Monday 17th to Sunday 23rd October 2011

Monday
Brinklow slept as we left our moorings. Called into Roses for an oil filter but changed my mind when I saw the prices and left as I went in – empty handed.

Passed Gosty Hill doing business along the way and we would have taken diesel at 85p had there been space in the tank. Always the same isn’t it, must plan fuel stops a bit better in future.
The day stayed bitterly cold, with grey skies and occasional spits and spots from rogue clouds.
Lit the fire in the evening and then the gas ran out. Tomorrow should be better.

Tuesday
It was a good day for dropping down Atherstone Locks, plenty of boat traffic but not chaotic. V gets to know who everyone is and where they’re going as one of the benefits of doing paddles while I get to say “Hi, nice day” and doff my hat to the ladies.

The sun appeared as we moored at Polesworth but chopping logs ruined my axe handle, so much for original USA Hickory. Where does one buy an axe handle? Libraries, Post Offices and axe handle shops are few and far between these days.

Wednesday
As Paul Whitehouse said “Getting old is brilliant, you can wear all your clothes at the same time”. I pulled last winter’s outdoor clobber from the cupboard and put everything on but it was still cold.
If this weather keeps up I shall have to find another coal boat and replenish the Pure-Glow stocks. Must look at the boat list and find out who runs from Fradley to Whittington.

Thursday
A crisp, clear morning with the promise of sunshine on our backs for the run to end of the Coventry Canal.
cows

We’d set our sights on Burton or at least Branston’s water meadows but by the time we’d reached Alrewas we were done in.

Bit surprised to see yet another marina in construction. Only a stone’s throw from Streethay Wharf, I wonder what the traffic will be like here next summer.
new marina

The website blurb says “Six acres of unspoilt land in Staffordshire”.
It was unspoilt.

Fradders was quiet, only one boat going our way so we had an easy passage downhill towards Alrewas. The skipper on Dolce Far Niente made signs as we passed which I took to mean we had blog reading in common.
sweet idleness

Nice boat, sporting a 52 number, terribly shiny and I wish ours could have stayed like that.
If my Latin is worth anything at all then Dolce Far Niente means Doing Sweet Nothing.

Can’t leave Fradley without parping at Belle but she wasn’t responding. Chris and Stell must be out.
She’s still looking good Chris, those hours of polishing are paying off.
belle

Spotted another 52 numbered boat before we’d moored, this time it was James and Doug on nb.Chance, an MGM boat from Thurmaston-on-Soar. Again there was little time to chat at the lock gates but we discovered yet another blog that was new to us.

As if that wasn’t enough for one day I knocked another job off the list by diving into the engine ‘ole to tinker with the mains genny on the side of our Beta engine.
For those of us with TravelPower mains generators on their engines I can pass on some good news. The brush set is so easy to change, a 10 minute job with a screwdriver and all for around £30.
Ours came from Mackworth Vehicle Conversions (01332-825400) near Derby and would have cost £22.66 if I had collected it. With £8 postage and VAT the total was £32.26, beat that Chris if you can.
Before and after photos show the wear in 7,800 engine hours.
travelpower brush

My weekend started on Friday, marked by a cooked breakfast. V must have been feeling sorry for me.
I rewarded her by tarting up the brasswork that hadn’t been touched for two years. I would have splashed Boots baby-oil on the paintwork but ran out of time. There have been comments, not helped by seeing three shiny boats in the last 24 hours.

Saturday (and Sunday) brought more sunshine and billions of boats both ways, one of which crossed to the wrong side and replaced our green paint with his blue. Just let it go, V said.
Muttering under my breath I washed the undented side with baby oil and took up the offer of an afternoon walk to get away from the canal.

You absolutely must go to the butchers at Alrewas everyone says, so we did.
alrewas butcher

And the church…
13th C church

I wandered around the gravestones but didn’t see anyone I knew and followed that with a peek inside the church.
Nice to see a church in use, evidence of people, plenty to read and a few objects to tease, like what could be inside this wooden chest?
church chest

The last time we saw one like this was at Ely museum which held official documents once upon a time.

The town (or is it a village?) is peppered with interesting old buildings and notably no sign of graffiti.
If this sign is anything to go by I can see why everyone behaves themselves.
warning

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Talking of coal boats, I gave Monarch and Grimsby a call to see if they were in our area for a bottle of gas. No, they’re miles away in Stone but happy to deliver. Talk about service, they were with us by 7.30pm and we got a better price than from many boatyards.
For some reason their tfn isn’t on the website but we got through on 07976686130.

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