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2010 Trip Reports

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10th April 2010 Winkwell winding point
H.C.9196 - 9198 Distance 1 mile 6 Locks

Crew - Graham and Brenda.

We arrived at the mooring just in time to find Julian and Caro setting off North in Parglena for a weekend trip to Berko. I then washed the winter off of Jannock's roof, also did the port side, rear deck and front well before we cast off for our regular trip down to Winkwell winding point to turn her around. Nothing much to report, we did all the locks solo and Brenda performed her best turn-around so far. It does help when you haven't got some jerk moored on the winding point like last year. Back up through locks 61 and 60 without issue. Took great delight in holding up a youth in his souped up Peugeot at Winkwell swing bridge, he just kept revving the engine making a lot of noise while he waited. As I was walking up the towpath from 60 towards lock 59 I noticed that the canal is leaking water quite badly through the bank into the river below about a third of the way up. I have notified BW of my observations so hopefully they'll send someone along to have a look before we get a full scale breach. Back to the mooring to wash the starboard side so she's all clean ready to start the 2010 cruise. Back home tonight as we have a birthday related event tomorrow. If we're lucky we might set off North next weekend.

17th April 2010 Bourne End to Wendover Arm
H.C. 9198 - 9203 Distance 9.5 miles 13 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

Saturday morning we moved our stuff onto Jannock, said farewell to Julian and Caro and set off North for the summer. We travelled solo up to Berko where I admired the new signs that adorn the bridge adjacent to Raven's Lane lock. We then followed two boats working up ahead of us through Northchurch, and Dudswell locks but they were kind and backset for us when no-one was coming South.

The trip up to the summit was made much more pleasant due to the amount of work that BW has done to the overhanging vegetation and also the lock gates. Onto the summit and a well earned rest for the lock wheeler. The new gel-cover for the bike saddle is excellent. We turned into the Wendover arm at Bulbourne Junction and made our way down to the winding point where we moored for the night. The last couple of times we have stopped here the noise from the aircraft using Luton has been quite intrusive, this weekend it was wonderfully quiet with only sheep and frogs making any noise.

Whilst moored for the evening I fitted my new large Cutweb stickers to the bows of Jannock, and I am very pleased with the result. Not quite as good as Harnser's painted ones but maybe we'll do that next time.

18th April 2010 Wendover Arm to Slapton Wharf
H.C. 9203 - 9209 Distance 5 miles 15 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

Sunday morning started bright and sunny so we set off for the Marsworth flight. The wind decided to hinder Brenda's attempts to get Jannock round into the top lock from the arm and so I had to assist with the long pole. We shared the next eleven locks with a Wyvern hireboat until they decided to stop for lunch. Aviation is still grounded and so the skies are owned by the skylarks. After we had moored, I did the car shuffle on the Di Blasi and returned in the car for Sunday dinner. We then returned home via Aylesbury. A wonderful weekend in great weather.

24th April 2010 Slapton Wharf to Newlands (M.K.)
H.C. 9209 - 9216 Distance 14 miles 9 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

We arrived at Jannock and immediately moved up onto Slapton waterpoint to fill the tank whilst unloading the car at the same time. We then set off through Slapton lock and arrived at Church lock just after a single handing lady had left ahead of us. We then shared Grove and Leighton lock with her but did Soulbury three solo as she had paired up with a Wyvern hireboat ahead. Between Leighton lock and Soulbury Brenda managed to disturb a very well camouflaged tabby cat who was enjoying a snooze in the sun by casually tossing her pear core into the hedge where it landed on the mog's head. Did it jump!
As we passed the layby on the Bletchley to Stoke Hammond road we picked up a fisherman's tackle on the prop. His reel was squealing and as he was a novice he didn't know what to do. We stopped and untangled his line from the propeller without breaking it. All of the fishermen there were very apologetic about ruining our afternoon. It was funny because it was his first catch - all 62' and 15 tons of it! We moored for the night just past the proposed MK to Bedford waterway junction and so we went for an evening walk along the signposted route and back past Willen lake. A wonderful day with warm sunshine and nice fishermen.

25th April 2010 Newlands to Cosgrove
H.C. 9216 - 9218 Distance 6.5 miles 0 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

Rain in the early hours modified my plans for a pre-breakfast car shuffle on the Di Blasi whilst Brenda slept in. She'd promised the weather gods that she'd not be cruel to neither man nor beast, cat nor fisherman today. Did they listen? No they just did cold and wet until we finally moored up for the day - then the sun came out.
We were pleased to finally say Hello to Mike Askin as he passed on a resplendent Victoria en-route for Canalway Cavalcade. Hot on his heels ( in canal terms obviously ) were President and Kildare, bound I am sure, for the same destination. Then Bletchley and Argus went past Northbound before another working pair, Kestrel and Vienna, passed by heading South. It was definitely 'Working Boat Day' today. With car fetched from Slapton, we closed up and headed home. Roll on next weekend cos it's a long un!

30th April 2010 Cosgrove to Gayton Wharf
H.C. 9218 - 9223 Distance 10 miles 8 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

We arrived at Cosgrove just after 10am and I prepared Jannock and moved her up to the lock whilst Brenda stayed at the lock and chatted to the couple bringing their hire-boat down. Once traversed we then pulled Jannock over above the lock to load the Di Blasi and the Polycarbonate sheets for the secondary double glazing we are installing. The suppliers originally supplied 3mm Makrolon panels but they had been stored badly before cutting and were so bent that the magnetic strip designed to hold them in place over the window frames could not keep them there due to the warp in the sheets. They have since supplied a replacement batch of totally flat 4mm panels which should do fine.

We travelled on past Thrupp and Yardley wharves (and marinas) to the bottom of Stoke Bruerne flight of locks. The first set of five (16 - 20) were traversed alone with me having to close the top gates and empty every lock so that it was ready for us. As I arrived by bike at No 15 another boat was just entering and so we shared the last two with them. I'm not sure whether it was them that were ahead of us during the first five as they were moored around the corner when I checked for southbound traffic before turning No 16. All in all the flight was a good work-out and I actually feel tired tonight. On through a very wet tunnel to emerge the other end into a very wet grey landscape so Brenda, having steered her first long tunnel since she 'came over all peculiar' in Wasts Hill several years ago, went inside to keep dry. The rain stopped and the sun came out just before we decided to call it a day and moor up.

I returned to Cosgrove on the Di Blasi and collected the car. We then fitted all the Makrolon panels onto their magnetic strip fasteners and then fitted them to the window frames. We immediately noticed a big reduction in noise from outside so look forward to seeing how well they work in colder or warmer weather. Home this evening due to other things to do this weekend that do not involve getting wet on a boat :^)

3rd May 2010 Gayton Wharf to Welton Wharf
H.C. 9223 - 9229 Distance 11 miles 7 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

We arrived at Jannock and were off, heading North, by 9:45. By eck it's cold at tiller. There was a very strong northerly wind that cut right through and within the hour insult was added to injury by the first downpour. The weather forecasters obviously got it wrong when they stated Monday would be the best day for weather during the bank holiday weekend. We cruised up through Bugbrooke, Heyford and Weedon with very little to comment on until we reached Buckby locks. The boat that had been following us since Heyford decided to wind between Diamond bridge (19) and Muscot Mill Bridge (18) and so it looked as though we would be doing another flight solo. Every lock had lots of foamy bubbles floating in it which multiplied when the paddles were opened. Brenda discovered that if she squashed the foam between the boat and the offside lock wall she could shoot it about using the exhaust as she left the lock. We met three southbound boats but also had two downpours during the flight and my waterproofs were wet inside as well as out because I was so warm working the flight. Finally cleared the top lock by just after 3pm and moored up for the next four days. Did a Di Blasi run back to Gayton (17 miles) to collect the car and then had dinner aboard Jannock before setting off homeward.

8th May 2010 Welton Wharf to Flecknoe
H.C. 9229 - 9232 Distance 6 miles 6 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

We arrived at Jannock during persistent light rain and so spent the first couple of hours sealing the joints on the new secondary double glazing. Once this was completed we set off in the drizzle and followed an ABC hireboat through Braunston tunnel. We smelt the booze aboard the second southbound boat we met before they had even reached us mid tunnel, they were partying big-time and making a lot of noise in the process. We shared the flight with the ABC crew - it was their first ever lock and so Brenda and I turned into instructors. By the third lock Brenda had their steerer running parallel with Jannock between locks whilst another member of their crew was setting ahead - Result! Out of the flight and through the melee of boats commonly known as Braunston till we espied Draco and Allsorts moored on the towpath together. We pulled alongside for a chat with Mike and Krystina for a while before heading down to the junction and turning left towards Napton. We moored for a very peaceful night, at bridge 102 near Flecknoe, after a very cold and wet day.

9th May 2010 Flecknoe to Long Itchenden
H.C. 9232 - 9236 Distance 6.5 miles 13 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

I was up at 6am and went to fetch the car from Welton to move it to tonights destination. We breakfasted on my return and then cast off in nice sunshine accompanied by a cold north easterly wind. As the sun got stronger and the clouds became fewer the wind also dropped - what a difference from yesterday. We did the top two locks at Calcutt solo but the boat in front waited for us to share the third lock with them. We though this bode well for Stockton flight but they announced they were returning to their mooring in Calcutt marina - shame. Today must be 'Charity activity' day because whilst we were descending the Stockton flight we had a charity bike ride coming up the hill and a charity "Hula" walk going down. We got into a good rhythm and completed the flight in 1hr 15 mins. We pulled onto the water point opposite the Blue Lias and enjoyed a chat with Sean, who was supposed to be painting Laplander, whilst the tank filled. We then went down the next lock and passed Virgo where there was evidence of the cat being at home but no Guy on board. We finally moored up on 14 day moorings ready for a Soddit cruise next weekend, had a meal and then headed for home.

15th May 2010 Long Itchenden to Hatton (5th Lock)
Spring SODDIT Cruise Day 1

H.C. 9236 - 9243 Distance 10.5 miles 17 Locks.

Crew - Graham, Ian and Brian

Having settled in on the Friday evening by playing 5 games of Soddit before retiring to bed the crew of three (yes, we are missing one abscondee) stirred into action with a couple of bacon sarnies before setting off from Long Itchenden towards Warwick. We shared the first six locks with a Canalboat Club craft but then changed partners when it's crew decided to stop for breakfast. Luckily there was a single boat (Victoriann) following us down the locks so we waited and let them join us for the last three locks down to the bottom pound. We stopped for lunch and a session of non-contact fishing after Bull bridge and then continued on through Leamington and Warwick to the Cape locks which we passed up through solo. Above Cape we paused for a short chat with Kev Day who was moored on the visitor moorings there, we met him last year on the BCN Explorer cruise. As we were quite early we decided to start ascending the Hatton flight (last completed by Brenda and I in 2007) and passed through the bottom lock solo following a solo hire boat who was in the lock above. I sent Ian to let them know we were following and to try and get them to wait but they were chasing their friends who were also going up solo one lock in front. They paired up without any improvement in organisation of efficiency and so having followed them slowly up three locks we decided to stop for the night above lock 30. Whilst waiting for dinner to cook the evening entertainment was provided by Saffron the spaniel who, ignoring her owner, leapt into the canal and proceeded to chase a mother duck and her brood of 13 ducklings up and down the pound until she wore herself out. Throughout this Saffron's owner was desperately trying to coax the single minded dog back across to the bank to haul her out but Saffron was having none of it. She finally gave in and submitted herself to the bank to be un-ceremoniously dragged from the cut and taken home. We ate Paella (without Saffron in it ;^) and then played another 4 games of Soddit before calling it a night at 11:30.

Ian Saffron the Spaniel - A tale of desire.
Saffron must have been hungry or in need of a friend. Saffron chose mummy duck and her babies. She chased them up and down the pound until she was too tired to continue. Ian must have been hungry and in need of a friend. Ian chose Saffron's 'mum'. Neither achieved what they wanted but at least Ian didn't end up soaking wet and totally knackered like Saffron did.

16th May 2010 Hatton to Tom-o-the-wood
Spring SODDIT Cruise Day 2

H.C. 9243 - 9247 Distance 5.5 miles 16 Locks.

Crew - Graham, Ian and Brian

I had intended to arise early and fetch the car from Long Itchendon but the persistent rain on the roof at 5:30 and then 6:00 convinced me to stay in bed and collect the car later. As we untied to start the next 16 locks of Hatton flight I noticed a single boat coming up lock 30 and so we waited until Black Velvet joined us in the lock before making remarkable progress up the rest of the flight meeting only 3 southbound boats. As we ascended through the top lock Brian had Land of Hope and Glory playing loudly on Jannock's stereo much to the amusement of the gongoozlers present. We celebrated with an icecream from the cafe before passing, and saying farewell to, the moored Black Velvet crew and continuing on. Another rendition of Land of Hope and Glory followed by the Dambusters march saw us pass through Shrewley Tunnel with applause from a southbound boat. Crisis on the provisions front - the Vale beer supply has run out midday on Sunday. The only fish seen all weekend was in the Paella last night. We moored up on a 14 day mooring and had dinner before I went and fetched the car. Surprisingly we had no rain all weekend other than that experienced during the early hours of Sunday morning although it could have been a lot warmer without that strong wind.

22nd May 2010 Tom-o-the-wood to Earlswood Motor Yatch club
H.C. 9247 - 9252 Distance 5.5 miles 19 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

We arrived at Jannock and I immediately moved the car to an easier parking location after unloading. Started her up and moved North for 2 minutes onto the waterpoint to refill the tank and wash down the port side to try and remove some of the ash cloud that seems to have settled on our boat. Then off up the G.U. to Lapworth junction where we turned left and then right onto the North Stratford and the eighteen locks of the Lapworth flight that we had to pass through today. As we rounded the bend and approached lock 14 we espied two Alvechurch boats heading down the flight, the second boat was emptying it's lock before the one in front had started filling his and so a lot of water was being wasted over the weirs. We passed the first boat between 14 and 13 and then noticed the second was winding in the side moorings below lock 12 so we sat tight in lock 13 and watched with interest whilst consuming an ice cream I purchased from the shop alongside. They finally managed to turn and so we then followed them all the way up to above lock 6 where they moored up for lunch. One of their crew obviously felt guilty about the delay and so he back emptied for us to make the road slightly better. There was a definite shortage of water above lock 10 with the bottom being too close to the top even for Jannock.

It was a really beautiful day weatherwise. Brenda had never noticed before how luscious Wisteria smells when in full bloom. Amongst all the meadow flowers I spotted a Jay in bright spring plumage. We finally moored for the night just after Earlswood MYC in the wooded cutting, immediately below an Oak tree. A very peaceful mooring with plenty of wildlife to watch whilst relaxing in the cool of the evening. No sign of the badgers in what looked like a sett in the opposite bank before I finally retired to bed.

23rd May 2010 Earlswood to Alvechurch
H.C. 9252 - 9256 Distance 12 miles 0 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

Blimey - two dry sunny days in a row, this must be summer 2010. An un-eventful day's cruise, after sweeping all the caterpiller droppings off the roof, with a self pumpout at Kings Norton being the highlight of the day. Even the fishermen were pleasant, especially the one who hauled in a goodly sized fish immediately in front of us as we passed him. Wasts Hill tunnel was wetter at the Southern end although the steerer didn't resort to a brolly like Braunston. Finally moored up on a 14 day mooring, after a pizza lunch on the move, and I returned to Lapworth on the Di Blasi to fetch the car whilst Brenda packed and tidied ready to go home. Wouldn't it be nice if this weather stays for the bank holiday weekend next week - I quite fancy a day at Crick, haven't been for many years now.

30th May 2010 Crick Show by car

We went to Crick show by car for a day out. What a change to do it in the dry weather. No queues to get in and then was asked by Sean to steer Laplander for a couple of test runs up and down the marina before he got all the Presidents men to come and play. Luckily I was wearing a white T shirt under my nice white shirt so I stripped off the top layer to let the T shirt cope with the inevitable smoke stack smuts and then changed again afterwards so that I didn't look too spotty whilst visiting the rest of the show. Didn't spend too much money but got some good ideas.

31st May 2010 Alvechurch to Stoke Prior
H.C.9256 - 9262 Distance 6 miles 33 Locks

Crew - Graham, Bob and Brenda.

With the able assistance of our neighbour Bob we have mostly been descending Tardebigge flight. We left Alvechurch and passed through the two tunnels before arriving above the top lock. I have done this route before but never really noticed how the 580yd Tardebigge tunnel is mostly unlined being cut out of solid rock. I'll make sure I've got a good torch alongside the steering position when we next pass through to get a better look.

We had a good run down the 29 locks in the flight following two other boats so Bob elected himself as lockwheeler and went ahead setting the next one ready whilst I worked Jannock through. A pause for a boat ascending the flight allowed us to eat the pre-prepared lunch and completed the flight in about 3 hours meeting a total of three boats coming the other way. We wanted to moor below the flight but the towpath was very wet due to excess water overflowing from the cut so we continued on down through five of Stoke Prior flight. As we were filling the bottom lock I popped into the Black Prince office for a chat with John Lucas who immediately offered us a mooring for the week in his yard. Now that's what I call after sales service as it is now almost 10 years since we bought Jannock (previously Powys) from him. This change of plan also meant that Bob had worked one more lock than Jannock did! We ate dinner before closing up and heading home once I had fetched the car from Alvechurch. Brenda was amused by the Duck castle located in their yard, fit for any MPs property!

5th June 2010 Stoke Prior to Oddingley
H.C. 9198 - 9203 Distance 6 miles 7 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

We were only doing Saturday on Jannock this weekend and when we arrived at Stoke Prior I parked the car near the lock to make loading the Di Blasi onto the boat easier. We walked across the yard to find Jannock now had two more boats moored offside of her. We opened up and prepared to leave and then extricated Jannock from within the other two boats without the lass doing the turn-round on Robin (the most offside boat) even realising what had happened. Another Black Prince boat was ascending the lock and so Brenda expertly reversed back to collect me once I had secured the other two boats into our vacated slot. Having said our farewells to John Lucas at B.P. we then passed down through Stoke Bottom lock and set off towards the Astwood flight. Past Stoke Works where Jannock was built by J L Pinder & sons back in 1996 and straight into a fishing match. Fortunately there were only about a dozen rods of a very pleasant disposition which was a rare treat as they chatted and joked with Brenda as we went past them. The trusty lock wheeling bike was brought out to speed us down through the flight picking up a dozen free range eggs for 」1.50p at the lock keepers cottage en-route. On past Hanbury wharf and through Dunhampstead tunnel before finding a suitable 14 day mooring and pegging in. It was at this point that I realised that I had not loaded the Di Blasi onto Jannock whilst passing through Stoke Bottom lock and so I had to cycle the 6 miles back to the car to fetch it. Not a good thing to do on such a warm day but luckily we hadn't travelled further.

12th June 2010 Oddingley to Worcester
H.C. 9266 - 9271 Distance 5 miles 8 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

Today, Jannock has mostly been attacked by an ASBO swan defending his mate and new brood from the nasty narrowboats. We started off from Oddingly and almost immediately came across Idleness moored just south of bridge 25. I spoke to the skipper who asked me to pass on his best wishes to the last owner when I next see him. It was then between the two Bilford locks that we came across the angry father of 3 very young 'ugly ducklings'. Not content with hissing and biting the rear fender he took to flapping down the cut like a demented ecranoplan and then gaining enough height to swoop down at the steerer who was suitably scared. Definitely an example of extreme family protection duty. Having survived that we continued down into Worcester and joined a queue for Blockhouse lock.

I spoke to a BW guy there, who was cutting the towpath hedge, and enquired about the provision of 14 day moorings in Worcester. He advised that the only suitable moorings were here immediately above the lock and so we reversed Jannock past the three boats already on the moorings and pegged in up stream of them. I then went and fetched the car from Oddingly whilst Brenda went to mourn the Royal Worcester works (still cursing because she didn't have time to do the tour last time we were here in 1999) and wandered into the Commandery shop. A ceramics artist and lecturer was demonstrating his technique there but due to a lack of customers Brenda managed to get a one-to-one demonstration as well as a good long chat. Whilst I was driving back to Worcester in the car I spoke to Matt and arranged for him to feed the cats overnight so that we didn't have to go home. I then continued on to a handy car parking spot at Ombersley, half way to Stourport, and returned to Jannock on the Di Blasi again. Brenda quickly accepted the change of plan as nice weather was forecast for Sunday. In the evening we went on a walk around Worcester finishing up in an excellent Thai restaurant for a meal before returning to the boat.

13th June 2010 Worcester to Stourport
H.C. 9271 - 9278 Distance 14 miles 11Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

We awoke from a good sleep at a quiet mooring and set off down through Blockhouse and Sidbury locks into Diglis basin. As I was setting the top lock a CanalClub boat cast off and joined us down through both locks onto the river. We entered the river just as the rain started, not too heavy but just enough to dull Brenda's pictures of Worcester from the river. Well done to all the cheery souls who were doing a 'Walk-for-Life'. A lovely sea of Pink. Ooh-er missus - quote of the day! Brenda saw a group all dressed in tu-tus & bunny ears and said she'd like to get a photo of them as we passed under the bridge. My comment - "you can take them from behind!" and then I was confused because she laughed so much!

We had a lovely day on the river including being over taken by a ladies coxless four at full pelt. Once we passed through the first lock it became fairly quiet boatwise and we shared all next two locks with the CanalClub boat as well. After leaving the last lock, following our partner, a large gin palace pulled out from its mooring and rushed past both of us towards Stourport. When we arrived at the entrance of the Stour cut, who should we find moored on the lock landing? Yes Cap'n gin palace. Brenda eased Jannock's bow into the bottom gates so that I could jump ashore and start setting the lock. I then spoke to Cap'n gin palace pointing out that there was another boat approaching who would need to stop on the lock landing. He pulled his boat back about 4 foot and then sat there drinking whilst watching the poor CanalClub boat flap about in mid-stream until Brenda took Jannock into the bottom lock and he could bring his boat up to the bottom gates. It was lucky that Mr CanalClub had more experienced boaters about as he had not come across a staircase lock in his previous 8 years hiring and started lifting paddles before we had left the lock he was emptying. We navigated our way through the basin to find another boat (narrow this time) moored on the lock landing for York Street lock right alongside the "No Mooring unless........... " sign. We just managed to get in front of him but let another boat who had just finished watering up on the opposite bank go into the lock first. Whilst we waited for a southbound boat to descend the owner of the narrowboat on the lock landing then took his dog for walkies whilst our CanalClub friends were once again floundering about trying to find somewhere to wait for the lock. As Jannock ascended the lock the aforementioned illiterate boater, and his dog, was sat enjoying a cuppa in the cafe garden alongside the lock. One word sprang to mind! Ho hum! We pulled over to moor on a 14 day mooring just as the weather failed us and the heavens opened. Luckily it stopped by the time I was ready to fetch the car from Ombersley.

20th June 2010 Stourport to Whittington
H.C. 9278 - 9281 Distance 9 miles 7 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

We left a nice clean shiny Jannock at Stourport last weekend and in the week it rained. We arrived to find a really dirty Jannock. It's not 100% water, that rain, it's 30% mud I reckon.
A beautiful day with the addition of a cooling wind. The canal and it's countryside corridor is very pretty hereabouts and we've awarded Kidderminster the most aesthetically improved town since 1999. OK, the improvements are basically retail parks and housing estates but they look better than the decaying industry that bordered the cut when we last passed through. However we still mourn the demise of manufacturing industry in the UK, those that spawned and were serviced by the canals we love. Some of the old canalside buildings have been re-styled very well. Kidderminster lock took the art prize. There are superb murals depicting a young male face of the 20s, 40s, 60s, 80s, 2000 and 2000+ all along the wall under the long bridge before the lock. Watch out Banksy!

2nd July 2010 Whittington to Hyde woods
H.C. 9281 - 9282 Distance 6 miles 6 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

I took leave today to get an extra days boating in but ended up volunteering to get a tooth removed after the previous three days of excruciating pain. Consequently we didn't leave home to travel to Jannock until 2pm.

We arrived and unloaded and set off North towards Kinver where we stopped to fill the water tank (the rest of the service block is still out of use). Although the boss reckoned I should be on light duties I decided to wash the towpath side of Jannock whilst we waited for the tank to fill - which included the removal of an extended family of slugs that had moved onto the blacking at the last mooring. We then moved out into the woods North of Hyde lock before settling for a night amongst the tweeting and shrieking of mother nature. So much for peaceful countryside ;^)
Brenda prepared an excellent meal of braised duck, saute' ed potatoes and crushed petit pois au Cannes (OK - tinned mushy peas) It was very scary as nigh on 20 ducks turned up and were definitely giving us the evil eye as we munched ours.

3rd July 2010 Hyde woods to Brewood
H.C. 9282 - 9293 Distance 18 miles 23 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

We awoke to a lovely sunny morning and set off after breakfast at 9am. We had no queuing at any lock, not even the Bratch (Wow- turn up and straight in!), until we approached Wightwick lock below Compton. Here we found a Hudson boat reversing back up through the lock as they had missed the winding hole above it. We decided to continue onto the Shroppie as we were so early rather than stopping at Compton as planned. At Oxley we said Hello to Orph but didn't see Wendy at all although Felus Catus II was open. At Autherley junction Brenda went ahead to operate the lock and ended up joining a 'steering committee' of three people advising a newby hirer how to get his boat around the tight turn onto the Northbound S&W. Once through the stoplock we travelled up under the M54 and moored for the night on one of the S.U.C.S 48 hour moorings.

4th July 2010 S.U.C.S. mooring to Little Onn
H.C. 9292 - 9295 Distance 6 miles 1 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

Bird of the day - a very splendid Jay.
A quiet night, a quiet breakfast and then off. Most of the canal traffic today was Southbound and we were lucky to meet most in the pounds rather than in bridgeholes. I was hoping to do a diesel fill at Wheaton Aston but they are not open on Sundays and as all the local moorings are 48 hour we couldn't leave Jannock there till next weekend. We moved on in an increasing wind until we found a suitable 14 day mooring and stopped. Whilst we were eating our lunch a hirer scraped past, having had to move over to avoid an oncoming boat he then got caught by the wind and successfully clouted three out of three moored boats. The first boat owner gave him a right mouthful. We just shrugged shoulders and by the time he'd hit the third boat his wife was desperately trying to hide her head under the slide in embarrassment. Luckily the owner of that boat didn't mind either - shame on the prawn on the first boat.

It was good to see a charity bike ride go through - 'Helly to Selly' in aid of Help for Heroes. Not so good to see kids on motorbikes whizzing up and down the towpath in both directions. They were certainly underage, so uninsured, so heaven help anyone who became 'inconvenienced' by them.

17th July 2010 Little Onn to High Offley
H.C. 9295 - 9298 Distance 8 miles 0 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

It was raining when we arrived at Jannock and so we took our time preparing for the off and finally pulled the pins at 12:15. We immediately found ourselves 'piggy in the middle' in a three boat convoy until Cap'n Slow stopped at Gnosall. Brenda declared today to be 'National Peering into Windows Day'. A young girl passenger on a southbound dayboat exclaimed "They've got beds in their boat - it's not fair because we haven't" as they passed. We continued onto Norbury wharf where we stopped for diesel (59.9ppl plus tax at whatever rate you want to declare), a pumpout and a waterfill during which another gongoozler inspected inside every window from stern to bow exclaiming "this boat is just like a small house, it's even got a kitchen". That is the problem with large windows on a narrowboat which I'm sure porthole owners do not suffer from. The BW service block at Norbury is excellent with ironing board, shower, loos and a bookswap. We then continued on to Bridge 42 at High Offley so that we could pay our first ever visit to the Anchor where we spent an enjoyable evening with the locals which involved stories and songs, mostly about the Anchor and themselves.

18th July 2010 High Offley to Soudley
H.C. 9298 - 9300 Distance 3.5 miles 0 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

We continued North out into the countryside, across Shebdon embankment until we found a suitable 14 day mooring where we pegged in and immediatly found a wasps nest deep in the towpath near the front mooring stake. It didn't cause us any problems as they were using a flight-path that avoided Jannock and so I then went to collect the car. Brenda had done a meal which we ate on my return before loading all of our stuff into the car ready for the homeward journey.

Jannock's Cat and Monkey ready and waiting for the Pirates to arrive.

31st July 2010 Soudley to Market Drayton
The Biscuit Pirates Cruise.

H.C. 9300 - 9302 Distance 4 miles 5 Locks.

Crew: Matt - Cap地 Garibaldi. Robin - Custard Cream. Ben - pirate Bourbon Benji
Jonny - Fleet Commander Fox's and newly pressed Varney- pirate Nice.

Here you will find the tales...nay the chronicles of the Biscuit Pirates. My crew travelled hard and far to meet at the good ol' tub Jannock. (Thanks Dad) With an 'argh' and a 'hoorah' we set off just as the cruel Mistress Drizzle backed off. Me crew looked like an untrustworthy bunch of landlubbers, and they are, but they took to the seas extraordinarily. Five locks later we came to shore after already having stopped for a flaggon earlier. (could have been worse, could have been a floggin'. ed.)We were enticed by the mystical arse tree (pics to follow). Drinks and joviality were to be had late into the night, with a few falling over mishaps (Ben).
Biscuits consumed: fig rolls, custard creams, Fox's crunch, malted milk, cookies.

1st August 2010 Market Drayton to Hack Green
The Biscuit Pirates Cruise.

H.C. 9302 - 9308 Distance 9 miles 20 Locks.

Crew: Matt - Cap地 Garibaldi. Robin - Custard Cream. Ben - pirate Bourbon Benji
Jonny - Fleet Commander Fox's and newly pressed Varney- pirate Nice.

We set out for our first real voyage, a whole day of cruising, yargh! A flight of 20 locks lay ahead. After some hours of cruising and near enough 20 locks we sighted land and set ashore for a carvery and a beer at the pirate friendly Bridge Inn. With full bellies and an eye full of norks we boarded our vessel for the last locks and started looking for a place to weigh anchor. Pirate Nice (pronounced niece, it's a biscuit see? ed.) was initiated to the helm and once he'd learned left from left (right) he was as scurvy as the scurviest of sea/cut dawgs. We went ashore certain of an evening of rum and liars' dice. Yargh!!!
Biscuits consumed: Hobnobs, Bourbons, Pink wafers, cookies.

2nd August 2010 Hack Green to Middlewich
The Biscuit Pirates Cruise.

H.C. 9308 - 9318 Distance 14 miles 5 Locks.

Crew: Matt - Cap地 Garibaldi. Robin - Custard Cream. Ben - pirate Bourbon Benji
Jonny - Fleet Commander Fox's and newly pressed Varney- pirate Nice.

We started the day off with 2 locks and bacon and brie sandwiches made by Fleet Commander Fox's. After that we cruised for a few hours to find many deep locks, none of which the Cap'n couldn't handle. We travelled through a very gray town and by about 7pm we decided to moor up after we saved a girl from a silty, watery grave. Yargh! Pirate Nice cooked up a BBQ on the bank, 24 burgers and 8 sausages. We then sat and watched the sun set with a few beers until retiring for some gambling and more beers. It was a good day yargh.
Biscuits disposed of: 1 pack Jaffa cakes, 2 of Bourbons, custard creams and cookies.

3rd August 2010 Middlewich to Hassell Green
The Biscuit Pirates Cruise.

H.C. 9318 - 9323 Distance 8 miles 15 Locks.

Crew: Matt - Cap地 Garibaldi. Robin - Custard Cream. Ben - pirate Bourbon Benji
Jonny - Fleet Commander Fox's and newly pressed Varney- pirate Nice.

Today began with the usual cheer of 'Yargh!' from all of the crew before setting sail for Heartbreak Hill. many a double lock was encountered along the way, but each was made light work by the skilled crew. We stopped to pillage the wares possessed by the folks at Lock 57 and had ourselves some drinks and merriment at the nearby pub. Though we were tempted to loot and plunder the establishment for failing to provide food for our bellies we decided to try our remaining meat and eggs. Chef Jonny (Fox's) was displaying his fine cooking skills again. Later that evening pirate Bourbon Benji cooked up a mean lasagne to quench our thirst for meat and cheese. The evening ended with cards, beer and more cheer.
(wot, no biscuits? ed.)

4th August 2010 Hassell Green to Milton (Caldon)
The Biscuit Pirates Cruise.

H.C. 9323 - 9331 Distance 15 miles 19 Locks.

Crew: Matt - Cap地 Garibaldi. Robin - Custard Cream. Ben - pirate Bourbon Benji
Jonny - Fleet Commander Fox's and newly pressed Varney- pirate Nice.

Me crew were up 'n at 'em early on a flea-bitten, extremely wet day. Leaving port at about 10.00 hrs the locks started immediately and clad in ship's waterproofs even these were made light work of. Captain Garibaldi piloted Harecastle Tunnel, claiming to be the responsible adult, ya-har-hargh! Landlubbers be easily fooled. Bourbon Benji left a souvenir in the tunnel, in the form of the magic light-box that requires neither gas nor candle. (That'll be Jannock's emergency zillion candle-power tunnel torch dropped in the cut then! ed.) A quick resupply of water after the tunnel was followed by a well deserved lunch of leftover lasagne with extra pasta mixed in. Lots of cruising and locks led us to turn into the Caldon Canal. It's extremely windy and quite nasty to start with but don't let that put you off. It's quite Birminghamesque but soon turns picturesque and nice and lovely. We stopped on a precarious mooring in order to be as close to the pub as possible. Good thing too as yet again we left with bellies full o' grub and eyes full of norks.
( Still no Biscuits? Ed.)

5th August 2010 Milton to Consall Forge
The Biscuit Pirates Cruise.

H.C. 9331 - 9336 Distance 10 miles 13 Locks.

Crew: Matt - Cap地 Garibaldi. Robin - Custard Cream. Ben - pirate Bourbon Benji
Jonny - Fleet Commander Fox's and newly pressed Varney- pirate Nice.

Our day began with the usual stirring of bodies at half 9ish. We set off fairly promptly after a walk to the local Co-op for more biscuity supplies. We pressed on down the Caldon at a good pace. The scenery kept on getting better throughout the day. A short lift given to some kids who really wanted to go on a real canal boat was granted after having spoken to a parent on the phone to make sure it was OK. As we passed more and more scenes of nice traditional buildings to do with the flint and limestone industries of the past, including a waterwheel, we were oblivious to the haven around the corner. The most amazing pub, 'The Black Lion' was the centre for our amusement, surrounded by lush, dense forest the pub is set back from a railway as well as the cut. Chickens roam the garden as well as crazy regulars. The cider selection was AMAZING. Both the rum and whiskey casked scrumpies were favourite @ 7.5% with the strongest being Ruby Soozie @ 10.5%. Black Hole, a local bitter/stout also comes highly recommended. We met a nice couple from the elder generation, called Andy and Liz who live aboard their boat. An extremely comical pair that we all got on extremely well with. So after Bourbon Benji had finished destroying the train station - you can't take him anywhere - we returned to the boat and ended up drinking the night away chatting rubbish with Andy and Liz, and offering Varney up for adoption.

6th August 2010 Consall Forge to Trentham
The Biscuit Pirates Cruise.

H.C. 9336 - 9344 Distance 19 miles 18 Locks.

Crew: Matt - Cap地 Garibaldi. Robin - Custard Cream. Ben - pirate Bourbon Benji
Jonny - Fleet Commander Fox's and newly pressed Varney- pirate Nice.

The day began with a hefty hangover shared by all after much cloudy cider. We gave our last goodbyes to Liz and Andy and set off back down the Caldon. We made it all the way to civilization only to get a huge chunk of carpet around the prop. After pulling it out we made our way down the Trent and Mersey. We pushed as hard as we could to catch up on lost time, testament to this was catching up with a boat that had left half a day before us. A way down the Trent and Mersey we came to a section of canal with high concrete walls where we opened up the full power of the mighty Jannock. We finally moored up, had a few drinks, some card games and some more biscuties (sic) followed by bed.

7th August 2010 Trentham to Stafford Boat Club
The Biscuit Pirates Cruise.

H.C. 9344 - 9353 Distance 20 miles 14 Locks.

Crew: Matt - Cap地 Garibaldi. Robin - Custard Cream. Ben - pirate Bourbon Benji
Jonny - Fleet Commander Fox's and newly pressed Varney- pirate Nice.

With the holiday approaching the end we made haste to reach our destination before dark. Again the temporary crew of Jannock sprung into life to ensure we got there in plenty of time. Once again we encountered our Anglo-Irish friends whom we had overtaken and been overtaken by many times throughout the course of the week. Clearly we had the locking down to fine art! Once again Jonny organised a lovely pizza lunch which was consumed on the move to save time. After another few hours of steady cruising, and overtaking, dinner followed courtesy of Robin, a very cheesy affair. Soon we found ourselves at our destination, The Stafford Boat Club. We met with the folk at the club, all very friendly and hospitable, had some drinks at an extremely reduced price and talked about the events of the past week. An immensely enjoyable week had by all.

The Captain and First Mate regain control of Jannock ;^)

14th August 2010 Stafford Boat Club to Gt. Haywood
H.C. 9354 - 9356 Distance 5 miles 1 Lock.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

We arrived at Stafford Boat Club during a showery period and so spent a couple of hours getting Jannock ship shape after Matt's cruise. En-route from home we visited Aldi in Cannock to get some bread as Brenda had left her newly made loaf at home. Whilst there she was tempted by their "half chicken in Piri Piri sauce" from the chiller cabinet. 20 minutes in the oven and we can heartily recommend it as an affordable tasty treat. Our plans to do the Severn and Avon have been shelved in preference for a peaceful return to the Calden which will place the boat in a suitable location for Simon to use her over the bank holiday weekend. I reversed Jannock back to the winding hole and turned her whilst we chatted to Ann (nb Margarita) and her husband who had wandered across from their boat to introduce themselves. Nice to finally put a face to a Canals list poster. We set off North towards Tixhall wide with hopes of being able to moor there but all spaces were occupied and so we continued on to Great Haywood where we moored bow to bow with nb Gecko. Peter and Margaret and Peter's amazing balti-mix container joined us for an enjoyable evening before we finally called it a night at midnight.

15th August 2010 Gt. Haywood to Meaford
H.C. 9356 - 9362 Distance 10 miles 8 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

I started the morning carrying out a repair to the TV aerial system and Peter and Margaret stopped for a chat as they were on their way out for the day. Repair completed we set off North to join a 4 boat queue for Hoo Mill lock. Near Weston we met Brenda and Brian (BCNS) heading south so hovered stern to stern midstream whilst catching up on a whole years gossip. Above Aston lock moored nb Red Admiral was displaying a Cutweb sticker but there didn't appear to be any sign of life aboard. At Stone we met a newby who was causing a 4 boat traffic jam at the approach to Star lock. His in-experience was due to the fact that he'd just picked up his latest Ebay purchase - an old narrowboat - and as he'd no experience or knowledge he was regretting his purchase already. Buyer beware par excellence. We hailed Nigel aboard ndb Enseabee as we slowly passed by on our way out of town before finally mooring for the night before Meaford locks. Here I fitted the new bicycle rack that I've fabricated for the stern rail and chained the bike onto it before retiring for the night. Brenda tested her new (to replace the one broken during Matt's cruise) slow cooker and did an excellent joint of beef ready for when we moored up. Delicious.

16th August 2010 Meaford to Milton
H.C. 9362 - 9369 Distance 14 miles 13 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

Our timing was perfect as we set off, the locks set by a boat coming down but not taken by the boat that followed us closely. We met Will Chapman on Quiditch and had another 'bobbing about' chat. At Etruria we set off to find the Pakistani shop recommended by the Gecko crew. We found it and bought more snacks than we should, savoury and sweet. Note to Geckos :- we got Citric Acid there, no questions asked. Onto the Caldon, spotting lush blackberry bushes ready for jam making. As we approached Milton we saw an advertising hoarding for the Millrace pub "Home Cooked Food". Himself, in the hope of a beer, offered to treat me to supper. We entered a rather nice pub ( turn left if you don't want huge TV), ordered a nice pint and a menu. "We dont serve anything other than a hot pie or baps at lunchtimes" was the response. We pointed out that the canalside notice said otherwise. "Gets the punters here" was the answer. Mine host did recommend the local Indian so we went there instead. Head South from the canal bridge, through most of the village and it's in the old bank premises at the traffic lights. (For chippie turn right at the lights) We had a super meal, the veg was fresh even in the curries, real indian deserts were available and we had to turn down the complementary drinks as we'd eaten so well. They do take-aways too! info at

17th August 2010 Milton to Denford (Via Leek)
H.C. 9369 - 9374 Distance 9 miles 6 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

Well ...... last week, whilst at home, we had a text message from BW telling us that Jannock had been reported as showing an out of date mooring licence and how much money we needed to send to rectify the problem quick sharp. I rang the sender and explained that I only paid for a BW EOG mooring for the winter months when Jannock is at her mooring and spent the summer weekending around the system and not on my mooring. The BW person on the end of the phone found it very confusing as their computer did not specify my mooring as winter only. I suggested that as they had seen the boat on the Shropshire Union then it was unlikely to be a summer mooring either.

So ...... should we now ring her again and tell her that boat registration number 4000196 on the Caldon is showing an out of date licence (by 4 months now) and no mooring licence at all. It is after all one of theirs! (We know it doesn't need a mooring licence as it is a workboat - but fair's fair) The next one we passed, not 30 minutes later, was 'Not Displaying' at all. Come on BW, you make the rules!
We thought we'd go as far as possible along the Leek branch, moor up and then enjoy the delights of Leek on the morrow (market day apparently). We went through the tunnel, winded and then found no free moorings, they were all occupied. Two hire boats were locked up and abandoned so we thought they might move on before too long but there was no-where to wait in a 62' boat for their return. So, having abandoned all shopping plans, we returned towards the junction and moored for the night by the aqueduct so that I could get some work done on Jannock (repack stern tube, adjust morse control neutral switch and radio aerial filter) when the hire boats cruised past - Bah Humbug!
After dinner we went for a walk and wandered into the Holly Bush for a drink where we ended up helping a local quiz team, well joining it really! Brain cells were lubricated by a delicious perry straight from the barrel and Theakston's Grouse Beater. After the quiz Hot Staffordshire Oatcakes stuffed with cheese were served, a very pleasant evening.

18th August 2010 Denford to Consell Forge
H.C. 9374 - 9377 Distance 6 miles 7 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

Last night's mooring near Denford aqueduct was so quiet that we had a lazy start this morning. Round to the junction and then a very tight turn into the three Hazelhurst locks and back to Denford again. We continued on through Cheddleton locks and then stopped just after Basford bridge to go in search of a post-box. Mission accomplished we returned to Jannock and had lunch during a very heavy rainstorm. After lunch we continued on to Consall Forge where it rained again as we arrived. We filled the water tank and then winded and moored up for the night. The Black Lion has a sign on the door saying they will be closed all day Wednesday due to a planned power outage by their R.E.C. for some tree trimming work up the hillside. Luckily I have it on good authority that they will be opening in the evening so I'll still get my dinner ;^)

All afternoon during our run down from Cheddleton and our stay here there has been a DMU and a steam hauled train passing back and forth on the Churnet Valley Railway.
The Black Lion opened at 6:30 in the evening but were not serving their usual menu. They were only doing filled baps and baguettes so we ordered one each and added chips and onion rings to bulk it out into a main meal. We need not have bothered with the extras for when the hot beef baguette arrived it was about 15" long and really loaded which made it a lot to eat. We both had great difficulty in finishing our meals and felt totally bloated in the end. Brenda tried the 7% rum matured cider whilst I stuck to Celtic Gold bitter although I did finish the evening with a pint of Dartmoor IPA. We definitely recommend this establishment now it is in new hands.

19th August 2010 Consell Forge to Milton
H.C. 9377 - 9384 Distance 10 miles 13 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

Yet another very peaceful night, is it our overnight mooring choice or Jannock's new(ish) double glazing having this effect? We breakfasted and watched squirrels in the trees opposite gathering food whilst dangling precariously over the river. We then set off up the Churnet by 10 am, passing through Cheddleton and Denford before finally stopping at Park Lane Sani. Stn. where I used the wonderful shower facilities. Whilst we were moored there another boater was busy taking note of all of the BW telephone numbers he could find on the notice board. It would appear that he had been struck by the butty Karmataka, of the Bywater Hotel boat pair, and had suffered serious damage. He was most miffed that they had not stopped or shown any concern at all despite their guests bracing themselves for the impact. I gave him our 2009 copy of the Waterways World annual which contained all their contact details. Above Stockton Brook locks we happened across a BW volunteer work party busy clearing undergrowth from the bankside and tarting up the lock with fresh white paint. They had a tug and lighter which was blocking the bridge-hole on our arrival. They moved out and beckoned us forward without realising that another BW work-boat was ascending the top lock and we would have no-where to go if we'd moved forward. Brenda finally got Jannock through and into the lock once the other work-boat had come out through the bridge. We continued on to stop for the night at Milton and had moored up and moved inside just before it started raining hard and two hours later it was still doing so.

20th August 2010 Milton to Trentham
H.C. 9384 - 9390 Distance 10 miles 8 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

We started the day trying to pre-book tickets to visit Shugborough on Sunday. The saving was attractive however you have to collect booked tickets from Stafford theatre and the box office doesn't open on a Sunday. Useless then if you are unable to get into Stafford, no deal if you can only make Sunday, canal visitors forget it, you'll have to pay full price.
This morning we 'caused' blackberry rage! Having spotted an abundance of the blighters on the off-side we pulled over, only to find we were being followed by two other boats. There was plenty of room so we waved them by whilst hanging onto a substantial tree. As they passed us another boat arrived heading the other way. I signaled that he should stop for the overtakers. As they passed us they asked if we were OK, could they help? We explained we were harvesting blackberries and then reversed a bit after they had passed to allow the other boat a bit more room. As he came past his comments were frankly unprintable, suggesting we make up our effing minds and why let effing boats overtake there (on a wide straight stretch?) Our explanation that when we pulled over we didn't realise there were boats behind us caused more expletives. He passed us with plenty of room and more profanities. We can only hope he has the good fortune to meet inexperienced boaters in excessively long boats on tight and shallow bends during his trip on the Caldon ;^)
If the owner of the rather smart jacket that I had to clear off our prop after passing through Ivy House lift bridge would like to contact us I'll tell him which skip it resides in at Etruria.
On arrival at Planet lock we discovered that Cap'n expletive had caused some nasty paintwork damage to the first of the overtaking boats when they passed each other. We also had difficulty working all three boats through due to an obstruction behind the towpath lower gate and so I notified the lengths man at Etruria when we stopped for water. We saw that the Bywater hotel boats had winded at Etruria and we pointed back up the Caldon so there is hope for a spectacular meeting with Cap'n expletive as well as the nice man on the boat they damaged yesterday.
We stopped for the evening at Oldroad bridge near the Wedgewood factory. I managed to polish the whole of Jannock's starboard side and Brenda made four pounds of blackberry jam before the rain set in.

21st August 2010 Trentham to Aston
H.C. 9377 - 9384 Distance 5 miles 9 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

A short run to a suitable 14 day mooring for our penultimate day on this trip. I hoped an early start would allow me to fetch the car from Stafford before it started raining - WRONG - I got a good drenching during the last two miles on the Di Blasi to Stafford Boat Club.
We breakfasted on Staffordshire Oatcakes with 3 varieties of home made preserves before passing down through Meaford flight meeting only one northbound boat at the bottom lock. Good to see the top lock gate paddle ratchet has been mended since I reported it to the BW guy at Etruria last Monday. We continued down through Stone locks and then stopped to visit Aston Marina for a look see. They have a very good butchers stocking unusual meats like goat and venison as well as a deli and a selection of wines and local beers for sale in their farm shop. The prices in the shop were not of a Lidl standard but the selection of stock was high quality including upmarket ready meals available in frozen or chilled form. I got a couple of frozen croisants and chocolatines for tomorrows breakfast from their self service section. Laundrette facilities are also available to passing boaters with 」3 giving you a wash and dry. We didn't check out the Bistro menu as MegaPixie has promised me a tinned Fray Bentos steak and ale pie for dinner tonight but the establishment was very busy. We then moored up and I got the car ready for tomorrow's visit to Shugborough on the way home. Simon will be using Jannock next weekend so say hello if you see them.

28th August 2010 Aston to Handsacre
H.C. 9394 - 9402 Distance 17 miles 6 Locks.

Crew - Simon, Elin, Ralf and Ellie

Having car-shuffled the night before, and returned at 1am (after getting lost in the dark round Lichfield and Tamworth) Simon and Ralf weren't popular in the morning. Especially when Simon had the crew awake at 8.15 ready for a full day's cruising.
Locks were few and far between, and the miles passed as the crew marvelled at their luck with the weather. Sunshine was occasionally interrupted by the odd spit of rain from a passing cloud, but the weather held...just. Ellie and Elin had their first canal boat driving experience, with Elin's Swedish sailing experience proving useful with figuring out the steering. Ellie, however, took a little longer to get used to the reverse nature of rudder steering.
Jannock took on water at Great Heywood junction while the girls ventured to the farm-store over the bridge, returning with delicious raspberries. As we moved off, the heavens opened, so a unanimous vote decided to stop for lunch while the rain passed. A delicious quiche and a number of cinnamon rolls later, we moved on, only to find ourselves held up at each and every lock by a slow boat in front. Frustrated, Simon decided, while waiting for Colwich lock, to hover the boat on the wrong-side of the cut while the crew raided the blackberries from the bushes next to the railway - thus untouched by countless walkers beforehand.
Later, having passed Mike and Krystina on Draco towing a butty northwards, we passed the boaters Christian Fellowship at the Taft. Although we didn't stop, Ralf thought it very admirable that the BCF had allocated part of the bank as a "Swan area", although he didn't quite understand how the swans would read the sign to know it was intended for them!
Rugely passed without incident and finally the crew moored in Handsacre, resisting the temptation of the Fish and Chip smell that drifted down the cut. Instead, Simon was making prawn thai curry, but forgot the thai curry spices and the coconut milk (later found in the car) so had to adapt the plans using a jar of Indian Tikka sauce in the cupboard (sorry Mum!).
In the evening, after a few drinks, Ralf (being German, and a huge Uno fan - ask him about his homemade 'Speed Uno'!) discovered O-No-99. The rest of the evening passed amid tears of frustration as we :-
(a) kept loosing games
(b) slowly lost the ability to count reliably.
Elin was judged to be convincingly the most unlucky, managing to play half the time with at least two '99' cards in her hands...

29th August 2010 Aston to Handsacre
H.C. 9402 - 9406 Distance 13 miles 3 Locks.

Crew - Simon, Elin, Ralf and Ellie

Sadly, Elin had to return to Manchester, and a few hours were spent in the rain trying to organise her journey back home. Thus, cruising only commenced at 11.30, and so the remaining crew rushed to make good progress, hampered a number of times by heavy showers. Thankfully, full waterproofs were donned and the weather passed by the time we were most of the way down the flight to Fradley Junction. Strong winds meant that Simon crashed into everything possible while trying to navigate the turn onto the Coventry canal.
Frustrated by his less-than-elegant turn and the weather, he suggested that the crew take a break for a (non-alcoholic!) drink in the Swan to soak up the history. Sadly, the pub was rammed full of people eating Sunday lunch, but a quiet corner was found in the tardis-like basement. Suddenly, the sun was out again, so we moved outside to the tables around the back, finished our drinks and went back to the boat to make the most of the conditions.
Sadly, the wind picked up leading to several hair-raising 'drive round the corner sideways only to find a boat in a bridgehole immediately in front of you' moments which necessitated drastic action, generally resulting in a cruise under low branches, the crew jumping into the cabin and the driver's hair left full of twigs. Some of the weeping-willows on the Coventry canal need a serious trim! 2 miles from Fradley junction, Ellie said "Ah, I've left my expensive coat in the pub..." Thankfully, the Nicholson's guide came to the rescue with the Swan's phone number, so arrangement were made to collect it on Monday.
North of Hopwas, Simon was appalled to see two hire boats moored up in the wood on the off-side, right next to the signs written in big red letters saying
"DANGER - LIVE FIRING RANGE. KEEP OUT!" as the children ran off into the woods. Thankfully, the boats must have noticed my critical stares and decided to move on. Ralf and Ellie were pleased to see a traditional working boat and butty also moored in the wood (in a somewhat safer place, thank goodness) before we came into Hopwas. As we passed the visitor mooring, we were told "this is the last mooring for miles" but we continued, to find a 48 hr mooring in the middle of the village. Conveniently, this was about 50m from the Tame Otter pub, which was selected for dinner, drinks, and the venue for teaching Ralf and Ellie how to play Soddit. We then decided to see whether the Red Lion (on the other side of the cut) was worth a look, but the thumping music, "Two meals for 」5" offers and the drunken people playing Wii bowling on a big screen put us off. We retired to Jannock for some more drinks and another game of Soddit.

30th August 2010 Hopwas to Hartshill wharf
H.C. 9406 - 9416 Distance 15 miles 13 Locks.

Crew - Simon, Ralf and Ellie

Monday heralded a beautiful sunny day, without a cloud in the sky: in fact the largest object available to obscure the sun was actually the moon! We left Hopwas fairly early, hoping to reach Atherstone before it got too late, but as soon as we reached Tamworth bottom lock, found ourselves in a queue. After proceeding through the Tamworth locks, Ellie and Ralf proceeded to perfect their driving skills as we headed back into the countryside, dodging low hanging trees, and boats steaming towards bridge-holes with ease. Finally, we arrived at the final challenge: Atherstone flight. We were due to pumpout before hitting the flight, but the sanny station at Bradley Green didn't cater for self-pump systems. Never mind - it can be done at the top of the flight...
Since we were now running behind schedule, it was agreed that we should attack the flight while snacking at regular intervals, and then eat an early dinner before heading home. By this time, the lock crew was a well oiled machine, and we kept having to wait for the boat ahead of us to leave the lock in front. After about 2 hours, the 11 locks were completed, and Simon went to find the sanny station across the way from the top lock. However, according to the resident of the lock-keeper's cottage, this station also is unsuitable for self-pumpout, as the connection to the main sewerage system has been removed. He said that the official reason for this was because careless use kept leaving it blocked, but he strongly suspected that it was simply a ploy to force self-pumping crews to spend money at boatyards to have the deed done... If that's true, that's practically criminal!
Eventually, the tired (and slightly sunburnt) crew made it to Hartshill wharf. Simon and Ralf had - lost on the car shuffle late on Friday night - parked Simon's car in the wrong place, and so Simon wandered a further half a mile down the cut to the Anchor pub to collect it. After cleaning, tidying and packing up, it was time to leave. Just as Simon was locking up, he found the suncream...
Thank you for a pleasant weekend. We hope to see Jannock again soon!

The Captain and First Mate regain control of Jannock again ;^)

4th September 2010 Hartshill to Brinklow
H.C. 9416 - 9423 Distance 15 miles 1 Lock.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

Questions of the day :-
1. Has anyone lost a Fiat/Lancia 15" spacesaver spare wheel? - if so contact Jannock
2. Should a large dead dog be treated as an island for navigational purposes?

On a more cheerful note. - We meandered down the Coventry, passing and photographing the new bankside 'Rigdenhouse' at Bedworth, until an elegant two boat manoeuvre took us around Hawksbury turn into the North Oxford. The steerer of the other boat, coming through the lock, told Brenda that he was heading to Coventry (and she has witnesses) so that information was relayed to me at Jannock's tiller. Having set Jannock up accordingly, imagine my surprise when he appeared out of the turn heading North towards Nuneaton! Never mind, with a massed crowd of on-lookers sat outside the Greyhound, we both completed simultaneous turns without hitting each other or the bank. It's not often that happens - usually complex manoeuvres are only completed successfully in the absence of an audience.

We reinforced earlier traits by pulling over on the offside, just past Hopsford Aqueduct, to be alongside a free blackberry dispenser. Soon after that the canal got awfully busy. Blackberry rage? No chance! The first boat past enquired if we were aground and needing help. The second boat past and also asked if we had a problem. They then briefed the hire boat who passed next and they had a helpful list of other picking locations to try as they passed. In less than 15 minutes we'd completely filled Brenda's Tupperware container. Blackberry envy more like!
We arrived at Brinklow just as the Angels, Simon and Jeanette aboard nb Clara, also moored up and so an official mini-GiG occurred aboard Jannock until midnight.
Incidentally - as we entered Hawksbury lock we passed a boat (Ian from Warwick IWA?) which had leapfrogged with the Manchester crew last weekend. He enquired whether they had left the boat clean and tidy for us. Oh ye of little faith.

5th September 2010 Brinklow to Hillmorton
H.C. 9423 - 9426 Distance 9 miles 3 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

Question of the day :- Who has left a pair of glasses on Jannock. Brenda believes they are ladies glasses but I'm not certain. Any claimants?
The weather forecast for the weekend was fine, some patchy cloud and top temperature 22 degrees. Yesterday disappointed. Today started grey and declined to a half hearted cold drizzle just as we approached Rugby - henceforth to be known as Mayhem Corner. There were two instances of boats winding with no regard for, or warning to, anyone close behind them plus a couple of boats continuing to enter bridge-oles they could not possibly exit due to oncoming boats refusing to slow down or give way and a newbie hirer whose response to other boats nearing him was to pull over and put off crew with ropes to hold their boat until the others had passed. Hillmorton locks had more boats in the vicinity than we've seen all summer it seemed - and the turns can be tight at the best of times. Good humour just clung on by it's finger nails. The 14 day moorings above Hillmorton were choc-a-block so we had to continue past in the rain and find a mooring further on. We had wanted to eat at the Bistro but by the time we'd finally got sorted it was too late for the long walk back as last food orders are at 2 pm. Bah Humbug!
Omelette du jour sounds a bit like Bistro food even when Brenda cooks it on board. (Egg and leftovers anybody?) Then it finally stopped raining. During the trip back to Hartshill to collect the car I got smothered in mud passing by some very dirty road works near DIRFT so my shoes and the Di Blasi have now changed colour to a rather fetching Grey. Whilst I was fetching the car Brenda befriended some Napton narrowboat hirers who were studying the locks at Hillmorton trying to pluck up the courage to go down them. She explained how everything worked and so we hope they managed today because it had taken them 2 days to get here from Napton and they'll have to turn round soon.

12th September 2010 Hillmorton to Stockton
H.C. 9426 - 9432 Distance 15 miles 3 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

The summer season is almost over, so imagine our surprise to see a pedalo coming towards us at something of a lick. I say something, their little legs were fair whizzing round, but their speed was more sedantary. It may have had a little to do with the 'tour manager' in the back minding the quantity of ale - their only obvious source of sustenance and re-hydration. The T shirts suggested a charity event so more power to their pedals.

We left Hillmorton at 10:30 and set off for Braunston - our mission was to do a self-pumpout and then wind to continue on towards the Blue Lias for next weekends Cutweb rally. We entered Braunston from the north, passing Mike and Krystina moored near the junction and went on to the sani-station. Another boat had just pulled into the sani-stn moorings so we obtained permission to hang offside of a moored boat and await their departure. I was disappointed to see they were only taking on water, there were two empty water points down near the stop house which they could have used for that - never mind, we patiently waited, and had our lunch, whilst they took 45 minutes to fill with water. They finally finished and moved off allowing us to complete a water fill and a self pumpout in 15 minutes max. They must have got an awfully large tank to take that long (although Brenda is convinced they didn't have the tap turned on for the first 20 minutes due to the lack of leakage at their hose connector).

On leaving the sani-station we moved down to the marina entrance and started a protracted winding manoeuvre - delayed several times by passing boats. I finally got Jannock heading North again and we set off for the junction and the route to Napton. The sunken boat and accompanying rescue craft on the Oxford is certainly a navigation hazard, there were 3 boats either way waiting to pass it as we approached. Then onto Lower Shuckburgh where we followed a Viking Afloat boat through the two sharp bends under the A425 narrowly missing on-coming craft by choosing to hit the bank instead. At Wigrams we turned under the bridge onto the Grand Union and proceeded down the Calcut three changing partners after the first. Then onto a 14 day mooring so that I could collect the car from Hillmorton before we headed home. Not as sunny as forecast but not uncomfortable - although Brenda was wearing a jumper and coat to try and keep the cold wind out.

16th September 2010 Stockton to Blue Lias
H.C. 9432 - 9434 Distance 1 miles 8 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

On Friday I had a day off work - motorbike 8000 mile service in the morning followed by a run down the Stockton flight to attend the Cutweb Rally held at the Blue Lias Inn. Whilst wandering around Abingdon waiting for my bike to be serviced I noticed No Problem heading Northbound up the Thames so I followed them up to Abingdon lock and introduced myself to Sue who was at the tiller whilst they were locking up. I then disgraced myself by calling Vic, Chas - Oooooooooooooooops. Sorry Vic.

We arrived at Jannock just after 2pm and set off down the Stockton flight sharing with another boat which makes a change. Brian and Diana ( Harnser ) and Nigel from Enseabee came up from the Blue Lias to assist us down the flight. The couple on the other boat were very impressed by our 'staff' As we neared the bottom we learnt that due to low levels of water we had been allocated the 'buffer zone' mooring - i.e. immediately outside the pub on the first mooring after the bridge. The evening was spent in the function making new friends and renewing acquaintances over a few pints.

Cutweb Rally 2010 at the Blue Lias

Saturday started with me having to run the engine a bit for battery charging due to the short trip on Friday. I was interested to find out that the Blue Lias now do electric hook-up for moorers at 」3.50p per night. Not cheap but welcomed by some of the Cutweb boats as it meant no engines needed for the duration. Saturday afternoon was filled with Cap'n Beeky's Boules competition which I helped out refereeing when I wasn't playing. Teams were drawn from a hat and I partnered Sarah-May (aka Baddie the Pirate ) but we were knocked out in the semi-finals. After tea and cake (in the rain) the evening entertainment was supplied by the Original Backroom Boys who were absolutely brilliant. They did a 2 hour set with an hour break in the middle for food and were then followed by the Cutweb Mega-raffle.

Sunday morning was the Charity auction followed by a roast lunch. Immediately after that several members decided to head off up the Stockton flight so Brenda and I went along to help them up the locks. Brenda appeared back with a large collection of plums that she'd harvested off of a tree that overhung one of the old narrow locks that are now used as by-washes. She had already gathered a large bowl of blackberries from around the fishing lake so she stewed up loads of nice fresh fruit before teatime. Sunday evening entertainment was provided by John and Margaret from nb Ernest (not that one, the other one) who ran a quiz.

20th September 2010 Blue Lias to Stockton
H.C. 9434 - 9437 Distance 1 miles 8 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

Monday morning we were due to set off up the locks at 8:30 sharing with Enseabee as I had promised to run Ann (Enseabee's crew) to Rugby station to catch her train to London. I moved the car up to the wharf at 7:30 and then set a couple of locks whilst I was walking back down the flight. We set off a little early and winded at the arm before entering the bottom lock at 8:15. We breasted Jannock up to Enseabee so that Brenda, Ann and I could work the locks with only Nigel on the boats. We did the flight in about 40 minutes, catching up the boats ahead, as Brian and Diana came to help as well.

24th September 2010
Autumn SODDIT Cruise

Crew - Graham, Ian and Brian

We travelled to Jannock via the Southam chippie for our supper - excellent. We then loaded our stuff onto the boat, opened the beer and the playing of Soddit commenced. Four games were completed before bedtime accompanied by the sound of rain on the roof of the boat.

25th September 2010 Stockton to Welton Wharf
Autumn SODDIT Cruise

H.C. 9437 - 9444 Distance 12.5 miles 9 Locks.

Crew - Graham, Ian and Brian

A traditional Soddit breckie of bacon sarnies, tea and OJ was followed immediately by the arrival of diesel boat Towcester. As Jannock was getting low I purchased 170 litres at a cost of 」175.00p declaring 60-40. We then set off towards Calcutt where we were 4th in the queue for the bottom lock. We shared through that one but our partner went to join the now single boat waiting in the next lock as their previous partner had moored up. Once into the middle lock we waited to see if one of the boats now coming through the bottom lock would join us but they waved us on ahead so we continued up the flight solo. We then joined a long procession heading for Braunston. There were frequent stops when someone ahead had to wait for an oncoming boat through a bridgehole and we had varying reports of twenty to fifty boats ahead of us in the procession from oncoming crews. We stopped for lunch prepared by Ian and more non-contact fishing just after bridge 99 and watched many more boats pass us.

On then to Braunston and a right jam-ole (excuse the pun). Once through the junction, with a quick glance left to see Allsorts moored up, there was a long queue of boats all the way to the marina entrance where a boat was winding. We started moving and then a boat at the water point pulled out in front of us and then winded in the marina entrance as well. Past that and we had to hang around while another boat did a 98 point turn opposite UCC. All this time there had been a Willow Wren hire boat just behind us but when we finally got to the bottom lock they were nowhere to be seen. We waited for a while but the boat waiting to come down persuaded us to continue without them. As we were departing from the lock we were admonished for not waiting for them by a woman off of the 3rd boat in the queue that now existed for the lock. It would appear that she was intent on sharing with her friend so would be putting the hireboat through solo ahead of them. We agreed to wait at the second lock and then shared the rest of the flight with a crew of novice Danes. They were a much better crew by the time we left the top lock. Into Braunston tunnel with Jerusalem, Land of Hope and Glory and the 633 Sqn theme issuing from Jannock's stereo. After a rousing passage through a remarkably dry tunnel we moored at Welton wharf for the night and were complimented for our choice of music by the Danes as they passed. I prepared a chicken dinner with fresh veg from Brian's garden and then we settled in for 5 games of Soddit before giving up for the evening just after midnight.

26th September 2010 Welton Wharf to Banbury Rd. Bridge
Autumn SODDIT Cruise

H.C. 9444 - 9450 Distance 11 miles 7 Locks.

Crew - Graham, Ian and Brian

I was up and out on the Di Blasi by 6am to do a car shuffle to our destination. On my arrival back at the boat the other two were still asleep so I put the kettle on and made tea. Brian thought that I had just got up to go and move the car - Ha! After breakfast we moved down to Buckby top lock which we passed through solo and then joined another boat, that had been in front of us, for the remaining 6 locks. Between locks 11 and 12 I was asked by a fella on the towpath whether he and the girl he was with could experience going down a lock on a boat as she'd never done one before. I let them onto the front welldeck once I was in the next lock and they descended down with us to the bottom lock where they got off. The whole bottom lock area was swarming with a well mixed collection of foreigners (possibly students) of which the couple I had given a lift to were part. I felt sorry for our lock partner as, typical of performing to an audience, he completely messed up his entrance to the lock. Once we were through the bottom lock we found the same fella winding an ABC hireboat in Wilton marina entrance. It turned out that they had hired two boats for a daytrip for all these studenty types and didn't have time to pass through any locks.

Meanwhile the weather remained dry, grey and cloudy but we were sure it would start raining soon. We stopped before Stowehill bridge for lunch and then moved forward onto the water point to fill up once we'd finished eating. As soon as we started off again the rain started too. Light drizzle at first getting heavier and colder in the biting northerly wind. Brian retired inside to keep warm and help finish up the beer whilst Ian and I braved it out on the back deck. After the glorious weather we had yesterday this was a disappointing end to the weekend. On arrival at our destination we soon decamped into the car and headed home. Another wonderful weekend proving that fishing is a non-contact sport aimed purely at teaching maggots to swim. The final Soddit score - Ian won 5 games, Brian and I both won 2 each. I think in future I'll ban this futile fishing lark and try to get more games of Soddit played.

9th October 2010 Banbury Road to Cosgrove
H.C.9450 - 9456 Distance 11 miles 8 Locks

Crew - Graham and Brenda

A late-ish start due to Brenda still recovering from various lurgs and inoculations during the past week found us setting off from Banbury Road bridge at 11 am with a grey overcast sky and occasional drizzle. Not at all what was forecast by our Met office friends. Into Blisworth tunnel at 12:15 and we met three northbound boats within. The middle one of the three had a 'searchlight' like headlight aimed straight ahead along the tunnel. As we approached each other I found that I could not see a thing ahead and the beam was painful to look at so I stopped and waited for him to pass whilst I kept my eyes averted from ahead. Once the lamp had passed me by I made comment to the steerer that he ought to aim his searchlight up towards the roof and not straight ahead. We passed down through Stoke Bruerne solo as there was no one behind us in the tunnel and no boats about to set off from the moorings to go down. Below the flight there is a BW notice that reads " Slow down passed moored boats" - shame they didn't check the spelling before manufacturing the sign. We pulled over near Grafton Regis to harvest some of the abundant Elderberries there - we fancy making some Elderberry whisky this year ;^) On to Cosgrove through greyer and colder weather finally mooring up below the lock just three boats away from nb Wyrd with Trevor aboard. A mini-GiG was in order and a very pleasant evening was spent before we finally gave in at just after midnight.

10th October 2010 Cosgrove to Stoke Hammond
H.C.9456 - 9460 Distance 15 miles 2 Locks

Crew - Graham and Brenda

I got up and set off in the cold grey gloom just before 9am whilst Brenda languished abed under a warm cosy duvet. Just after midday the sun came out, as we made our way down through Milton Keynes, and the blue skies warmed us body & soul. This was supposed to be what was forecast for yesterday so we've missed out. After Bletchley we were trying to decide on our final mooring place when we were joined in Stoke Hammond lock by a boat crewed by 30 something liveaboards with a penchant for pirate-noir decor. Whilst locking up, Brenda asked the steerer if they were going up Soulbury locks. His reply was " we don't go that far, we usually moor in Milton Keynes but feel we need a few days out of the city". I walked ahead and measured a suitable gap between the last moored boat and the first fishing peg on some 14 day moorings and Brenda eased Jannock in with very little disturbance to his swim. As the other boat passed us and the fishing match she called back to the steerer from the bows with " Oh no, an effin fishing match - this would have been effin perfect for us" They moved on a few yards and she called again "we'll just moor up here, these blokes look friendly, they effin won't mind". Luckily he didn't feel the need to ruin 2 or 3 blokes days fishing with less than an hour to go until the end of the match. They carried on up the cut with just her swearing being carried on the balmy breeze. Are live-aboards necessarily boaters? Discuss.

16th October 2010 Stoke Hammond to Marsworth
H.C. 9460 - 9467 Distance 12 miles 15 Locks.

Crew - Graham and Brenda

After a grey week our journey started in glorious autumn sunshine. We recalled the weather forecaster saying "you will be unlucky to catch a shower!" We didn't , we caught two downpours instead. The picture on the left, taken on my phone, shows us approaching Grove lock immediately after the second one.
As we cleared Soulbury we were warned by a southbound boater of canoeists and a canal clearance day ahead, forecasting slow going. We saw none of the former and the latter only delayed us whilst they extricated their work flat off of an underwater obstacle (the 2nd motorcycle frame they had removed that morning) that had entrapped it.

Gold stars to the Milton Keynes branch of the IWA and Wyverne shipping who sponsored the event. We caught the third team up at Linslade lock where we shared with one of their craft. They were en-route to the Tesco mooring to retrieve trolleys using a grappling hook.

At Slapton Lock cottage there was a bowl of Damsons with a notice asking for donations to charity for them. I took a bagfull and placed all my change in the box. We picked up a lock sharer at Horton lock, a northbound boat that had winded at Slapton windy hole, who we shared with until they reached their home mooring at Vicarage farm. We knew there was a hire boat following them so we waited at Seabrook bottom lock for them to catch up and I usefully spent the time collecting many more Damsons from the multiple trees located on the offside of the lock. The Wyvern boat, Daffodil, then shared with us until we cleared lock 38 when we moored up and they continued. As I cycled through Pitstone bridge I saw the widebeam trip boat approaching so I stopped and warned Brenda of it's prescence. I still remember the incident she had with this one a few years ago due to the overhanging willow branches but this time the trees have been nicely trimmed back and my timely warning allowed her to hold back to let it reach it's mooring at the yard.

24th October 2010 Marsworth to Bourne End
H.C.9467 - 9474 Distance 9 miles 20 Locks

Crew - Graham, Brenda, Mick and Gill

There was a frost on the ground when we arrived at Marsworth for the run back to Bourne End and our home mooring. Today we had our neighbours, Mick and Gill, as crew. They have hired a boat for a week next April and wanted a refresher course as it has been 10 years since they last went on a canal holiday. You can't beat 9 miles and 20 locks, up and down, on the southern Grand Union as a refresher! As we were casting off we arranged with a passing boat to share the Marsworth flight with them but then had another boat pass before we were moving and so had to wait for the pair of them to ascend the bottom lock before we could start the flight. When Brenda arrived at the lock with Jannock she said that we had a partner who was busy winding in the entrance of the Aylesbury arm and would be with us in a short while. He was solo crewed and so Mick and I worked both boats up the Marsworth flight of seven locks. Once through the flight our partner was mooring at Bulbourne for a lunch appointment in the GJA so we continued alone.

After the summit, we then paired with another boat that had been watering up as we arrived at Cowroast lock. This couple had moved afloat in May 2010 in a new boat that the skipper has fitted out himself. His partner appeared glum and despite about 5 months of boating was still unsure about how locks worked. We shared all the way until 'the Boat' public house in Berko where they decided to tie up, without warning, after I had prepared Ravens Lane lock for two craft :0( We continued on alone which meant single gate working which is a lot quicker if you are not mob handed. At the 'Riser' we met Debbi and Simon who, having returned from their allotment, were on their way for an early afternoon pint.
Finally arrived back at Bourne End at 4 pm and then went and fetched the car from Marsworth in time for an evening meal before closing up and heading home.

Gill : Started our journey at Marsworth taking Jannock home for the winter. Weather cold but very sunny, a lovely day not that I did much work, I was kept busy making coffee and tea and watching everybody else work. Mick helped Graham with the locks for a little while and handled the steering. Needs some more practice, I'm sure it will all come back to us. Graham's just got back from collecting the car and Brenda's getting dinner ready.

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