Saturday, 25 March 2017

Trotters wharf


IMG_1493We left Coventry canal basin at 09.40 and with my number one son Jamie we took 2 hours to cruise to Hawkesbury junction . Carolyn meanwhile travelled in the car with Jamie’s young lady Danny and doggy Belle. It was an uneventful trip out of Coventry except for the sight of a naked person stood looking at us from the window in their flat. Just our luck that it was a male and to be honest not a very pretty sight.There was just as much rubbish beside and floating in the canal and we only spotted 4 floating coconuts on our way out which apparently isn’t many for this stretch stretch of canal.

IMG_1498Jamie and Danny were only up for a short time so we made the most of it and headed straight down to The Greyhound pub at Hawkesbury for a drink and a bite to eat. I think the Greyhound Pub at Hawkesbury will really miss us as we have spent a bleeding fortune in there over the last couple of weeks.

IMG_1513With Jamie and Danny on their way back down to their home in Devon we pulled ropes through rings from our mooring at 09.55 . Not far from Hawkesbury we came across this Canal and River Trust work boat that had either slipped it’s mooring or someone had cast it off. There were no signs of any mooring pins attached to the mooring ropes ,but we pulled it in to the bank and secured it with a piece of metal tubing that was on the boat.

IMG_1524Passing Charity dock which is also known to Boaters as Trotters wharf. It is an amazing place that is full of everything . We recently watched a TV programme called Salvage Hunters with Drew Pritchard and he visited the site where there was everything you could think of including old motorcycles valued at over £20,0000.

IMG_1532Now this is a sight you don’t see very often and what a pleasure to see the results a country craftsman’s work. It would be so much quicker and cheaper just to knock a few posts in and nail some wire fencing to it . But this is a living fence and hopefully if we head back this way in a few months it should be bursting in to life.

IMG_1538Guess who we bumped in to at Star line boats in Nuneaton ? . Of course it was friends Gary and Della on their good ship Muleless. We stopped for a chat and had a look at the improvement works they were having done on their boat. It will probably be a few months before we meet up again ,so enjoy your Summer cruising and try to be good !!.

IMG_1544You have been warned. Now then let me think back ,how many shillings were there in a pound ? .

IMG_1556After a good cruise we moored up a couple of miles outside of Nuneaton at this lovely peaceful mooring. This has to be the most photographed old  telegraph pole on the canal system . Looking at it and I would have thought there would be over 40 wires attached to it. There’s not another similar one on this stretch ,but no doubt there were hundreds of similar ones along the length of this canal many years ago.

We will have a night here before moving on to Atherstone in the morning where we will spend a couple of days hopefully moored above the locks .

                                                                                                               Happy Days

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Wibbly wobbly


IMG_1464This is Carolyn with the great man of the canals ,well a statue of him .It is of course the canal builder James Brindley who was commissioned to build amongst others the Coventry canal when the canal company was formed back in 1768, and work started on it in December that year.His technique minimised the amount of earth moving by developing the principle of contouring. He preferred to use a circuitous route that avoided embankments, and tunnels rather than cuttings Due to the high standards of construction demanded by Brindley the canal company ran out of money by the time the canal had reached Atherstone in 1769, and Brindley was replaced by Thomas Yeoman.

IMG_1480Looking in to the basin and I wonder what Brindley would think of it now.

IMG_1478Not far from the basin we came across this marker which stood opposite where the old Daimler car factory was which made the first British production motor car in 1897 . The surviving building is the power house. Yet again the local Scroates have left their mark all over the place.


This is the Canal basin bridge and it’s also a very wibbly wobbly bridge . Just walking over it and it shakes and wobbles like you wouldn’t believe .The bridge is a direct link from the canal basin straight in to the city centre .But believe it or not there are now plans to demolish it and not replace it. The road below is so busy that there is no way that you could cross it ,so it will be a long detour down to the next roundabout to cross the road.

Well that’s the end of our time in Coventry.We ended up spending a week in the basin and had some good experiences and some bad ones . The basin itself is fine to stay in and we felt safe inside with all the camera’s and good lighting . But just outside there was a lot of drug use with some people in what looked to be a bad state. We also saw a lot of used needles that were just discarded outside of the basin.

The worst incident we saw was when shopping in the local Sainsbury when a fight broke out between a shoplifter and the security guards . It ended up at the till we were using and we had to move to the back of the store while a violent struggle took place .The lady behind the till said that it was now becoming a lot worse and this type of incident happens several times every week. It was later mentioned that this was probably just a distraction while his mates stole all the alcohol from the shelves.  This is the first time that Carolyn has ever witnessed anything like this and it left her very upset to say the least.  Then one night we had a couple of idiots who decided to bang as hard as they could on the side of the boat and run off. I just managed to get out and shout a couple of rude words at them as they ran off around the corner. Luckily for them they never came back. There was also a lot shouting late at night as people passed through the basin ,but they didn’t bother us.

At the end of the day you have to realise that you are in a City and these things happen .We were told by some of the locals who lived in some of the near by flats that it wasn’t one of the better area’s in Coventry and you had to be a bit alert as to what was going on around you. Maybe we were unlucky to witness all of this as we know several other boaters who have been in to Coventry and been fine. I would have no hesitation in coming back ,but I think Carolyn might take a bit of persuading to do so.


                                                                                                            Happy Days

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

How many Years ?



                                                               Time to dig this old picture out again . 36 years ago today guess what we did ?


                                                                                                             Happy Days

Sunday, 19 March 2017



IMG_1438You can’t go to Coventry without visiting the ruined Cathedral in the middle of the City .The ruins of St Michael’s are the consequence of violence in our own time. On the night of 14 November 1940, the city of Coventry was devastated by bombs dropped by the Luftwaffe. The Cathedral burned with the city, having been hit by several incendiary devices.

IMG_1435Shortly after the destruction, the cathedral stonemason, Jock Forbes, noticed that two of the charred medieval roof timbers had fallen in the shape of a cross. He set them up in the ruins where they were later placed on an altar of rubble with the moving words ‘Father Forgive’ inscribed on the Sanctuary wall. Another cross was fashioned from three medieval nails by local priest, the Revd Arthur Wales. The Cross of Nails has become the symbol of Coventry’s ministry of reconciliation.

IMG_1444Here you can see the new Cathedral on the right of the picture .Her Majesty the Queen laid the foundation stone on 23 March 1956 and the building was consecrated on 25 May 1962, in her presence. The ruins remain hallowed ground and together the two create one living Cathedral. I’m not sure that I see how it creates one living Cathedral . We were going to go in the new one ,but at £6 each to go in we didn’t bother .

IMG_1442Not far away is The Herbert which is an Art gallery/Museum and History centre . You may ask what drew me here ? . Well the words in the green circle in the picture above which read admission free enticed me in.The museum is named after Sir Alfred Herbert, a Coventry industrialist and philanthropist whose gifts enabled the original building to be opened in 1960. Building began in 1939, with an interruption by the Second World War, and the Herbert opened in 1960. In 2008, it reopened after a £14 million refurbishment.

IMG_1450The good looking one at the far end looks familiar .

IMG_1452Carolyn enjoyed this exhibition of shells from all around the world . She now wants to go all around the World and see them in their natural habitat.

IMG_1455There was also a Lady Godiva exhibition . I was hoping to see the real thing but no such luck , mind you I was probably lucky when you see what happened to poor Tom .For those who don’t know the story Lady Godiva according to a legend dating at least to the 13th century,she rode naked – covered only in her long hair  through the streets of Coventry to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation that her husband imposed on his tenants. The name "Peeping Tom" for a voyeur originates from later versions of this legend in which a man named Tom watched her ride and was struck blind or dead.

IMG_1382It was then down to Wetherspoons to meet up with friends Rich and Sharon who had bussed it in from their cosy marina mooring near Rugby. As always it was an absolute pleasure to see them again . The only downside is that this is probably the last time we will see them for a while as we all cruise off in different directions on our Summer cruises.

                                                                                                       Happy Days

Friday, 17 March 2017

A day at the Museum



IMG_1429When you are out and about in Coventry the one thing you have to do is visit The Coventry Transport Museum which is only a short distance from the canal basin .Coventry Transport Museum houses the largest publicly owned collection of British vehicles in the world, and tells the fascinating story of Coventry and its people through the rise and fall of its biggest industry. The best thing about this museum apart from what’s in it of course is that entry is free.

IMG_1391The museum house’s all modes of transport including these early cycles.

IMG_1398A lovely and well restored 1932 Alvis 12/60 . The back of this car has the beetle shape which gave it a better aerodynamic shape. I bet it turned some heads when it went zooming down the road.

IMG_1400This magnificent vehicle was the personal property of HM Queen Mary, the Queen’s Grandmother, from 1935 until her death in 1953.It was acquired by the National Motor Museum in the mid-1950s, and was then placed on loan to the owners of the liner ‘Queen Mary’, which by then, was a floating hotel in Long beach, California. The car was exhibited for over ten years on the deck of this once great liner, yet during this time suffered from the sun, rain, and in particular, the damp salty air.Following a conversation in 1984 between Michael Ware, Curator of the National Motor Museum, and Barry Littlewood, then General Manager of this Museum, the vehicle was purchased for the Coventry collection and returned to the City of its making in July of that year.Since that time the vehicle has been totally restored to its former glory and now takes pride of place amongst the other Coventry made exhibits in the Museum.

IMG_1402Three’s also a mock up of an old garage housing an Austin 7 car. This is the same as the car my parents owned when I was born back in the late 50’s.

IMG_1404This was their next car and like the one my Mum passed her test in back in the early 60’s .It is of course a Standard 10 and made at the Standard factory in Canley lane Coventry. This 1953 model cost £581 when new and had a 948cc over head valve engine . At about this time Standard had to export most of the cars they built to pay off the War debt.

IMG_1411We had one of these amongst the many other cars we had. The Hillman Imp was asmall rear engined car .It was the first mass-produced car with the engine block and cylinder head cast in aluminium .Being a direct competitor to the BMCs Mini, it used a space-saving rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout to allow as much luggage and passenger capacity as possible in both the rear and the front of the car. It used a unique opening rear hatch to allow luggage to be put into the back seat rest. But to be honest it wasn’t one of the cars we look back on with any fond memories.


IMG_1408We had one of these as well and it was the first car we had when myself and Carolyn got married back in 1981 . Its a mark 1 Triumph 2000 estate and we went on to own a mark 2 as well which had overdrive and for us at the time it was a luxury car. Next to it was a very desirable Triumph Vitesse which was a car I always wanted but never had.

IMG_1409This Triumph Bonneville is one of a special limited edition in celebration of The Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 and it’s a bike that I would love to own.
When the Bonneville was first released in 1959, Triumph promoted it as “the Bonneville T120 offers the highest performance available today from a standard production motorcycle."
In the 1970s came management changes at the BSA Group and, more significantly, Japanese competition. In 1973, with the involvement of the British government, a new company was formed: Norton Villiers Triumph. it was also funny that every Triumph motorcycle on display had an oil drip tray underneath the engine.

I will have to speak kindly to Carolyn and see if she will let me have one. Or I could just go out and buy one and face the consequences later, that sounds like a better idea.

IMG_1414"That's the way to do it" . Now then where’s my swozzzle ? Oops I think I just swallowed it.

IMG_1427I remember this bit of kit from my days as a mechanic over 35 years ago . It used to clean a spark plug by blasting grit at it then it would test the spark plug by sending a spark through it and you would then look in to this small mirror to see what the quality of the spark was like. But what we used to do for a laugh was to wire it up to another mechanics toolbox and when they went to get a tool out or lift the tool box up we would press the tester button and give them a shock.

IMG_1426Thrust SSC is a British-designed and built World Land Speed Record car.Thrust SSC holds the current World Land Speed Record which was set on October 15, 1997, by accomplishing a speed of 763 mph. By doing so, the supersonic car became the first land vehicle to officially break the sound barrier.Designed by Richard Noble, Jeremy Bliss, Ron Ayres and Glynne Bowsher, Thrust SSC was driven by the RAF fighter pilot Squadron Leader Andy Green in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, USA. It is 16.5 m (54 ft) long, 3.7 m (12 ft) wide and weighs 10.5 tons (10.7 t).Noble was also the driving force behind the car's predecessor, Thrust 2 which broke the World Land Speed Record in 1983.The car was powered by two Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan engines, as used in British F-4 Phantom II jet fighters. The twin engines developed a thrust of 223 kN (50,000 lbf) and burned around 18 litres of fuel per second.

We ended up having a very enjoyable few hours in The Coventry Transport Museum . I thought Carolyn might not be that excited ,but she thoroughly enjoyed it and we would both suggest that if you are ever in Coventry give it a visit.




                                                                                                                   Happy Days

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Coventry bound


IMG_1345We pulled ropes through rings at 09.15 and then filled with water and got rid of waste before stating our five and a half mile cruise in to Coventry where we intend to spend a few days and hopefully enjoy the city. Passing through this bridge as we leave Hawkesbury you just have to admire the artwork on the railings as you pass under.

IMG_1354Passing the Ricoh stadium which is the home of Coventry City football club . I don’t think I would want to be a Coventry supporter at the moment as the club is in serious trouble at the bottom of the league.

IMG_1360We both liked this mural which was in a school on the way in to the city.

IMG_1363You always know when you are getting closer to a city centre as the Graffiti becomes more prominent .

IMG_1367We then started going through all these rafts of rubbish on the canal surface.We built up a bit of speed before hitting all this rubbish and then coasted through it in neutral.

IMG_1370It’s amazing how people just seem to chuck their rubbish over their back garden walls and in to the canal . It seems to be some sort of city mentality that canal’s are just dumping grounds for their rubbish.

IMG_1483After just over a two hour cruise we arrive in the basin and the end of the Coventry canal . To be honest on first impressions we were pleasantly surprised . The area with in the basin was clean and tidy and with several security camera’s and plenty of lighting we felt reasonably secure.


                                                                                                                    Happy Days

Sunday, 12 March 2017



IMG_1247This is our mooring at Hawkesbury junction and it is right opposite the old steam pumping house . Although not used for many years it once housed an engine designed by Thomas Newcomen (February 1664– 5 August 1729) who was an English inventor who created the first practical steam engine in 1712, the Newcomen atmospheric engine. He was an ironmonger by trade and a Baptist lay preacher by calling. He was born in Dartmouth, Devon, England, to a merchant family and baptised at St. Saviour's Church on 24 February 1664. In those days flooding in coal and tin mines was a major problem, and Newcomen was soon engaged in trying to improve ways to pump out the water from such mines. His ironmonger's business specialised in designing, manufacturing and selling tools for the mining industry.



What a clever man Newcomen was and of course the connection between this and us is Devon .Our home town of Totnes is only 12 miles from Dartmouth and I worked in Dartmouth for over 23 years in the good old days when I was employed by the local water company.

If ever you are in Dartmouth it’s well worth a visit to see the actual engine that was at Hawkesbury and this engine is in The Newcomen Engine House, beside the Tourist Information Centre in Dartmouth,and houses an original early Newcomen engine dating from about 1725. It can be seen operating during opening hours of the T.I.C., using a hydraulic mechanism added for demonstration purposes. This engine was first installed at the Griff Colliery near Coventry, and later moved to Oakthorpe Colliery, Measham, and to Hawkesbury Junction where it was used by the Coventry Canal Company from 1821-1913. It was finally moved to Dartmouth in 1963 by the Newcomen Society for demonstration in Newcomen's home town. The 22-inch diameter cylinder and wooden arched beam are believed to be original, with valve gear and a separate 'pickle-pot' condenser added about 1820. Plus it’s free to get in.


IMG_1286We were lucky that we bumped in to our friend Chris on nb Bosley not long after arriving at Hawkesbury and it was good to have a catch up before we head off in different directions on our Summer cruises.

IMG_1276The Sun going down over Inca at Hawkesbury.

IMG_1339Yes I know the pub yet again . Meeting up with Sharon and Rich nb Oakapple and Gary and Dell nb Muleless . Yet again we didn’t have very much to eat or drink. The look on our faces just show’s that we were all a bit tired and having a good time and nothing to do with what we had to drink….Ha-ha !!

IMG_1260The following day and Muleless were on their way to get some work done on their boat at a well known local boatyard. Should catch up with you guys when we pass you in a week or two.

It will soon be time for us to move and we plan to go in to Coventry for a few days . Many people have told us not to bother as it can be a nightmare getting in there due to the amount of rubbish in the canal . Then others have said what ever you do don’t stay overnight in the basin as it’s a bit of a rough area. I think we will do what we usually do and go for it and find out for ourselves,you never know we might enjoy it.

                                                                                                        Happy Days