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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

TOWARDS STRATFORD-UPON-AVON

Leaving Warwick just 5 mins cruising brought us to the Hatton flight of locks that climbed 146`through 21 locks in less than 1 1/2 miles. After this hard climb we took on water and disposed of our rubbish and just 30 mins later found a nice country mooring for the night.
This early stop was due to the fact we knew that Kingswood jct. was just ahead of us and after turning on to the Stratford-on- Avon canal and facing 34 locks over the 14 mile decent to Stratford, not that we had any intention of doing it in one day.
The Stratford canal is interesting for a number of reasons one being the Barrel roofed lock cottages in the picture below. It is said they were built in this shape because the canal builders were used to the construction of tunnels and arched bridges and therefor found it easy to create this shape of roof, how true this is I no not but it sounds feasible.
In 1958 Warwickshire council tried to close this canal but over 6,000 objections saved the day and the National Trust took it over in 1960 and it re-opened in 1964.
In the picture below you can see the limited clearance of some bridges and in fact some were a

shade lower. In the picture below can you see the gap in the bridge, this gap is not an exclusive feature of the Stratford in fact it can be found on many parts of the canal system. The gap was used back in working boat days when boats were horse drawn. If you imagine the horse connected by a rope line to the boat walks along the towpath on the left and at this lock the towpath changes onto the right so the horse would walk over the bridge and the boatmen would let the rope drop through the gap so now rope and boat pass under the bridge and the horse pulls the boat into the lock. The horse has changed towpaths without having to un hitch from the boat.


In the picture above you can see the bottom gate, and this also is a feature on this canal as usually the bottom exit would be 2 gates on a single lock.
Some gongoozling geese watch as I enter a lock.
Another interesting feature on the Stratford canal are the Aqueducts or at least the towpath part. In the pictures above and below you can see the towpath is lower than the canal and in fact is level with the bottom of the iron Aqueduct trough.

Above St. Peters church at Wooten Wawen. A Saxon church of timber and thatch stood here in the 700`s and the present building was extended in Elizabethan times and inside can be seen the different constructions with one part having a wooden roof. Well worth a visit as there is a permanent exhibition inside to explain the history.
Next door to the church on the banks of the R. Alne is Wooten hall most of its occupation was by the Carrington family.
The Bulls Head pub below was built in the 1500`s.

Goodnight, still more locks tomorrow.

Friday, July 25, 2008

LEAMINGTON SPA / WARWICK

As I said before been hanging around sorting my phone problem out and eventually after a week to the day I received my mail from daughter in law Bev. The new phone sim card arrived with her within 2 days but took a week from Bev posting it to me to arrive. Now i put this down to the fact that for the first time I had chosen a town centre post office to receive my Poste Resante mail and I think they miss-filed it.
Still Leamington Spa and Warwick were close by and the delay gave me time to look around and a chance to pop down south for a w`end to help son Kev with his kitchen as he wanted worktops and new sink fitted, my payment was a w`end with the g`children so I`m not complaining. Leamington town hall dates back to 1884 and outside is a statue of Queen Victoria who as an 11yr old princess in 1830 visited the town and soon after the town was granted Royal status.
During WW2 a bomb cased the statue to move an inch on it`s plinth and remains to this day an inch miss-aligned.
The River Leam above flowing over Mill Bridge weir passes through the Jephson Gardens the land was donated in 1843 by Rev. Edward Wiles and named in 1846 after Dr Henry Jephson a physician who treated patients at the spa baths in the pump room opposite the gardens. Treatments included walking, diet and drinking the saline water.

Above and below the sub tropical glasshouse within the Jephson gds.

Warwick Castle built on the site of a mott and bailey constructed by William the Conqueror stands beside the R. Avon.
Below is the Lord Lycester Hospital it was by a Robert Dudley the Earl of Leycester to be a home for old soldiers. To the left can be seen the chapel of St. James built over the Westgate in the
12th century. These medievel timber buildings survived the great fire of 1694 that swept through Warwick. During my travels i have learnt of many such fires in many towns and looking at the way the timbered buildings were so close together just a slight breeze would be enough to spread fire across a town in no time at all.

TRUST

Just a quick blog while I sort some photo`s for Leamington/Warwick. The Moorhen i pictured with it`s young on the last blog has become to trust me so much to supply food for it`s brood that it has taken to entering the boat.
It did at one time while I was in the galley start to walk part way up the boat towards me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

MOORED IN WARWICKSHIRE

First here are some pics of when Jack & Jordan brought my son Andy and Bev for a w`end visit,well they could hardly leave mum/dad home alone. So they arrived at Braunston and we cruised up to Newbold and had a meal in the Barley Mow and following a nice cooked b`fast Sunday morning made our way back to braunston. Had the expected arguments about whose turn it was to steer and pull back the throttle as we passed moored boats but it was lovely to see them all and the kids took it in turns to be captain.


Now when Jack is captain he takes it serious and there was no way he would face the camera as he was watching for boats ahead so he said.

Many hands make light work.

Now Moorhens I`ve found in the past are not to keen on getting close to us humans but this one after I have been feeding it regularly often came aboard and sometimes would take bread off
the floor on the front deck while i was sitting there and below you can see the reason was 3 youngsters to feed. Having been moored here a few days I`ve been watching them and just a few yards along the bank is another family and if the others roamed into the area of this family it was quite something to see the adults swim towards the trespassers tail feathers up head stretched forward and low over the water and if the intruder didn`t retreat it was war.

Went for a walk yesterday to check out a station as i will be going to see some of the other grandchildren this w`end and came across Jo & Keith on their boat Hadar it was a nice surprise as i was out when they passed by and good to have a chat, you know where you been or going and now i know so if you click on Hadar they might tell you, because I won`t.

Now the reason we`ve been moored up for a while is, well you know the saying "a bird in the hand is worth...... It`s now "a mobile phone in the hand is better than one in the canal" Yes i dropped my phone in the canal so i`ve been waiting for post to deliver a new sim card after buying a new phone so if anybody i know has been trying to reach me ...........just leave a message with Mr fish, Miss mud or Mr Tesco trolley and i will get back to you soon.

Friday, July 11, 2008

NEWBOLD ONWARDS

Left one of my favourite moorings at Newbold and stopped off at Rugby to re stock the galley at the canal side Tesco then it was on to Braunston for a few days now that the Historic Boat show was over. It would have been nice to be there during the show but mooring would have been a big problem so we decided to give it a miss this year. Had some family visit while at Braunston but more on that another time.
Leaving Braunston we re-fuelled at napton at 85p a litre, yes i`ve noticed the £1.30 prices at the garages and come November we boaters will have 47p duty added to our fuel thanks to the EU but the subsidy was good while it lasted and i don`t want any comments about boaters not having paid the going rate in the past as i don`t make the rules but if you must i will publish your thoughts.
Glad to have left the Braunston area as we can now fill our water tanks with clean water as the Northampton area has had a bug in the water supply and notices on the taps canal side have warned to boil all water before consumption, ok for showers or a wash as long as you keep your mouth shut i suppose. The worrying thing was the number of holiday boats filling up and I wondered if when they return the boats the holiday company`s will inform the next crew to boil as the bug will still be present in a boat tank for sometime which is the reason we waited till Napton as it was just out of the affected area.
So up through Calcutt locks we start cruising into Warwickshire. Stockton locks are interesting in that alongside the double locks are the remains of the single locks that the working boats had to use before the doubles were installed.
I have noticed a lot lately that BW are putting signs at bridges stating the name of canal and location ie bridge number , this to me seems a waste of money as the yob element in some areas seem to think it fun to uproot them and throw them into the canal. I imagine this must be a health & safety idea as some locations could be a problem for the emergency services but surely if the signs were fixed high on the bridge would avoid the cost of replacing the now floating signs.
Had an emergency stoppage along the way as BW had to do some urgent repairs to a lock gate but the hold up was only for 45 mins and what`s that in a lifetime of boating.One of the single locks occupied by a BW work boat alongside the double lock.
The signs put up by BW, this one still in place so far.
BW staff doing repairs in a lock.
Noticed the boaters dustmen while waiting for a lock to fill. Keep up the good work lads.
A rainbow over Braunston.

Friday, July 04, 2008

TO NEWBOLD

Alrewas behind us we approach Fradley Jct. and turn left onto the Coventry Canal. As we pass Huddlesford Jct. just part of the Wyrley&Essington (Litchfield Canal) is still in water and is used only as moorings. The Litchfield canal trust whose vice president is David Suchet ( poirot) are very active in the restoration of this canal and clicking on the link here will provide some interesting reading of the restoration. I remember going up the M6 Toll road back in 2004/5 and passing under the empty aqueduct that was included in the road build to await the canals restoration. If you click the link scroll down and click on the aqueduct section it`s an interesting read of the government doing something good for a change.
On through Whittington for an o`night stop at the village of Hopwas passing the smartly dressed

gent resting against a post (pic above). Now if your reading this blog down in Somerset you might say it`s a Mommet or if you`re in bonny Scotland it would be a Tattie Bogle but we`ll settle for a scarecrow.
Hopwas was the scene of a new building scheme, just gather some twigs and local vegetation,

select a boat that hasn`t moved for a while and build. Lay some eggs raise the family and move on to another location next year, it could catch on so boaters don`t stay to long in one place.
Always nice to see some steam boats on the canal system the one below is Laplander and the second was one I spotted on the Nottingham canal a while back.



Now lock below that NB Valerie is rising in is not just any old lock, this is Atherstone top and where you will find Tony Ward not just lockie of the year and Honary Citizen of Atherstone Tony has now been made an MBE.
He has been at Atherstone for 8 years and with BW a total of 25yrs. Well done to you Tony for a nicely kept flight and for all the local information including Tony`s own weather forcasts posted on the garage door of the cottage.
On reaching Newbold, a suburb of Rugby, it was nice to get a visit from son Steve and Ozlem and below my grandson Teo seen here trying the slide in the Barley Mow pub where we all had a very nice meal. As I hadn`t seen them for a while it was also a chance to check on the growth of my latest g`child due to be launched late November. Congratulations to you both.