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Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Lots of locks

Monday 20th September We expected visitors this day for a cruise & lunch but at 8am we had a call, Stephanie had been up all night, ill. Oh dear, we had already unfrozen the meat. Clever Carol, she had only a day or so earlier arranged an evening with my ex-boating cousin, Ros, & David previously of nb Ruth, and had apologised for it being so far in advance. A quick call & they were on for supper, meeting at The Lime Kiln. Worried it might be busy, we set off betimes to get there early. Stopping at Ashby Boats to refuel we arrived at the A5 by 1.30. Noticed nb Peregrine the Penguin there, she used to be owned by Les & Barbara in Debdale. Freshly painted she looked good.

We had a lovely evening, Carol knocked them out with her main course.

Tuesday 21st and now we are off cruising again. A lovely warm day after a misty start, how glad we were not to be queuing on the A5 like all the motorists! Shorts on again and away, we saw three kingfishers on the run down to the junction plus another water vole, that made 3 seen on this trip along the Ashby, fantastic!! We had a steady cruise until we arrived at the top of Atherstone flight at 4 & decided to stop for the day.

I went for a wander into the town, not a lot to see, yes some 18/19thC buildings with modern shop fronts, but nothing remarkable. A large Coop store & an Aldi in the centre. The large derelict mill at the top of the flight was the last "felting" mill in England, I reckon it closed around 1990. It used to make felt hats, perhaps it shut because I stopped wearing a trilby (never did, but father did).

 Water at san station at top lock turned off. Lock cottage no longer occupied by a BW employee, he was given early retirement & had many observations to make. After not moving much over the previous week & a half we covered 12 1/2 miles, locks loom!

Wednesday 22nd A lovely start to the day, but it clouded over a bit later. Wind not too bad, but cooling.

Away at 9.15 we met possibly 10 boats on the flight so all locks were for us.

Can anyone tell me what these things are? They clearly are a valve mechanism, I have seen them in many places.
Used facilities just after bottom lock, waiting for a couple of boats from Stourbridge to finish with them. Very good water pressure so not too long there, & we soon caught them up, they were cruising at tickover! We let them move a bit further ahead at Glascote Locks, one paddle was u/s, and passed them at Fazeley when we turned for Birmingham. We carried on in the cooling afternoon before stopping at the Dog & Doublet at 5.
A prettied up little lock shack at the Dog & Doublet.
After so long with no locks, 14 miles & 16 locks today. M42 very noisy here.

Thursday 23rd and it was supposed to be an awful, wet cold day, but it only rained a little overnight and only rained a little later in the day. Off into Birmingham today and uphill all the way and we were away at 8.15 and straight into a lock on the Curdworth flight, lock set for us.

Why do BW spend money on pretty flowers? These little planters were on the Curdworth flight.

We didn't expect to see many boats early on but started crossing boats almost straight away, two boats had hirers from Panama!! I walked/jogged through this flight of 8 locks over around 2 miles. The Minworth flight followed, no boats floating in this flight but one submerged Charnwood cruiser badly placed almost under a rail bridge. Another walk/jog over the mile & 3 locks before stopping at services.

A lock free break allowed lunch on the move in sunshine before the Aston 11 over a mile (less jogging now) and finally the 13 on the Farmers Bridge flight, walking only here!! Crossed with two boats only on these flights. After 35 locks, over 5 miles of walking/jogging in a journey of 11 miles I was a bit tired!!! But Thursday is Wetherspoons Curry night, so I was more than able to make the walk to their pub on Broad Street. The guest ale I had was delightful & so needed. We moored up in Cambrian Wharf, a bit noisy from the Flapper pub alongside.

Friday 24th we went into town, I needed more comfortable shoes as my right foot has become sensitive, probably arthritis in the joint. We dropped in at the museum to look again at the Staffordshire Hoard we saw last year, expecting it to have been beautifully cleaned but were disappointed to see it still needs a good clean, but I expect they can't just drop it into water & scrub it with a brush!!

On Saturday Carol's back was bad so I went off and did a walk around the Jewellery Quarter again, we did it last year but this year I had a map. We intended to go to Aston Hall on Sunday but it was so cold we had a day at home with me fighting with the computer and losing.
The Birmingham assay office.

The Victorians certainly built some attractive factories.

The Jewellery museum is an old factory where the owners were unable to sell it when they closed in the '80's and just locked the doors. It is a place well worth a visit.
So an interesting week, plenty of locks in 2 days, reasonable weather and interesting things to see.

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