Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Saturday, 26 December 2009
Many women get excited about Manolos or Jimmy Choo shoes. But six-inch heels are no use to you in the middle of a muddy walk watching yer dog disappearing over the horizon. Me, I like my wellies, and sadly both my favourite pairs have worn out in the same week as the result of extended Christmas walkies. I shall miss them.
Friday, 25 December 2009
Mud is flying
All around us
'Tis the season
Sprouts & spuds & turkey...
Merry Christmas, Everyone!
(to be sung, very quietly under your breath, to the tune of that ghastly Paul McCartney Christmas thing. Sorry.)
Looking forward to Mum & Big Brother arriving tomorrow... lots more celebrating the festive season still to do. Ho ho ho!!!
Sunday, 20 December 2009
Happy Birthday P!
We were supposed to be spending a long weekend on Caracol to celebrate P's birthday with a family lunch with S&R on Sunday. But the snow has beaten us - hardly any snow to speak of here at home, but further afield the motorways are closed. Annie the dog is spending her weekend keeping warm and so are we.
Sunday, 22 November 2009
Into Braunston for supplies, mooching and another pub lunch. There's a couple of examples of this graffiti (graffito??) dotted around the footpaths and towpaths at Braunston, which I rather like...
Then back on through lovely low sun and a glass-calm return to the marina, thank heavens.
Sunday, 15 November 2009
...now this is more like it. Amazingly beautiful day, and lots and lots of fruitless attempts to capture how lovely the scenery looks in the low winter sunshine. Plus Sunday lunch in the (thankfully now re-opened) Admiral Nelson. What's not to like?
Here: The ridge and furrow scenery as pictured by a rubbish photograher...
Okay, so they aren't six-foot breakers. But they are the result of 35mph winds, and even here in the marina the water is distinctly choppy. nbCaracol has all of the aerodynamic elegance of a Gloucester Old Spot so we've decided to call off our plans to cruise today. We drove over to Hatton to look at the lock maintenance work instead.
Thursday, 29 October 2009
Granny Buttons was writing today about Shuckburgh on the GU being one of the best places to photograph ridge and furrow. Here's our humble attempt from close to there on a crisp November morning three years ago. I remember it well: it was that weekend out that absolutely definitely convinced us that we needed our own boat to spend more time on the canals. So after the weekend we returned the Ownerships boat to Stockton, and set off around the brokers.
Monday, 31 August 2009
Back to the boat for the weekend - not cruising anywhere this time, just doing some spring cleaning and painting and using the boat as a base to travel to the IWA festival at Radcliffe on Soar on Saturday.
We moored overnight at this spot at the foot of the power station in the middle of our trip in June, just before we joined the River Trent. Looks completely different this weekend.
We shared the Hatton locks on Friday morning with a nice couple who, like us, decided a slap-up lunch at the Cape of Good Hope Pub was well deserved. Said goodbye to our new friends who stayed at the moorings above Cape Locks to spend the afternoon with a brisk bout of indigestion, and went on down through Leamington. There's a new Lidl right by the towpath on the spot that used to be a garden centre (used to be handy for gas cylinders, now handy for cheap but yummy wine - no contest) and I stocked up on all sorts of stuff I didn't know I needed.
Saturday was a leisurely tootle through Bascote and Stockton locks back to the marina.
Thursday, 13 August 2009
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Woke up in the centre of Birmingham this morning on busy but very peaceful moorings at Gas Street. Bit of a wet start to the day but still a wonderfully atmospheric mix of very new and very old. Stopped for a leisurely lunch at Warstock then started the first 3 locks of the Lapworth flight before tying up for the evening.
Spent a terrific morning at the Black Country Museum. Low-carb diet or not, there was no way I was missing out on the traditional fish & chips fried in proper beef dripping, cooked in the reconstructed 1930s chippie, and judging by the queues neither was anybody else. Travelled through the old, winding route into Birmingham and really enjoyed the contrast between the old and new architecture; the motorway takes its cue from the old canal route and follows the contours of the canal for a long way. It's eerie and surprisingly peaceful in the tangle of canals and roads and the columns that support the motorway above.
Monday, 10 August 2009
Gorgeous 12-mile stretch of river with huge, huge locks, then into the delightful basin at Stourport. Then on through Kidderminster to rural moorings at Wolverley.
Moored up for the day at lunchtime in Diglis Basin then explored Worcester on foot. Huge amounts of regeneration going on here - it looks pretty good but I wonder what will be left of the history of the basin next time we're here.
Finished the Lapworth locks on Monday and turned left at King's Norton junction to moor at Alvechurch. Tuesday morning in heavy rain saw us working through the Tardebigge flight of 30-odd locks ...
One of the things I love most about the canal is the sense of history. These puddles are the result of about 180-odd years' worth of boat people standing with both feet in exactly the same spots to wind up the paddle gear. Most of them were probably swearing under their breath, same as I was.
The rain eased off and we rewarded ourselves with a gorgeous dinner at the Queen's Head in Stoke Prior.
Monday, 3 August 2009
Early start on Sunday morning up the - very busy - Hatton locks. It's a jolly good workout and a cracking bit of canal landscape - the recent bit of canal art is pretty cool, too.
We could quite creditably have tied up for the night at the top of the locks (23 of them - all double - I'm feeling tweaks in muscles I haven't used for a bit) but we carried on through Kingswood Junction and the first of the Lapworth Locks to the very excellent Boot Inn.
Saturday, 1 August 2009
Caracol has just had her bottom blacked and is looking very smart. We set off on Saturday morning for our trip on the Stourport Ring canals.
First of all we need to get to Birmingham so we worked down Stockton locks in on-off rain to the outskirts of Leamington Spa for the evening. Hatton Locks and Warwick tomorrow! The important thing, travelling through all of these locks, will be to keep as much of the blacking stuck to the hull as possible.
Monday, 27 July 2009
Saturday, 11 July 2009
Sunday, 28 June 2009
Been back in the real world for nearly a week now - still feeling a lovely sense of relaxation from the break on the canals, though. Ventured into Canterbury for some essential supplies yesterday. Seriously considered buying a shopping basket on wheels for our next trip out on the canal in August - I am getting a bit too middle-aged.
Saturday, 20 June 2009
We're back in familiar waters now, on our way to Braunston to turn back off the Oxford Canal and on to the Grand Union and home moorings. I've been quietly impressed by how the blogosphere has made it so easy to load snippets from the trip: the next one will be two weeks in August on the Stourport Ring (floods and canal breaches permitting - we tried this one last year and had to re-organise) and I look forward to better snapshots and better blogging!
Friday, 19 June 2009
Two (virtually) lock free days yesterday and today; only the single stoplock at Hawkesbury Junction where the Coventry Canal joins the northernmost tip of the North Oxford Canal. We're well on our way back to base now, so today has been a leisurely day with a chance to stop and walk into Brinklow (very pretty) but it's mighty odd, after two weeks travelling at walking pace, to walk along roads used by ordinary traffic. Stopped up early for the evening and had a potter on foot around Newbold-on-Avon. This is the view back through the tunnel from our mooring this evening - it's a very compelling view through a long straight stretch.