Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Settling back down

We're getting back into the routine of living in the marina; the Ocado delivery turned up just fine not long after ten.

At the time we had just finished helping John and Nev tie Waimaru on Y4; a family emergency means that they've had to return home. We hope everything gets sorted for them soon; at least it means we'll get to see them again. It was another great night last night, anyway.

Helen came round for a coffee after lunch and brought us up to date on what's been happening whilst we were away.

Elanor and Sally are coming over at six to get some exercise.

I don't often use the blog to plug restoration projects, but the Lichfield and Hatherton is one that we think well of, so I thought I'd give this a mention:

LICHFIELD & HATHERTON CANALS RESTORATION TRUST

Lloyds Bank - Community Fund 2014 grant

The Trust has applied for a grant up to £3,000 towards extending
the Heritage Towpath Trail along the Lichfield Canal.

The Trust is now one of four contenders in the local group: the best good cause gets £3,000, 2nd £2,000, 3rd £1,000, 4th £500, determined by the extent of support by public vote.

Voting is very simple by going to https://lly-cf.com/LNC and click ‘VOTE FOR US’.
You might be able to cascade it to others through Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin.

Also, one can send a text message ‘VOTE LNC’ to 61119.

Those in the Lichfield area can visit Lloyds Bank branches in Lichfield, Rugeley or Uttoxeter and place as many plastic tokens as possible in the collecting box in the bank.

PLEASE SUPPORT OUR CAUSE NOW, AND ASK OTHERS TO DO SO TOO
before the closing date of 10th October 2014. Thank you!

Bob Williams, Director
Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust Ltd.
Phone: 01543 671427 Mobile: 07973 293834


See you tomorrow!

Monday, 22 September 2014

A good weekend

I didn't get round to blogging yesterday because we'd met up with the Campbells on Waimaru for a cup of tea and what with one thing and another didn't finish with them until late. They'd worked up from Shardlow during the morning and we rendezvoused with them by Potlock's Bridge in mid afternoon.

After tea and goss on board, we all came back to the marina to examine the Boardwalk, take a look at the outside of Walnut Lodge and we ended up on Sanity Again for a glass of wine. When the idea of meeting up had first been mooted, we'd hoped that the Bistro would have started trading, but that's not going to happen until early next month now.

So I broke out some supplies from the store cupboards and we ate on board.

All in all, a very good day.

We're meeting again at half ten in the Willow Tree for hot chocolate so I thought I'd get a quick blog post done to both catch up and anticipate not being able to do one later.

Apart from socialising, the two main tasks today are the Monday wash (Sheila) and getting the Owners' Group database as complete as possible ready for the transfer to the new site in its new home.

Back again tomorrow...

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Home again

The problem with having a busy day, indeed a great one, is that it's hard to find the energy to blog about it!

Waking early, at five in fact, we had a leisurely tea in bed then got breakfast in time to get going at seven. This had the advantage of doing a lot of boating before pretty well anyone else was on the move.

It's such a well known run we can almost do it in our sleep; just as well, probably, in view of our dozy state.

By nine things were getting busier as we got towards the end of the locking. Sheila had run a washload as we went so as to have stuff ready to tumble on our arrival. It was around half twelve when we arrived; the dog training class was in full swing in the heritage field on the left of the access channel as you enter the marina.

I'm pleased to say that I managed the turn in, with Sheila's expert help, without hitting anything and embarrassing Sally. The approach to the pontoon wasn't quite as good, but you can't have everything. By the time we'd got tied, Elanor and Sally had joined us. After a late lunch, we got out the isolation transformer and connected up the shoreline.

Nothing happened. This was a bit ironic – I'd been a bit worried that the batteries were still taking a lot of charge from the alternator before we stopped and now I couldn't get the charger powered up.

By a process of elimination it emerged that the transformer wasn't performing at all. I've connected the shoreline without it for the time being – we can rely on the galvanic isolator for the moment. A phone call to Braidbar on Monday, methinks.

The batteries have finished charging in the usual way, so I was worrying to no purpose.

Situation normal, then.

We've given Sal a run in the field with her new toy; she likes it, but was too weary to play very much after an hour's training. An ice cream was very welcome, though.

The Boardwalk is looking great; a couple of the shops are already open, and much shop fitting is going on in the others.

Once our visitors had gone we popped into the office to sort some stuff and get an electric card.

Now for a quiet evening and hopefully a good night's sleep.

Tomorrow, we should have a rendezvous with John and Nev on Waimaru, a happy thought.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Cloudy in Alrewas

Having heard the referendum result and drunk a cup of tea, Sheila got us on the move whilst I got ready to face the day.

We got to Woodend lock a bit before eight; on the way I'd spotted a blunt brown head swimming across the cut. About halfway across it dived and a trail of bubbles showed its further progress; undoubtedly a vole returning to its burrow. I suggested to Sheila that the presence of voles might lead to the woods being classified as an SSSI, thus making the HS2 route avoid it, but she reminded me that there's an SSSI at Polesworth which hasn't saved it.

I think we crossed with boats at every lock between Woodend and Bagnall; indeed there was a queue below the latter. It did mean that there was plenty of space in Alrewas when we got here.

The radios showed their worth here: I'd taken over steering and Sheila walked on to find a good space just above the river lock. As we arrived, Peter and Janet were just moving Sanity into the lock.

The weather has turned cool and damp: I reckon we may have to light the Squirrel this evening.

Tomorrow, we'll have a final long day to Mercia: Elanor and Sally will be dog training as we arrive, probably.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Busily to Handsacre

As I said yesterday, we planned to wait a bit before setting off this morning so as to get to Rugeley when there would be some space. Accordingly we got away just before nine. I was feeling pretty bleary, frankly, having had a lousy night's sleep, so it was just as well that the route is not very challenging.

Typically, the boat which had been tied in front of us and which had set off before us had got one of the spaces just before the bridge, so it looks like we needn't have hung about. No matter, we had a useful couple of trips; one to the bank and assorted other shops in the centre and the other to Tesco.

We even found a replacement throw toy for Sally in a pet shop, a frisbee type thing. We thought about a large Kong, but had a feeling that either she already had one or else that it had been tried and found wanting.

As usual, Sheila started off steering whilst I put away. This proved a good move on my part; she had quite a bit of fun getting clear of the moored boats in the face of oncoming traffic; at one point going hard astern resulted in a horrendous clonking from the prop.

I had my share of this later, getting Sanity Again stemmed up on the offside at a subsequent bridgehole. After all this we had a decent run through to Handsacre, arriving just before half twelve.

I'd already scoffed my pasty, but ate the rest of my lunch whilst Sheila got hers. The tiller had been shaking quite a bit for the last section, raising the concern that either we had something on the prop or, worse, that our stemmings up had put a ding in one of the blades.

So down the weed hatch I went; all was well, I'm glad to say.

There was plenty of room at Handsacre and we've spent the afternoon quietly. There's always a decent 3 signal near Rugeley; handy as we've both upgraded the iPads to iOS 8. Two features of interest to us – the new way the keyboard handles predictive text, much more like the Android system, and Family Sharing which will let us read each other's iBooks for example.

Tomorrow, a solid day's boating to come. An early start and right through to Alrewas.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Gently to Taft

After yesterday's long (for us) trip, a much easier one today; it's just a couple of hours from Tixall to Taft Wharf, so we had a relaxed start and set off at eight. We could have left it later still, but queues can build up at Haywood and Colwich locks.

The strategy worked well. Sheila did the big sweeping turn on the Wide and half an hour later we were locking down at Haywood. It was a pleasant chug to Taft, with traffic building up all the while. There was plenty of room when we got here at ten, just in time for a coffee before taking advantage of the dry weather to wash the starboard side.

As we finished, we got into conversation with Colin and Jan on Polako who were engaged in similar titivating activity. It turned out that they know Graham and Carolann on Autumn Years and were planning to meet up shortly.

Truly the cut is one extended village.

After our morning exertions, we've been taking it a bit easier this afternoon. Peter and Jan on the other Sanity passed by; Peter had popped to see us last night at Tixall when they were moored at the far end of the wide from us. Regular readers (as they are, indeed) will recall that their Sanity is moored on Finch pontoon at Mercia, but we've known them since our own days on the Braidbar Sanity.

Like I say, it's a village community. Later on, Stephen and Jayne on Dolce Far Niente went by, but we didn't get a chance to speak.

Sheila's got some more crochet done and I caught up with IT stuff. Tomorrow, a late start again; it's about an hour to the Tesco mooring in Rugeley and we don't want to get there until some of the overnighters have had a chance to set off and make room.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Hooray, it's Tixall!

We did a solid morning's boating today, over four hours, which is a lot for us. Having stopped half an hour short of our planned destination at Burston yesterday, we needed to add that to today's run. So, having woken a bit early, we had tea in bed then Sheila started boating before seven whilst I got breakfast.

We swapped over and Sheila had eaten by the time we got to Phoenix Sandon. The bottom gates there were leaking something horrific; it looks as if the cill is getting ready to give up the ghost, so don't be surprised if there's an emergency stoppage before long. As soon as Sheila shut the top gate Sanity Again started her descent without any paddles being drawn.

Apart from that, it was a classically good bit of Autumn boating. It was rather misty murky but not unpleasant and we toddled along, the washing machine chugging away and familiar landmarks appearing then being left behind. We'd been going over two hours before we saw another boat moving.

Weston lock was against us, but a boat was just leaving Hoo Mill as we came in sight. By the time we'd locked down, another boat was approaching, making up for the hard work Sheila had put in at the previous two locks.

We knew we needed to water either here or else at Spode House the day after tomorrow. There was a boat on the water point as we arrived, but they promptly let go and boated off, leaving us in possession. Filling the tank now means that we won't need to do so again until we get back to Mercia. Similarly, Sheila has now done enough washing to last until then.

A handy mooring at the Haywood end of Tixall was free, the sun was out and a gentle wind blowing. We rigged the whirligig to get the washing dry and settled to a half hour's constructive loafing (Sheila: crochet, me: surfing Canal World; it's a hard life).

After lunch we walked back to the Farm Shop to buy a cauliflower for this week's veggie meal.

Since then, more crochet, catching up with stuff to do with the Owners' Group, reading the paper.

Tomorrow, on to the Pig Farm Taft Wharf.