Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Stratford Upon Avon

We  had a very pleasant few days in Wootton Wawen moored just passed bridge 52 with the weather being warm & sunny for the most part. 

lovely mooring

The Edstone Aqueduct

We did a bit of walking ( tee shirts in March!)  This time I took the GPS & we only went 'off piste' once turning a 6 1/2 mile walk into  8 miles.
 The soft ware I use for my GPS is Anquet  & I find it really easy to use, you do have to buy the maps but once downloaded you can plot routes which then gives you various information about the route (  I find it handy to check how far it is to the nearest shops etc)
Then simply plug in GPS via usb & upload to GPS, of course you do need to have bought the maps for the GPS as the base maps supplied are useless really - more expense & they are not cheap! I bought the TOPO maps both Northern England & Southern England, they are on tiny SD cards & I have managed to lose the northern one :( 
I have not replaced it as a) we are not back up north yet & b) keep hoping it will turn up, ever the optimist.
Anyway back to Wootton Wawen, the warm weather prompted use to get some boat jobs done so.....
the blue just below the gunwales is now black, it's always getting scraped & hopefully it will be easier to touch up. It certainly looks better & we intend to stop there again on our way back up the Stratford to do the other side, if the weather behaves.
Soona likes the back cover as she can watch the world go by but still feels safe as she is a big scardey cat & you'll note it's also good for stowing stuff out of sight!

We got to Stratford upon Avon on Sunday & the good weather has held so we've really enjoyed it here, yes it's busy & touristy but we can cope for a few days.
 King Lear last night was amazing, we really enjoyed it, it's 3 hours long, not including the interval but it didn't seem like it as it's gripping from the start, so a late night for us, we're usually tucked up by 10pm!
 The Royal Shakespeare Theatre across the basin from our mooring

The Theatre again from the other side

 Shakespeare's birthplace

 A row of almshouses in the town

 The river lock onto the Avon & a swan waiting for someone to open the gate so he can join the rest of the gang on the river

  Our 48 hours is up this afternoon but due to problems with my prescription going adrift within the postal system we are needing to overstay a day. I have had to get Hannah to sort me another one which hopefully will be here tomorrow then we shall head off back up towards Wootton Wawen although I don't think we will do it in one go as the locks between here & there are hard work, stiff paddles & gates but at least it will help to work off all the buns I have been indulging in...

Monday, 21 March 2011

Kingswood Junction to Preston Bagot

Yesterday we were finally on the move again as the repairs at  lock 33 had been completed....
...though only just I think! Anyway we were able to get through easily enough.

NB Mr Bojangles presented us with a bit of an obstacle... 
 no-one aboard & the front pin had come loose, fortunately the rope had been threaded through the eye of the pin & was hanging off the bow so we soon had it sorted.
 The stern pin was also very loose so that was made as secure as possible with a few clouts from the lump hammer.

Smart new brick work on this bridge.

The other side.

We didn't really move far, just 3 miles or so but that did include 14 locks. Starting early, 7.30am, it was overcast & chilly but by mid morning the locks had warmed us up & the sun came out warming us up even more. 
We were moored up by 11.30 & after lunch had a walk into Henley in Arden to get some supplies. Mark had checked the map & found a path across the fields so we could avoid the busy main road although we did end up back at  the road for the last 1/2 mile or so. After getting the shopping & an ice cream we spotted a notice board with a plan of local footpaths so sorted a route for our return walk & try to avoid the road altogether. 
Hmm, well all I can say is next time I will take my GPS!  It was very pleasant, the sun shone, it was dry underfoot & lovely countryside, but we took a wrong turn somewhere & ended up walking far further than we should & still ended up back on the main road, which by that time I was pleased to see as at least we knew which way was up, so as to speak!! 

After the excitement of yesterday today has been more mundane, a bit of housework this morning & this afternoon I sanded the gang plank & gave it a coat of varnish. It has been warm & sunny & the cats have enjoyed being outside although Sid still needs to be on his lead as the road is close by. 

Apologies for the quality of the photos, my camera battery was flat so these were taken on my phone.

We are still moving slowly ( nothing new there!) as we don't want to get to Stratford upon Avon before next weekend because being our anniversary & my birthday we have booked to go to see King Lear at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre on the 28th. I'm really looking forward to it :)

Tomorrow we might trundle along to Wootton Wawen & spend a couple of days there.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Hanging around

I spoke too soon when I said the stoppages should be completed by today, the 11th,  I had no sooner posted the last blog entry when I got this email from BW.

UPDATE (07 March 2011): During repair works to lock 33 we have come across a huge cavity behind the lock wall that requires extra works we hadn’t originally planned for. Unfortunately, in order to carry out these works and make the wall safe we will need to extend the stoppage until the 17th March.
British Waterways apologises for any inconvenience caused and will make every effort to try and complete the works early.”

Stoppages, planned & unexpected are a fact of life on the canals, plans just have to be amended accordingly - It's easy for us though as we rarely have to be any where specific but for hire boaters & people trying to get from a to b within a time frame it must be a bit frustrating.

Anyway we got our Tesco delivery on Tuesday, bridge 68 is a handy spot for a delivery as a lane runs right past the boat but not a good place for Soona to potter about as cars buzzed past going to the couple of houses at the end of the lane so on Wednesday we went up to the winding hole just before bridge , winded & came back down to bridge 66 to await another delivery, this time for coal.
 I found a local coal merchant, Calcutts in Henley in Arden who will deliver although not until Monday, but as, due to the stoppage at lock 33, we aren't in any rush also at £9 for 25k of pure heat their price isn't bad! 
Mark will get the bike out tomorrow to nip up to Dorridge for the weekend papers & fresh bread & we shall hopefully have a peaceful weekend.
Moored just below bridge 68

On my walk yesterday  I went down past the junction up to just past bridge 63 ( any non boaters reading this must think I'm obsessed with bridges, not really it's just that on a canal as bridges are all numbered it's a good way of knowing where we are!) I was just on my way back when my phone ringing disturbed my reverie, it was Mark to tell me that George & Carol Rock n Roll were on the water point & stopped by to say hello, I was a still good hour from home but as they were headed my way I should see them pass. 
As I got to the junction I came across Geoff & Mags on  Seyella  they were headed to the services. I had noted on their blog the previous day that Geoff had painted some of the roof in their boat cream, I have been thinking of doing ours as the oak does seemed to have darkened somewhat ( maybe from the fire) & indeed had put a comment on their blog as I wasn't sure whether gloss or emulsion would be the way to go.
 Anyway I was invited aboard to have a peek & am suitably impressed, emulsion it is then           (cheaper as well !) after a scrub with sugar soap. So when we eventually get to Stratford on Avon it will be paint shopping at B&Q. 
Back on the tow path I soon came across Rock & Roll heading south & we managed a quick hello under the bridge. On day we will meet up & get to have a proper natter, hopefully sitting out in the sunshine.

Out walking I spotted this Tufted Duck

& this grand old house ( also spotted by Geoff as he has almost same pic on his blog!)

some violets, 1st I've seen this year

& some celandines, spring is just about here....

Monday, 7 March 2011

Deepest Warwickshire

A fairly early start this morning at 8am, the sun was out but gosh it was chilly.

Poppy hovering in the background while the work boat is moved, 
camera at the ready if this chap fell in ! But he didn't.

This lot soon had us up warmed up...

Kingswood Junction
Mark taking some of our rubbish to the bins, 
spot the boat on the lock landing between the  2 locks
  Not the best place to moor up...

A barrel roofed lock cottage, common to The Stratford Canal. 

We turned left onto the Grand Union at the junction as we are killing time till Friday when the winter stoppages should be completed & we can head off to Stratford on Avon.

  Mooring up by bridge 68 at 1pm we were more than ready for our lunch, doing those 19 locks worked  up an appetite. But it was a real pleasure cruising today despite some stiff paddles on the locks & the lift bridge (28) nearly had me beat!

 A Tesco delivery is ordered for tomorrow as there are not many shops handy for the canal. It's also time for a wash day & if this weather holds I might even be able to hang some outside.......

Sunday, 6 March 2011

On the move again

I was back on board on Friday afternoon after a week away with the Manchester branch of the family, it wasn't all beer & skittles as I made some new curtains. I had been chewing it over for a while & the availability of a sewing machine & a large table to do cutting out on spurred me into action.
 Rather than make them from scratch I found some I liked in M & S Home at The Trafford Centre, size 66" x 90"  I cut each curtain in half length ways then each 'half'  into 3, width ways, a bit of seam neatening, a bit of hemming, some rufflette tape & I have 6 pairs of boat sized curtains. 

Mark was getting a bit stir crazy & more than ready to move so yesterday morning we moved, all of a mile! But it was a change of view & more importantly, as we had used all the chopped wood  a wide, mud free towpath so after a bit of effort this morning we have plenty of chopped logs to keep us warm.

 The sun came out this afternoon & Sid went out for a while,  

Eyeing up those trees....

getting up was easy....

That's Soona mooching about, no fear of her getting stuck up a tree! 

Tomorrow we are heading down the Lapworth flight, a dry sunny day is forecast so it shouldn't be too much of a chore.