Thursday, 17 August 2017

To the Trent


IMG_5686After a good night at Branston water park we pulled pins at 08.10 and soon got to the first lock of the day and were surprised to see so many boats waiting to come up . It worked out very well for us as there were so many boaters on the lock helping out that Carolyn was told to jump aboard Inca and they would lock us through.

IMG_5688Now this is a rare sight in this country although we do have some in Devon at a town called Dawlish . I think the black Swans are mainly found in Australia so I don't know what this one was doing here in the middle of Burton on Trent.It seemed to be all by itself without a mate .

IMG_5692With me taking a stroll along the towpath Carolyn takes over the helm on Inca.

IMG_5700We are still looking for a possible Winter mooring and decided to stop outside Mercia marina at Willington and go in and have a look around . We went in to the office and were told that they only gave accompanied tours of the marina and if we could wait ten minutes they would organise someone to show us around.The guy that showed us around lived at the marina and was very good and he went in to great detail about the way the marina operated . This now is number 1 on Carolyn's list and we have put our name down for a mooring, but we have to wait until September to see if they can fit us in. Although we still do have a couple of marinas to visit on our way down the river Trent this one looks to be favourite.

IMG_5728After a night outside Mercia marina we pulled pins at 07.40 and started our cruise towards Shardlow and The river Trent . Nearly at Shardlow and we were lucky to bump in to friends Stewart and Fran on NB The Boat . It’s been nearly 18 months since we last saw them so we had a bit of catching up to do . This is also the first time we have seen their new Dog which is called Guy and what a great looking Dog he is. We thought it was a brilliant name as Stewart and Frans surname is Martin.

IMG_5731Eventually we reached the top lock at Shardlow and after passing through the village we would be on the river Trent.

IMG_5735After an enjoyable cruise through the village we arrived at Derwent Mouth Lock . This is the beginning and the end of The Trent and Mersey canal depending on which way you are heading and is where we will drop down onto The river Trent. As we were about to drop down the lock Carolyn spotted some more ripe Damsons so we ended up picking enough for a couple of more jars of jam before we dropped down the lock.

IMG_5740Here we go again and I am in my element back on a river and this time the river Trent.

IMG_5758Unfortunately it was only a short cruise on the river to our mooring at Sawley with the massive power station in front of us . There is another marina here which we want to have a look around but  that will have to wait until tomorrow as the Sun is now well over the Yardarm and you know what that means … Cheers !
                                                                                                        Happy Days

Saturday, 12 August 2017

The invisible man


IMG_5594With Carolyn away back in Devon it seems that Hamish is missing her . Not only is he sat at the front door waiting for her to come back all and every day but he has decided that he wants to go out for his morning walk at 05.00 . Now I don't mind getting up that early if we are going to have a long days cruising but to take Hamish out for a walk at that time is just not on. The picture above is down on the river Trent looking East towards Burton.

IMG_5597Looking back towards the lock at Alrewas and although it is a bit early this has to be the best part of the day especially with the Sun coming up over the horizon. Thank you Hamish for getting me up .

IMG_5617This boat passed as I was sat on the back of Inca doing a bit of fishing and having the odd glass of wine . My first thoughts were that the invisible man was steering the boat, then I thought maybe the steerer had fallen off . Then I thought sod it and had another glass of wine or three.

IMG_5591I absolutely love the village of Alrewas and it’s still top of the list for my final resting place. I would love to buy a house here and rent it out until we retire from boating. The village has everything and the people that live here are so friendly. But I just cannot persuade Carolyn to do it as she thinks it is too far away from Devon. But at 3 1/2 hours I don't think it is that bad and I even said she can have a lovely new car to do the journey in . 

IMG_5625With Carolyn back from Devon we did a quick shop down in the village and did a rather large meat shop in Coates the Butchers which is the best Butchers by far that we have ever come across on the canal system. Ps If looks could kill ,all I said was just stand next to that car while I take a photo of you.

IMG_5630We pulled pins from Alrewas at 08.30 and made our way down to the lock which would drop us down onto the river Trent. Who’s that good looking person in the window.

IMG_5637Again I am in my element as I just love rivers . Yet again Carolyn is telling me to stay well clear of the barriers on the right which are there to stop boats going over the weir. Unfortunately the river section is only about a mile long before we get back onto the Trent and Mersey canal

IMG_5638There are a few Hotel boats on the system and here we passed Duke and Duchess .

IMG_5640Here we go again and Carolyn has spotted her first ripe Damsons of the year . She managed to pick enough for a couple of jars of jam .

IMG_5643As I mentioned before we are looking for a possible Winter mooring for Inca and are now having a look around Barton Turns Marina. We had a very friendly welcome from the staff and had a walk around the shops.

IMG_5645With restaurants ,shops ,a butchers and even a cinema this marina will be high on our list if we decide to use one for the Winter .

IMG_5656After leaving the marina we continued our cruise on towards Burton and came across these guys working hard taking this large tree down.

IMG_5657With a house and a boat being very close they took it down very slowly just doing a small piece at a time. I don't know what these guys get paid but they are worth every penny they get. On the way past we got covered in sawdust which wasn't a problem as it just brushed off but the guy on the  boat behind us took to social media kicking off big time about sawdust on his lovely highly polished boat ….you always get one idiot !

IMG_5672We then picked up this mooring at Branston water park .  The reason for it’s name is that this was the home of the famous Branston pickle which was first made in 1920 here in the village of Branston near Burton upon Trent, by Crosse & Blackwell .In 2004 the pickle business was sold by Nestle to Premier Foods and production was moved to Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. I do love a bit of Branston pickle especially with a ploughman's lunch. .

Tomorrow we will continue our journey towards the river Trent and stop and have a look around Mercia marina on the way.


                                                                                          Happy Days

Monday, 7 August 2017

R W E THERE YET



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No shut up !

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I wonder who's boat this is ?

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Lovely bit of art work .

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Always need one of these .

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Look out the Cornish are about !

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Where's Bond 007.

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But they don't hop.

                                                                                                                Happy Days

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Crash bang wallop


IMG_5571We pulled pins from our mooring at 07.20 and started our cruise to Alrewas . With it being a beautiful morning and in no hurry we just plodded along at 1,000 revs. We were soon at Woodend lock which has been described by many as one of the most picturesque locks on the system . HS2 was meant to be coming right through here but I think it has now been diverted ,at least I hope it has.

IMG_5574Dropping down in to Fradley junction and it’s chaos as usual . What makes it so bad here is that for some bizarre reason Canal and River Trust have permanent moorings right below this lock on the left which always causes problems on this busy junction. It’s amazing how so many boaters loose their tempers when something like this happens. At the end of the day it’s just all a part of boating and you have to just get on with it and smile.

IMG_5579With the Coventry canal on the right we continue on down the locks towards Alrewas . Talking to the Lockie on the next lock down he was telling us about the moorings outside the pub and shop . It seems that they are now charging 60 pence per foot for the night to moor outside the pub/shop needless to say there’s a lot of bad feeling from boaters.

IMG_5586After using the services at Fradley we then managed to pick up this mooring on the 14 day ones in Alrewas . We need to spend a few days here so Carolyn can go back down to Devon so this will be just the ticket for me and Hamish.

IMG_5610Behind our mooring there is a sharp bend in the canal and the trees have been allowed to grow out in to the canal making it very difficult to get around . It’s even worse when two boats meet on the corner and crash in to each other like these did. Never mind it’s a bit free entertainment for us as we are sat on the towpath with a glass or three of the red stuff.

IMG_5567Still sat out with even more wine and we now have the pleasure of this very bright full moon. If only the solar panels could charge off the Moon like they do with the Sun .



                                                                                               Happy Days

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Boat names


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                                                                                                        Happy Days