Friday 27 April 2018

Annual Report

Here are the figures for this year.  Neither the miles, locks, or nights on board are particularly high or low.

And the waterways travelled on:

  • Birmingham and Fazeley Canal
  • Birmingham Canal Navigations Digbeth Branch
  • Birmingham Canal Navigations New Mainline
  • Birmingham Canal Navigations Old Mainline
  • Bridgewater Canal
  • Caldon Canal
  • Caldon Canal Leek Arm
  • Coventry Canal
  • Grand Union Canal Leicester Section
  • Grand Union Canal Mainline
  • Manchester Ship Canal
  • North Oxford Canal
  • River Irwell
  • River Weaver
  • Shropshire Union Canal
  • Shropshire Union Canal Middlewich Branch
  • Staffs and Worcs Canal
  • Trent and Mersey Canal

Saturday 14 April 2018

Cheese scones and sunshine

We slept pretty well and were in no particular rush to get going this morning.  We set off in rather dull cool conditions at about 9am, and headed for Blisworth Tunnel.  Inside it was, if anything, wetter than last week (which takes some doing).  Once out the other end, we phoned Kathryn to check she was in, and then moored up.  We went to have a look at the latest work Kathryn has had done on her house, and then had tea and some of her famous cheese scones.  When we set off again, the sun was beginning to come out and a couple of boats were just coming up the top lock.

We swapped with another uphill boat at the second lock, then at the next one the lock was empty, with a boat having just gone down and one about to come up the lock below.  LThe downhill boat waited for us, which meant we teamed up with a very nice family out for a long weekend on a Gayton here boat.  There was a bit of synchronised boating between locks.

We stopped below the bottom lock for lunch in the increasingly pleasant sunshine, then did the last hair and a half back to the marine.  We arrived back at about 3, and went to pick up the other car from Heyford Fields.  We’ll stay here tonight; I have to go to work for an early shift in the morning, and Adrian will head home.

8 miles, 7 locks.  (13 miles, 7 locks)

Friday 13 April 2018

New stove

Adrian left home slightly before me this morning as I had a village task to do, and then I set off a few minutes behind.  En route, Adrian stopped at Tesco at Bicester for some food for the weekend — and miraculously when we phoned each other just as I was approaching the marina, it turned out he was two cars behind me.  We left one car there, and drove up to Heyford Fields.  As expected, the old stove had fallen apart when moved, so it’s been replaced by a new Morso Squirrel.  We went like for like, as going for a cheaper option would undoubtedly have meant that the flue no longer fitted.  The old stove had some extra sloping metal pieces inside, to reduce the size of the fire box, and I’d kept them and re-installed them in the new one.

The BLS guys have also taken off the roof collar of the flue and reseated and resealed it, so hopefully we’ll no longer have a leak.  A speaking of leaks, we’ve also had the shower room towel rail swapped back to a radiator.  The towel rail was put in a few years ago when the original radiator developed a hole, but hasn’t been the improvement we expected, as it was small and took only one towel.  I’ve re-installed a rail above the rad, which can take two towels.

As might be expected, the bill was substantial. The boat had been put on a mooring near the diesel point, and getting out from there turned out to be a lot easier than the space by the slipway.  It was about 1pm when we left, having grabbed some lunch, and it was grey and chilly — although at least we could now light the stove.  We went to Blisworth, to a mooring just through Bridge 49 where we slotted into a space on the piling, rather than having to continue to the bit where pins are needed.

5 miles, 0 locks.

Sunday 8 April 2018

Heyford Fields

We had a good evening with Catherine, Nigel, and the kids last night — although service at The Wharf was shambolic to say the least.  It wasn’t just our table, either, as other people also had to keep asking where their drink/food/bill was.

This morning we set off at around 9 and did the half mile into Heyford Fields marina, leaving the boat by the slipway.  It’s not coming out of the water, they’re just going to sort out the stove (by which we assume we mean, get a new one).  We were away by 10, and back home by lunchtime.

0.5 miles, 0 locks.  (13 miles, 7 locks)

Saturday 7 April 2018


The forecast was for rain pretty much all day, but in fact the only time we got wet was in Blisworth Tunnel (which was exceptionally wet).  We set off about 8.30 and we’re soon making our way up Stoke Bruerne locks.  Adrian worked the first half, then we swapped over.  Boats began to come down as we got to the long pound.

In the village, we saw Kathryn, and the local greyhound owners were out on force.

We said hello to Mike on Jubilee as we passed, then got absolutely soaked in the tunnel.  We carried on to Bugbrooke, where we moored at lunchtime opposite The Wharf pub.

This afternoon, Adrian has been working and I’ve been writing up yesterday’s boat test.  We also went for a circular walk round Bugbrooke village, where some very nice old houses are surrounded by newer ones of variable appeal.  This evening we are meeting my cousin Catherine and family over at The Wharf.

9.5 miles, 7 locks.  (12.5 miles, 7 locks)

Friday 6 April 2018

Teddesley and Grafton Regis

I drove up to Staffordshire this morning for a boat test.  The promised sunny intervals eventually materialised, and we had some decent blue skies and sunshine.  The star of the show was obviously Sky the dog.

Adrian headed north from work after lunch and we rendezvoused for a car shuffle.  It was 5pm when we got to our marina, and we put some water in the tank while we sorted ourselves out.  About 20 minutes later we we pulling out of our berth and heading towards Stoke Bruerne.

We carried on for about an hour to get a tank of hot water, and moored up in a favourite spot just past Bridge 57.  To repeat a line from a blog from March 2014 when we also stopped here, there’s a field of lambs opposite, so we hope they don’t wake up too early.

3 miles, 0 locks. (But 4 locks today on another boat.)

Thursday 5 April 2018

Stem to Stern on test

The May edition of Canal Boat is out, and includes by test of a spec boat by Stem to Stern.