Lived on-board Hadar

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Marston Jabbett to Stone.

Wednesday 10th September.

Marston Jabbett to Alvecote Marina 14.8 miles, 11 locks, 7.40 hours.

A lovely start to the day, with the sun shining and warmth in the air. The wind was still hustling up a strong breeze, in the unprotected areas. We left our mooring at 8am and headed for Marston Junction of the Ashby and Coventry Canal.There was no one coming either way so we turned Hadar back onto the Coventry canal. And made our way to Nuneaton, where there are lots of allotments, all displaying fruit and veg for the season. I heard on the radio this morning that security guards are now patrolling allotments, because veg is being stolen. What is this world coming to, when you cannot grow your own food, and know that it will still be there to pick when it’s ready. The people who steal other people’s food are the lowest of low as far as I am concerned.
Whilst leaving Nuneaton we spotted this boat moored up advertising tarot readings for £5.I am not sure how much business he gets. Does anyone else know of a tarot card reader on the canal?
The journey to Atherstone was pretty uneventful, we had a boat in front of us, but he was much quicker than we were. We got to enjoy beautiful scenery and much nicer day weather wise. There were plenty of boats moving in the opposite direction, Rose hire boats, Canal Time, hire boats and a few private boats. We arrived at the Atherstone flight to find we were not the only ones going down. The boat in front of us had moored up for water. We were soon to find out that we were 4th in line for the flight. As we arrived at bridge 41, a Canal Time hirer made it known that they were 3rd in line for the lock, which was a little late as we had already gone under the bridge. They were tied up, showing no sign that they were in a queue. So because the wind was blowing Hadar on, we had no choice but to moor up on the lock moorings.Another gentleman on the other Canal Time boat, then came along and made it quite clear that they were 2nd in the queue. I told him that we had no intention of queue jumping, they had left it to late to tell us the situation, so we had no option but to moor up before them, I reassured him they would still be going before us. I have never seen anyone so precious about where he was in a queue. NB Nic Nac was first to go down, so whilst the Canal Time boats sorted themselves out, Keith and I chatted to the lock keepers wife. She could not believe the fuss they were making, and thought that surely it was quicker to just let us go, as we would clearly be quicker through the locks. If this had been a few years ago when working boats were still using the canals to transport goods, the working boat was always given precedence, so we would have been allowed to go. But these days it is a free for all it seems. We are not queue jumpers, but neither are we precious about where we go in a queue. They still arrived back at Alvecote in good time.
Anyway we did the flight of locks, with boats coming up to aid our passage, and we left the hire boats to do their locks. Whilst getting near the bottom of the lock flight we met up with Tony the lock keeper, and wished him a good day.
We cruised through Polesworth and past Pooley Country Park, where I experienced the apple throwing incident. Thankfully there was no one there this time, it was all shit up. The police never did come and see us at Shackerstone. Obviously it was not important enough.
We arrived at Alvecote passing the Remains of the Alvecote Benedictine Priory, which can be seen through the trees. We moored up opposite Alvecote Marina for the day at 3.40pm. The wind has become quite strong and gusty now, so it is a good time to call it a day.Thursday 11th September.

Alvecote to Great Haywood. 26.1 miles, 6 locks in 10 hrs 35 minutes.

After a night of wind and rain, not to mention the alarm going off at the Samuel Barlow at 2.45am, we were woken up by our own alarm clock at 5am, for our early morning call. When I looked out, it was pitch black, and nothing was stirring except us LOL. Paddy had a walk in the dark, and as I am not a lover of walking in the dark it was a quick stroll. Keith readied Hadar for the off at 5.55am and we headed off as dawn began to wake up. We enjoyed a wonderful early morning stint, watching Mother Nature wake up with the first bird song of the day. We then caught up with the gentleman from Tuesday, who was having engine problems, but was not prepared to let us pass. Thankfully this was not the case today, after a short distance he did allow us to pass him on a bend, but was clearly not happy at having to allow us by, because as we passed his boat and were stern to stern, he turned his back on us. Now normally I would thank the person for allowing us to pass, but as he deliberately turned his back on us, so he would not have to acknowledge us, I kept my thanks to myself. People who know me know I am normally a very polite person, but he bought out the worst in me. It costs nothing to be polite, my Nan used to tell me, when I was a child. I suppose I should have shouted thank you to him anyway, but why waste my breath. We followed N.B Pike as that, as we arrived at Fradley Junction we followed N.B Pike through the swing bridge. They turned right and we were turning left. So we waved them goodbye.We were now back onto the Trent and Mersey Canal and stuck on the mud on the bend. It was not made any easier by the fact that there were moored boats outside the Swan Inn, and a boat was taking on diesel in front of N.B Monarch, making for a tight turn for a 70ft boat. I walked down the gunwale to take charge at the bow, whilst Keith reversed Hadar off of the mud. He was given some assistance from another boater, who helped by pushing the stern of the boat out from the bank. Inch by inch we managed to wiggly Hadar around the boats and into the straight for the first of the locks. I thanked the gentleman for his help and was on our way up through the Fradley Locks, with N.B Wild 1 behind us, he had patiently waited as we negotiated the junction. We were now on our way to Rugeley, where once again the four cooling towers of the power station dominate the sky line. If they were ever taken down it would leave a huge hole on the horizon. The sun had come out after a drizzly start to the day, so it was now turning into a lovely day as we approached Woodend Lock, where a boat was already coming down. After we left the lock N.B Belle took over and I then disappeared into the galley to make lunch, which we would eat on the run. As we made our way to Colwich Lock, Keith spotted a smiley face on a tree stump; it is nice to see someone has a sense of humour. It certainly made us smile.We got to Colwich Lock and an ex-Challenger boat was coming down. One of the bottom gate paddles was not working, which we reported to BW. They would be sending out an engineer as soon as they could. According to the ex-challenger boat crew, it had been fine yesterday when they had used it.
So we had reached Great Haywood and a mooring for the night. It had been a long day, but a good one for many reasons. But the main reason is that Keith and I are celebrating our 4th Wedding Anniversary today. He has managed to put up with me for four years married ha ha ha. We are very lucky as we have a very good relationship. Keith is not just my husband; he is also my soul mate, friend and lover. Here is to the next 4 years.

Friday 12th September.

Great Haywood to Stone.

Our alarm clock kicked into life at 5am, and we were up eating breakfast and enjoying a cup of tea, whilst outside it was pitch black. Before we set off Paddy needed his walk, so having put his lead on we stepped off of the boat into the darkness. The only sounds I could hear were a pair of owls hooting to each other, and then the Shugbrough cockerel crowed into life, joining in with the owls conversation. Having slipped our mooring at 5.50am, I walked to Haywood Lock to get it ready for Hadar to glide into the lock chamber. So we were on our way back to Stone on what was a drizzly beginning to our journey, but things did improve. Through out the trip we saw boats moving from around 8am. having not been in the area since February, we noticed a few changes, such as Colwich and Sanford Lock Cottages were now empty, which is a real shame. It also appeared that the Aston Marina has got the go ahead, after previous planning permission had been denied. According to the banners in the field the marina whould be ready Autumn 2009. One of the cottages by Aston Lock is now up for sale. After a pretty uneventful journey we arrived in Stone, to see the new towpath and moorings below Star Lock. We moored up and went and did a food shop. Our fridge was really empty and we had to result to eating our emergency tinned food supply of Spam ha ha ha. So with the food shop done, we had an early lunch before heading up the locks to Roger Fullers Boatyard, where we are having a few jobs done to Hadar. These are things we have though of since being onboard her, such as an inspection hatch in the holds timber flooring. As we arrived at the boatyard, we were given a very warm welcome by Roger, Tina and Nigel from N.B Ensebee. It felt like coming home. We moored in the basin, and then got chatting to everyone, went through our mail, which included my new boatwomans bonnet, which was made by a friend. It is absolutely gorgeous, I will post a picture over the weekend. I also recieved my cabin lace for my curtains from Lockside Antiques. Evelyn very kindly put my cabin lace in the post. Now I just need to find some curtain material.
Lockside Antiques, specialises in lace old and new, Measham wear, Antique Ribbon Plates, Brass and much more.
So the day has been a good one, next week we will begin the jobs which need to be tackled before we head off winter cruising.

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