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Monday, 29 September 2014

Back over old waters

Another great sunny morning which for the time of year is fantastic, we have our breakfast before going shopping in the local Sainsburys. We stock up on a few essentials and then back to the boat and off we set again.

We are retracing our journey back down the Stratford canal so its a few locks and then we see a marina where we thought that we would have our toilet pumped out, so we pulled in spoke to the girl who told us that it was their turnover day with  there hire boats so we couldn't have a pump out, I can't believe it as it only takes 15 mins at the most and they could of made £15.00, I said this to the girl and she said she couldn't be arsed as it wasn't her company...... No wonder so many companies go bust if they have employees like this .

So we took on some water and left and carried on with our sixteen locks for today, we eventually reach Wotton Wawen again and decide to moor up for the night, so we tie the boat up and walk over to the pub for the a shandy and find that's closed, so we head back to the boat and I head to the local farm shop for a few things and guess what ? This  is closed as well, nobody wants my money today.

So,back to the boat and its a shandy on the stern before we have dinner and settle down for the night.

See you tomorrow


Sunday, 28 September 2014

Easy Sunday

Today we awoke to a beautiful Sunday morning, and no need to get ready to move, as we are staying put today. So its breakfast and then we have a little walk around Stratford, there's a little market and we have a wander, Denise bought a couple of tops, and then we have a walk around the rest of the town, there are to many tourist spots to talk about so have a look on the web sight.

We don't partake in any of these as we been here a few time before but make our way back to the boat, put the chairs on he back and have a day people watching. Then its dinner and more people watching, and then a pleasant surprise our niece Lisa and her hubby Dave turn up with mince pies our first of Christmas, a nice few hours with them before they leave us to settle down.


Saturday, 27 September 2014


Left our mooring a bit of a grey morning but later turned into a nice day, we encounter another trough aqueduct at Wotton Wawen this  one goes over the A34 and was subjected to lorries hitting the underside a damaging the aqueduct till a sign was erected. Next our first lock one of sixteen we were only going to do eight today but where we intended to moor was next to a motorbike scrambling track so what with the noise and dust we carried on.

Unfortunately most of these locks were against us so we had to empty them before using them, the canal is flanked with trees and bushes with the occasional glimpse of open farm land as it meanders towards Stratford Upon Avon.We then cross Edstone aqueduct a major aqueduct at two hundred yards consisting of a cast iron trough carried on brick towers as it spans the valley and railway line.

We then pass the village of Wilmcote and Mary Arden's house, thought to be William Shakespears mother home but it has now be discovered that in fact she lived thirty yards away at Glebe farm, but is still  a place to visit.

Back to open countryside as we descend towards Stratford which can occasionally be glimpsed in the distance, then the canal drifts through light industrial surrounds before drifting through a residential are and then we are in the middle of one of the U.K. tourists hot spots .

We moor right in they middle of the town in the basin where tourist in their hundreds a milling around, eating ice creams or baguette bought from floating narrowboat stores. Shakespeare Memorial Theatre is a across the basin where the Bards famous plays are acted out to the paying audience every night, from Macbeth to Romeo and Juliet.

We moor up and then do a bit of food shopping and return to the boat to. Sitting on the stern and people watching,, we then have a welcome visit from my eldest sister Carol, her son James,his wife Sam and there two children Callum and Findlay, we have drink and chat before they leave and we settle down for the night.



Friday, 26 September 2014

On to Wootton Wawen

The Fleur de lys home of the pies.

Last night we sampled the menu in Fleur De Lys, as its noted for its pies I had a Kate and Sydney pie and Denise a Bloo Moo pie, the meal was very good and the chips were done just right, so we would recommend a visit if you were ever near here.

This morning is a beautiful sunny morning, we leave our mooring and straight away into a lock which is nice and easy and then we top up with water. Then we are off again with farmland stretching to hills on both sides of the canal, which again is a very nice canal with beautiful scenery.

Besides eight locks we also travel over Yarnigale Aqueduct which is probably the smallest aqueduct in the world with a length of 42 ft or 13M. Preston Bagot, a small village is passed, and then we moor up by the village of Wootton Wawen with a general store which we visit for milk and bread. St Peters Church the oldest church in Warwickshire dominates the village and we have a nose around. .

The appearance of ghosts in Wootton Wawen churchyard has been reported over a period of hundreds of years - ever since the Black Death of 1348. A part of the churchyard is said to contain the remains of victims of the Black plague but the victims died in. Coventry, not in Wootton Wawen! Legend has it that Coventry did not wish to admit that the dreaded Black Death had reached the city so the corpses were taken from Coventry at night and interred in the local churchyard in the spot now known as the Coventry Piece.


Next to the church stands Wootton Hall, a handsome Italianate stone construction dating from 1637. Until recent times the Hall was owned by Catholic families {principally the Caringtons) and numerous stories and legends have been woven through its history. Mrs Fitzherbert, the morganatic wife of King George IV, spent her childhood at the Hall and visited it after her marriage. The hauntingly perfumed ghost of the Grey Lady, who wanders the Hall, is said to be her, also a ghost of a man was also reported in a former dairy of Wootton Hall. When the dairy was demolished in 1861, skeletons of a man and woman were found.

Sleep tight speak to you tomorrow.


Thursday, 25 September 2014

Who ate all the pies ?

We leave our mooring this greyish morning and turn straight on to a new canal, the Stratford on Avon canal, twenty five and a half mile long stretching from Kings Norton Junction to Stratford on Avon with fifty four locks, we join it half way at lock twenty two.

We are straight away into locks and tackle eight of the today, the canal is a pretty canal and not very busy which is a blessing and a curse as all the locks need emptying before we can use them. A few oddity of this canal are the bridges with a gap in the middle so that in the old days the horse drawn boats didn't have to undo the horse to bypass the bridge as the rope was allowed to go through the slot in the bridge making the passage a lot quicker, also the lock houses have a barrel roof which is odd.

We then moored up by the Fleur de lys pub which were originally 13C century cottages incorporating a bakehouse where the famous Fleur de lys pies were once cooked here but unfortunately is now mass cooked in a factory. But they still have a good pie menu which we sampled and was very nice indeed mmmmmm.

Speak to you tomorrow


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Little moves

After a night of rain we a greeted to a lovely sunny morning, we say goodbye to our last night neighbours and off we set again. The canal is high on its embankment giving us lovely view over farmland and soon we are at Turners Green with its lovely beamed house adjacent to the canal and its not long before we turn off the Grand union and on to the spur that links to the Stratford On Avon canal. Here we moor up for the night, just as a down pour breaks over our heads, which doesn't last for long as the blue sky's reappear.

The story of idle women, was that during the Second World War women took up the challenge of moving cargo in the narrowboats and on there uniforms were the letters I W which became the nick name Idle Woman, but really was the initials for Inland Waterways.

And her is someone with too much time on her hands .


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

No locks today

We woke to a strange sound this morning, so we got up to investigate and found it was omitting from the boat behind where its occupant was playing a squeeze box, I say playing in a sarcastic tone as no tune that I know was being extracted from this instrument..........

So we had breakfast and set off, we are not planning to go far today as we are in no rush, the sun is shining again but a crisp chilly morning greets us. Trees and bushes line both sides of the canal before we reach the cutting that's the approach to the 433 yards Shrewley tunnel which was opened in 1799, with its village perched above. We moor temporary before the tunnel and pay a visit to the shop in the village for milk and bread then its through the tunnel, and a umbrella is needed as the roof lets in the ground water and sometimes its feels like is raining inside.

Once we are through the tunnel the canal opens up,with hills on both sides a little further on the canal sit on top of a embankment and its by here that we notice a boat that's familiar to us. The boat " Dolceblue" is owned by Chis and Sarah and Della their dog whom we first met in the Wharf inn on the Shropshire canal a year ago, and our paths has crossed a few times since, so we stop and have a chat and decide to stay the night as its an idyllic spot over looking farmland.

So not a really a lot to write about today so speak to you tomorrow.


Monday, 22 September 2014

Stairways to Heaven

Firstly, I forgot to mention that while on our visit. Yesterday to the Dungeons in Warwick castle, Denise was sent to court and convicted of witchcraft, so that's the reason why I always have toads in my sandwich.

Anyway on to today, another beautiful sunny morning, so after breakfast we leave our mooring of two nights behind, a lovely setting and a five min walk to the twin and castle, the Saltisford Canal trust keep this part of the canal lovely and clean a great place to moor overnight.

So its back on to the main part of the canal and its not long before we encounter our first lock, one of twenty one today one after another, and we are unlucky on most of them as they are full as we approach and need to be emptied before we can use them.These locks are named Hatton locks or as the locals call them Stairways to Heaven


This is the procedure it is drop Denise off onto the canal towpath then open paddle let water out, gate open, cruise in, shut gate, shut paddle walk to other gate, open paddle, fill up lock with water open gate move boat out of lock, shut gate and repeat for another twenty times.


Denise and fellow lock operators ..

It wasn't to bad as a lock keeper named Paul, helped us on most of the locks and after three hours we had completed them,and the weather is fantastic so its a joy to be out in the countryside.A little bit further on we moor up and unfortunately for us not by a pub so no shandy today, speak to you tomorrow.


Sunday, 21 September 2014

Onward to Warwick Castle


As said yesterday we decided to spend an extra night in Warwick, and so it was up this morning and the sun has decided to shine so its a glorious morning. After having a bit of breakfast we set off to visit the castle, I bought our tickets on line for the sum of £56.00 the price for two of us, and like you I thought that these were expensive, but in reflection after returning from a good day out I thought that it was worth the money.

These tickets included entry into the castle its self,Merlins dragon tower an experience based on the television family drama and The Castle Dungeons which with the help of live actors and special effects you are sent back to 1345 festering and miserable as a prisoner sent to the dungeons which will send shivers down your spine.

In the castle itself actors portrayed people from the medieval times and tell the history of the castle and the folk that worked and lived in it. Also a show that showed birds of preys,and another the skills of a longbow archer, all in all very well put together.

The castle also houses more collections of castle life, well worth the visit, back off on the boat tomorrow so speak to you tomorrow.



Saturday, 20 September 2014

A new canal "Salisford"

As predicted last night we did visit the local pub the Blue Lias, and must say its a very nice pub, and the flower display in the garden was beautiful even though the flower were now dying back, they also do food and have a caravan park attached to the pub, well worth a visit if you were ever up this way.

So another grey morning but no rain today we leave our mooring and then stop to take on water, after topping up we have a two locks to operate by the village of Cuttle with its two pubs either side of the canal, open arable land backed by hills now greet us, as we went through these locks we teamed up with another boat, who we stayed with till we left them in Leamington Spa.

At Boscote locks we encounter a staircase lock, and then under Welsh Road Bridge,onwards to Leamington, the canal courses through a wooded cutting before emerging to join the main road int to the town for a short while and then into another steep cutting hiding the road so that one would never know its there. Morrisons supermarket and other shops a reachable from bridge 40 if needed, but we have already topped up with provision so its not needed.

We travel through Lemington and our impressions from the canal isn't a very good one,as we spot a few people with cans in hands at 11.00 clock so we decide not to moor up and carry on towards Warwick.

The boat we have been sharing locks with moored up on the other side of Leamington and we carry on without them,then we have another two locks to get through, where the top lock has a pub called "the cape of good hope" and looks like a decent canal side pub. We then turn off on to the  Salford Canal, a small arm that heads towards Warwick and here we find a lovely mooring, where the first night is free and then a charge for the next night, as this canal is looked after by a trust.

So that's our trip for today,tomorrow we are going stay put and visit Warwick castle so speak to you tomorrow.