Sunday, 31 October 2010

The Llangollen Canal.

Break out the bunting, wave those flags and blow those whistles, Orange can manage a bit of mobile broadband.

It has been so long since my last Blog there is no way I can catch up without typing a tome.

Suffice to say we have entered the Llangollen with a roof full of coal and wood, a tank full of diesel and an empty "you know what tank".
So here we go then....... hopefully set up for this part of the winter leading up to and just past Christmas.

Nature is still showing off though, a bit like a frozen firework display here.

Coming through Wenbury this snake of hire boats were non existent when we arrived.

This is the end of their cruising season and the twenty odd boats from their fleet have to be found a home for, the yard is packed as it can only accommodate around ten boats so the rest are moored out in the canal itself for the winter. 

Approaching the Grindley Locks, we were hoping to moor here for the rest of the day and visit the garage and shop that is near to hand.

These anglers are only a few of the many that were in the competition but they are spread out all along the boat moorings - those black posts determine them - this is now the norm apparently, first come first served.

That's fair enough by me..... if, and this is a big if, you have somewhere else to go.
In this case the only options are three locks and a staircase to go through..... or a major row. 
We went for the locks........we would probably have been in the wrong for trying to moor there in the first place had push come to shove.

Now this sign is the business, straight to the point with no messing around.
It even gives you a time scale making your educated decision as to how long you have to live before you can buy more alcohol much easier.

Five hours?........FIVE HOURS?.....Shoot me now!

Until next time.................................


Thursday, 28 October 2010

Llangollen Canal.
We have made it......... but still no signal!


Trying to Blog is like trying to push water uphill at the moment.

Until next time....................


Monday, 25 October 2010

Orange Do Not Provide A Mobile Internet Service Around Here.

Although they say they do and we are paying for this.

Maybe it is because there are more cows and sheep around here than people.

That has taken me an hour to get

Until next time...................


Saturday, 23 October 2010

Shebdon To Market Drayton, 5 Locks.

All hail the weather......

No, really, the hail is bouncing off of the roof as I am typing this........................nice.

Leaving our overnight mooring we were straight into the embankment/cutting/weed clearing routine. 

The views are nothing short of spectacular from the embankments............

and it's not too bad in the cuttings either. This is another bridge that goes by the name of "High".

Nature is really putting a riot of colour on display at the moment.

Arriving at Market Drayton late on Friday afternoon we secured this mooring right on an Aqueduct over a quiet country road.
This is the view over the stern........

and this is the view from the bows. Chalk and cheese there.

We have stayed here for Saturday and restocked Ubique with vital beverages, weather permitting we will be away on our travels of the countries canals supermarkets tomorrow.

Until next time.....................


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Bridge 7 To Gnosall, 1 Lock. Then Onto Shebdon Embankment.

O so slow progress!

The Shroppie might not be the place to be at this time of year.

The whole canal is more or less covered by trees and they are snowing their leaves onto the water at a phenomenal rate. These leaves then make a bee line for the propeller and leading edge of the rudder causing the prop to clog and makes the boat practically unsteerable.
This can be every two to three minutes in the really bad areas and the only way to clear them is to stop and run astern or shake the rudder vigorously.

It really is three steps forward and one step back at the moment!

Arriving at Gnosall on Monday afternoon we had had enough and this place looked very inviting, no Internet connection though and the TV reception was a bit dodgy what!
Tuesday started with the rain trying to drill it's way through the roof, neither of us was feeling all that heroic so we decided to stay put for the day.

Today (Wed) was a different kettle of fish, bright and sunny with a fresh coldish wind.
The Shroppie is more or less a roman road of a canal, dead straight.
This was achieved by cutting through the hills and using the spoil to create embankments over the valleys.
Traveling along here is unique in that one minute you are out in open countryside on top of an embankment with it's sweeping views, the next minute you are chugging through the tree lined enclosure of a steep sided cutting.

Here's one more picture of "that" telegraph pole in the not so imaginatively named "High Bridge".

And here's another one.
Well, we are here on the Shebdon embankment for the night and plan "A" for tomorrow is to move along to Market Drayton with it's selection of shops, banks and more importantly a doctors.
Until next time....................

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Penkridge To Hatherton Junction, 6 Locks.
Then On To Bridge 7 The Shroppie, 1 Stop Lock.

A crazy shopping day.

As it was a cracking day on Friday we left Penkridge in our wake and we were soon at this delightfully named lock. This was one of the six we worked through before we stopped for the day at a lovely spot out amongst the sheep and cows.

We were staying here for another day, but the weather was far too good to miss again so away we went.
Two or three hours was the plan as that would put us within easy reach of a supermarket that we knew about around Autherley Junction.

That plan was soon out of the window as this very narrow stretch is not far from the junction to the Shroppie, where does the time go?

Not the best place to meet a "Yellow Peril" coming the other way.

We had found their nest on Friday and that one must have been going home.

The upshot of the day was that we actually picked the shopping up and have moved quite a way along the Shroppie........... which is still as straight as ever.

There will be no moving today, the leg must rest.

Absolutely NO drinking allowed with these tablets..........AAgggghhhhhhhhh!!!!

Until next time.........................


Thursday, 14 October 2010

Tixall Wide To Penkridge, 6 Locks.

Off to the quacks.

Leaving the "Wide" yesterday.......... What more can you say about that?

The day was like this for it's entirety, not a breath of wind and quite warm.
This made the weather guessers evening round up of the day seem completely daft, they talked of the strong easterly breeze keeping the temperatures down today.
Have they no windows to look out of?

On the approach to Penkridge we were lucky enough to arrive just as a fishing competition had ended, thirty odd poles stretching across the canal in front of you is always a problem.

Arriving here the leg was worse than ever so a doctor had to be found.
Thank goodness for the Internet, a quick phone call, and it was "could we get there straight away?"
One hour later and we were back on the boat!!
This was after having been registered as a temporary patient, seen and examined by a doctor who prescribed  the antibiotics that were waiting at their own pharmacy and a fifteen minute walk each way..........Unbelievable.

I can only compare this type of service to the nonsense that most people have to endure back in our home town.
Getting past the receptionist is a nightmare, and if you do you can rarely get an appointment within a week..........I'm not joking.

Until next time.....................


Monday, 11 October 2010

Rugeley To Tixall Wide. 3 Locks.

A short hop.............literally.

Moving on from Rugeley on Friday  - and hoping for the promised fine weather - we were soon at the very compact Colwich Lock. Squeezing a bridge, a walkway and a set of gates into an area this tiny has left BW having to fit more balance weights to the end of the beams.

There was a good splash of colour in the lock keepers garden though.............. was in total contrast to the very autumnal day that stayed with us throughout, there was no sign whatsoever of the promised sunshine.

We arrived at Great Haywood Junction for a needed top up of water and it was here my leg said "no more".
So we turned onto the Staffs & Worcs and to our great surprise found the "Wide" with only three boats on it. That very soon changed as the world and his wife turned up for the weekend but at least we were moored.

I am afraid we are still here, the leg is all infected now so it looks like a trip to the quacks will soon be on the cards.

Until next time.........................


Friday, 8 October 2010

Fradley Junction To Rugeley. 3 Locks.

A bit of a slip up!

Sunday was an absolute wash out so we stayed put for the day...........

...............Monday on the other hand started off in a much better frame of mind.

Leaving our mooring fairly early - for us - we set of into the stillness of the day looking forward to a peaceful chug.

That notion was very quickly shattered though as we arrived at the organised chaos of the junction itself.

All was well so far......... but when we reached the second lock of the day and I was stepping back aboard from the lock side, I slipped.

I am far too big and heavy to fall over - but that is what i did -  as I went down onto the back deck my arm went over the tiller arm which jammed in my arm pit, the resultant popping and tearing noises were something else. I also managed to take most of the skin off of my left shin which took a massive bang on the edge of the boat.

There I am lying in a crumpled heap on the back of the boat when the two people (both men) who were helping at the lock laughed and turned away, they didn't even bother to tell D about it as she didn't see me go over.

I can only hope that they get whats coming to them, but that would just be nasty....... wouldn't it?

We have spent the rest of the week at Rugeley as this is a borderline "have to go to the doctors" job.
This is from someone who hasn't been to the quacks for at least fifteen years and that visit broke a run of ten years.

Until next time........................


Saturday, 2 October 2010

Fazeley Junction To Fradely Junction.

Junction hopping. 

Fazeley Junction in all it's sogginess last night.

I know Graham on NB Armadillo is having a sunset fest at the moment, but a foreboding rain filled load of clouds is all I can manage at the moment.

Mind you, the autumn flotsam can be quite colourful.

Here you go then,
stick Tracy Emin's name on it,
call it "A Misguided Feather" and wait for the money to roll in.

A strange thing here as far as I am concerned, these are acre upon acre of Srawberry fields.
Call me old fashioned but I thought Strawberries were a summer fruit ????

It's been another day of sunshine and mildness, which, after yesterdays rain has been most welcome.
We are now at Fradley Junction on the end of a huge row of boats that weren't there when we arrived......................... but then again it is Saturday.

Until next time.......................


Friday, 1 October 2010

Atherstone To Fazeley Junction, 13 Locks.

What a day!

The water point here is back in action.

Leaving Atherstone on an absolutely glourious morning we had a feeling that this might be a long day as we would probably squeeze the most of the weather.
The flight was tackled in a much more repectable two and a half hours this time even with every lock being against us.
This being much better than the four and a half hours it took us last time because of all the boats that were around.

The pictures below are in no particular order but they sum up our seven hour cruise.

We are now at Fazeley Junction where the rain is trying to hammer it's way into the boat through the roof.
Even now there are still a few lost souls moving past us, happy is not the best word to describe them.

Until next time..........................