It was just as well that we climbed up Hatton locks when we did; this was the scene a week later.
Although there was still a fair bit of ice still around we slipped our moorings and headed away from Hatton to the Tom o’ the Wood moorings at Rowington. Bob and Mandy came on board for the day and then treated us to dinner in the pub in the evening. The idea was that they were going to pick our brains about live-aboard boating, as that is what they intend to do. Which was all well and good but left us feeling a bit fraudulent; they’re experienced hirers and have done far more boat miles on many more canals than us. Anyway it was good to see them and we enjoyed their company immensely. It was also interesting to compare our live-aboard lifestyle in which we don’t go very far very often, (and when the weather is poo we don’t go anywhere at all) with that of the holiday hirer who, while not exactly rushing around – this is boating after all – are still on a schedule and have to be at point B by a set time. The first hire for these two was for a week; the sun shone and they loved every minute. The next time they went for a fortnight and did the Cheshire ring; it rained every day and, once you start on a ring there’s no stopping. Guess what? Yep, they loved every minute. Nearly.
Our new headlight (1960s 2cv – how cool!) got its first test in the little Shrewley tunnel. It failed. We think it’s a blown bulb; it was working just before it got all dark and of course you can’t tell until you’re in there, by which time it’s too late to stop and do anything about it. Still, we could see the other end and with all the interior lights on it wasn’t that difficult. This is us emerging from the other end.
This is Kingswood Junction; our last few yards on the GU before we turned left under the bridge and onto the narrow Stratford-upon Avon canal.
Except for here.
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Sunday, 5 February 2012
Last Sunday was an exciting affair. Showing impressive loyalty and after two weeks on “Operation - Hatton 21” standby, including two aborted attempts, a baker’s dozen of our friends and family turned out to help us work Legend up the hill. Many, many thanks to all of you. We trust you all enjoyed it, we know we did.
After a prolonged and tea induced period of chin scratching, we drained some of the water out of the pound above the next lock. Enough to float our boat, we hoped, but not so much that we’d just move problem along. Dave gently steered up the shallows, trying to remember where the deepest channel was and where all the submerged bikes, shopping trollies and other clichés were. He ran aground once, necessitating a bit more water being drained down, but all in all we got it about right. We had to go steady through the pound we’d depleted as well, but after that it was plain sailing!
We stopped for a lunch break after the first 7 nicely spaced out locks, then got into the flight proper.
Around this happy event our whole weekend was joyful; part of our lock crew - Andrew, Karen, Emily and James - stayed over on the boat on Saturday night and we all went to Rugby to see a concert. ColvinQuarmby were on top form, acoustically the best we’ve ever heard them, as talented and funny as always, and still promising that the new album will be finished soon. Then after the locks and after everyone else had gone home, we went into Warwick for a meal with 8 other members of our lovely family.
A week later and we’re in the cutting at the top of the locks. As we can’t go down the Stratford-on –Avon canal till after the 9th of March, we’ve chosen to stay here for a bit while we re-fit the bathroom. Actually the decision to stay put is out of our hands, for the last 3 days we’ve been iced in. We’re lovely and snug in here though, our little Squirrel stove has been constantly alight all winter. At night we give it a shovel full of coal for supper, then in the morning, open it up and give it a breakfast of free wood.
Here’s a DIY tip. If you never, ever want your bathroom tiles to come off a plywood wall, stick them on with solvent-based No More Nails. For the last 3 days we’ve been sending ceramic splinters flying around the boat as we chisel away at the old tiles.
(Sorry, we have to put this in – two people have just skied past our window!)
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