Sunday, 30 August 2015

I'll just take a pic before I throw it back in ..........

Today's blog was going to be about our arrival on the Caldon. Well it still is ...though we had unwanted company! 

Our trip up the staircase locks went smoothly...this only because we had made something of a hash of helping the single gander in front of us!! 

Then, at Ivy Road swing bridge ...disaster struck. A tire not just round the prop. Not just absolute perfect fit and jammed solid. The story of it's removal is three hours long. It involves a hacksaw, boat stopping to see if bolt cutters would help...sadly he was there too early...they would have been great help later. What else? A call out to RCR..nice young man but as they are not allowed to cut anything, believing so he said, that there is nothing that can't be jemmied off...a chorus here of OH YES THERE IS would seem appropriate. least the rain held off and we were next to the road. 

A lovely boater passing in his car saw the RCR van and stopped for a chat. A local recommended we stay anyway as the first ever Staffordshire floodlit cricket was on the pitch across the canal that night.

Alistair in position

RCR taking a turn

They knew I was joking about throwing it back!

The offending item now travelling as passenger in the well deck

And finally, exactly where we wanted to be

Today Alistair is a bit battered. Cuts on his hands and arms. Chest bruised but refusing to class it as a bad day's boating! 

Friday, 28 August 2015

How could Pearsons Guide ignore this?

We moored in Stone on Tuesday. Collected post and parcels from the PO, handily placed in the Coop. Magic that we can now order something from Amazon or EBay and pick it up at the next town. 

We moored in the pound between Briges 93 and 94. Great spot. 

You can understand why boaters like Stone. It's a very welcoming spot. Probably because of it's long boating history.

If you read Pearsons you can learn about the Canal Carrying Company, the convent school of St Dominic's, Joules Brewery, The demise of boat Cressy, the Star pub and an old warehouse that's been converted into retirement flats. 

Not one word about Christina Collins. So, if anyone was wondering about the memorial and garden at Bridge 94.... let me enlighten you!

Christina Collins was the daughter of a Nottingham inventor. Her first husband Thomas Ingle y, a conjured, died in 1832. Christina was 30 and left practically penniless. 

Unusually, for those days, she married again, to a man she loved Robert Collins. They lived in Liverpool but he could not find work. Christina worked for. Dressmaker. Robert went to London and quickly found employment. Meh sent Christina a guinea to pay for her transport to join him.

On 15 June 1839, Christina travelled to Preston Brook to join a Messrs Pickford boat as a passenger. 

I am sure we would think it odd. A woman travelling in the cramped space of a working boat with 3 men she didn't know and a cabin boy. Nevertheless ..... 

They set off Christina, James Owne (Captain), George Thomas, William Ellis and William Muston.

The crew,mule,ed by alcohol, became increasingly unpleasant and rowdy. By Stone Christina feared for her safety. She told the Canal Clerk she was frightened on being 'meddled' with. His reply was that if she was 'meddled' with she should report it when they reached London! 

Late that night, at Hoo Mill Lock, the lockkeeper's wife woke and heard a woman crying,out. She went out to ask what was wrong. Told that the passenger's husband was with her she thought things were OK. Next day Christina's body was found at Rugely.

The boat had moved on.

At the trial, the defence claimed Christina had committed suicide. James Owen and George Thomas were hung.  William Ellis, although initially due to hang, was transported.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Belt up!

My 'holster' was the first item bought for QISMA. A Christmas present in 2009, the month before the steel was laid for the hull.

I love it. Hardly a boating day goes by without a comment on it's usefulness. I always point interested  'lockies' in the direction of

 So there was some excitement when we realised that Anon was moored a few boats along from us at Tixall. A visit was a must. Dave told me that most of his business was on line now.

LJ picking one out for his Dad.

 And I have been thinking how nice plain black would be! An addition to my boating wardrobe!

£35 well spent.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

What could be better.......a weekend at Tixall

What a difference four years makes. Last time we came through Great Haywood there was a big overstaying problem. At the Junction and onto the Staffs and Worcs. it was very hard to get a mooring. Almost impossible. Now it's clear. Hard to believe.

Tixall is good for exercise. Each day seems to demand a schlep into Great Haywood for farm shop or Post Office. Yesterday it was to meet up with my friend Justine, Tweetbuddy and Curtis Stigers fan, who drove over to have lunch with me. We gave the new Canalside Cafe the once over but went for the Lock Tearooms. It proved to be an excellent choice. Then a wander back so Justine could see QISMA and meet LJ. Because I dislike having my photo taken I have no record of this. Big mistake. 

Two more nights here before the demands of water etc...more etc than water, will have us moving on. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015


There might be a route pic missing but we've gone from Coventry to Fradley to Great Haywood in two days. That wasn't the plan but ...... Allowed us to pop round to Tixal this morning and get this view

On route we travelled for far too long...and over two days...behind serious contenders for the most clueless hire boat crew ever. From standing on bank trying to moor with only rope anyone was holding not attached to the boat to still not, having had help on four locks, taken on that you make sure paddles behind you are closed when you are in a lock and you open the ones in front of 
you to make a lock work. They still wanted to open the paddles behind them!! It would be unkind to say more...and they are now on their way back to Drayton Hire Boats so we are safe! 

 Lucky to cross with a working boat at Colwich. Last time we went through, some years ago, I met a fantastic old chap who had grown up on a working boat.

They had news of him. I thought for sure they were going to tell me he died. . No....he got married last week!!!

This was on the lock. I thought it was for him but there were some at Great Haywood as well

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Catching up and moving on

We had a visit on Sunday from Di,an ex colleague of Alistair's and her husband Pete. Really lovely to see them. This was us 60 seconds after they left. We had been opposite a pub...but under the bridge and a different world! 

Yesterday we moved on to the Coventry. Which is a canal we don't know so well but are really enjoying. We had intended to stay overnight at Alvechurch but the efficiency of postal service and our Doctor meant that mail and meds were collected by 1400 and the flight looked much more tempting.

A wave at Nikki on NB Miner Bill...fellow Tweeter. 

 We had stopped long before this!

Friday, 14 August 2015

A sting in the tale

Well a potential sting. Yesterday it was up to the Globe for a delivery from Ocada. Shopping opportunities are what you might call....lite on the Ashby. Top tip is to take advantage of the farm shops.  All easy, with James, our delivery man, arriving early and walking down to the tow path to find us.

The Globe is looking very smart. Just reopened after refurbishment. No longer dog friendly. We weren't going in anyway!

After that it was through the the tunnel and to the end of navigation. Lovely team on Eleanor looking after things.

Quickly filled and emptied and on our way. Moored at the very spot we had our eyes on but quickly we were over run by wasps so decided to move. Three hours later......

Hard to believe but that was three hours, without rain and we didn't see one boat on the move. It is August isn't it?

Now on our own, wasp free, and ready to sit out the rain.

First photo... Storm Petrel...the boat that inspired QISMA's colour scheme back in the summer of 2009.

 Coming to the end of navigation

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Nudity on Ashby Canal ... no pics!

Although we've only been here once before, the far end of the Ashby is one of our favourite places. Great to be here in sunshine. We have given ourselves a day off!!

Yesterday afternoon a boat came past. oK..not unusual. Told us of nude man at Bridge 57. Now that was a first. We didn't race up there. We did walk LJ that way later in the afternoon. We are moored at Bridge 56. 

There is a car park just bygones Bridge 57. It was nearly full. The memory gears started grinding. We came back and googled Gopsall Wharf. As soon as the results came up we realised we had done the same in 2009. It is one of the premier gay cruising spots in Leicestershire. We won't be mooring there! 


A couple of weeks ago I was thinking about a walk I did with LJ. Could picture the details. Had no idea where on the system it was. Amazing...yesterday we found it.yards from our mooring.,

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Very generous of you......not!

Back in April the catalytic converter was stolen from our car. We reported it to our insurance company. The cost of replacement was much less than we had thought so we did not claim. It's time to renew our insurance. The quote was too high. We could get over £100 off with the same company by starting over. Easy. Not really. They refused to accept us because 'the computer' showed an outstanding claim we hadn't informed them of!

Hours wasted trying to resolve this. one number is all you need they claim. Rubbish! We were explaining it to a call centre who then contacted the insurer....go figure. Did they explain things properly? Who knows. Then, they 'generously' did not deduct £25 cancellation fee from the refund of next year's insurance which they had taken before the company refused the policy!! Grrrrrrrrrr

It all falls into the 'I can't believe it category'.

Lesson learnt. Find out more about customer contact system before doing business with anyone! 

Back to boating. Not sure what critter lives in this house. First thought was chickens but no sign. Maybe rabbits? I can hear Lloyd Grossmn asking. How irritating! 

Friends of ours had a chimney made by The Little a Chimney Company...and here it is. 

Past the battlefield site and the Ashby becomes even quieter. Lovely. Nene ladder deployed. 

Monday, 10 August 2015

Strap that fridge/freezer on your back and bring it in!

Our fridge has been playing up. OK...our fridge has stopped working. It started playing up after Oundle ...which is a shame as we could have replaced it there. Still...we were on our way to Braunston so there really shouldn't be a problem.

An email to Midland Chandlers. Could we have a new fridge/freezer and would they take the old one away. The second question was politeness as Alistair knew that under some directive or other shops selling electrical goods now have to offer this service.

Reply from Midland. Yes to question 1. No to question 2.

We wanted to play nicely. We,left them alone and phoned the Bottom Lock Chandlery. Could not have been more helpful. Would order replacement and take the old fridge. Unfortunately, the website of CoolZone does not include the price of any of their products. We didn't want,to hang,round in Braunston so back to Midland.

We phoned a company that collects and properly recycles electrical goods. They weren't collecting in the area last week.

Time to remind Midland of their responsibilities. Copied to Head Office. Aha! Email from shop. Full content. If you bring it in we will accept it. Actually......... We don't have to bring it in. Do they actually understand 'I'm out on the boat?' It does make you wonder. 

Fuller reply and apology from HO. Yes aware of requirement,  Manager away, used so rarely member of team responding to our request not aware etc etc 

Second email followed. Longer than first. Ending with please accept £20 voucher to try and win back your custom,

Emailed Trinity Marina at Hinckley. Yes we can replace. Yes we will remove. By the way...we prefer to remove and replace for you. Why not come in and have free mooring overnight while it gets sorted out? 

Now....who do you think got our business?

Pic courtesy of my  buddy Simmo..who we didn't quite meet even though I had baked a cake! (Lemon Drizzle)

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Where did those years go?

Hawksbury Junction and on to the Coventry Canal. We weren't going to trouble it much today. The plan was to get onto the Ashby. We unearthed our old log. August 2009 since we were last on the Ashby in SIR GALAHAD days.  

Hawksbury Junction. We always say we can never get moored there. Truth is we have moored there but prefer somewhere out in the country these days. The joys if dog ownership and all that!

And onto the Ashby. Nice and clear for the turn.

And our quiet mooring.