Lived onboard Hadar

Daisypath Vacation tickers

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tixall to Fazeley.

Monday 27th October.

Tixel Wide to Rugeley. 5.7 miles and 2 locks.

We spent a lovely weekend on Tixall Wide, although it was very windy at times.
Now that the clocks have gone back an hour, our body clocks have not caught up, so we are waking up an hour earlier than we should be. But with us now cruising in our own time, it really does not matter as we are not on any schedule at the moment. So we did get up at 7am to a bright crisp morning. Paddy and I were greeted by a really beautiful morning as we stepped off the boat for Paddy’s morning stroll. Well I stroll and he just has his nose buried in the undergrowth, or has his leg cocked against anything in his way. I do love chilly mornings, where everything is so fresh. Back onboard Hadar, we enjoyed breakfast and a cuppa before getting ready to set off at 8am. My thinking was if we set off early for Great Haywood Lock, we may actually be able to get through it without being stuck in a queue.So at 8am we slipped our mooring and headed for the junction with the Trent and Mersey. Yayyy deep joy we arrived at the lock and there was no queue. Mind you most people were still asleep ha ha ha. At Colwich Lock we met a family coming up on their boat, they were out for the half-term holidays, teaching their grandson to steer the boat. As they left the lock, I wished them a good trip and we made our way down through the lock and onwards to Rugeley. It was clear to see that it was a school holiday, as we met a few hire boats with families on, all enjoying the last minute breaks before some of the hire companies wrap their boats up for the winter.
We arrived in Rugeley, which is dominated by its power station at 10.30am and managed to find a place to moor past bridge 66. Having moored up, we went for a walk into the town. Rugeley is described in the Nicholsons guide as an unexciting place, well I have to agree with the description, it is not a place which will leave you remembering it over and over again, and the proof in that was the fact that Keith reckoned we had walked into the town on a previous occasion, but I cannot remember it at all. Having looked around all the charity shops, we did go into Iceland for some freezer supplies; unfortunately the market area was not open, so we headed back to the boat for lunch. After lunch we then walked back to Morrison’s, so we could top up on milk, cereal etc. We like to keep a good supply of things, just in case we should get stuck some where. So we have extra milk, cereal, tinned foods, toilet rolls etc as back-up. You never know what may happen. We also paid a visit to Wilkinson’s as we had a few things we wanted to pick up, one such thing was a TV bracket, as we wanted to hang the TV on the partition between the saloon and galley. We found exactly the bracket we were looking for. With the shopping done and it all packed away in the cupboards, Keith put the TV bracket on the wall, and the TV is now hanging on it, which is much better and safer. We can now actually move the TV right into the middle of the boat if we wish too, when watching a movie. Not only that, Marmite will not be able to knock the TV over, which is an absolute godsend.
So with our day drawing to an end, we will be settling down to an evening in front of the TV. Autumn Watch is back, so I will be glued to that.

Tuesday 28th October.

Rugeley to Fradley Wood. 7 miles and 1 lock.

This body clock lark is really not playing the game. Keith was a wake at 4am and I woke up at sometime around 5.30am, but dozed on and off until I got up at 6.30am and made us both a cup of tea, which we enjoyed in bed. It was not long before we heard the tap, tap on the roof from the rain. So it looked likely that we may not bother to move from Rugeley. We had enjoyed a peaceful night’s sleep and no bother from the locals. On previous occasions we have never stopped in Rugeley overnight, because we had been told it was not a place to stop, due to the local youngsters, but we never had any problems at all, despite the fact it is half-term. On saying that it was a cold evening, so maybe they were all at home, playing with there computer games. We were the only boat on the moorings, guess we were lucky.
So having enjoyed our cuppa in bed, we finally crawled out of bed. I made the fires up and put the kettle on the back stove. Because it was cold outside, porridge was on the menu for breakfast. Just what we needed to get the day off to a good start. Paddy was then ready for his morning walk. The rain had stopped, so he only had to dodge the puddles, which he has become quite an expert at.
8.50am we left the Rugeley mooring and head off for Fradley Junction. We found ourselves behind a Canaltime hire boat, as we approached the Hawkesyard Priory; they pulled in to allow a boat to come out of the Armitage Tunnel (130yds long). The tunnel is now more like a cutting as the roof was removed in 1971 to combat the subsidence effects of the coal being mined close by. Keith and I soon realised that the boat exiting the tunnel was N.B Sanity, with Bruce and Sheila onboard. We said our good mornings and how are you, before wishing them well as we all went on our way. Rain was beginning to fall again and with it came a chilly breeze, which went right through you. We followed the Canaltime boat past King’s Bromley marina, Ravenshaw Wood and onto Woodend Lock, where a boat was already coming up through the lock. The Canaltime boat then proceeded to go down. I then noticed a beautiful sandy coloured dog with a gentleman helping with the lock. My thought was “I know that dog”. It was Simba. So where ever Simba is, Andrew is never far away, and right enough he was waiting to coming up the lock. Andrew is out on his N.B Khayamanzi, with his dad Brian for the half-term holiday, leaving the little darlings from school behind for a week. It had been sometime since we had seen Andrew, although I do pop into his blog from time to time, so we had a lot of catching up to do. It is amazing how much you can talk about whilst working a lock. It is always lovely to see Andrew and Simba, and nice to meet Brian face to face, as I have only ever seen his photo on Andrew’s blog. I hope that they enjoy their break and we will see them again sometime no doubt. The rain was now coming down harder, so as we approached Shade House Lock and saw that there was a mooring free, we decided to call it a day. There was no point in getting wet and cold just to get down to the junction today. We will set off in the morning for the junction, when hopefully we will not be queuing for the locks. There seem to be a lot of Canaltime boats heading back to base, so we are happy to let them go.
We snuggled down in the boat, with hot soup and thickly cut bread for lunch. During the evening we heard a Tawny owl in the wood opposite the boat calling, and three boats came past us with head lights blazing. We just stayed in watching the TV.

Wednesday 29th October.

Fradley Wood to Fazeley. 10.8 miles. 2 locks and 1 swing bridge

Having slept like a log in a nice warm cosy back cabin. Brrrrr a cold and frosty start to the day welcomed us to Wednesday. It had gotten down to below freezing over night, so all around us was white, where Jack Frost had cast his spell.8.40am we were getting ready to set off, when I was asked about delivering coal to a boat on the Coventry Canal, if we were going their way. I assured them that we would be heading on to the Coventry and would stop to sell them 5 bags of coal. The gentleman told me that, a few coal boats had past them over the last few days, but all were empty. So he was glad to find a boat with some coal onboard as they only had a small amount left. Having slipped our mooring, I walked ahead to Shade House Lock, to get it ready for Keith to slip Hadar in to. On the lock moorings an Anglo Welsh Hire Boat had been moored up on the bollards all night, so Keith gave them a polite reminder that they should not be moored there. They soon untied their ropes and waited behind us to go down the lock. Having done the Fazeley locks, we then turned onto the Coventry canal, where a gentleman taking on water, very kindly opened the swing bridge for us. I of course thanked him very much for his kindness.We were then waved into a mooring to drop off the 5 bags of coal ordered earlier, and a young woman from another boat asked for a further 2 bags of coal. With deliveries made and money taken we were soon on our way. Once again there were plenty of boats on the move on this most beautiful of mornings, with the mist rolling along the canal. It is day’s like this, which makes you glad to be a live. The trees looked so glamorous in their autumn finery, of gold’s, reds and browns. It was not long before we were passing the junction with the Wyrley and Essington Canal, which is home to moored boats these days. We had thought of stopping at Whittington, but with the weather being so lovely we decided to carry on to Fazeley. We got to Bridge 89 where we found ourselves behind a Rose Hire Boat, which looked to be having problems with the bridge hole. They were trying to go through the bridge hole, when another boat came through from the other side, so the Rose boat allowed them through, the chaos began when they tried again to go through the bridge hole with us following. Somehow they messed it up, hitting the bridge; we almost ploughed into the back of them. Keith had to wind Hadar in to reverse to avoid hitting them up the rear. As they then reversed themselves out of trouble another boat slipped through from the other side. Eventually they made the manoeuvre to get through the bridge hole; they then pulled over to allow us past, as they knew we would be quicker than they were.Cruising alongside the Hopwas Hays Woods, with the sun beaming through the leaves on the trees was beautiful. The woods are the home of the Military Firing Ranges, so care has to be taken when the red flags are out. Today they were no where to be seen thankfully. What we did see was another of the Pillboxes, which is so iconic these days.With Remembrance Day soon to be upon us, the pillbox serves as a reminder of the war years and all those killed in the conflicts, so that we may enjoy the life we have today. Please remember to buy your poppy. We arrived in Fazeley and moored up near Peel’s Wharf. Having had a coffee we took a walk in to Fazeley to see what it had to offer. It has a Tesco Express for any supplies needed, a fish and chip shop, Chinese, Indian and Cantonese restaurants, and a couple of pubs, oh and not forgetting a Post Office, which these days is becoming a rarity. Back onboard Hadar, the meatball casserole smells yummy; all’s I need to do later is add the dumplings. Oopps sorry am I making your mouth water, I did not realise you only had bread and dripping for tea ha ha ha.


jan said...

It's so lovely to read your blog and be able to picture the places you're talking about! We've just returned to New Zealand from 6 weeks in the UK, including a week on the Coventry Canal. We set off from the Kings Bromley marina on a boat from Aqua Narrowboat Hire (highly recommended), and had a wonderful time. The first night was a bit hairy though. Discovered I was not good at stopping and there were not many places to moor - ended up in the dark, at the two locks before Fradley Junction, with nowhere to go! We had to moor on the bollards, as did another boat after us. We both left very early the next morning to avoid holding up any other traffic! It was a bit hair-raising at first, but once we got the hang of it, we enjoyed our first narrowboating experience very much. Jan.

Keith and Jo said...

Hi Jan. Welcome onboard. it is lovely to hear you enjoyed your boating holiday in the UK. We passed one of the Aqua Narrowboats just the other day. Being new to boating is always a learning curve. The best way to learn is to do it, hairy bits and all hahaha. There is so much to take in when you collect a hire boat, and I know that you cannot remember all of it. The main thing I tell all hirers is to take it slowly and if your unsure then ask another boater. 9 times out of 10 they are always happy to help. We have helped many hirers and enjoy doing so. I hope you will come over and do it again, trying another part of the system maybe?
Kind regards.