Lived onboard Hadar

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tardebigge to Alvechurch.

Monday 28th July.


Yesterday was spectacular day weather wise, giving us the chance to do other boat jobs. In between painting and varnishing, we enjoyed chatting to other boaters, who either pulled in for water, or moored up for the night.
Today yet again we woke up to a bright, sunny and very warm morning, but the weather forecasters were telling of thunder storms during the afternoon, so any last minute painting had to be done during the morning, so having had breakfast, walked Paddy and drank our morning cuppa, we set about finishing off the painting. It turned out to be just in time as late into the afternoon as forecast, the dark clouds gathered and the humidity creep to sweltering levels, along with this, the rain pelted down. Thankfully the paintwork we had done had dried in time.
We have enjoyed the Tardebigge mooring; we even took advantage of using the shower at the sanitary station, which was very good. I languished in the shower for sometime, making the most of the facility, even though we have our own shower onboard.
By the time Keith bought Paddy back from his evening walk, we could hear the rumble of thunder in the distance, and not long after rain pitter pattering on the boats roof, it was to continue until gone 9pm. someone up there was having one hell of a fight. Still it did clear the air some before we headed off to bed.

Tuesday 29th July.

Tardebigge to Alvechurch. 3.3 miles.

After a night of heavy rain, we woke up to a dull, damp morning, but it felt somewhat fresher. There was no hurry to be up or moving as we were only going back to Alvechurch today, so we ate breakfast, Paddy got his morning stroll and then we moved Hadar off of her mooring and over to the water point, where we took on water, emptied the toilet cassette and got rid of all our rubbish at the refuse point.
We eventually left Tardebigge at 10.05 am. Keith was still enjoying his coffee as we headed off towards the tunnel.As you can see there were dark clouds looming in the background, so it did not look hopeful for a dry hop, skip and a jump to Alvechurch.We slipped into Tardebigge tunnel, as another boat was coming out. I stayed in the engine room with my ear plugs firmly pushed into my ears. Tardebigge tunnel is really quite amazing as most of its length is carved out of the rock, it really is very impressive. It made me think of how many men it took to dig their way through from one end to the other, and how many lost their lives, so that we today can enjoy this spectacle? Tardebigge tunnel does not have a towpath, so you have to walk over the top if you want to get to the other end by foot. Until the turn of the century a tug would pull all boats through the tunnel. As we were just leaving the tunnel, the Mikron Theatre boat was entering, Keith called over ‘morning’ and we were then on our way, out into a wooded cutting, with sunshine streaming through the trees, it was quite delightful, we slipped past the Anglo Welsh hire company, which had very few hire boats still in their moorings. Most of those out had past us during Friday, Saturday and Sunday.The canal wound its way through the picturesque Worcestershire countryside, where the fields are paved with gold at this time of the year, waiting to be harvested, if we get enough sunshine to dry the crop out that is. Onwards towards Shortwood Tunnel, but just before reaching the tunnel there is a grass airstrip in a farmers field, it runs alongside the canal. We saw the plane on the way up to Tardebigge; it was being readied for take off.
I wonder how many boaters actually know the airstrip it is there.
As we drifted towards the tunnel, we could see a figure descending the steps at the tunnel entrance, he was lowering what looked like a canoe into the water.My first thought was ‘Which way is he going’? Then ‘I hope he doesn’t fall in’. As we moved to the tunnel entrance, we exchanged pleasantries, before we were both on our. We carried on through Shortwood tunnel and were soon greeted with views over the valley, which were much clearer today, down below somewhere the River Arrow was meandering it course.
Now we both love to see fishermen going about their hobby, but why do they sometimes have to hide themselves in the reeds and bushes?
Keith spotted a fisherman just in time to slow to tick over speed as we always do when passing them by. The only thing to give him away was his rod. Then no more than 6 feet further on was another sitting in the reeds. I said ‘good morning’ to which he replied ‘Cor that’s a noisy UN in’ it, you’ll end up with one of these you know’ He produced his hearing aid. Keith then produced his ear plugs and said ‘That’s why we have these for the tunnel’, the gentleman laughed. He then told us ‘I could hear ya comin way back there’. With that we said cheerio and continued on our way. We meet some real characters everyday. That is half the fun of cruising the waterways; you never know who you will meet up with next.
We arrived at Alvechurch Marina, where pretty much all of their hire boats were out too, we moored up outside of the Chandlery, and so I could go in and buy some paint to replace what we had used, since we have been out. Unfortunately there were no mooring spare on the towpath opposite the marina, so we carried on to the moorings near the Crown Inn and found they were totally empty, so there was nothing for it, but to claim our mooring before others should do the same.
The towpath got quite busy with walkers and cyclists and whilst I was reading my book ‘The Water Road’ by Paul Gogarty, I found myself listening to their accents. One couple walking past the boat, I could hear them talking to Paddy with a Brummy accent. Paddy was on the back counter soaking up the sunshine. The couple then started to call him off of the boat. Now Paddy knows he is not allowed off the boat unless we say so, but he was stood tail wagging, as if wondering could I get away with it just this once. The answer to that was NO, because we called him back into the boat quick smart. Neither of us would ever call someone else dog off their boat without permission. Not only that we do not know the temperament of someone else’s animal. Maybe we should have a sign up. ‘Please do not call our dog off of our boat’ ha ha ha ha. Since mooring up the breeze has certainly got up, at times it is very gusty, but the sun still keeps putting in an appearance through some dark clouds. Tomorrow will see us head for Birmingham and another first for me. To date we have covered over 777 miles and done 643 locks. We have seen some awesome scenery and met some lovely people. I am now looking forward to the next chapter in our journey.

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