Lived onboard Hadar

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Fosse Locks to Royal Leamington Spa.

Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th July.

Being moored up for a couple of days has given us the chance to get some much needed jobs done; it has also given us the chance to watch the wildlife around us.
Saturday we woke up to a hula baloo going on outside. A bird was screaming and another was calling back, but neither Keith nor I could figure out what bird it was. The noise died down and we got out of bed to what was a hit and miss day as far as the weather was concerned. One minute it was sunny, and the next, dark ominous clouds would appear overhead.
Having taken Paddy for a walk and stood on the towpath for a while I heard the screaming of the mystery bird all over again and the other bird calling. It was soon clear what bird it was, when the parent bird hovered overhead.

A pair of Kestrels had either one or two young and the youngsters were screaming for food whilst flying after the parents. I just wish I could have photographed them together, but they were too quick for me. Neither of us had ever seen this behaviour before, we have only ever seen the adult birds whilst hovering, but certainly hope we will see it again. Another bird of prey was also near and they were Buzzards, they were mewing and calling, so maybe they had young as well.

As the day wore on the weather turned into dark skies and heavy showers. So it meant anything we wanted to do was put on hold till Sunday.We did nothing much during Saturday, and enjoyed a quiet evening onboard watching films.
Sunday began with glorious sunshine, such a contrast from the past few days. It should have been a day of rest, but not for us we had a list of things to get done. First on the list was to undo the sheeting and open up the hold, so we could see what we were doing. We wanted to move all our clutter and put it on top of the water tank, so we could cover it up with a tarpaulin. We are hoping to have the sheeting off for the IWA National Festival to show the open hold and the coal we are carrying. The sun was beating down making the job a hot one. We also wanted to cut up all the wood in the hold, so Keith got the chainsaw out and got it ready for work, but no matter how hard we both tried the darn thing would not start, so it was back to the hand saw and axe. We managed to chop up all the dry stuff and bag it up ready for the winter. At that point we had lunch and a well deserved break. Just as we were about to get to work again Dave and Jade on NB Flamingo appeared out of the lock. Dave reads our diary whilst at work; he said it is what keeps him sane. Dave asked if we had any coal onboard as they would like a bag, so whilst they moored up I pulled a bag out of the hold. Flamingo is an ex-working boat from the Willow Wren Fleet. She was originally known as Letchworth and still has her air cooled Lister engine from her BW days sitting in her original engine room.I promised I would give Dave and Jade a mention in the diary. I hope you’re keeping sane at work today Dave. Here is your five minutes of fame ha ha ha. It was lovely to meet you both and hope we will meet again someday. Flamingo looks fantastic keep up the good work.

Back to the hold I swept it out and stacked the bagged wood, we then moved some of the coal, ready for a new intake in the autumn. It was then time for another sit down and a can of lager. We have seen quite a few boats moving this past couple of days, up and down the locks. Whilst sitting enjoying the break, Marmite was lying out on the towpath by the galley window, she was trying to catch Bumble bees, which we do not encourage. We soon discovered that Marmite was actually laying a couple of feet away from a bees nest under the ground.We sat and watched the bees flying in and out of a hole no bigger than my thumb nail.
Isn’t nature wonderful?
What amazed us both was the fact they knew where the hole was to come back to. They are fantastic little creatures.Marmite looked on as they flew to and fro all afternoon. There was no way we were allowing her to play near the nest so she was put on her harness and lead. Having completed all the jobs we had in mind we called it a day as we both felt shattered. During the evening we both needed a shower, you can only imagine what a state we were both in after lugging coal about, not only that Keith had managed to catch the sun as well, so he was feeling a little tender on his back. Due to a busy day it was bed at 10 pm for us both. We were both pooped after a long day, but it was rewarding because we had got all the jobs done on our mental list.

Monday 14th July.

Fosse Locks to Royal Leamington Spa. 3.7 miles and 2 locks

Another Monday morning to week 21 of our cruising of the waterways and we are still having lots of fun, so much so, that today we were heading for Royal Leamington Spa. It was just a small jaunt, but one that would mean I could get a wash done and we could go and explore an historic town.

So 8.50 am and off we went. We were met at the lock by a ewe that had somehow got out of the field beside the lock. She seemed to know her way back, so we left her to get on with life, whilst we carried on our way. The scenery is not as pretty as we had seen before, but never the less it is pleasant. We descended Radford Bottom Lock where there is a place to get rid of any rubbish and continued past wooded areas. The River Leam runs a alongside the canal for a way, before the canal joins a busy road for a short distance, we were then into the outskirts of Leamington. We were told by George on NB Penny that the moorings by Bridge 40 were good, so as we approached bridge 40 we pulled in at the 48 hour moorings, only to discover that they were too shallow for Hadar. It took some manoeuvring to get her off, so whilst Keith sorted that out, I walked to the other side of the bridge to see what was on offer. Hey Presto there were more moorings. To get to them not only did we have to get Hadar moving again, but we also needed to wait for the three hire boats to pass us going in the same direction as us. My only thought at that point was. “Heck I hope they don’t want to moor up on the other side of the bridge”. Thankfully they continued on, probably to Warwick. So we took up a mooring place just big enough for Hadar and tied up.
We then shut the boat up and headed into Royal Leamington Spa. The first thing that struck me was that all the buildings are Cream, if it wasn’t for all the flowers planted out it would look very bland. It was wonderful walking up and down the streets, with the buildings towering over us, and made a nice change to see high street stores in such buildings, instead of busy shopping malls. We were both very impressed by the place. Unfortunately the Pump House Museum is not open on a Monday, but we can do that another time. We did enjoy lunch out before walking around the ornate Jephson Gardens; they are named after Dr Jephson (1798-1878). He was the local Practitioner, who was responsible for the spa’s large medical reputation. With all the gardens planted out, it was beautiful to walk around and look at the many different species of trees.

Whilst walking around the town Keith spotted overhead a Douglas Dakota Aeroplane it seemed that the plane was circling over us. What we found out was the Dakota was flying farewell flights from Coventry.

During the morning I had dropped my mobile phone and the screen split, but I managed to get another cover whilst we were on our walk. I also got a new pair of steel toe capped shoes to replace the ones I wear now which are forever splitting. I have lost count of the times I have spent gluing them together. But now I have a brand new pair to wear in. I like to feel safe under foot on the boat, so want my shoes to be nonslip. But also because we are dealing with heavy bags of coal I need steal top caps. We really enjoyed our walk around this largely Victorian town and will most definitely come back again.


Jay said...

Marmite seems a very content little cat! But you have a hard life, physically, it seems. I couldn't do half the things you write about!

I can see there are plenty of compensations, though!

Keith & Jo said...

Hi Jay. We are lucky Marmite is very content, because we have had her since she was 12 weeks old, she has grown up with the life and enjoys everything it brings.
As for it being a hard life physically, I suppose to some it seems so, but having grown up on a farm, where I could be lifting bales and feed sacks I guess to me it is normal. Maybe I am mad hahaha.
After a hard day there are plenty of things to enjoy, and one of them is a nice pub dinner hehehehe.

Alan Fincher said...

A bit late now, as it is a 7 year old post!

However, just to set the record straight, as the new owners of "Flamingo", (ex "Letchworth") is is not correct that she "still has her air cooled Lister engine from her BW days".

"Letchworth" was sold by BW to Willow Wren in late 1961, and still had a National 2DM. The reconditioned Lister HA2 is not believed to have been fitted until about 1968, only a couple of years before she ended her long distance carrying career with Willow Wren CTS.

Alan & Cath ("Sickle" & "Flamingo")

Working Narrow Boat Hadar said...

Thanks for the update Alan :)