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Monday, 31 August 2015

Guess what it a bank holiday and its raining

Absolutely tipping down with rain this morning, we wouldn't normally travel in this kind of weather but we need to get to the new marina sooner than later, so wet gear on and off we set.
And soon we are at the village of Polesworth a busy town that was once built around the coal industry, and now is a great stop for provisions, but we don't stop and  pass Pooley Hall which was once home to Edwin Starr before his death, a singer of the seventies with great disco hits like War and  Eye to eye contact, then next  we head toward the M42 motorway  bridge.
We then pass Alvecote marina who are holding a festival of old working canal boats but aren't very lucky this year with the weather,

 suburban housing of Tamworth now meet the the canals edge and we have 2 locks to negotiate before stopping at Fazely junction where one could turn towards Birmingham for water, but we carry on Northwards and then stop at the village of Hopwas for our overnight mooring.
A bit of a strange tale where the local paper reported a sighting off Bigfoot in the woods near here 
The woods dates back officially to the 11th Century and the Domesday Book, and further back still, with many historical tales emerging from within.

Fascinating tales of witchcraft and occult activities have persisted for many years, especially after the arrest of 16 people who were taking part in a naked occult ceremony in 1984.

They were members of a secret group called the Silver Star Society, and the arrests led to fines totalling £2,000 for cannabis possession.

More recent headlines appeared in the Herald after a mysterious copper plate with magical symbols was discovered by paranormal investigators. Shortly afterwards an Egyptian figurine was also found buried in the woods by Tamworth man Andrew Lee.

The woods have also been the source of other colourful tales including sightings of big black cats and even reports of a ‘large sandy-coloured animal’, feared to be a lioness.

Ghosts have also been reported there, with one report of a small orange light appearing there before falling to the ground.

Further back there was a ‘great fire’ in the woods in 1976, and controversy in 1986 after plans were revealed to lease part of the woods for “war games” activities.

In 1999 the Army were called out to help round up nine Limousin cattle which had escaped from a farm in Hints and taken refuge in Hopwas Woods. Four were shot dead, but after a public outcry the remaining five were caught and taken to an animal sanctuary.

The woods were also the location of the Woodhouse, which dated back to the 1640s and the time of Oliver Cromwell, and was the only house in the now defunct parish of Hopwas Hayes.

The house had been home to many people over the years, including George Bryan, founder of Drayton Manor. It was demolished in 2010 after being declared a health and safety risk.

The Woodhouse also hit Herald headlines in 2003 when armed police swooped, after reports of a pool of blood, a severed finger and a gun toting man in Hopwas Woods. What they actually found was a tea bag, a rolled piece of bacon and a man with a walking stick.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Grey morning

Today we set off to a grey old mornining , the promise of heavy rain means we set of reasonably early,the canal have been quiet and last night even though we were moored right next to a pub not one other boat was moored near it.
So we head North toward Atherstone, the landscape here is man made with the spoils from the now abandoned quarries making large mountains of waste and glimpses of views towards Anker valley.
the village of Manceter with its old roman village on the outskirts
Also in 1555 Robert Glover was arrested and taken to the stake as a victim of the reign of Mary of Tudor where he was executed.

So onwards to Atherstone and its 11 locks and it seems that every boat on the canal has turned up to use them at the same time the first 5 locks are close together and its slow progress as we wait for one boat to go up and another to go down but eventually we get through them. In the 17th century this town was know for it Felt Hats and employed well over 3000 in this industry but with the influx of cheap imports this fell into decline.
Open countryside now as we negotiate the remaking 6 locks before we moor up just outside of Polesworth for the afternoon and night and right on cue the rain comes down, so it's a shower then Sunday dinner before settling down in front of the telly.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

On to the Coventry Canal

Another lovely morning as we set off from last nights mooring, the M6 motorway is the first bridge we navigate under noticing how tranquil and peaceful the canal is as to the hustle and bustle of the motorway.
We leave the  noisy drone of the motorway as we travel towards the village of Ansty a tiny village that grew up alongside the canal, with its church of St James and Ansty hall which dates back to 1678.
Then it's on to Hawkesbury junction a busy junction with its stop lock, a lock where the water only drops a few inches but still needs to be operated and its sharp bend onto the Coventry canal, which seems to always cause problems to experts and novices alike.
Upwards towards Nuneaton with loads of allotments on the canal side where gardeners are working on them to produce fruits, vegetables and flowers.
We reach Nuneaton where pretty gardens flowing to the the water, and parkland reach the edge of the canal. 
Famous people from this area include 

The Novelist George Elliot,
  • Dean Richards, former England Rugby Union player and Rugby Union Coach (born inNun Eaton 

We leave the town behind and we are back in open countryside again before we moor up for the night outside of  a canal side pub by bridge 29 where we partake in a few shandies in the afternoon sun before back to the boat for the night see you tomorrow.

Today's ghost stories 


Location: Nuneaton - A5 between town and Hinckley (Watling Street)
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1926 (wearing jacket), February 1927 (riding horseback), 1979 (shimmering shape)
Further Comments: One version of this tale says that, wearing a jacket with sleeves of bright crimson, a phantom highwayman lurks along the roadside with a tricorn hat hiding the face. Another version names him as Dick Turpin and when last seen, he was riding his horse across common land. It may have been the same entity seen in 1979, reduced to a shimmering shape which swirled like water. The witness to this event had an accident close to the spot later in the day.


Location: Nuneaton - Railway line and bridge near the Bomb Hills
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Circa October 1986
Further Comments: Two people walking home spotted steam coming from under a bridge. Looking down from the bridge they could see a stationary steam locomotive and dozens of people laying across the tracks - the scene was semi-transparent. The witnesses ran off to find someone, and returned several minutes later, by which time the scene had gone.

Mrs Stubbs 

Location: Nuneaton - Stubbs Pool, Camp Hill
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1970s?
Further Comments: Mrs Stubbs is said to have be caught up in weeds and drowned while swimming in this pool (alternatively, according to other stories, she had her face bitten off by a horse). She now haunts the area.

Another sunny morning

Today we set off from our mooring to a lovely bright sunny morning,the canal was at its best with green hedges lining both sides and the  straight water That stretched in front of our boat was like a shiny mirror.

We cruise on till we reach the outskirts of Rugby where we have three locks to operate at Hillmorton, here the locks are set in pairs so it feasible for two boats to go up or down at the same time or one boat up and one down. Then we are in Rugby where the moder game of Rugby football was founded when Webb Ellis a pupil in Rugby school decided to cheat at football ( soccer) and picked up the  ball in his hand thus started the game of rugby union. We don't stop and visit Rugby as we have been here before and we are just tryinig to g et to our new marina as quick as we can with out rushing.
We were going to do a shop in Rugby but missed the bridge where the Tescos store was so we stopped at Newbold on Avon and visited the local Co- op where we topped up provisions before taking on water again. We left Newbold with out any mishaps this time as last time we were here I fell in the water up to my waist.
So it's through the 250 yds tunnel pass Brinklow marina and pass Stretton Wharf before mooring up,for the night by bridge 26. See you tomorrow 

Thursday, 27 August 2015

On our way

So up to a ok morning, the last few weeks have been grey and rainining so it was a bit of. A shock to have a dry morning, so wash,dress, breakfast and then we topped  up with water, next we took a reading 05350 of the electric and handed it back in the office before setting off.
So we say goodbye to Wigram marina as we turn left on to the Grand Union canal as we head on towards Braunston junction, this as most of the canal is very pretty with open countryside and mostly agricultural with just a few house in sight.No locks, no villages and the bridges are well spaced making this a pleasant stretch of the journey.
At  busy Braunston junction we turn left, here there are lots one moored boats, making most of the village and the pubs. We are now heading towards Rugby again open farmland on both sides and it's not long before we decide to moor up for the night opposite Barby hill on our right and on our left Her Majesty prison Rye Hill so we hope that all of the prisoners are well locked up tonight.

A ghost story.

In the late 19the century a house in the village of Barby had a reputation of being haunted by a widow who could not rest until her estate and debts were settled in full. The case appeared in Glimpses of the Supernatural (1875) by Dr Frederick George Lee (born 6 January 1832 – died 22 January 1902) a Church of England priest and was quoted directly in by John Ingram in The Haunted Homes and Family Traditions of Great Britain (1897).

According to Dr Lee, "An old woman of the name of Webb, a native of the place, and above the usual height, died on March 3rd, 1851, at 2 a.m., aged sixty-seven. Late in life she had married a man of some means, who having predeceased her, left her his property, so that she was in good circumstances. Her chief and notorious characteristic, however, was excessive perniciousness, she being remarkably miserly in her habits; and it is believed by many in the village that she thus shortened her days. Two of her neighbours, women of the names of Griffin and Holding, nursed her during her last illness, and her nephew, Mr. Hart, a farmer in the village, supplied her temporal needs; in whose favour she had made a will, by which she bequeathed to him all her possessions. 

"About a month after the funeral, Mrs. Holding, who with her uncle lived next door to the house of the deceased (which had been entirely shut up since the funeral), was alarmed and astonished at hearing loud and heavy thumps against the partition wall, and especially against the door of a cupboard in the room wall, while other strange noises, like the dragging of furniture about the rooms, though all the furniture had been removed, and the house was empty. These were chiefly heard about two o'clock in the morning. 

"Early in the month of April a family of the name of Accleton, much needing a residence, took the deceased woman's house the only one in the village vacant and bringing their goods and chattels, proceeded to inhabit it. The husband was often absent, but he and his wife occupied the room in which Airs. Webb had died, while their daughter, a girl of about ten years of age, slept in a small bed in the corner. Violent noises in the night were heard about two o'clock thumps, tramps, and tremendous crashes, as if all the furniture had been collected together and then violently banged on to the floor. One night at 2 a.m. the parents were suddenly awakened by the violent screams of the child. 'Mother! Mother! There’s a tall woman standing by my bed, a shaking her head at me! 'The parents could see nothing, so did their best to quiet and compose the child. At four o'clock they were awakened by the child's screams, for she had seen the woman again; in fact, she appeared to her no less than seven times on seven subsequent nights. 

"Mrs Accleton, during her husband's absence, having engaged her mother to sleep with her one night, was suddenly aroused at the same hour of two by a strange and unusual light in her room. Looking up, she saw quite plainly the spirit of Mrs. Webb, which moved towards her with a gentle appealing manner, as though it would have said ' Speak! Speak!' 

"This spectre appeared likewise to a Mrs Rad-Dournc, a Mrs Griffiths, and a Mrs. Holding. They assert that luminous balls of light seemed to go up and towards a trap-door in the ceiling which led to the roof of the cottage. Each person who saw it testified likewise to hearing a low, unearthly moaning noise, ' strange and unnatural like,' but somewhat similar in character to the moans of the woman in her death-agony. 

"The subject was of course discussed, and Mrs Accleton suggested that its appearance might not impossibly be connected with the existence of money hoarded up in the roof an idea which may have arisen from the miserly habits of the dead woman. The hint having been given to and taken by her nephew, Mr. Hart, the farmer, he proceeded to the house, and with Mrs Accleton's personal help, made a search. The loft above was totally dark, but by the aid of a candle there was discovered, firstly, a bundle of old writings, old deeds, as they turned out to be, and afterwards a large bag of gold and bank-notes, out of which the nephew took a handful of sovereigns and exhibited them to Mrs. Accleton. But the knockings, moanings, strange noises, and other disturbances, did not cease upon this discovery. They did cease, however, when Mr Hart, having found that certain debts were owing by her, carefully and scrupulously paid them. So much for the account of the haunted house at Barby." 

The circumstances detailed were most carefully investigated by Sir Charles Isham and other gentlemen in the neighbourhood, and the conclusion they arrived at was that the above facts were completely verified by the evidence laid before them. 

The above description does not give the exact location of the house in question and only mentions surnames of those involved. There was a widow named Sarah Webb who lived and died in Barby on 5 March 1851 (nor 3 March 1851) who’s will was dated 11 May 1849 and proved on 17 April 1852. It would I assume be fairly easy to identify the building by checking her death certificate and the census returns for 1851, but as the building has remained anonymous for 150 years and is very likely to be no longer haunted, I see no reason in trying to track it down further, especially as, if it still stands it will be somebody’s private residence.

It may be worth noting that Sir Charles Edmund Isham, 10th Baronet (born 16 December 1819 – died 7 April 1903) who investigated the case was a spiritualist so that he may not have been totally unbiased. He has also been described as being eccentric and was responsible for introducing garden gnomes to Britain

The Other World or Glimpses of the Supenatural Vol II of II

 By Various

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Ready to leave

We are back on our boat in Wigram marina, and we have decided to relocate to just outside of Nantwich in Overwater marina, so we will be leaving tomorrow to start our journey.
Yesterday we arrived, unpacked and a quick tidy of the boat before popping to the shop for topping up of provisions, and today we awoke had breakfast then we moved the boat for a pump out and a filled up with diesel before mooring up again. We then drove over to my sisters,Kathryn  house where we are going to leave our car for a couple of weeks as we change marinas. She with her grandson Josh then drove us back to Wigram marina and a quick stop in The Bridge Inn, Napton for a shandy and lunch, the meal was okay and it's a lovely location right on the the Oxford canal.
Kathryn then dropped us bak to the boat, where she had a quick coffee before returning back home , a big thanks Kathryn it's much appreciated.
So tomorrow off we set again so stay tuned .

Monday, 24 August 2015


first of all sorry for not updating this blog for awhile, truth is just haven't had the time.
we obliviously finished our trip in May and set off back home to Cardiff, where we decided to put our house up for sale,which we did thinking that it would take a while to sell, but after one day on the market it was sold subject to contract.
We decided that it would only take 6 to 8 weeks to all go through and complete, and we could be back on the waterways again, that's where we were wrong. First of all our solicitor went on holidays leaving the sale of our house with one of her colleagues to deal with who unfortunately went sick, so three weeks into the sale and nothing had been done, this was the start of a disastrous episode of mistakes and error but eventually we sold and moved.
 And so we reach today, we have moved into a sheltered accommodation flat. so that we can spend more time away with the knowledge that the property will be safe.
So tomorrow it back up to the boat with the view of relocating our marina from Wigram Turn to Overwater marina and hope to start the journey on Thursday, so please start reading our blog again .