What have we been up to this week….

We stayed at Atherstone bottom lock for 3 days as the weather forecast was for wind; and it certainly was windy, but as we were going down the canal, it turned out to be a sheltered spot. On our way again and a stop at the sani station at Bradley Green we headed for Polesworth. We were going to stop but decided to carry on as we had a rendezvous with a couple we met on the Llangollen and have kept in touch with. They had been into Birmingham and were headed for the Coventry canal. We had an overnight at Amington, which was a little too built up for our liking although good moorings. Off again on Saturday  (woke up to a smattering of snow), to meet with Keith and Margaret on NBPolleur at Fazeley junction. We had 2 locks to do at Glascote; Charlie was glad to be through them as although they are scheduled to be closed in February for repair, we didn’t want any mishaps that would prevent us from getting to the boatyard. We had a good weekend. Fish and chip supper on Saturday evening whilst catching up with each others travels; and I invited them for home cooked Sunday lunch onboard Breakaway. We had a lift with them on Monday back up the Coventry and walked to Tamworth (another ancient capitol of Mercia), after saying goodbye for this year. We will probably meet up again next year somewhere. It was nice to have a bit of company with different conversation.  I would have liked to visit Tamworth castle but sadly it is closed for the winter. Yesterday we decided to partake of the sani station facilities at Fazeley, and turn round and head up the Birmingham and Fazeley section to the first lock.

Artwork on a building at Fazeley junction

Artwork on a building at Fazeley junction

Passing the signpost, eventually we will return this way and head toward Fradley

Passing the signpost, eventually we will return this way and head toward Fradley

Under the bridge and onto the Birmingham and Fazeley section

Under the bridge and onto the Birmingham and Fazeley section

One of the old mill buildings that are at the junction

One of the old mill buildings that are at the junction

Now we have been on this section before in 2011 on our first narrowboat holiday. We remember it well as we sampled all the seasons that England produces in one day!!

Drayton manor amusement park also closed for the winter, but too expensive anyway for us retired people

Drayton manor amusement park also closed for the winter, but too expensive anyway for us retired people

Drayton foot bridge. A folly that links the towpath with the amusement park

Drayton foot bridge. A folly that links the towpath with the amusement park

We travelled as far as the winding hole below Curdworth bottom lock, then turned. It was a lovely bright day for cruising and not as cold as the previous few days. We have now moored beside Middleton nature reserve, which is run by the RSPB and it’s volunteers. Today we walked through the woodland walk area to Middleton Hall.

Tudor Middleton Hall

Tudor Middleton Hall

Tudor stable block that now has been converted to craft shops and cafe

Tudor stable block that now has been converted to craft shops and cafe

There has been people occupying this land for over 1000 years, but it is the Domesday book that first mentions it. There have been many owners over the years (Queen Elizabeth 1 visited in 1567), until it fell into disrepair and was rescued by volunteers who formed a trust to save and repair it. The land around it once housed gravel pits, and now it is the nature reserve.

I think a great tit partaking of the free food on the nature reserve

I think a great tit partaking of the free food on the nature reserve

One of the many lakes around the reserve

One of the many lakes around the reserve

A picture of our mooring from the bridge. It shows how quiet the canal is now.

A picture of our mooring from the bridge. It shows how quiet the canal is now.

Since we have been here only one boat passed this morning going down. A lovely rural spot, but only downside is whatever sunshine happens this time of year, is very low in the sky and doesn’t boost the panels enough to charge the batteries, so an occasional run of the engine is needed. I would like to stay here till the weekend, as Middleton Hall has a christmas fair; but I’ll have to see what the skipper wants to do; he doesn’t do shopping very well! It was looking christmassy there. If we stay I may go on my own!!

Breakaway from the opposite side of the bank. Note the colour as in the new year it will be looking different.

Breakaway from the opposite side of the bank. Note the colour as in the new year it will be looking different.

We have 3 weeks now to wait around so not long, then it will be a mad rush to get christmas presents (no room to store anything on the boat). Could do internet shopping but recently had 2 parcels go astray, so a bit unsure of ordering anything again, especially this time of the year.

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