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Monday, 7 May 2012

From Braunston towards Stratford

Monday 30th April was a lovely day as forecast and many boats, tied up all of Sunday, set off so that Braunston to Napton Turn was a bit like the M1! We turned towards Calcut, crossing a boat at the top lock before we reversed into the boatyard to refuel (93p plus VAT) & replace an empty new gas bottle, and of course immediately met a fuel boat as we turned away from the fuel pump! I have their email address now to enquire where they are in future. We had a good run through to Long Itchington, and had intended to eat at the Two Locks as we had enjoyed eating there in the past. A lad who was helping us down the locks said the manager had changed recently and he thought it had gone downhill & was expensive & he recommended the Blue Lias. We tied up outside by 2.30 and ate there at 6. Shall I say we will not repeat it & I was flabbergasted to be charged nearly £6 for a pint plus a J2O.
Carol takes Lily down Stockton
 Tuesday 1st May it had rained hard overnight & was raining as we cast off, intending to push across to the water point, but a boat tied up at that moment!! Pleasant group from NZ on a Kates Boat, but they had not been given a BW key, so I unlocked for them before we carried off down the line, using a water point further along. It was wet virtually all cruise, I recall meeting only 4 boats all day, never at a lock, and many locks were against us, only at the end of the day was I told there was a boat about a mile in front, we tied up wet & cold in Leamington after 5 hours.........and walked into town to get a Costa!! No photos, drab day.

Wednesday, Thursday & Friday were spent in Leamington at a fairly quiet spot alongside the Aga/Rangemaster works. The weather was poor but one highlight was going to a nearby church one evening to see/hear a new opera by OPWA (University of Warwick Opera Society) Alice in Wonderland. We have never been to a full opera before, and this was a mix of well known arias and a well known story. It was fantastic and the quality of the singing was incredible, there was not a weak voice amongst the cast, they were all pitch perfect and powerful, it was amazing that these were students who chose to join the OP Soc, not on a choral course.
Charlecote Park

We came out determined to check on other productions they will be putting on over the winter period when we are back at Debdale.
Our quietish but hardly pretty mooring in Leamington

We also enjoyed a Wetherspoons curry, and also took a bus to visit a nearby National Trust house, Charlecote Park. An interesting house with some of the original family still occupying part of it, after over 500 years, but in the Victorian era there was a great deal of alteration to the house. It was a pity Carol helped me as we got off the bus by picking up “my” rucksack......except I was carrying mine, she had the bus drivers! Fortunately his lunch was not in it & in the end I returned it to the bus depot in Leamington that evening.

Mooring just above lock 29, Hatton flight
Saturday 5th May we were away towards Kingswood Junction on a brightish day. We stopped at the large Tesco canalside by bridge 46 to stock up, and wonder of wonders, they had a Costa Coffee shop too!. After lunch we carried on past Warwick, catching up with a boat with 4 people from The Netherlands at the second Cape Lock, but to no avail as they wanted to see Warwick & turned up the Saltisford Arm, leaving us to work our way up past Lock 29 on the Hatton flight where we stopped overnight. It had been a cool day with a few sharp showers.

Sunday 6th May and I faced a problem. I love to read the Sunday Times, and have done so for well over 50 years, but how was I going to get a copy today? Well not only that, but how was Carol to get her Costa fix? Well we set off at 9.30, our first lock had drained overnight so we were straight in, & then I noticed people at lock 29, so I waited, only to find it was two boats, so no point waiting, we had Hatton to ourselves! About 3 locks later there is a Shell petrol station alongside the flight, so paper problem solved, I have a week’s reading now, but they also did Costa Express! Something was watching over us, especially as the sun was out much of the morning, I was soon down to shirt sleeves. 
Ascending Hatton and surprisingly
good artwork if out of place

We crossed two boats in the flight and came out the top after 3 hours to tie up for water & loo services. This tap must be about the slowest one on the system, but it gave us time to get delicious local sausage & bacon baps from the Locks cafe. We hadn’t intended to buy them, but they were being cooked outside and the aroma got us!
Our first dragonfly of the year

Flowers at the towpath edge
Delicious lunch finished we carried on to Kingswood junction noting lovely meadows on the off side full of dandelions, cowslips, bluebells and wild stocks. The countryside is beautiful just now, but most amazing is the number of cowslips. At Kingswood we turned towards Stratford. 

My the locks are slow, much slower than Hatton and, despite being single locks, no easier to work. We carried on past the M40 to moor above lock 28. A busy day, only 8 miles, 17 wide locks & 7 narrow.
The afternoon was cooler, I had my jumper on & then a fleece, but the evening again was lovely.

A Stratford canal lock

Carol and Lily descend a Stratford canal lock

1 comment:

Mo said...

Oh the pleasures to be had on a boat in the countryside - Costa Coffee, J2O, newspapers, Opera, bus drivers backpacks... endless fun.
When are you going to rub sticks together and make a fire, sleep out under the stars and pick nettles for soup?

Ok, so we haven't done those either.
Good Blog, Mo.