Final destination for the year

We have spent the last week cruising up and back the same section of the Coventry canal, so we know it quite well now. There are facilities at both junction ends (Fazeley and Fradley), so if water and cassette emptying is required you either go one way or the other! 11 miles from end to end. We have had a couple of dry bright days, but on the whole the weather has been wet and windy.

managed to snap the rainbow in this ominous sky

managed to snap the rainbow in this ominous sky

The grandchildren were coming again at the wekend, so friday we set off for Fradley junction to partake of the amenities. On the way we stopped for diesel,coal and gas (fuel boat Auriga wasn’t coming back this way before christmas) at  Streethay Wharf. This is where the boat is being repainted. This is the second time we have called in unannounced, and they are always busy. Lets hope this is a good sign. After refuelling and filling with water etc at Fradley junction we turned and headed back to Whittington. There is a small playpark there which I thought would be useful to keep the grandchildren amused. But the weekend turned out to be very wet and it didn’t stop raining! I managed to go to the playpark once with my granddaughter (who doesn’t mind the weather and loves being outside); so that scuppered my plans. We should have stayed at Fradley! But some craft work was done as usual by my granddaughter, who made a fairy for the top of the christmas tree, amongst other things.

our advent tree complete with home made fairy

our advent tree complete with home made fairy

Yesterday we decided to set off again for Fazeley as with extra bodies on board the water needed filling and cassettes needed emptying again. It started off dry. We needed to stop and speak with the Little Chimney Co man, as our coolie hat top had come adrift. This we did on the way and our chimney now has a new coolie hat; the downside of this though is Charlie spotted a bird like top that spins in the wind, and now he wants one when the boat is repainted!! Again turning at Fazeley (getting good at turning) we headed back again until the rain started and the light was fading.

Today we have got ourselves in position just before Streethay Wharf, ready to take the boat there on Friday. We have things to strip down and need to bag up and put away what we can to try and keep them dust free. When the painting is done the windows are removed; the boat gets stripped back to the bare steel; any little faults are corrected on the bodywork. So stands to reason that dust is bound to penetrate everywhere. If the weather is dry I take Izzy for a walk whilst Charlie steers the boat; usually approx 3miles is a comfortable walk, bearing in mind the towpaths are extremely muddy and slippery. Today after mooring up and Izzy having her feet wiped, she settled down on the settee for a sleep on Charlies coat!

Lovely comfy bed on Charlie's northface coat!

Lovely comfy bed on Charlie’s northface coat!

This will be my last blog from the boat until we return in February. We are off to Leicester on Saturday to my daughters for a couple of days. Then to Cornwall for Christmas and New Year. Things to do and people to see. Lots of appointments made for the first week in January with Hospital, Doctor, Dentist plus a couple of other things we need to sort out. Weather permitting we want to travel to London and the South East to visit friends at some point, then back to Cornwall possibly ; finally finishing back in Leicester! Phew, who said retirement was boring!

Blustery weather

Kept us at the nature park mooring for a week. It is the longest we have stayed in one place ever. But wet and windy weather isn’t desirable for cruising. It was a lovely quiet spot. Only a couple of boats passed, and we only had another boats company for one night, in that time we were there. It was a nice place for dog walking, and even Izzy was getting used to the route. A few mornings the Konik ponies that were grazing the scrub were in shot for a photo, but I didn’t have a camera. The one morning I took the phone this was the closest I got unfortunately.

Konik  ponies are semi-feral and originate from Poland. They are ideal to graze heathland and scrub areas, as can live out all year round.

Konik ponies are semi-feral and originate from Poland. They are ideal to graze heathland and scrub areas, as can live out all year round.

I was glad to stay as I wanted to visit the Christmas Fair at Middleton Hall. Charlie decided to come as well, and I entrusted him with the phone camera to take photo’s. Bad move as he only took two photo’s, and neither were looking Christmassy!

Tudor Barn inside the forecourt of Middleton Hall

Tudor Barn inside the forecourt of Middleton Hall

And another building opposite

And another building opposite

The admission was £2 which went to the upkeep of the Hall, which is all managed by volunteers. It gave a chance to look around the inside; a museum room upstairs plotted the history of the Peel family, of whom the famous Robert Peel was a member., and also police memorabilia. The family owned Drayton Manor in the 17th and 18th centuries, but the manor was demolished in 1920 due to the family not being able to afford the upkeep of it. The area is now a theme park. Robert Peel was the MP for Tamworth, as well as founding the police force. There were lots of  local artisan stalls selling jewelry, candles, bags, cakes, fruit and veg etc. I managed to get a few christmas gifts to my delight. Also got some veg with black carrots and golden beetroot to try (both much sweeter than the normal varieties).

Keeping an eye on the weather forecast, we decided to move on Tuesday as it was forecast dry. The plan was to fill up with water and empty the toilet cassettes, and get the washing done; stopping only when this task was completed. I only have a 3kg machine onboard, so had 3 loads to do. We achieved it and managed to get to Whittington. We were last moored here in August when we had our granddaughter onboard. I am surprised at the lack of boats moored and moving along this stretch of canal, although suits us fine. Wednesday I managed to book a haircut appointment in Whittington (always manage to get an on the day appointment whenever I need a haircut). Whilst I was there Charlie moved along to the next winding hole and turned the boat around so we could head back toward Fazeley again. The plan this time was to go to the large out of town shopping park, and try and get a few more christmas presents. We found a mooring near the roadway we needed to walk along, which just happens to be in one of the CRT designated winter mooring spots (although the signs for this are nowhere to be seen). Today we went shopping and purchased a few more gifts (at least we have something now). It’s quite scary walking around an area that typically has been designed for cars, despite traffic lights and crossings, drivers don’t always look for pedestrians. Tomorrow we are off  to turn again at Fazeley, and head back toward Whittington; although we will probably stop at a place called Hopwas, as there were nice moorings there (and Charlie fancied a pub pint! with 2 pubs to choose from). The weather for the weekend is wet and windy again so we will stay put until it passes. The temperature though as been exceptionally mild for December these last few days.  Only 2 weeks now till the boat goes into the boatyard. I have negotiated to take it in 2 days early, and we have booked a car from Lichfield.