Monday, 13 July 2020

Crick's new footbridge

Yesterday's sunshine has been replaced with more rain, but not all day. This morning the pair Adrastea and Nebulae came past.

I'd love to have a go at steering a butty one day.

As we entered Crick we saw the new footbridge. The road bridge has a pavement of sorts, but its width reduces to not much more than a kerb's worth. The lorry crossing shows perfectly the need for the footbridge.

We tied up just before Welford Junction; tomorrow brings the gongoozlers' paradise of Foxton Locks, then it's Market Harborough for us.

Sunday, 12 July 2020

A falling in

This morning we went to church in Doncaster without leaving the boat. Virtually, of course. After that we turned left at Norton Junction and headed for Watford Locks.

On the way I spoke to a couple on the towpath who asked the way to the locks; I pointed them in the right direction (they had been going the wrong way). Not long after that we passed a boat mooring outside Watford Gap Services: a man was hammering in a pin close to the edge of the bank. His boat obscured what happened next, but I heard a shout and saw that the lock hunters were right there and pointing to the water. The worst I thought was that the mooring pin had fallen into the cut; as others were there I carried on.

At the locks the couple were watching proceedings. I asked them what had happened with the boat at the services and was surprised to learn that the boater had fallen in! He had just stepped in, according to the witnesses, and got wet up to the top of his thighs. Had there been more commotion I would have stopped - perhaps I should have done so anyway - but it had looked and sounded to me as though one of the walkers had been surprised by the hammering.

As usual, Jan steered and I worked the locks, being mostly left to it by the lockies.

Above the locks a number of birds of prey were circling.

Are these red kites?

Before Crick Tunnel I tried the TV reception again and actually got a signal. We pulled in and tied up ready for the F1 GP highlights later. At 6.30 I switched on, only to find that the signal had disappeared. Repositioning the aerial didn't help much, but I was eventually able to watch, with the pictures and sound breaking up badly most of the time. Grr.

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Social distancing? Social gathering, more like

After breakfast and a nip into Tesco for the paper we reversed back to the waterpoint on the offside. Topping up took only a few minutes as the pressure was excellent. That's the one at Brownsover.

We continued on our journey, stopping just past the M45 bridge for lunch. Stephen and Gwyneth came past on Chyandour; we would pass their locked up boat in Braunston later.

I wanted to watch the F1 qualifying highlights so we tied up just below the Admiral Nelson pub. The outside tables were heaving, with no distancing in evidence.

Unfortunately for me, I couldn't get any TV signal, so we continued up the rest of the Braunston locks and tried again at the top. Still nothing. So we went through the tunnel … no joy here either. By this time the programme was well under way. Eventually we tied up for the night just before Norton Junction. I'm beginning to think there might be a dodgy connection in the cable somewhere, or perhaps water has got in to the external aerial causing corrosion damage. Tomorrow we only have to get to Crick (to keep to schedule) so there should be plenty of time for investigation. Grands prix are the only thing the TV is used for, that's why the reception problem has only just surfaced.

After tea we walked to the junction and back; I took one or two sunset pics.

This is the view from the boat.

Friday, 10 July 2020

How does he steer like that?

Shortly before we set off from Bedworth this morning fuel boat Callisto came past. (No, the title of this post does not refer to the steerer of Callisto.)

That brief excitement over, we had an uneventful passage to Hawkesbury Junction and onto the Oxford Canal, stopping beyond Bridge 19 for lunch having joined the mini-BCF convoy of nbs Grace and Chyandour.

I always look out for the collection of old cars by Bridge 4. This Volvo P1800 is sadly becoming overgrown. (No steerer there.)

After a socially distanced lunch on each of our individual boats we set off in convoy once more (Stephen having seemingly abandoned the helm (yes, there's the reference)) ...

… to stop again at All Oaks Wood for (socially distanced) cups of tea on the towpath. That is to say, Jan and I sat on the towpath while Stephen and Gwyneth sat in their well deck and Terry and Chris occupied their rear deck.

They were staying there for the night, whereas we wanted to get to Brownsover for a Tesco shop and so I can get a paper in the morning. There was plenty of space on the towpath side; the offside moorings were all taken. We're handy for reversing across the cut to the water point in the morning - or we could stop below Hillmorton Locks (or are the water points there the slow ones? Could just wait until Braunston …)

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Scissor Sisters do their thing in Atherstone

I thought it wasn't meant to rain much today. OK, it wasn't heavy, but it was persistent. We went up Atherstone Locks with the help of our friend Stephen, who had driven over from Coventry for the fun of doing some locks. Thanks Stephen, it made a big difference. We stopped for water at the top and gave our friend coffee, then we moored at the first available space. We now had some hours to kill before Jan's appointment with a hair dresser in Atherstone at 4 pm.

Moving on, we passed this interestingly painted boat: Wobbly Limited.

Presumably it refers to something in popular culture which has missed us.

We ate tea in shifts on the move, and tied up to Terry and Chris's boat Grace in Bedworth. We joined them for drinks and chat in their conservatory. Tomorrow the plan is to go with them in a loose convoy up the North Oxford, picking up Stephen and Gwyneth on Chyandour from the Wyken Arm on the way.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Side hatch rain protector

It's been a long, long time - but we are, at last, under way on board Jubilee again. And I'm doing another blog post. I should have blogged during lockdown, I suppose - after all, I had enough time - but, as with doing my tax return, I managed to keep putting it off. Now the rules are being relaxed and we are allowed to stay overnight on our boat, so here we are. In Polesworth, as it happens.

We set off from our mooring in Fazeley at about midday when it wasn't really raining. Our first lock for ten months (!) was Glascote Bottom Lock.

Locks! Hooray!

As we steered along the Coventry Canal we passed a boat with an interesting rain hood for the side hatch.

Not much good in windy weather, I imagine, but just right for today's still but drizzly conditions.

At 5 o'clock, with the rain getting heavier, we decided to stop. We should be able to do the Atherstone flight tomorrow in the dry, if the forecast is accurate. For tea we had the remains of yesterday's curry which we enjoyed with Andrew at an Indian restaurant in Sheffield, the first meal out for a long time.

We had come to the boat on Monday, driving up to Sheffield the next day. Only a couple of hours after getting to the boat nb Harnser came past with Brian and Diana on board. They were going to be heading our way, towards Coventry, but had detoured up the Birmingham and Fazeley to allow a stream of boats to clear Glascote and Atherstone Locks.

Jan will be having a long-waited for hair cut in Atherstone tomorrow afternoon, then we shall crack on to Bedworth. We are on our way to Debdale Wharf for blacking, something which should have happened in March or April.

It's good to be back.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

One of the most photographed bridges?

When the rain - and the threat of rain - passed I put a second coat of paint on the well deck. The pits are still there but are smoothing out as they fill with paint. I had thought of smearing filler over before painting, but reasoned that it would crack up as the deck flexes when walked on.

I took only one photo today, that of us et al at the Indian restaurant. Before showing that here's one from yesterday as we approached Drayton Footbridge.

I guess most boaters who have travelled along the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal will have at least one photo of this unusual bridge.

Several historic boats passed us on their way to Birmingham. Some, if not all, will have been at the gathering at Huddlesford Junction last weekend. This is Whitby having just passed the entrance to Fazeley Mill Marina.

And so to the meal out tonight. Nine boats have now congregated in Fazeley for the BCF event this weekend; fourteen of us enjoyed a meal at Kudos Indian Restaurant. I realise I have omitted Gwyneth from the photo, sorry Gwyneth.

Stephen, Hazel, James, Elizabeth, Richard, Sally, Chris, Chris, Gill, John, Tony, Jan

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

A sign on a sinking boat

We were just about to set off from Minworth this morning when our friends Chris and Di came past on Ultreya. We followed them down Curdworth Locks and stopped just above the Dog and Doublet where they joined us for lunch on board Jubilee.

While there Alder and Clover passed on their way up the locks. This is Clover, looking immaculate as ever.

At Bodymoor Heath some wag has put a sign on a sinking boat.

"HMS Brexit".

Yes, well, I have a sinking feeling about Brexit too.

All too soon we were doing our last lock of the year (probably): Curdworth Bottom Lock. After yesterday's deluges it was a pleasant change doing this in sunshine.

We topped up with diesel at Fazeley Mill Marina and had hoped to get a new gas cylinder too, but they had run out. We winded at Fazeley Junction and tied up by Tolson's Footbridge ready for a BCF event this weekend.

In the evening we joined David, Mary, James and Hazel for a meal in the Peninsular Chinese restaurant.

Jan, James, Hazel, David, Mary