Tuesday, 25 April 2017

New covers

Thurs 13 April - Kathy and Fraser from AJ Canopies have been visiting us for a few weeks now, measuring and templating for our front cover (this being a replacement for a badly made leaky cover by Karl of KC Covers) and creating a new pram cover for the rear.

We went to see them back in October at Braunston, we looked at materials, Kathy was very good at going into detail about the wear of different material types and letting us know what was most suitable for our intended use. 

Orders placed and deposit paid Suzanne from the office was on the phone again in March arranging available dates with us to meet Kathy and Fraser at the boat.

Having made and fitted both canopies the only thing left was a thorough walk through of how to take the rear canopy down and put it back up.  We thanked them both for the smart new look we have, it's also meant that when the rear deck is in canopy up position we gain a further 8ft of useable space, result.

So if you are in need of any canopies I cannot recommend they enough, good communications, stuck to their timescales and kept us informed throughout, as well as forwarding us some photos of both canopies before the walk through. photos curtesy of AJ Canopies, Braunston.

Front canopy, using the existing fittings to the boat, with the added bonus that water is kept out!

New rear pram cover, 10 mins to take down/put up.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

First cruise with visitors

Friday 7 Feb - Sunday 9 Feb - We got to the boat at midday on Friday, having collected two friends en-route., Jimmy and Lindsay.  The cloud started to break as we neared the marina, big smiles all round at the prospect of such a perfect boating weekend.  After unpacking, which was done very quickly indeed, we untied and turned left out of the marina.

The weather by now was warm and sunny with more blue appearing with every second. The woodland areas alongside the canal were alive with birdsong, and the hedgerows bursting into life, hawthorn blossom, catkins and pussy willow all visible.

Lunch was taken alfresco style on the back deck, just by bridge 47, after 3 we pushed off.

After a couple of hours we were at the end of the Ashby and turning at the winding hole.  The moorings here at the end were busy, a boat that had been back at the rubbish point while we turned had a mild panic when they thought we'd be mooring, to many boats here for our liking and all now in shade, so mooring there was not our intention.  We carried on through the short tunnel, out the other side, past the tree lined part of the canal and out into the sunlight, still quite warm at 6 o'clock.

Having settled in to the mooring we went for a short walk to the Globe, where we all had a lovely evening meal with good service.
Trying to impress a lady in the morning sunshine, Snarestone

Saturday - We had a lazy breakfast, enjoying the sunshine.  Our guests reported they had a comfortable night on the dinette bed, good news, it's the first time it's been used!

Todays trip was to be along the canal, past the marina and on to Stoke Golding where we hoped to moor for the night.

What a perfect day, made by the still dry, warm and sunny weather, we passed by plenty of happy walkers, and met one or two boats along the way.

We moored just before Shenton Aqueduct in a peaceful location, overlooking fields of gold oil seed rape, and the sound of the steam train in the background.

We pootled on to Stoke Golding, passing a very busy Sutton Wharf, everyone was out enjoying this rather lovely weather.  Having moored a walk to the village was on the cards to get a paper.  drinks on the back deck reading and relaxing were the order for the rest of the afternoon.  We walked up to the White Swan for the evening , having booked a table a couple of weeks ago, a lovely warm welcome and great food.
Three days of perfect weather, keep the liquid intake up

Sunday - Sunhats and shorts were the order of the day, along with sun cream, glad we still had some on board.  We travelled past Ashy boats, the hire fleet were all out, so it was easy to get through the bridge, usually we have passed here and they hire boats are moored three abreast, making it difficult to manoeuvre. Just before bridge 22 we winded (turned) and moored outside Spinney Bank Farm Shop.  Ice creams sausages and hot cross buns amongst our purchases we returned to the boat to enjoy the ice creams.

Pootling on again, with hardly any other boats on the move we moved on towards our lunch stop, Sunday roast was enjoyed moored at Shenton Aqueduct.  A shout out from a someone on a nearing boat saw us exchanging comments with the Marina Manager Chris, such a happy chappy :-)

The afternoon was enjoyed before we reluctantly made our way back for the last hour to the marina, in true fashion the wind had picked up especially for our return, but on the second attempt to get back onto our pontoon there was a perfect manoeuvre that saw us tying up with no problems at all. 

All that was left to do was a quick pack up and transfer of stuff to the car and the drive home.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside -

Here we are on the last day of January, and the evenings are starting to draw out, more noticeable on a sunny day of which we appear to have had a few.

We've made the most of trying to get out to some nice seaside places, and have taken advantage of the 'out of season' quiet time.

Here are some photos of places we have been in January - both South and North coasts.

Looking over Preston Beach towards Torquay, from Paignton
Fishing off Torquay

Dartmouth, boats in the shelter of the estuary
At Blue Anchor looking towards Dunster and Minehead

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Looking for Christmas

Fri 16 Dec - It's been a while since I wrote anything here, we've been very hectic, and although we've been to the boat, it's been really lovely not to think about the blog! 

We took advantage of the marina pump-out for the first time (we know how to have fun) and also filled the diesel tank.  getting onto the service jetty was really easy - no wind, flat calm fingers crossed it'd be like that on the way back.

With the sun breaking through the low cloud we se off down the Ashby for Stoke Golding, just a couple of hours cruising but enough, we took it in turns steering, I negotiated a couple of the really tight bends through bridges at the beginning, but then chickened out and let the professional do the mooring up manoeuvre.  The trip to stoke Golding corner was uneventful, we passed 3 boats, all jolly and chatty.

We had booked a table at the White Swan, just up the hill, and the first pub you come to in Stoke Golding, this was our third visit since the new landlord took over, glad we booked as they were full! the food was yummy and well priced, well worth a visit, home made grub by the landlord Jamie - we'll be back.

Walking back to the boat in the fog we were pleased that we'd put the Christmas lights up, it certainly gave us something to aim for.

Sat 17 Dec - a Lazy morning, we set off for bridge 22 to wind, the sky was blue and the sun was warm and the air was very still.  Once winded we moored at the farm shop just short of bridge 23 - if you've never visited spinney bank farm shop then you're missing out, Elaine is really helpful, she butchers her own meat.  We stocked up, cleared the shop of chicken sausages (they are yummy scrummy) a few joints of beef and pork.  Even ice cream was purchased! 

Back at the boat coffee was drunk out on the back seats, the sun was really warm and it was lovely just to sit and enjoy it for a while.

We made our way back to the marina, lots of jolly people out for walks what a difference the sun makes.  We had chicken sausage sandwiches for lunch mmmm, and were aiming to get back to our berth by 3 ish, which we did, again there was no breeze, and getting back to the berth was a real treat, no pirouettes today.

Sun 18 Dec - boat winterised, Christmas lights taken down and we set off home, a really festive, relaxing weekend.

Just looked lovely in the sun

Sunday, 4 September 2016

The Motor Museum

Mon 29 Aug - After breakfast we decided to walk into Coventry and have a look around the motor museum, it's a short walk from the canal basin, and free entry.  When you enter you are not aware of the sheer scale of the building and how many exhibits it has, we were gobsmacked by this, and spent a good few hours wandering around.

From bicycles, to the world speed record cars, and everything in-between, here are some photos of our visit.

When we returned to the boat the three others that had cruised into the basin with us had left, we decided to leave too after a very late lunch, so at 4 we left, and made our way back to Hawkesbury for the night, facing in a different direction and looking forward to our return to the peace and quiet of the Ashby canal.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts, an armchair, rocking horse, waste bins too

Mon 29 Aug - Coventry, after a disturbed night (too many dogs thinking they own the new area they now find themselves in) we left early, actually Martin untied and set off while I was still in bed.  I joined him shortly after a little bleary eyed, a couple of cups of tea later all was well.

Our cruise into Coventry was uneventful, but showed the not so nice side of where you can take your boat.  It had the blackest stretch of water I have ever seen on a canal, our spirits - well mine- were lifted with the smell of the bakery wafting over to us.

Along the way we encountered, coconuts, so many we lost count, two large waste bins that looked like black icebergs from a distance, a bright pink armchair, a television - no remote control seen though, a matching pair of flip flops, and a matching pair of shoes half a mile apart, many footballs, and a rocking horse, not to mention far too many plastic and glass bottles, drinks cans and rubbish bags, with the odd wooden pallet thrown in (literally) for good measure.

The not so nice:

Some of the many cans, balls and bottles

One of the many coconuts, sadly they'll never take route on an idyllic island setting

Once loved and cherished

Pull up a chair and watch....

...some television
A new art installation?

Friday, 2 September 2016

Weekend at Hawkesbury Junction

Sat 27 Aug - We left the Lime Kilns after a lazy morning, we headed down the Ashby for the 2hr trip to Marston Junction, where we turned left.  The rush hour had gone and we were on our own, lovely, ominous clouds were looming though in the distance, and we hoped it would stay dry at least until we were safely moored up and inside!  the lightening could be seen towards Coventry, and then the thunder, and then it got louder and more frequent.  We turned the corner onto the final approach to Hawkesbury junction and made a bee line for the first stretch of free Armco, where we tied up just in time as within seconds of closing the rear doors and the hatch the heavens opened.

We viewed the hire boats continuing and remembered doing the same when we had hired.

We ventured down to the Greyhound pub in the evening to see what it was like, I don't think we'll be back in a hurry, and certainly not in the summer during the school holidays, the tables were very sticky, glasses everywhere and not somewhere we would like to perch and eat.

Sun 28 Aug - We stayed put today, we're on a nice wide stretch of canal, away from the sometimes chaotic junction and we have a nice wide stretch of grass too.  There are some very large tasty blackberries in the hedging alongside, Sunday crumble here we come!

We ventured down to the Engine house bridge and walked to the convenience store just through the new housing estate, Sunday paper in hand we walked to the other pub in Hawkesbury the Boat, clean and tidy, and a local drinkers pub, but no real Ale as there is no call for it with the clientele.