Friday, 30 March 2012

Hartshill to Alvecote.

IMG_0056h Hartshill

Wednesday we set off in the early morning sunshine past Spring Haven Marina There were plenty of joggers, dog walkers and cyclists along the towpaths today.

IMG_0056i  It was a pleasant cruise to the top of the Atherstone Locks and plenty of boats on the move too.

IMG_0050b Old Hat Factory

We passed the old derelict Hat Factory.

Btw Paul, we acquired a new roof aerial for the dongle en route. (picture below left)

IMG_0019a new dongle     IMG_0050a Atherstone top 

We had to stop briefly to remove stuff from around the prop. Luckily there were two boaters waiting to help their friends down the locks. As we arrived before them they helped us instead. It turned out that the lady was a descendant of a boating family from Sharpness, one of whom had been a pilot on the Severn. On the boat coming up was a man who had been on the working barges on the Severn and Sharpness Canal since he was a boy, amazing. It was fairly hot and we were tired on reaching the bottom lock so we stopped for a well earned salad. Then we carried on to moor for the night at Alvecote.

IMG_0107 Tugstyle RavenHere is a picture of a nice ‘tugboat’ just for Dave to help him through his difficulties.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

AOW to Hartshill.

Whilst we were at All Oaks Wood we flexed the plastic and enjoyed a couple of days out by bus to Coventry. As the weather was so fine I took the opportunity to touch up all the paintwork along underneath Oakfield's  gunnels. Bottle rubbed down all the cupboard doors and woodwork inside the back of the boat. This gets wet on occasions and the clear Sadolin will protect it in the future.  I made a couple of Boat Cakes and we had several lovely walkabouts around Brinklow village. We waited there for Gosty Hill to come by on his last visit to bring us some diesel. Ian and Alison turned up rather late in the evening as their fuel delivery at Hawkesbury Junction had been delayed. Anyway we had a long farewell chat as we shall miss their friendly informative visits. We gave them a boat cake as a thank you and we hope that we will see them again cruising the canals in the future with little Boson and Caleb.

IMG_0027 Gosty Hilmrton 18.2.2012   IMG_0030   

We left our mooring here early on a cold and frosty Tuesday morning, but the sun was soon warming our backs as we cruised along.

IMG_0105 AOWOakfield's tank was filled with water at Hawkesbury Junction and we noticed that the lock-side cottage is for sale. A desirable four bedroom house with large garden behind it and right next to the pub, luvly jubly.

IMG_0059 Boot Wharf Nuneaton

Arriving at Nuneaton we moored up just before Bridge 20 for a snack before we walked up through the park to Sainsbury's for a big shop. We left narrowly squeezing past all the boats moored either side of the Starline Boatyard at the Boot Wharf.

IMG_0218 at HartshillAt Hartshill there are some lovely quiet country mooring where we stayed overnight. There are brilliant signals here too.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Sticky Ginger Cake.

This is for Bones, now she has discovered that she has an oven aboard!


8 oz (225g) Margarine

8 oz (225g) Soft Brown Sugar

8 oz (225g) Black Treacle OR Syrup

2 Eggs

Half a pint (280ml) of warm Milk

1 level desert spoon of Ground Ginger

2 level teaspoons of Bicarbonate of Soda

14 oz (225g) Self Raising Flour


Gently melt margarine, syrup and sugar in a large saucepan, stirring until mixed together.

Gently stir in whisked eggs and the warm milk.

Add the dry ingredients, thoroughly mix together.

( Sometimes I use my whisk to get rid of any lumpy bits! )

Pour the mixture into 2 lined 1 lb loaf tins and bake at Gas 2 (Electric, 300F, 150C) for around 35 minutes.

Note: cooking time will vary all ovens are different.

I test mine by pressing them in the middle and if they are firm-ish and don’t squelch then they are ready.

Cool on a wire rack.

Nice with a cup of tea, or eaten as a pudding with custard, it is luvly jubly!


Metric measurements are approximate.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Hanging on.

I took some seed and hazelnuts along to treat our furry and feathery friends. Then I sat quietly and waited and was well rewarded with plenty of visitors.

IMG_0185 nuts     IMG_0182 Squirrel hanging on

The Squirrels and Nuthatches were quite adept at hanging upside down on their long sharp claws to reach the nuts.

IMG_0186    IMG_0192

Then they scurried off to pierce the shell and eat the contents on their favourite perches.

IMG_0181    IMG_0183 nuts

While Ratty waited underneath for falling tit-bits.  IMG_0193 Ratty

Yet another warm and pleasant day spent here in the countryside, what bliss!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

All Oaks Wood.

IMG_0128 Nuthatch

On Sunday the car park was full and so were the bird feeding trays. So, I popped along with the camera and was lucky enough to catch the visiting Nutchatch.

IMG_0130 RatThen a big rat ran up the tree for his share. It had been raining overnight again  and it was rather dull and cold so the food was in great demand.

IMG_0121 Fat RatThere were quite a few rats running around and I wondered if this fat one would soon be adding a few more to the colony!

IMG_0124A smaller one popped out for a drink in the puddle.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

All Oaks Wood 2.

IMG_0134 BrinklowAround lunchtime we saw nb Derwent 6 approaching and helped them to moor up in front of us as Del’s back is still quite painful. It was so warm and summer-like in the afternoon we strolled  up into Brinklow  without wearing our coats. We went to the busy little Post Office Stores to send a card off and get a couple of things. We found a narrow footpath running up beside the Raven Inn and on around the Motte and Bailey mound through the fields and back onto the road to Easenhall Lane Bridge. The Squirrels were certainly full of the joys of Spring performing acrobatics to reach the juicy buds in the tree tops.

IMG_0137 squirrel Returning along the towpath we stopped to chat to Del, Al and David their nephew, who is enjoying a weeks cruise with them. Then a Kate Boat came creeping past looking for a mooring spot so we helped to haul them in to moor in the last space in front of Derwent 6. They were a lovely couple just out for a four day break, beers were offered all round and then the deck chairs came out.  After a couple of beers Brian popped aboard and came out with his guitar, so Del got his out too and Al led the singsong, and a good time was had by all. We particularly liked the song that they had written about their life on board Derwent 6, luvly jubbly!IMG_0144 SingsongThe sun began to set before we realised that it was time for our evening meal, and dinner came strutting along the towpath!

IMG_0135 pheasantSo, we retired to our boats and stoked up the fires as the nights are usually rather chilly.    


A lovely ending to a ‘perfick’ day!


ps. the pheasant lived to see another day.



We cruised along to Newbold to top up with water passing quite a few boats on the move. It was exciting cruising through the tunnel with the coloured Christmassy lights illuminating the inside.


As we approached  All Oaks Wood I saw a big rat running away through the car park. I wonder if all the families who come to bring bread and food for the birds realise that they are encouraging rats to multiply? Someone has fixed bird  feeding trays onto several tree trunks for this purpose.

IMG_0116 All Oaks Wood     IMG_0092 Swan

The moorings were quite full, but there was just room for us on the end, making us the twelfth boat to moor up.


On Saturday I walked into Brinklow to post some cards while Bottle enjoyed watching the Rugby in peace. The fields hereabouts are full of sheep with their lambs. Well this was a quiet country place until the clay pigeon shooting  started, ah! well I suppose it won’t last long! We had a nice drop of rain overnight which gave way to a bright warm day, lovely.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012


   IMG_0101    IMG_0010 Clover                

   IMG_0028 Cowslips    IMG_0029 Bluebells

Having grown up in the countryside wildflowers are my favourites. When I was a toddler we were still allowed to pick wildflowers including the above plus violets and wood anomies. Just a tiny bunch occasionally to give to mum. She really appreciated them especially on Mothers Day. Unfortunately the few had to spoil things for the many and pick far too many and also dig them up to transplant them into their own gardens. What a shame that this simple childhood pleasure had to come to an end.

Bye Rugby.

IMG_0100 Path to Rugby     IMG_0107

The last of our walks into Rugby along the mile straight path took us over the railway bridge and on up through the park into town for a snack.


There was a ‘discussion’ over coffee on which canals we could cruise during the summer  because of low water restrictions and the Olympics Games. Anyway we enjoyed brunch together in Wetherspoon’s then said our goodbyes, till we meet up again!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


IMG_0096 Celandine     IMG_0077 Euphorbia

IMG_0073     IMG_0097

Celandines, Euphorbia, mini Daffodils and a strange mystery flower growing beside the canal.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


IMG_0080 GBBS Hillmorton      IMG_0091 Bracken

We enjoyed a farewell roast lunch on Sunday at the Stag and Pheasant with Paul and Lynne. Monday we moved along onto the water tap where we met up with Bracken and her master who was also filling up his tank. We discussed our cruising plans for the summer together, he is going north and we are heading south.


His dog Bracken is a seven year old rescue dog who is very loyal and loves boating and long walks. She is very friendly, has such a lovely face and her coat is very soft when you stroke her. She is also very alert and as soon as the hose was wound up and stowed away she jumped up into her cruising position on the top of the boat. We turned around at the bottom of Hillmorton locks and headed off for Rugby. Quite a few boaters seem to have got that spring feeling and are on the move now.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Spectacular sunsets.

Firstly, thank you to Belle and Jules and everyone who comments on our blogs. Your input is greatly appreciated and we are glad that you find our rambling interesting!

IMG_0061 Sunset We look out of the side hatch before we close it in the evenings and we have seen some splendid sunsets recently.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Pound goes down.

IMG_0081 draining the lock pound

Yesterday several BW men came to drain the water from the top lock, so at each of the three locks a man with a windlass wound the paddles up. Slowly the hidden mud banks emerged from the water in the top pound, revealing several windlasses too. The stone and brickwork that emerged was in quite good condition, considering its age. The three round brick apertures here allow excess water to escape over the bypass weir beyond the wall. The large buffer stones at the mouth of the lock have protected the sidewalls very well over the years.

IMG_0086 Revealed were the splendidly shaped huge blocks of stone of varying sizes set along the edge by the towpath. This made us wonder how they achieved such marvels back in the late 1700s with ropes, basic tools and  horse drawn carts.


The engineering of the ironwork around the locks has also stood the test of time. This is what is hidden under the water when we open a ground paddle to fill the lock with water. Well, it took sometime to drain all the water out, a few minutes for BW to fix the top lock gate, then the water level was slowly returned to normal. A good mornings work!