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Sunday, 30 June 2013

Our final slog, for a while at least

Today we left our mooring and then went through Diglis basing in Worcester here there are two big locks which were a struggle to open.

After this we entered the Severn river so we donned our life jackets and then entered a massive lock which fortunately was operated by a lock keeper . We then followed the river passed few yatch clubs with there shiny cruisers moored up, we then arrived at Upton and turned into the marina, gave the boat a pump out and then moored up in our berth that will be our home for the next month at least.

A big lock and a bit scary

As a bonus Upton was hostingb a jazz festival this weekend and the town was very lively so we went out for a few drinks and something to eat but as we were still tired we went back to the boat about 21.00 hrs and watched the Rolling Stones at Glastonbury on the telly and off to bed again.

Shiny Cruisers


And on we go

Today we left Hanbury and set off for Worcester , more locks and more locks, not really much to write about as we are just operatin locks again, we did pass Worcester warrior rugby ground , and moored up outside of the commandery a old house that has links to the civil war. We had a couple of beers in he Kings head pub, also another customer ordered a fish finger sandwich which looked bloody lovely but we went back to the boat for dinner Scampi, salad and chips which was just as nice and then off to bed. See you tomorrow.

Denies operating a lock

Worcester in the distance


Thursday, 27 June 2013

Rod rage

Filled up with water then set off early as today we knew that we had a few locks to work, all I can tell you today is open a lock, fill up a lock and then leave a lock repeated about 35 times so tonight we are both knackered .

Besides the lock our bit of excitement is when we approached Stoke Prior, as we approached the visitor mooring there was two anglers fishing , so not wanting to disturb then I asked one of them if this was the only mooring or was there more around the bend, he then got arsey and started effing and blinding saying that I nearly broke his rod, so I was not having any of this so put the boat in reverse and got off and started arguing with him pointing out that this was a mooring and also pointing out that their was signs all around saying no fishing, he soon went a bit quiet and then started packing up his equipment.

We decided to carry on and on the way as we passed under a bridge this angle started throwing stones though he knew that I was out of his range to get off the boat and back to him , hence the title Rod Rage.

We carried on and moored up knackered and tired at Hanbury wharf.see you tomorrow

First of many


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Leaving the city

When we got up I went into the town to buy a pair of daps or as people call them in this area pumps or to anyone else trainers, we also topped up with a few essentials from the handy Tesco extra which is situated in the Basin. We then set off down the Worcester and Birmingham Canal through the 105 yds Edgbaston Tunnel and then passing the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on the right and The University of Birmingham on the left.

Edgbaston tunnel

We then passed the chocolate producing factory Cadburys or Kraft which is it proper name here they produce every ones favourites treats.

We then came to a watering point and decided to get some water and as we were mooring up ai heard a woman shouting , which I ignored only to find it was my sister Kathryn , what a nice surprise, she stayed for a cup of coffe and a chat and we arranged to meet up later.

We then carried on and then we entered Wast hill tunnel this is one of the longest tunnels in Britain at 2726 yards long, once canal workers use to leg the barges through using their feet on the sides to power them through, this then was replaced by steam tugs and later diesel tugs. The old iron brackets and insulators can still been seen , these were used to carry the telegraph wires. And as Denise and I found out a lot of drips fall from the tunnel ceiling .

A sign explains Wast Hill Tunnel

The beginning of the tunnel


Looking back to the start of the tunnel

We then carried on and moored up just by the A441 road and a pub cal the hopwood house where. We are going to have a meal with Kath my sister and her grandson Josh tonight.

Only Kath turned up as Josh was in his kickboxing club so we had dinner in the pub and then went to our nieces house where we saw Matt and Victoria and then Josh turned up,and we went back to the boat where Victoria and Matt picked up Ben our other great nephew from his football practise joined us. They all loved the boat and it was great to catch up with them

Kathryn in the boat

Kath and Denise

Josh who loved the boat and didn't want to go home


Gas Street Birmingham

What a difference it was staying in the heart of a city hearing hustle and bustle around us. It wasn't too rowdy. We were shattered following our jeorney through all the locks we went through. Some of the gates were so heavy Steve had to help me either to pull or push them. Luck was on our side with most of the locks being empty. We soon got into a pattern as I was closing the gates and paddles of the lock were about to leave, Steve went to the next lock to open the gates to drive straight in. This morning we were aching and thankfully no locks to go through today. We turned into the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. Stopped briefly at Kings Norton to take on more water just as we arrived my sister in law Kath arrived. Steve had texed her to let her know we were passing near by her place. She stopped for a cupper before we moved on to Hop wood. We went through West Hill tunnel. What an experience, it was quite spooky. I took a photo of Steve. I pointed the camera at him and hoped for the best because I could not see his face as it was so dark in that tunnel. I guess it took us a good 10 minutes to get through. Anyway, quiet day today, before tackling the locks as we head towards Upton on Severn.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

To Gas Street Basin

Up early left our over night mooring which was outside of an area call Minworth it wasn't long before our first of twenty seven locks approached

Minworth in the distance

Lock 1 done only another 26

We continued to Salford junction here we did a sharp left turn and on to the Worcester and Birmingham canal here the canal takes on amuch more industrial feel

Here also starts the Aston locks a flight of 11 locks as it was all of the locks were with us but still hard work,

Aston lock number 1

Once we completed this flight we had a little rest bite before the next flight of 13 locks appear these are called the Farners Bridge locks what's unique about these are that they are under buildings in the middle of Brum.

Soon all of the locks were completed and we then turned into gas street basin and found a mooring space and then went for a well deserved beer.Gas street basin has so changed from the last time we were here over 30 yrs ago, it is now a cosmopolitan area of bars and classy restaurants, although we didn't eat out as we had lamb chops already defrosting, which when we cooked them and ate them were very nice.

Gas Street Basin



Hopefully we are going to have a quiet night even though I doubt if Denise , bless her as she worked really hard today will need rocking. See you tomorrow.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Heading to Birmingham

Today we were up early and left Hopwas and headed to Birmingham, first of all we passed Fazeley junction where the Birmingham and Fazeley meets the Coventry canal, here we took on some water and turned on to Birmingham canal.

Almost immediately the canal changed into an urban canal

We passed Drayton Bassett which is a little village, one unusual feature is this charming unexpected Gothic- style footbridge which spans the canal which has twin battlements and is unique.

We carried on to a village called Curdsworth the canal consist of 11 locks with a small flight of 5 locks in the middle, we also went under the motorway M6 where drivers are oblivious to our journey. We then moored up outside of Minworth to regain our energy for a hard day tomorrow as we or should I say Denise has 27 locks to operate tomorrow through the middle of Birmingham.went through our first tunnel today "Curdsworth tunnel " 57 yds long, see you tomorrow .



Sunday, 23 June 2013


Cats were up early again, so in turn that means that we were up as well, we left Whittington and traveled to a village called Hopwas it was only an hour down the canal so we moored up just before The Plough Inn I then walked back to our last mooring to pick up the car, I then phoned my sister Kathryn who turned up with Jonathan her son and our nephew, it was great to see them both and they stayed for a coffee and a chat, then Kathryn took my car home to park outside her house which was the plan, and we are grateful because it was getting a bit of a pain piggybacking the car all the time. Nothing else exciting to write about just that we had a nice cooked dinner and watched telly.

Just a quick bit about Hopwas is that it close to an army range so gun fire is heard quite frequently also there is a lot of free range pig farms around and this area is noted for its pork.see you tomorrow.

Quiet Saturday

Hi, woke up a bit late this morning, that's a lie really, Firkin has got in to a habit of waking with the dawn chorus and scratching our bedroom door till we let her in then she walks up and down on the bed for a 15 mins till she either settles down or she returns to the other rom, which Is quiet annoying this all happens about 4.30 am. After this we went back to sleep and we then got up about 10.00 and had breakfast, I also rang my sister Kathryn to ask if it would be possible to leave our car at her property which she agreed to do and will pick it up in a few days.

Manicured gardens of Whittington


We continue to cruise towards a little village of well manicure gardens that stretch on to the canal called Whittington, moored up and I returned to the car and brought it back near the boat, I also done a little bit of shopping in the local co-op, it's only today that I realised that plastic carrier bags are free in this neck of the woods, as in Wales we have to pay 5 pence for one bag for a long while now. Went back to the boat and watched telly all day . Must say even though we didn't watch it as its on sky, a good win for the British lions against Australa , though only just 23-21, but a wins a win so well done, see you tomorrow .

Even the canal bridge has flowers

Ikea would have a field day with this one!!!

Friday, 21 June 2013

Pass the Mucky duck



Today we left Alrewas and made our way to Fradley junction and our turn off for the Coventry canal, approaching the junction there are a few locks for Denise to operate then at the famous pub " the Swan" or as it normally know the mucky duck there is a sharp turn on to the Coventry And our first swing bridge to operate on this journey, we carried on to a place called Streethay where we had another pump out and also topped up the water and diesel. Also we had to buy another mooring pin as we found out that it must of been left at Alrewash .we then carried on to huddlesford and moored up outside of the plough pub, we then walked back to the car and then drove back to the plough were we had a larger shandy as the sun was shining. As the pub looked nice we decided that we would eat there in the evening which we did , and it was a very nice meal Denise had Prawn and crayfish starter I had Mussels in chilli sauce , and we both had sirloin and chips as the main it was also demolished very quickly. Back to the boat and off to bed.


The Mucky Duck



Thursday, 20 June 2013

Back to the homeland

Up early this morning and off to Sunny Wales, it was raining as usual as. I need to get home to check the mail for the house move and also to pick up my prescription and see my mum, so I was in the car and on my way by 4.30 and back home at 7.30 checked the mail and then had a nice hot bubble bath it was bliss, this is the only thing we both miss on the boat is our bath. I then made a few phone call regard the selling of the house, then picked up my tablets didn't have time to have my hair cut , so done bit of shopping and then went to mums who was in fine spirit and chatty as she had new windows and blinds put in her flat, left mum and then drove back to the boat. In the evening we had fish and chips from the chippy which were very tasty and would recommend to anyone passing this way, off to bed.zzzzzzz



Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Waiting for the engineer.

Not much has happened today, Warren the engineer was suppose to turn up at 12.00 but didn't arrive to 14.30, he carried out the first service which consisted of changing the engine and gearbox oil and just check every thing was ok, Warren then gave me a lift back to the marina to pick my car which I did and drove back to Alrewas, only to find the engine wouldn't restart so Warren had to return to fix it.see you tomorrow


A stow away


Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Setting off again

Today we decided to carry on with our journey, we left Barton turn marina and turned back on to the T&M canal and headed to Wychnor lock a tiny settlement around the church St Leonards.


My stomach is still playing up so we carried on to a pretty village Alrewash, pronounced 'olrewus' here we paid a visit to the chemist and I explained that I have had a bad stomach for 5 days who told me to visit the doctors down the road which we did, and after seeing the doctor she gave me a prescription which when I realised I had to pay £7.85 I nearly s**t my self as in Wales prescriptions are free. We also stocked up on a few things from the local co- op. this village is so nice it's one of the place you would like to live if we won the lottery.

Staying here over night awaiting Warren the engineer to do the first service,both cats have perked up after they had a tin of salmon  speak to you. Soon

Monday, 17 June 2013

A quiet day

Stomach still not right, not eating much at all( note to self : get on weighing scales when i get home)and now Cooking the cat has gone all weird ???? There was fireworks the other night and we think that's why he is like he is, we had a quiet day yesterday and today, we were waiting for Warren the engineer to come today but he will Now coming on Wednesday which means I will pop home Thursday to pick up my tablets, see mum and anything else I need to do , and get back to the boat. Not really much to say as all I have been doing is sitting on the loo..


Sunday, 16 June 2013

Not far as a toilet is needed

As said yesterday my stomach is playing up and to make matter worse our pump out tank is full, fortunately there a marina not far so we head to there, it called Barton turn marina and a big marina so we pay for a pump out £15.00 i will never complain about spending a penny again, but needs are a must so we had the pump out and decided as I was feeling that great to spend the night, we backed out of the mooring and started to head to the visitors mooring, as said before this is quite a expanse of a marina and the wind and then rain and hail stones started to blow, and my god did I get into a pickle, the wind took Essendee and jammed her against a bridge and another boat , managed to get out of that predicament when after about half an hour I managed to get her into the visitor mooring bow first , we found out our electric hook up cable want long enough so I had to reverse out of the mooring and turn he around and try to reverse in again , easier said than done so another half of hour trying to manoeuvre he back into the mooring a chap who worked on the marina came to my assistance and helped get Essendee into the mooring. What a day, still not feeling right and what a .pity because there a nice pub near by and a Thai restaurant , just my luck.


Friday, 14 June 2013

Leaving Stenson lock

We left Stenson and proceeded along the T&M canal passing a lovely little village called Willington where again we should of stayed as it had three pubs there but again we missed an mooring space, we decided to carry on to Burton on Trent which one time boasted over 31 breweries but now only a few remain. We took on some water and moored up for lunch and decided to carry on to Branston famous for that stuff that people have on a plough mans lunch and the like, we moored outside of a little pub called " the Bridge " which sampled some of the ales (pint of lager and a half ) this pub was over 300yrs old, and now served Italian food, we didn't eat here as we already made a spaghetti bolognese which we consumed, and watched some telly and off to bed.

Stenson lock


The weir

And finally the end result the bubble







Woke up in the early hours with a bad stomach which saw my backside visiting the loo very frequently. It is now represent a similarity to a Japanese flag.


Thursday, 13 June 2013

Another day

Hi everyone who is still reading this, our journey started this morning nice and bright, we left our last night mooring still on the Trent and Mersey and cruised past a lovely little village called Swarkestone, we had a few locks to negotiate and on Swakestone lock Denise was offered help by a man caled Bob who informed us that he was a volunteer lock keeper, he proceeded to help Denise and whilst talking to Bob he hinted that most people tipped him which we felt obliged to do.

We then proceeded on to Stenson lock and just passed this we moored up, and lucky for us the heavens opened and persintley rained, so we had some lunch, after the rain stopped we went to pay a visit to the adjacent chandlery, unfortunalty the chanderly was closed for lunch but luckily the pub "The Bubble" was open so we decided to have an afternoon drink, must say it was a very nice pub and anyone up this way should pay it a visit, there is also a small hotel attached.After a few beers we paid a visit to the chanderly with the purpose of buying a fender as I have lost one already in some lock, must say we were served by the most miserable server, we were going to purchase a few more bits and bobs but because of her attitude we decided against it. A little bit of trivia about Stenson is the lock is the 2nd deepest on the T&M canal a depth of 12ft 4in  also the bubble pub is named after the little weir which runs a long the length of the lock and then energies in the canal hence the name the " Bubble".

We were going to eat in the pub tonight but when we got back to the boat we decided against it, as we already put out food for this evenings meal.Newson the cats is that Firkin still not settle in, and preferring to stay in her cat crate, cooking a bit better.

Speak to you tomorrow.








Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Day 2

Our view of Beeston power works
Woke up early about 04.30 made a cup of coffee but then when back to sleep, got up about 09.00 had some breakfast fixed our water hose pipe, and off we went today we left Cranfleet Canal and on to the river Trent then through a lock on to Sawley cut , poor Denise has been struggling working the locks, also I have bumped the boat going the locks as well and a lick of paint on the gunnels is already needed.We then left the cut bak on to the Trent then on to the Mersey and Trent canal with a few more locks, we passed some lovely houses and villages, Shardlow Being one of these and we should of moored up and looked around but by the time we decided we went passed the mooring spot,we then passed Aston Trent and Weston Trent and moored up as the rain came down outside in the country. Must say these locks and mooring bits are knackering I'm obviously not fit anymore, the cats are still traumatised especially  Firkin as she not eating that much which is really out of character for her , hopefully she will settle. Speak to you tomorrow.



Tuesday, 11 June 2013

On our way

Hi, spent all day yesterday having the inverter replaced,also the leak on the diesel inlet was repaired, we also bought a new television and all the other bits, ariels and cables, we then found that the ariel booster wasn't working so we had to wait till this morning to have it repaired, which it was.

So this morning we were up early, I went shopping to sainsbury's while Denise stayed with thecats and the boat while Frank the electrician replaced the ariel booster, we then paid a visit to Findlay the boat builder to say goodbye and thanks we also gave him a bottle of Welsh whiskey to remember us. We then got back to the boat emptied they poo tank and filled the clean water tank and then we set off on our start of our journey.

We set of down the Nottingham and Beeston canal then through Beeston lock on to the river Trent which is so very wide

We then left the Trent and went on to the Cranfleet canal, and moored up for the night in hopefully a quiet spot, the cats seem a little bit settled even though they didn't enjoy today's journey.Speak to you tomorrow.



Sunday, 9 June 2013

Cats aboard

Well set off early thing morning, with the cats , haven't been looking forward to this ones bit,as our cats are really stressed and nervous. We loaded up the car with there cat crate, put a sheet over it and besides cooking meowing for about 10 mins they were purrfect and quite happy as can be in their crate. We arrived at the marina off loaded them and they soon settled .

Problems again with the electrics, the inverter still not working , but for some reason the fridge isn't getting cold, also the immersion heater not work, tried to start the heater so we could have hot water and this wasn't starting, looked in the engine bay and there seems to be diesel escaping , so will have to have a word and hopefully get them all fixed, oh also one of the lounge lights have started to flicker.








Well we've finally done it we're on our boat, cats included. So far so good they are a bit subdued which is to be expected.
We have sorted out more bits and pieces and ready to start our jeorney. We are waiting for an inverted to be fixed so we'll have electricity on or travels

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Took her out for a spin

Awoke feeling a lot better this morning, finger crossed this bloody cold has now been beaten. Denise wasn't best pleased though, as I woke up at 05.30hrs and told her that we were off to the boat, so by 06.30hrs we were on our way to Nottingham. We called into Sainsbury and bought a few provisions before getting on to the boat, we had also brought with us a few items, towel hooks, runner carpet and other bits, we loaded the boat, then Denise and set off by our selves for the first time in our boat.

The entrance to Castle Marina is a bit tight

As you can see

So on my first attempt I truly cocked it up, second time went like a dream, we then took a leisurely cruise up the Nottingham Canal. We moored up for a spot of lunch, then returned to the marina, moored up and went to the pub for a shandy and then a walk along the canal. Back off home tomorrow to see the cats, a surveyor for our house buyers is coming on Friday so we won't be back to the weekend, but we will more than likely bring the cats with us, Cooking and Firkin