Friday, 24 October 2014


IMG_7781a IMG_7782 Narrowcraft Yard IMG_7784

The ‘Gongooselers’ all lined up to watch us cruise past today! Further on we passed Narrowcraft Boatyard and either the end building has fallen down, or some renovations are underway at last. There are usually some old boats to see here, this time Northolt and Saturn were among them.

IMG_7786 Atherstone IMG_7789 IMG_7787a IMG_7795a

New lock gates were awaiting delivery by boat to be fitted as we went into the bottom lock of the Atherstone flight. After ascending our sixth lock we moored up, so we were within easy walking distance of the town. There is a long main street with narrow cobbled lanes leading off from it. Some interesting old buildings line a square and the church with a pleasing octagonal tower overlooks it. An ancient milestone in the main street marks that it is 100 miles to London. I have seen a variety of different ladybirds lately and this one was hibernating in the lock paddle gearing.


IMG_7769  IMG_7770  IMG_7774 Glascote

The gales had ceased by morning and the sky looked promising so off we went to moor at Fazeley Junction overnight. Next day we ascended the two Glascote locks which were both in our favour, then filled with water at the top.

IMG_7779 IMG_7776 Polesworth IMG_7778

Then it was a short pleasant cruise on along to moor at Polesworth with the autumnal colours opposite. In the afternoon I walked into the village around the old remains of the Abbey. I managed to get into the church to looked at the stained glass, but didn’t see anything worth photographing.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Rocking and rolling.

IMG_7764 Streethay Wharf  IMG_7766  IMG_7765 Tamhorn Parka

As we passed Streethay Wharf the lovely Ethel was resting her’ But’ next to her towing boat. Stormy weather had been forecast so we moored in an open spot by Tamhorn Park and tied up securely. I am not keen on being near trees, as a few have been blown down lately. Too windy for us to travel, but for those on hire boats etc have to continue. A dozen or so past us, but managed to avoid hitting us luckily, by not slowing down. The sky was blue with bright sunshine, then grey with horizontal rain intermittently all day. Here we sat cosy and warm, reading books, surfing the waves and the internet!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

From T&M to Coventry Canal.

IMG_7755a IMG_7758 IMG_7759

The farmers came to harvest the Maize crop with a fearsome machine sporting four sharp rotary cutters on the front. Everything was finely shredded and shot into the trailer towed by the tractor alongside, easy. Oakfield had been moored behind Mal Edwards MBE aboard his boat ‘Becky’. He had been sitting out on the towpath most days transforming rope into fenders which he sells from his boat, a very busy person indeed. We slipped our mooring early-ish saying our goodbyes and left Mal alone with his phone. I walked down to do the locks, then on to open the swing bridge for Oakfield to stop on the water point. Apparently there has been some miss-use of the bridge, so soon it will have to be kept locked shut, a shame, but this may have to happen everywhere eventually.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Fradley Junction.

IMG_7729 IMG_7725 Fradley Junction IMG_7734

Day one we toddled off down the locks to brunch at the popular cafe in the C&RT yard which was warm and welcoming. It seems that it must have become busier as four people are working there now. We also tried out the snacks available at the Kingfisher Cafe which is part of the nearby caravan site. Shadehouse (the big white building top right is for sale) and Canal & River Trust were in the process of tarmacking the road from here down to The Swan Inn.

  IMG_7731 IMG_7740a IMG_7750a

The walk around the lake was enjoyable as there are a few interesting features, including a hide and Dragonfly sculpture seat. We contacted Graham and Jan to let them know we had arrived, so they took us in their car for a meal in the George and Dragon at Alrewas where we all had a good nonstop natter. Our table was near this fab old kitchen range which got us all reminiscing too. Next day we met them at The Mucky Duck (Swan) for a fantastic roast lunch carvery with all the fresh veg and trimmings. A tad expensive at £10 each we thought, but excellent value as it also included pudding and tea or coffee afterwards, perfick!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Towards Fradley.

IMG_7720a IMG_7721a IMG_7722

Quite a few boats moored around Rugeley when we left. After filling with water at Brereton someone turned on the rain and wind so we slotted into the first available space opposite. The fire has now been lit so it was hot showers and washing on then a cosy warm evening with a glass of wine. Next day I walked ahead to make sure the narrows were clear for the Cabin Boy to come through. The Old Farmhouse Restaurant was looking smug sitting  in it’s neatly manicured garden. A little further on we saw the ‘must have’ shed right on the edge of the canal, luvly jubbly! Not quite as posh and spacious as Paul’s shed/workshop though we thought! Luckily we found a spot above Shadehouse Lock which is usually full up. This is the first time we have moored here, nice because it is within easy walking distance of the lake, post box, pub and two cafes.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Boat painting.

IMG_7744a IMG_7742a

IMG_7741a                             IMG_7746a

IMG_7743a         IMG_7745a

On my autumnalamble I came across this boat and photographed all along the side of it. The owner popped out so I asked him if it was rapped, he then told me to feel it as it was all hand painted. He then said it was also painted the other side, but with different scenes, with four coats of varnish applied for protection. What an absolutely brilliant artist to achieve this fab effect. Of course he was rather wary of scraping it off on overhanging bushes as they hadn’t been cruising that long.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014


 IMG_7710 IMG_7709 IMG_7708

We woke up to a very heavy mist and as we were untying to leave we could hear loud munching sounds from the culprit on the opposite bank. The grass is always greener if it is just out of reach I suppose. Off we went with our tunnel light on so oncoming boats would be able to see us. The mist was pretty thick as we gently made our way through it. Good job really as we met two oncoming boats despite them having their lights on we didn’t see them until close up! After finding a space just before Rugeley we walked into town for a roast lunch at Wetherspoon’s, then the mist made way for the sun to shine through, perfick. Next day we did a trolley run to Tesco to stock up the empty cupboards.

IMG_4720 Rugeley Tesco Oct 2013a  IMG_7718a  IMG_3503a

Down the wide long runway we went with the power station steaming away to the right. This store has been open for a year now and a free bus runs across here from the bus station t’other side of town. However access from the nearby canal towpath is still tricky and is in need of some improvement!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Wolsely Bridge.

IMG_7704 Wolseley Bridge IMG_7705 IMG_7706

Plenty of things to peruse around here, a garden/wildlife centre, antiques/crafts etc and the quaint little Wolseley Arms all by two busy roundabouts. There are some lovely sweeping views across Cannock Chase from along this stretch of canal. We saw Nuthatches and one of our favourites today, Long Tailed Tits.

Sunday, 12 October 2014


IMG_7700 Stonemasons Cottage 1710   IMG_7702   IMG_7703 Wolsley B70

A boat came up Haywood Lock which allowed us to descend through it with little effort. It was a pleasure cruising along in the sunshine with four Buzzards soaring way overhead. This is Stonemasons Cottage which has a plaque and fire-mark dated 1710 and has an interesting mini museum in it’s front garden. We passed an oncoming boat which meant that at Colwich Lock we just pushed the lock gate open and went in. A nice young man helped me close the heavy gates too, mmm easy afternoon for me then! Unfortunately the moorings were full just before Wolsley Bridge, but luckily we found an empty stretch with some rings to tie up to just around the corner.

Saturday, 11 October 2014


IMG_7690 Essex Bridge   IMG_7687 Shugborough   IMG_7694 Tower of the Winds.

My early morning walk was across the ancient Essex Bridge where the Rivers Trent and Sow merge to flow underneath it. Shugborough Hall was looking resplendent in the sunshine where I snapped it from the public footpath. The Tower of the Winds is a fascinating octagonal construction which can be booked for couples to get married. A great opportunity for taking some unique wedding photographs in this lovely setting I would think.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Great Haywood.

IMG_7684 Tixall Lock   IMG_7692 Canalside Cafe   IMG_7691 Gt Haywood

We dropped down though Tixall Lock and on along for diesel at the Anglo Welsh base at Great Haywood. A very friendly place who will do ‘Poste Resante’ for me now that the Post Offices are stopping their service. Leaving under the junction bridge we turned right onto the T&M canal to find a space just a few boat lengths down. I had a surprise when I went to buy things at the Farm Shop, as next to it there was a posh new Canalside Cafe which opened in July. Next day we went there for our lunch and very lovely it was too, then I picked up my post. I found that there was a very efficient little pharmacy where I was able to pick up my prescription items, brilliant service all round!