Tag Archives: Stratford

Day 112 – Lapworth-it

A very short journey for us this morning, through the final 6 locks of the Lapworth flight and onto the Grand Union, but it’s all of a 15 minute walk from where we started to where we finished!

We filled up with water, and got rid of some rubbish. We know boaters tend to like their booze, but the number of bottles at the bins was still quite impressive!

The barrel-roofed cottages are a common theme on the Stratford canal – the builders knew how to do bridge arches, so used the same skills do make the roofs too.

We initially moored up on the arm linking the Stratford and Grand Union canals, but then reversed up around the bend of the Grand Union to get away from the train line and a yapping dog, onto a much quieter mooring.

Donald and Beth met up with us in the afternoon to take Eira back home. We miss her already, and Sarah’s said a couple of times she’s looked around expecting to see her there but she isn’t! Donald and Beth very kindly brought us some goodies, including some lovely cheese presented on a beautiful Walnut board – hand made by Donald from a tree at Beth’s school.

I tucked into some Toblerone for smoko, which I’d been saving for a rainy day. Well it rained for a brief while, that counts doesn’t it? We also opened a little gift from Barry and Rosemary, which we’ll save for a nice meal out somewhere.

In the evening Richard and Jane from nb Casual Water came up to meet us. Jane had baked us a scrummy looking fruitcake; the no-longer-secret ingredient is crushed pineapple; we’ll tell you how it is tomorrow! We then had a great meal at The Boot Inn – the fourth time we’ve been there now I think, and every time it’s not disappointed.

A shout out to Richard who came up with today’s title, we were struggling a bit!

Day 111 – Winter Is Coming

Leg cramps in the night, a mozzie bite on by bum (and yes I was wearing PJs) and a blocked ear despite what feels like enough oil drops in my ear to fry my own fish and chips! I was not on full form this morning, and certainly not looking forward to the 13 locks ahead of us.

A breezy morning, a fellow boater felt it cold enough to put the fire on, and we passed fields full of (dare I say the word) Christmas trees.

I offered Toby the chance to operate the first locks, they were quite far spaced out, so I could go slowly if any of them needed filling – and it keeps Toby off my back about steering. Toby has mastered the trick of pushing the open gate with one leg, I think I need a bit more practice.

13 locks done in super fast time, and we were moored by 12.30. Lunch of freshly baked sourdough bread (it’s a tough life) and cheese. Toby painted a coat of primer on the newly filled guttering.

We agreed that Oliver needed a bit of a clean, so we washed, rinsed, and dried the roof and one side. We noticed some light scratches on the side, probably from branches sticking out at bridge holes (and probably me steering), we can’t blame Romy or Peter for those ones! The scratches polished out nicely, and Oliver looks like a shiny new penny. Our reward – a smooze ice pop for me, and the rest of the chocolate fudge Ben and Jerrys tub of ice cream for Toby – yum!

Day 110 – Apple Bobbing In The Canal!?

What were all these apples doing in the canal today? We couldn’t see any nearby apple trees, so I think they must be leftovers from a massive apple bobbing competition. Or perhaps it solves the mystery of where Tim and Sam’s apples went to after they were stolen from the stern of their boat overnight. Who knows?

I’m getting ahead of myself though. After meeting Tim and Sam on nb Plan B at the Dudley BCLM moorings, we saw their boat again in Birmingham. We texted to say hello, and they invited us round for bacon sarnies in the morning – delicious! We’re headed separate ways today, so said our farewells but hope we’ll meet again somewhere sooner or later.

We turned right at Old Turn Junction, and under the newly named Black Sabbath Bridge. The local water taxi was waiting to depart, but kindly waited for us to go past first.

Sarah waved hello to “The Mailbox” as went by – ex Royal Mail offices now converted to shops and apartments. It’s changed a bit since back then!

I nearly shed a tear for the poor little teddy left behind, outside the new uni student flats 🙁

We had hoped to moor opposite Bourneville, but had been forewarned that the moorings were filled with “gypsy boaters”, and indeed there were. Four boats there that didn’t look to have any intention of honouring the 48hr stay signs, so we pressed on.

Fortified by some crumble for lunch (me, not Sarah!), we turned on to the Stratford canal at King’s Norton junction and through the disused guillotine lock.

The general advice is not to moor between the junction and the lift bridge at Shirley; we went a little further and moored up in the same spot as the last time we came this way, just after bridge 14 past Dickens Heath. Funnily enough nb “Autumn Years” is here too; they were moored just behind us in Birmingham, so we said hello again!

Our last full day :(

Today was our last full day, before we handover to Mum and Dad for their holiday to begin tomorrow.

Before we start for today though, one photo from yesterday evening – this little fella flew into the boat, and couldn’t understand why it couldn’t get out through the window. I coaxed it onto my finger to get it out but it didn’t seem to want to fly off, so we got some close-up photos. Just a shame we didn’t get a more colourful specimen!

Our damsel fly guest

We didn’t have far to go today, just a few hours to the start of the Lapworth flight, the Stratford canal is very pretty along here. One thing we weren’t expecting, was a field of Christmas trees.

Christmas trees galore!

Sarah timed the first lift bridge to perfection, arriving just as another boat came the opposite way and opened it up for us! They very kindly let us through first – and probably regretted it when I then got stuck in the mud on the bend, so they had to wait a little longer until I could get clear!

One more lift bridge, which Sarah steered us through, and then just 4 locks for the day. At the bottom of one lock, there was a garden with some nice looking raspberries overhanging the canal. Oliver must have been hungry as he picked one (or maybe I got too close and brushed the edge, I’ll let you decide)

Two of the four locks we did today

We moored up at 11:40  on the the Lapworth flight; the plan was we’d then have time to do an oil change and clean the boat. We then had the pleasant surprise of seeing our friends Richard and Jane walking up the towpath – we’d arranged to meet them for dinner this evening, but weren’t expecting to see them quite so soon! We had a nice chat, and found they’d also seen my Mum and Dad down at the pub, so we ended up with my parents popping in for a quick visit before tomorrow too.

Well after all the chatter, what can I say… sorry but Oliver didn’t get the clean he was due, but the good news is I did get the oil change done and Sarah got all our stuff packed up ready for tomorrow.

Doing an oil change before tomorrow’s handover

There won’t be a blog entry for tomorrow as we’re doing the handover – but then Mum and Dad will be taking it on so look out for further updates from them over the next few weeks.

One last selfie to say farewell for now