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2002 Trip Reports

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23rd March 2002 Cropredy to Banbury
H.C. 6939 - 6946 Distance 15 miles Locks 8

Crew - Graham, Brian, Ian & Dick
Soddit (Spring 2002) Cruise

A pair of swans at Cropredy

(Ian) Lunch 1PM      -       Le gourmet Graham
                                   -      Il ne pleut pas
                                   -      can't get to grip with a boat without rain.
                                   -      drinking commenced 11:16
                                   -      Urinating commenced 13:02 (Brian)

Cropredy Old Mill to Haddons Bridge winding point and back to Banbury. Uneventful trip out in nice, dry, but not warm weather. On the way back after turning, we met 2 other ex-black prince boats. The first was in service with Oxfordshire Narrowboats and the second (ex Brecon?) was renamed and on route to its new home mooring at Gibraltar, further south. Both 1997 and sported lists to starboard. Visited the Bell Inn at Banbury, an M&B house that had a very good selection of beers. Ian prepared stir fried chicken & rice for dinner. We had one game of Soddit (which Dick likened to watching paint dry) and went to bed.

24th March 2002 Banbury to Cropredy
H.C. 6946 - 6948 Distance 5 miles Locks 4

Crew - Graham, Brian, Ian & Dick

Breakfast (mega-fryup) by Dick was consumed with relish, pickle, chilli sauce and anything else we could find (including Kaolin & Morphine).
(Brian) Back to Cropredy. First beer of the day at 11:15. Tried to squash 2 ducks in a lock but failed miserably. Gourmet lunch of Spag Bol. Very good even if I say so myself (I cooked it) Ian has been given the task of working out the mileage but he says he "can't cope with (nicholsons) maps with (printed) pins in"

Jannock's bows

29th March 2002 Cropredy
H.C. 6948 - 6969 Distance 0.5 miles

Crew - Brenda & Graham
joined later by Terry, Iris, Sue, Ron, Pat, Don, Simon & Matt.

Cartoon of Brenda with duck on her head

Q.) What do you call a man with a seagull on his head?         A.) Cliff      
Q.) What do you call a woman with a duck on her head?       A.) Brenda.

Arrived Cropredy mid morning. We started the day with one of the local ducks landing on Brenda's head whilst she was stood on the stern of the boat watching me pull out the big mooring stakes from our permanent mooring. Unfortunately, she had the camera in her hand and when I tried to get it from her, the duck flew off. Matt has since drawn a cartoon of the event which is shown alongside. We moved up to the wharf for water and then retired to 48hr mooring opposite for a couple of hours. When the canoeing club had ceased it's activities, we moved up to moor beside Bridge stores ready for our dinner party guests to arrive. Brenda held a 'murder mystery' dinner party for 6 persons on board during Friday evening. Simon and Matt arrived about 9 PM and we went to do the car shuffle to Hatton Station.

(Iris) Hi Y'all - hilarious Murder/Mystery dinner on board Mississippi boat at Cropredy. Excellent food - Miss Scarlet excelled herself yet again. The barman got familiar with the towpath! American accents - where were they?

(Don) Hilarious trip on a narrow paddle steamer from Norwich? to New Orleans? via Somerset and a bit of Scotland! The Captain did it!

(Sue) This sweet li'l ol thing remained 'chased!'

The partygoers but who dunnit?
The party goes on, it was him with the beard that did it!

(Brenda) Today we were gifted with a June afternoon. The weather was warm and sunny, wonderful. Graham and I moved Jannock from Old Mill to the Bridge Stores, only moving into final position when the children from the canoe club went home. It's lovely to see the kids having so much fun. What's that about ducks, I hear you say? I was stood standing and a duck landed on my head, it's mate was thinking about perching on my outstretched arm. Wierd. At 6:30 PM, Iris, Terry, Sue, Ron, Pat and Don joined us for a Mississippi murder aboard the Magnolia Queen. Large amounts of hilarity ensued. It became apparent that the assembled company didn't do accents. We all became concerned when Simon texted us a message with thoughts about buglers (sic) whilst we were away cruising. He commented later that his 'predictive text dictionary' didn't do burglars. Let's hope that this is a good start to the year. The new boiler bodes well ......

30th March 2002 Cropredy to Napton
H.C. 6969 - 6976 Distance 19 miles Locks 19

Crew - Matt, Simon, Brenda & Graham

Boat moored above us a Cropredy

Engine wouldn't start this morning. Ignition switch had been left on all night. That explains why we cruised for 22 hours yesterday. Jumped the starter battery from the cabin bank. Left Cropredy at10:15 and headed North. Relatively uneventful trip up onto summit and were blessed with good weather. An increase in wind speed started to make life difficult towards the Marston Doles end where we stopped for water. A working boat was coming up through the next lock towing an unpowered steel cruiser. The steerer of said cruiser had little directional control and Jannock took a hefty clout to the bows. Arrived at Napton Adkins lock and disturbed Mike's fitting of Draco's lounge cupboard when I handed in my (now fated) rally application form. Passed through Napton bottom lock at 17:30 and moored after Napton bridge, opposite the old brickyard. This was a nice peaceful overnight mooring position even though it left a lot to desired in the 'bootiful view' department.
(Simon) Hello! I'm back (from Uni) to crew again ..... Awash in sunshine, we traversed all around that mast and windmill before stopping for dinner.

31st March 2002 Napton to Bull Bridge (34)
H.C. 6976 - 6983 Distance 10 miles Locks 23

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Matt & Simon

swapping locks in the staircase

The day dawned grey and damp in honour of the Queen Mum who died yesterday afternoon. Awoke at 07:30 to the sound of rain on the roof. By the time we had breakfasted and were ready to go, it had stopped and the sun had appeared. Turned left at Napton Jnctn. and travelled for my first time ever on the Grand Union north. Passed through most of the locks solo. Obtained milk from Calcutt and a nice Sunday Roast at the Two Boats, Long Itchington. We ate and drank all we could manage and the I was given some 'Burton' scratchcards with which we won 2 more free pints. Left the 4 boats the worse for wear and continued north (ish).

We ate the Easter cakes, that Pat had brought on Friday night, for pud, We decided to call it a day at about 5 PM and moored at Bulls bridge, just South(East?) of Leamington. Simon's friend Jo (tiller girl - post A level cruise) and her family went past in a Viking Afloat hireboat in the evening. They were pressing on in order to have an early start on Hatton. Another quiet night ensued after the traditional Sunday night game of Soddit. (Not quite the same with my 2 boys)

1st April 2002 Bull Bridge to Kingswood Junction
H.C. 6983 - 6991 Distance 13 miles Locks 23 1 wet tunnel.

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Matt & Simon

Happy Birthday Brenda. (No mention of 'all fools' in our household) Raining when we awoke , but clear and dry when we emerged apre' breakfast. Started at 09:00 and then found shops by bridge 36 for bread for breakfast. Trolled through Leamington and Warwick ready for an assault on Hatton. At the bottom lock we teamed up with an 'un-named' hire boat from a covert Coventry fleet whose female section of the crew were obviously there for the ride. By a quarter of the way up they had witnessed Brenda steer and make hot drinks for the lockcrew at the same time, but still protested when their workers asked them to create hot refreshment. By halfway up, they had witnessed two crew rotations on Jannock (the only way of coping with the copious clouds of black smoke from the knackered injectors in their Lister SR3) and were grudgingly assisting with pushing gates. By the top of Hatton the 'Jannocks' and the male section of their crew had moulded into a mean team and we were catching up those in front. Having cleared Hatton, we stopped at bridge 56, Hatton station, and had lunch while it rained. The rain stopped and I then moved the car to Kingswood whilst the remainder of the crew moved Jannock through the tunnel.

Looking from lock 19 at Kingswood junction

Although I walked all round the junction, I was unable to locate convenient 14 day moorings so we moored on the 48 hour link moorings and waited to ask in the BW office the following morning.
(Matt) Moved on to a nice area to stop for the night, it's close to a railway line but it will do nicely. After an evenings windlass fishing Simon produced 4 windlasses to our amazement.

This way to Stratford-upon-Avon
Matt's cartoon of Simon magnet fishing
2nd April 2002 Lapworth link @ Kingswood Junction
H.C. 6991 Distance 0 miles Locks 0

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Matt & Simon

A very pretty overnight stay, not too troubled by trains. The birdsong this morning was splendid. Our plans to move on, via more locks (Oh our aching muscles) were thwarted by the Lapworth locky who, replendent in Black boiler suit (grumble, grumble) said we could stay where we were for 14 days. Brenda found out why the cottages along the Stratford have such strange roof shapes - it's because they re-cycled the wooden bridge and tunnel formers as roof rafters. Clever Eh? We travelled home collecting Simon's metro from Cropredy on route.

The Kingswood junction signpost
13th April 2002 Lapworth Link to Shirley
H.C. 6991 - 6998 Distance 8 miles Locks 19

Crew - Graham, John H, Terry R & Rob R
Lesson of the day - steerers have to concentrate ALL of the time.

Lapworth locks

Crewed by Graham and three work colleagues, Jannock left Lapwork Link at 12:00 on Saturday and headed off towards Kings Norton junction. The novice crew soon knitted into a slick team and the nineteen Lapworth locks were cleared in three hours including taking on water between locks 18 & 19. Each of the novices steered through at least four locks with only a small amount of blacking removed. Once clear of lock two, we settled down for the seven mile, lockfree, session with only the occaisional lift bridge to pass the time.

(Rob) Once the concentration of passing locks was over we had plenty of time for beer drinking to commence. This left hardly any time for anything else.
(Terry) After a Burger King breakfast, arrived at Kingswood. Many locks, greasy arms and then 'pinball wizard' through the last few locks until 'FULL THROTTLE REVERSE' as I had decided to vary from the normal route and headed for a stationary boat! Fortunately missing it by inches. Retired to bar and all was well!
(John) First time on canal. Nineteen locks in quick succession meant that I got the hang of the windlass bit. Steering was a bit vague at times so I used the banks as bumpers - Captain didn't complain too much ... Ended up in Shirley - electronic bridge was good!

Our intended night stop had been the Blue Bell Cider House, but arriving there at 4 o'clock combined with the childrens playpark in the garden convinced us to press on to the Draw Bridge at Shirley. Once the evening meal had been consumed and cleared away, a vist to the aforementioned hostelry was made. The Draw Bridge is a modern(ish) establishment that did food and also contained a lively population of locals. The Marstons Pedigree was well kept and immensely quaffable. John had spent the evening telling us how he was going to get up early, the following morning, and go for a 6 mile run before we started. I secretly set the alarmclock, next to the sofabed, for 06:15 just to make sure that he wasn't telling us porkies! Retired to bed and slept like a log.

Heron takes flight
14th April 2002 Shirley to Alvechurch
H.C. 6998 - 7003 Distance 10 miles Locks 0(1) 1 wet tunnel.

Crew - Graham, John H, Terry R & Rob R
Lesson of the day - having NO brakes requires even greater stopping distances.

Entering Bradwood tunnel

The kettle was on when John returned from his 6 mile run at 07:30. We had all (even Rob) breakfasted and set off by 09:00. The first thing that we encountered on this section of the aestetically deteriorating Stratford canal was miles and miles of that red and white plastic tape that the authorities place around hazards to stop the public hurting themselves. Unfortunately, this lot was around our prop! Application of my shiny new 'engineroom' carving knife soon sorted it out and we managed to fill a Tescos carrier bag with it. I then spent the rest of the day singing " we've got miles and miles of poly round the prop etc. etc. ..............." much to the embarrassment of the crew. The next section involved a chicane through a 3 piece suite and lots of floral tributes floating in the canal.

Passing through the Stop lock Thankfully Kingfisher turns right Inside Wasts hill tunnel

Emerging from Brandwood tunnel, we found an Alvechurch hireboat 'Kingfisher' trying to unstick themselves from the bank. They did and we ended up having to slowly follow them into the stop lock, where they unexpectedly, and without warning, stopped in the middle of the lock in order to admire the historical engineering. I narrowly avoided crashing into their stern and then had to patiently wait until they had finished admiring said engineering. They then proceded to make a complete hash of turning right at Kings Norton junction and I had to take avoiding action again. Luckily, we were going left. There followed a relatively uneventful run down to Alvechurch which included the excitement (for the novices) of meeting a Black Prince hireboat in the middle of Wast Hills tunnel.

Kingfisher stopped in the stop Lock

3rd May 2002 Alvechurch Wharf to Birmingham
H.C. 7003 - 7007 Distance 11.5 miles with no locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda & Matt

Canal house at Kings Norton Junction

After overnighting at Alvechurch we awoke to the sound of having our bottom nibbled by hungry ducks. It was a lovely sunny day but with a chill wind. We had a relatively uneventful journey up through Wasts Hill tunnel and arrived at Gas St at about 14:00, so we decided to hit the town. We explored the markets looking for some fabric to make me an outfit for my brother Gary's wedding in September. We bought :- a loud shirt for Matt, work trousers for Graham, 15 packets of biscuits and some cheap and wonderful asparagus and strawberries. The fruit and veg, fish and meat is so cheap and varied in the markets. Graham & I took a constitutional around the city after dinner, restaurants of the world unite!

4th May 2002 Birmingham centre
H.C. 7007 - 7007 Distance 0 miles Locks 0

Crew - Graham, Brenda & Matt.

wall painting on Farmers Bridge wall

Lots of shopping today, Matt went to the "Games Workshop Daycare Centre" whilst we did some serious retail therapy before returning to Jannock. We met Kevin Maslin (across the mainline) plus one other visitor who's name I cannot recall. (Sorry!) After our evening meal we walked to the bottom of Farmers Bridge flight and witnessed a real live 'wild goose chase'. The Tap & Spile @ Gas St. wouldn't let Matt in and so we returned to Jannock and had tea instead. (You've got to admit, we certainly know how to live! :-)

Centenary Square, Birmingham City Hall, Birmingham Fountain in Centenary Square, NIA Birmingham

5th May 2002 Birmingham centre to Autherly Junction
H.C. 7007 - 7015 Distance 25 miles 16 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda & Matt.

Well, the NIA 'was' a quiet mooring but Saturday night life prevailed; "whee whas" and a police jelly hopper conspired to ensure that Brenda got less sleep than she normally requires. The 'canal sweeper' boat cometh at dawn ....... and creates more noise than the Alvechurch ducks did!

Jannock moored outside the NIA Birmingham

Photo courtesy of Kevin Maslin

Graham left Jannock at 07:00 and cycled to Alvechurch .....( including the trip over Wasts Hill, through 'little Basingstoke' and out into remote country lanes on the other side. This was the part that really hurt, Viva Le Towpath! )..... in order to do a complete trip car shuffle. He then drove to Brewood, parked the car, and cycled back towards Birmingham.
Matt and I left Birmingham at 10:25 and met him by Caggy's yard at midday. We stopped and filled with diesel @29ppl. Quick sums .. 122 hours using 140 litres of diesel = 1.1 litre/hour.

cast iron beauty

Come 'tea time' we played super-boaters' and rescued three 10 yr old scraps who had been conned and left in a reed bed with a high security fence on one side of them and the canal on the other. For once, it was a good idea to get nose - to - tail across the cut. We took them on at the bows and deposited 3 grateful and relieved little boys on the towpath. Lets hope that they grow up a little more considerate of boaters than the average Wolverhampton yoof. At Wolverhampton bottom lock, we met a working boat en route from Ellesmere port to Stoke Bruerne having had a new Elm bottom fitted. We moored just North of Autherly junction and were interviewed by a very nice Policeman who had even less hair than Graham, well, none actually (by choice). He warned us that we may experience problems mooring where we were, but we decided that it was too late to move.

6th May 2002 Autherly Junction to Brewood cutting
H.C. 7015 - 7017 Distance 11.5 miles with no locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda & Matt

Albion passes by at Autherly Junction

A late start by any standards after a very quiet night despite the policeman's warnings. Perhaps the promised Yoofs dont come out when it's chilly. nb Albion (not Roger's) passed us. Beautiful, wonderful flower boxes and roses and castles. The steerer admired our Terry's work, so that's a huge complement to Mr Smith. Finished up a Brewood and converted Jannock to Cap'n Beeky's pied a l'eau for a week or two.

31st May 2002 Brewood cutting to High Onn (bridge 25)
H.C. 7017 - 7020 Distance 0 miles 1 Lock

Crew - Graham, Brenda Simon & Matt.

Brewood across the meadow

What a beautiful afternoon. A fitting start to the Golden Jubilee weekend. Simon has arrived from Salford and Matt is having a break from GCSEs.

a courtyard in Audlum

It all got very scary when we got to the only lock of the day and found 16 "girls" out for a hen weekend. All well oiled and only one of them listening to the excellent instruction that they were being given by the hire company representative. "I don't know how anyone expects women to do this" was comment of the day from a girlie sitting in the front well of their boat, drinking archers, and watching her friend tackle the vagories of a windlass.
Lapley sanitary station is self-pumpout friendly but we're facing the wrong direction.

1st June 2002 High Onn to Audlum
H.C. 7020 - 7030 Distance 22 miles 21 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Simon & Matt.

Thame Carnival Day .... our float this year .... "The Narrowboat" (Sorry)
Weather is here, wish you were wonderful, it is sunny and warm and the day very enjoyable. This is the life! The cutting immediately prior to Cowley Tunnel was very impressive. The whole day was spent in wonderful scenery surrounded by birdsong.

anyone for well kept towpaths?

Norbury Sanitary Stn. is not self pumpout friendly and Anglo Welsh are doing turnrounds. We're now getting in dire need of a pumpout and we finally found the BW card machine at Market Drayton. The 5 card emptied the tank OK. There were lots of boats preparing for Market Drayton carnival (& boat parade) tomorrow and so Brenda rigged our bunting for the weekend, tied along the handrails so that we dont get any surprise bridge or branch reactions.

the church in Audlum dressed for the carnival

Good teamwork sped us through the locks catching up the boat in front. Stopped at Audlum for the night and went for a walk, then had a couple of pints at the Shroppie Flyboat but left when the evening's (very loud) live entertainment started.

2nd June 2002 Audlum to Burland (Llangollen Canal)
H.C. 7030 - 7035 Distance 9.5 miles 8 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Simon & Matt.

The day started with better weather than forecast and we left Audlum accompanied by the sound of church bells. Not a minute too soon as the Mill had some wonderful canal paintings for sale. Never mind 3 figures, the Crossley palette knife canvasses are so lively. Onto Nantwich and were lucky to find a convenient mooring for lunch and Simon & Graham did a car shuffle. Brenda walked into town, it was closed except for football fan packed pubs, but she got no clues as to who had won England vs. Sweden.

what else do you need in order to relax?

We set off on the second leg and the heavens opened for 10 minutes, a veritable downpour but still our only rain of the day. We arrived at Burland having passed through the 6 locks at the start of the Llangollen canal and bade farewell to Simon who was going parachuting on the Bank Holiday Monday.
We got chatting to a fisherman and his attendant wife (I've noticed that happens a lot up here!) who was very cold so we made them both a cup of tea. I hope that act of kindness doesn't mean we'll get thrown out of CutWeb! We had a very quiet night at Burland and in the morning discovered the good shop just over the bridge.

nb Plover

3rd June 2002 Burland to Grindley Brook
H.C. 7035 - 7041 Distance 10.5 miles 9 locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda & Matt

Grindley Brook locks

Queen Elizabeths Golden Jubilee. The day started with a celebration of the Queen's rain (sic). We hoped to celebrate her sun later........ and Graham spent a couple hours fiddling with 'jubilee clips' whilst mending the 'throne'

We did the 5 locks to Wrenbury with the rain being on and off (mostly on) Spent most of the journey following another ex Black Prince Duchess class boat named "Dog Gone Two" It would appear that the owners ,the Groves' had originally bought an ex BP semitrad (like Anita) but had traded up to a Duchess. Theirs was a 1997 Sirius Yachts hull and they'd managed to get her re-painted before taking delivery. We stopped at Wrenbury because the loo had blocked and I had to dismantle it. I didn't want to go past Wrenbury just in case we needed spare parts, which could be obtained from the Alvechurch yard there. I managed remove the loo pan and dismantle it in the bath to remove the lump of tissue paper and all the loose limescale from inside the macerator and sort it. I am proud to say that macerator toilets are no longer a mystery to me. We then continued on to Grindley Brook for an overnight stay below the locks, away from the road.

4th June 2002 Grindley Brook to Ellesmere
H.C. 7041 - 7047 Distance 13.5 miles 6 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda & Matt.

The weather was much better than we were forecast today, with a beautiful evening. The highlight of the day was watching a Spitfire playing in the clear sky above us as we passed the mere before Ellesmere tunnel. Discovery of the day was roasted salted Broad beans sold in the internet cafe/shop '@ 29' which is located alongside Grindley Brook staircase locks. We filled with water at the new waterpoints there and then lent our long hose to the crew on a BP Chirk hireboat. It meant that they didn't have to reverse to the waterpoint. As we approached Ellesmere we met Frodsham, a beautiful looking steam tug. The rhododendrons around the meres at Ellesmere were wonderful.

Steam boat Frodsham passes us at Ellesmere

28th June 2002 Ellesmere
H.C. 7047 Distance 0 miles 0 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Simon & Matt.

Yay! I've finished all my uni exams and I'm taking a break from working at the 'trose' to help shift the boat on towards Trevor (cue Matt's silly welsh accent - Oooooooh Trevor!!!!) Driving to the boat, after we passed Shrewsbury we passed a hotel named "the Albright Hussey Hotel" - mum wonders whether it's a high class brothel with high intelligence facilitators? We arrived at the boat after 11:00 PM to find a "Mooring Period Expired - Please continue your journey" BW sticker on the rear window - Ooops! Over three weeks since we moored Jannock on this 14 day mooring. Hot chocolate and bed, early start tomorrow.    

29th June 2002 Ellesmere to Froncysyllte
H.C. 7047 - 7056 Distance 15 miles 2 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Simon, Matt plus Barry & Mel (guest crew).

Brenda and Simon went and watched Tony Llewery painting on the Ellesmere arm while I fetched the day's guest crew.

(Barry) What an experience! Brotherly love personified ...... What could be better than leaving England and travelling at speed (?) into Gods country. The weather improved dramatically the moment we crossed the border .... the blue skies and intense sun made the day perfect.     Seriously, we enjoyed a great day with great company and saw countryside from a completely new perspective. Many thanks for your kind hospitality from both of us.

Tony Llewery's work in progress
the beautiful rhododendrons at Ellesmere?

(Mel) Ignore the above - England was great (P.S. Still is) So was the company - many thanks Mel & Barry

Who cares about individual nationalities? I'm a citizen of the United Kingdom! So, what's all this English/Welsh thing about anyway?

Barry, Simon & Mel on Chirk aquaduct crossing Ponty-whatsit aquaduct looking down on the river Dee

We cruised with a dual nationality crew (and didn't we know it) - Barry and Mel - and stopped for a great lunch at the Poachers Pocket, a pub on Chirk bank (bridge 19) and an argument ensued as to whether it was an English or Welsh pub! Crossing the border (but we're not sure where!) we navigated Chirk aqueduct and tunnels and then the BIG bridge (the Ponty-whatsit one) Not content with doing it once, we turned around at the Trevor windy point and crossed it again! We finally moored on the offside of the aquaduct approach near Joe Jones. Once Mel and Barry left, crew rest period began with Simon spending a good 12 hours asleep. The rest of the crew enjoyed a beer and chat with Joe and Jackie Jones at their evening BBQ.

30th June 2002 Froncysyllte
H.C. 7056 - 7057 Distance 0.5 miles 0 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Simon & Matt.

Graham & Simon doing painting things on the bow.

Today was a painting day. Final touches were applied to the lozenges and name on the starboard bows and then we cruised to the winding point to get the port side bows close to the bank. Now the other side could get a lick of paint; lozenges, propeller and name. All 3 fellas were working on it!

Last evening, those of us who could stay awake spent a couple of towpath hours in good company. As a result Joe brought me a horseshoe to decorate for (my brother) Gary and Emma's wedding. It's been a decorating weekend all round - Simon and I met Tony Lewery at Ellesmere yesterday. He was happy to work while we watched and was very encouraging. Joe admired my practice pieces - mini castles - and was impressed with Terry's cabin stool, and he's a man that knows! We left mid afternoon and travelled home ready to pack for Cyprus .... and more sunshine..

13th July 2002 Froncysyllte to Llangollen and Chirk bank
H.C. 7056 - 7062 Distance 8 miles 0 Locks 3 Aquaducts

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Simon & Matt.

Everyone started fairly early today, myself excluded. We sailed galantly to the end of the canal at Llangollen, winded, watered and sailed back again. On the return trip, Dad leaped off at bridge 31, Trevor, with his camera and bike and took photo's of Jannock croosing the aqueduct from the entrance to the rugby field. He was knackered by the time he'd cycled back up to the top at the Froncysyllte end.

Jannock crosses Ponty-whatsit aquaduct
Jannock crosses Chirk aquaduct

Points to remember :

           . Tunnel so full of diesel smoke that the other end could not be viewed.
           . Mother buying an "indian" welsh love spoon in Llangollen.
           . Mum's curry (bloody hell) (it was very nice really) (hang onto your duvets)
           . You travel back down the canal a lot faster than you came up it.

Finally ended up moored at Chirk bank.

27th July 2002 Chirk bank to Ellesmere
H.C. 7062 - 7067 Distance 11 miles 2 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Simon & Matt.

Quick shifting of the boat to avoid annoying the BW mooring warden (again). Cruised back to Ellesmere to moor for another week. We'll see whether we get another "Move on Please" sticker this time

Grindley Brook staircase locks

5th August 2002 Ellesmere to Grindley Brook
H.C. 7067 - 7072 Distance 14 miles 0 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Simon, Pete and Pat.

No "Move on Please" sticker this time! Pete has taken up where he left of 25 plus years ago and come cruising with us on a narrowboat. The last time was on the Grand Union when we hired from HiLine at Iver. Neil Arlidge passed Jannock whilst we were doing the car shuffle and made tentative arrangements to meet at Grindley that night.

Pat sleeps whilst sat on the stern guard rail!!!!
Valda May & her big knickers

(Pete) Started our day at 13:10. It's Pat's first experience on a narrowboat. She started as she intends to continue by installing herself on the bow seat with a bottle of Fitou. After 3/4 of the bottle, decided that she'd had enough when she discovered that the dog on a neighbouring boat that she was admiring was 'stuffed'. She then proceded to sit on the taff rail at the back of the boat and fall asleep ( see photo above). No locks today, travelled 14 miles with 5 lift bridges and 1 tunnel, stopped for the night at Grindley Brook (but no sign of Neil). Pat noticed the tiniest narrowboat with the largest pair of knickers hanging out to dry in the bow. She wondered why they were pegged out across the door and I (Pete) pointed out that should they have been pegged out any other way, they would probably act as a spinaker.

6th August 2002 Grindley Brook to bridge 104 nr. Bunbury
H.C. 7072 - 7082 Distance 16 miles 21 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Simon, Pete and Pat.

A full but very pleasant day. Hazy sunshine. Started the morning by visiting the Internet Cafe at Grindley Brook to purchase roasted salted broadbeans and postcards. Alchohol consumption was controlled and so everyone stayed awake until bedtime.

Pat shows how locking 'should' be done!
The rush hour.

It should be noted that we had to enlist the help of some burly Vikings ("Do you think we were being followed?") to help us break the vacuum of water holding Jannock against the overflow wier at the lock near Marbury. To complete an international day, once we had turned onto the Shropshire Union canal again, we moored for the night with an ex-Canadian Embassy bloke with a dodgy engine. He was on a long term cruise (6 months) in a boat that he and a friend had hired for a whole year.

7th August 2002 Bridge 104 (nr Bunbury) to Chester
H.C. 7082 - 7090 Distance 13.5 miles 14 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Simon, Pete & Pat.

We seemed to avoid the rain SOMEHOW today!
Once we had passed through Bunbury staircase, we found our Canadian friend moored at the Anglo Welsh base. They were waiting for approval from the Oxford hire base for the engineers to replace the broken engine mounting on his boat. Later we passed a dredging crew whose equipment and clothing was absolutely covered in mud, but they were exceedingly cheerful considering the state they were in.
When Pete and Graham went to 'car shuffle' they assured us they drove through nil visibility and floods; but do we believe them? All we saw today was a half hour shower.

looks like we'll have to move the dredger again!!
Bridge St. Chester

We were recommended 'The Albion' in Chester & persued the thought. The pub looked good, bedecked with William Morris wallpaper and plenty of Jubilee paraphernalia et al, BUT, they said meals stopped at 8ish; we arrived at 8.03 pm to be told quite pointedly that the kitchen had closed and the cook had gone.(a dubious excuse since there were people who were only eating their starters!) They seemed surprised that we didn't want a pint even though they made no effort to find any grub at all. So....summer in a tourist town.... do they want customers? We tried Telford's Warehouse instead, had a superb meal; loads of youngsters and Salsa lessons and dancing downstairs. Good fun, to be recommended.

8th August 2002 Chester to Ellesmere Port
H.C. 7090 - 7093 Distance 8.5 miles 2 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Simon, Pete & Pat.

After a morning in Chester we set off towards Ellesmere Port. Had to avoid lots of floating yetis. We arrived at the museum and proceeded to flood the lower lock by emptying the top lock into it. We were quite concerned, but the friendly museum staff assured us that this was normal and the punters would have to paddle about in it. We paid up to become museum exhibits overnight and then realised that we were locked in with Sid the Swan, of M54 fame. Apparently the motorway was jammed for MILES because mad old Sid mistook it for a canal and landed on the fast lane a while back. Now he's just prowling around the Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port, fighting with another pair and their 9 cygnets.

Pete's in control, down through Northgate staircase.

(Brenda) I have been inventing things!
To solve the narrow single bunk and duvet problem; viz, you can't tuck it in and the weight of the overhang pulls it off.... take 1 double duvet cover and sew a line of stitching down the length where a single duvet will fit. The duvet fits in the single cover sized bit, the remaider tucks in like a sheet to anchor it onto the bed. OR sew a half width of sheet along the very edge of a single cover. Fill cover as usual, tuck sheet bit in. ( I have converted our bunk duvet covers by the latter method. Even Matt can keep his duvet on at night, and his bed remains almost tidy by day. 10/10)

Even better, for twits like me who are stupid enough to wear flip-flops on board... To avoid losing a clog or flip-flop overboard you should attach a string to each shoe, like the idiot mittens we used to wear. Pass the strings up yer trouser legs, et voila. ( Haven't actually tried this one.) Move over Trevor Bayliss.

9th August 2002 Ellesmere Port to Chester
H.C. 7093 - 7097 Distance 8.5 miles 2 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Simon, Pete & Pat.

Today I have mostly been feeling really rotten, but not as awful as the rain!

Yesterday's cruising rerun! Back to Chester from Ellesmere port after all night in the rain, the morning in the rain, the afternoon in the rain and finally it stopped at about 5.30 pm. We stopped at a boatyard near Stoak and put 90+ litres of diesel in the tank. We also lit the heating (in August??) to dry the clothes. Back outside Telford's Warehouse, where it was jazz night tonight, free entertainment!
Pete and Pat had taken the train from Ellesmere Port to Port Sunlight this morning. They reported an enjoyable day, despite the rain. They brought us some Sunlight Soap, a blast from the past, and we were amused to find it is now made in the Czech Republic. We had intended to take said train, but going into Liverpool taking in the Mersey Ferry. I really wasn't upto it, so another time...

A painted tabletop on display at the museum
Friendship at Ellesmere Port museum

As we left the mooring at the Ellesmere Port museum, a wedding celebration was in full swing in the hotel backing onto the basin. First the children came to watch us at the window, then they took the attention of their 'growed ups', and eventually most of the guests were more interested in Jannock winding round outside than the speeches inside. If it was your wedding breakfast that was held up for 15 minutes while the guests went to the window, I apologise. I was wearing my boatwoman's bonnet, so at least I was dressed up for the occasion.

10th August 2002 Chester to Tattenhall
H.C. 7097 - 7102 Distance 8 miles 8 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Simon, Pete & Pat.

An overcast start turned into a day of misty-type rain. Brenda took the tiller and became soggy person number 1, being out in the weather for most of the day. A car Shuffle took place at Egg Bridge and Pat and Pete drove ahead to investigate our final mooring of the holiday. Arrived at 4.00 pm. Refreshing showers all round revived spirits and then a 'blow out' at the Oak Room, previously the Poacher's Pocket, completed the day.

the Steam Mill, Chester

It was a really good experience for both Pete and Pat and both would like to commend Brenda and Graham for their generosity. Looking forward to the next time. Pete

unloading the dumb barge onto the spoil tip

Food notes:
Pete and Pat visited the Icecream Farm whilst car shuffling. They treated us to a large tub of rhubarb and custard icecream. It was delicious. We recommend a visit there, all the myriad of flavours sound superb.

The vegetarian options on the menu at the Oak Room were very disappointing, so Pete asked if they had anything that wasn't PASTA! The waitress returned with a verbal list of options that exceeded those on the menu in both quantity and imagination. Pete's ultimate choice, an aubergine bake, was declared delicious by all who tried it. We left having suggested to the management that they included all of the options on the menu instead of hiding them.

And (finally Ester), at Ellesmere Port market we bought the biggest baps/barm cakes we'd ever seen, known locally as 'bin lids'. Lovely soft bread and made the biggest salad rolls we've ever eaten. Yum.

17th August 2002 Tattenhall to Bunbury
H.C. 7102 - 7106 Distance 6 miles 6 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda & Matt.

Arrived at the boat after MOTing the Britax (earwig?) ( Graham has swapped the very pink Monkey bike with Mr. T, for a Britax folding moped. The aim is to have transport aboard, making car shuffling easier. It quickly became known as The Fleeing Fly.)

Beeston Castle ahead atop the hill.

An uneventful afternoon cruise, although we did promote a (large) degree of anxiety in a German crew who realised that we were going UP in the staircase they were going DOWN in. Vorsprung dur and all that, WE have the technology (we're just waitng for the Lego parts!). The old keepers cottage at Beeston Stone lock sells yet more yummy ice-cream. Honeycomb is my recommendation there. A wonderful array of pies and preserves were for sale, shame we had the rations under tight control!

18th August 2002 Bunbury to Henhull
H.C. 7106 - 7107 Distance 6 miles 0 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda & Matt.

A heron watching and waiting.

The engine had a pre-breakfast oil change and overhaul. We just pootled along. Brenda took some photo's of the swallows nesting in the roof beams of the new sanitary station at Calvelly. Earwig has had its first outing and proved its worth, retrieving the car from Tattenhall and moving it to Henhull.

31st August 2002 Henhull to Market Drayton
H.C. 7107 - 7116 Distance 6 miles 0 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Simon, Matt & Cara.

Matthew was out of bed by 08.30 hrs!!! Cara arrived at 09.00 hrs, coffees all round and then off. Straight forward until we reached Audlem, just 5 locks in as many miles. We led a procession from Nantwich, which got broken up by Hack Green Locks. Some of the 'fertiliser' smells coming from the fields were particularly 'orrible. Simon and Brenda picked damsons at the locks near Bagley Bridge. ( And they made very good damson brandy I am happy to report.) Stopped at Audlem and went to the picture shop. Brenda wouldn't let me buy another Alan Firth print. Made Market drayton by 18.00 and moored near Betton bridge. Earwig transport back to Nantwich to collect the car.

Another peaceful evening. A busy day at Tyrley locks While you are tall! (Sloe picking)

1st September 2002 Market Drayton to Cheswardine
H.C. 7116 - 7119 Distance 3.75 miles 5 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Simon & Matt.

Met up with nb Florence Rose ( see Kennet & Avon 2001 ) at the water point. Caught up on 1 year's gossip, they'd sold their house, Simon had got his A levels etc. Met some people at Tyreley locks, who required a demonstration of Dad's new workhorse motorbike ( the Flying Flea or Fleeing Fly) as they wanted to buy one. 5 locks without hassle, as we'd lost the drunken hen party who were behind us, and then a thin cutting where boats had trouble passing. When the polishing and painting was completed, the boat was emptied of breakables/edibles ready for the NEXT CREW! (yay, them) Simon's double entry book-keeping course (the BW expenses logbook!!) completed- earning him a headache.

Sitting Ducks!

7th September 2002 Cheswardine to Brewood
H.C. 7119 - 7127 Distance 18 miles 1 Lock

Post A level Crew re-united
- Simon, Kevin, Stuart, Jo, Cara and Gemma.

Kev, Gemma & Jo

(Jo) It smells of poo here, we can only find one of the 3 way speaker system, hold on, Gemma's just found it, and it's raining. YAY- WE'RE BACK!!! Fat badgers.

(Stuart) After a grand total of about 6 hours on board, I can already feel the gentle ebbing away of our precious sanity. I managed to read 'Jubilee Hall' as 'Jumble Hotel'. Never mind, eh?

(Gemma) 14 months of trying to fit back into society went down the pan in minutes. Yummy dinner.

(Cara) A lazy day. I finished my book. Stu's lost it and Keens' humour has infected us all. Help me.

(Simon) Oh dear, we're back, and cabin fever has reinfected. Lazy day, only 1 lock, but some hard work tomorrow.

Cat grooves on down! (That's our trusty ship's cat, 50p from Oxfam, lives aboard permanently on guard, I presume.) Where's my cardboard fish? ( identified as Cat's thought for the day)

8th September 2002 Brewood to Netherton Tunnel
H.C. 7127 - 7136 Distance 16 miles 25 Locks

Post A level Crew re-united
- Simon, Kevin, Stuart, Jo, Cara and Gemma.

(Jo) Locks, tunnels ,weed and flags, hmmm....I suspect alien forces are at work. I drove through a tunnel and only hit the side once! And now I've eaten too much, definately superior forces at work here.

(Simon) Another dull hour on the Shroppie, with a highly boring lock going up 1-2", before attacking Wolverhampton 21. Got stuck behind 3 slow boats and took an hour longer than we should to get onto the BCN New Main Line. Jo and Cara conquered Netherton tunnel before we stopped at Windmill End for a bar-be-que. Also demolished 2 bottles of wine. (how unusual ;-)

Stuart steers through Autherly stop lock.
Cara steers up the Wolverhampton 21

(Stuart) Well, I thought I drove quite well today, although someone on board just mocked me all day. All day I have done stuff and now I can't think what to write about what I've done all day. Never mind, on the upside I played the didgeridoo, although I just realised I haven't practised my trumpet. Bugger!

(Kev) Well hello, long time no see, let's think??? I have cooked today and that seems to be about it. Now, it's either me going insane or it looks like this boat is leaning more and more, but that could have been the more we drank throughout the day. (Watch this space for developments, Ed.)

(Cara) I finished my book & saw some coconuts floating down the canal & drank lots of alcohol today. Gemma and Jo made ice. (The coconuts are religious offerings cast into the water by Birminghan congregations, there is a move afoot to have part of the BCN designated as a holy watercourse (Ganges tributary?), as many find it too expensive to return to India to perform necessary rituals in the Ganges. Honest. Ed.)

9th September 2002 Netherton Tunnel to Oozel St. Loop
H.C. 7136 - 7140 Distance 9 miles 0 Locks

Post A level Crew re-united (plus 2)
- Simon, Kevin, Stuart, Jo, Cara, Gemma, Anna & Liz.

(Simon) After disentangling 'miles and miles of poly from round the prop', cruised onto the BCN New mainline and into the centre. Not a lot happened, except Stuart's flocks of females, until Anna & Liz arrived.

(Liz) I'm very excited to be on my very first canal boat- Jannock is a beauty! Unfortunately the toilet has overflowed. Tonight we may be christening the bucket. I'm concerned for the health and safety of the crew. I had STRONG garlic bread for dinner, and have lost my toothbrush.

(Gemma) My feet are wet and cold due to the hole I discovered in my shoe after stepping into a rather lage puddle. Unfortunately that's the most interesting thing that's happened to me today. Oh, except my friend saw a play in Nottingham with Hannah from Neighbours in it. (Hhhmmm,?, Ed)

Cara and Liz on the roof

(Jo) I am slightly worried about the lean I have developed, even when walking on dry land. I have a feeling that my legs will never let me walk upright again...oh well. I need a less boney bum, this step is getting very hard. Everywhere smells of poo, it's even in the boat now. We may not survive. Tell my parents to look after my fish, and I love them all.

(Cara) It has been wet and cold today but we cheered ourselves up with more alcohol. Anna & Liz are entering into the cabin fever spirit & we're about to open another bottle of wine. Oh, and we have to p**s outside now, which makes the trip feel more adventurous I guess.

(Anna) What a delightful canal-going vessel! Jannock is a jewel in the crown of Britain's inland waterways, it's just a shame the sewage tank isn't a little more accommodating. Am still very damp as the result of traipsing across Birmingham in the rain this afternoon, but other than this minor misfortune I am having a fine time of things...anyway an in-depth discussion on the subject of ladybirds and athletes' foot is taking my attention elsewhere, goodbye....

(Kev) Well today and yesterday I did the same thing, put my whole arm in a hole which is very cold and wet, and found some man-made material and pulled it off a metal thing. Sorry, no technical word, it's only my second time and I am tired and trying to learn how to play zip, zap, boing.

10 September 2002 Oozel St. to Lapworth Link
H.C. 7140 - 7149 Distance 18 miles 19 Locks

Post A level Crew re-united (plus 2)
- Simon, Kevin, Stuart, Jo, Cara, Gemma, Anna & Liz.

Heaven! (near Birmingham)

(Liz) had the best day today. The boat's a bit whiffy after the pumpout this morning, and Gemma and Cara had poo juice sprayed across their bed (!!), but other than that the journey has been sweet. And chocolatey! (I bought far too much @ Cadbury's World) Oh, and Kev turned into 'monkey tree boy' and I bruised my leg trying to rescue him from falling in the water. I have to leave now. I'm a bit sad. I've had loads of fun, byebye. Liz X

(Anna) Weather has cleared up, hurrah! Have had a go at driving/steering/tillering (not sure of the technical term here) narrowly escaping some nasty scrapes in the process. Also visited Cadbury's World's wonderful shop to purchase some choccy treats, and watched Kev get stranded round a tree, so all in all it's been quite eventful. Am sad to be leaving the world of the canal behind, but looking forward to returning to society and rooms more than 6 ft. wide. Goodbye, goodluck and cheerio to you all. Anna XX

(Gemma) Mmmm....Bailey's. Seeing as everyone else has (or will) mention Kevs incident, thought that I should put in my 2p's worth of ridicule...haha.
I have the photographic evidence for anyone who wants it. Liz and Anna were a joy to entertain, and I'm sure they think we're all crazy people. P.S. mmmmm chocolate!!

(Jo) Kev's monkey impression was superb, if a little worrying. It did dislodge the boat, that I had wedged across the canal, so thanks be to Kevin. Also, IT ISN'T SIMON'S FAULT. However Kev decided to take revenge on all trees by driving into one- but that actually wasn't his fault. I took the crew's lives into my hands by cooking - no deaths yet. It is still early days...

(Cara) The others have commented on the brevity of my entries so I'm going for a record todaay. Today was especially lazy and chocolatey and I've totally run out of reading material now. Anna & Liz were great . I'm a bit scared of the swans around here. Poo has become the main topic of conversation and also a fragrant feature of our bedroom. Nice!!

( Ed's comment: Jannock was checked out for poo leaks, there was no evidence of any, so we choose to believe it came in through the open window. from the hoses or similar. Never-the-less it was decided that a look must be had...see 3 Dec 02!)

(Kev) About 19 locks today. That's about it, and Gemma, yes I do want to see the photos as all I could see was a few branches.Well what can I say? It's been emotional. The day started with mixed emotions of bidding farewell to little parts of all of us. Then some smooth cruising led up to my personal highlight of the day - Mr. Kevin made a complete gibbon of himself by some tree hugging antics. Actually it could well have been a cunningly planned bid for freedom which was foiled. The day concluded with a fond farewell to Anna & Liz, leaving us all to the slow realisation that it's just US. Oh, and then we got attacked by wildfowl.

(Simon) After getting a pumpout we continued down the BCN (waving to a Claire who wasn't there) to the Stratford Canal. Kev did monkey impressions, and we went through a guillotine lock before Kev got forced into a tree, taking the paint of the cratch and roof. Anna & Liz took driving lessons before we attacked Lapworth locks. Caught a windlass in my lucky lock, had a few drinks and went to bed. Thanks toAnna & Liz for the pancakes mmmm.

approaching Kings Norton junction

11th September 2002 Lapworth link to Warwick/Leamington Spa
H.C. 7149 - 7156 Distance 9 miles 23 Locks 0

Post A level Crew re-united
- Simon, Kevin, Stuart, Jo, Cara & Gemma

sharing locks with 'Jacana Mist'

(Simon) From Lapworth onto Hatton where we met with a bloke and his wife in nb Jakana Mist, very nice pair. Went into the Saltisford Arm to moor for Warwick exploration, but were told VERY RUDELY to leave as we 'weren't able to moor'. Not a lot in Warwick except a castle and an antique shop or two.

(Gemma) Who ever came up with the idea of a 24 hr Tesco is a genius! Funky bottle of Fat Sam's. Strange writing though, much like mine.

(Jo) There has been far too much deep theological/religious debate tonight, my brain has died, permanently. Stu's quote of the day; 'Simon, I'm analyzing.' I must say I revelled in Stu's love, it made me feel a lot better. And the lights flicker everytime someone uses the toilet. Hhhmmm....Stu & Cara are off for MORE wine. We may never see them again.

(Simon) Oops! Cara & Stuart forgot about Her Majesty's Licensing Laws forbidding the sale of alcohol after 11pm. Hee hee!

12th September 2002 Leamington to Long Itchington
H.C. 7156 - 7160 Distance 7.5 miles 9 Locks 0

Post A level Crew re-united
- Simon, Kevin, Stuart, Jo, Cara & Gemma

(Simon) Lazy day today. Latestart and then 9 locks before filling up with water and moving on. Stopped at Long Ichington with the intention of lazing and going to 'The Two Boats'.

(Cara) Not a bad day really. Not bad at all. I went on a lovely walk through beautiful fields, enjoying the luxury of LOTS of space. This evening comprised of darts and - surprise, surprise - copious amounts of alcohol. We are about to embark on cheese and biscuits. In the words of Stu, " I wouldn't say no."

OK, who put the mooring stake through Simon's neck?

(Kev) Morning, I had a nice omelette for lunch, included tomato; bit cold but my fault as playing with a staircase lock. Got up early today and made everyone a cup of tea and washed up all day. Biks and cheese coming my way, so goodbye.

(Stuart) Well after a brief absense from the lovely logbook I'd like to say that today's been alright.I've managed to fit in 1 1/2 hours of trumpet related antics and we are on our second bottle of wine, after returning from the public house. Everyone likes cheese and biscuits, which is what we are having now.

(Gemma) Ditto, nuff said.

(Jo) I have spent a pleasant day feeling fairly ropey, culminating in a dizzy game of darts where the board was moving around a lot, muchus funnus. Slept a lot today - pancakes tomorrow. Ummmm... Stu has a really wierd veins. I'm quite tired now. Sorry about the cruddy entry, I'll try harder tomorrow. Night.

13th September 2002 Long Itchington to Napton
H.C. 7160 - 7166 Distance 7 miles 17 Locks 0

Post A level Crew re-united
- Simon, Kevin, Stuart, Jo, Cara & Gemma

(Kevin) Well I said it wouldn't rain this week when everyone thought otherwise, and I was right! It was only when Liz and Anna came up from Thame that the rain came briefly. The only thing to report today was Stuart's pinball method of getting into locks.

(Jo) Big massive respect to Kev for cleaning the whole boat, inside and out, single handedly. Thanks!

(Cara) Yeah, nice one Kev, a big hand from me too! We're all packed and ready to gonow, the week's ben really good. I won't miss the rocking feeling when it eventually subsides though! Bye-bye Jannock, we love you.

Big massive respect to Kev for cleaning the whole boat, inside and out

(Stuart) Must also add my applause to Kev's deluge of respect. Would also like to correct him on several counts. It rained big style for the first 2-3 days, I only pranged the boat because of another random boat being in the way, so it's kinda Kev's fault. Thanks for a wicked week.

(Gemma) I think Jo needs a warm round of applause too, as she did the skirting boards and bathroom. Yay, Jo! It's been another luvvly jubbly week, but must go now as I have 17 pages to go before I finish my book, and I have a reputation to uphold! XXX

(Simon) Short day to complete our journey. Stu's lock driving suddenly deteriorated,but the fire extinguisher refused to drop off the wall, so Cara won the driving competition with 20 points. great week guys, shame about the pancakes, huh?

21st & 22nd September 2002 Napton Cutweb Gathering
H.C. 7169

Saturday Beeky Crew - Andrew, Sheila and Jim
Sunday Keens Crew - Graham, Brenda, Simon and Matthew.

Terry's amazing bunting supports he made for Napton

Gary (Brenda's brother) decided to tie the matrimonial knot today, Emma became Auntie Emma officially! So, Cap'n Beeky, Lady Beeky and cabin boy Jim represented the 'Jannocks' at the CutWeb Rally. They escaped without filling in the ships log, so an entry by e-mail was demanded, and eventually recieved.

Draco fully loaded with revellers

Napton Rally 'Tis a fact, as Graham relates . . . .
> P.S. The Capn Beeky crew still owe us an entry for the Saturday of the Cutweb gathering!!!!!

But the reason, dear Jannocks, is that on that day in September we spent only about an hour on Jannock, awake that is.
An early start, 08:00 without any breakfast as there was a multi stage plan to get through, away from Napton.

1) Breakfast at the BP truckstop on the A5 south of Lutterworth. Unfortunately aborted, due to being beaten by a short head by a minibus party of fishermen from Yorkshire who monopolised the understaffed kitchen. We got our money back after about 30 minutes.
2) Breakfast eventually taken at a caravan stop further up the A5 near Hinckley.
3) Glascote - first ever viewing of Uncle Mort by Mrs B and Jim. Special appointment with SMH himself. All very exciting.
4) On to Kings Bromley Marina for a quick recce. All happy with mooring reserved near the island and the wooden "Temple of Gloom" under construction.
5) Arranged rendezvous with Will & Jane Chapman at Alrewas. Bought plenty of meat from the highly recommended butcher which we can highly recommend. Sausages, chops and fillet steak for selves and Terry Streeter to consume back at the Napton BBQ.
6) Visited one of the Alrewas pubs and then off to Wychnor to inspect the moorings and Quidditch. All very impressive.
7) Dash back to Napton for more beer and to belatedly join the BBQ. Terry, starving, had already been taken pity upon and fed morsels by other Cutwebbers.
8) Minor respite and 1/2 hour on Jannock, including testing of the "illuminations" kindly assembled by Graham.
9) Booze and music by Meet on the Ledge. Very enjoyable and entertaining evening.
10) Snoozed.

And that is really all we had time for. Sorry but a boaty type log just wouldn't materialise.
Capt B

Jannock, with rampant bunting, at Napton
the Pre-quiz conkering in full flow

The Beekys handed over to the Jannocks, who survived the wedding and those posh suits. (I think that my husband and sons looked absolutely splendid in morning suits. A very proud wife and mum.)
A very sociable day, with a penguin as star turn at the raffle...again...courtesy Beekies. There was some malicious bidding (especially with regard to folding bicycles!) going on for sure, but all in a good cause. Simon enjoyed iceboat Laplander and is going back to his physics course more knowledgable about steam technology. With Terry S. we managed a reasonable 4th in the evening quiz, but knew so little about sport and leisure that we dropped points there; what do we know about footie, golf or rugby? We instigated conkers though! Big surprise when Graham's ticket won 1st prize in the raffle, so we get to return to Napton for a slap-up at The Crown. (The surprise was truly earth-shattering; an earthquake centered on Dudley measured 4.9 on the Richter scale at 1am.)

Post-script: we returned to The Crown some weeks later, and had the biggest Sunday lunch ever. There was no room on the plates for gravy, 5 portions veg in one course and I left 9 spuds AFTER I'd eaten all I could. A lovely meal!

Is Mandy about to head butt Mike's conker?
28th September 2002 Napton to Claydon
H.C. 7169 - 7174 11 Miles 3 locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Matthew with guests, Clive and Stella.

Clive and Stella take a week-end Jannock Educational Trust course; 'Flowers on the cut, and 101 things to do with a blackberry.'

(Clive) Probably not a stardate, could be the captain's log, who knows.
First trip in a proper narrow-boat, most enjoyable. Was allowed to wiggle the stick thing at the blunt end, which makes it change direction - eventually - also had a go with the windey handle thing on those clever door things across the water- they seem to be there to stop waterfalls happening - who knows? Saw a couple of herons, a bird of prey and lots of friendly people - only 2 cars all day which was splendid.
Alcohol consumed - -there certainly was.
Catering, courtesy of Brenda, was excellent, some help from James Herriott was denied. All in all a splendid day.

( Brenda...He means Aynsley Harriott I hope, and we came across nb Arun and that nice Mr S. just in time to moor up for tea, chats and the first blackberrying lesson.)

passing down Claydon locks
29th September 2002 Claydon to Cropredy (home at last)
H.C. 7174 - 7177 3 Miles 9 locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Matthew with guests, Clive and Stella.

A fairly straightforward run from Claydon to Cropredy. Clive steered Jannock through the first 3 locks. The day started overcast & cold but soon cleared and became warmer. Filled and emptied at the wharf and then moved down to the mooring. Home at 13.30 followed by a car shuffle from Napton. Matt managed to drop his MP3 player in the canal at Cropredy wharf, he's gutted. Clive and Stella were the perfect crew.

JET report: Clive attained 'deputy-under-steerer' status, passing the practical exam easily. He started his flower identification module on Saturday evening, finding some 'rare and beautiful' blooms. Stella completed that module early on Sunday morning by indentifying large clumps of said rare flowers for miles once Jannock rounded the bend where we had moored! 'Rarity is in the eye of the beholder', not. Later identified as mimulus, probably M cupreus- common in some parts of northern England, Lake district and Pennines especially, so Clive was not so wrong, in Oxfordshire! Stella readily understood the need to go blackberrying, in 3 diverse locations.We dined on crumble and both took plenty of berries home as souvenirs of exotic holidays and local foods.

26th October 2002 Cropredy to Coles lift bridge
H.C. 7177 - 7183 12 Miles 6 locks 0 fish

2nd Soddit Cruise 2002
(JET course 452.b ' Gambling is not addictive but canals are, discuss.')
Crew - Graham, Ian, Brian and Pete.

Brian and Ian try fishing once more

(Graham) today Pete fell in the canal at Banbury!
(Ian) more precisely, as Pete called Ian a 'pillock' divine providence intervened and Pete lost his footing and ended up 2 foot under. There is a God after all.
Il ne pleut pas, YET!
(Pete) WARNING!! ... Graham to Ian,'don't take the rise out of Pete otherwise you may be next.' Guess what...within half an hour Ian takes a dip. This time Pete had a camera handy.
(Brian) PALACE 5 Brighton 0
Stockport 2 BRENTFORD 3
(Graham) Once we had moored for the night and consumed the traditional Mackie dinner, we completed "FOUR" games of Soddit (a bit of a record) followed by a very windy night. The latter fact was not attributable to Ian's cooking!

26th October 2002 Coles lift bridge to Kings Sutton lock
H.C. 7183 - 7185 1/2 Mile 1 lock 0 fish

2nd Soddit Cruise 2002
Crew - Graham, Ian, Brian and Pete.

- - - - MAROONED ON A SANDBANK - - - -

(Graham) Weather is terrible; we are experiencing some kind of storm; after breakfast, we set off and passed through Coles Bridge without touching, and then we became pinned to the bank by a strong crosswind after mostly hitting an Oxfordshire Narrowboats hirecraft who had sensibly given up because they were also pinned to the same bank.
After several failed attempts to unstick ourselves we gave up too and played another game of Soddit. (Can this be a record ..... 5 games in 24 Hours!) We then moved another half mile by using the barge pole to keep the front end off the bank. We managed to pass through Kings Sutton lock and then became stuck to the bank again immediately above it. We decided to stop. We then had to use a cab to get the car. When Brian and Ian got to the car at Cropredy, they found a tree had fallen across the canal right next to where we usually moor.

Post Script : Pete sprained his ankle in the efforts to keep Jannock off the bank and had to have a week off work!      Jet courses should only be undertaken by the physically fit!

the Soddit crew pass through Banbury
31st October 2002 Kings Sutton lock to Cropredy
H.C. 7185 - 7189 71/2 Mile 5 locks

Crew - Graham and Brenda.

the Fleeing Fly (Di Blasi R7) neatly stowed in the front well

Believe it or not, this is the first trip we have done with just 2 of us.
Today we have mostly been cruising past meusli; apple and hawthorn, extra chunky. Yum, that'll be the wind then. Recovered Jannock from Kings Sutton lock. Stopped at Banbury, Brenda shopped whilst I used the fleeing fly to move the car to Cropredy. Excellent pork joints were bought from the market. Filled up with diesel at Sovereign Wharf @ 28p per litre, (HC 7187)

3rd December 2002 Cropredy wharf
H.C. 7189 - 7191 1/2 Mile 0 locks

Crew - Graham and Brenda.

Although athere was no evidence of lavatorial leakage, one day of fine weather prompted us to carry out investigations into why the loo tank only emptied from one outlet. Up to the wharf, and a 'normal' pumpout. Then off came the lid of the tank, and what do you know! - t'other side of the holding tank was still full, long term, rotted down completely. Lid back on and then ...... it pumped out as if there had never been a problem. Graham seems to have fixed it during initial investigations, allowing for a good vacuum seal.. Hooray!
We celebrated with a pint at the Red Lion, proovided by Brian from nb Snark. He'd watched/helped and reckoned it a good morning's entertainment. The Red Lion is back on the list of good pubs!

about to investigate the tank

27th December 2002 Cropredy
Jannock returns to her roots.

H.C. 7191 - 7193 1/4 Mile backwards

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Simon and Matt.

We are taking Jannock to Tardebigge dry dock for blacking. This is to be carried out by J.L Pinder & Sons who built her in 1996.
Arrived at Cropredy at about 11:15 having met Cap'n Beeky en route, for essential competition prize transfer ..... Cutweb business.
Reversed up to the wharf, and cream crackered my leg doing a 'just one Cornetto' manoevre. Whilst steering at the bows with the barge pole (the ONLY way to steer Jannock in reverse with anything nearing a wind) the pole got stuck in the mud on the bottom of the cut and when I tried to recover it I trapped a muscle between knee and boat. This action inflicted some 'twisting' damage to my knee. Matt took over as pole-master whilst I collapsed in agony. The pain started subsiding and I started getting some movement back in my leg after about 10 mins but then (and this is the really silly bit) I jumped ashore, landing on same leg....DOH! Confined to the couch for he rest of the journey. Later after re-watering and winding at the wharf, Simon and I took the car to Tardebigge and returned in 'The Lavender Wagon'.

the bridges at Fenny Compton

Cutweb (southern) Xmas dinner, and prize giving, at The Globe, Weedon, in the evening. Glen P received his prize, an underwhelming experience mainly as Cap'n B made it himself at no expense what-so-ever. Well done both. A good time was had by all despite a criminal shortage of promised profiteroles for the majority of revellers. ( Never mind, this was made up at Tesco on Monday when 4 hearty breakfasts were had, and profiteroles sourced for dinner.)

rush hour on the Southern Oxford summit
28th December 2002 Cropredy to Napton
H.C. 7193 - 7200 19 Miles 19 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Simon and Matt.

A dry day notable for:-

1. Graham driving through all locks due to injury.
2. A ferrety-mink thing having a nose about at Marston Doles top lock.
3. Sparrow hawk/ harrier and barn owl observed hunting shortly afterwards.
4. Finishing in the dark.
5. Matt presenting me with my 2 piece alloy windlass at Napton. ( explanation required: it started out as a normal one piece, but a particularly stiff set of lock gear redesigned it , permanently.) How strong is Matt?

The evening was spent, for some inexplicable reason, doing a jigsaw puzzle. Xmas lunch leftovers for both lunch and dinner must have induced some wierd post-Crimbo-traumatic-stress disorder. 750 pieces, not finished by bedtime, and Xmas choccies were no help at all.

that's an odd looking sheep
29th December 2002 Napton to Bull Bridge (34)
H.C. 7200 - 7207 Distance 10 miles 23 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Simon and Matt.

I think Simon needs a longer bed'

Today would have been suitable for the Uncle Mort Boat Club Commodore's Inaugural Cruise!
It was grey, dull, damp and miserable. Grand!
What worries me is that there were fishermen who obviously chose sitting out in this 'weather'. Why not just go to Tesco, buy a pack of fishcakes, sit in the caff for a couple of hours, mebbe reading t'Greyhound Times and then GO HOME, warm and dry?
All the recent internet prattle about commercial boats and Jannock's previous life as said craft has re-kindled Graham's thirst for flyboating. The combination of dark AND mud is very atmospheric.
We passed Laplander and Thorn plus Persephone on their moorings at Stockton.

30th December 2002 Bull Bridge to Lapworth Link
H.C. 7207 - 7212 Distance 12.5 miles 23 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Simon and Matt.
Honorary crew for Hatton ; Sean, Dave J. and Val (plus dog)
Thanks Folks!

The day started grey and dreary. We had arranged for extra crew at about 11.00 at the bottom of Hatton.
Having breakfasted well at Tesco's, we then set off through the Cape. We picked Sean up outside the cemetary, and then Dave and Val at the bottom lock. The higher up Hatton we climbed the wetter it got. ( The towpath has been badly churned up, probably by cyclists, rendering it almost impossible for boaters to use safely.) Completed Hatton in 2 hours, 15 minutes.
We then fed and watered our guests during which time vast quantities of Xmas cake and moled (sic) wine were demolished. The latter had kept us warm most of the way up Hatton. Sean reckoned this to be a healthy eating regime, getting his 5 portions of fruit & veg from moled wine. Val reckoned Xmas cake also counted due to the generous fruit content. ---- I hate mud!! ---- We bid fairwell to our temporary crew members before proceeding to Lapwoth Link, arriving in the dark, again! (Viva le' flyboating!)

cottage at Tardebigge'

Neil R. had come and found us at the top of Hatton, just to make sure we were OK, for a drink at his local in Lapworth that is. After a white knuckle walk along the wet, muddy, unlit towpath (torch not helping much) we arrived at the Navigation, divested of coats and boots which were arranged tastefully around the logfire to steam. No-one complained! Warm! Dry! We walked back the long way round, a much better choice. Neil arranged to meet us next am. for our assault on the Lapworth flight.

31st December 2002 Lapworth to Hopwwod
H.C. 7212 - 7219 15.5 miles 19 locks 2 tunnels

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Simon and Matt.

The bridge at Lapworth

It seems as if the rear slide leak has reared its ugly head, post list-cure. Poor Simon got dripped on all night; one mend promotes another fault. Such is the way of the world.
It was soooo dry today, the WETTEST place was in Wasts Hill tunnel, unlike yesterday when the driest place would have been in a tunnel. All in all, it is my observation that The Hoxfordshire Flyboat Co. lives.
Neil R. met us at the bottom of Lapworth flight. He'd set half the locks on his way down, took tea whilst we took on water and then helped us up the whole flight. We were able to admire his boat and butty as we passed. I, Brenda, lockwheeled most of the flight and let the chaps do male bonding. At a lock cottage I met a 'cottager' poking a very long stick down his chimney. He told me that Santa had indeed got stuck up the aforementioned and so Xmas is cancelled next year. At the top lock Neil's alliegance swapped, he found a much prettier lockwheeler on another boat and so offered them his services down the flight. How's that for keep-fit?

At Canal Cottage I bought a copy of 'Innocents Afloat, a yank discovers the cut', by Jeremy Scanlon. A very good read. It is available from England Afloat, 1 Canal Cotts, Old Warwick Rd. Lapworth, Solihull, B94 6BA send SAE and cheque 9.00 / Jeremy Scanlon, England Afloat 66 Old Holyoke Rd. Westfield Masschusetts 01085 send SAE and cheque $13/ Canal Cottage Press or 7.00 plus P&P from Prices as at Dec 02, we have no financial interest here, but these appear to be the only ways to get this lovely book. We look forward to the next installment .

On this the last day of the year I finally found the secret of good Yorkshire puds.....cook them on propane. Plan to open some bubbly later. . . . . . See you next year!

ducks and swan

Happy New Year!

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