Sunday, 24 July 2016

Sunday in Braunston

This morning several boats passed us going north which suggested there might be at least one vacant mooring in Braunston so we slipped our mooring and slowly cruised towards Braunston Turn.

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It was quite a surprise to see so many vacant moorings.  We’d anticipated Braunston would be full.  The water point before the junction was vacant so we stopped to top up the tank and dispose of our rubbish before continuing towards Braunston Marina where we found a good mooring immediately before the last water point.

The first maintenance task for the day was to remove all the timber from the chrome head of the broken boat hook.  I had earlier noticed the timber shaft had failed at the point where the timber enters the head. 

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Cleaning the timber from inside the hook wasn’t too difficult and we now face a choice.

  • Buy a new boat pole
  • Buy a new timber shaft
  • Repair the existing boat hook.

A new boat hook is going to cost approximately £40-50.  I don’t have the tools to reshape the end of the existing pole to make it fit inside the hook.  The preferred solution would be to purchase a new timber shaft pre-shaped to fit into the hook.  Midland Chandlers and Wharf House Chandlers don’t sell them pre-shaped.  It looks like we will be buying a wood rasp and I’ll then spend some time reshaping the end of the old pole.

On a more positive note Midland Chandlers had a 9” chrome trumpet horn in stock.

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It was very reasonably priced (less than £20) and with a small modification I replaced the temporary car horn we bought in Huddersfield after the first boat horn failed.  This one is certainly loud.

The Boathouse now has a Sunday Carvery which we both selected (buy one get one free).

After lunch had settled Jan got down on her hands and knees to worship me clean the bathroom, whilst I washed and polished Waiouru’s starboard side.  I was halfway through removing the polish when a well known boater passed us on his way back to Braunston Marina. 

Yes, it was Timothy West…… and he didn’t hit us! Smile

I shouldn’t be unkind to Timothy as both he and Prunella have done a lot for the canals. 

Saturday, 23 July 2016

More blog readers

Oops… I’d forgotten the photo Jan took of nb Derwent 6 going past at Brownsover.  But doesn’t she look great for a boat that has never been washed.

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This morning we left our mooring beside Rugby Golf Course but not before a blog reader passing by on nb Lunas called out to Jan mentioning she was from Adelaide, South Australia.

P1030075The water pressure at Hillmorton isn’t getting any better.  It Is like waiting for an old man to vacant the cubicle. Smile

The tank was ¾ full but it still took almost an hour before we could head up the set of three locks.  There was a volunteer lock keeper on at the bottom lock and he had his work cut out explaining to the the first day hirers how to ascend.  He’d also been to NZ and was asking us about air force base closures.

IMG_0280This is all very familiar territory and we quickly went up the three locks heading south towards Braunston.  A very slow Black Prince hire boat crew kindly moved over and allowed us to pass them on Barby Straight.  

Barby Marina is starting to look fuller these days and we both noticed there were now more finger moorings.

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The plan was to moor at Onley but these quiet rural moorings are currently very busy with the sound of heavy earth moving equipment on the other side of the hedge.  Prison expansion?

We continued on eventually mooring at the beginning of the last long straight before Braunston.  We could have continued into Braunston but that meant arriving around 2pm and being a Saturday it was probably going to be full of hire boats.  We’ll go in tomorrow morning around 10am and hopefully find a mooring.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Narrowboat Millennium Falcon

Yesterday nb Derwent 6 with Del and Al went past us at Brownsover.  I didn’t grab a photo and only managed a few words with Del who told me they were heading down the Oxford Canal.  This morning we left Brownsover squeezing past the breasted up boats at Clifton Wharf and arriving beside the Rugby Golf Course where we moored behind Derwent 6.  A slightly longer conversation this time where Al told me (to my amazement) that Derwent 6 had never been washed in eight years.  For an eight year old boat it’s spotless.  Al then informed me Del just chamois it dry after every time It rains.  The paintwork looks marvellous.  They were the sensible boaters who moved off before all the Rugby based hire boats past.

On one occasion nb Millennium Falcon came around the bend towards us halfway through activating their hyper-drive to make the jump to light speed.  I guess their destination was Tantooine!  Shortly afterwards a “Yellow Peril” went past with the steerer on his mobile phone.  He managed to grind his boat all down the side of our port gunwale.  No apology; too busy talking on the phone (which I’d like to have stuffed sideways up somewhere painful).

It became obvious additional mooring lines were required and I reset the ropes to include a spring.

However it wasn’t all bad.  The pirates were amusing and unusually dressed.  Jan has seen plenty of “man boobs” during the recent hot weather but this is the first time she has seen them in a bra.

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One boater was so quiet we didn’t hear him arrive and he even hoovered alongside calling out to let us know he was there.

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Well known boater Maffi and ‘Molly’ who always looks happy.  Maffi wasn’t on the “Milly M”.  He was moving another boat.

The maintenance task for the day was to empty and clean the starboard cratch locker before giving it a new coat of paint.

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That’s the last of the painting in the cratch.  Now I need to start on the cockpit area.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Old and New

The boat has moved off the new water point at Brownsover and one thing became very apparent.

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This ‘new’ waterpoint is the old cast iron upstand model which I thought had been made obsolescent on H&S grounds.  They are being replaced with a new stainless steel model.  Change of heart; old stock; local policy; or has the ‘new’ model proved to be less than a success?

Jan and I wandered back along the towpath and under the A426 bridge before turning left on the new footpath down into the ‘new’ Elliot’s Field’ Retail Park.  It was still under construction last time we passed this way.  Jan had a good look around M&S before we crossed back over the busy A426 to the adjacent Junction One Retail Park where she headed for The Range.

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Homebase and Wickes used to be located at the old Elliot’s Field Retail Park but now have new premises in Junction One on Technology Drive road. This next map extract shows the location.

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Top arrow – Elliot’s Field.  Bottom arrow – Wickes and Homebase.  Interestingly there is no direct link between the new Wickes and Homebase and the other Junction One outlets.  Different developers?

The reason for visiting Homebase was to collect an item from the Argos collection centre inside the store.  Homebase and Argos are owned by the same parent company.  We had ordered a USB storage dongle from ebay for Jan’s iPad as it only has 16GB total storage which is nearly all used.  The iPad doesn’t have an external slot for a memory card but we have a solution.  We’ve purchased a dongle that plugs into the power cable port.  These dongles can be bought with various storage capacities and we selected 32GB.  The dongle has the Apple plug at one end and a standard USB plug at the other.

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This means the dongle can be connected to either the appropriate Apple socket or a standard USB port.  Here is is plugged into Jan’s iPad.

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I’ve already plugged it into our Windows laptop and transferred some files.  The cost of the dongle was approximately £20 and has trebled the iPad storage capacity.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Another early start

We were both awake before 6am, actually Jan was up at 5.30.  It was a hot night, especially after realizing sleeping upright in the fridge wasn’t an option.  We weren’t the first boat on the move with one passing us at 5.35.  It was a quiet move to the nearby water point (poor pressure) where we topped up the tank.  I seized the moment and took a photo of the recently polished side.

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It was while we were on the water point that our second boat of the morning went past (nb Tardebigge).

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I didn’t hear it (deaf old coot)but apparently the steerer mentioned out names (another blog reader?).  After several months of cruising on northern canals we’ve noticed how busy it is down in the Midlands.

I managed to turn at Hawkesbury Junction without having to use the “girlie button” so I either fluked it or am getting better.  By now there was a boat following us.  Time for a quick photo waiting in the stop lock.

IMG_0269The scene would be even better if it wasn’t for the overhead electrical transmission lines.

This is now very familiar water we were enjoying the scenery and the cool breeze off the canal until 10am when the mercury started to rise.  nb Zulu and butty passed us on the straight near the M6 motorway bridge.  We’d just gone around a bend so that was good luck.

P1030068The countryside to the west was a yellow sea of rape (canola) near Les Wilson Narrowboats.  I guess they will be harvesting it shortly.

IMG_0270Well it was yellow, obviously the colour has been washed out in the processing.  One of the staff at Rose Narrowboats kindly opened the pedestrian swing bridge.  By then I’d already slowed to let Jan off and a couple of urban jellyfish seized the moment and grabbed the prop.  We limped on to Armada Boats where we stopped to take advantage of their cheap diesel (54ppl).  The steam powered narrow dutch barge we last saw in Rugby hasn’t moved that far as we noticed it moored on the Coventry side of Newbold Tunnel.

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The last coloured light in the tunnel has died so the passage is not as attractive.

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We eventually moored at Brownsover opposite the park around 1pm.  Actually we are directly opposite the new water point.  Interestingly there is no signage stating the mooring is for water only and when we arrived there was a boat on the mooring not using the tap.  I guess there will be people like us who will just breast up against him and climb all over his boat to reach the tap.

Later in the afternoon I walked to the nearby Halfords and bought 10 litres of engine oil for the next service.  Jan is doing the first shopping trip to Tesco.  We’ll do the second trip tomorrow morning.  We know the area so well neither of us has a particular desire to linger here any longer than necessary.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Early start…. Early finish

With temperatures around 30C forecast at midday we decided on an early start leaving the mooring at 7.45 with no fixed destination, just planning to stop at noon.  Before we left a lady going past on nb Anna Claire called out to Jan that they were blog readers and something was mentioned about the shine on the boat. Bless you….. it’s the other side that has been cleaned and polished.  You were looking at the dirty side!SmileHartshill was/is a CRT facility and from the signage it’s obviously been here some time.

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Just after passing Springwood Haven Marina we came upon a moored hire boat.  The crew saw us and frantically attempted to get underway to be in front.  Their efforts came to a sudden halt when the steerer realized he’d left the tiller arm in the front cabin.  LOL

We had no desire to stop at Nuneaton having not forgotten all the dog faeces from our previous two visits.  This time the steerer on nb Waka Nui 2 informed us he though there was a shopping trolley under the next bridge as he passed us. We glided slowly under the bridge and missed it.  This time we didn’t miss the Police Phone Box.

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Or perhaps it’s the Tardis!

Always looking for something interesting at Charity Dock.  This time it was Batman and Robin.

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Meanwhile Jan has seen Nessie on the roof of a boat moored opposite.

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By now it was 11am and starting to get hot.  Jan noticed a couple of topless boaters going in the opposite direction and wanted to know why she couldn’t do the same.  Do we want frost!  Meanwhile some of her relatives kept quiet as we motored past.

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Apparently this is one of my relatives

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We arrived at the Hawkesbury Junction 7 Day moorings around noon to fine two vacant spots.  We immediately grabbed one and the other was taken shortly thereafter. 

The afternoon has been spent watching sweaty boaters pass by from the luxury of our air conditioned boat.  Yes, Jan is sitting in the fridge and I have my head in the freezer box.  The fridge and freezer have certainly worked hard this afternoon.  The battery went from 100% at noon to 90% at 6pm.  That’s when I went out and finished the wash, T-Cut and polish to the port side.  It’s looking good whilst I look very hot and sweaty.  You might notice some of the ink in the lettering has run.  It Is my sweat dripping onto the keyboard.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Late post

I has been a long day and not just because of the cruising.  We left Polesworth at 8.30 passing nb Achernar after a mile of cruising.  They had left us a comment on yesterday’s post mentioning there hadn’t been a nibble on the end of his line all day.  I guess that meant dinner last night was crackers rather than fish!

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We stopping at the CRT services beside Bradley Green Bridge to dispose of the rubbish and top up the water tank.  Good water pressure from the tap meant this was only a brief stop before we reached the bottom of the Atherstone Flight.  There was a colourful field of bright red poppies along the way.

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On approaching the bottom lock we noticed a boat already waiting to go up.  It was nb Otter Magic owned by Lynne & John.  We last saw them on the Kennet & Avon back in 2012.

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There was no one behind us and all but two of the 11 locks were against us.  However John was kindly raising one lower paddle as Otter Magic left each lock.  We had to wait at Lock 9 for nb Gerald.  The volunteer lock keeper assisting them down told us the boat was 107 years old.

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I hope I look that good at107. Smile

There are good moorings between locks 5 and 6. We stopped here two years ago when I took the defective 175A alternator to the nearby Cox’s Automotive for a rebuild.  Today I noticed there was an electric powered boat on the moorings.

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Twin drives with an interesting dual steering arrangement.  Must be a slow trip around the network!

The top three locks each had a volunteer lock keeper in attendance which sped up our progress.  By now it was starting to get decidedly hot.

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Top lock

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Scorecard

The moorings at Polesworth were 90% vacant and yet the moorings above the lock at Atherstone were 100% full?????  We found a temporary mooring and I then walked back down the flight to Aldi for some essential supplies.  Actually I had a good walk around the centre of the village because I’d geographically embarrassed myself.  The Aldi is opposite the large Cooperative and I’d missed it.

Once back at Waiouru a decision was made to continue on and find a quiet rural mooring for the night.  Around Stoneleigh Quarry Farm we noticed an interesting moored boat. 

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We didn’t see any Alpaca’s on the towpath but there were a few in the adjacent field.

Eventually we moored just before Hartshill and had a very late lunch.  By now it was very hot and we were quite dehydrated.  Two cleansing cold lagers were not enough!  By 6pm the exterior of the boat was no longer too hot to touch so I went out and washed, T-Cut and polished half the port side.  That might have been a mistake as the sweat was popping out of me faster than I could replace it.  The problem is sometime in the last few days we must have moored under the wrong tree.  As a consequence the entire exterior of Waiouru is covered in a thin film of sticky resin.  

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Polesworth

The campanologists have been busy here over the last two days. For those readers who don’t know what a campanologist does I can inform you they study the design and use of camping grounds.  OK, so I’m pulling your leg!  Campanologists ring bells!  The Polesworth campanologists have been very busy with a wedding practice yesterday morning followed by the actual wedding ceremony after lunch.  This morning it was the Sunday church service.  All this bell ringing is coming from Polesworth Abbey.

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Sorry…. phone photos today!

The Abbey was founded in the 9th Century, although very little of the original structure remains.  The abbey church dates back to the 12th Century and is Grade II listed.  The gatehouse is probably more interesting.  It’s also Grade II listed and is also a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

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I liked the gatehouse stone arch footpath.  The gatehouse has been restored and the area above converted to rental accommodation.

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Polesworth is on the River Anker and apparently the name is derived from the ancient Saxon words for pool and dwellings.  The river became shallow and wide here forming a fordable pool which led to the location being settled.

We had our usual Sunday roast lunch at the Red Lion which has had a change of publican.  We know this because they couldn’t accept cards (cash only) because the ‘new’ system hadn’t been installed.

20160716_132936The meal was OK (5/10). 

We wandered back to Waiouru over the main bridge.

20160716_132153I have completed the painting of the cratch area but have made a right pigs ear of the front panel on the bow thruster locker.  I know what I did wrong!  I was down to the dregs in the tin and raced it.  What I should have done is either added some Owotrol or waited until we had a new tin of paint.  Now it will have to be rubbed back. Sad smile