Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Penkridge to (nearly) Brewood

We left Penkridge at 9am and went through Penkridge Lock and then re watered at the BW services above the lock.  We travelled on in beautiful sunshine passing through Gailey lock with its roundhouse. We seemed to have an easy day with locks as they were either in our favour or a boat just exiting.  Having said that there has, surprisingly, been very little traffic today.
Passing through Calf Heath what should we see moored in the marina, but Captain Ahab and Belle’s boat Wand’ing Bark!
Sadly there was no sign of them but we hope to catch up with them next month!
We turned right at Autherley Junction off of the Staffs & Worcs Canal – a tricky manoeuvre perfectly executed!  Difficult getting through the stop lock as the gate would not open fully.  We are now on the Shropshire Union Canal.  We carried on for an hour and moored up between bridges 7 and 8 near Brewood (pronounced Brood).  We say “ near Brewood” but when we decided to walk in to the village we didn’t  realise how far it was. With an elderly dog we walked for an hour which was at least 2 miles even at Oscar’s speed!
Oscar and Doug on the footpath to Brewood.
As poor Oscar was so hot by the time we reached the village, we decided to have a pint and eat at the Bridge Inn to give him a rest! (any excuse!)  We then slowly wandered back to the boat along the canal from bridge 14 to the other side of bridge 8 (another 2 miles or so!) and arrived back at 8.30pm.  Oscar is now sound asleep but has survived the experience!
Our mooring tonight at Brewood.
The view from our side hatch – the pic. doesn’t do it justice!

12 miles and 8 locks covered today

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Arriving at Penkridge

We left Tixall Wide at 9am and had a pleasant journey to Penkridge, we passed through 4 locks, none were busy and very few boats around.  The weather couldn’t make it’s mind up all day but by evening it had sorted itself out and became very pleasant.


A lovely rural 4 hours cruising and we arrived and moored up for the day at Penkridge.  James embarked upon a good clean down while Doug caught up with some work.


We wandered into the town to do some shopping -  Oscar again making the long walk with us!  James found a first class example of his favourite type of shop. An old fashioned sweet shop!  Dawn and Carol pandered to his requirements and he can only advise that anyone with a sweet tooth and passing through Penkridge should make a visit.  All the old childhood sweets were there – he couldn’t catch them out!


Found at the bottom of the high street!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Great Haywood and Tixall Wide

We left our mooring at 8am and headed towards Great Haywood today. Already it was 20 degrees so we decided that we wouldn’t spend another day travelling after yesterdays’  heat wave.
Waiting to enter Lock 22 at Great Haywood
We arrived at Tixall Wide at 10am and moored up for the day.  We both had work to do so it seemed a good idea but the heat in the morning was so intense we didn’t do much (except yet again peg out the washing!)
After lunch it had cooled down a little so we gave Oscar a haircut and then walked into Great Haywood.  We weren’t sure whether he would make it that far but the promise of a swim (in the River Trent) he soon found the energy!
We then walked into the village and had a pint in the pub while Doug went up to the village shop to get some supplies.  He and ended up shopping by torch light as they had a power cut and because they’d blanked out the windows it was pitch dark!  They  did some lovely locally made produce so he brought some home made faggots for tea tomorrow evening!
The railway bridge into Great Haywood looking towards the little street of original (Shugborough) estate houses.
After having a relaxing evening aboard we plan to set off tomorrow for Penkridge.
A lovely evening at Tixall Wide.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Fradley Junction to Rugeley

Since leaving Alrewas on Saturday morning we had a lovely journey with both boats (Chance and Malvolio) to Fradley Junction where we moored up just before lock17 at 12pm.  We went to The Mucky Duck for a pint and some lunch and spent the rest of the day wandering around Fradley. The Lake walk was very interesting.


We ended up in the evening sitting on the deck enjoying the sunshine.


James and Craig enjoying a well earned beer! and the four of us relaxing. (marvellous these automatic cameras!)


followed by dinner on Bex and Craig’s boat.


Today (Sunday) we all had to sadly go our separate ways as Bex and Craig had to turn around and head back to Mercia Marina while we continued on towards Great Heywood.


(Bex and Craig leaving)  Thanks for a great few days guys and hope its not too long until we meet up again.

We passed Armitage and just had to take this picture of you know what!


It has been so hot today, in fact, too hot to be outside all day.  We think most boats either moored up early or didn’t move at all because it was just too hot to travel!


Because of the heat we have not made Great Hayward but have moored just past bridge 70 outside Rugeley.  A good spot to dry the washing that we did while travelling along today. Don’t think it will take very long to dry in this heat!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Branston to Alrewas

Both boats left the moorings at 9am and headed for Alrewas.  The weather has kept fine and mostly sunny for us all today.  Here are a few pictures we took along the route.


'Chance’ at Tatenhill Lock


Bex and Craig getting the hang of the locks! (“Oh this looks technical!!”)


Bex and Craig with nb Malvolio.  Having only about three hours under his belt Craig makes an excellent job of threading the boat through the bridge hole!


Here’s Bex working hard under Doug’s instruction!


Here’s one for you Ivy!  when you read this.

We arrived at Alrewas just after lunch and we all walked to the National Memorial Arboretum. We were amazed how much the trees had matured since we last visited 3 years ago and how many more have been planted.  A truly amazing place and well worth a visit to remember all those who have given their lives since 1945 that we might be free and as safe as we are today. 




Our mooring tonight at Alrewas


Mercia Marina

Been a busy week getting to Mercia Marina to meet up with friends Bex and Craig for a few days, who have hired a boat from Shakespeare Line.


Moored at Mercia Marina.

As we knew we would be here for most of the day, we ordered Oscar some more dog food from Oscar Pet Foods to be delivered to the boat, it arrived at 3.30pm just as Bex and Craig were ready to leave after having instructions on how to use their boat.


We travelled towards Burton on Trent, with James helping them on the boat in front of ours!  (Only one minor bump – from another novice hirer!)

We moored up at the Bridge Inn near Branston, where we had visited 3 years ago, and had a lovely Italian Meal.  The new owners have been there for seven months and it seems even better now than it was previously.


Doug, Bex and Craig waiting, expectantly, for dinner.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Returning to Chance

After a lovely week away in Devon, and last night spent with our daughters Vicki and Frances and their fiancĂ©es Tom and Kel, we have arrived back at the boat. 

On Sunday we spent the day with Howard & Wendy and Pete & Mags having a lovely long lunch in the garden.


In the evening we drove up to Wiltshire to Vicki and Tom’s house to stay for the night where we were joined by Frances and Kel for a Father’s Day get together.  Tonight we have returned to Chance and are ready to meet friends, Bex and Craig, at Mercia Marina on the Trent and Mersey on Thursday.  They are hiring a boat for a week to see how they get on as they are considering buying a narrow boat to live aboard.  We are so looking forward to finally getting underway and using “Chance” for what it was built for!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Party in the Park!

On Saturday evening we had our annual “Silly Evening!” with friends in Budleigh Salterton.  We have all been getting together for six years or so for an evening near midsummer’s day of fun and frolics!
We all take our own picnic’s and wine! and then set about playing silly games of boule, rounders and general things involving balls!
We had a group of  five young lads who joined us oldies this year! and certainly helped us to gain a few more rounders. They were really polite and seemed to enjoy joining in with us all and were good ambassadors for the youngsters of today.  Here are a  few more pics of us all.
Howard and Wendy (Organiser General!)
Pete and Mags
Palle, Tina and Rose
Maureen and Terry
A great evening was had by all despite the rain threatening to dampen our spirits.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

A trip back to Budleigh Salterton

We have driven down to Budleigh Salterton in Devon for a long weekend to catch up with friends and (ex)neighbours of ours from 4 years ago when we lived in Budleigh.  As well as a visit to the dentist for James in Exmouth as he lost a filing whilst at Crick!


Otter Head at Budleigh. One of Oscar’s old haunts!  He loves paddling in the waters of the River Otter as it flows into the sea.


Like this!

The weather hasn’t been brilliant as yet, although we have managed to do quite a lot of walking and meet up with a lot of people ( by chance!). We are hoping the weather improves today as we have an outside party to attend tonight!


Monday, 13 June 2011

We finally meet nb Triskaideka!

We have been in touch with Ali and John on nb Triskaideka for some time as their build followed roughly the same time frame as ours. Finally today we arranged to meet them on their maiden voyage. We left MGM and headed north for two hours to Mount Sorrell Lock and waited for Ali and John to arrive from Pillings Lock.
We helped them through the lock and then moored up together, Triskaideka is a beautiful boat with lovely oak interior and superb carpentry.  After viewing each other boats we had a very long liquid lunch, and both set off 2 hours later heading back to Thurmaston.
nb triskaideka and nb Chance at Cossington Lock.
James, John and Ali on board Chance. We had a very enjoyable cruise back to Thurmaston, Doug and Ali worked the locks whilst  John and James helmed the boats. We arrived at the Hope and Anchor at 6pm.
We met up again in the evening with Ali and John and went for a meal at The Hope and Anchor. We had a great day with you both and hope to meet up again very soon.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

A Lovely Evening on Briar Rose

On Saturday we drove down to meet Adam and Adrian at bridge 102 at Wolfhamcote for an evening aboard Briar Rose. We popped in to Braunston to get a few items we needed at Midland Chandlers on the way.
We had a lovely evening chatting and relaxing, and a fantastic meal cooked by Adam. They had chosen a lovely protected mooring with parking for our car as well!
Have a great trip for the next 2 weeks guys and catch up again soon.  We are very honoured to be your first dinner guests aboard Briar Rose!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

A chance meeting in Market Harborough

After receiving a surprise phone call from our friend and solicitor Simon on Tuesday, who happened to be staying in Rutland, we arranged to meet on Wednesday evening in Market Harborough with him and his lovely partner Jan.


We had a lovely evening at the Waterfront Bar in the basin, and hope to meet up again soon.

Here at MGM nearly all the ‘snagging’ work is completed so we hope to set off on our travels early next week.  Today we had a visit from the Beta Marine rep from the Crick Show who was very happy with the installation of our engine and congratulated us, and MGM, on our success at being Runner up Best in Show.