Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Unusual gate latch at Fradley; more music at Hopwas

Thursday 18th June 2015

We left Alrewas earlyish, went up the locks and turned onto the Coventry Canal at Fradley Junction. We stopped at a convenient bridge and walked into Fradley village.

The church was locked - most seem to be these days - but there was an interesting message above the door.

"Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God." I'm not entirely sure what this means.

Part of the churchyard is given over to war graves.

Many are in memory of members of the Royal Australian Air Force. Fradley Aerodrome was built at the start of the Second World War and was known officially as RAF Lichfield.

The gates to the churchyard from the road have an unusual design of latch. An eye on one of the gates protrudes through a hasp on the other and is secured by a pin on a chain.

After lunch we continued to Hopwas where we moored between the Red Lion and the Tame Otter. We were now in the company of a few other Boaters' Christian Fellowship boats for the start of a "Come Aboard" event, beginning with a folk music evening in the Hopwas Social Club. Jan and I played violin and recorder respectively, accompanying James and Hazel on vocals/guitars. We were given a more generous slot than at Ilkeston, being allowed to play four songs. They're very laid back in Hopwas - the first act didn't start until 9 pm with the evening finishing at midnight!

Monday, 29 June 2015

Whitby in Fazeley

Narrowboat Whitby passed us at Peel's Wharf, Fazeley, this afternoon, on its way back from Braunston.

They were behind us going down Glascote Locks a little earlier.

We left Polesworth just before 10.00 this morning, winded at Grendon and came to Fazeley. I've been doing some tests on our battery bank using a borrowed "Intelligent Battery Tester"; I'll blog about the results another time.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Coppers racing frogs in Amington

What do you think these members of the Staffordshire Police are doing to give them so much amusement?

They are racing frogs at the Boaters' Christian Fellowship stand at the Amington Fete yesterday.

And here's the winner.

Today marks the end of the BCF events in the Tamworth area; I might now have a bit more time in which to write up what we've been doing.

Friday, 26 June 2015

A record on our boat

There we were on Jubilee at Amington on the Coventry Canal enjoying post-prandial natter with friends Henry, Lin, Elaine and Jack when four people we didn't know, carrying a bottle of wine, saw Henry and Lin and asked where two other friends were. We invited them in and, before long, the wine was flowing and the ten of us were chatting away.

Then Hayley's daughter appeared on the towpath with her friend so they had to come on board too, making a never-to-be-surpassed number on Jubilee.

Elaine, Halfie, Lin, Chloe, Sophie, Leah, John, Jack (standing), Rachel, Hayley, Henry, Jan

It was lovely having you all on board. 12 is the maximum allowed on our narrowboat. I wonder if/when we'll have the same number on again.

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We're still at Amington with the Boaters' Christian Fellowship "Come Aboard" event; we certainly kept to the theme!

(From Alrewas we went to Fradley and Hopwas and Fazeley blah blah blah ... I'll update in fuller measure later ...)

edited to correct spelling

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Spectacular warehouses in Burton-on-Trent and a knitted narrowboat in Alrewas

Monday 15th June 2015

In the morning we walked to Barrow-on-Trent; after coffee and hot chocolate in the pub we stayed on the Ragley Boat Stop mooring while we had lunch, then we set off.

The deep and fierce Stenson Lock was being operated by volunteer lockies so I steered in, tied my centre line onto the rope lowered down to me by one of the volunteers and twiddled my thumbs as they opened the ground paddle on the side opposite me. It took an age to fill, but at least I wasn't being bashed around. Stephen and Elaine on the white boat had made it to here to try to get help from the boatyard; they borrowed a plug spanner and we managed to remove both plugs ... but they looked in good condition. We left them heading back towards Shardlow, still with the borrowed plug spanner and still lacking power.

We tied up at Willington; I went to the Co-Op to get some food for the barbecue half-wondering if I'd see Andrew Denny. I was crossing the zebra crossing on the way back from the shop when crossing towards me was Andrew Denny. He was just about to go to see Bruce and Sheila on Sanity Again in Mercia Marina with a sample of Scrabble bunting, but he did come to Jubilee later in the evening. It was good to have a chat.

Tuesday 16th June 2015

Burton-on-Trent was our main destination today; after visiting the town we went on to Alrewas. We hadn't visited Burton before so we tied up between Dallow Lock and the footbridge at Shobnall Fields and walked to the town centre. It's quite a way; what I thought was going to be the centre from looking at Nicholson wasn't. It's another half mile the other side of the railway. Still, we got to see some spectacular old warehouses, including the Midland Railway Grain Warehouse No. 2, now a Travelodge hotel.

On the other side of the tracks was this amazing brick building - a brewery? Warehouse?

And so on to Alrewas for the night. We met up with Rob and Trish on Mistol who invited us for a meal on their boat - very good, thank you.

Wednesday 17th June 2015

We had a whole day in Alrewas, so we walked to the National Memorial Arboretum which we hadn't visited before. I think this would have been better for us if we had some specific family connection to find; as it was we were suitably impressed by the curved walls with the names of those from the forces who had died since the Second World War.

Walking back through the village I spotted a canal-themed window display with a difference.

Knitted canal ware, anyone?

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I'm only a week behind now. We are at Amington for a couple of days.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

To the aid of a stopped boat at Ragley Boat Stop

Friday 12th June 2015

Our tickets for Bletchley Park were still valid after our first visit last September, so we took the train from Wolverton up a couple of stops to Bletchley.

We concentrated on the parts we'd missed the previous time. I was particularly interested in the amateur radio station in touch with a satellite it had sent into space two years before. There was a full-size model of the satellite; I was amazed by its small size. It was a cube of 10cm side with two half-wave dipole aerials sticking out. I used to be a radio amateur myself, but other interests took over. Now it appears that you have to be a computer buff to get the most out of it. (No photos of the satellite ground station, sorry.)

Saturday 13th June 2015


Ally took us back to the boat at Shardlow in the afternoon (I drove); our time on the 48 hour mooring was up so we moved to the pub mooring by the Clock Warehouse and had a meal there.

Later I kicked myself that I had forgotten about the Indian restaurant just down the road. Oh well. Next time perhaps.

Sunday 14th June 2015

We went to the parish church in Shardlow with Eric and Sue from Remus, who were moored immediately above Shardlow Lock. Bit of an early service at 0900; rather a woolly sermon but the natives were friendly. Bought a jar of marmalade.

After church we set off up the Trent and Mersey. It was busy! We had become used to the peace and quiet of the Erewash; now there were queues at locks.

We stopped at the Ragley Boat Stop with its moorings on the offside and ate in the pub. (What? Two meals out in a row?) A couple who had just bought a white boat were having engine problems so we tried to help.

Stephen and Elaine's engine was lacking power so I wondered if it might have been a spark plug issue. It took ages to work out where they were, then we didn't have a plug spanner to fit. They wanted everything to work properly before taking the boat onto the Trent to Nottingham.

That's all for this post; more later. Meanwhile I'll say that we are now on the Coventry Canal above Glascote Locks (and have just said hello to Paul on Waterway Routes as he went past delivering his leaflet on a litter picker through our side hatch.)

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Langley Mill to Shardlow

Wednesday 10th June 2015

We left Great Northern Basin, Langley Mill, sharing locks with Gabriel.

At Hallam Fields we had a very enjoyable meal on board Gabriel - thanks, Hazel and James - before walking to Ilkeston Rugby Club for a folk evening. We were down to be the first act after the interval; meanwhile we enjoyed some talented musicians playing the guitar and singing.

The guitarist above played some intricate stuff very well; the man in the photo below played some mean rock 'n' roll on his slide guitar.

Thursday 11th June 2015

There are some lovely views from the Erewash Canal; this is Sandiacre with St. Giles Church on the hillside.

After emptying/refilling at Trent Lock we popped out onto the Trent. Ah - depth at last! That's Gabriel in front.

We had lent Gabriel our jerry can with diesel in it as they were concerned that they were low on fuel. They stopped to refill at Sawley Marina while we continued to Shardlow.

Here we tied up on the 48 hour moorings and met Ally and Ben who had come to drive us back to their house for a couple of days of gardening!

Monday, 22 June 2015

Up the Erewash and beyond

Whoah! Where has all the time gone? My last post was eight days ago. Then I was desperately trying to play catch-up and get up-to-date; now I am woefully behind again. So ... I'll try again. This time I'll be stricter with myself about the number of photos I publish. But first, where we were on Monday a week ago two weeks ago (eek!), using photos I had already resized.

Monday 8th June 2015

We left Cotmanhay and continued up the remaining locks to Langley Mill, the head of the Erewash Canal, and Great Northern Basin.

Some of the bridges are on the low side.

This was the second time we have been through the top lock; the last time was Easter 2013.

We tied up on the left beyond the lock in front of Remus. Eric and Sue came for a meal on Jubilee; during the meal I leapt out to take a photo of the Nottingham Canal Toll House lit by the setting sun.

The next day we explored our surroundings, finding a large charity shop next to B&M near the station. Walking in the other direction we looked for and found some remains of the Cromford Canal still in water. I stood on an old railway bridge to take this picture.

And this is the railway bridge from under the lattice girder bridge.

In the evening we ate at the Great Northern pub with James and Hazel from Gabriel, who tied up behind us.

Halfie, Jan, Hazel, James
Right, I'm only 13 days behind now. At this rate I might have caught up by autumn!