Day 8 – Springwood Haven

Very glum day today. I guess you do get days like this and it is only the first week and so, kinda like doing Sea Trails – somethings have gotta give! Yesterday it was the Jabsco Macerator toilet. All fixed – Steve was on the job (!). And today we aim to sort out the Dometic Travel Power – this is a fancy name for a 230V alternator plus its grey control box. Fancy indeed, for yes, to buy new they are £4,000!! It just supplies the boat with 3.5kW of A.C. power. It is the only way we can recharge the leisure batteries, so kind of vital.

It had cut out a week or two ago but after a few minutes came back. So, i was guessing, it got too hot and some kind of thermal cut out operated. It happened again recently and again when we were doing some washing. For a moment we were running the washing machine from the batteries when it cut out and the output current went up into the 100’s!! Woe.

Luckily for us there is a specialist company called Cox Auto, which specialise in repairing these gadgets and they are quite close – in Atherstone. So we chugged on 3 hours to Springwood Haven marina, just past Nuneaton and have arranged with them to moor there on Monday for a few days @£10/night. We can hook up with the electricity and let the guys from Cox Auto come and get our kit – test it- hopefully service it and then put it all back.

Meanwhile, another frosty start but a fairly uneventful trip along the Coventry canal.

Along the Coventry canal – past the still rather odd Charity Dock
A familiar mooring spot – we spent quite a few days here last Summer, when we bought the new set of batteries.
Maybe monochrome best suits the mood?
A familiar boat – Sigma Alpha Mu (Sam I guess)
Springwood Haven Marina – a very helpful & friendly place

Day 7 – staying put

Very cold start today – temperatures went down to zero (-0.9 in fact) and there was a ground frost. Supposed to be very sunny later as we need the solar juice to top up the batteries. Boats – bl@@dy boats – always sommit to do – fix, repair, replace . . .today, it was the loo. It stopped working. Macerate it would not. Hmm. No option but to take it apart . . . to quote Spike Milligan ” there were Richards everywhere”! It seemed to be all scaled up. So I took the offending bits apart and let em soak in descale stuff. Several hours later, it all went back together and it was happy & working. It took quite a few hours more for the pong to go and to hose Steven down!! Just lucky we hadn’t planned to move on today & that we are near services. And lo, the sun did come out and dozens of those amperes came flooding in.

What next??? And no, I don’t think you want any photos of today’s adventures!

Day 6 – Sutton Stop

Bit of a longish day for us – nearly 5 hours of chugging and most of it, a tad cold. Through Newbold Tunnel, past Armada boats and All Oaks Wood. Quite a scenic bit with Butterburs, golf courses, trains, motorways and Ansty plus Carter’s Bridge and then Hawkesbury Junction (or Sutton Stop).

Newbold Tunnel
Here’s one for Stephen & Lucia – obsessed with Life, the Universe and Everything
Past a small mooring with interesting “stuff”
And interesting boat names . . .
Here’s a Kinky one . . .
All the flora is burgeoning . . . pussy willows?
Ahead is the M6 – traffic hurtling by . . . we’ll stick to our 3 mph
Lots of these fellas – we call them Butterburs but they could Winter heliotropes?
Ah, once you see these, the end is nigh
I always find these sites fascinating – in a kind of Sci-Fi way . .
Viv tries an arty pic . . .
Through the wee stop lock and then a smart 180 degree turn and under a bridge without hitting anything! Moor up just past the old pumping station and the sun comes out. Enough for one day.
The final resting spot photo, with sparkles. We’re now on the Coventry canal. At the turn is the famous Greyhound pub – which at 1730 was heaving. Really odd as it’s not on any main road and tricky to get to, by car. Good food (homemade pies) and usually a good variety of beer – today they had Hare & Hound (3.8%) and a Salopian beer Cico Buff (named after a Cocteau Twin song from the 80’s), a bit chewy at 6.9%
Happy Viv . . . with beer! Too full to sit inside.

Day 5 – Newbold

Getting a bit behind – that’s what boating does. The days all merge. Paused at Rugby Visitor Moorings – quick trip to Tesco and then on to Newbold. So hardly any hours done at all today. Not stopped here before but there’s a pub and Mark said he’d drive over from Barby to see us.

The huge earthworks for the new bridge at Clifton, for the huge new housing estate
Followed by the serene bridge
And not much further on . . . Newbold
Someone described my tiller pin as “Navigation Teddy”
Had a nice visit from Mark & Pancho & Layla – had a good walk around the quarry park nearby too
This is the way in to the Barley Mow
And a lunchtime pit of Purity by Mad Goose (or is that the other way around – who cares?)

Day 4 – Hillmorton

Bit of a murky start but the forecast is set fair later, so off we go. Batteries down 106Ah or 77%, depending which gadget you look at, so on with the engine and TravelPack – which played up a bit today. It just stopped working after half an hour – got too warm I suspect as it returned a few minutes later. It was trying to pump 91 amps or 1250 Watts into the batteries. Must get it serviced – recommended a place in Atherstone – Cox Autos. Just as good as we’re passing thru there end of the week. There’s always sommit to worry about on a boat.

Plan today is just to chug down past Hillmorton locks and then moor up. We go past Barby marina – where Mark has his boat – now on his own outside, inline mooring.

How cute! I’ll have one 13 and two 40’s please!!
The long straight
Barby Moorings
Some interesting sights here
Including our good friend, Mark – who has his boat, his plot and his stage!
He travels to water festivals and lets groups perform in the tent
Our fellow Yelvertoft neighbours on Romany
Steve’s turn to “do” the locks and Viv drives the 3 locks – the busiest on the network.
And Toby just watches . . .
Viv’s Beaker impression
On to the final lock
Short video of Viv sliding Adagio into the lock – superbly done!
Our not quite final resting place . . . it bumped here as boats went past – note to boaters – don’t moor here if you want your boat to bump & grind on the bottom! We moved around the corner to Armco and non-bumping moorings. Toby not panicking every 5 minutes now.

Day 3 – Staying Put

I know Saturday was the Grand National & Sunday is the boat race but it seemed racing wasn’t confined to those sports – the starting gun had gone off here too. Dozens of boats all hurtling along – not one doing the “slow for boats – idle speed”, all in a rush to get somewhere. Well, we stayed put. We’ll toddle off on Monday. A few chores need doing and then we walked back to Braunston for a beer. We tried the Plough, hmm Doom Bar, Hobgoblin or some Derby Bitter – which we tried, not bad but not good enough. TV on loud but no one watching – not a great welcome. We moved on to the Wheatsheaf and lo, our eyes popped – Bath Gem, Hook Norton Old Hookey and Dark Star, Hophead – hmm, much better!

Remind me not to drink three pints at lunchtime, for the rest of the afternoon flew by!

The sun did peep out briefly and fed the batteries a few amperes but it rained around four and so that was that. Nice a warm though. Tomorrow is another day.

Day Two – 4.5 hours Braunston/Willoughby

Off by 0915. Looks a brighter day. All very quiet. Down to the Norton Junction, sound horn once, turn to starboard, avoid other boat and on to the Braunston Tunnel. Luckily, we didn’t meet another boat in this rather kinky and long tunnel. No one around at the 6 locks, so we descended . . some guys were coming up, which helped. Although the Muppets behind them didn’t wait for us and started refilling their lock, ho-hum. We moored up in the extremely busy Braunston – hire boats were being prepped and moored THREE abreast! Hire boats were getting their instructions. Hire boats were being driven backwards down the whole Braunston straight – bonkers. We stopped for 30 minutes, whilst Steve marched off to shop in the Butcher’s – triple smoked, dry cured bacon! Best in the land plus a huge pulled pork & chorizo pie and two smaller, steak & kidney pies! Pie, mash n beans tonight. We moved off to pause at the Chandlers, for yes, you can moor outside – we needed some more Fertan to zap the odd rust spot. Then a short hop to beyond bridge 87 and one of our favourite spots – Willoughby. A quiet, rural spot for the night . . . or two. Just might let all those other boaters sail by . . .

Viv chooses to wind paddles and shift beams
Scenic view looking back from the top lock
My little worker bee
Scenic view of the brief stop in Braunston
Chance to spend money in Midland Chandlers!
Final stop for the day – 4.5 hours later. Dog’s more than happy to stop.
Nice new Armco here – picture postcard view of Adagio & Braunston church
Story so far . . . haven’t come very far at all.

And they’re off!

The weather took a turn for the worse this week with gales & frosts but by Friday it seemed to have calmed down and so we scheduled our departure for the 5th April. Last year we had that Beast from the East and delayed our start until 4th May. Steve’s been itching to get out but the ointment has taken care of that!

We said our farewells – to Gail and our new neighbours. And cast off. Seemed a bit reluctant – maybe we’re getting a bit lazy and landlubbery? It was cold too. However, we’re off. Down those Watford locks – not too long to wait and on to moor just outside Weltonfield marina. 3.5 hours – that’ll do for Day One.

Viv steers after Steve checks all the things that Steve has to check . . .
Lots of these about
Cute and probably very tasty
Lots of photos of the Watford flight of locks on the blog passim, it’s still a bit leaky.
Steve steered – Viv wound. Toby watches.
Staircase locks – big and deep
Our first travelling companion – Frayed Knot – fellow Blue Ensign (RNSA) wearer too.
Only 3.5 engine hours but a nice, quiet spot for the first night