Thursday, 29 May 2014

As Time Goes By ………

Just a few snippets of the last week:-

The making of the new boarding plank (480x640)


The making of the new boarding plank.

We now have one surplus to requirements!





Walking in the countryside:-

Sometimes you see sights that just amuse:-

Little &Large (480x640)            Wellie store (640x480)

Other times you come across things that cause anger and frustration!!

fly tipping (640x480)        a stile is somewhere under here (480x640)        0 out of 10 (480x640)

And when friends come to visit, it’s just perfect!  We had a lovely few days at Audlem whilst the music festival was going on.  During the festival in excess of 70 different musical acts performed in the pubs, church and scout hall.  Yes, we ate too much and definitely drank too much but we tried to balance it with a bit of exercise too!

Audlem 14 014          Audlem 14 016 (640x480)          Audlem 14 017 (640x480)

Nantwich is a lovely old town. In Medieval times it was apparently the chief salt producing town in Cheshire. This is where Mick & Lynn stayed (we think?) – Rosie & Molly’s accommodation was much more modest - on board with us – but they seemed happy enough.

Nantwich (640x480)

Walking around Nantwich yesterday we came across a little bit of yesteryear and thought this very special and very precious:-

A precious bit of the past (640x480)

You will be pleased to know, Lynn, that John managed to get himself a new pair of shoes quite painlessly so no more wet socks or dangers of tripping up!  We also managed to find a Screwfix to get another TV aerial but it felt like we had walked half way to Crewe!   So, market day in Nantwich today – I do love mooching around a good market.  A legacy from my mum I think.  Fed up now with all the rain but ……………………. what can you do?!  Should be on the Llangollen by the weekend.


Friday, 23 May 2014

Complete U Turn ……

Four Counties Ring in 6 days?  With a large enough crew – what a great idea!  We were fortunate enough to have such a crew (eight of them) behind us going down the Audlem Flight and they had to get a move on ……………………. God BlessWhat luck! With lots of crew wielding windlasses and setting locks progress was rapid.  The three single-handers (two going up and one going down) couldn’t believe their luck either!

The following map is for my dear friend, Mick, who wanted to know details of the route:-

Four Counties Ring

109 miles and 94 locks.

We are now moored at Audlem and there is a Music Festival kicking off tonight so that should be interesting.  It’s all been rather ’last minute’ but Mick and Lynn have managed to book a room in a hotel in Nantwich and are coming to find us for part of the weekend.


At this time of year I inevitably find myself thinking sympathetically of all those youngsters who are busily sitting exams. For the records, John used to be really good at maths.  Many years ago, it was only with his extra tutelage in my parents’ front room (!!!!), that I managed to scrape through O Level maths.  However, I don’t think he himself would pass today if he had to re-sit on account of his now very poor understanding of fractions.  I have an excuse because I was never any good at them in the first place but John USED to be exceptional.     The following picture demonstrates his current idea of half !!!!!!!!!!

John's idea of half!! (480x640)

“I rest my case”, as Mr Elliot would say!  I suppose it all helps the economy.

I wonder how good at fractions Mick and Lynn are? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  As good as us I suspect!


Sunday, 18 May 2014

It’s All a Matter of Choice …

Oh, the lure of the ring!  The Cruising Ring that is.  We are currently on a section of The Four Counties Ring.

I do ‘get it’ – I really do.  To cruise a circular route has most definitely got an enormous appeal.  Hey, I’m one of those who likes circular walks – I can’t stand having to come back the same way that I’ve gone!  So, yes, circular routes are great.

BUT ….. The Four Counties Ring in a week?  Actually, hirers don’t have a full week – it’s more like 6 days by the time hand-over and hand-back have been accomplished.  The Four Counties Ring in 6 days?  Clearly it can be done because we’ve met hirers who are doing just that but they tell me that they are having to be on the move for 10 hours a day in order to ensure they are back on time.  Ah!  So that’s why boats are passing us at 7am and 7.30pm!

I’m sure there’s an enormous sense of achievement at the end of it and I do appreciate that when you’ve spent a lot of money on hiring a boat you want to be making full use of it – not mooching around little villages or sitting sunning yourself on the tow path but ……………….. 10 hours cruising a day?  It’s just not for me.  Just as well we’re all different.  Each to their own.

What about the hawthorn blossom this Spring?  It’s spectacular!  Is it always as lovely as this?  Have I just failed to appreciate it in past years?


        Blossom 005 (640x480)        Blossom 003 (480x640)        Blossom 012 (640x480)

We’ve been on The Shroppie several times before but I have most certainly failed to appreciate just how magnificent the balustraded Avenue Bridge actually is.  Bridges over the canal are not usually as ornate as this one!  It carries a driveway to Chillington Hall and was constructed for the rich landowners of the time who would only allow permission for the waterway to cross their land if such a structure was built for them.  Today, it’s in a bit of a sorry state of repair – such a shame because it’s definitely rather special.  I don’t know anything about the present state of Chillington Hall itself – is it still there?  Is it still owned by wealthy people?  If so  you’d think …………………….?

Blossom 014 (640x480)

We’ve had a couple of disastrous walks of late.  One near Wheaton Aston where, in places, the bridle path was more akin to an Amazonian swamp and another where the farmer, much to our annoyance, won!  We couldn’t get through the thick hedge and barbed wire where there should, according to our map, have been access.

Lola doesn’t care! She’s a happy boater, walker and splish-splosher ………  The sun’s out, John’s in his shorts (!) embarking on the task of making a new boarding plank.  All is well. xxoo

Blossom 006 (480x640)

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Spring Migrants ………………..


                                                                                       have arrived from Cypress. 

They called in to see us for a couple of days on their way further North.  It was really good to see our friends, Chris and Ray, and spend some time with them.

We had a lovely walk together up on The Chase ………………..

Walking on Cannock Chase            Over from Cypress 002 (480x640)        Komodo Dragon-Look-Alike

learned how to play Canasta employing ‘Cypress Rules’,

had a good mooch around Wolsey Bridge Antiques Centre and inevitably, parted with some money ……………………

AND ………………… made good use of their services whilst they were with us!

Over from Cypress 004 (480x640)        Over from Cypress 005 (640x480)        Over from Cypress 006 (480x640)

Sadly, unlike the birds, they will not be staying for the Summer.  Safe journey home you two and we’ll see you again whenever your next migration may be  xxoo

Thursday, 8 May 2014

The Lovely Month of May

So far our first couple of days out of the marina have turned out to be the most eventful!  From Norton Junction to Braunston it’s only a few miles:-

  • The tunnel was completely clear of fumes!  Also, the water was crystal clear – something I’ve not seen before.  The tunnel roof and sides were clearly reflected in the water and you could see right down to the bottom.  Amazing!
  • At the top of the flight we found ourselves behind a single-handed lady taking professional instruction about how to work a flight of locks on her own.  So ……………… no one was allowed to give her any help.  She did really well but, inevitably, it was rather slow going for those of us following.  We ‘overtook’ after the third lock.
  • A boat had to be pulled out of the bottom lock manually as, whilst in the lock, the tiller just snapped off at the bottom!
  • When we were in the bottom lock the skipper of the boat accompanying us got himself caught up on the cill.  Fortunately, those of us locking saw what was happening and rapidly averted the potential disaster.

Since then nothing particularly eventful has happened – we’ve just been trundling along!  With the weather being so lovely over the Bank Holiday weekend we thought here on the Coventry canal it would be really busy but it’s been totally the opposite – so, so quiet.

It’s all too easy to take simple, but nevertheless, special things for granted though is it not?

Bluebells at Hartshill


The bluebells in the woods at Hartshill Hayes are absolutely stunning at the moment.




We’ve only seen one brood of cygnets – nine in all – but I didn’t have the camera with me.  Ducklings, however, abound.

Out looking for brekfast

This little family of seven ducklings were out getting breakfast in the rain and then mum decided enough was enough, got herself and them onto the bank and tucked them all under her wings. 

                                   What a mum!!  There are 7 under there, I promise!

                                          What a good mum!

We stopped by ‘The Little Chimney Boat Co’ to order Ben a special chimney for his barge.  Actually, that was just an excuse – what we REALLY wanted was a Cavalier –Fix!

Lily and Daisy (640x480)

                         I’m sure Lola would love a little sister!

                                  One man and his dog

Something else that caught my attention whilst walking Lola this morning was a collection of old motor cars.  There were big, posh old Rolls and Bentleys but, personally, I would choose this one:-

Oh, how I would love one!

We are now at Fradley Junction and we’ve never seen the visitor moorings so empty.  We’re staying here now for a couple of days as our friends Chris and Ray, who now live in Cypress, are over here visiting friends and family- us included.  It will be lovely to catch up with them as a lot has happened to us all since we last saw them.  Then, onward to Great Haywood.