We left our spot, moored between two pubs and a road, where we had spent a surprisingly peaceful night and set off at about 9:30. As soon as we were underway Catty assumed her normal position on the slide, supervising proceedings. Shortly after taking this picture at 10.02 at Tamhorn Park Bridge she decided she needed to get down and the subsequent whiff confirmed that she had needed to use her poo tray.
A little while after Joy went to make a cuppa and said she couldn’t find Jade, regular readers may have a sense of deja vu here, but we weren’t unduly worried, but at Whittington Brook (where the Birmingham & Fazeley changes back to the Coventry canal (see note 1) we got a length of fishing line tangled around the prop, which necessitated a stop. We used the opportunity to thoroughly search the boat, Catty was nowhere to be found! But where could she have got off?
Of course we needed to go and look for her, the problem was, there wasn’t a turning point until Huddlesford Junction 30 minutes further on, so up and back to where we were took an hour and then it was back scanning the towpath all the way. We met another boat at a bridge and asked if they had seen a cat on the towpath, they said no, but then the guy called back, “But I saw a grey one sat on the back of a boat, way back” which raised our hopes.
Finally we were almost back to the bridge where we had last seen her and there she was, trudging along the towpath by a blue boat, she meowed loudly when she saw us (something she hardly ever does) and as we pulled the boat in she jumped straight back aboard. We have no idea how or when she escaped as we hadn’t stopped, it could only have been when we went through a bridge or got near to the bank or another boat but why didn’t we see her as she would have had to have come past us.
As it was over an hour to the next winding hole (South) we opted to reverse about half a mile to the next winding hole (North) where we were able to retrace our route back to Huddlesford Junction and were gad to moor up shortly afterwards, near the Plough Inn where we had a restorative beer and a couple of tasty ciabatta for a very late lunch.
So then it was back to chill out on the boat for the rest of the warm afternoon. Phew!!!
Note: 1) Wikipedia
Some maps show the canal as a northern and a southern section, connected by a stretch of the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, but others show the through route all as the Coventry Canal. This reflects a complicated period of ownership and re-leasing when the Coventry Canal company was in financial difficulties during construction.