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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Returning home and saying goodbye

My apologies for typing this at the end of March, I thought I'd finished off my blog on Lily but found to my horror the other day the last few days were missing. Fortunately I kept a daily report.

Sunday 13th July So this morning we were on The Shroppie and heading south, past Mkt Draton & I started the engine to be greeted by an awful racket from the alternator belts. Lifting the rear deck I expected to find bits of belt all around, but both were in position, it was the alternator that wasn't! The weld to the bottom pivot tube had failed and the alternator was hanging loose from the top pivot bolt. I walked back into Mkt Drayton but looked at the boatyard & decided that were it to open on tis Sunday they would almost certainly not be able to fix it. So I removed the protesting belts, minimised 240volt usage & we set off on a dull morning. Up 5 locks following others but meeting a couple of boats, it brightened by lunch to a glorious afternoon, made even better by the reception we got at Norbury.

We explained our problem and reversed Lily down the very restricted water to the dry dock & fastened ourself tight and wizards arrived to weld it back in place, then to adjust the straining bracket. By 4.30 and for £47 we were fixed, I stress this was on a Sunday, we can't speak highly enough of the work they did. We cruised on a little longer before mooring just past bridge 32 on a lovely evening, I kept myself busy repairing the boat hook I'd broken earlier in the day. With all the trouble we'd covered 12 miles and 5 locks.

Lovely mooring after a rather traumatic day

Monday 14th a lovely morning & belts were fine and we were away by 8.30, we need to get Lily back to base. We stopped at Wheaton Aston to fill up totally at 71.9p, though Norbury were similarly reasonably priced, at this price they are always busy & we had to wait for 2 other boats to fill and there were others queuing behind us. Moving on to the services we were then fairly smartly up the lock and cruised on past Autherley turning towards Gt Haywood. We stopped at 5 by bridge 73, it was overcast by then, though we had stopped just before Autherley to do a majorish shop at Morrisons plus we had spent quite some time working with another boat to free Florence (from Chesterfield). They had moved a bit too far away from the towpath shortly after bridge 9 about 1 1/2 miles before Autherley and had got hopelessly stranded on a very large slab of rock. The boat was pivoting on it but would not come free, we tried towing it one way, then the other and all sorts with no joy then as I recall we set off with the bow rope being pulled and snagged the stern off, but it was nearly a case of calling CRT.

Florence very firmly stuck on rock

16 miles and 2 locks, and we heard from our buyers, Alan & Chris, that exchange on their house had been fixed for 25th July.

Tuesday 15th July and another fine day, except our water bed had sprung a leak & I couldn't find the repair kit! I phoned a supplier and arranged for a kit to be sent to Rugeley PO. We moved on to Stafford & stopped before br 98. We went & took coffee & my notes say I'm sure I did something else but couldn't remember what & 9 months later I certainly can't!  12miles & 9 locks.
Draining water from the mattress

Wed 16th early coffee and away at 9.30 (this early coffee involved wandering to a trading estate to a Costa). At Gt Haywood we tipped the loo and then went on into Rugeley arriving at about 2, collected the repair kit & bought a few bits. I mended the bed & polished the port side. Another lovely day but rain in evening. 10 miles & 3 locks
Fuff & Jessie & plants cruise south

Attractive moorings again, in Rugeley

Thursday 17th early coffee and away, filling with water at the waterpoint before Hansacre "tunnel" and completed refilling the bed. It was a steady cruise on a very hot day but with a lovely breeze. There was a bit of a queue at Fradley locks but we turned right into the Coventry half way down, I ran down to the services to tip the loo. We carried on to stop just past Tamhorn House bridge and my notes say "Hot hot hot" 14 miles and 3 locks.

Friday 18th we were up & away early stopping at Tamworth to shop for the visit of friends on Saturday. Shop included coffee. It was misty at start but heated up quickly. We had an easy run to Fazeley apart from a visit to the weed hatch. At Fazeley we stopped at the services and bumped into Beryl who was there on CRT duties. She took a photo unbeknown to us until we saw the front cover of the Jan 2015 Soundings, there Lily was with Carol heading for the mooring, a lovely surprise.

Away around 1 we had an easy run to Polesworth including the Glascote locks where I had to shout at the boat in front of us as he was trying to fill the lock with a bottom paddle open!! We arrived at Polesworth at 3 and wandered around a bit before we had a curry out.....not good! 9 miles 2 locks.

Saturday 19th and we stayed put. Polesworth is an easy place to guide visitors to when they come from Leicester. We had a lovely couple join us for a great lunch & chat. They love cruising but it is often all the way round the world, we bumped into them in New Zealand in 2010! It poured down at times and several ex working boats passed us on their way to...?

Sunday 20th and we were away at 7 (!!!!) having toast whilst cruising. We used the sevices before Atherstone flight and were into the first lock at 8.15. All the locks were for us, we crossed with 3 boats and were out the top by 10.30. We then had to recuperate by wandering into Costa and a few bits of fruit leaving at 12.30 and on to Hawkesbury. The weather was overcast at first but as soon as the mist had cleared it was a lovely day again. We stopped about 1/2 mile before Hawkesbury junction. 14 miles 11 locks
What is this valve for on the Atherstone flight?

Carol enjoying a warm day cruising

Monday 21st and we were into our last week of boat ownership.. Another bright day but a bit cooler. We were off fairly early and had an easy journey to Rugby stopping just past Tesco for shopping & C  !! 13 miles only
Leaving Hawkesbury for the last time.

Tuesday 22nd was a lovely day but we didn't move as another friend came and joined us for the day.

Wed 23rd early coffee and away about 8.30. Filled at Hillmorton and emptied at Braunston. We were retracing our first ever boating trip on Lily 1 when we brought her from Stoke Golding to Foxton in one weekend, never having worked a lock before, such tales we have from that first trip.
Filling with water & trimming flowers at Hillmorton

At Braunston we met Trish Smith undergoing training to single handedly use her new boat. Husband Richard has become completely disabled from his waist down so it is all up to her now. It was a lovely day for her training.

Boating through Braunston on a lovely day

Someone has to work the locks. Note the life preserver!!

We worked up the flight with another boat and crossed with several and met 2 boats in the tunnel, neither of them being an empty pair like the boats we met on our first boating weekend! As a final display I did a perfect turn into the Leicester Line at Norton Junction, my best ever, and my last! We moved on about a mile to moor in another favourite spot.
What is this?? We have seen it close to Braunston the last 3 years!! Interesting Continuos Cruising??

Thursday 24th and with another hot day forecast we were again away early to get most done before it got too hot. We crossed with 3 in the Watford flight, newly refreshed by our Costa from Watford Gap services. Crick tunnel was empty and pretty dry and we stopped at the services by Edwards (can't remember new name). Went to have a quick chat with Barry @ ABNB only to find he'd retired, so that's why he never rang me back about selling Lily!! We bashed on and moored just before the Welford Arm on the Avon embankment to repaint the gunwales and back deck. 7 locks 14 miles.
Avon embankment and painting gunwales & deck

Friday 25th Another lovely day and away fairly early, slowly into Husbands Bosworth tunnel...our last and on to moor above Br 60 at Foxton to paint the other side. I walked to Debdale & collected a car, went to pick up keys to our house & turn on the freezer before getting Carol's car from its storage place and then back to Lily and polishing. 7 miles.

Leaving Husbands Bosworth tunnel

Saturday 26th July 2014 and our final day of cruising. It was a lovely but very sad morning as we went down Foxton for the final time. We have no idea how many times we have been up and down the locks but we have enjoyed every trip. We moored up in a new space in Debdale as Nicky had let our old spot but we were stern on to a part where we could drive the car to.
Out of Foxton and  a final few minutes of cruising to do

I don't know why I'm looking happy, except boating has been a fabulous life

Lily went up in the water about 2 inches after we had emptied the stuff we were taking and with that done she bobbed about like a cork. Lily's new owners arrived a couple of days later and we said our fond & sad farewells. We have loved our life afloat and have cherished all the times we have had on our waterways. We have met and made many friends and we have cherished our 3 Lilys.
A farewell with our oldest grandchildren

A handshake and Lily is passed into the care of Alan & Chris

Like an idiot I let PC World have a look at my 6 month old laptop, being more of an idiot because I had not done a backup. When it came back, they had done a sort of backup, but had lost all my photos. We got them to undertake a forensic recovery, the sort that the Police do, a recovered some, but with everything scrambled up with wierd file names. As such I don't know if I'm going to be able to find any pics of our last 2 weeks!! Be aware & don't be daft like me.

As you can see, I succeeded but the warning still holds true.

This is the end of this blog, but I might do one for our trips in Bessie, our Bessacar motor home.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it & found it interesting, I certainly enjoyed writing & assembling it & am going to get a copy of it all printed off for quiet nights by the fire (which we don't have) in my slippers.


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