from our house in Vincent Avenue and later from Vincent Lodge along the canal to the Slug and Lettuce, dreaming of the day when we could travel up the canal in a boat. The food was good. Bangers and mash for me and lamb stew for Wendy.
Monday November 1st
Up and away early, lots of locks today. Once out of Stratford Basin and under the very low narrow road tunnel there are 4 locks together then a long stretch before starting the flight to Wilmcote. Its raining on and off and quite cold. At lock 49 the pound looks very low and I let some water down through the lock to fill it up. A bearded man asks what I am doing and I explain. He says it’s not necessary to do that, as there is plenty of water. He seems to be a canal type man. He opens the bottom lock to drain the water and I ask him why. He explains there is a boat coming in and he is getting the lock ready for them. We carry on up the flight and the other boat eventually appears, the follow us all the way to Wooton Wowen. The bearded man, in a car, drives on at each lock and readies the lock for the boat behind and helps us to. This is a lovely canal, good views, aquaducts, lots to see. The canal is full of leaves and I need to clear the prop several times. Wendy and I share the locks and chugging. The trees are full of autumn colours and we see the odd Kingfisher and Heron. At 4.30pm we arrive at Lawsonford and the Fleur-de-lys pub, once the home of the famous pies. As we moor the heavens open, but its only a short shower. We are moored under and tied to a tree. The tv aerial won’t go up on its pole so I attach it to the section attached to the boat, reception 8/10. We dine early in the pub, 6pm. Steak and Ale pie for me and broccoli and cauliflower, cheese bake for Wendy, all very nice. Back to the boat in time for ‘corry’ and an evening of tv. We had previously both had showers. This was the first time we had used the shower since the new pump had gone in, what a difference. No more ‘up a bit, down a bit’. The flow was good and the temperature consistent. Excellent.
Tuesday November 2nd
Today we have a lie in. Up around 10am, full mucky breakfast and leave at 12 noon. The engine took a bit of starting today. Must be the colder weather. It is however warm in the sunshine. Only a few locks today, up through Hapworth to Kingswood junction. We stop for water and dunny dump. Here we leave the Stratford canal and turn right through the cutting and then right again onto the Grand Union. It’s a short distance to The Tom O the Wood pub and our mooring for the night. We moor up at 3pm. We have a couple of drinks in the pub and check out the times for the evening. Wendy phones Sarah Satchwell, an old chum and she meets us for dinner in the evening. Potato skins for the girls followed by Steak for Sarah and a vegi dish for Wendy. I had pate’ and steak. Sarah and I had lemon sponge for pudding. All very good and tasty. We returned to the boat at 10.30ish and bed.
Wednesday November 3rd
We leave at 9am. It’s fine, dry and quite warm. Through Rowington the canal weaves through high countryside with views for miles and a wooded tree lined section. The greens, yellows and browns of the dying leaves are quite lovely. At 11am we start the Hatton flight, on our own. The locks are all empty and have to be filled before we can go down. At lock 4 we meet another boat coming up and the next 4 locks are ready for us. We then start meeting empty ones again. Another boat is 5 or 6 locks ahead of us. It’s hard work and we share lock opening and shutting, then running ahead to get locks ready and the chugging. We stop for milk at the garage near the bottom. Its 3pm and we eventually leave the bottom lock. We are glad to have finished. 100 yards or so on from the lock I spy Sean in Monarch. This is the boat that has been in front of us. We exchange hello’s and confirm we will meet up on Friday in Braunston at the Old Plough. At 3.30pm we moor on the visitor moorings in the Salisford Arm, Warwick. Light the fire, put up the aerial and check the tv picture 7/10. After showering we wander into Warwick to find an Indian restaurant. Wendy fancies a curry. After a short walk, 15 minutes, we arrive in the square. Roadworks everywhere. Several restaurants to choose from, all different. We choose the Shandar Balti Restaurant. Chicken and spinage balti for Wendy and prawn, chicken and chana balti madras for me. Oh it was hot! But very tasty. Food and service excellent, shame they only had French wine. We are off the French since there rejection of our beef. Back to the boat at 9pm and bed.
Thursday 4th November 1999
Today it’s bright sunny and quite warm. There has been heavy dew over night and everything is soaking. Engine starts perfectly and we are away at 8.15am. We quickly reach Cape Locks we fill up with water here to. Since the new pump has been fitted we are using more water. After the locks we travel the long section through Warwick and Royal Leamington Spa. Some years ago this canal was dirty and run down I am pleased to say that a lot of time, money and effort has gone into the regeneration of this section with houses, shops pubs and cleaning the canal water. It’s now very nice and the autumn colours in the trees all add to the scene. It has now turned cold and a wind has got up. In Offchurch, at lock 22 we catch up with a small 32 foot boat being operated by one single handed man in his 70’s, we go up together and at Bascote, a hire boat catches up with us. We all get in together and continue on. We pass Thorn and Laplander at the bottom of the Stockton Flight, we had also passed Monach some distance back. At 5pm and it’s getting dark we moor up just pass the Boat Pub at the top of the Stockton Flight. TV picture excellent 10/10, we eat in the Boat, fillet steak for both of us cooked just right. Wendy said the tinned veg let down otherwise very good meal. Service to was faultless. After dinner we went and joined the hire boat crew that had come up the locks with us, husband and wife team from South Germany nice couple impeccable English she is a teacher and he is a engineer, have got his e-mail so will contact on our return. Back to the boat 10ish.
Friday 5th November 1999
It’s been raining during the night. We have a lye in today its not 11.30am and we have just finished a big mucky breakfast lovely. The rain and wind has eased so will be off in a minute. We have been having a problem with the oven on this trip, it’s difficult to light and there is no blue flame, just high yellow flame with no heat. Have just phoned Stoves Plc who makes the oven and they are sending out an engineer next Monday to fix it. They will go to Crick Wharf where the boat will be. Good service. Forgot to mention that yesterday in Warwick we stopped at Kate Boats for diesel and a new gas bottle as the gas had ran out a day or two ago and I wanted to fill up with diesel for the winter. It took 116 litres @ 28p per litre, also forgot to mention when we arrived and moored up last night we were concerned that the fire chimney would leak from the bottom and produce black lines down the side of the boat. We have been leaving the chimney off during fine weather, but the forecast is heavy rain and they are right so will have to put the chimney and Kooley on to keep the rain out of the fire. To solve the leaking chimney we cut a couple of the late mother-in-laws incontinence pads in half lengthways and stuck them round the bottom with insulation tape. At 12 noon it’s still raining but not so heavily so off we go. About ½ and hour into the trip the heavens open and it’s difficult to see for the rain, then it eases again, this is the pattern for the trip. The canal is quite high up and the view is for miles, the sheep, crows, and bullocks even a Kingfisher seems oblivious to the wet windy conditions. We pass the new Ventnor Farm Marina just below Calcutt Locks my that’s going to be some area when it’s finished, looks great. There are only 3 locks today, they are heavy and the conditions make maneuvering difficult, slowly we manage. At Napton Junction we turn left, I’m still steering and Wendy is warm and dry inside seems sensible that only one of us gets wet. The canal winds on for miles its high up so the views of countryside are great even though it’s dull. As we reach Braunston the sky turns blue and the sun comes out to greet us it’s still cold though. We stop at Midland Swindlers we can’t seem to work out how to fit the (vent) washer for the Porta Potti we purchased from them in the summer, turns out we have got the wrong bit and have to buy a new washer. We dump the dunny and rubbish and at 4.15pm ish we moor up outside the marina on the canal by the bridge that leads up to the town. It takes about ½ hour to moor light the fire (Wendy let it go out) remove the pads from the chimney that have worked really well, set TV picture 5/10 it’s now dark. We shower read watch TV and at 8pm we walk up to the Old Plough Pub to meet some Newsgroup chums. Dave and Leslie Hearman are already there with some other friends. We order Cottage Pie x 2 which is OK later in the evening we are joined by Sean, Mike, Kristina and Jackie a splendid evening was had by all and it was nicely finished off with just the one, well 2 actually on Ravern in the Marina. Beautiful boat.
Saturday 6th November
We rise late and chug off leave Braunston just after 10am it’s fine, sunny, windy and cold. Wendy walks and sets the locks of the Braunston Flight and I steer, we are on our own and all the locks apart from the very top lock where we met a boat going the other way are against us. In the tunnel we pass 3 boats going the other way. I don’t remember that happening before. All is well and after exciting the tunnel and a short section arrive at Norton Junction where we turn off for the Grand Union Leicester Branch. We are soon greeted with an autumn glade across the canal the sun shines through the leaves lighting up the rich yellows, browns and reds, there is a carpet of dead leaves in the canal we have to stop several times to clear the prop by going in reverse for a few seconds. It’s lunchtime and we have a cupper soup and pork pie. It’s my turn to go inside on the warm while Wendy steers. We soon reach the Watford Locks and staircase 7 locks in all 4 of them staircase, wee have been up here before but have forgotten how to fill the staircase. There are no signs or instructions and no one to ask, by a process of up paddles and see what happens we work out the procedure and up we go. A little while later having gone through the Crick Tunnel and passing one boat without incident we arrive at Crick Wharf. Another boat is coming out but having difficulties and the footbridge that acts as a gate to the marina is open so we go straight in and into the mooring. I am impressed by my own maneuvering of our boat in a small space. Paul greets us and suggests we moor stern in for stability, I turn the boat round quite well in a confined area. We have arrived, I tie up, hook up the 240v and set the TV aerial, excellent picture 10/10. We had arranged to go out with Paul and Leslie for dinner in the evening but Leslie was feeling poorly, she was on some new tablets, painkillers for her hip and they were making her feel awful. At 6.30pm Wendy and I left the boat to walk into the village for dinner, Paul had recommended the Red Lion. Wendy left the boat first and I locked up, there is a light by the stern so visibility is good, as I left the boat my right foot completely missed the end of the jetty and in the water I went, one leg in the canal one still on board, Wendy helped to pull me up. I was winded and had a scraped leg and foot but no real harm done, back in the boat I changed my clothes for dry ones and off we go again. The walk to the pub is about 10 minutes. Fillet Steak for me and Spinach and Ricotta cannelloni for Wendy all very nice food and service good. A quick drink with Paul and Leslie on our return and to bed.
Sunday 7th November
Get up late 10am after watching Frost on Sunday. This morning we tidy up write this log and ready to leave for home pm today. This takes an hour an we arrive back at 6pm.
Over the next few weeks we visit the boat 3 times. The first of these weekends we had arranged to eat out with Paul and Leslie when we arrived at 7pmish on the Saturday night Paul and Leslie had already eaten thinking we were coming next weekend. We walked into the village and ate at the Wheatsheaf, an excellent meal. I prefer this pub to the Red Lion as the choice is better and eating is less crampt. It was also about the time that the French had banned our British beef from entering France, so Wendy and I were on a no French products in support of our British farmers, this included wine. We are still on it now (26/12/99) (date writing this log) its quite surprising what other good wines there are perhaps we won’t drink French again. Anyway back to the plot we left at 9.30pm and walked the 10 minutes or so back to the boat. This Saturday evening routine was repeated each time we went, the only difference was that on our last visit we got it together with Paul and Leslie and had a very pleasant evening in the Wheatsheaf.
As the boat was now connected to 240v mains electricity, we decided that we should extend the boat facilities by adding a bendy clamp light and table lamp in the lounge, a light and socket in the bedroom. We can now run all services except the water pump on mains power. I also tried to put some anti-freeze into the boat engine, as there was none in it at all. Paul was around to help thankfully as this did not go according to plan, pumping out the water was OK putting in the anti-freeze was eventually OK getting the pipe back onto the (skim) tank where it had come off proved impossible, how that pipe got on in the first place is a mystery. Eventually with Paul’s help and some larger pipe I managed it, all systems so far have performed fine.
Sunday 26th December
We arrived today at 10.45am the original plan was to come over last night but I was feeling poorly, cold and cough, so we came today instead. Today is fine and bright but we have come through some heavy rain. At 11.20 we left the mooring after a slight hiccup with the engine starting and at 11.32 we left the Wharf having replaced the footbridge that guards the entrance and exit. I was surprised to see other boats and we passed 3 going the other way and one other going our way that stopped at top of Watford Flight. When we left Evesham today the Avon was dropping it’s water level having been up to the top of the bank ‘Simjam’ the cruiser on our mooring had already slipped it’s mooring poles and floated off down the river somewhere, no doubt when we return we will find out her fate. No problem for us like that on the canals. The rain came and went. We stopped at the bottom of the Watford Flight for water and then continued on. At 2pmish we got rain, sleet, wind, thunder and lightening all things that had been forecast I have to say we stopped just before the Norton Junction and moored. TV picture good for watching part 2 of David Copperfield tonight. Its now 3.45pm and we have had turkey sandwiches and are just getting warm.