Sent to Coventry

DSCF1928Our friends Carol & Ted met us at Hawkesbury Junction on Tuesday and we cruised down to Coventry Basin where we spent the last couple of nights. The basin is quite near to the city centre but despite being surrounded by sympathetically designed buildings many of them are empty and the Tea Rooms were still closed when we left at 10am. It’s a shame as the part between the two arms of the basin is crying out for an outdoor cafe or coffee shop but the area just doesn’t have the same ‘buzz’ as say Castle Quays at Banbury, maybe it’s just a little too far from the shopping area.

DSCF1945We visited the excellent Transport Museum (free entry) which celebrates Coventry’s car and cycle manufacturing heritage as well as a Blitz Experience. It was Coventry’s prominence as a manufacturing centre made it a target for the Luftwaffe during WW2  and resulted in the destruction of the Old Cathedral (free entry, which we visited) and the building of the adjacent New Cathedral (£7.00 entry, which we we didn’t!).

DSCF1940We visited the extensive shopping centre, saw Lady Godiva’s statue and looked up a friend of Carol & Ted’s, Garry Kirton who has a men’s outfitters shop First for Men next to one of the university  buildings which we remarked looked like a 1930’s cinema, the reason for this was that it used to be The Odeon!

DSCF1956Today we are headed back up to Hawkesbury, not the most picturesque journey, lots of floating rubbish, even the sculpture trail has been ‘enhanced’ by graffiti artists. Joy & co went shopping at Tesco next to The Ricoh Arena, home to Coventry City F.C., whilst I had an appointment with the weed hatch to remove the plastic bags which we have collected around the propeller this morning!

DSCF1960We dropped Carol & Ted back at Hawkesbury and headed off towards Birmingham, past Marston Junction, though Nuneaton which has a much more genteel feel about it’s back gardens, although the propeller had to be cleared of rubbish twice more and at one bridge where we pulled over to let another boat through we scraped over something (maybe a shopping trolley) which actually lifted the stern as we went over it!

Tonight we are moored out in  the countryside about a mile away from Atherstone with the telly set up ready for That Wedding tomorrow!

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Rugby to Hawkesbury Junction

DSCF1913A really easy day today, starting with a bit of shopping & breakfast at Tescos, 10½ miles and NO locks which took about 4½ hours. There were lots of baby ducklings and a field full of donkeys and goats along the way to go aww at. DSCF1908

The most interesting sight along the way (for me) was the sight of BCN Steam Tug Laplander at, I think, at Falls Bridge Works, just past the Newbold Tunnel, but the sign by the fuel pump proclaimed they were closed.

BCN Society site says 

Built pre 1883 as an Ice breaker/Tug of wooden construction. Recorded as being repaired in 1879 on the BCN.
Had BCN No 2 number. Used in Wolverhampton in 1952.
Currently has a diesel heated and steam engine.

DSCF1916Before we arrived at Hawkesbury I spotted this caravan which was certainly not stuck in traffic like our friends Allison & Paul were today on their way to Wales. We arrived at Hawkesbury Junction at about 3:30 feeling in need of refreshment; being Bank Holiday Monday I suppose we shouldn’t have been surprised that the Greyhound Inn at Hawkesbury was packed with customers but we found ourselves a table in the garden, enjoyed the sunshine and sampled some Mardi Gras bitter whilst Joy indulged herself with a Pork & Stuffing Batch [I guess that’s a local word for bread roll] and a pint, a pint I tell you, of cider!
Catty enjoyed a big lump of the pork which Joy couldn’t finish and has been asleep ever since.

Fenny Compton to Braunston & then to Rugby

DSCF1867We tore ourselves away from the comforts of Fenny Compton Wharf and continued our way northwards, where the canal weaves it’s way following the contours of the farmland with extravagant loops and curves, guaranteeing meeting oncoming boats on the tightest of the bends, in fact one boat seemed to have lost it’s way entirely, ending up on top of a hill!

DSCF1870Nesting swans, broods of ducklings and spring lambs were in evidence today but I refrained from showing the lambs the mint growing in the planter on the roof, ‘cos that might be classed as sheep-worrying! The hedgerows showed the value of hedge-laying in days gone by, the layered boughs having developed into thick horizontals stronger than any fence. We met a lady boater whose engine was making a ‘funny noise’ it transpired that it was a squealing alternator belt which was easily adjusted.

DSCF1874As we arrived at Marston Doles there was congestion as a boat was stopped at the waterpoint, another took up the rest of the lock mooring whilst yet a another, having come up the nine Napton Locks, winded [turned round] and went back down again! We therefore took this as a sign it was time for a lunch break.

 

 

DSCF1880This was a Good Plan as on resuming our journey we seemed to be the only boat going down the flight, but there were plenty coming up which was good news for us, taking just two hours to make it to the bottom where we rewarded ourselves with ice creams from the shop next to The Folly pub.

 

 

DSCF1886We continued past the famous Napton Windmill and the ponies grazing in the fields on past Napton Junction and the Floating Bike Shop and found a mooring just before Braunston with magnificent views despite a new thatched ‘cottage’ being built.

 

 

As this failed to upload last night we will continue with todays news.

DSCF1888We arrived at Braunston Junction to the sound of church bells calling the faithful to come and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, but we backsliders turned left, passing nb Calm Down from Thrupp and made our way towards Rugby.

DSCF1896This section was very busy this morning as were Hillmorton Locks, bridge number 80 was still looking in danger of collapse as it was last time we passed it and we noted that a new marina was being dug out at Barby Moorings.

We arrived for a late lunch at Rugby Visitor Moorings  after a short day with just the three locks at Hillmorton.

Happy Easter

Banbury to Fenny Compton

DSCF1860aAnother glorious day and we were really fortunate as most locks were in our favour and at some we were met by boats leaving the gates open for us so good progress was made. We even met these characters at Clattercote Wharf.

We stopped and had a multi ethnic lunch, a Greek meze with olives & tzatziki, a Greek Cornish Pasty containing the remains of last nights mousaka and a glass of Thwaites Mild just before Claydon Locks.

DSCF1863We climbed to the summit, through Fenny Compton ‘Tunnel’ and had an early finish at Fenny Compton Wharf  where the Wharf Inn have a launderette and two meals for a tenner on offer… Couldn’t be refused so clothes were washed and meals washed down with a couple of glasses of liquid refreshment.

Now a relaxing evening with good telly signal, good internet signal AND good phone signal… we may just have to stay here! But no, Braunston beckons tomorrow.

Easter Cruise

DSCF1844Spring has sprung 1 and Wrens-Nest is off on her Easter cruise, heading out from Heyford I was struck by the sheer profusion of wildflowers [OK, most of them were dandelions] and signs of new life which we associate with Easter. DSCF1857

We made an early start, which would have been earlier if I hadn’t wondered where that new container of engine oil had gone… then the awful truth dawned, I had taken some dirty oil to the tip [sorry.. recycling centre] yesterday and, you guessed it, the new can was in the box too. Fortunately their oil tank had been full, so the cans were left beside it and I was able to retrieve the new one as soon as they opened this morning, on the other hand, if I had been able to empty the cans yesterday, I would have found the new one. Doh!

DSCF1852The glorious weather had brought out other boaters including the flotilla of Oxfordshire Narrowboats Hirers returning to base at Heyford and we encountered the first queue of the season at Somerton Deep Lock and a boat adrift at Nell Bridge Lock.

 

 

DSCF1858Catty enjoyed being allowed out on the roof in the sunshine whilst under way, we figured even she wasn’t daft enough to jump off into the cut, and no… we didn’t really tie her up with that rope, before anyone calls the RSPCA!

Our journey was a bit slower than usual, but we arrived in Banbury in time to collect our mail and stock up with shopping at Morrisons which is conveniently located near Tramway bridge where we were able to moor for the night.

1.

In Arnold Silcock’s Verse and Worse, attributed to ANON [New York]

The Budding Bronx
Der spring is sprung
Der grass is riz
I wonder where dem boidies is?
Der little boids is on der wing,
Ain’t dat absoid?
Der little wings is on de boid!