Monday 7th to Sunday 13th March 2011

Time to leave the Ashby de la Zouch Canal, as the old map calls it, and get moving south again. Charity Dock makes me chuckle every time we pass, if only we could stop, I could have hours of fun exploring such an amazing collection of stuff.

It might also help to make V feel better about the state of our utility room, cratch, bow lockers and cupboards on my side of the bed.

Hawkesbury Junction is one of those dependable places, always there where you last left it.
I swear it’s the same boat coming round the corner into the narrows as I straighten up to make my final approach. He must sit there outside the pub waiting and then spring into action at the worst possible moment.
Hawkesbury Jnct

I’ve never done it but often wondered what would happen if I bumped the stop lock top gate on the way in and let all the water from the North Oxford into the Coventry Canal. Would Coventry flood if it had another 6 inches of water?

We started looking for a mooring after the stop lock but somehow nothing looked terribly inviting so we motored on. Met a man with a camera near the golf course, no bike, no boat and miles from a road. Didn’t have long to wait before all became clear, a filthy great green steam engine thundered up the line next to the canal. How do people find out about such things?

We called it a day at Brinklow and squeezed into the last space on the piling between a row of boats and Gandalf sporting a ‘new’ shade of blue.

Not a very satisfactory night, thanks to a certain blue boat running a large generator long after the 8pm deadline. I knocked on the boat at 9.15 asking when it would be turned off only to be told that it would go off when he was good and ready. It went off at 9.40pm.
I was told by a neighbour that it regularly runs until 10pm and that it doesn’t pay to argue. He also told me he was prepared to come to my aid if it sounded like I was in pain. Isn’t that nice.

V walked to town (town?) for a newspaper but I waited for wheels. Graham was kind enough to bring the last of his willow tree trimmings and take me to Brinklow for a chat about blokes things like radios. The only place we could find open was a pub and that was doing the sort of food I like – anything and chips.

Back at the boat we loaded up with logs, said our goodbyes and motored down to Rugby.

Recent promptings paid off and I was ready with an anniversary card this morning.
As ever V’s planning is spot on and I found myself in front of the flower stall with enough readies to buy her a lovely bunch of roses. Ahhhh.

I’m afraid the shock of spending money sent me to the café for a bacon roll and coffee while V went off to fill the trolley.

Pulling out of Ruggers we found Gosty Hill lurking opposite the park so we tied up alongside for coal and diesel (86p), almost blocking the canal. Don’t you just hate that. But very satisfying when it’s yourself doing it.

Off again and this time we managed a few miles before stopping for a chat with Les on Valerie. Haven’t seen Les this happy for a while, grinning from ear to ear he was full of good news about his new love, our Jaqueline from west coast USA. He mentioned doing a spot of reorganising inside the boat and, as you’ve probably guessed, he’s making room for a new wardrobe!!.
I think he’d be better off spending his money on a boat stretch or towing a butty, we all know how much space handbags and shoes take up.

Some sunshine and lots of wind, a brilliant day for sailing so we crabbed along doing our best not to touch both sides of the canal at the same time.
Passed No Problem and Moore 2 Life waiting for a delivery at a bridge and after the customary insults we pushed on into the gales until we’d had enough, on the outskirts of Braunston.

At any other time of the year I would say the night was filled with babies in wet nappies calling for their mums. But spring is the time that baby woollies appear and it seemed like every one of them lost his mummy as darkness fell.
new lambs

Got a bit of a fright today, drew some fuel off the water separator and discovered some strange looking diesel living in there. Thicker than diesel it had a slightly opaque appearance, a bit like candyfloss.
Removing the fuel filter revealed a dark smoky substance living inside it. I’ve never seen diesel bug but this looks a bit like the descriptions on the internet. Oh dear, I feel another big spend coming on when we get to the chandlers in Braunston.

NP and M2L pulled in behind us late morning which gave us a chance to share our misery. Vic very kindly lent me his suction thingy which pulled fuel off the bottom of the tank. At least that looked healthy.

And the sun was out, which was nice.

It’s a good day for internet work – fixing up a census return (it’s complicated) and booking Balmaha into something special down south (more about that nearer the time).

The North Oxford Canal is now going crazy with boats, everyone’s out for the weekend and the air is filled with shouts of “Boat” as we brace ourselves for the dive, swing, clunk as we respond to the water flowing first this way then that, finishing with a graunching sound as metal hits metal and we come to rest again.

But one boat sailed in very gracefully, It was Sarah-Kate, fresh out of the West Midlands. Mike and Jo have joined us and our spring cruise has officially started.

There was much to catch up on over the evening meal and all that remains is to outline a plan for the cruise to the Big Apple.
Really looking forward to this, we’ve been to Brentford but have yet to explore the Paddington Arm and the Lee and Stort.