Monday 23 July 2012

We have a new crew member….

Meet Ozzy – our new addition!!  He’s a blue roan Cocker Spaniel, 11 weeks old and he came home today!  I’m now exhausted, I’d forgotten what it was like to have a new baby in the house!

Taken last Tuesday when we went to meet him at the breeder’s




Taken today

SDC11523What’s this funny green stuff

SDC11526Having a good chew


Kill the pony!!!

Friday 13 July 2012

Home again….

A quick 3 hours this morning saw us pulling into Gayton Marina – we were lucky with the weather, it was raining slightly when we set off, but soon stopped.  We spotted fellow bloggers nb No Problem moored at Bugbrook and stopped for a hug and a quick chat – Sue and Vic know how we are feeling as they lost their beloved collie Lucy just a few months back.

So here endeth our curtailed 2012 cruise – we need to get back on an even keel, then, to mis-quote Arnie, “we’ll be back”!!!

8.1 miles and 0 locks

Thursday 12 July 2012

Almost home….

Today we had a very pleasant day, weather-wise.  We awoke to a blue sky and sunshine.  We set off for Braunston, stopped for water at the Stop-house and indulged in our favourite brunch from the Gongoozlers Rest.  As usual the bottom lock at Braunston was a right buggar’s muddle – boats all over the place.  We were 5th in the queue and subsequently ended up as ‘Billy-no-mates’ as we ascended the 6 wide locks alone!  Braunston tunnel came next, and, for once, we met no boats coming the other way.  At Buckby Wharf, we debated whether we should call it a day and go to the pub, but there was a boat in the top lock awaiting our arrival, so we decided to make the most of having someone to share with, and go down.  We are moored now not far short of Weedon Bec, with about three and a half hours cruising to Gayton Marina, and home.  It’s raining now, but if it’s raining in the morning at least we have no more locks to do.

Yesterday evening we had a very heavy and prolonged rain shower, but were rewarded later with a lovely rainbow, a full one stretching right across the sky, and double for a time.  I’ll leave you with a photo – not of the whole rainbow as we were too close, but half of it.  It’s a week now since we lost Cassie, and we are beginning to recover our equilibrium,  but it would be nice to think that Cassie sent the rainbow especially for us!


12 miles and 13 locks

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Progress report…

Tues 10th July,   Just before Atherstone Locks to Hawkesbury Junction.

Managed to do Atherstone Locks in the dry yesterday, but as soon as we finished them it started to rain, and rained steadily on and off for the rest of the day.  We moored at Hawkesbury, above the stop lock, on the North Oxford.

14.6 miles and 12 locks

Wed 11th July,   North Oxford Canal.  Hawkesbury Junction to Barby Wood Farm  (Bridge 78).  Another day of sunshine and showers, some prolonged and very heavy.  Moored now in the sunshine.

18 miles and 3 locks

Monday 9 July 2012


Sun 8th July.   Shugborough to Fradley Junction

12.3 miles and 4 locks

Mon 9th July.   Coventry Canal.  Fradley Junction to Bridge 50 (15 mins from the bottom of the 11 Atherston Locks)

The only thing of note to happen today is that it hasn’t rained – yet!!!!!

17.6 miles and 2 locks

Saturday 7 July 2012

Heading home….

We decided yesterday that we hadn’t the heart to continue on this journey, so  after a horrendous day yesterday, the weather matching our mood, when  it dawned dry and clear this morning, we left Aston Marina and set off for home.  There won’t be many blogs over the next week or so, unless  something worth writing about occurs,  so this one consists mostly of photos of the flooded conditions we encountered today.  We are moored below Haywood Lock for the night, opposite Shugborough Hall, and as I write this, it has begun to rain again. 


Last night in the marina – the water rose about 6 inches yesterday.  Only another couple of inches and the pontoons would have been under water!


Nb Potty Bucket, moored a few slips along from us, with a huge list on before her ropes were loosened!


The Trent, which runs alongside the canal – usually not much more than a wide stream


Flooded fields each side of the river


Flood water pouring from the fields into the canal


The river at Weston – more like a lake!




The two photos above are taken from Essex Bridge at Shugborough


Haywood Junction in the sunshine

8.5 miles and 4 locks

Thank you….

Thank you to everyone who put a comment on my last blog – knowing you are all thinking about us helps a lot.  Using lots of tissues while reading them!

Friday 6 July 2012

Night night Cassie….



It is with great sorrow that I write this blog.  Yesterday afternoon, while I was writing yesterday’s blog, Cassie snuck off the boat onto the pontoon, wandered along it to the gate, and somehow fell in the water.  We don’t know how she came to fall, but we suspect that she may have had a fit.  She was fished out fairly quickly, but her breathing was very laboured and a very kind family loaded her into the back of their estate car and took us to the local vet.  She was put on oxygen to try to help her breathing, but she deteriorated very quickly.  When it became obvious that she wasn’t going to recover, the vet suggested that the kindest thing was to put an end to her suffering, which we did.

So rest in peace our gorgeous girl.  You’ve crossed the rainbow bridge to doggie heaven where there are lots of feet to sit on and legs to lean against, and every narrowboat bow has someone on it to give you a treat.

Thursday 5 July 2012

Another soaking….

Trent and Mersey, Weston-on-Trent to Aston Marina

Having got soaked yet again yesterday morning, and having seen the weather forecast for the next few days we decided that enough was enough and pulled into Aston Marina for a few days.  I’ve used the laundry here to wash and dry bedding and towels – we have a washing machine and a dryer on board, but the dryer is a small one and although it will do towels, it takes ages as it’s a condenser dryer, and it’s a bit too small to dry a king size duvet cover, so it’s always nice to take the opportunity to use a big washer and dryer.  We sat out the rain yesterday afternoon, and this morning we got a taxi into Stone to do a bit of shopping.  Tomorrow is set to be very wet indeed, according to the forecast – the heaviest rain is due to be in Staffordshire!  Ironically enough, today has been dry, with sunshine and cloud, but very humid.

Aston Marina is quite large.  it has a Farm Shop and Bistro, and all the normal amenities.  The staff are very friendly, and at £10 a night, it’s not too pricey, as marinas go.


A new development of canal-side cottages at Weston, very sympathetically designed, we thought





All four above pictures are Aston Marina

6.25 miles and 2 locks

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Boat spotting….

Trent & Mersey, n of Rugeley to Weston-on-Trent

It was still very dull and damp when we set off this morning.  We were soon queuing at Colwich Lock, but only 2 boats in front of us, so not so bad.  After Colwich we were in the run up to Hayward Junction, passing Shugborough Hall.  We spotted fellow bloggers nb Piston Broke, moored at Little Hayward.  We gave them a toot but nobody appeared. 


We continued on to Hayward Junction and stopped to fill with water, empty cassettes and try and get a new drive belt for the engine as the Anglo Welsh yard there are Isuzu dealers.  No luck, but they said if we phoned them a couple of weeks before our return journey they would order one in and keep it for us.  While hanging around waiting for them to look for the belt I spotted Beacon’s No 5 boat, Goldcar Lily, possibly waiting for an engine service or some-such. 


Again Joyce and Derek were nowhere to be found – shame, it would have been nice to see them again.  We set off again, under a darkening sky and decided that we’d moor up when we found a suitable spot.  Passing Great Hayward Marina, we spotted another Beacon boat there, but couldn’t see the stern to find out which it was, but it was in Beacon’s unmistakable livery of black, red and cream, as are we.  It had to be either No 4, Ethelron,       No 7, Seventh Heaven or No 10 Singing Hinny, as  they are the only 3 in original Beacon livery that we don’t know the whereabouts of. 

We found a nice little visitor mooring between Hoo MIll Lock and Weston Lock.  Nice and quiet and with only room for a couple of boats - just as we like it, and got tied up before the rain arrived.  We’ve had showers most of the afternoon, but not nearly as bad as yesterday.



Tonight’s mooring, and the view

4.25 miles and 3 locks

Monday 2 July 2012

It’s raining–again!!!….

Trent and Mersey, Handsacre to north of Rugeley

Not a lot to say about today really, apart from it’s bloody raining again!  Getting fed up with it now.  We left Handsacre this morning, made a quick stop at the Morrison’s in Rugeley, and then continued on a while to a mooring we have stopped at before, near Wolsey.

5.2 miles and 0 locks

Sunday 1 July 2012

No luck at Fradley….

Hopwas, Coventry Canal to Handsacre, Trent and Mersey Canal

This morning we left Hopwas after saying farewell to a fellow blogger on nb Kanbedun Again.  We had a long chat yesterday evening, but it was only after we’d parted that I realised that I didn’t ask her name!  A lovely boat and a very brave lady single-handing around the country!

The plan was to moor at Fradley Junction, and we hoped we’d find a spot as we had worked out that we’d be there by lunchtime.  We spotted Beacon’s No 14 boat, nb Post Combustion moored a Huddlesford and gave them a toot and a wave.  The couple who own her came to have a look at Windsong and Serenity when we were moored at Bradford on Avon in 2010, when they were considering Beacon as their boat fitter – obviously they were impressed as Post Combustion is the result.


We spotted a new Marina being dug just north of Huddlesford, and before Streethay Wharf – it could do with one around there as there isn’t much mooring to be had.


New marina site


Streethay Wharf – always busy even on a Sunday

We have a lot of boating history around this part of the world and it’s always nostalgic for us to come this way, although not always in a good way.  We were towed to Streethay Wharf once in our old boat ‘Teasel’ after the engine conked out – the lads at Streethay took it out and sent it to Derby for a re-build – it wasn’t much better afterwards!

Soon after Streethay we arrived at Fradley and there wasn’t a spot to be had!  We were disappointed as we’d hoped to have Sunday Lunch in The Swan.  This is the first time we’ve EVER had to sail on by!  Mind you, we always try to arrive about Friday lunchtime and stay the weekend.


Fradley and The Swan

We turned to port at the junction onto the Trent and Mersey, and continued up the two locks, hoping to squeeze in on the moorings at the top – again no luck. We did spot our old Ownerships share boat at the top though – nb Kinver.


I think Fradley is her permanent mooring as we’ve seen her here before.

We continued on.  And on.  And on.  We eventually managed to find a mooring at Handsacre.  There is a chippy here, but again we are unlucky as it’s closed on Sundays.  It’s been one of those days!  Cold too, in the wind, with grey cloud and no sunshine until now.  We can’t believe that it’s the 1st July today and we were huddled up on the back with jumpers and fleeces on!

12.4 miles and 3 locks