Sunday, 29 June 2014

29th June.

Homeward bound.

Picked up our hire car about 1.00pm on Friday. By the time we had returned to Oakapple and sorted out the fridge and freezer it was nearing rush hour, so, hey ho, off to the Eagle for a late lunch before driving south.
Busy weekend at home, catching up with every one as well as making some attempt to get down the garden which has  had nobody down it for two months! I'm sure that when we push Oakapple down some of the narrow tree lined canals the Captain sees himself as Humphrey Bogart in the African Queen. Well the effort required to penetrate to the end of the garden certainly continued the jungle theme, taking a couple of hours hacking to return it to a semblance of normality. I wouldn't have been surprised to find a lost tribe of pygmys in the long grass at the end.
Yesterday we visited our eldest daughter and the two of her offspring that were home, and today, after sorting out the last of the business that brought us home, we  saw the rest of the family who were around. First our granddaughter and son-in-law, and then my brother who provided a welcome lunch. Cheers Michael. Finally home to relax on our newly discovered patio.
Planning a relaxed evening before returning to Oakapple  tomorrow to continue the cruise.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Change of plan!
Seems we need to go home for a few days.we have arranged a hire car for the weekend and will be taking Oakapple back into Droitwich Spa marina tomorrow.
Apart from a brief shower yesterday evening the weather has been unbroken sunshine for at least week now. Yesterday we decided to have a look at Hanbury Hall. Now it seems that when we moored at the bottom of the Astwood locks the other day, we were only a short stroll across the fields away. From Droitwich it is about 3 1/2 miles! Still, we called at the  Eagle & Sun on the way and had the fish cakes from the two quid menu for lunch. For anyone on the fashionable 5/2 fasting days diet this would be a good selection.
The hall is a fine building with some superb wall and ceiling paintings depicting the classical story of Achilles. It was a very warm walk back across the fields so we called in at the pub for refreshments. The Captain had his eye on the sticky toffee pudding but I had to put my foot down and warned him "you'll spoil your dinner" so, after just the one drink we made our way back to the basin. (I think he has forgiven me).

Monday, 23 June 2014

23rd. June

Enjoying the sunshine.
It has been a glorious weekend in Droitwich marina. We discovered the Sun & Eagle pub back at Hanbury Junction. Superb food at prices to rival Spoons. As it was the Captains birthday on Saturday we had a great lunch. Captain had to have the Cumbeland sausage, chips, peas, in a giant Yorkshire pudding. All for four quid! He was determined to have a dessert for another two pounds but admitted defeat before finishing the Yorkshire. Still, that didn't stop us going back on Sunday for the traditional Sunday roast, again, only four quid. This time we both managed the pudding, so bursting at the seams we made our way back on board. Later in the afternoon we had a visit from Hillary & Roger, who were the original owners of Oakapple and who were responsible for the design of the boat we are so proud of. It was good to catch up with them both and I hope they are pleased with the way we are cruising her.
Today dawned another warm sunny day. Not a day to go too far. In fact only a mile or so into the basin at Droitwich. There were however four locks, including a staircase which I took Oakapple through (I hate staircase locks!) and three swing bridges ( I hate those too). The tunnel under the motorway was interesting. It was originally there to take the little river Salwarpe under the road when the canal was derelict, however with the restoration it now takes boats through with about six foot headroom. That means everything comes off the roof, including chimneys, and you scrape through with about six inches to spare ( if you are lucky) we are now moored safely in the basin and have taken advantage of the local supermarkets to stock up with supplies before we go onto the river Severn.
Nearly forgot, watched four hot air balloons drift by around dusk on Saturday evening. They came down in a field close by. Very atmospheric.

Friday, 20 June 2014

20th June.

Droitwich beckons. Thursday we stayed put at the Queens Head. We wanted to visit the Avencroft Museum which is a short walk from the canal. There are some fine buildings which have been reerected on the site. Strangely, the most memorable part of the visit is the national telephone kiosk collection. There are examples of almost every type since the 1920s. A very knowledgeable ex BT man showed us round the telephone exchange, explaining how the relays connected all the phone boxes on site. Fascinating!
Couldn't resist another of the pizza's in the Queens head on the way back. We were just finishing our pints when who should sail by but fellow bloggers Lesley & Joe on NB Yarwood.
I managed to drag the captain away from the attraction of the waitresses in their little leather aprons, (must be a man thing!) and we walked up the locks, finding Yarwood in the eighth lock up. Borrowed a windlass and helped work them up the rest of the flight. They had done about a 12 hr. Day by the time they moored up. Poor lambs. We were rewarded with tea and cake on board. Yarwood was built by the same builder as Oakapple so it is interesting to compare the similarities and differences.
Yesterday we came down the two flights of six locks to moor in a very quiet spot just below the last lock. Just chilled out in the warm sunshine.
Today we set off about 10.00am. As it's our 44th wedding anniversary we had not planned to go far. We turned on to the  Droitwich canal and went into the Droitwich Spa marina for the weekend. There were just three locks to negotiate first. Quite interesting, in that they have working side ponds. These are a way of saving water and reusing it to fill the lock.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

17th. June.

Onward to Tardebigge.
Moved on from the Cider House trough kings Norton Junction and it's famous guillotine stop lock gates. Shame it has been disfigured by mindless graffiti! Now I know there is an academic view that sees this as an 'art form' but really, if this is art it' s spelled with a capital F.  Enough said. We moored up at Alvechurch for the night after passing through the Wast Hill tunnel. 1 3/4 miles long. Very impressive.
Yesterday we had a quiet day, only moving as far as the top lock at Tardebigge. Cleaned the boat, yes I know a shiny boat is a wasted life, but it has to be done sometimes. Generally relaxed ready for the 30 locks in the flight.
Today we set off about 9.00 ish. Fine and sunny, not too hot. We rattled down the locks in about four hours. It was a breeze compared to the Hatton flight. Found a mooring space at the bottom by the Queens Head where we have just enjoyed a fine Pizza and a well deserved pint.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

14th June

Whoopee! We're on the move.
Armed with another weeks antibiotics the Captain has declared himself good to go. We said farewell to Sue & Vic on No Problem yesterday morning and cast off.
After some nifty reversing we got ourselves through Kingswood Junction and onto the service dock. One empty waste tank and one full water tank later we were on our way up the locks. The intention was to just do the first six, however it was such a fine day we scurried all the way to the top, taking turns of three each, and moored in fine countryside for the night.
Not quite so warm today, however still very pleasant. We left our mooring by about 10.00 ish. Heading towards Kings Norton Junction. Not such a challenging day, two lift bridges, one quite easy, the other B. hard! Moored up this afternoon at the Bluebell Cider  House. We are now writing this blog over a pint of Hogans cider. Damm fine stuff, you can actually taste the apples. Mmmmm.
Last time we were in Warwick we managed to pick up the cushion covers that Jo on Hadar was making for us. They look great. Thanks Jo.
Before I sign off can I just say thanks to all our fellow bloggers for their concern over our forced idleness, Sue and Vic, and also Ray and Diane on NB Ferndale with whom we spent a very pleasant evening. Thanks also to the staff at Cape Road Surgery who couldn't have been more helpfull.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

11th. June

Up early Monday morning and walked the 3 1/2 miles down Hatton locks to visit the vampire nurse at the hospital. How to find the right department?  Follow the dots on the floor. Red ones, is that just a coincidence?
Breakfast in Spoons. followed by a visit to Sainsburys for some much needed supplies. As we walked back through the Saltisford arm we stopped to chat with Ian who kindly gave us a lift back up the locks. If only we had known we would have got more shopping!
Faced with a sunny afternoon and needing to charge the batteries we decided to go back to Kingswood Junction, this time mooring round the corner to avoid the white feathered mooring warden.
Yesterday we met up again with Sue & Vic from No Problem and spent a very enjoyable hour in the pub garden over a pint. ( soda water for the captain, he is starting to get grumpy! )
Today we are back in Warwick, this time on the train, to get the results of the tests. Good news is the Captain is starting to feel a bit better so we are hoping to be on the move again by the weekend. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

8th June

Well, here we are once more, back at Hatton Locks. That wasn't the plan.  The intention was to stay at Kingswood Junction till the Captain is fit to carry on. Unfortunately one attempt to visit the doctor in Warwick showed us that was not practical. ( don't ask! )
We backed out onto the Grand Union at  8.30 yesterday, driven out by the swans. They spend all day and half the night banging and pecking on the boat. Captain thinks they must be the new mooring wardens. Damned effective. I swear one of the swans tried to sell me a Big Issue the other day.
We spent the night on the embankment at Rowington, and moved on to Hatton this morning.

I told the Captain we could walk down the locks and visit Spoons for Sunday lunch, but he was not to have any beer! ( because of the antibiotics )  He said , what, all that Ruddles at less than two quid a pint, wouldn't mind if the f!?£,g things were working.  Any way, he is off to do a blood test in the morning so a few beers would not be a good idea.

Friday, 6 June 2014

June 6th

Hi readers,     Been a while since the last blog. We are at Kingswood Junction, again. Been a dodgy few days. The Captain has an infection. I blame his recent dip in the canal. We first moved down towards Hatton to find a doctor. Eventualy walked down Hatton locks to the cape and got sorted with antibiotics. Left a wee sample and that should have been that.
After heading back towards Kingswood and spending a day moored up in the rain we got back to the junction. Unfortunately the meds. Are not working and a blood sample is required. Seems we will be going back to Hatton for the third time. I guess we will be going down the locks and into Saltisford till things are resolved.
A more positive note, we have Eventualy met with Sue & Vic on No Problem. We have been keen to meet up for a long time since they are, like us, from Portsmouth. Another curiosity, we saw a turtle baking on a log near the Shrewley tunnel. I have heard they are common in some places but this is the first sighting of one. Those Ninjas have a lot to answer for!

Monday, 2 June 2014

1st. June.

Had a quiet couple of days moored at Kingswood Junction. Quiet boating days but we have actually been quite busy.
Yesterday we walked through the field to the National Trust property of Baddesley Clinton. A fine old manor house set in its own moat and fine stained glass windows depicting the coats of arms of the family going back centuries.
We persuaded ourselves to join the trust, well we have both got birthdays coming up soon.
On Sunday we visited another fine property called Packwood House  full of fine furniture and tapestries another  lovely day