Friday, 30 May 2014

30th May

Yesterday, guess what?  It was raining again! We walked into Wooten Wawen for some supplies while waiting for the weather to perk up.
Finally about 11.00am we were ready to be on our way. Four miles and six locks later we moored  at Lowsenford after filling the water tank in, yes, heavy rain. To be fair, most of the day was quite pleasant. The sun almost made an appearance, but only briefly.
Today has been much better. No rain! But no sun either. The last 8 locks up to Kingswood junction were quite heavy going but the wonderful scenery is some compensation.
 Now here's a strange thing. As the Captain put Oakapple into one of the locks he started reversing out, shouting for a camera. A bird had flown out of the gate in front of the boat, and there in the foliage growing on the lock gate was a nest, complete with a clutch of six eggs. How the bird managed to build the nest with the gate swinging open and shut and boats in and out is a mystery. I hope she manages to raise the chicks when the eggs hatch.

Monday, 26 May 2014

25th &26th May

Yesterday the river level was a foot into the red!  The lovely couple we met on NB Georgina, who we had planned to go down river with decided to take the alternative route back up the canal. We helped them up the first three locks on their way, eventually to Liverpool.
We returned to Oakapple via M & S to pick up a dine in for a tenner deal. We had a great afternoon in the sunshine posing for the tourists. A couple from Michigan in the USA stopped to chat. Americans seem fascinated by our canal system, we certainly have some blog followers over there. Hope you all keep reading.
Had another look at the river level yesterday evening and watched the trip boat from the basin negotiate the second lock. It just scraped under the bridge over the lock tail, nearly losing the gear off     The roof. Seems nothing will stop the partying on those boats.
This morning the river looks a bit quieter. If things continue to improve we will lock down this afternoon and spend a couple of days cruising down river. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

23rd 24th. May

Cloudy day yesterday but stayed mostly dry apart from the occasional heavy shower. Strolled around Stratford, taking in the Tudor architecture and dodging the tourists. It seems much quieter than the last time we visited. Maybe the season is still to get going.
Still deciding about going down the river. Level is on amber. Ok if it does not rain too much.
Stop press!
Saturday morning and the rain is hammering down. River level is up three inches and rising. Jury is still out about the river trip. We may have to stay put and monitor the situation.
Meanwhile there is plenty to see in Stratford. Had a look at Shakespear's birthplace yesterday and had a great stroll Down the river. The atmosphere around the river is so different to that on the canal. Will be a shame if  we can't try it.

Pic 1 is Oakapple in Sratford basin

Pic 2 is Mary Arden's house

Pic 3 is along the Statford canal the last sunny day

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Think we may have cracked the photos issue. Fingers crossed, this is a pic of the morris dancers in Warwick, hopefully.
21 & 22 May OMG. What a day. Yesterday was better. Should probably start there. Warmest day so far. Left the mooring about 9.00 am. Lost count how many locks we did. The Stratford canal is very heavily locked and they are not always well maintained, however it was a fine days cruising. We eventually moored for the night at Wilmcote, the home of Mary Arden, who was Shakespear's mother. We strolled up to the village to have a nose at the house. It is a fine Tudor farmhouse which would certainly not comply with modern building regs. So, on to today. Started we'll, weather a bit cloudy but OK since we were planning to cover the 3 Miles and 16 locks into Stratford basin. All was going well until we exited the 14th lock of the day. There was a big clonk and the engine stopped! It takes a lot to stop a big old Gardner 2LW in its tracks so it was with some apprehension that the Captain delved into the weed hatch. The prop. Was locked solid. Nothing obvious stopping it turning. My expert claimed there must be something wedged between the prop. And the Skeg which supports the rudder at the bottom of the boat. I was assured there was no alternative but to go in. Not me of course, there are some advantages to being first mate. After 20 mins. Up to his chest alongside, the captain admitted defeat. After a well needed shower there was no alternative but to call out canal and river rescue, our fourth emergency service. Luckily a very cheerful man turned up just over an hour later. After some head scratching he agreed with our diagnosis, and also our remedy. He of course had the advantage of a divers suit, minus the bronze helmet with a window! With the help of a metal bar a big hammer he soon had us on our way. Turned out it was a piece of wood no more than 6 x 2 inches. Still, it took a lot of hammering to extract it. By this time the rain had started and we did the last two locks and the entry into Bancroft basin giving a good impression of two drowned rats! Nothing for it but to hot foot it to Wetherspoons to post this blog and to partake in the curry club. Well, it is Thursday.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

19th & 20th May Captain under the weather this morning. Sat out on wharf with crew of NB Dreamcatcher in evening. OK till the whiskey came out! Still, managed to get away by 10.30 and in first lock of the Hatton flight by 11.00am. Lovely sunny day and made good progress till we reached the last couple of locks. This is where we found the volunteers, along with a pound (stretch of water between locks for our non boating readers)which looked as if the tide was out! Even a after letting water down through the next lock we still grounded going into it.Eventualy cleared the flight within 4 hrs with something round the propeller. We all know it's called a weed hatch but the last thing you expect to find is weed. For the first time ever there was a huge lump of weed wrapped round the prop. Whatever next finally moored for night on the embankment near the Shrewley tunnel. Fine views across the valley We set off today (Tuesday) heading for Kingswood Junction where we joined the Stratford canal to take us down to the river Avon And Shakespeare country. 9 locks later we are in the Fleur de lys pub writing this blog. A great days cruising.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

May 18th Another glorious sunny day. We are taking the opportunity to go out for Sunday lunch and write this blog. Town centre much quieter today. The Morris dancers have dispersed phew Hells bells, my ears are still ringing. Yesterday we bought a crotched blanket from working boat Hadar. Will look Really great in our back cabin. We are planning to get together this afternoon with the crews of some of the boats moored in the arm. I think a glass or two might be in order.realy enjoying the Saltisford arm. So close to tHe town centre, the grounds are lovely with a well kept sensory garden added since we were last here. If you would like to find out more about the trust visit Tomorrow we hit the Hatton flight of locks. There are 21 wide locks which climb up the hill out of Warwick on the way towards Birmingham. We are planning to visit Stratford on Avon so will be starting to head south at Kingswood Junction.!

Saturday, 17 May 2014

17th May Early start yesterday. We set off up the two cape locks and into the Saltisford arm for the weekend. A very warm sunny day. Ian who runs the moorings for the trust settled us in on a space at the wharf outside the office. Today, Saturday, we wandered into town to soak up the ambience of market day. There are numerous groups of Morris dancers performing in the streets. (Pictures to follow when we work out how to work them from the I pad?) Just gone into Wetherspoons to post this blog. The bar is 3 deep with Morris dancers, red and black at one end, white and yellow at the other. Perhaps they'll start fighting in a minute? At least it would clear some space at the bar! Looking forward to a quiet afternoon in the sunshine with some refreshments (cranberry juice. Ha Ha!!! )

Thursday, 15 May 2014

May 15th

Yesterday we decided to walk to Leamington Spa back along the canal and through the park into the town centre. Been through Leamington many times but never ventured into the town.
We were very impressed by the Georgian architecture and the fine parks.
After lunch in the local Wetherspoons (a good source of wifi) we made our way back via the canalside Lidl's.
As we walked under a particularly low arched bridge we spotted a cyclist speeding our way. Flattening ourselves under the arch, rather like Quasimodo, we waited for him to slow down. To our horror he continued, caught his front wheel on the edge of the towpath and plunged head first into the cut. I swear he was still pedaling as he disappeared under the water! A large bubble of air broke the surface, and he rose, like a submarine, still clutching his handlebars.
Rich hauled out the bike as he climbed, dripping, onto the towpath. Just shows how fragile is the line between confidence and disaster.
After assurances that he was OK, we made our way back to Oakapple to calm our nerves with a
G & T

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

May 13th We left Brinklow Marina last week heading out on our summer cruise ,after a few days in Braunston where we briefly met the crew of NB Parisien Star . we now find ourselves on the visitor moorings in Warwick heavy rain first thing this morning , Sun has come out for the tale end of the day , new to this blogging lark so if any one is reading this please be patient with us