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Monday, March 10, 2008

From Atherstone to Cropredy.

Welcome to the second week of our journey, sorry there are no photographs as yet, our connection is not very good, we are about to change supplier and move to T-Mobile which other boating friends have recommended. So photographs will be appearing soon.

Monday 3rd March.

Despite the wind which was still blowing, but not quite as strong, we were going to try and move as we wanted to get to Hawkesbury Junction. So we were up early, Paddy walked, breakfast sorted. Keith started the engine and arghhhhhhh it would not pick up. Having stripped it down we made a phone call to Roger who very kindly offered us some ideas as to what it maybe, which included bleeding the fuel as he reckoned it could be an air lock. Hey presto it worked Thanks Roger. So having put everything back together we set off at 10.30am and got no more than 500 yards before we pulled over again, due to something around the prop, when I say something I mean lots of things. 4 different plastic bags, blue nylon rope, some purple material as used in a jacket and reeds. It took us 15 minutes to get that lot off. Having sorted that we were finally underway to the first of the Atherstone Flight and who should we see but N.B Blackbird Carries boat, but she was no where to be seen. Sorry Carrie see you again sometime I dare say. We were following another boat, so progress was slow and the wind did not help at all. But slowly we made our way, the boat in front pulled over for lunch so we made headway through the last 3 locks. Having reached the last of the locks, it gave us the chance to empty the loo and dispose of a bag of rubbish. We knew that making Hawkesbury Junction today was not going to happen, so we decided on a stop for the day at Hartshill. The sky was already darkening and it looked like rain, but did we get a surprise when sleet and hail stones poured down, so much so the roof was covered, but the weather has never stopped us moving, unless of course it is gale force winds, so we carried on to Hartshill where we moored up at 3.10pm near the BW yard after what had been an eventful day. We were both starving so had a very late lunch.

Tuesday 4th March.

Brrrr it was a very chilly morning as we had a frosty night, but the sun was up and to brighten our day even further Keith spotted a fox running across the field on the other side of the canal. It was a beautiful sight to see and the first fox of this trip, it one one of my things to see wish list.
We set off at 8.20am under the bridge where the BW yard is to see the wonderful old clock it was then off into the countryside and the Judkins Quarry which has its very own mountain called Mount Judd. The Quarry heaps have been transformed into nature reserves, so you really would not recognise them now.
We continued onto Nuneaton and through the town as it is not a place we would stop. Next came the junction with the Ashby canal, where we were joined in front by another boat. The one thing that you really notice on this part of the canal is the amount of allotments, there are loads of them, some of which are very well kept and others could try harder hahaha.
We skirted around Bedworth, to see two men Electro Fishing with wet suits on, I could not help but feel the water must have been freezing brrrrrrrrr. It was then we passed Charity Dock, it still had piles of old scrap everywhere and shop dummies dressed up, which do make you, giggle. We arrived at Hawkesbury Junction and turned onto the Oxford Canal, through Sutton Lock and past all the moored boats. It was a beautiful day with the sun out and the wind non existent. It was at this point we passed by Brinklow Marina, where Andy has his NB Khaymanzi, we knew he would still be at work and there were no places to moor for us to go and see him, so sorry Andy maybe another time.
Our day finished at 3.50pm when we moored up on the south side of the Newbold Tunnel, with a meal at the Barley Mow on the menu. Keith walked Paddy at 6pm and we then went to the pub for what was a very nice Prawn Curry with Rice and naan bread. We got to have a lovely chat with the new owner Tina, who only took over the pub 3 weeks previous with her husband, so we wish the very best of luck. I recommend stopping there it is very nice indeed.

Wednesday 5th March.

-7.3 C yes that was how cold it got over night, so the boat was covered in a hard frost. Paddy got his walk back through Newbold Tunnel, so I could get a better look at the rainbow lighting. The lighting is actually turned off at Dusk so it does not interfere with the bats flight path for feeding, which is very considerate I reckon. 8.25am and we set of to destination undecided, we were beginning to see other boats and they were hire boats, so the season is underway for some. We firstly knew we would stop at Rugby to get some food shopping done at Tesco and some other bits. It was when coming into Rugby and to the mooring we met a boat coming the other way, we were over half way through the bridge hold when this boat saw us but did nothing to reverse to let us carry on through, which meant a head on collision. He was clearly at fault but that did not deter him from continuing, saying nothing we just carried on through and found a spot to moor. I won’t discuss the shopping as that is boring, and is like any other food shop LOL, so we set off again at 11.25, I made coffee and put the shopping away whilst we were on the move. Hillmorton Locks loomed in front, and our chance to empty the loo. Lunch was eaten on the move as we had decided we would stop at Braunston for the night, so we could pick up supplies at Midland Chandlers. Moored up outside the Mill Pub was NB. Valerie and Les came out to say hello. We moved on past and to the marina to turn around before mooring up for the day. We made for the chandlery to buy a gang plank and other bits. I had the lovely task of cleaning the saloon stove chimney as it appeared to be blocked; we knew that because the Carbon Monoxide Alarm went off the night before. So sleeves rolled up and chimney brush at the ready I did the dirty task. The chimney was blocked and now the fire is working properly yayyy. We spent a quiet evening on the boat and look forward to what tomorrow brings.

Thursday 6th March.

There was no hurry to be up and about, as we had shopping to do at Midland Chandlers. So having had a cuppa in bed, we got up had breakfast and then Paddy got his walk up the towpath. Keith and I then headed for Midland Chandlers with our list of things to get to hand. No matter where you shop for boat things these days, it costs an arm and a leg, but needs must.
Having done all of that we then paid a visit to Les on NB Valerie, who was moored up outside of The Mill Pub. We enjoyed a lovely chat and a cup of coffee; it was nice to finally meet up with les having read his blog for such a long time. Having got back to Hadar, we decided to make a move, collecting water on the way outside of the BW Stop House. We then made our way to the Braunston turn waving goodbye to Les as we past him by. On the towpath opposite Les was NB Moore 2 Life, sadly we did not get to meet Chas and Ann on this visit, but maybe in the future. We turned onto the Grand Union Canal to head for Napton, we had gone no more than a mile, before we saw a couple of old working boats, which were now abandon. One of them had been burnt out. It was a sad sight. Now as many of you know I have a wish list of things I would love to see, one of the things on my list is the Barn Owl. Today not only did we see one Barn Owl, we saw 2 both of them in different places and flying in the daytime. The first one was seen at 2pm in the afternoon, the other about half an hour later. I can only think they were hunting to feed their families, it certainly made our day. We passed by Napton Junction and the Napton Boatyard, before mooring up near bridge 111 at the Napton Bridge Inn, which is said to be haunted, so that was our day full of wonder at the sight of the Barn Owl.

Friday 7th March.

On waking up we could see that the sun was shining, after a night of wind and rain. We decided to make a run for Fenny Compton, whilst the weather was so good. There were 9 locks to do, with the wind increasing we pressed on regardless to Naptons bottom lock. Over looking the locks was Napton’s Windmill on top of Napton-on-the-hill, the hill dominates the landscape, but has a beauty all of its own.
The locks on this flight were so easy to do, it was a real pleasure not to have to struggle to do the paddles, so many locks these days are difficult to work, and I am pretty fit, even if I do say so myself hahaha. The last lock of the day was at Marston Doles, which is a tiny village; it owes its existence to the canal, because the towing horses used to be stabled there. The views away from the canal were really stunning; you have to be there to really enjoy them. The Oxford Canal is a little twisty, but still stunning. We then came upon the Medieval Village of Wormington, which no longer exits. The new village of Wormington has a 13th Century stone church; there is also a row of Victorian mock-Tudor cottages. There was very little in the way of wildlife today and no sign as yet of the Kingfisher on this trip. Our mooring was Fenny Compton, just south of the Wharf Inn, the weather closed in and by the time Keith took paddy for his walk it was raining and blowing a gale. Keith became an Uncle today. His sister’s daughter had a little girl awwwww.

Saturday 8th March.

7am and wide awake, so I made us a cuppa and we sat nattering in bed for a while before getting up. We were not moving so there was no hurry to get things done, but Paddy always needs his early morning walk. We finally got up and dressed, Paddy got his walk down to Fenny Compton Marina, whilst Keith did us Mushrooms on toast for breakfast. The wind was very gusty, so not a day for moving.
We took a walk to the chandlery to check out their diesel and gas prices and then took a walk into Fenny Compton, where there is a small Co-op store and houses, so if you are stuck for food you can walk to mile into the village. Back at the boat Marmite found a new playmate, it was a fly. She was running up and down the boat after this fly like a loonie, but she had no hope of actually catching it. Both Keith and I got a few boat jobs done, we then spent the evening watching the TV, so a quiet day for us.

Sunday 9th March.

Now we had said we would not move at weekends, it would be a chance to stay put and get things done, but with the weather supposedly closing in we changed our mind when we saw the sun was shining this morning, and the wind was light. So we were up early setting off for Cropredy at 8.15am, we were joined behind by Adderbury, who we did the locks with all 9 of them. The journey was a quiet one; we arrived at Cropredy at 11.40 am, moored up and got chatting to other boaters on Alnwick and Jenny Rose. I even sold some coal today. Cropredy has a very good Spar shop, which has everything you could possibly need in the food and drink department. The moorings are really good either 24, 48 or 14 day moorings all ringed. We will probably stay here whilst the stormy weather is upon us. The forecast for Monday is dismal. I made a chicken in white sauce pie for dinner, and for pudding pancakes in a lemon sauce. Stop drooling now hahahaha.
See you next weekend.

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