Lived on-board Hadar

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Great Haywood, to the bottom of the Atherstone Flight.

Monday 25th August.

Great Haywood.

It is Week 27, of our adventure onboard Hadar. The sun was shining on this Bank Holiday Monday, but there was a stiff breeze blowing the trees about. We had a lovely lie-in, till 9am before getting up. Marmite as always was protesting loudly that it was well past her breakfast time and would we please get up and feed her. Whilst Keith cooked us a lovely breakfast of sausages, bacon, poached eggs, mushrooms and toast, I took Paddy for his walk along the towpath. As we walked I could hear the Shugborough donkey calling across the field, announcing to those who were listening that it was there, a woodpecker was also knocking seven bells out of a tree trunk somewhere. By the time Paddy and I returned to the boat, breakfast was almost cooked. Keith always makes the best cooked breakfast, which keeps us going to well past lunchtime. Come 11.30am having had our morning coffee, we took a stroll into the Shugborough grounds, which are beautiful. When we were here two years ago, they had begun to clear the walled garden, so we were back to see what progress had been made. We were amazed to see that the old greenhouse had been taken down and the gardens were planted out with vegetables of every description and flowers, it looked stunning. The gardeners had done a fabulous job so far, and still have plans to do more. They have also put in a working blacksmiths workshop, where you can place orders for items and buy items already made. We had a look around the craft shops, they only had a wood carver two years ago, and they now have a candle maker, someone working in leather and a fence maker as well. Shugborough is well worth a visit if you are ever in the area. On the way back to Hadar, we passed N.B The Narrow Shop, where Lisa was doing a brisk business in ice creams. Back onboard Hadar, we have yet again sat and watched the boats speeding past us. If these people like speed why don’t they go back onto the motorway and leave the canals to people like us who want the slow pace of life. Grrrr it really gets my goat that they have so little respect for others.
Early evening we were sat watching The Towering Inferno, when Keith saw the bow of N.B The Third Lily passing the galley window. So we climbed out of the boat and spoke to Basil and Lillian. N.B The Third Lily was on the BCN Explorer Cruise as well, so we got to know Basil and Lillian whilst we cruised the second half of the week, as they were in Group One and we were in group two. They decided to pull in behind us and moor up, so the conversation continued, we exchanged news since the BCN Cruise. They had a drive plate fail, so had to have that replaced and we told them our plans for the coming few weeks. There is always something to chat about with friends when you live and cruise on a boat. More often than not it is always ends in a laugh. The evening has turned very chilly, and it looks like rain is in the air, so I dare say we will wake up to a wet morning.

Tuesday 26th August.

Great Haywood to Kings Bromley. 9.5 miles and 1 lock.

Having had a peaceful nights sleep, we awoke to boats cruising past us, as they set off on their days cruising. We were not in any particular hurry to set off, so had breakfast and a cuppa. I walked Paddy as always and we were then ready to leave the mooring at 8.55am. Just as we were getting ready to move off, working boat Dove an old Fellows, Morton and Clayton boat went past towards Colwich lock 6’6” at Little Haywood, where we joined it for the trip down through the lock.
They are also heading to the Shackerstone festival, so we will see them there.There are always things that make you go awwwww, everyday this can happen and this morning was no exception. Seeing a mare and her foal made me go awwww, it really brightened what was a dull morning.It was not long before Rugeley Power Station came into view; it dominated the sky line all the way to Rugeley. Rugeley has happy memories for us both, because it is where we got Paddy our border collie from. He came from the Border Collie Trust in 2005, and has been a pleasure to own.The country side views along the Trent and Mersey canal are beautiful, I reckon being on the canal we probably get to see something’s, people driving will never get to witness, they really have no idea what they are missing. We had passed under bridge 68, which was one of James Brindley’s original bridges and it wasn’t long before we crossed the aqueduct at Brindley Bank, where it is said that Christina Collins was murdered in 1839, and her body was carried up the steps to the Talbot Inn, these steps are known as the “Bloody Steps”. At 10.45am we arrived at Rugeley, where we did a food shop at Morrison’s, before heading off again. Whilst underway I un-packed the shopping and put it away, whilst also making lunch and a coffee, which we enjoyed on the way. On the return trip we may well stop in Rugeley and have a look around, as we have never done this on previous visits, it has always just been about a food shop. The Nicholsons guide describes Rugeley as an unexciting place; well we will judge that for ourselves I think. We passed by Hawkesyard Priory and Spode House which stand side by side. Josiah Spode’s grandson founded the priory in 1897, along with Helen Gulson, when they lived in Spode House. The Priory is now home to offices, there is also a golf course. We crept past all the moored boats alongside the priory, before heading through Armitage tunnel, well that was the idea, until we noticed not one but three boats already coming through from the other end, so we pulled Hadar over, and I then walked ahead with the radio to see if the coast was clear, which it was. The Armitage tunnel 130 yds long had its roof removed back in 1971 due to try and combat subsidence; this was due to coal which had been mined close by. We then past the Armitage Shanks factory, which many of the world’s toilets and basins are made.We have seen such a lot of boats coming up the canal, it has been as if they are trying to escape something, and no one has bothered to tell us. We seem to have met most of them in bridge holes, which has been a little exciting at times. Apart from one bridge hole we have been the ones doing the reversing, which does take sometime with Hadar. By the time you put her into reverse, she has to have a think about it, before complying with the instruction, so it can make for some close contact with on coming boats.
Our stopping place for the day was King’s Bromley, just before King’s Bromley Wharf. We have never walked the 1 ½ miles into King’s Bromley, but there is an old mill there and it has been said that it was the early home of lady Godiva, so if you like a bit of history then it is worth a visit. That will be for another time for us.

Wednesday 27th August.

King’s Bromley to Below Atherstone Locks. 20.3 miles and 5 locks.

Our alarm clock woke us at 5am to a dark, calm morning. As we poked our heads out of the back cabin, nothing was stirring, not even the birds were yet singing. Keith fired Hadar into life and we set off at 5.45am. We met N.B Shiloh as we approached Woodend Lock, our first lock of the day, they like us were up early, and they followed us down through the locks to Fradley Junction, where we turned right onto the Coventry Canal, leaving the Swan Inn behind us.The countryside around the canal is very pretty, even more so early in the morning, when it seems so unspoilt. We saw many boats going in the opposite direction, and we knew there were a few behind us. We arrived at Glascote locks at 12 noon to find several boats in front of us queuing for the locks, so we joined the queue like everyone else. It was not long before 4 boats were behind us waiting just like us.There were boats coming down the locks which helped to speed things up a little, but it still took us 1hr 15mins to clear the pair of locks, behind everyone else. We stopped at peel’s Wharf to empty the loo cassettes and to take on water, which it seemed so was everyone else, as we had to wait a long with other boats to use the facilities. It gave me the chance to chat to the owners of Matilda Blue, who are from Australia and had stopped alongside us to get rid of rubbish. We had met previously but not had much of a chance to speak properly. We would see them later on though.
We had passed by Alvecote and the remains of its priory, and were travelling under the M42 motorway bridge; by this time it was 2.30pm, when we saw a group of lads on the embankment. I thought they were just chatting, but saw them move so was just turning back to speak to Keith, when something struck me on the right side of my face by my right eye. At first I thought it was a stone, because of the ferocity of the item hitting me. Clutching my face I then realised that I had infact been hit by an apple, some of the remains of the apple were lying on the cabins roof.The apple had hit me with such force that it had broken into bits. To say I was shocked was an under statement, it actually reduced me to tears, which were more from the shock than the pain. I climbed into the engine room and sat down, whilst Keith moored Hadar up. After checking I was ok, he ran along the towpath, over the foot bridge and into Pooley Country Park, to try and catch the hooligan that had thrown the apple, but they had of course legged it. Keith met up with the park rangers Mike and Lisa. Mike and Keith went in search of the group of lads, whilst Lisa came to see if I was ok. I was on the phone to the police when she arrived. We moved the boat to a mooring at the park, so the police could find us. To cut a long story short, the group of lads were found, and one of them owned up to throwing the apple. He was advised by Mike the ranger that he should apologise to me as the police had been called. He did come and say he was sorry, and at that point I totally lost it with him. I wanted him to realise that what he did could have caused me serious injury and even death, had I been knocked off balance, fallen in the water and been dragged under the propeller. This clearly shocked him as he had his head in his hands and said he did not realise. Keith also had words with this 12 yr old young man, hoping to make him see that doing this sort of thing could have serious consequences. Lisa made us both coffee and we sat in the centre waiting for the police to arrive, but as it approached 4.30pm it was clear they were not coming and the park was closing, so we left our details with Mike the park ranger and left for our over night mooring at the bottom of the Atherstone Flight, where we met up with Matlida Blue again. I have been left with a splitting headache, and a painful temple, but thankfully that is the only damage. Keith has been on the phone again to the police, and they have said they will come and see us at Shackerstone. I am now looking forward to a good nights sleep.

1 comment:

Dogsontour by Greygal said...

That's a pretty horrible thing to happen - you have my sympathies and best wishes for a speedy recovery on all accounts. Hopefully those lads have learnt a valuable lesson and other boaters may be spared such unpleasantness.