Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Where are we?

The National Census is about to record where we all are and how many mouths need feeding for the next ten years. We have been on a boat moving about the countryside since they last checked. We know where we are but how can they know? Well I would hope that our postal address will do but we are not there very often. I suspect that there are many cases where people are not counted.

Here we are at Huddlesford
We have moved again! No problem following that boat from Hopwas to Alvechurch. That other boat ‘Balmahaaa’ passed by. We are quite independent really until we hit those locks when we helped each other through. One paddle on the first lock did not open so it was so so slow to fill.

Here we are at Fazeley
We had filled the front tank at Fazeley Junction. Our attempt to go south of Birmingham will bear fruit now we have gone round the north of it.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tea, cake and flapjacks

When Sue n Vic got their new prop fitted and tested to their great satisfaction both boats stopped further on.

Creating a gathering of three boats which included Derwent 6. Once we had got secured to the bank and relit the fire Del & Al invited us all round for hot drinks while Ann provided her melt in the mouth coffee cake.
Next day we returned the favour by inviting them all on Moore 2 Life and enjoyed homemade flapjacks made by Ann and Al.

We moved on to Huddlesford to pick up a Tesco order in the morming. While busy putting it all away Balmaha passed with a greeting and continued to Whittington. Next thing we know there we were all inside with Mo and Ness enjoying their tea n cake.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Water Closet

A rose by any other name..... I wonder why Towpath Talk is referring to ‘British Waterways’, when under new management, as ‘New Waterways Charity’ when the name is not yet decided. At the moment you may well think that the canal system is a Water Closet; somewhere to dump rubbish.
It was while staying in Rugeley that we saw a bonfire burning late at night. It was near the edge of the canal and some of the rubbish ended up in the water with a big splash. The general public it seems are intent on ‘loosing’ their unwanted by spreading it about the countryside and in the waterways.
Massive cleanups by various voluntary organisations do their very best but it seems they have to keep doing it. A clean sweep is very much required within those organisations that claim to be looking after our waterways. Volunteers already do their bit but there really is a need to employ lock keepers and lengthmen with the local knowledge to properly look after our waterway system.
Redundancies are happening at the wrong end of British Waterways in an attempt to save money. That approach is clearly not working. One man at the top costs much more than one at the bottom, but the ones at the bottom are worth a lot more. It is not a WC that we need, it is people who care and know how to look after the waterways.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The sun shines

It was one of those days that reminded us of the good times when we really enjoy boating. We did not go far but we went slowly and ‘drunk in the wine’ it was so good. Spring is in the air and the evidence on the ground. Woodland carpets of snowdrops and crocus. The early signs before spring gets going with daffodils. Only three miles but it was Cannock Chase, open countryside with the warmth of the sun on our faces.
All too soon we had arrived at Rugeley where our records show that we have been here most years since 2001. Spent a few days here to shop and look around before moving on. Seems many boats are doing the same between stoppages. We drifted on past the power station belching steam and pollution, through the narrows at Armitage and stopped near Kings Bromley.

While travelling on the canals we are often amused by the humorous sights provided by those on land. Often unseen by those who stand on solid ground. We appreciate those who provide us with something to see that is pretty, well kept and creative. The back gardens which slope down to the canal edge where the owners cannot see from their own homes. There is, sadly, such a contrast between villages, towns and cities that either turn their backs on the waterways and those that embrace them.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Stocking up

After a couple of days at Tixel Wide we moved into Great Haywood when the ice had gone. It was way back at the beginning of November last year that we had left here intending to return in December. You can never be too sure how plans will work out with our nomadic life style. We have to be prepared for any eventuality. It was that early start to winter that stopped us getting back.
We backed up to the water point with some difficulty due to the wind so that we were facing in the direction we intended to leave. Eventually after some time going sideways we got there and were being pulled in by Shelia from Sanity Again. Bruce was there as well. Strange to remember that they were there when we left! “Thanks for your help.” Got the water tank filled and that other cassette emptied then filled the diesel tank.
Once all done we moved off to the Visitor Moorings and went shopping. The butcher had some rabbit and venison for sale. It is a very long time ago that we had rabbit stew. When we caught up with Sue she lent us her Farmers Kitchen book which had a recipe using rice and tomatoes with bacon. “Not quite the taste expected but, as I remembered, it was full of bones.” I look forward to the venison stakes later.
We have now got past that Colwich lock which was due to shut soon for three weeks. I wonder what they have planned this year.

This picture taken in Novmber 2009
The bottom gates are very heavy to move and are so unbalanced they open themselves. The previous efforts did not solve the problem. The new owners of that Lock Cottage must be a bit put out having their back garden used for access.