Sunday, 16 August 2015

Stourbridge to Coven, Coven to Penkridge to Tixhall Wide to Kngs Bromley

Hi all,

A quick catch up.  We moved from Stourbridge to Coven on Sunday where we stopped because the weather was so nice.

From Coven it was shortish trip past the Chemical works to Penkridge and the Boat Inn for dinner on Monday night.  Some fool was in the lock just before the pub and refusing to come up because he was waiting for the water point above.  Simple choice come up or reverse out.  He came up much to the annoyance of his friend the mouthy one in the boat just above the lock. The boater coming up did apologise citing his mouthy mate as the one calling the shots.

Tuesday we pootled along to Tixhall Wide and moored up for the night.  Wednesday, back to Kings Bromley.

That's holiday done, we went out this weekend to Fradley and used the trip to do some varnishing and take the curtains home for washing. Coming back we encountered a 7 boat delay just before the Mucky Duck, mainly due to the volunteer with a bit to do with the branch causing a small leak near the gate bottom collar which the volunteer could have arranged to have removed.  I saw it too late or I would have stopped and had a go.  The volunteer seemed unhappy to open one of the paddles cos it was a bit stiff and wanted to wait to see if a boat would arrive that needed to lock down.  Those waiting weren't chuffed.  Anyway, we arrived back at the mooring and used the opportunity to remove various items we no longer required on the boat including a small drawer set, lots of paint, rope and general detritus of no use to us.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Birmingham to Merry Hill and thence to Stourbridge

Left Birmingham at 8:30 am Thursday along mainline towards Wolverhampton.

By 9 am I had coat, overcoat and gloves on!

Nothing of great note as we travelled. 

Went through Netherton tunnel which was longer than I imagined.  We arrived Merry Hill at lunchtime and found a decent mooring spot pretty quickly.  The local Fishermen were loud pains in the arse.
NB Sister Dora came up from Delph and we offered to let her breast up given there was little room and the fishermen we set for the night and had made it clear they were not for moving.

We pooped over to Weatherspoons, had a simple dinner and chilled.  We could have wandered to the shopping complex but had no need.

When Sister Dora left next morning she failed to notice, nor would I have, that the lines from our overnight fishermen had stretched right across the main channel so as she departed she set off the line alarms, fishermen did not stir even though 4 alarms were sounding, something to do with the empty bottles all around them.  The alarms went quiet when they broke, nearly toppling the rods into the water - nothing I could do as we were already underway, let's hope they just lost weights and floats, seem so as rods were still on dry land. Had a weed hatch moment and needed to remove some plastic bags from the prop.  Did that and moved on to the locks.

24 locks achieved and we moored in Stourbridge and had a very thorough pump out.  Tank still shows full so the indicator float is stuck up high, not checking it though! We also managed a mooring in the secure part and all around were notably friendly.  Very weedy stretch and water was very clear but easy to pass through.

Popped up to Town centre for a beer and some ice cream.  Looked around for a decent Chinese, none to be found so we walked about a mile to the ruby Cantonese.  Nice food, we were sorted.  We then decided to head back to town centre to go to the Tesco extra there.  Loaded up with stores and headed back to the boats.  Overnight was quiet and next morning we slipped our moorings at about 9am, filled with water and headed out.  A lovely day and we now find ourselves at Swindon village on the Shropshire and Worcester canal.

We have stopped here for fish and chips as I need a treat, and we are on holiday!

We tend to slip early and moor early, gives us a nice 5-6 hours out before we stop, usually about 3pm.

Tomorrow, we might stop at Coven and have a BBQ.  I love nothing than changing my mind when I feel, the joy of boating without a tight schedule!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Aston to Gas street, Birmingham

Overnight we moored after lock 9 in the Aston flight, rings not spaced well for a 57ft boat so couldn't get back tied on. On plus side it is on opposite side to tow path and is mainly an office complex (Aston cross business park) with security patrolling. Even better was the tip from fellow boater that there was a little shop open till 5:30 just round the corner from mooring. Very nice lady in shop told me it was extra safe overnight. Missus was pleased cos she hadn't wanted to go any further.
Set off at 8:30 but just behind hirers on Leo II. Not a good start as we grounded by the bollards before the bridge at lock 8. The wife tried to push back off with the pole but had to ask a very kind jogger to help. He got us off the ledge and on our way. Brummies are generally pretty helpful we found.
Followed Leo II up the flight and they kindly helped by emptying next lock ahead we paid their favour back later on Farmers bridge locks more of which later. We made it to the top of Aston flight by around 10am so pretty good going by all. Turned right heading for next locks and the heavens opened. Had to get umbrellas and waterproofs out but got a proper soaking before we even got to the bottom of the flight. Still following the hirers. Think it was at lock 11 as you go under a building that we helped them negotiate a cross wind that was pushing the boat across into a concrete support to the left of the lock. Had to hold their centre line to keep them over. Then had to do same for our own entry to the lock. Tricky flight to pass other boats so we were pleased it was pretty quiet. As we came out of lock 8 we met another boat and a volunteer lock helper. Just about room to pass but a short approach to the lock meant a couple of knocks. From there we made it to lock 2 before we encountered another boat heading down. All of these locks have one gate at top and bottom pros and cons to this as they are pretty heavy. Also the ground paddles are for midgets not good for the knees.

 Still a bit of team work meant we made it to the top of the flight by around 12:15. 

Leo II  had left a windlass at the top lock but we managed to catch them and hand it back. They moored immediately before the Old turn junction two good spaces with rings. In hindsight we could have moored here nicely. Instead we turned left and headed past the Sea life centre and on to Brindley Place. No free moorings here as they are all marked up for the many day trip boats that operate. Gas street basin is not for visitors either it seems so it was on to mornings opposite the Premier inn before the Mailbox. We will have to head down to the Mailbox and turn when we leave.
All those locks in the rain left us tired so we headed out for a bite to eat and a beer for me. 

Then it was curry time and we visited Pushkar, not cheap but very good quality.

We also met up with daughter no. 1 who had a day trip from nottingham. We lunch ate in Browns near the Bullring - not enjoyable which was unusual for Browns.  Dinner was at the tapas place, Bar Estilo in the Mailbox, that was lovely.  Tomorrow it's pull rings and off to Dudley way.

Where we moored, we are just in front of boat in the picture.