We had planned a few days out over the Christmas break, but with the weather cold wet and miserable, just did a short trip to Braunston and back. On an afternoon walk we went to look for the line of the old canal in the fields. It was fairly easy to find, and it looks as though it was filled with rubbish, as there are old glass bottles coming out of the ground.
Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Sunday, 20 November 2011
Sunday, 6 November 2011
Thursday, 27 October 2011
Most of the acorns are on the ground now, and the ones still falling sound different as you hear them bouncing off the nearly bare branches and twigs, rather than pattering through the leaves. There aren't many cobwebs left either, and the walkers you meet are in fleeces and hats.
Saturday, 15 October 2011
Sunday, 2 October 2011
On the way back to the marina you often see ducks, sometimes in a row. These are the first seagulls in a row that I have seen on this stretch though...
Saturday, 1 October 2011
One intent of putting the gallery here was to help regenerate the town through making it more of a destination for visitors, rather than simply a day out on the beach. I think the jury is still out on that. In the past few years there has been lots of retail development on the edge of the Thanet conurbation around Westwood Cross, meaning that town centre shops are rapidly reducing in number. The increased shopping traffic around what was already a bottleneck may also be a disincentive to visitors, judging by the miles of crawling traffic that we passed on our way home.
Friday, 30 September 2011
Velux website, all four of ours were affected. It didn't take long to get the replacement arranged, but we'll need to wait a month for a fitter to become available. It is worth a check if you have any of these windows, as although the broken glass stayed in place, there were plenty of shards all over the floor after the break.
Monday, 26 September 2011
Saturday, 24 September 2011
Just a short day out with friends, lunch at the Blue Lias and home again.
Wednesday, 21 September 2011
Friday, 9 September 2011
Thursday, 8 September 2011
Despite the traffic we found a mooring outside the Mill House for the night in time for a wander around the village and locks, happily reuniting a walker with a lost set of keys that we found on the towpath. Later on I looked out for a supernova that was near the Plough in the sky, but not much was visible to the naked eye. Crossing the A45 to get to the footpath along the other side of the canal the number and speed of lorries flying past in close proximity felt quite alarming after three weeks aboard.
Wednesday, 7 September 2011
After a quiet night in the countryside we set off through Nuneaton. You don't see anything of the town centre as the canal skirts the town. What you do see is miles and miles of down at heel housing and allotments, with in some cases razor wire separating the two.
After what seemed like more miles than it probably was, we arrived at Hawkesbury Junction in a shower, usefully in time for a Greyhound pie for lunch. On through the afternoon to a favourite mooring for the night at All Oaks Wood.
Tuesday, 6 September 2011
The wind and rain through the night battered the boat and periodically woke us. There were only showers in the morning though, as we set off up the remainder of the flight meeting lots of boats, including some old boats still on their way home from Shackerstone. After lunch at the top we set off in gusting winds, but thankfully no rain. At the Hartshill yard, the towpath has fallen in.
Monday, 5 September 2011
The day started sunny, but soon developed some showers and strong winds. The mixture of strong sunlight and dark skies made for some spectacular views.
Sunday, 4 September 2011
Dinner last night was at the Plum Pudding in Armitage. Excellent as always. The overnight rain had mostly cleared by the time we set off towards Fradley. The canal here is fairly windy, with lots of poor sight lines through bridge holes. Sometimes the first sign of an oncoming boat that you see is the edge of the wash, so I look out for that. Sometimes though, I end up finding I've given way to a fast paddling duck.
Woodend Lock is a peaceful spot for the present, but is on the route of HS2, which based on current plans will pass about level with the top of the lock.
The first of the Fradley locks had bottom gates that were rather eroded, and waiting to catch the front fender of descending boats with inattentive crews. Still cloudy at lunchtime, but the sun came out in time to show Streethay Wharf at its best.
The good weather stayed with us through to a mooring on edge of Hopwas - near some beautiful woodland which is open to the public when the military aren't using it.
Friday, 2 September 2011
Heading North on the Staffs and Worcester Canal, there is lots of evidence of how the area has been developed, redeveloped or allowed to return to agriculture. We moored last night near what used to be an isolated canal side pub, but is now swallowed up in housing estates. It is a similar picture elsewhere, with housing on what used to be industrial sites which grew up by the canal and are gone now. In other places the canal forms a boundary for housing spreading out for nearby villages. Depending upon the desirability of the sites, some of it is park homes, some high density terraces from the seventies, and some larger more recent prestige buildings that make the most of the canal rather than turning their back on it. Near one of these, looking like a hotel, some House Martins were gathering. They were landing on the eaves of the building in between swoops over the canal to feed – stocking up for the long journey to Africa.
On the other hand there are isolated stretches of countryside, with the occasional church standing alone in the landscape as the last remnant of what used to be a village.
Eventually we escaped the noise of the M6, and joined the railway to reach our destination at Tixall Wide. I've always fancied mooring here, but have never found a space before. It is unique on the canal system, more of a lake than a canal, and was built to appease a nearby landowner who didn't want the view of the valley from his house spoilt when the canal was built. The house is gone now, but judging by the remaining gatehouse it must have been impressive.
It is a lovely place to moor, but not as quiet as you might think, as the flatness of the landscape means that you can hear the nearby roads, and on this occasion the crops in an adjoining field were being harvested.
Later on in the evening there was too much cloud for a sunset, but as a substitute we had the street lights of Stafford bouncing off the clouds.
We're definitely homeward bound now, heading for Fradley and then Fazeley.
Thursday, 1 September 2011
After a chilly night, the sun was soon burning off the mist promising a warm day. The reflections above Compton Lock were particularly appealing. The water became progressively cleaner as we headed north to buy diesel at Oxley Marine. After that a heron seemed to be endorsing our choice of route to Great Haywood.
Northwards again, we ran over something large in the narrows at Pendeford Rockin. After a few attempts we got off it and past it, and could see it looked like a large tree root and a load of geotextile, and far too heavy to lift out. Little of the industry that used to feed the canal its work remains, although there is one large chemical plant.
After lunch at Hatherton Junction we made steady progress through the afternoon, pausing only to help out another boater in salvaging a rowboat that got swamped by leaks from the gates as he descended the lock, towing it behind his narrowboat.