Sunday, 2 June 2013

Striking a Balance


Well, I have to say that we found “The Greyhound” at Hawkesbury Junction deserving of its good reputation.  I can’t believe that we haven’t been in there before!  It’s full of atmosphere (and even on a Wednesday evening it was full of people) and has helen & John 001 (1024x768)an extensive menu.  A pub well-supported by the good folk of Coventry I was told.  We had a lovely evening with Helen & John.  Helen is my late brother’s daughter but he was divorced when she was only four and her mum moved to Lincoln shortly afterwards.  Helen is a secondary school teacher and she and John live just outside of Hull so over the years I have not seen a lot of her.  I hope we have sufficiently whetted their appetite for being on a narrowboat  so that they come and spend longer with us in the future.

                                                     When we have visitors they have to bring their own bedding!!

We left Hawkesbury on Thursday morning and kept on the move until we were almost at the bottom of the Atherstone flight – we made steady progress and moored up at about 5.30pm.  Friday, the sun came out and we did a similar distance reaching Streethay at the end of the day.  Saturday, that ‘steady progress’ was interrupted by a few obstacles.  First of all – bridge ‘oles!  Quite often there were boats moored either side of the bridge holes and, what with this and the water really needing to be dredged, it was a case of …….. coming to a grinding halt, reversing, full steam-ahead, slowing down and then limping through!  Going through the long bridge under the A38 we were met by another boat who hadn’t/couldn’t see us coming because of the moored boat blocking his view.  That involved him poling back!  Then – Fradley Junction!  How busy was that!  The majority of boats coming off the Coventry and those approaching from Alrewas were going towards Great Haywood – and that, of course, included us.  Even with volunteers manning all the locks it seemed to takes ages to clear the three locks.

In praise of volunteers – what worthwhile jobs they do.  Some were manning the locks, some cleaning paintwork and rubbing down surfaces ready for re-painting and others weeding.

The Plum Pudding (1024x768)

Next -The Narrows near Armitage – the first section was interesting as a boat came towards us and just kept on coming despite the fact that we were almost out.  In the end John found it easier to let him carry on and he (John) reversed all 7/8ths of the way back!!  Sometimes self preservation (and the preservation of new blacking) become the most important thing on the agenda.

Another lovely looking pub we have yet to frequent –“The Plum Pudding” near Rugely.

On reaching Rugely it was really busy with moored boats so we forsook the opportunity of a visit to the supermarket and carried on to moor between there and Colwich.  We were lucky enough to find a spot but, again, it was pretty busy with moored boats.

SO ……………. we have re-looked at the maps and decided to ‘strike a balance’ and average about 15 lock miles a day so that we can moor up at no later than 4pm each night.  That should be about a sensible 5 hours travelling time – any more than that and somehow the fun element dwindles, we/I get tired (not getting any younger!!!!) and it just becomes tedious!

Sharron & Ken on n/b “Janus” have just pulled up in front of us (we first met them at Evesham in 2009) and Jane & Jona on n/b “Keep Smiling” are behind us (last seen at Foxton earlier this year) so there’s some catching up to be done.  We need to catch up with some chores too so we’ve decided to ‘stay put’ for today.  After all, it is Sunday!

Tomorrow’s planned destination:- Sandon.  xxoo

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