This is Steve & Viv Carter's log of the trips and travails on the narrowboat Adagio – liveaboards from October 2015. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." (Mark Twain)” firstname.lastname@example.org
They were right. Heavy rain and blustery winds of > 40 mph ! Perhaps not the best place to moor – on an open landscape, on a vast open expanse of water – Napoleonic weather = we’re all gettin Blown-apart (geddit?). Serendipitously, there’s a superb farm shop back at the Great Haywood junction, so Steven strolled off, all togged up in his Gill Ocean sailing rig and a big bag to glean some goodies from the shop – 3 sorts of black pudding (one in fact a white pudding), bread from their bakery and dry cured, double smoked bacon plus local honey and other “essentials”. I was chatting to a lady from the boat “Old English” who keeps bees and has her own honey – might be worth a visit later. There is a small glimmer of sushine, so the batteries make get some comfort.
Well, the forecast gets worse. Rain later, then gales on Saturday with almost constant rain. Time to move and move early (for us) – off by 0820! No time to shave or eat (and that’s just Viv 🙂 ). Beautiful morning and this first stretch of the T&M is wonderful – I saw our first Kingfisher – a flash of brilliant blue and then he was gone. Pun Day? Well, we went thru Armitage and Rugeley – can’t say we’re hugeley Rugeley fans, then our final destination was Tixall Wide, a lovely wide expanse, probably made to give the landed gentry a better view but for us, it Tixall the boxes!!
Oh, and Viv reminded me there was a third Pun. Our compatriots for the day were on a boat called Paradigm. They were occupying the water point at Armitage but they were about to leave so I called out, come on Paradigm, Shift. Well, I thought it funny.
It rained as promised but only after we had moored up, Camelot weather indeed. The Mucky Duck (Swan Inn) was only a few hundred yards behind us, so that was lunch sorted. The sun kept coming out again as per the song:
A much nicer pub all round (I know two pubs in two days, what will people think?! But then we haven’t eaten out at all on this trip, so catching up. Oink). I often write TripAdvisor reviews – I think I’m a senior reviewer with over 75,000 views of my reviews and level 21 restaurant reviewer – so watch out! To be honest, I tend to only give positive reviews, unless something is really dire. It is quite a magnet for canal users, being at Fradley junction: https://sites.google.com/view/swanfradley/home
Beers weren’t that great – all Everards but they did have Thatcher’s Gold and Viv had Purity Longhorn (keg and £2.30 for a half!). But the lasagne was terrific – a good homemade portion with seperate bowls of chips, salad (with a dressing and all the seeds removed from the tomatoes and cucumber, very restauranty?) and garlic bread. Good value at £9.95.
We had a nice selection of photos today & yesterday – as we chugged from the bottom of the Atherstone flight round to Tamworth and the Glascote flight of locks. But Skipper will insist on selecting ALL and then CUTting the images rather than COPYing them from the camera chip to the laptop and he lost em all, gone, into the cyber void. So just a few from late today. Thursday 24th April.
So where are we? Day 20 so far. We are moored just past the entrance of the Lichfield canal – under restoration. This will link up with the Birmingham canal navigations.
So, the forecast was spot on – I use the Met Office 5 day forecast. Normally quite good and I think they change it around 0900, when they get to the office and kick the computer I guess. We generally stay put on high days & holidays – toooo many boats and cyclists and walkers etc. We’re old & wise enough to let em all go by. It also means we don’t have to run the engine – no, not once, in all the five days. The 400W of solar power kept us all topped up, despite watching TV and showing some DVDs…
We decided to move the boat down the two remaining locks and get away from the prospect of listing again. CRT know there’s a problem with the leaky locks but they have to prioritise their work and I guess this one is way down the list. We enjoyed our pint in the New Swan (Church End’s Goats Milk, £3.30 and it’s a dog friendly place) and Viv got her crochet kit. Poor Toby was trekked around the shops but got his reward in a swim in the river Anker, close to the new mooring. The forecast was spot on and in fact the boat recorded 30.9 degrees – might have been influenced by the hot roof but it was Scorchio!
Today is the day. Lee from Cox Autos is due this morning to install the fixed alternator & control box. It did look nice and shiny – the stator all rewound. It’s been a trying time but by lunchtime we were off – our dues paid to Springwood Haven (3x £10/night plus £20 for the pump out) and our goodbyes said to a few of the inmates – still there for their solar installations. (Del & Ali on Derwent6 and Simon & Carol on Kestrel). Plus Stuart on Aecern, who was setting off . . . heading North! All the best. We were bound for Atherstone, some shopping after lock 6 and then a quiet mooring for Easter. After lock 9.
Lee turned up farly sharpish and in under an hour had the kit off and returned to base to run the tests. Some time later we had the dreaded phone call . . . there’s two problems a module duff on the control panel and the stator in the alternator is faulty . . totals £664 with VAT! Time the saw the arm & a leg off then?
So marooned here until Thursday when hopefully we can be on our way again, with a fully refurbished generator plus a year’s guarantee.
What else is lining up to go wrong? Still, count ourselves lucky that we are in the right place – a cosy, friendly marina with electricity and the generator specialists just 5 miles away.
Chance for the glumness to subside? Moored up near bridge 27 on the Coventry. A quiet weekend, not moving at all. Lots of sunshine – the solar panels doing their job and taking the batteries to 100%. Viv cleaned all the windows & Steve polished some of the boat. Visited the marina to see about Monday – saw Kevin (the Victron guy – who helped to install the batteries last year). Seems they are going to be very busy next week, so Cox’s will have to come out & remove the gear themselves – suits me.
I bought the descaler – Leescale (£23!!) but it is designed for the purpose of descaling toilets so, job done(!). Still feeling extremely depressed but I guess this is a shakedown week and it’s all about getting things sorted. The forecast for Easter is 18 degrees! About double what it is today. So that looks good.
A couple of boats moored here – one called Chloe – rings a bell and so it should as we met Steve on his boat on the Ashby last Summer. He even came round for tea!