Saturday, 30 April 2011

Not much blogging been done of  late, not much boating either!  I spent Easter weekend up in Manchester helping Bek with moving house whilst Mark had the task of looking after the cats & the boat.
I got back on Tuesday night & then it was my turn to cat & boat sit whilst Mark went up to Hull for the day to have a drink with some ex colleagues who are retiring. I didn't mind as it gave me chance to have a lazy day & catch up with some TV that mark had recorded for me.

Thursday we moved just a couple of miles to our current mooring just outside Leamington Spa where we will stop for the weekend. 
 It's a pleasant spot & as no trees for Sid to climb he has been allowed off the leash although only when one of us is keeping an eye on him as he is still a bit of a tearaway, just as well as he took off after a duck & forgot the canal is wet & got his first ducking ( literally!) but he scrambled to the side & got himself out so no harm done, hopefully he will have learned his lesson.

This morning we walked the mile or so to Asda for some supplies & the weekend Guardian then after a coffee  Mark got cracking on the wiring for the 2 solar panels that have been languishing under the sofa since we got them from Maplins in Stratford Upon Avon. I brought the cables & controller back from Manchester where we'd had them delivered to Bek's.
 The wiring was fiddly & took a while, but then the panels were hooked up & stuck down  quite quickly ( we got the peel 'n' stick panels)  despite a gusty wind blowing. 

It was rewarding to see the read out on the smart gauge going up without the engine running, hopefully we will save a little on diesel costs.

The snooker world championship is on at the moment so we're watching a bit more telly than we usually allow ourselves, the final is Sunday & Monday so we will probably stay put as we've a good TV signal, we can wait till the bank holiday rush is over before moving on.
 It's been very busy today with lots of boats out enjoying the sunshine though probably not so much the wind!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Shrewley to Warwick

Phew, what a scorcher! Though it was a bit chilly at 6.15am when we left our overnight spot just south of Shrewley & headed for the Hatton flight. 

 The very damp & drippy Shrewley Tunnel we went through yesterday.

The sun coming up as we get underway this morning

A dig at BW on this notice on a lock beam

 Dragonfly sculpture in the misty morning

 A quiet Hatton Works at 7.15am, staff were just arriving as we exited the lock

Looking back up the flight as we work our way down, 
a pic taken by my phone as my camera battery had failed - again.

We had most of the locks in our favour & didn't meet another boat until the 19th lock when as working the 18th we spotted a couple standing by a small cruiser waiting on the lock landing above lock 19. They got aboard & started to move towards us so we left the gate open for them, as you do but I noted that they hadn't reciprocated by leaving the gate open for us. As they past me as I walked along I shouted good morning, as you do & got a sullen reply, maybe not morning people! When I got to the lock it was only 1/2 full so obviously they hadn't just exited it which is why the hadn't opened a gate, fair enough, they'd probably overnighted after the lock but would it have been too much to have wound a paddle up whilst they waited for us to exit the lock? As Mark said, very poor...

We met a narrow boat at the next lock, just on their way up, on hearing about the cruiser just 1 lock ahead the lock wheeler shot off to catch them up so they could share the locks. 
They seemed a nice couple with a sense of humour so lets hope they managed to cheer up the other 2 in the cruiser !

We exited the bottom lock at 10.15am so not bad going really & found a mooring at the Cape before the locks. This afternoon we had a walk to the post office at Woodloes & then into town for coffee & cake, we felt we'd earned it after this mornings efforts. I managed to get a haircut which was long overdue & did quick shop for tea stuff in M&S food before back to Poppy  to relax.
It's been quite busy this afternoon, lots of boats on the move & the moorings are now pretty full. Tomorrow we will go through Cape Locks, do a Tesco shop then find another mooring,we shall probably spend the rest of the day enjoying this glorious weather pottering around Warwick. 

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Up & down the Grand Union

We finally dragged ourselves away from Wootton Wawen on Monday morning driven by the need for the services at Kingswood Junction. Setting off at 7am it was cold & grey, we were well wrapped up but a combination of hard lock gear, heavy gates ( I do like the Stratford but some of the locks....) & the sun making an appearance had us shedding layers. 
A quaint barrel roofed lock cottage

A quaint 'barrel' roofed shed!

Old welly boot put to good use

Poppy coming under the bridge at Kingswood Junction, 
after stopping at the services we turned left at the junction & moored on the visitor moorings.

On Wednesday we moved up to bridge 68, Bakers lane as we were due a Tesco delivery in the afternoon, by the time it was delivered  & stowed it was cool with a few spots of rain  so we decided to stay put overnight.  Thursday morning  we went up to the winding hole, winded & headed back to moor near the junction.
 I was in need of a new rucksack so on Thursday afternoon I got the train from Lapworth to Birmingham, it only takes 20 mins & reasonable at £3.65 return ( with senior railcard!) I had a pleasant couple of hours pottering round the shops & as my phone was due for an upgrade I called in to the 3 shop & left with a smart phone . I have therefore spent quite a bit of the last couple of days getting used to it, my goodness  is there nothing it can't do!
 But then I'm easily impressed......

The train from Lapworth to Brum  goes to Moor Street station & it's like a film set for a 40's film, it's even got a steam engine. You could imagine Trevor Howard & Celia Johnson on the platform...
Then you spot  the new Bullring Centre in the background...

On Friday I painted the bedroom & kitchen ceilings, I'd been thinking about it for a while as the wood has darkened & after seeing how Geoff & Mags had worked out on Seyella  it got put on the 'to do' list. It has certainly lightened things up, just the saloon left to do, unless we do the walls as well...

This morning we woke to a clear blue sky & after Mark had watched F1 qualifying & we'd  been to the village shop for the paper we set off. we didn't go very far, just a couple of miles or so & we're moored between bridge 62 & 61 on the embankment overlooking Rowington. 

Not so much a bluebell wood as a bluebell bank, but delightful nevertheless

View from the hatch

We've been sat out soaking up some sunshine & Sid & Soona have enjoyed being outside.
Sid has even been halfway up a tree but as I was holding the lead I wasn't too worried. 

Sunday, 10 April 2011

A busy week in Wootton Wawen

We have made the most of the glorious warm weather whilst we have been here & the gunwales have been painted, the roof has been scrubbed to get rid of the winter grime, the pole has been sanded & had a new coat of varnish & on Wednesday, the only day when the sun didn't shine I painted the bathroom ceiling.  
But it hasn't been all work, we've still found time to sit out & enjoy this lovely spot.

Hedgerows in blossom on the footpath to Henley in Arden
More blossom...

View from the kitchen window, oil seed rape,
 it has gone from green to yellow in the few days we have been here.

Another yellow field, dandelions this time..

A grass snake spotted swimming past the boat

Sid has enjoyed being outside, albeit on his lead as too many tall trees to get stuck in but he doesn't seem to mind.  He does get lots of comments from passers by, most people are surprised he's happy on a lead. I suppose I'm surprised that he has taken to it so well but we did get him used to it from a small kitten.

A purely gratuitous photo of Soona enjoying the sunshine

Tomorrow we will move up the locks to the junction as we need water etc, & we'll hang about for a couple of days to get a Tesco delivery. We shall then trundle slowly  towards Warwick. 

Monday, 4 April 2011

Back in Wootton Wawen

After getting my prescription sorted on Wednesday morning we were on the move by 9.30am. We stopped  just after 'one elm' lock so we could do a shop at Tesco, B&Q  & pick up the 2 solar panels we had on order from Maplins, have been thinking we should get some for a while & Maplins seemed a good price,  just need to sort out some cables & a controller,  ebay I think ;). 
Then needing diesel we moved across to Valley Boat Services to fill up, 170 litres for £172 ( we usually declare 20/80 split)  ouch! that's the most we've ever paid, hopefully we the solar is up & running we should use a bit less for battery charging, we also needed some gas but they were out of stock, I think they had enough of our money anyway!

 We didn't move much further, just before the bottom of the Wilmcote flight & we decided to stay put for a day or two which was then extended to include the weekend. Just as well really as it got very busy with more Anglo Welsh boats than you could shake a stick at & I probably could have done at one or two who seemed to be in a hurry to sample the delights of Stratford upon Avon. 

What a difference today, setting off at 8am we found most of the locks in our favour & just as we exited Wilmcote top lock met a boat heading down, the only other boat we have seen today. A short stop in Wilmcote, Mark nipped to the village shop for a paper & bread loaf whilst I made the coffee then we pressed on.
 When we had left this morning it was a sunny & calm morning but by the time we left Wilmcote it had clouded over & blowing a cold stiffening breeze so a quick stop at Anglo Welsh (where they were busy cleaning all those boats that had passed us going to Stratford & back!)  for a gas refill & we are now settled in at Wootton Wawen warming nicely by the fire, the forecasted rain hasn't arrived but it is very blowy.
 Showers are forecast for tomorrow but then set fair for the rest of the week so we are planning on getting more jobs done including painting the gunwales on the other side.

Slow connection so no photos today......