Sunday, 30 September 2012

Weekend in Braunston

We managed to moor just before the junction as we approached Braunston, nicely out in the open.   It was a longer walk to the shops etc but much better than the moorings closer in which are a bit dark in places.
Saturday lunchtime we checked out the Admiral Nelson with Tina and Klim from Brindley and Pat and Simon from Daedulus.  The sun still shone for us and we were able to site outside which is much the same as ever.  However the inside had had a makeover since we were here last and is a bit more upmarket than we remember.   Apparently it is under new management (Yet again).  It looked good enough to book for Sunday Lunch so we did.

Sunday we went to Braunston Church and they have a new Vicar since were were here last.  She was very jolly and very enthusiastic so it was a good service.

Later we walked up to the Admiral Nelson to meet Fran and Keith for lunch.  A good meal and a convivial afternoon as we took our time as we had lots of catching up to do.

Thanks to Sue on No Problem I have a new app for my iphone which tells us which way to point our freeview aerial which is proving very useful when there are no houses around to give you a clue.   I already have the Dishpointer app for the satellite which has made Geoff's life easier.   Sometimes we need both as we have different tastes in TV programmes so I can use my TV dongle on my computer to get freeview.
Sad really, but we don't spend or lives glued to the TV, but when it is getting chillier outside it is nice to batten down the hatches on a Sunday night...........

Friday, 28 September 2012

Rainbows over the canal

Double rainbow over the canal
A quiet relaxing day today.   Geoff and Barney walked into Braunston (about 2 miles each way too far for me!) and came back with fattening but nice cakes which he had bought from the gondoliers cafe.  They were having a fund raiser for Macmillan's.   He therefore felt he just had to buy a large piece of coffee walnut for himself and I was forced to eat a large piece of blueberry!!!!  Such a hard life.
Later Helen and Paul came past on Barrogill and they stopped a while and came aboard for coffee and we were able to have a catch up and see their photos of the Thames pageant of which they were part.   They have retired from the yard at Clifton where Petroc lives in the winter and daughter Victoria and husband Phil have taken over.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Almost to Braunston

Layover day again yesterday,  Geoff had a long walk with Barney and I was domesticated!!!!  I steeled myself to clean the oven to have one less task when we get back to Clifton.   I felt very virtuous when it was complete!!
Today we decided not to bust a gut too early in the hope that someone else would be up and that we would find company for the locks.    Whilst Geoff was out early for the paper he arranged with the boat moored a little way in front of us to go together.   So at 9am we set off together in beautiful sunshine and clear sky....not even too cold....the other boat was a Rose Narrowboat Hire with an Australian family on board.   It was their first time on a narrowboat but we got on well together even managing to enter locks side by side without mishap.
We parted company after 10 locks as they wanted to find a pub for a pint.........and we carried on 

When we reached the 3 Calcutt Locks there were 3 boats waiting so we paired up with the 3rd, lucky again.

After 2 locks we stopped at Calcutt for fuel and our partner went on.  Our timing was good because as we finished, our Australian friends had caught up so we were able to share the last lock.......the sun was still shining........
We were turning left at the junction and all of a sudden there were boats everywhere.  We paused at the junction to let a boat come through and then edged gingerly forward with a long loud blast of our horn.   I don't know why we bothered because a boat coming from our left didn't bother to reply with a hoot to advise us of his presence ad he just ploughed on, so a touch of reverse was necessary!

Today's unusual boat
Answers on a post card please??
There are lots of good mooring places along this stretch but we wanted to put ourselves within walking distance of Braunston as we plan to stay over again tomorrow.     Found a lovely spot in the open, no trees, good satellite signal, good path for Barney.   It is a bit far for me too walk but OK for Geoff and Barney  (Good 2 miles each way)
How lucky we have been again, the brilliant sunshine disappeared just after we moored up and now we have had rain.

For weeks we have been saying  "Where are all the boats"  as we have seen so few travelling...well that is all changed now...since turning at the junction onto the Oxford/GU it has been like Piccadilly going every which way and that.......since we have been moored up there is a steady flow of boats both ways.......
7.8 miles, 13 locks, 5 hours 13 min

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Onward again

Up with the lark after our rest day yesterday....well almost the lark.....we were off by 8am for the short hop to Tesco initially.  We had a final stock up for our last's so sad to feel our summer cruising is coming to an end.
The weather was a decided improvement on yesterday.   There are still very few boats around but we were lucky enough to catch up with another boat going our way so we had company all the way up the locks, which makes locking up double locks so much easier.  The weather held for most of the way, just one short shower.   We moored just short of Long Itchington in the open.  
8.57 miles, 10 locks, 4hours 35 min (+ shopping!)

Monday, 24 September 2012

Wet wet wet wet........

Wet in more ways than one today.   But how lucky we are not to be back on the Avon with this deluge coming down.   Needless to say we stayed put for the day .  This morning I bravely donned full length waterproof, wellies and sou'wester and took Barney for his early morning walk.   There was not a soul around and I occupied myself considering what I would do if he fell in the canal and I could not get him out.........thoughts of rushing back to yank Geoff out of bed to help........
He has not fallen in for over 2 years and that was when he mistook water covered in duckweed for solid grass when we were on the Chesterfield canal.
Seconds later he slipped off the side and....splash......he was most unimpressed especially when he could not get out onto the concrete side.........I was also unimpressed as I had to crouch down onto the wet and muddy towpath to yank him out.........luckily I managed it and he then proceeded to shake all over me.........not a good start to the day!!!!!

It did clear up by about 3.30 but that was far too late for us to go anywhere........

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Hatton Flight

A Domestic and relaxing day on Friday culminated in the arrival of daughter Emma and her boyfriend Dave who were coming to help us down the Hatton Flight.   We met them at the Navigation Pub when they arrived about 9pm and couldn't believe how packed the pub was when we walked in.   

On the Sat we were on the go much earlier than they would normally have been up on a Saturday!!!!!   But as promised the weather was chilly but beautifully clear, one of those morning where there was a slight mist on the canal when I took Barney for his early morning walk.

Emma set off to move her car to the bottom of the flight and then did a run to meet us...she is running a half marathon at the end of next month.

There was not a sign of a boat to team up with but with extra crew it was a very easy run down on such a beautiful day......a day which I suspect is the last for a while...

There was this sign which I would like to see more of
By no means all but there are some cyclists who seem to think they own the towpath.   You can't hear them coming sometimes and some of them would never dream of using a bell or even to shout out a cheery 'Good Morning'  to warn you of their approach.
It might have been a mid summers day at the cafe.
Dave & Emma working hard
Coffee break half way down
We moored above the two locks just before the Cape of Good Hope pub and repaired there for a lunchtime pint

We had met only 2 boats coming up and none appeared to be following us down.   
Barney doesn't like going over the gates!!
On our return to Petroc Geoff was unable to get a TV picture on either the satellite or the Freeview so.........we had to move.........we went down the two locks and moored just beneath where it was a lot more open..........Sunday was Grand Prix day and Geoff, Emma and Dave had designs on watching it....... not my cup of tea.....
In the evening we went back to the Cape of Good Hope for supper, which was good pub grub.   Geoff went for his favourite mixed grill!!!!!  
As expected the weather turned today, although the morning was dry, but by mid-day the promised rain was here and we are promised more of the same with high winds tomorrow.......I think I'll stay in bed.
7.95 miles, 23 locks, 6 hours  (Saturday)

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Lowensford to Lapworth

A cloudier start to the day, but no rain and the cloud has kept the temperature up a bit, still need gloves on though!!!!
It was our lucky day again as all 9 locks up to Lapworth were set in our favour..........but where are all the other boats???   Admittedly we set off just after 8am but we did not see another boat on the move in either direction until we reached Kingswood Junction and then there was one boat coming out of the upper locks.
3 locks up we meet the busy M40, at least I think it is the M40....You lose track of what roads are where unless you need to use them!!!

Lorries galore!

Some of the locks coming up look as if they could do with some tlc.   This one was covered in yellow tape and initially we thought it was around the paddles, but closer inspection revealed the sorry state of the top gate arm.   We used the sani station at the basin, not a soul around...... and then went on to moor round the corner, had our pick of several mooring spots.

Later Geoff walked back to  the junction and did see some boats on the move, this is like Piccidilly Circus compared to our trip up this morning.
2.16 miles, 9 locks, 2hrs 49 min (Including using the sani station!)

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Wilmcote to Lowensford.

Another kind day, somewhat chilly for our early start but the canal was beautiful, the locks were all set in our favour and it is a lovely stretch of the canal...what more could one ask for??
lots of these pretty but narrow bridges
pretty wild flowers
Edstone Aquaduct at Wooton Wawen
Last time we came this way (in the other direction) it was blowing hard and it was a bit too exciting going over this aquaduct.   Today it was calm and peaceful.....
This is what is under part of it.
It is obviously not as spectacular as the Pontcysllte on the Llangollen, but it does have the same sheer drop down one side and a walkway on the other.   Despite not being nearly as high it still gave me collywobbles in my stomach as we went over........
Geoff had to steer
A white van stuck in a tree
Just before one of the locks there was this strange sight, very difficult to photo as the sun was in the wrong place.....we cannot imagine how it got there as surely no floods could have been that was very high up in the tree.
all the windows in this lock house are mirrors, presumably one way........
This used to be a lock cottage!
Such a pretty, gentle stretch of canal.
another modernised lock cottage
Yarningdale Aquaduct (just a baby one)
Moored at Lowensford opposite the Fleur de Lys pub
Called at the pub for a lunchtime pint and surveyed the menu for the evening.  However we decided that nice though it looked it was a bit pricey so decided to eat on board.   Later a couple of hire boats moored opposite us alongside the pub and one of them used this interesting mooring technique.....

7.23 miles, 9 locks, 4hrs 11 min

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Wilmcote-back on the canals

Much as I love the canals, it was very sad to leave the river this morning.

last bit of the river.......goodbye Avon...up into the basin.
Good bye swans
It was only 8.15 in the morning so there were not many gongoozlers around but we were delighted to see Toby and Iris again, who had come to say goodbye on their way to Iris school.

The bridge leaving the basin onto the canal is a bit low so we had taken the precaution of removing the satellite dish

After 3 locks we moored to do a Tesco run.  We are expecting Emma and Dave at the weekend as our crew for the Hatton flight and this is the last big shop before Warwick.
We had a heavy load in the wheelie basket coming Geoff had to wheel it.......serves him right for buying this new black job and insisting I get rid of my flower power one.    This one is bigger so holds more but then becomes to heavy for me to wield!!!!
Soon after setting off again, there was a clunk from the engine and guess what.........
A big thick sweater........
At the last lock before Wilmcote we had gongoozlers galore.........
A school party of 54!!
They delighted in helping with the gate as we left.
We moored in Wilmcote with no trouble........not huge numbers of boats around, yet the weather is still holding.
It is very strange to be back on the canals and I am having slight withdrawal symptoms from leaving the beautiful Avon.    I have to say we were so lucky with the weather which meant the river was behaving itself. If there had been lots of rain and a danger of it flooding I would have been only too glad to get back into the relative safety of the canals.........
3.82 miles, 17 locks, 6 hrs 30min

Monday, 17 September 2012

Weekend in Stratford

So our time on the Avon is at an end, tomorrow we have to go up the last lock into Stratford basin and onto the Stratford canal and begin to wend out way homeward.   It is very sad but 'tempis fugit' and all that.......

We have been extremely lucky with the weather during our 2 weeks on the Avon and we have been visited by various friends so it is a reluctant up pins tomorrow,

Toby & Iris, 2 of our visitors who are lucky enough to live in Stratford

Early morning slight mist from the back of Petroc
We have been moored just after the last lock into Stratford away from most of the crowds that were here on Saturday.
The 'Rec' alongside which we are moored.
It is wonderful for Barney, but he knows that there are the odd things left from picnickers, so is forever scavenging!

The ferry is a slightly quicker way into town if you are prepared to pay 50p!

Stratford Theatre
The sani facilities are beyond this and another bridge
It is apparently shallow there (so our book says) but as you can see below there is a narrow boat there.
It is beyond the entrance to the basin sh shall not bother but it is another pleasant mooring spot.

We are just heading for Rugby
Shakespeare's birthplace, we are told
The swans seem to like grazing alongside Petroc
On Sunday we went to Holy Trinity Church just across the water.  Not only was it Holy Communion but also a wedding.  We have never seen a wedding before during the normal Sunday service.   They were a slightly older couple who were marrying who did not have large families and wanted their family of the church to be present.  It all fitted into the service very well and the bride looked lovely.  The church was packed, needless to say.

This was followed by Sunday lunch in the Old Tramway pub.   Geoff had found it on his wanderings and it was away from the crowds in the town.  We can thoroughly recommend it.

The river here has been a delight.   The swans are there first thing in the morning when I take Barney for his early morning walk, soon followed by the rowers.  Later the trip boats start and on Saturday and Sunday, numerous people in hired rowing boats, with varying degrees of skill!!!    It all quietens down in the evening, although some rowers appear again.    Interspersed with all this are narrowboats coming up the lock and the odd mini-gin.  

The licence for two weeks cost us £60 but we don't begrudge it as the Avon Trust have done a fantastic job.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Bidford-on-Avon to Stratford-on-Avon

Opposite our mooring in Bidford were some rather nice apartments,  something like that would do us nicely when we finally retire from the water..................
Approaching Bidford Bridge into sun
There are several arches but ours is a very narrow one to the right 
It was also very shallow to the side and Geoff had to yell at me to get my stern over.  I was glad the wind of yesterday was not blowing!
Looking back at Bidford Bridge
Bidford Church
The Weir at WA Cadbury Lock
WA Cadbury Lock
All locks on the Upper Avon have 2 names, one of which reflects the name of the benefactor who helped pat for its restoration.   All have large weirs which are to avoided at all costs.......
One of the several large houses along this stretch.
Approaching Binton Bridge. 
  Numerous arches to the left but ours was hidden on the right

Our audience at the last lock of the day
In fact there was a slightly bigger audience as we were now in Stratford and the gongoozlers were out........

We pulled into the first available space just after the lock at the end of the meadows in Stratford.   Another lovely sunny day cruising a wonderful stretch of the river....and all without the strong breeze of yesterday, for which we were very grateful as a couple of the bridges would have been much trickier in the wind.

7.67 miles, 6 locks, 4hrs 25 min