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

Monday, 9 October 2017

Fire !


What a lovely picture this is and unfortunately we now have to un plug it . Its a different world when you are getting electric online instead of having to rely on your batteries and having to produce all the electric through solar or running your engine.


Its time to reverse off our pontoon in Lincoln and head back towards Torksey and then up the river Trent to Shardlow and then back onto the canal system.


After leaving Lincoln and needing a fill up with diesel and get a gas bottle so we pulled in to Burton waters marina.


After ringing them and getting prices before entering we were directed onto the service dock which appeared to be a bit burnt. It seems that a guy with a wooden boat came in for petrol and was cooking his lunch on his gas stove as they started filling his boat with petrol . Needless to say the inevitable happened and the fumes from the petrol set the boat and everything else on fire . The boat as well as the pumps and everything in the vicinity was destroyed. There is a link to the video of what happened below.


Leaving the marina we arrived at Torksey for our passage on the tidal river Trent up to Cromwell lock.


After locking down and in my element we joined the Trent on a Spring tide which carried us up the river Trent at a great speed towards Cromwell. As you can see Carolyn is just not happy on rivers even though there is nothing to worry about.


With a speed limit of 8mph we get plenty of plastics/Tupperware/GRP’S/Yogurt pots speeding past us.


We had a great cruise up to Cromwell lock with the spring tide in our favour all the way up to the lock.


After passing through Cromwell lock and a very long day we arrived back at Newark and were very lucky to pick up this mooring on the pontoon outside of the CRT offices.


After an early morning shop we pulled ropes from cleats at 09.05 and headed up through Town lock in Newark and then on towards Nottingham. The weather was overcast and a bit wet but to be honest we didn't really care . This has to be better than working.


With the weather brightening up we had several locks to negotiate on our way and after a bit of rain the flow in the river had increased making it a lot more fun ,although Carolyn didn't think so.


Nearly in Nottingham as we enter and ascend Holme lock which seemed to be a lot bigger as we were the only ones in it.


The last lock on the Trent before the Nottingham and Beeston canal where we will spend the night before cruising the last bit of the river Trent tomorrow and then back onto the canals .

                                                                                                     Happy Days

Friday, 6 October 2017

Out and about.


Our last day in Lincoln and its a walk back up the main street to pick up a few essentials . Even on a week day the town is buzzing with people and a city well worth a visit if you haven't been here before.


This is The Brayford water clock which we can see from our mooring in the marina and is a sculpture sited in the centre of Lincoln, next to the Brayford Pool.
A 26’ high rotating water clock, that chimes on the hour.
The whole of the top section rotates once an hour, like the minute hand of the clock.
Water flows constantly down the copper bowls and as the hour is reached the bowls are released which in turn tips the arms and chimes the bells.
At night a light beam shines down to the base showing the time.


Walking along the front and Carolyn suggested popping in to Marco Pierre Whites restaurant for a bite to eat. But I said there is a far better one about 100 yards away.


OOPS ! I'm in trouble and it seems I'm a tight old Git as well . Carolyn wasn't happy about my choice of where to eat ,but I still say you cant beat Weatherspoon's for value .Where else can you get an Aberdeen angus Steak and a pint for 8 quid. Just the ticket  .


Our last night and this is the view of Lincoln Cathedral from our front room window . We have enjoyed our time here so much that its a place we will have to come back to one day.

                                                                                                     Happy Days

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Lincoln Imp


Another perfect Autumn day up North in Lincoln looking out over Brayford pool with our mooring in the distance .


This is the main street that leads all the way up to the Cathedral and the castle . We were told it got very steep towards the top and was nicknamed Heart attack hill and we were advised to catch the bus up which was only a couple of quid each. But me being me thought better in my pocket than the bus companies so off we went.


With Carolyn bounding on ahead I am starting to struggle as its becoming a lot steeper than I thought it would be.


There are shops all the way to the top but I think someone has missed out on a great business opportunity here .What they need is a shop selling Oxygen as Its one of the steepest hills I've ever walked up and by the time I got to the top I was gasping for air.


Eventually after a struggle we made it to Lincoln cathedral, and sometimes known as St Marys cathedral which is the seat of the Anglican bishop .Building commenced in 1088 and continued in several phases throughout the medieval period. It was the tallest building in the world for 238 years (1311–1549), and the first building to hold that title after the Great Pyramid of Giza. The central spire collapsed in 1549 and was not rebuilt. The cathedral is the third largest in Britain (in floor area) after St Paul's and York Minster, being 484 by 271 feet (148 by 83 m). It is highly regarded by architectural scholars; the eminent Victorian writer John Ruskin declared: "I have always held... that the cathedral of Lincoln is out and out the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles and roughly speaking worth any two other cathedrals we have."


One of the stone carvings within the cathedral is known as the Lincoln Imp. There are several variations of the legend surrounding the figure. According to 14th-century legend, two mischievous imps were sent by Satan to do evil work on Earth. After causing mayhem elsewhere in Northern England the two imps headed to Lincoln Cathedral, where they smashed tables and chairs and tripped up the Bishop. An angel appeared in the Angel Choir and ordered them to stop. One of the imps sat atop a stone pillar and started throwing rocks at the angel whilst the other cowered under the broken tables and chairs. The angel turned the first imp to stone, allowing the second imp to escape. The imp that turned to stone can still be found sitting atop his stone column in the Angel Choir. Even though we looked everywhere we couldn't take a picture because we couldn't find the bleeding thing. Carolyn said we should have bought a guide but I'm far to thrifty to do that.

This is what we were looking for and couldn't find.


From the cathedral it was just a short walk to the castle which is a major castle constructed in Lincoln England during the late 11th century by William the Conqueror on the site of a pre-existing Roman fortress. The castle is unusual in that it has two mottes .It is only one of two such castles in the country, the other being at Lewes in Sussex. Lincoln Castle remained in use as a prison and law court into modern times, and is one of the better preserved castles in England; the Crown Courts continue to this day. It is open to the public as a museum. Lincoln Castle remains one of the most impressive Norman castles in the United Kingdom. It is still possible to walk around the immense Norman walls which provide a magnificent view of the castle complex, together with panoramic views of the cathedral, the city, and the surrounding countryside.


This is Carolyn outside of Lincoln crown court where Courts have been held at Lincoln Castle since it was first built. Back then the sheriff, who was William the Conqueror's right hand man in Lincolnshire, presided over the castle's shire court. Today the Gothic Revival courthouse, built in 1826 for the Lincolnshire Assizes, is still a working building where criminal trials are heard by Lincoln Crown Court.


Going back down the hill was a lot easier than going up ,even so Carolyn still had to wait for me to catch up.

Tomorrow Carolyn is going to have an early start and hit the shops before we head out and about in town on our last day here.

                                                                                                Happy Days