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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Below Atherstone Locks to Shackerstone.

Thursday 28th August

Below Atherstone Locks to Shackerstone. 28.6 miles, 11 locks, which took 12 hrs 30 minutes.

We were once again up at 5am, for our early morning start up through the 11 locks at Atherstone. The first thing I noticed was the smell of newly baled straw. The farmer had been baling straw opposite our overnight mooring during the evening. 5.35am we headed to the first of the locks, it was a miracle all the locks were with us all the way up.

The one thing I really like about the Atherstone locks, is that they are well kept, even the grass surrounding them is always cut nicely. The lock keeper Tony Ward MBE really takes pride in his job and it shows. When we got to the final two locks boats were coming down. At the top lock, the Tony the lock keeper was outside chatting to a couple of security guards on their bikes. Keith spoke to him about the incident yesterday at the Pooley Countryside Park, and he said he would report the incident to BW. If you ever get the chance, read the noticeboard by Tony's cottage, he really does fill it with some wonderful things. Over the past couple of days we have noticed that the bridge numbers have been replaced by boards on wooden posts with the bridge number on them, the reason for this is that BW are replacing the number plaques with new ones. Not only are they new they are also larger.I am not sure why they feel the old ones need replacing, is this a cost that BW can really afford, especially when there are canals in which dredging is far more important.We arrived at Marston Junction and turned onto the Ashby Canal at 11.20am, as we turned into the junction N.B Sparticus was coming out, so we reversed Hadar to allow them out, after all with a name like Spaticus, you did not want to mess with such a warrior LOL.The Ashby Canal is really lovely all the way along. It has been described to us, as bridges and fields, more bridges and more fields, and to a point that is true. But if you look further than the bridges and fields you can see some lovely scenery, wildlife, waterfowl, and plant life. We saw two kingfishers, kestrels, herons, dragonflies, butterflies and much more. We arrived at Shackerstone at 6.05pm and found a towpath mooring for the festival. There were already some boats moored up. The Hotel boat Willow was in front of us, but were leaving in the morning so we would move into their place behind Taliesin, we had met Ann and Alan two years ago at the Shackerstone Festival.

Friday 29th August.

Shackerstone mooring.

Despite the fact that we were worn out last night and went to bed early, neither of us slept that well, and were awake early. So having dozed on and off until 8am we finally got up. Paddy had his walk, and then we had breakfast and a cuppa. The day was spent chatting to Ann and Alan on N.B Taliesin, whilst listening to them sing and play the accordion and drum. They are both really talented, Ann even writes her own songs and music. We met Maggie off of N.B Forever Young. Keith and I also managed to get some boat work done, the sheeting was taken off of the hold. We also got a bit of paint work done on the top planks. The weather has not been up to much, it has been very humid and yet the sun failed miserably today to put in an appearance. Keith and I walked into the village to The Rising Sun pub to book a table for a couple of meals. We thought we would get in early, as we know it will be very busy running up to and over the festival period. We have had a lovely day.

Saturday 30th August.

We were not up with the larks this morning, infact we laid in till 9am. I did not sleep that great, so was glad of the lie in. Keith however said he slept really well. Whilst I walked Paddy up the towpath, I noticed that N.B Pickles No2 has arrived at the festival. Now I was made aware by another boater, that Pete on N.B Pickles No2 had seen us travelling to Shackerstone, and posted a message on his blog. So my apologies Pete for not recognising you. I am sure we will catch up whilst at the festival site. So far today I have done some washing and hung it in the hold to let it blow in the breeze. There is nothing nicer than hanging the washing out in the fresh air. I have saved the public from looking at my underwear though, that is kept inside the boat ha ha ha. Keith and I have done the paintwork we needed to finish. Marmite has been enjoying herself off of the boat. She has had her harness on, but we put her on an extended lead, so she can wander a little. She has been funny to watch though, because as soon as a dog comes near, she crouches down, so she is flat on the ground hoping that the dogs won't see her. it has worked so far, she blends in well with the grass. Stuart on his blue top working boat Anne has arrived this afternoon, and we are now getting a real gathering. Already we feel so much more at home at this festival, and we still have a week to go to the actual event. Everyone here is so friendly. I am off now to sit out in the sunshine..... Yes I did say sunshine. The local farmer is due to harvest the field opposite us, so going to make the most of the day, before we have to shut the boat up against the harvesting dust.

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