We spent a few days at Fenny Compton, enjoying the sunshine and enjoying meeting boater friends Jan & John (The Halfies) and June at The Wharf Inn.
We had left our car with the college Motor Vehicle Department (where I used to work) to be serviced and
they had found that the sump had corroded to the extent that it was slowly leaking oil, so we had to drive to John Wilkins Cars in Cheltenham to collect a new one.
The anticipated brake pad & disc replacements and a CV boot were sourced from Leamoco motor factors.
No more squeaky noise when stopping.
Tuesday 10th May
We were booked to visit Joy’s Uncle Harry for his 90th birthday but as we were still waiting for our car to be ready we had to hire from Enterprise, they had been recommended by other boaters as they will collect you from your location.
Naturally it wasn’t as simple as that for us because when I tried to arrange it they said that despite being within their 10 mile pick up radius from Banbury Fenny Compton came under their Leamington Spa depot! Not what we wanted as we needed to return the hire car to Banbury in order to pick our own car up, so it was down to Banbury on the bus instead. Another thing they don’t tell you on their website is that despite the reasonable £35/day hire charge there is a huge £1000 damage excess unless you take out supplementary insurance at £11.99.
So off we went to Harry’s birthday party in a little Toyota Aygo where we spent an enjoyable few hours with the old rascal who was enjoying holding court with his neighbours, his son, 4 granddaughters and 2 great-granddaughters. At ninety he can still tell a good yarn, telling everyone that he had had a busy morning making all the sandwiches and cakes.
Wednesday 11th May
As we had to return the Aygo by 11am Wednesday morning we had to hang around Banbury until the car was finished, so it was tapas for lunch at the Pinto Lounge which gave us some ideas to try out at home. Later we met up at The Whistling Kettle with our friends Jill & John from Tramway Moorings who make jewellery aboard their boat and sell it at St Giles’ Market, Oxford and on-line via their website, Hasket Fasesik.
We picked up our Suzuki from the college at 3pm and were soon headed back to Wrens-Nest at Fenny, however the jobs were not over for the day as a screw had been found in one of the tyres and the spare fitted, so now we needed another spare. Southam Tyres were the nearest candidate but £45 seemed a bit steep for something that was going to stay in the boot most of the time (the last one had been in there from new) so I ended up at Spa Tyres, Leamington Spa who supplied me with a good part-worn tyre for £25.
Thursday 12th May
A phone call Wednesday evening from our friends Ruth & Barry (keen, new boaters) volunteering to help us down the nine locks Napton was gratefully received and so we slipped away from Fenny about 8:30am and we were at Marston Doles in good time to welcome them with sandwiches for lunch and they worked us down the locks in less than three hours. (it would have been less if a C&RT workboat hadn’t been using one of the locks as a loading bay) They stayed with us all the way to Braunston where we enjoyed a well deserved meal at The Boathouse.
Friday 13th May
Ever gluttons for punishment Ruth & Barry joined us again on Friday and Barry kindly shuttled our car from Fenny to our new mooring, whilst Joy & Ruth did some arty stuff on board the boat.
When us ‘boys’ returned there were home-made burgers and home-made bread for lunch which we prepared earlier.
After our goodbyes we pootled off about 4pm headed for the Visitor Moorings at the top of Hilmorton Locks arriving before 7pm.
Saturday 14th May
We had an easy transit through the first two locks with no-one about but at the third a Volunteer Locky was assisting a boat up whilst another was on the lock landing which meant we had no where to moor so we ‘hovered’ beside the Canalchef Cafe’s working boats. We found out from the Locky, however that all the boats on the lock landings were waiting to go into the adjacent boatyard!!!
At the bottom of the locks we spotted nb Recalcitrant (formerly nb Unicorn) which was rescued from being stranded on hard-standing at Healing’s Mill, Tewkesbury after flooding on the river Avon deposited it there. It has since been wonderfully restored by it’s new owners using recycled materials. We have spotted it several times over the years, in various stages of it’s restoration.
Or their Pinterest photo album.
We had a lunch stop at Rugby (Brownsover) Visitor Moorings and did a shop at the handy Tescos, then pressed on to Hawkesbury Junction to find the last mooring spot waiting for us at 5ish.
Sunday 15th May
Sunday morning we left about 8:30am through the stop-lock, leaving the Greyhound Pub unvisited and negotiating the 360 degree turn under the bridge and onto the Coventry Canal leaving the iconic Engine House behind us.
It was past the quirky Charity Dock, straight on at Marston Junction, through Nuneaton and to take us to Hartshill for a lunch stop. Just another hour took us into Atherstone where we moored up to have a rest for the afternoon ready for the eleven Atherstone locks tomorrow.
Monday 16th May
We started down the Atherstone flight about 9:30am after filling up with water and a nerve wracking entry into the first lock as a duckling decided to go in with us but we managed to shoo him out before he got squished. The Volunteer Lock-keepers set the first three locks for us and we were fortunate enough for all the rest of the locks to be in our favour, meeting boats at most of them and were down the bottom in just two hours. We turned the boat at the nearby winding hole (turning point) and soon after 12 noon we were moored up at our new mooring at Grendon Wharf being welcomed by Cooky one of our neighbours. Needless to say Catty has been out exploring and not only we have met several more of our neighbours but the local C&RT Mooring Manager, Sandy has been along to say hello, we might have felt very special, but it was really just a co-incidence!