Friday, 20 October 2017



After a couple of days at Alrewas it was good to see a coal boat which is something we haven't seen for a few months. As I have said before we always buy if we can from the coal boats as in the middle of Winter and with ice on the canal these boats are a life line for many us livaboard /continuous cruisers .This boat is called Auriga and is operated by Rick on his historic Narrowboat which was Built by Harland and Wolff in 1935. It’s the first time we have ever used Rick and full marks to him as he reversed all the way back to us from the winding hole in Alrewas to serve us with diesel and coal. Rick covers a wide area in the midlands and can be contacted on this number.

PHONE RICK ON 07962 013199

                                                                                                          Happy Days

Thursday, 19 October 2017



We pulled pins from Branston at 08.40 and were soon at Branston lock where I was well impressed with this fence. Being an ex mechanic its always good to see old engine parts being put to good use


The lock cottage at Branston lock does B&B and has to be a great place to stay if you enjoy canals.


Number one Lock wheeler Carolyn preparing the lock.


After a good cruise we dropped back down on the the river Trent for the one mile section between Wychnor and Alrewas  . This probably be the last bit of river we do for some time as it is all canals heading South after here.Passing the church we discovered that   "Wichnor (Wychnor), or Whichnour, is a scattered village, township and chapelry, forming the south end of Tatenhill parish, six and a half miles SW of Burton-upon-Trent and the same distance NE of Lichfield. The whole belongs to the lord of the manor, John Levett, Esq, of Wichnor Lodge, a handsome mansion, seated in a beautiful park of 300 acres, on the north bank of the Trent.
The river Trent here runs in two circuitous streams, crossed by a range of noble aqueducts, forming part of the canal, and by a stone bridge, of many arches and culverts, on the Lichfield and Burton road, which latter is the Icknield Street of the Romans. Near the bridge is an iron forge, established about 90 years ago. King James I visited Wichnor, on August 21st, 1621, and held a court at the hall, and he dined there again on August 19th, 1624. The corn mills here were burnt down in 1596." It’s another one of those places that you pass and never seem to go and explore , maybe one day.


Not a brilliant picture of a Kingfisher but I will endeavour to get a better one.


As we come off the short river section Carolyn locks us up in to the village of Alrewas. As you can see the river is on green boards which means it is safe to navigate .


After winding we picked up this 14 day mooring which is just a short stroll from the village . With a Chippie and a Chinese takeaway it will be a tough decision of what to have for dinner tonight .With Carolyn heading back down to Devon for a couple or three days or more and me having all I need here I will wait in this lovely village for her return.

                                                                                              Happy Days

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Back on the cut


Pulling pins from our mooring at Shardlow we had a good cruise in front of us today as we wanted to get to the other side of Burton on Trent and try and pick up a mooring at Branston water park . It was good to see this Skein of Geese flying over the top of us as we cruised up the Trent and Mersey canal.


We have seen this one before somewhere but never moving along .It has two small electric outboard engine which are fixed to a bit of timber. It would be interesting to see how fast it goes and how well it handles.


Reaching Weston lock and this is one of the only locks anywhere that Carolyn cant open or close the gates on. As well as them being heavy they also slope back in towards the lock and even with my heavy weight I still struggled.


With the colder weather coming we decided it was time to get some coal on the roof and as we hadn't seen a coal boat for some time we went in to Mercia marina to pick some up. As you can see the new building work is coming on and there will soon be even more high end expensive shops here , just what us boaters need. We assumed that the coal would be on the wharf where you get the diesel but it was up outside the reception. We were told that we would have to sack truck it ourselves from there to the Midland chandlers pontoon where we were told to moor. Needless to say with such poor customer service we didn't bother and went on our way.


Better luck at Shobnall marina for our coal. We pulled up outside and the lovely helpful staff there barrowed out 5 bags of Excel coal to us. This will do us until we meet up with a coal boat and get a full load .

On our way again we pass the Marston's brewery which John Marston established in 1834 at the Horninglow Brewery at Burton upon Trent. By 1861 the brewery produced 3,000 barrels a year. In 1890, Marston & Son Ltd was registered as a limited liability company. In 1898 Marston's amalgamated with John Thompson & Son Ltd and moved to Albion Brewery on Shobnall Road, which the company still operates. By this time the brewery had a capacity of 100,000 barrels a year. It was at this time that the Burton Union system began to be used. In 1905, the company merged with Sydney Evershed to form Marston, Thompson & Evershed.

The British brewery and pub operates over 1,700 pubs in the UK, and is the world's largest brewer of cask ale. 90 per cent of profits come from the pubs division. It was known as Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries plc until 2007 when it rebranded as Marston's.

It owns six breweries and brands including Marston's, Banks's, Jennings ,Ringwood and Wychwood. Its priority products are Marston's Pedigree and Wychwood Hobgoblin.


After a good cruise we picked up this mooring just before Branston water park . The bridge in front of us has just been built and there is now building work going in in the fields both sides of us and opposite the water park . I dare say that the next time we come this way it will look completely different.

Tomorrow it will be a short cruise to my favourite village of Alrewas where we will spend a few days before heading South for the Winter.

                                                                                              Happy Days

Sunday, 15 October 2017

May contain nuts

A few more boat names .


Just what we do.


Most boats do.


Definition of mugwump - a person who remains aloof or independent, especially from party politics. That's not me ! .


That's definitely me.


Guess their surname is Wood.


Liked this one.


One of the most common names for a boat.

                                                                                            Happy Days

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Past Shardlow


Pulling ropes through rings in Nottingham and it wasn't long before we spotted this mad Kiwi walking along the towpath. It is of course friend Marilyn from NB waka Huia . Unfortunately we only had time for a quick chat with her and David before we said our goodbyes.One day we will eventually meet up for a drink and a bite to eat .


Leaving the Beeston and Nottingham canal Carolyn locks us back onto the river Trent . With plenty of fresh (rain water) it should be fun heading back up towards Shardlow.


What a great sight . A steam boat cruising down the river Trent.


With the day becoming a lot better we pass the entrance to the Erewash canal.


In the distance you can see Sawley locks which are a pair of automated locks.


This is a first for us . There has been a lot of rain over the last few days and Sawley flood locks have been put in to operation .The river Trent has gone onto yellow boards so we have to negotiate this lock which we have never had to do before when we have been here.


Straight ahead of us we have the entrance to the Trent at Mersey canal which Carolyn cant wait to get on as she will be off the river.As we enter the canal we got buffeted from the flow from the river Derwent from the right and the river Trent from the left which was a great bit of fun.


With no moorings available in Shardlow we carried on for a couple of miles and picked up this mooring . With the weather forecast predicting high winds we will be well sheltered here below the lock.

                                                                                          Happy Days