Summer Cruise – Day 20

Wednesday 24th June – Day 16

Our Sainsbury’s delivery arrived OK last evening which is more than could be said for another Amazon order,  being delivered to Fazeley Post Office, which it transpired was coming from Spain, so without any firm news about that we decided to head off to Polesworth.

The two locks at Glascote were soon upon us, we met NB Free Spirit who also write a blog and we had some help from another boater who set the second lock for us. We moored briefly at Anchor Bridge where I visited the Co-op which used to be the Anchor Pub when we first started coming this way.

After a  quick lunch, we were on our way again, through the village of Ammington where there are lot’s of houses with moorings at the end of their gardens (#jealousy!) on past Alvecote Marina & Pooley Hall Country Park and found the last mooring free at Polesworth Visitor Moorings.

Thursday 25th June – Day 17

Miners Poem

We planned to stay at Polesworth today as we had good internet for Joy’s art lesson this afternoon.

Around 10 a.m. I had a message to say my package was now at Fazeley Post Office so I got the electric bike ready and set off to travel the 4 miles back. Unfortunately, I hadn’t got half a mile when I got a puncture and had to push the bike back.

A change of plan was required and as the temperature was rising, I broke out the bus pass and face mask went via Tamworth to Fazeley by bus. It took much longer than it would have on the bike, but the job got done & I didn’t have to wait more than 15 minutes for any connection.

During the afternoon while Joy was doing her artwork I fitted a new inner tube to the bike (of course it was the back wheel which houses the motor to make it all a bit complicated) and all was back to normal.

That all done, when it became just a little cooler we boated the short hop, less than three miles to Bradley Green (Grendon) where we used to have a mooring and tied up opposite the service area.

More goodies from eBay were waiting for me at Atherstone Co-op so I got the bike out again and rode up the towpath, unfortunately, the tyre went down again but I managed to get there and back, blowing up the tyre several times. I met Tony & Jacqui on NB Timewarp along the way who we know from our days in Heyford.

Friday 26th June – Day 18

Today I was surfing the net trying to find some new tyres, I found a suitable tyre, a Continental Ride Tour which is a proper bike tyre rather than the pushchair tyres fitted as standard. After several blind alleys where the advertised item was not in stock, I found some in Aberystwyth which I hope to be delivered by courier on Monday.

I also set up the new Bluetooth speaker and invented a way to mount it above the bed, we’re very pleased with it as it has a good sound and the controls are much simpler than our previous one. It also can be linked to the TV, but that’s a job for another day.

Saturday 27th June – Day 19

Today we saw several of our old neighbours from the moorings to chat to across ‘The Cut’ and in the afternoon Pam & David, who Joy knows through art classes at Witherly visited for ‘socially distanced’ coffee & homemade sponge cake which Joy had made. They also kindly asked if we needed any groceries and brought us some basics from the Co-op.

I did a factory reset of Joy’s tablet as the memory was getting full and went from 93% full to 30% which was a good result, the only struggle was getting Words with Friends to behave as she wanted because it installed an update which introduced a lot of stupid features like rewards and other nonsense!

Summer Cruise – Day 15

Saturday – Day 12

I was up early this morning ready to meet Rick on Auriga who arrived just after 8am and dispensed about 80 litres of diesel, to top up our tank.

We had breakfast and were under way soon after, well about 10 am, passing through the villages of Whittington and Hopwas (with it’s wood & army firing area) before mooring in Fazeley before 1pm next to a wide grassed area and opposite our friends Peter & Chris’ house. They soon spotted us and called across to greet us.

Rare family shot with them all looking relatively sensible!

 

Jeremy, Louise, Morley & Iona came by for an early Father’s Day visit, on the handy grassed area. They had already had a busy day collecting an Argocat, from near Nottingham, for a friend and were happy to chill out and share their news with us.

 

This is what an Argocat looks like (Library Picture)

 

They came bearing gifts of beer and a voltage regulator for the boat alternator! Later we enjoyed takeaways as Fazeley is well blessed for choice.
They departed reasonably early as they were all tired!

Sunday – Day 13

Sunday morning I fitted the voltage regulator to the alternator and that should improve the charging regime for the new bowthruster/IT battery back.

We joined Gas Street Church for their on-line Sunday Service again and were impressed with the relevance of the preaching to modern life and the current situation linked to biblical truths.

Later in the day Peter & Chris popped over for tea & cake on our ‘lawn’ but after an hour or so the sky darkened and they beat a hasty retreat before the rain came.

Monday – Day 14

Today I did some carpentry, yes a shock to those who know my skills in that department! Just a shelf really but the timber-yard which backs onto the canal supplied a piece of hardwood, cut to size for a princely £4 and while I beavered away, Joy blitzed the kitchen and front room, you might guess she is feeling better but I have to remind her to take it steady.

 

As I shut down the laptop a message came up saying something about a memory issue advising to empty the trash bin! On doing that the thing froze and refused to restart… I went to bed a decidedly unhappy bunny.

Tuesday – Day 15

Guess what? Most of today has been spent rebuilding the Linux Mint operating system, I’m nearly there.

Joy did some polishing of the boat and then read a book out in the sunshine.

We are now waiting for a grocery delivery from Sainsburys, we hope they find us okay. So we can move on tomorrow, we’ll try for an early start as the forecast is for the hottest day of the year so far.

Summer Cruise – Day 11

Thursday -Day 10

Thursday was err.. WET!

Joy had her on-line art group again to occupy her, today’s subject was ‘Sunset over The Dolomites’.

We stayed put until nearly 7pm when the weather changed and I made an executive decision to head for Fradley!

I took to the tiller, while Joy, bless her, fell asleep on the settee, she had a a rough day with sore ribs! I managed to get all the way to Wood End Lock (about an hour’s journey) before she woke up.

I had the boat in the lock when she came out still half asleep, of course I sent her back inside & locked down by myself.

It was a pleasant evening and tee-shirt weather even at that time of day.
The gloss was taken off the trip by the appearance of a little red LED which signalled that there was water/gunge/diesel-bug in the Fuel Guard filter.

The engine wasn’t complaining so I soldiered on to Shade House Lock where we were debating whether to drop down the other two locks to Fradley Junction when the weather decided it for us, as the rain started again, so we tied up.

The phone & internet signals weren’t great and there was nothing worth watching on TV but there was just enough internet for social media & word games but not enough for streaming catch up TV, so early to bed!

Friday – Day 11

First job today was to clean the ‘decontaminator’ an easy enough job but on bleeding the fuel system I dropped the bleed screw under the engine and some contortion was needed to retrieve it. Joy soon told me that my bald spot was well greased and I needed to apply hand cleaner to my pate and have a shower!!

The next job was to fire up the generator and do a couple of loads of washing, oh, and I lit the fire, just to dry the washing you understand.

By half past one the rain had stopped and the sun appeared, so we descended the locks and turned right onto the Coventry Canal where we replenished with water and disposed of rubbish.

On we went, with dry but windy weather, in about an hour and a half we were alongside the noisy A38 approaching Streethay Wharf, just after 4pm we were at The Plough (Huddlesford) where we decided to stop for the night as we have a rendezvous with Auriga the coal & fuel boat early tomorrow.

This isn’t the quietest spot as the West Coast Main Line passes nearby, but it’s only one night and we can’t afford to oversleep in the morning.

 

 

Summer Cruise – Day 9

  • Day 9?
  • Where, gentle reader, have we been?
  • Have we fallen down a black hole at Wolseley Bridge?

No, pleasant as it is there we had to move off to the fleshpots of Rugeley on Monday morning to pick up another tablet from the Amazon lockers in Morrisons, but first…

Sunday – Day 6

Today was chilling out and watching the service from Gas Street Church Birmingham on YouTube.

We made a steak & ale casserole for tea and very good it was, though we sez it as shouldn’t.

Monday – Day 7

We departed at 10am and arrived in Rugeley at 11am and I hot-footed to Morrisons to get some shopping and just by scanning the barcode sent to me by email the relevant Amazon Locker sprang open as if by magic and I was able to pick up my package without touching anything but the package.

On returning to the boat I unpacked the tablet, installed the Alpine-Quest App, with the Waterways Routes maps and joy of joy it recognised precisely where we were. What a relief!

Screenshot of today’s route -Waterways Routes

After lunch I went to the Post Office to send the other tablet back and on the way back visited Home Bargains & Aldi.

Afterwards I rested my legs & spent more time setting up the tablet before leaving town at twenty past three and travelling the 2 miles to Spode House and filled up with water.

 

Our friends, Linda & Cookie, have a mooring there so they treated us to a cup of tea & a salad and persuaded me to look at the charging system on their neighbour’s boat.

Tuesday – Day 8

I diagnosed a faulty alternator and damaged wiring so replacements were sourced & that kept me busy for some hours, making it look tidy and working properly. I recommended fitting a Voltage Sensitive Relay to replace a Splitter Diode and one was ordered for tomorrow.

Wednesday -Day 9

Cookie picked up the relay after lunch so I fitted it but annoyingly it was faulty, but the original system was working as well as possible so I left it there, said goodbye & departed at 3:30pm. Joy walked ahead to check for oncoming boats through the Armitage ‘Tunnel’ which is single width and we arrived the Crown Inn at Handsacre just before the rain.

We treated ourselves to tea from Michaels Fish Bar just a few yards away

 

Summer Cruise – Day 5

Saturday

Unfortunately I found that the new tablet did not have GPS although it was advertised as having it, making it useless for my boating ‘Sat-Nav’ system. So I had to arrange to return it and order a replacement, which should be waiting for us when we arrive in Rugeley.

This morning was spent checking the new batteries were charging okay and cleaning, disinfecting and airing the recesses of the back cabin where the ‘nasty niff’ still lingered a bit. Such joy, but I think it’s defeated now!

Joy has started a new jigsaw puzzle this afternoon and I’m.. well I’m writing this blog.

 

 

Summer Cruise – Day 4

Friday

Not much of a lie in this morning as I set to making a shelf for the bathroom cupboard to protect the toilet tank but by lunchtime my parcel had arrived at the post office so I took a stroll up to collect it. When I returned our kind personal couriers, Leigh & Malc had arrived with a package of art materials Joy had ordered.

We rewarded them with coffee & apple pies from the shop which we ate on  the bench next to the boat. Whilst we were there our son rang to say there had been a change of plan and he wasn’t having the kids this weekend, but could he and Louise call on us that night instead.

Of course we said yes, then decided on a short cruise down to Wolseley Bridge tempted by the prospect of the nearby Simla Palace where we got a delicious takeaway later.

Summer Cruise – Day 3

Thursday

As decided, we stayed put today although the weather was better than expected. While I did some jobs on  the boat and visited the Canalside Farm Shop, Joy joined her online art class via Facebook run by Barry Whitehouse from the Artery in Banbury.

Kinver Rock Cottages

Joy really enjoys it and Barry intends to continue online classes in the future which is good news. This week’s subject was Kinver Rock Cottages which we visited a few years ago.

Kinver Rock Houses – Ten Years Ago!

Before tea I took a walk to the bins and then down to the next lock and noticed there was a sheltered mooring free just below it with a grassed area beside it. As there was a possibility of the family visiting over the weekend we took the opportunity to move down there.

The tablet which I use for Waterways Routes maps, a kind of Google Maps for the canals had started to play up, the screen has long since been cracked but now goes flat even when it’s plugged in.
Our Bluetooth loudspeaker suffered a similar fate so I ordered replacements from Amazon to be delivered to Great Haywood Post Office.

The featured image is copyright  Chris Jones and is from CanalPlanAC. It is Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence because I forgot to take one!

Summer Cruise – Day 2

It was a late start today, an 11:30 departure, but I did walk down to Aldi first for some bread and cheese. While I was gone Joy snapped some of the cute black & white ducks.

Joy’s sore ribs were much better today until a sneeze undid all of the healing and left her in pain for some time.

 

 

The ‘Royal Train’ & Tree House at Milford

 

An hour and a quarter later we arrived at Tixall Bridge and admired the lovely house and grounds next to it.

Fifteen minutes later we were passing through Tixall Lock.

Tixall Wide is always a popular mooring spot and today was no exception it’s such a beautiful spot but we didn’t stop and carried on through to Great Haywood Junction, where we turned right & then reversed onto the water point where we filled up and disposed of rubbish.

We found a mooring spot just behind ‘nb Calm Down’ who passed our mooring a few days ago.

This evening we were grateful to our good friends Leigh & Malc who delivered a tube of EB25 (recommended by Jeremy) from Toolstation to seal our toilet tank.
Here’s hoping this will be a permanent solution.

Tomorrow has been declared a rest day as the forecast is for rain.

Today’s statistics:

  • Total distance:4.84 miles
  • Elapsed time:2h29m
  • Locks:1
  • Bridges:14

Summer Cruise – Day 1

As our boat is our primary residence as of 1st of June we have been permitted to go cruising AND stay on board overnight!

The Canal and River Trust are lobbying the government to extend this to leisure and hire boaters too citing the following reasons:

      • Being aboard a boat for a continuous period is integral to allowing navigation on the inland waterways,
      • Boaters are typically self-sufficient, spending their time largely in the open air (where the risk of transmitting the virus is known to be much lower) or in their private on-board space with their own facilities,
      • Using a boat for navigation presents a very low risk to virus transmission,
      • Social distancing requires little additional effort when operating a boat on inland waterways and daily distances travelled are modest.

So today we started our Summer Cruise, needless to say this was preceded with a flurry of maintenance activity causing not some little pain to the bank balance, but we need a reliable power supply when the luxury of mains electricity is not available.

  • Two bow-thruster/TV & Computer  batteries were replaced.
  • The generator starter battery was replaced.

With water tank was filled and poo tank emptied we said our goodbyes to our friends & neighbours and set off this morning at 11:30 with the modest target of reaching Acton Trussell, just three and a half miles away.

Joy had hurt her ribs a few days earlier, just getting up from  the settee (Yes, I know!) and was still in some pain but Voltarol Gel was administered and she managed quite well, Chris took the boat into the locks and operated them while Joy drove the boat out again.

Quite a number of boats, probably 10 or more, had gone ahead of us so all the locks were against us, but no problem.

Dewi Sant

At Teddesley Basin a smart new boat, ‘Dewi Sant’ (Saint David) was glistening in the sunshine, but the wheel steering from the front wouldn’t be my choice, although it seems to have a tiller too.

In fact after the five locks  down to Acton Trussell we decided that one more lock would be OK and continued onwards having lunch of egg & (home-grown) cress sandwiches on the move.

The lockdown doesn’t seem to have curtailed the village’s Scarecrow Festival and quite a few canalside household had theirs on display.

On we cruised for another hour, meeting three boats at Deptmore Lock, one kind gentleman operating the lock for us so we didn’t even have to get off the boat. After passing Stafford Boat Club and the extensive town playing fields we tied up at Radford Bank, just outside the (closed) pub. This is going to be an unusual cruise with no pubs to patronise at the present.

Today’s Journey

We had been noticing an unpleasant whiff on our journey, despite the empty poo-tank, and on investigation found a split joint, mercifully on the top edge of the plastic tank. So after some thorough cleaning and disinfecting, phone calls were made and advice taken and a sealant product ordered.

Tune in tomorrow for the next exciting episode!