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Monday, 13 September 2010

From Debdale to Coventry

Since last I blogged we visited Carol's cousin near Forfar (no trains any more so no "4.44 to Forfar" of old music hall ditties) and saw her aunt, her cousin from Oz and others in the family. We took him to see the Falkirk Wheel as this is a truly significant structure, unique in the world.
We use trains to get up there, it works out probably about the same cost as fuel for the car & is much more relaxing.

We brought Carol's Scottish cousin back with us for a few days, taking her into Harborogh where Frank the Plank looked as good as ever and a lady was taking her 80 year old tortoise for a walk near the basin.

Carol's tomatoes were fruiting well.

The water behind our mooring is becoming a real jungle.

Whilst away Debdale were supposed to be sorting out our alternator, but instead when we returned I took it off & then refitted it with new V pulleys plus a new engine pulley to slow it down. I measured the set up for the belts......and got it wrong! With the right length Steve came to check alignment & reckoned the pulleys were about 1mm out longitudinally plus a bit out angularly. I couldn't believe the 1mm would matter but Steve was determined to get it right & spent an hour or so fiddling, welding & grinding before declaring he was satisfied!!!

Tuesday 2nd Sept and at about 3.30 we set off, but only got as far as Bridge 61!! (this is the old pub at the bottom of Foxton Locks) They were doing a new feature of a supper & a beer for £5.50 so we thought we'd support them, hell we've known the family for 20 years. The beer was good, but it was the first time Hannah had made lasgne. On the way down from Debdale we saw Sogno whom we had last seen on the Nene at Irthlingborough. She was in a bit of a mess as a hire boat had forced her into trees, scratching the side a tearing her cratch cover badly. What happened to BW's Hedge Pledge of some years ago?
1 mile

So it was Wednesday 3rd and a very misty start to the day and after I polished the port side we were up Foxton, except we clocked in to go up at 11.15 but had to wait 2 hours before entering the flight, out in under an hour and armed with Bennets ice creams. The mist never fully cleared all day until after 6 by which time we had tied up just past the Welford Arm having met 2 boats in Husbands Bosworth tunnel. Autumn Fruits pulled in behind us, had an interesting chat about insulation & heating and a few other things before polishing the starbord side. Carol had made a lovely chilli which fuelled the polishing. 8 miles & 10 locks.

Thursday 4th was a lovely day no mist some sun & the slightest of showers. Away at 8.15!! we had an easy cruise to Crick by 12, stopping to fill, empty, have lunch & call in to see Barry at ABNB. They had lovely apples & plums on the trees near the office & we left with a good picking.

Meeting 2 boats in Crick tunnel as we came out I noticed the instruments were not showing anything. Had this before, several times & it is the small wire from the engine alternator that breaks, but why. Did a quick fix & I've decided that when I do a proper job I'll form the wire into a coil to let it flex. Had a wait at Watford before entering & met Doug Beard, IWA stalwart. He worked us down the flight so we could chat, and he was excited to hear that Tic Toc was following us down. He had shared locks going down the GU years ago when the widow of the first owner was taking it south, apparently the owner was killed when the engine hatch cover fell down on his head! Also the hire boat we were following was due back at Barton Turn on Saturday, though as they had lost a day with a breakdown they were allowing it to be 9.30 Sunday.......I doubt they got there before Monday, even starting early & cruising till dark. Not much of a holiday for the 3 foster children on board.

Out of Watford we had to stop at Watford Gap M1 services for a coffee & papers before cruising on to Weltonfield for the night.   14 miles & 7 locks.

Friday 10th and it had been a very wet night, neither of us slept well, why? Away for 9 a bit drizzly then dry then near sun, then drizzle and so on all day. Good cruise to Braunston, met 3 in the tunnel, fortunately not in the really twisty bits, I'm sure Lily would get stuck spanning the kink. Getting to the top of the locks, it was good to see how well the repaired embankment looked and also how well the towpath had been restored. Paired up on way down, meeting boats in every pound so it was fairly quick work. Met Andrew on Loose Woman, he used to work for one of our main yarn suppliers in the '90's. Dashed into chandlery by bottom lock to buy polish & a new lay flat hose, the old one developed awful blisters as we filled at Watford whilst Carol was descending & I popped out the shop as she left the lock.

Cruised on steadily before mooring for the night by bridge 68 alongside the golf course, lovely spot.

13 miles & 9 locks

Saturday 11th Rain overnight again & damp start but mostly dry during day with odd showers. Short cruise to Brownsover where we stopped at Tesco, then stayed to watch qualifying for the Italian GP, during which time Idle Woman tied up opposite, followed by two old friends from Countesthorpe, now mooring at Debdale with Puffin Slimline. Good chat over the canal & a promise to meet for a drink back at base.

Our subsequent cruise was somewhat slow as there was a lot of boat movement, but at least it was good weather. We tied up for the night just short of Ansty after 11 miles.

Sunday 12th and good weather all day. Chaos at Hawkesbury, but fortunately not our way, we went straight though before using the services.

Watched GP and popped into the large Tesco near the Ricoh stadium before cruising into Coventry Basin where we moored alongside Budleigh. We shared Buckby/Whilton locks with the boat on our way back from Northampton, but being shared ownership, it was a different crew, sadly the boat now has a rather nasty scratch along the port side. Maybe T cut will sort it.

I noticed that bridge 13 near Ansty was built in 1941. It is only a farm bridge so why was it so important for it to be built in those hectic & straightened times?

Another thing, in the basin there is a statue to Brindley, yet the Coventry Canal Co sacked him after only a year!!

9miles + the stop lock

Hardly took any pics this week. Sorry.

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