Travelling has resumed

This was the snow in Cornwall before we left to go back to the boat.

The view of the clay hills from our window

Luckily we hadn’t booked a car otherwise we would have had to travel when the weather really wasn’t good. Once the weather looked like it was brightening the car was booked and we headed back on board Breakaway. We had the choice of cars and we chose a Fiat Tipo diesel, which had bags of room inside for our many items we always accumulate when back on land. One of them being a new 12v TV from Aldi. We had been concerned about how the boat would fair in the icy conditiions with no one onboard. The only problem was the shower temp guage had come disconnected; we thought we would have to buy a new one but Charlie to the rescue and it was mended. Fire and heating on at full blast to warm things up. We took the car back to Daventry and the next day had a light dusting of more snow, which got thicker as the day went on. No going anywhere for us just yet then. The wind was strong and it was still very cold. I had ordered a TV signal booster which we collected from Napton post office, hopefully this will shut out the 4G signal that keeps interfering with the TV picture. Overnight it had been cold and we awoke to the marina and canal frozen. It seems our plans to get out keep getting scuppered. Anyway it was probably a good thing as Charlie had been suspicious about our starter battery not performing well; so we ordered a new one from Multicell which they could deliver to the marina the next day. The old battery was 11 years old so had done well. We had a message from the crew of Little Marge (whom we met last year); they were going to arrive on their boat; as it turned out only one of the crew arrived while the other stayed at home in the warm!! We had our new battery delivered and after a Sainsbury delivery we were ready to move weather permitting. We were going to travel with Little Marge part of the way. We finally made it out on Friday 23rd February, and headed for Braunston. We stopped at Midland Chandlers to stock up with coal, and finally got to Hilmorton locks, where we met with Marge. Tea and cake on Marge, and beers in the eve on Breakaway. One thing we hadn’t tried was the TV on 12v. It worked on mains ok, but when we plugged the 12v in, there was nothing. Phonecall to customer services, as I had thrown the box away, but was told it was ok to return to an Aldi store, as wasn’t performing as it should; next Aldi would be at Atherstone, where we arrived after one night at Hawkesbury junction.

look who’s following us

untidy boatyard on the Coventry canal. I think I’ve got pictures of this before

Message from Marge’s other crew member that she would arrive at Atherstone station on the Monday. We arrived at Atherstone in good time on Sunday after a lovely cruise; which was then slightly marred by an elderly gentleman boater. We had pulled in behind him so I could walk forward and check the moorings further along. He asked if we were staying there, and I replied I wasn’t sure. He then pulled off and went forward. As I walked I said to him as it was often busy further down I was checking the situation. He then turned and grumped we had pinched his mooring spot!! I was a little taken aback by his remark as he had said nothing at the time; I do hate it when people moan after an event. I then retorted that we would have moved if he had said. Gggrrhh. Monday and we were up early to Aldi to return the TV. luckily for us they had another TV in the store but slightly smaller screen. So we did an exchange and this new one working perfectly on 12v. Otherwise we would have been without one, and Charlie does like his TV. We went back to the town after breakfast. Scouring the charity shops as usual, I found a wine rack for £1.95 which was just perfect for placing behind the fire to warm our red wine.

our new warming wine rack

Also bought 5 DVD’s, and a new washing up bowl in the ironmongers there. Mary arrived at 1.30, and it was lovely to see her and catch up. Tuesday 27th March and we moved down 5 locks with the help of the volunteers, in the rain. I managed some washing on the way.

Atherstone locks

Next day on to Bradley Green with Mary helping us through the locks. They stayed and came down the following day, and we helped Marge down. I made a fruit loaf for Good Friday instead of having Hot Cross buns. Rain, Rain, Rain and it really has been depressing and grey. So much rain over the winter period and many rivers have been shut to navigation. As we pulled away from Bradley Green the nearby field was a lake.

waterlogged fields

We were joined again on Easter Sunday by Mary and Stephen and had homemade scones, cream and jam courtesy of Mary. We had already shuffled along a bit more to Pooley fields nature reserve. This was an ex colliery site, and was quite a high spoil tip. Still raining but I walked with Izzy to the top. Once we returned to the boat the rain had stopped and we were on the move again as the batteries needed topping up, with the lack of sunshine the solars weren’t putting enough power in. More washing done along the journey, till we arrived at the Tame aqueduct at Fazeley junction, Tamworth.

the remains of Alvecote priory along the journey to Fazeley

not a very good picture of a nesting swan

We had a walk to Asda in Tamworth as needed to get some track suit bottoms for Charlie. Mary and Stephen weren’t sure which way they were going at this junction; but as it turned out they continued with us to Fradley junction. We stopped at Huddlesford to take on a Sainsbury delivery, as there was a pub next to the canal, and I could use their postcode. Delivery arrived on Friday 5th April and Charlie took the boat to Fradley whilst I stayed inside putting the shopping away. We met again with Mary and Stephen and managed to sit outside for eve drinks before we all felt too cold and had to retreat inside the boat for the warmth of the fire.

Friday 6th April and we were saying goodbye to Mary and Stephen. They helped us through the locks at Fradley; they were turning around and we were now on the Trent and Mersey canal, heading for Great Haywood.

over the fast flowing River Trent, with more waterlogged fields

some baa baa black sheep

view of Rugeley in the distance with more fields under water

Little Haywood church

We stopped about a mile short of Great Haywood junction. I had made dinner along the journey so everything was ready when we stopped.

Saturday 7th April and we shuffled along a bit further to have a nicer view. It was raining again, so we were happy to stay put.

Shugborough Hall

Now we were last here 3 years ago, and managed to look around the hall on our last visit. Many photos I have taken may already be on an earlier blog. Charlie spotted a woodpecker on the bank opposite

busy woodpecker

and there was an interesting fungus on a tree trunk

On Sunday we were off again through Great Haywood junction and onto the Staffs and Worcester canal. Although we have done this section before (but the other way), both of us cannot remember many of the sights.

an interesting kiddies play area

signpost near Stafford. I have promised a trip here on the way back.

approaching Deptmore lock

We stopped just after the above lock for the night. Monday 9th April and we were off again. We knew we had a few locks to do so we shared the load which made it a bit easier. Finally after 10 locks arriving at Calf Heath. Today we are not moving as heavy rain, and to be honest am fed up of getting wet. Blog all updated as fair phone signal, and we have a view of longhorn cattle in the opposite field. Tomorrow we will get to Autherley junction and turn onto the Shropshire Union canal; then we only have approx 15miles to our destination at Norbury. We are well on time for our slot on 22nd April. Just hope the weather improves.

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