Saturday, 31 March 2012

March 29th

Left Mooring at 8.00 am and as we moved off Nb Lady Dawn came round the corner and was to follow us all the way to Birmingham. They lived on board and had two lovely black Labs.
Our route took us past Bromford and
Lord/Windsor Street
where I first worked for BG.

 We also went under the a 150yd long old factory shed built over the canal, a strange thing to do as there seemed to be plenty of land for building on. Erdington Hall Bridge

We made a sharp right turn under Spaghetti Junction and headed for Birmingham centre. The locks were in generally good shape although two pounds were particularly low and we scrapped the bottom all the way to the next lock. As luck would have it we got plastic bags wrapped around the prop and I could not stop as we entered the lock. Not good for the boat or the gates. Managed to limp out of the lock and remove the rubbish assuming that Lady Dawn would pass us and be behind Autumn Years. However, we managed to clear the problem quickly and looked back to see Lady Dawn stuck on the offside bank. I went back to help them get off and luckily their stern rope just reach the bank so that we could get her back into deeper water.

Very impressive entering Birmingham with the Post Office Tower in the background and as we progressed up the Farmers flight of locks we went under several of the city’s buildings.

Talking about hard work doing the locks, this is what we mean

It was lunch time and the workers were enjoying the sun as they walked down the locks, two young men gave June a hand with some of the heavy locks and said how much they had enjoyed themselves. Even went under our very own version of the Millennium.

On reaching the top of the locks we headed for the
Oozell  Street
Loop and found two good moorings next to the Sea Life centre.

Lovely Cherry Trees and grass in the Brindley Place Sqares

March 30th

June decided to go home and see her mom and also have her hair done at the same time, so we caught the train and bus back to Solihull, thank goodness for the bus pass, home in less than half an hour. It took us 6 days to get to Birmingham!!
Returned to the boat in time for tea and cake with C & G and went to Café Rouge for dinner in the evening, just 2 mins from the mooring.
During the day Claire from Guide Dogs phoned to tell us that she was to be Carly’s trainer and would be collecting her on Monday and taking her to Shrewsbury for training. Carly would be staying with boarders over night and in the local office during the day whilst she was not with Claire doing training.

Macrh 31st

What a change the morning was damp with a fine mist and a little drizzle but soon brightened up in the afternoon.  After little shopping with the girls and coffee at M & S, the boys went off to Millennium Point to the Think Tank, the latest version of the Science Museum. Some good interactive units but still have the City of Birmingham Train, Light House and tram from the days when I was a visiting child.
Despite all the noise, open steps, glass walkways Carly was excellent and seems to have grown in confidence over the last few days.
In the afternoon June’s brother and family visited for tea and home made lemon cup cakes.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

March 27th

Hard frost again this morning with thick mist which soon burned off to give a beautiful warm sunny day.
Quite a few boats on the move before us but we made good progress to Polesworth where we had to stop as we had a bag of rope and rag around the prop.
Second lock at Glascote seemed to take an age to fill but it gave June the opportunity to show two young girls how the locks worked.
At Fazely we saw Graham waving to us from the bridge. They had just arrived and moored around the corner so we motored round and turned at Peels Wharf and moored directly behind them opposite the BW Offices. Again there were only a few boats at Fazely.

Got the chairs out and sat on the bank to enjoy tea and biscuits in the sun.

Mark from Sandhills came over at lunchtime to repair the Shower pump and it turned out to be a sticking rubber valve, so nothing I could have done to cure it. Great service from Sandhills.

After lunch June and Carolann walked the ¾ mile to see Lottie’s new house and ended up in Marks and Spencers on the way back. New bag and sweater purchased!!
After dinner Andrew and Lottie came to see the boat and Carly.

March 28th

Another glorious day; topped up the water at Peels Wharf and headed off up the Birmingham and Fazely Canal. Several locks had been renewed last year so there was little water leakage on any of the 11 locks. Graham retrieved a fishermans rod from the opposite bank, what a good fellow.
Passed by the unusual bridge opposite Drayton Manor Park and the Aston Villa training ground with it tilling pitch.

Moored up at lunchtime for the day just passed Wiggins Hill Bridge, a great spot with lovely open country side with views to Sutton Coldfield Masts. Sat on the bank and enjoyed the wonderful sun.

Towpath was busy with cyclists and walkers but all very polite and friendly.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Sunday 25th March

Left Hawksbury Jnc at 8.45 am much colder because of the hour change but lovely sunny weather.
No boats about until we reached the Ashby Jnc where we met 2 hire boats, why is it you always meet boats at tight places.

Passed some interesting gardens and a very unusual boatyard.

Moored up at Atherstone expecting it to be busy but there was only one other boat there.

Monday 26th March

Awoke to a really cold morning, so frosty that there was ice on the metal surround of the Saloon Houdini hatch.
Took Carly a walk to the top of the golf course where there were fabulous views across the valley shrouded in mist.
Went shopping for provisions and some plastic fencing to stop Carly jumping off the boat as we go through bridges, she did it twice yesterday.
Left the mooring at 11am to start tackling the 11 locks in the Atherstone flight.

Everyone was against us but it was so warm and sunny that it did not seem to matter. After a few locks had to put our shorts on.
Ideal weather for this boat with its roof covered in Solar cells, apprently they cook by electric although the boat is diesl hydraulic.

Moored up just past bridge, 50 a lovely spot out in the open. June had a shower and we discovered that the waste pump was not working. After stripping it down and trying various things gave Mark a call to get some advice. Tried all the things he suggested but still no joy. Tried putting vaseline on flapper valves and it seemed to work ok so had shower, when it again stopped working. It seemed to only work when I put it on its side. Mark said he would meet us at Fazely with another pump tomorrow.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Friday 23rd March
Left home at 10.30 am with the car loaded to the gunnels, only just enough room for Carly squashed between the sail bags.
Arrived at Brinklow to be met with a glorious sunny day and most unusually no wind and the Daffodils were blooming forth.
Unloaded the car and put some of our stuff away and then went to meet Dave and Barbara, our next door neighbours, at the Bulls Head for lunch. They joined us for tea and home made biscuits on board afterwards.
Finished putting all our stuff away, don’t think we will find it again. Topped up with diesel and a bag of coal ready for an early start tomorrow.

Nb Chance returned to the marina and we chatted to them for a while. They told us that there were queues at the locks on the Trent and Mersey because everybody was going north. Phoned C & G to suggest that they consider going south again, will decide when we meet up on Tuseday.
Tested the immersion heater on the mains supply, all worked fine.

Saturday 24th March

Awoke to a glorious morning with the sun peeking through a thin layer of mist.
Went in the car to fetch the paper and some provisions we needed from Brinklow village shop, gave Simon a lift as he was just about to walk there to do his shopping.
Left the mooring at 8.45 and immediately encountered about 6 boats as we turned out of the marina and made our way through All Oaks Wood. Thought it was going to be like the height of the season but it must have been just the early starters as the traffic soon calmed down.
Lots of wild life alongside the canal including hares, deer, and many species of birds.

Reached Hawksbury Junction for lunch and enjoyed a glorious sunny day on the bank.
Started cleaning the boat but the side was so hot that the water turned to steam as I put it on, never seen that before even in the summer let alone in March.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Carly's first Boat Trip

As we will have to keep Carly, our latest Guide Dog Puppy, until after we have set off on our Spring cruise we decided we had better see how she would cope with being on the boat for a day.
We also needed to take some of the mound of food and equipment we seem to need on the boat.
Sunday turned out to be a fantastic day, just like summer with temperatures reaching 17 degrees.
We decided on a short trip through All Oaks Wood and turn around at the old Brinklow Arm returning to stop for lunch on the embankment between Easenhall Bridge and all Oaks Wood. Found a nice spot next to Nb Briardene and set up the chairs on the bank for lunch. Really warm and lots of walkers were out.

Carly had a great time with them all as they passed by with their dogs. She also became a favourite of the couple on the next boat and we ended up chatting to them after lunch.
Carly did not mind wearing her Life jacket but on the way out she was very fidgety, but coming back to the Marina she settled down nicely and was a delight to have on board. So it looks all ok for her coming with us next week.

It was lovely to hear all the birds singing their little hearts out and watch the spring lambs frolicking in the field.

Unusually for Brinklow there was almost no wind when we arrived back and this made mooring difficult as I am only used to mooring in a force 6 wind!!
On way home checked out the local farm shop as we have been told it is great for meat etc.