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JANNOCK - 2000 Trip Reports
2001 trip report
Trent and Mersey, Coventry and
Oxford Canals.

The Hoxfordshire Flyboat Company is Born.

(Jannock's inaugural cruise)

Saturday 21st October 2000                9 1/4 Miles  12 Locks  6 Hours    (Note:- hours read from engine counter)

Arrived at Black Prince base in Stoke on Trent at about 10 AM. Myself, Simon & Matt loaded the boat whilst Brenda took Brian shopping. Morrisons supermarket is about half a mile from the marina at Stoke on Trent. Grocery and bottled ale selection was excellent. Christened the galley, served up bacon and mushroom butties with mugs of  NAAFI tea, in 10 minutes flat. Brian was impressed! Left Festival Park marina at about 11:30 AM. Immediately appreciated Jannock's handling as I managed to reverse her out of the marina without hitting anything. Dropped Brian off to return our car to Thame and pointed the bows towards home  feeling about 10 foot tall. Our objective was to make it to Simon at the helm. Fenny Compton by Wednesday night as the covered dock was booked for the sign writer on Thursday morning.  Spent most of the day familiarising myself with all of the new things I've got to maintain now. The boss has noted in the log that there is a launderette at Barlaston. It's amazing how passing through the first couple of locks rapidly moulds the crew into a well practiced team. Moored for the night near Stone. I noticed that grease line to stern tube was split and needed maintenance ASAP if we wanted the new stern tube to survive. Could this be the reason for BP having to replace the old one? They've committed that traditional mistake of repairing the damage without finding the fault. The whole crew had a go at trying to tune the television with limited success. Who invented "auto tuning portables"?

Sunday 22nd October 2000                18 1/2 Miles  6 Locks  9 Hours

Early start with an atmospheric misty morning (page background is based on the photo of a boat we were following).  Experienced having to queue for locks today, I wasn't expecting that on the Trent & Mersey in October! The Boss discovered a good Safeway's at bridge 66, Rugely. The number of Canaltime boats that we saw led me to think that we've been doing our past cruising far from the madding crowds. leaving lock under bridge I hope that they haven't got a base on the Southern Oxford. Matthew will live to regret a new phrase which was coined by Brenda during one of their debates. "Are you a man or a mouse, Matt?"  We decided he would make a lousy  mousemat, and laughed so much that he got really fed up. It's now international law that the phrase is to be used whenever possible. The day's weather  evolved through overcast to occasional sunshine. We finally moored for a rural night between Handsacre and Fradley, ready for the locks in the morning. 

At a lock we met a hire boat, 2 first timers with a crew of 6 with learning disabilities. They had spent a miserable night with no heating, and it was a very cold night for October. They had no instructions about the boat equipment and so Resident Engineer had to go aboard and light their boiler. Whilst chatting over mugs of tea it became clear that they found it difficult to get an answer from their hire company on the phone, and were unable to tell them exactly where they were moored. They had not the experience to know that the lock or bridge numbers would place them, and had been given no maps or guides before they started out. Brenda suggested they get the hirebase to send one out,  if  for no other reason than they might like to know where to get water, food or to direct emergency services. We feel they were let down badly. Did they survive the week?

Monday 23rd October 2000                20 Miles    9 Locks    9 Hours

Started early in the morning with 3 locks at Fradley immediately followed by the junction with the Coventry Canal. Passed the house of Syd Arkless (Canal Planner Software) at Whittington. Stopped at Hopwas for lunch at the Tame Otter. Both food and beer good. Brenda was getting desperate to find some castor sugar to use in Simon's birthday cake. She tried the local shop with no luck, only good for basics (milk & eggs etc) which she bought, as it was the only shop we saw all day. Finding the shop was a challenge in itself. Stopped at a good chandlery near Litchfield and obtained items required to re-make the stern tube greaser connection. Performed repair and then proceeded to Atherstone for overnight mooring. Stopped just north of the town before the locks. It was decided that this was definitely the inaugural trip of the Hoxfordshire Flyboat Company as we were cruising when the sun came up as well as when it went down again. Will we see the dawn EVERY day this week?

Tuesday 24th October 2000                24 Miles    8 locks    10 Hours

Red sky in morning .  .  .  .  Matt didn't believe that one but the rain had set in by 3 pm. Atherstone market was first stop but we still forgot the caster sugar. Bought some wonderful neck of lamb for a mega-stew. Proceeded down Coventry canal to Hawkesbury junction and then onto the Oxford canal. We were now in duckweed alley. The combination of autumn leaves and rubbish hidden beneath the duckweed meant almost continuous bursts of reverse in order to clear the prop. We stopped at Ansty in the quest for caster, Cook traipsed through the village and yards of nettles, but no shop!. Proceeded to Stretton under Fosse and purchased a long centre rope to supplement the bow and stern ropes, but no caster sugar, from Rose Narrowboats. Moored for the night, north of bridge 58, near Rugby and found local out-of-town retail city. Tescos supplied the castor sugar and Halfords had a re-chargeable torch....searchlight! We didn't use Homebase or Pizzahut. How's the cake coming along then?

Wednesday 25th October 2000            22 Miles    12 Locks    10 Hours

Gale warning for Dogger, Fischer, German Bight and the Oxford canal. All attempts at elegant maneuvering are abandoned in preference to staying off the banks. Left Rugby and soon hit Hillmorton locks. Passed Braunston without taking on water as the point was full with a queue waiting. Traveled on a very windy Grand Union and onto the Southern Oxford. Our goal was now in site, I became confident that we would make it to Fenny Compton before it got dark. After Napton locks we experienced contour canals at their best. As you travel this section of the Oxford you are very aware of a radio mast that is very unusual. Firstly it hasn't got any aerials on it. Secondly it appears and re-appears on every side of you as you approach it and then leave it behind. We finally arrived at Fenny Compton at dusk and adjourned to the Wharf Inn to celebrate. What a dive? This pub has so little atmosphere we were conscious of needing spacesuits. Why has the computer spell-checker decided that we passed through Brainstem on our way to Neptune?

Thursday 26th October 2000                2 1/2 Miles      0 locks    2 Hours

Happy birthday to you . . .Happy birthday to you . . Simon was 18 today. Bucks fizz for breakfast and then waited for the staff at Fenny Compton Marine Services to arrive. Moved Jannock into covered dock as Peter the painter arrived. We all piled into the conveniently Jannock finally named.pre-parked Metro and sent ourselves to Coventry for the day. Went swimming and then satisfied consequent hunger by discovering Oliver Twist's and partaking of roast pork batches. This cafe is down the road towards the town centre from Coventry basin and not to be missed. A complete roast dinner (including roast tatties) in a bun!!!!!!!! Returned to the boat to find the sign writing was finished. Celebrated by attacking The Birthday Cake which had finally been baked. The recipe for "Phantom Jogger Cake" can be obtained by emailing a polite request to  Reversing out of FC marina was no where near as good as Stoke on Trent. Managed to scratch the fresh blacking. Moved down the canal to Claydon and then went out to the Butchers Arms at Priors Hardwick to let Simon (legally) buy me a pint. The host was very welcoming and the food was superb. This is not a place to visit in your jeans and is on the high side for prices but "you gets what you pays for". Simon didn't manage to buy a round as the host assumed this responsibility. Was this gourmet day or what?

Friday 27th October 2000                    4 Miles        9 Locks    6 Hours

Lazy start to a very overcast day. Winter has started with vengeance. Simon was dispatched to Tescos in Banbury and arranged to meet us at Cropredy. We three remaining moved Jannock to Cropredy which is to be her home mooring for the next year at least. we're the new neighboursSimon was waiting at the wharf with the shopping. Moved down to Old Mill and tied up. Simon was replaced for the weekend by David the Jinx (Matt's mate) Started attending to all the work that was required to really make the boat ours and met the new neighbours (see picture). Due to excessive jinxing, the weather was horrid. Cap'n hasn't had a smoke for 1 week, can he stay off the weed permanently?

Saturday & Sunday 28/29th October 2000

Saturday it rained, then it rained some more and the day ended with rain. Whilst I was working in the engine compartment, Matt and Jinx offered to remove the bridge bars from the front of Jannock. Although he was armed with the requisite spanners, he was not prepared for the fact that they were SOLID STEEL and not tubular. The sea-searcher magnet earnt it's keep again. We went to an am-dram production "Chase Me Up Ferndale Avenue, S'il Vous Plait" in Cropredy village hall. Mousemat and Jinx were reluctant to go but laughed like drains all evening and wouldn't stop talking about it for a week. Finally left Jannock on Sunday, in the rain, and returned home. Where does the saying "Laughed like drains" come from?

Christmas Day 2000

Oh come All Ye Faithful...

Joyful and triumphant.

Let us go back a year, to Xmas 1999. The family forsook the yule traditions and spent Xmas in the Czech Republic. It was wonderful; no turkey, no crackers, Xmas day out walking and no telly (that we could understand). Thanks to our hosts, the Urban family, we have broken the mould.

Xmas 2000 looms and we don't want a trad style English Xmas...and now we have a boat.... so lets get the kids, the in-laws and the out-laws cruising for the day.

Ship's Yule Log,  Star date 25 Dec 2000.

They woz warned, but still they came in their Sunday best. We left the mooring in thermals and mittens to cruise the 150m to pick up 2 grandmas and a grandad... and then felt underdressed for the occasion. We were, however, warm. We soon felt the need to dispense tidings of comfort and joy via a bottle of very traditional sherry.

Matt and grandma have a pre luncheon drink

Grandad has spent at least 20 years refusing to join us on canal holidays, much to Grandma's chagrin, because he suffered dreadfully from sea-sickness during his time on motor torpedo boats during the war. Eureka, to his surprise he has realised that the cut, Ruth and Huey are not regular companions unless heavy drinking has been involved. Very soon he was enjoying the trip. There wasn't much traffic, I saw three ships come sailing in......

Nanna and Grandma settled down to Bow-watch, Matthew kept their glasses topped up, and eventually Grandad took courage and a windlass and helped with the locks. Later he took his turn at the helm. Way to go Grandad!!! 4 locks and 5 miles took us into Banbury. A cold luncheon was served, with more alcohol and less decorum. Xmas pudding served warm is one thing....but with cold custard out of a carton? Lord forgive us. After we had got used to the paper plates we had to agree that it is a novel way to celebrate Christmas...... in a deserted carpark...... in a closed shopping centre .....but the smell of sprouts that have been boiling merrily on high since August pervaded the Banbury area, so that much at least was an authentic Xmas touch. Grandma got a bit giggly and decided that the hat Grandad had borrowed made him look like Deputy Dawg, but Simon has already worn that mantle, so now he has a deputy Deputy Dawg.

Grandad Wal supervising Simon at Hardwick lock
The crew arranged in front of the carpark sign Apres lunch

Heigh ho, ho, ho. It was time to leave. Down through Banbury to the winding point. There was some doubt amongst those of the older generation that it was actually possible to turn Jannock about in the space provided. God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay.... we were dismayed to find that a gentleman had moored his boat in the winding point. It took a lot of reverse, some nifty barge pole work by Himself and Matt, Mum pushing from the bank and a gentle touch on tiller and throttle by Simon to get us about without denting our pride and his boat. That done, it was teas all round thanks to our newly appointed canteen ladies, who had probably gone below for a warm up really.

The day got greyer and colder so it was another fly boat type run back to Cropredy, indeed we needed our headlamp for the last 15 mins or so. Then home and eventually pressies! We hadn't had too much TV, sweeties or calories, but we had wassailed with the best of them. I think a good time was had by all, and no-one got frostbite or pneumonia.

Matt at Cropredy lock 2000

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