Saturday, February 28, 2009

What plan has changed?

Circumstances, opportunities or position sometimes influence which way we go.  It has been many years since we had a chance to head further north with company.  A mad dash to Chester with Sue n Vic has presented itself.  The last time was back in 2002 when we were with Terry & Myra and their boat Butty Lark.  In those early years of our travels we covered a lot of canal ground each year.  Our southern commitment can wait.  Chester is one of our ancient cities created back in Roman times and still has a complete defensive wall round it.

While at Market Drayton I am trying to get my back redressed at the local medical centre but they are unable to take bookings because their computer is being upgraded!  Thankfully after a few days the nurse got to see me.  All was well and there was no real need to have it checked so often.  Then we had lunch in a pub with our friends and walked round the town.  We went to visit John & Sue who have a house by the canal with a mooring and boat outside their front door.  It was way back in 1995 that we got to know them when we both had boats in Newbury on the Kennet & Avon canal.

This is Josh and Ben the Ginger bread men made in Market Drayton.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Too and fro

While at Gnosall Ann got the bus & train back to Southampton to see the grand children over a long weekend which happened to be a half term holiday.  There was plenty of food in the fridge and I managed to do some cooking.  So I looked after myself and Molly and took her for walks twice a day while Ann was away.  Sue n Vic arrived and invited me to join them on board No Problem for their, now famous, Sunday roast.  Lovely.
Having seen the nurse again we have about a week to move away and back.  “Yes, Ann did come back to me !”  We followed No Problem up to Norbury where we all visited the local for a drink and chat.  Our friends had arranged to go home while their boat was being ‘blacked’ so we took them and dogs back to Gnosall to catch the bus. In order to turn our boat round we needed to head down to Wheaton Aston.  While there Ann took the bus and train to visit the National Boat, Caravan and Outdoor Show at Birmingham for the day.  Once again I had time on my own so after walking the dog of course, I set about updating information and publishing Chapter 13 of ‘Life With A Narrowboat’ on our web site Next day we took on water, turned and progressed back towards Gnosall.  We found Geof and Mags on Seyella at Little Onn so we stopped there.  They kindly invited us in for a drink and a chat.  After a quick lunch we started our annual spring clean.  Starting at the back we filled a black bag with stuff not used or wanted during the previous year.  Only got half way through when we flaked out and had a cup of tea.  “The bag was full anyway!” We keep on heading north with our friends but also have a commitment down south at Braunston to have our own boat blacked.  With ice forming and lasting so long this winter the boat needs that treatment every year now.  Soon we will have to turn round.  Hopefully family and friends from the south coast will then come up and visit us.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pictures of places

I have been collecting pictures of places near the waterways and have now added them to our website at  

Friday, February 13, 2009

Walk abouts

We were moored at Little Onn bridge where the road headed north to Church Eaton.  It was a bright sunny morning which encouraged us out.  Ann had worked out the route across the fields on the Geo Map which we managed to follow.  As expected the fields were quite muddy and the route was not well marked so we returned down the road.
After lunch we made our way to Gnosall Heath while it rained.  The little town of Gnosall is actually a mile away from the canal and this is where the Post Office, shops and medical centre are to be found.  Another walk got us to the medical centre so I could ‘sign in’.  I am obliged to see a nurse for a fresh dressing on my back about every 4 or 5 days.  It has been quite a challenge trying to keep moving the boat and finding medical centres on the way.



Monday, February 09, 2009

No Problem, ice

After a restless night we both got up late for breakfast and later watched Country File as we do most Sundays.  Then set off up the lock at Gailey, took on water and used the facilities.  After that it was not long before we turned a corner to see the two dogs, Lucy n Meg, on the tow path and Molly went mad with excitement.  There in front was of course was No Problem and no sooner tied up than we were invited on board for tea and a chat.
Next day we took off heading south through ice which was broken up by No Problem in front.  Arrived at Autherly Junction to find it blocked by all those hire boats.  Someone was attempting to move the boats to make just enough room to get by.  At least 4 boats moved through the lock while we were there, such is the number of boats on the move. We left Sue n Vic and continued on our way to Brewood now heading north on the Shropshire Union Canal.  An appointment to see a nurse had been made for the morning.  We walked to the Medical Centre to sign on then looked round the shops.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

We wanted to leave !

We did spend an afternoon searching for a few of those ‘Geo Caches’.  Found two of them easily then collected clues for the third but ran out of time.  Apparently J R R Tolkien once lived here in Great Haywood.
We got up early next day.  After breakfast Bruce on Sanity came round the corner to the water point.  We agreed to swop places later.  Then Anglo Welsh started moving boats about with a huge crane so now the canal is blocked.  We had time for a drink while taking on water and waiting for the navigation to open. Finally got away by late morning and covered 13 lock miles to stop just short of Penkridge during a sunny but cold day. 
Woke up to find ice had formed over night.  Some determination is required to continue on our travels for we need the services of a vet for the cat and a medical centre for me. We were just getting ready to move when, would you believe it, a hire boat came by breaking up the ice.  So we followed them all the way to Penkridge.
It was there that we took Tara, our 15 year old cat, to see a vet one more time.  Tara had been suffering for some time from an overactive thyroid and had gone blind as well.  The vet agreed ‘to do the kindest thing’. We could not stay in Penkridge after that so continued on our travels and stopped at Gailey.  Several other boats were on the move so we found the ice all broken up.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Winter wonderland

We moved out to Tixel wide on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal.  It proved to be quite exposed and cold with that easterly wind.  So the next day we moved on up one lock to Milford.  Tim of Staffordshire Canopies came round to fit a number of brass items.  Drilling and tapping many holes for the stainless screws.  Now we have hooks to hold the back doors open, eyes to hang fenders and folding steps to get on the roof.  After that good mornings work we moved round the corner to gain shelter from the trees.

The expected snow grey clouds were fast approaching on that easterly wind.  But not much snow fell on us here, seems most of it went up the Thames valley.  Next day was sunny but the snow was hard and crunchy. 

We have of course hung out the bird feeders on the hedge and it was not long before we saw them gathering.  A tree stump served as a bird table on which we put bread and seed.  A robin arrived then black birds, various tits, chafinchs and a ’jenny’ wren. 


We have now returned to Great Haywood to stock up again.  More diesel from the marina and a walk to the shops.