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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

ANCHOR AWAY or maybe not at the moment

Well the intention was to go down to Stourport and then on to the River Severn down to Gloucester but as you all know from the news coverage anywhere near rivers is a no go. I know i need water to keep my home afloat but just like those poor people whose homes have flooded i only want it on the outside. When is this all going to stop. So having gone so far we decided the best thing was to turn around and head back to Gt. Haywood and south on the Trent &Mersey.
The anchor i bought for the R. Severn trip is now stowed away perhaps not to be used untill next year, still i shall need one sometime so it`s not wasted money.
Down through Rugeley passing this old building dating back some 150yrs and i believe was a mill. Wonder what will become of it after its current use as a car repair yard, housing maybe?
I saw a site recently that was being demolished and the contractor said the canalside small warehouse was going to become flats and the rest of the site houses so maybe a preservation order here and there is no bad thing.
Don`t think anyone will be to bothered if this lot below escapes preservation, it`s Rugeley power

station. So south we head as we are also prevented from going to Burton on Trent because of the River Trents intrusion at Alrewas has caused flooding. Shame really because i wanted to go down through Leicester where one of my boys is farming.
Anyway no real plans at the moment just see how it goes and that`s what this retirement life is all about , no plans, no rush, no worries.

Monday, July 23, 2007


On down the Staffs&Worc` to Weeping Cross where at Radford Bank on bridge 98 a carvery can be yours for £3.50 upto about 6pm on through Acton Trussell arriving at Penkridge that was home for a week while Andy went south on the train to see family. Nice little place Penkridge with plenty of shops and a twice weekly large market. On a Wednesday as well as the market there is an auction of furniture and farm bits and well all sorts. Outside the auction room live chickens, ducks, geese and eggs of all sorts not just chickens are auctioned also fruits.

On the way back from market canalside is the Boat pub with a wonderful cooking range which apart from the surrounding brickwork is original.
Moving on after that all important task of filling the water tank and emptying the loo the M6 having passed over the canal some 3 miles back now runs alongside the canal for 1/2 mile before

the canal swings west and we arrive at Gailey. The tower here lockside looks as though it was part of some long demolished castle but was in fact built by the canal company so the toll collecter had a good view in both directions of approaching boats. The toll on coal was high as this was the main cargoe and therefor gave the canal co bigger profits.
The tower is now a gift shop and the lady runnig it lives upstairs.
At this point the A5 passes over the canal and was first used by the Celts. Then the Romans improved it for their use before Thomas Telford used it as a turnpike and charged a toll. Cargoes came in and out by road to be transhipped to canal boats.
You see above the lockgates next to the road bridge with just enough room to cross for locking but not enough for the normal straight lockbeams, i say normal but these L shaped beams are quite common on gates near bridges all over the system.
Had a nice surprise when 2 good friends in the form of Sue and Vic on their boat `No Problem` (link up on the right) stopped by on their way to getting their new cratch and wimp cover fitted. Haven`t seen each other since Braunston last year.
Now Sue/Vic were my first boating friends and in fact i met them before i even had a boat when after a few e mails asking god knows how many questions they invited me aboard at Bedford back in 2005. Thanks guys, and as a lot of boaters out there know you are real nice peepes.
So a few beers on No Problem and a gossip was a great evening.Till our paths cross again be safe.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Turning right at Gt. Haywood brings us onto the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal. The canal opened in 1772 and was designed by James Brindley. His aim was to link the ports of Hull,Liverpool & Bristol using the rivers Mersey, Trent & Severn.
His vision came about with the completion of the Trent&Mersey canal but by then he had died.
After less than a mile from the jct. the canal arrives at a very large expace of water called Tixall Wide and in this case you get what it says on the tin WIDE. It came about when the canal was built past Tixall Hall and the owners wanted their land to run down to a lake and not a canal.
The Hall was demolished in 1927 and all that remains is the Tixall Gatehouse built 1580 and still standing. Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned here for 2 weeks in 1596 but nowadays it is owned by the Landmark Trust who buy up old buildings like the gatehouse and use them as holiday lets. The Gatehouse has 2 en-suite bedrooms and 2 tower bedrooms and can sleep 6.
Well sitting here the heavens have opened again and i can`t help thinking that a year ago it was really hot all July. Well the intention was to go down to Gloucester via the R. Severn but so much rain has fallen the river keeps flooding and passage has been stopped until levels drop.
The river was open again for a brief spell but with more rain falling in Wales it was soon shut again so perhaps it might be a good idea to change direction as we don`t want to risk getting stuck waiting for the water to go down. Still always another year and plenty more to do this year so maybe give it a miss for now.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


The Star pub at Stone bottom lock was fully licenced in 1819 and the building predates the

canal by 200 yrs so that puts it back to the late 1500`s. It had at one time stabling for 12 boat horses and in the past has been a butchers shop and a slaughter house.

Inside the floor of each bar is on a slightly different level so if you have one to many blame the floor. Out back in the garden are some large excuse me a mo Now look Swannie my old mate i know i`ve just fed you half a loaf but i`m in the middle of my blog. Right the garden has 2 giant umbrella thingy`s with infra red heaters so us smokers can sit out.......and thats all i am saying on that subject.
These are the 3 dry docks that is now the base of the Canal Cruising Co. said to be the oldest canal boat hire company on the system. Talking of old, Stone was the home of Eva Morris who died Nov. 2000 6 days short of her 115th birthday and for a year prior to her death was the oldest recognized person in the world.

So leaving Stone we cruise down the Trent&Mersey stopping overnight at Weston upon Trent and as we prepare to turn right at Gt Haywood Jct another new marina of 200 berths has been built.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Just when i thought i had escaped the crazy world of the land and survived the R. Churnet in flood i discover at Endon on the Caldon canal near to bridge 28 the Fine Feathers Rare Breeds Farm. Now this place is an old farmhouse with a very large amount of land run by a very nice lady name of Sarie and with her hubby and children not only do they run an animal rescue centre they also encourage some rare breeds to....well breed.

Now the crazy bit, and that`s my opinion and yours are welcome in the comments section, is

they also do pet weddings. So if Rover fancies the bitch next door or the Buck and Doe you`ve told the kids have to be kept apart in case they....fight then this is for you. Get the pets married off then the kids and you can buy a narrowboat and be as happy and content as me.

Smashing place to stop off if you are boating in the area it`s free although it would be nice if you put some cash in the collection pot. You can see Llamas, Goats, Pigs, Ostrich, Emu, Racoons and

as in the pic Parrots flying as free as a bird....sorry. Also in one barn amongst many just hatched birds of all types 6 Rotwieler pups were in with a Vietnamese Pot Belly Pig.
Racoons and even a very large Owl all go to make this a pleasent stop off and also there`s a farm shop and being boaters themselves with a boat for hire you will be made welcome.

OK so what have we been upto in the last few hot sunny weeks, that reminds me i wonder if Tesco will take back all that sun tan cream?

After a great w`end at the Middlewich festival we came down the Trent&Mersey and below we

are waiting to go through the Harecastle Tunnell which is the left portal the right hand one is the original that suffered subsidence. Eight or so boats go through at a time in each direction and as it gets low in there i had to move my bike to the rear of the boat.

After the tunnell we went on the Caldon then back onto the T&M down to Stone where we spent 5 days, well we all need a holiday don`t we. Molly was re-united with Andy/Bev & the G`children much to her delight. I met Jo who is living on Misty Lady while her new boat Hadar is built ( link on the right) and i think thats as close as you need to get to our exact location.

Perhaps when we get some decent weather i might get a better sunset pic.
Night all.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Here`s Molly, no it`s not a woman as some friends had thought. Molly has come to stay on board for a week while my son Andy and Bev plus the grandchildren are away on a weeks
holiday. At first she was not keen on eating but as the days went by she realised the family were not coming back straight away so she settled down and now demolishes her food as soon as i put it down for her.
This is what gave me the problem on board and caused me to call out a Vetus engineer. It`s the bit that stops the water coming in where the prop shaft exits the boat from the engine/g`box to

the propeller. The rubber seals inside that shiny gold bit decided they would let the water drip in, now as you can imagine water inside a boat is not a good idea. The engineer said it was unusual for the seals to go so soon and after checking the engine alignment was ok his only thought was it had not been properly installed from day one. Anyway all ok now and my engine bay is bone dry.
The gadget to the right of the shaft is the bilge pump and will auto pump out any water as it is fitted with a float switch.

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs