Friday, 24 September 2010

Final Week Cruise of 2010 - Part 5

Moored outside the Clock Warehouse

Wednesday 22nd September 2010 – Shardlow to Branston Water Park

Before we set away we thought we would have a walk around the village as we have been here several times before but never wandered further than the canal side pubs. A nice place – nothing further to report.

By 10.30am we returned to the boat (avoiding an over aggressive pair of swans) and quickly backed out of our mooring to take the opportunity of joining narrowboat Better Than Ever (a canaltime boat) in the first lock.

We travelled up through all the wide locks with this boat and stopped outside Mercia Marina for lunch and a wander into the marina where a white chocolate Magnum took toll on my waistline! After lunch decided to push on through to Barton Water Park. Arrived just before dark and passed Linda and Ian who were moored and still making a very gentle pace towards the Trent. We wished them well and look forward to seeing them again next year.

When you are moored below the wide locks on the Trent and Mersey while the lock is emptied you can suffer a savage surge. Therefore when you are only loosely tied by your middle rope the boat can quickly get out of shape in the canal. Yes – you guessed. The boat did get out of shape; once; and we have suffered damage to one of the zips on the cratch cover on the starboard side when the zip was jammed between the boat shell and an unforgiving concrete lock structure! The zip lost. We will have to sort this out tomorrow in better light together with clearing the weed hatch as we have picked up some kind of debris in the last 4 miles before mooring.

Thursday 23rd September 2010 – Branston Water Park to Alrewas

During breakfast we were passed by a very fast moving canaltime boat – aptly named “naughty Natalie”! They had a bow wave and a rooster tale that many a powerboat racer would be proud of. Surprisingly the skipper managed to travel along the whole line of moored craft without being reprimanded by a single moored boater.

After removing a couple of miles of nylon rope from around the propeller and a large spider from the weed hatch we set away at 9.30am.

It was again a lovely sunny day although within 30 seconds of Elaine stepping off the boat to open Barton Turns Lock it turned into a monsoon! She was completely soaked. With sodden clothing and straggly hair with her mascara running down her face see looked a real treat! However her sense of humour did not wane. Before we reached the next lock, (Wychnor Lock), she had been showered and changed and the weather had changed back into a lovely sunny day as quick as it had changed into a monsoon.

At Alrewas we moored up for the day. Visited Coates’s Butchers for a Pork Pie for lunch. (We had hoped to get some of their pork and black pudding speciality sausages but none had been made this week).

In the afternoon Elaine set about repairing the zip to the cratch-cover and made a first class job with limited equipment. The stitching is very neat. I painted a white square on the rear hatch in readiness for a red diamond pattern (part of the original intended livery that the boat builder didn’t get done two and half years ago!). I also painted the small ‘dams’ that I have fitted to the rear gutters to prevent rainwater over shooting the side outlets and soaking the rear seat cushions. Apart from encountering heavy rain halfway through he job it was a success – well hopefully; it’s still drying and it’s still raining – so will see the result in the morning.We are again moored below that oak tree with occasional falling acorns to keep us on our toes!

Friday 24th September 2010 - Alrewas to Fradley Junction

Woke to the sound of rain on the boat roof. After breakfast I checked the weather forecast on BBC Breakfast to find it was scheduled to clear up by lunchtime. A plan to set off late was hatched. Elaine baked some rock buns to accompany our 11 o'clock coffee break while I inspected yesterdays paint job and removed the masking tape. It was quite a smell sensation; Cellulose Paint on the rear deck with the wafted smell of fresh baking from the galley! The paintwork turned out well considering the weather we had endured during the last 12 hours and better still the rock buns were delicious!

Not a little dragonfly! (In the wildlife park next to Fradley Junction).

Once we set away the weather was dry; but colder than it had been so far this week. At Fradley it was surprisingly quiet; with mooring space! We found it hard to resist the empty moorings opposite the British Waterways Shop; so after topping up the water tank we moored up for the day. We had only travelled 6 lock/miles but we had all morning tomorrow to get to our intended Saturday mooring at Shugborough Hall to watch the Grand Prix Qualifiers. Ran the engine for an hour to top up the batteries as we hadn't travelled far enough to reach 100% charge. Had a wonder around the junction before an early night ready for an early start in the morning.

Mooring just south of Fradley Junction

No comments:

Post a Comment