Sunday, 28 November 2010

Joining the 'wimped out' gang

We are definitely 'liveaboards' - see definitions of boaters on .  Ice on the water two days runnings means we run for cover!  We've learned our lesson from last year - 6 weeks frozen in up the top end of the Ashby, 2 miles from the nearest tap.  This time it's different!  We have sought refuge at the top of the Atherstone locks, within smelling distance of the elsan point - and here we will stay until Shifali the weather girl tells us it's ok to proceed.  We wimped out of going to see the 'Pantimime horse grand national' in Birmingham today - sorry Graham & Gill - if we'd known you were going we would have made more of an effort to attend, however, as we've 'wimped out' we were running out of wood, and as we were moored in the town, we couldn't forage for wood, so - to our shame - we had a load of logs delivered.  This added to the contentment - we were too comfortable in the warm on board to go out into minus seven temperature.  The reason .....  our new coal/wood burning stove we installed in the back (after last winter!)  HUGE barrel stove, on which we can also put the cast iron pot, and merrily stew away.  So we've got the diesel stove in the front and the log burner at the back, toasty.

In my defence, I had made a brief visit to mum's in Chirk so had spent quite alot of time on trains over the past couple of days - 5 trains one way, but only 3 trains return - after I paid a supplement of £8.  Train travel - I could write a whole page on different rates - don't worry - I won't!

Dickens night at Atherstone

We've been hanging about the Atherstone area so we could attend the Dicken's night (Sat 27th).  It was a fantastic night.  Lots of stalls along the street, with a brass band, a piper, a steel band, and a drum band.  I love this town, all the community gets together for such occasions.  I hope they made a bit of money.  Of course, none of my photos came out as the camera batteries died with the first photo I tried to take, and shots taken from the mobile were just a neon blur.  There was a firework display at 9pm which was spectacular.  We were standing on the canal towpath (what a surprise) when the first firework went off, followed by the howls and barks of all the dogs of Atherstone joining in, in protest. Did manage to take a couple of photos without the shaky hand syndrome.  It sure makes up for us missing the fireworks at Shugborough this year.

Nemo masters the breast-stroke

Yep, he's been in again.  Must have had some distance learning from Daisy  as he put in a marvellous performance in the breast stroke.  This time he was on the outside gunnel, in the dark, looking in through the window at us, tried to turn around, and didn't make it.  By the time I got outside to the front deck, he had swum halft the length of the boat, fortunately to the front, got to the bank, and I eventually managed to pull a black cat out of the darkness.  I couldnt see anything in the water, just followed the sound of something swimming.  How many lives is a cat supposed to have?  Again - no photos - as Dave is more embarrassed than the cat.

We were moored two locks up from Grendon in a lovely spot, as you can see, ice is already forming even in the sunshine.  Bird feeders on the tree which attracted a 'gang' of long tailed tits every day.  Lovely.

 Beautiful sunsets:
 and a full moon:

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Birmingham pantomime horse race - Sun 28th Nov 2010

If you're in the Birmingham area on Sunday, go to the Pantomime Horse Race.  It's the funniest thing you'll see this year - honestly! And it's FREE!  fantastic and hilarious.  Here's a couple of pics from previous years.

We're both fine, still near Atherstone, we're hanging around here due to funeral tomorrow and Dickens' night on Saturday.  When something happens, then I'll blog!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Birthday in Kenilworth

Had an invitation that I couldn't refuse .... birthday dinner at Rachel's in Kenilworth.  Not saying how old, but I'm still in my forties, despite there being 6 candles on the cake.  Mum was there already, as she's visiting this week, and picked me up from Coventry station yesterday, so I took the opportunity to do a load of washing there, cheeky I know, but what are sisters for!  There's nothing like a birthday cake made by your mum, and expertly decorated by my nieces.  Thank you all for a lovely birthday.
 Here's Coel the puppy, looking cute with his "unchewable" new toy, which is now in bits.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Just like being at sea!

We made it to Atherstone, Dave's been re-united with Lady Godiva at the Market Tavern (one of his favourite pubs) so he's a happy bunny.  The pub has recently been refurbished and looks great.

The weather over the last couple of days has been awful, so we chickened out & waited till the winds subsided before we moved on.  I was certainly rocked to sleep last night.  We could see yesterday evening that the road about 1/2 mile away had been closed by a fallen tree & the council workmen and police were clearing it from the road.  We lashed everything down on the roof and hoped it was still there in the morning.  I did take a picture of the waves, but it looks a bit tame ...
 We did moor near a tree, not the best idea in 80mph winds i know, but we wanted Nemo to get a bit of excersise, away from the water's edge.  He's decided he doesn't like going outside now considering his last few ventures. Ah well, we'll take him back into the country for a bit so he can run around, after we've got diesel & coal from Gosty Hill at top of Atherstone.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Nemo sheepishly accepts offer of swimming lessons from Daisy

Thank you Daisy for the offer of swimming lessons for Nemo (NB Matilda Rose).  Yes - he's been in again - yesterday, this time he jumped onto the bow between the button and the deck (the pointy bit), but missed - again - as i've said before, he's not the brightest button on your shirt.  I didn't take a photo as Dave said I would embarrass him even more (the cat or dave?!)  To his credit, he has mastered doggy paddle (Nemo, not Dave) but obviously needs to practice exit techniques.  He is yet to venture out unsupervised due to his less than adequate performance with boating in general.  He is far happier in his hammock watching the world go by....
he did have a lovely time, chasing leaves outside the Dog & Doublet, under supervision! 

Today we passed through the moorings and unique bridge for Drayton Manor Park & Zoo.

Well we survived bonfire night/weekend without too many traumas from Nemo cat.  Thankfully, due to the numerous RSPB pools in the area, the firework displays were kept to a minimum, the nearest one at Drayton Manor. We did see a vista of firework displays, but thankfully from a distance.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Dead bodies and leaves make for slow progress

Had a very noisy night last night outside the NIA with buses and kids due to the first night of 'Disney on Ice', rowdy lot those disney fans.  Progress out of Birmingham was very slow due to the leaves and rubbish debris in the canal.  We resorted to flushing the boat out of locks at Minworth the going was that slow, rubbish and leaves in abundance.  Got held up at Nechelles by the recovery of a dead body in the canal.  We were only held up for about half an hour but were then allowed through whilst they waited for the undertaker to remove the body from the side of the canal.  We were lucky - when we got through, there was a boat the other end who had been waiting for 3 hours & wasn't that chuffed that we had got through whilst he was still not allowed passage.  We left him 'discussing' the situation with the policeman.  So that was 30+ locks today & boy do I feel it!  Looking forward to seeing Mr Tesco delivery man tomorrow with supply of the red stuff.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


Dave was begnning to think that Banks' breweries had taken over, so a change of plan was called for, and we headed for Birmingham.  He's now had his "fix" at the Wellington, and all is well with the world.  16 real ales plus 3 ciders to chose from, with the added bonus that you can take in your own food if you want to.  Now that's what i call a great pub. .  Any pub with spotless toilets is worth a mention - with fresh flowers, sweeties, hand creams etc etc. There's also the added bonus of the beautiful building that is the old joint stock, just around the corner    where we met up with Frank & Gill (NB Fragil). 

The Cube building has been completed since our last visit, and the new library building is under construction, with two huge tower cranes dominating the skyline.

The good news is that Nemo cat has now managed 4 days without falling in!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


We came up past the Worcester Warriors rugby ground. we didnt realise it was so close to the canal.  Last week Dave came here by train to see the Cornish Pirates beat Worcester 23 - 21. Next time it'll be by boat!  He did enjoy wearing his Cornish Pirates hat round Worcester after this result.

We managed to find the only non-Banks' pub since we left Worcester.  Fantastic.  Looking forward to a nice Sunday tea in the pub.  Would you believe it - they were closing at 6.30pm due to a private function, just as well I suppose - they didn't do food on a Sunday evening.  Never mind, we had a lovely couple of pints before they kicked us out.  Just as well we prefer 'early doors'.

Are we nearly there yet?  Lock 57 on the Tardebigge flight.  Lovely set of locks, very well behaved, although the top paddle gear is extremely difficult to wind. It does help when it's a beautiful autumn day for boating.