Monday, 31 January 2011


On Friday morning before we left our overnight mooring right on the Worcester - Staffordshire border .... 

... Mark took advantage of the sunshine to saw up the wood we had accumulated & I sat outside for a while as it was almost warm, quite springlike & very pleasant. 
 Soona came out to join me, It's the first time she has been outdoors this year, she is a fair weather cat & in winter doesn't move far from the fireside. 

 Meanwhile Sid was not allowed out, too many trees nearby to tempt him to climb & I didn't want to be not able to move on because he was stuck up a tree. ;)

We left at 12 noon & despite the warm sunshine there was some thin ice patches on the canal.

 Poppy in Whittington Lock with the newly sawn wood stacked on the roof.

Some of the bridges on the Staffs & Worcs are a bit low!

It was just a short hop to Kinver & we were moored up by 1pm, I can't remember what we did with the rest of the day, I suspect not a lot!
The last time we were here we walked up to the edge but it was a cold, foggy day & no views to be seen so yesterday being sunny & fog free we had more success.

 View from Kinver Edge, Brum possibly?

 On our last visit we spotted a pair of buzzards in a field just before the car park, I tried to get a photo but they wouldn't pose long enough.  We saw them again yesterday in the same spot & again they were camera shy  so I'm afraid this fuzzy pic was the best I could get.

Another fuzzy pic  as they were a way off & suffered a bit of camera shake but still a sight for sore eyes, we also noted that there are green shoots of dandelions & nettles coming through on the verges, roll on spring. 
Despite the sunny weekend, the nights have been cold, the temperature dropping well below freezing resulting in a frozen canal... again. We had hoped to be heading up to Stourbridge today ( especially as we are down to our last bag of coal)  but looks like we are going nowhere. The forecast is for warmer weather in the next few days but the pay off looks like wind & rain, oh well... 

Thursday, 27 January 2011


We have just spent 3 days in Stourport & the river levels are back to green so we could have gone on to Worcester but we have had a change of heart  & decided to head back up the Staffs & Worcs to Stewponey & then on the Stourbridge towards Birmingham.

 The weather wasn't kind whilst we were in Stourport but we managed to do a bit of exploring, yesterday we walked up 4 miles of The Severn Way to Bewdley, a bit muddy underfoot in parts, the weather was grey & cold but the coffee & scone in a nice little cafe in Bewdley went down a treat & set us up for the walk back.

Mistletoe spotted in a tree on the river bank

Interesting 'holes' in the sandstone Blackstone river cliff near Bewdley

Gosh it's been cold today!  We left Stourport at 9am & I walked quite a bit as it was warmer walking & if I got a move on I could set the locks although they were all but one in our favour, Caldwell & that was worked for us  by a very pleasant  BW chap who let us through whilst waiting for a work boat.
 Most of the locks had accumulated rubbish up against the gates & quite a lot of wood, some of it is now stashed on Poppy's roof ;)
 We actually got stuck on some branches going into Debdale lock & I had to open a paddle to flush Poppy back out, Mark had more success on the second attempt. 

More sandstone cliffs, right on a tight bend

Hole in the wall at Debdale lock, 
 It's actually quite a large space inside & looks like it once had a door - storage room maybe?

We stopped outside the very handy canalside Sainsburys in Kidderminster to pick up a few bits & then got warmed up whilst we had lunch. Back out into the cold for the last lap & we are now moored just passed Caunsall Bridge. 

The sharper eyed among you may have spotted the water explorer 'location box' ( not a technical term!) under the clock on the right.  I 1st tried to use it when I got my GPS back in march but couldn't  figure it out but I tried again & this time success! 

Tomorrow we may stay here or press on to Kinver, it all depends on how we feel in the morning....


Friday, 21 January 2011

Ice breaking again....

Just a quick post as it's been a long day, leaving  Kinver this morning we had a pleasant if very cold cruise towards Kidderminster until just before Wolverley Court lock & ran into this....

 ice ! Thought we'd seen the last of it for a while...

          it was quite thick in places too & we had patches of it all the way into Kidderminster,
We've just about given up on worrying about the state of our blacking any more! 
Moored up outside Tescos & did a big shop, making the best of it being canalside then  I nipped into TK Maxx & got us a pair of ski trousers each. Shopping all done we got going again & are now moored between bridges 10 & 9. 

We had planned to get to Stourport tomorrow & then on the Severn down to Worcester  but the Severn locks are closed due to high water levels. :(  So we may just as well stay here for the weekend, we'll have a walk into Stourport tomorrow to get my weekend Guardian fix & have a peek at the River & see how bad it is.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Gnosall to Kinver

We finally got back onto the Staffs & Worcs on Friday & headed south towards Stourport,

 it seemed a good day to move as the weather forecast was wet & windy for the weekend so we moored up in Compton on a nice quiet spot opposite the allotments to sit out the weather. It certainly was windy, I was pleased we hadn't moored near any trees!  Compton isn't a particularly attractive place but has a largish Spar, an independent supermarket Daisy & Fresh Essential  & a launderette all fairly close to the canal. I took advantage of the launderette & got all the washing up to date.

Monday morning was was damp & misty as we made the short hop to moor up above Dimmingsdale lock, the sun managed to come out but didn't do much to cheer me as I spent the rest of the day feeling yucky with a stomach bug. :(  

Yesterday morning thankfully I felt a lot bit better, leaving at 9am we stopped off in Wombourne to pop to the shops for bread & a paper then decided we may as well make it a leisurely  lunch stop, after all what's the rush.... so an hour & half later we got moving again. It was a great day to be cruising, a bit chilly but sunny & no wind  so we just kept going eventually stopping just before the Stourton Junction at 4.30pm just as the sun was going down.  

 Somewhere down there is a windlass that 'got away'

 The Sea Searcher earns it's keep!

 The octagonal toll office at The Bratch

 There had been a hard frost overnight so it was white over this morning when we set off for the short cruise to Kinver. 

Straight on for us, this time...

Interesting garden gates at Hyde lock, bet they're easier to open than the real thing!

Once moored up we walked up to the village for bread & a paper & I popped into the post office to collect some mail, one item was a prescription which, as I'd ordered it over a week ago I expected to be there but I was pleasantly surprised that this external dvd drive for my net book had also arrived, I had only ordered it yesterday!  

Tomorrow we are going to go exploring to see if we can find some of the cave houses & check out the view from Kinver Edge. On Friday the plan is to move on to Kidderminster, I need some bits & bobs from The Range, Mark spotted a Tesco on Google Earth & I spotted a TK Maxx, Sue ( No Problem) mentioned that to keep warm she wore ski trousers, ideal for us boaters.
 TK Maxx should be a good place to look for some, hopefully I can get some before the next big freeze....

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Blogger spotting

We moved down to Gnosall on Saturday, just a short hop of an hour or so. There was some ice   but only thin stuff mainly at the edges, it was still bitterly cold though & we had a hard frost during the night but at least it froze the mud on towpath !

 Yesterday we popped into Stafford to do some shopping, walking down the high street I spotted the 3 store &  called in as I have been having problems with reception on my phone. I thought it was just a poor signal area but Mark is also on 3 & his was fine. They took my sim out, blew on it, put it back  & hey presto good reception, sorted.
 A potter round Wilkinson's then across the road to Sainsbury's for a food shop & back on the bus fully laden, a good job the bus stop is right next to the canal!
We'd not been back long & Mark shouted I think that's Sue (No Problem) just going past, which it was but too late for me to stick my head out to say hello. 

Rain forecast today but we were itching to move so we got under way at 10am,  there was some intermittent drizzle but nothing too heavy & it's noticeably milder  We intended to stop at Turners Garage to fill up with Diesel, at 68.9p domestic it's worth topping up &  as we pulled up who should be moored opposite but Sue & Vic on No Problem so I did get to say hello & have a bit of a natter, albeit shouting across the canal! Nice to finally meet you Sue :-)  
Sue's blog was the first narrow boating blog I found back in  2007 & I found it really helpful  as she has all sorts of useful bits of information on there. 

 We said our goodbyes & plodded on, though the lock, after first blowing the cobwebs off the windlass ! Passing Countrywide hire base we could see a boat coming on & as we got closer it wasn't one boat, it was 3, almost a convoy... & it turned out to be more bloggers, Geoff & Mags on Seyella followed by Carol & George on  Rock 'n Roll   ( Note: edited after several comments telling me about Rock'n Rolls blog!)  with Chas & Anne on Moore 2 life  bringing up the rear. Gosh 4 fellow bloggers in 1 day, is it a record ? Unfortunately my camera wasn't handy....

 As we tied on the 48hr moorings after bridge 8 the rain started in earnest so good timing I think, we shall probably stay here tomorrow & then Friday may see us back on the Staffs & Worcs, this time turning right at Autherley Junction.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Birdwatching in Norbury

Currently moored in Norbury, yes we are going backwards as it were but we can't go very far south yet as still too much ice so we came back here as much for a change of view from the windows as anything. We had to break some ice coming up but mainly thin stuff ( 1" as opposed to 3" to 4"!) 

I hung some fat balls in the tree that is in direct view from my chair & to date we have spotted numerous blue tits, a great tit, a pair of nuthatches, a pair of blackbirds, a flock of long tailed tits who visit several times a day, a robin, a starling & a great spotted woodpecker.  
I'm no ornithologist so my RSPB bird book has been useful in identifying the visitors. They have kept both me & Sid entertained.

Blurry pic of Nuthatch

Great spotted woodpecker

Since arriving here on Tuesday the ice has thawed, froze & thawed again, the current  thaw looks set to continue so Mark will check out the canal north of the junction up to the turning point tomorrow on his morning run, if it's clear of ice we shall go up, wind & try to pick up some of this...
 that I spotted on the towpath.  A sight to gladden the heart of a liveaboard narrow boater, well those of us with multifuel stoves anyway.

We may stay here for the weekend or head back down to Gnosall,  I do like Norbury, the services are excellent but it isn't on a bus route & the cupboards  are starting to look bare, we can get a bus to Newport or Stafford from Gnosall to stock up on supplies. Can't go too fast though as we will need to use the services at Wheaton Aston as we pass through & they are out of action at the moment because some moron has used the pumpout for removing oil causing  sufficient damage to need the pump replacing & putting the services ( except water ) out of use for at least a week, idiot!!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Wheaton Aston to Gnosall

Yes we have moved!  It has been clear of ice around us for a few days & after a boat came through from Norbury yesterday we decided to make a move this morning. 
It took us a couple of hours to get here & apart from a few patches here & there it was ice free.

An ice free canal!

Cowley Tunnel

 As we filled the water tank we got chatting to a chap on boat moored near the Navigation Inn, he's been stuck here for 5 weeks & is hoping to get up to Norbury tomorrow so we may well follow him. 
All being well we shall fill up with diesel, maybe stay for a couple of days then wind & start back south again although we won't be heading on to the Staffs & Worcs until we hear it's thawed.
 If the freezing conditions return we could do worse than be stuck in Wheaton Aston again but it made a nice change to be on the move today.