Category Archives: Grand Union Leicester Line

On The M25. 5th 6th June

Before breakfast Mick was heading off on the Brompton to pick up a hire car from Enterprise. So much for their slogan ‘The company that picks you up‘! Mick had called them yesterday to arrange a pick up from the marina. The website had suggested that the Weybridge branch was the closest so he’d chosen to book with them, after all they were only 3 miles away. Sorry we don’t cover that area, we’ll need to move your booking to Woking. This apparently was going to happen, so Mick called Woking to arrange a pick up, however because he’d prepaid the booking couldn’t be moved! We’ve come across this before. It just ended up being easier all round to keep the booking with Weybridge and either get the bus or cycle to pick up the car. The later was chosen.

Magic food bowl filled and timer set

As bags were packed with overnight things, Tilly got twitchy. Oh blimey not the super fast outside! She needn’t have worried, she was being left in charge of Oleanna. The magic food bowl came out from under the bathroom sink. Cod and Tuna please. And I got to select toys from my toy box, it smells so good in there!

Now where’s that fish gone, oh and snowman!

Once breakfasted and the car was packed we were on our way, back to Scarborough. At times the going was slow. The satnav took us on what we felt to be a long route to the M25, but looking at the map it kind of made sense. On the M25, rather than under it we spotted canal landmarks as we passed them. The big road viaduct across the Grand Union, we stopped at Watford Gap for a jacket potato lunch, Long Buckby, etc as we made our way round London and headed north. A comfort break at Doncaster and then we were crossing over the Yorkshire Wolds back to a sunny Scarborough.

The car was emptied and then Mick headed off to pick our evening meal. I did an idiot check from the last lot of lodgers. Quite a few things left, a new big turquoise cushion, but mostly shower gel and a few things in the fridge. All understandable as they will be returning in a few weeks time.

Obligatory fish and chips

Mick dealt with the compost and a mental note of jobs that needed doing was made.

It’s a good job there are four lots of bedding for the main two bedrooms, this means we can do a turn around quite quickly should we need to. However recently we’ve had a few change overs, one more than expected, so all but one set of bed linen needed ironing. Annie gets extra brownie points for having washed towels and sheets and left them to dry for us.

I spent much of the day ironing, whilst Mick had a blood test that he’d managed to arrange to coincide with our visit and then he got on with a tidy of the gardens. At least we can say we’d been part of No Mow May!

A Sainsbury’s delivery to restock the none perishables arrived, a few items for the house others went straight in the car. Showers were polished back up to standard, finger prints from kitchen cupboard doors removed and the worst bits cleaned from the ovens. Quite an exhausting day really. Mine wasn’t, it was very VERY boring! Apart from waiting for my magic food bowl to open, that kept me occupied for several hours, in fact I nearly fell asleep waiting. I’m sure She got the times wrong!

0 locks, 0 miles by canal, 252 miles by road, 3.1 miles by bike, 7 sets of bed linen, 2 showers, 1 forsythia, 2 lawns, 2 beds made, 8 towels, 2 of each, 6 boxes wine, 2 bags litter, 7 hours drive, 1 full on day.

Happy 8th Baseplate Day! 14th February

Well today marks the 8th anniversary of Oleanna’s baseplate being laid in Tim Tylers workshop in Newcastle under Lyme. It was another year and a bit before we finally moved on board to cruise her down to Crick to meet with Lillian and fully move onboard.

Mick stood at the stern 58ft 6 inches away, 8 years ago

If you want to look back and see Oleanna’s build this is a post from our first visit. Her story starts much earlier so here’s a link to the first Oleanna blog post, 1948 blog posts ago!

Currently we are gradually getting ourselves ready to move back on board, the date still a little bit up in the air.

Sunday in the Park with Mick

Mick went down to check on Oleanna on Monday. A chat with the bully boy batteries went well, the newly oiled floor had cured so the back steps could go back in. I’ve been busy covering new and old dinette cushions and today we should receive new cartridges for our life jackets, which are currently still inflated in a closed room well away from cat claws.

The world of canals and rivers is keeping us on our toes as regards to stoppages at the moment. There is a silt build up on the River Trent which needs dredging between Beeston and Cranfleet locks. The coal boat had serious difficulty passing that way a week ago and was having to wait for levels to rise again before attempting to return to base. Since then the Trent has gone back into flood.

Can we start packing yet?

The Don Doors on the New Junction are having issues with their gearbox so are closed to the canal currently. Even if we got past them Vazon Sliding Bridge is closed to boat traffic until mid March whilst strengthening works are carried out to the north canal wall.

However we’d planned on crossing the Pennines. The Rochdale, Lock 67 is suffering from subsidence which will be worked on next week. Lock 65 is also showing similar signs and will be looked at next week to see what should be done.

Round 1

The Leeds Liverpool has a navigation restriction near Burnley, Embankment 39, so it is still navigable. Works at Wigan have been slowed by the weather so the closure there has been extended by a week so that concrete has more time to go off, the concrete has as yet to be laid. Problems near Foulridge Tunnel seem to have been sorted.

Round 2

Then the Huddersfield Narrow and Broad. There are bridge works and a lock closure on the Broad along with repairs to a wash wall which should be finished mid March. On the Narrow locks on the east side are closed until the end of February, then there is a closure in Stalybridge which should open mid March.

Round 3

So at the moment the Leeds Liverpool is looking the most promising, followed by the Huddersfield canals. Further south there has been a substantial landslip on the North Oxford near Brinklow. We’d planned on heading southwards this way, but we strongly suspect it will take a while for this to be sorted so will have to head southwards through Birmingham. Or do we wait for the Trent to be sorted and out of flood then high tail it south along the Leicester Section?

Who knows! We’ll wait and see what is open when we set off.

Thank you Beth

In Sockathon News I now have sponsors for 29 pairs of socks and have raised £655 for Dementia UK. Pair 7 will soon be finished. I now have a very large box of yarn donations sent in from all over, details of which are on the Yarn Donations page. There are still a few more people who have pledged yarn donations so they will be added as yarn arrives. I think I may be knitting for a few years to use it all up! If you fancy a pair here’s a link to my JustGiving page

  • Thank you Debby for becoming pair 30!
My friend Morag looking across the harbour

0 locks, 0 miles, 8 years old! 4 routes from the north closed, 1 bathroom delayed, 1 best mate visit, 2 lodgers, 1 fair weather cat, 2 opticians appointments, 2 doctors appointments, 1 vets appointment, 1 gathering, 1 leg of lamb, 2 boaters nearly ready.

What’s In The Box? 20th January

That’s far enough I think!

Deliveries have been arriving along with snow.

Get off my land!!!

Tillys occasional check on her estate has become even shorter, I can see everything I need from the back door just fine, Thanks! Although an intruder did cause her to forget about there being a window in the way. Once a door was opened she shot up the road and just about into the park, the furthest she’s been in months!

Sheep measuring

Measurements have been taken for the dinette cushion covers, prices worked out for the samples I already have, a visit to Dewsbury is on the cards incase Fabworks comes up trumps with anything better. I’ve got calculations for several widths of fabric so that should save time.

More donated yarns have arrived. A wonderous red yarn from Trudie at Posh Yarns in Pembroke and a Green Goddess of Bionic yarn from Steph at Perran Yarn in Truro. I have several other pledges of yarn to come including from people who are raiding their own yarn stashes at home. Thank you all for your wooly donations and your monetary ones. The first pair of socks will be in the post very soon heading to a boat in Thorne and as soon as my needles have finished the third pair the second one will be wending their way to Crick.

At the end of the year I’m hoping you’ll see why I’m hanging onto socks for a little while. An updated certificate arrived from Dementia Uk so I can properly boast about my fund raising last year.

Lots of cooking, trying out new recipes. Gluten free Focaccia and this morning my first attempt at gf crumpets. Verdict they needed a little bit more heat to start off with, but tasty all the same, especially with some Frank made jam.

Painty Pip has been busy too touching up paint around the house. There’ll be more to do in a week or two in a bathroom that we have plans for, just to accomodate a mirror!

Boat on it’s side just about blocking the bridge hole

We’ve watched our friend Chris on NB Elektra squeeze past the sunk boat in Barrow-upon-Soar. Then onwards to south of Leicester where he had a booked passage between Kings Lock and Blue Bank Lock where the floods before Christmas had affected the bank. We couldn’t make out any damage to the bank as he crunched his way through the ice, passing a boat coming the other way and a C&RT chap hopping between boats.

Tilly decided to hitch a virtual ride on NB Elektra’s bow for a while. Well She and Tom have only changed the outside a couple of times since we’ve been in the house. They don’t fool me, all they did was turn it white each time! Our planned route for when we leave Goole may have to change due to substantial subsidence at Lock 67 on the Rochdale. We’d rather head over the Pennines than use the Trent to head south this year. Time to keep a very watchful eye on the stoppage notices.

What’s in those?!

Yesterday a UPS delivery van arrived. The driver braved our snowy front steps to deliver two pretty heavy boxes. We’ve checked their contents and Mick has even been found stood in the dark hallway supposidly talking to what’s inside the boxes. There’s nowt so queer as folk!

Sunrise in Scarborough

0 locks, 0 miles, only virtual ones, 2 skeins, 2 more pledges, 1 hobbly leg slowly improving, 2.5 coats not enough, 1 ceiling and loo touched up, 2 big boxes, 1 hire car arranged, 1 trespasser seen off, 2 x 6m not 4 x 3m, 1 nutty man in the dark, 1 cat changing the outside by herself!

2.5 pairs knitted

22 Pairs spoken for

49.5 Pairs to go

£540 raised

2023 A Sociable Year

A long post, it’s the annual round up.

January, we sat waiting. Waiting for a new alternator to arrive, for the River Trent to come out of flood and then for the canal to defrost sufficiently for us move. This meant Pip doing work on the boat instead of in the house, this made for smelly days and a very cold workshop under the pram cover.

After almost three weeks we were on the move again having to navigate through thick fog, navigational aids helping us not to bump into the banks! Ahead of us in Yorkshire was a troublesome swing bridge, closed to boat traffic. Our plans had to change, we arranged to moor up in Newark and head back to Scarborough by van. Chin rubs nearly made the longer journey better, but I really don’t like the outside moving SO fast!

Four days later we were back on board, the bridge ahead was now open. Tides were checked, locks booked, cupboards stocked for a few days cruising. Winter cruising can be so so pretty, yet so so chilly. A display by the Red Arrows as we left Torksey kept us amused and a defrost was very welcome when we arrived at Keadby. After four days cruising we were moored up in Goole and walking to catch the train back to Scarborough.

#unit21 in Huddersfield kept Pip occupied for much of February. Then it was time to give the house some TLC in between lodgers. A back bedroom got a makeover just in time. Mick had trips to see Oleanna, a jobs list left with Alastair and the covers headed off for some much needed mending. Tilly was kept busy checking out the neighbours, they stay inside so I get free reign of their outside!

April arrived along with two lodgers, it was not possible to do more work on the house, Pip chose to knit socks instead. Dementia UK her chosen charity this year. Donations of yarn came from dyers and Pip’s needles started to click away, keeping up with requests. 15 pairs knitted and her target met.

May, visits were made to Oleanna preparing her for cruising, these were interspersed with visits from family, delivering socks, getting the house ready and starting work on the design for panto. On the 9th of May we loaded a van and returned to life afloat. Tilly the happiest cat once she was back onboard! A day later we set off heading west. Leeds for a few days for Pip to head to Matlock for work and then a wonderful visit to see 93 year old Betty in Harrogate.

Working our way up the Leeds Liverpool Canal, locks and the new stupid swing bridge much lighter work with two boats. Our favourite canal with wonders of the waterways, friends on route, Mick’s birthday and a trip to Bowness to see the latest Ayckbourn play. We managed a night on our favourite mooring on the network sadly it was too windy to enjoy the view with a barbecue.

Up over the top, we teamed up with NB That’s It, thankfully descending the Wigan flight in a window between vandalism and blown cills that have hampered the flight this year. Then along the Bridgewater Canal, panto designing whilst on the flat. Through Preston Brook Tunnel and onto the Trent and Mersey turning right onto the Middlewich Branch.

Back on lockdown ‘Home’ waters we cruised the Nantwich pound, 5 hours 13 minutes including a lunch and shopping stop, back in 2020 we’d spent 80 days here. We cruised southwards on the Shropie joined for a day by Carol and George from WB Still Rockin’. Laura and Alison from NB Large Marge joined us for the ascent up the Wolverhampton 21.

Through Bumingham and on to Lapworth and then Hatton where we had an extra pair of hands from Jane, who hopefully now has her own narrowboat. A well deserved burger at the Cape of Good Hope with Emma and David, then a lovely evening with Lizzie (NB Panda) at The Folly, it was turning out to be quite a sociable June.

Oleanna wiggled her way across the summit of the South Oxford, very familiar water to us. Despite the sunny weather and us cruising most days our batteries were not happy, turning themselves off overnight! Diagnosis was required, we pulled into Cropredy Marina to plug in and run tests. One of our three batteries was dead, bad enough but thankfully nothing more. Once a panto meeting had been attended we could move on, except there was an emergency closure at Banbury Lock. C&RT worked hard to get the canal open as quickly as they could, thankfully our hold up wasn’t too long.

We met up with the crews of NB Azzura (Liz and Mark) and NB Perseus (Julie and Simon) both Finesse boats, had a visit to London for Andrew’s birthday. Then had a rendez vous with Paul and Christine and enjoyed a good catch up onboard NB Waterway Routes.

Down to the River Thames where we turned upstream onto waters we’ve only cruised once before. Such a lovely stretch of river, sadly with fewer moorings now. We sped up to Lechlade where we took up residence for a week so that we could attend a get together at Pip’s cousins which coincided with the Royal International Air Tatoo in Fairford. It was great to be with family on a jolly occasion.

Work took over for Pip as we made our way back down stream to Oxford, Cinderella had to go to the ball and the model needed to be finished. Then we sauntered our way back northwards. One day had us meet up with Frankie NB Discovery, NB Dusty the local coal boat and Graeme on NB Misty Blue, it was good to catch up with Graeme and hear of his adventures since we’d seen him last year.

A trip for us both back to Scarborough to do a turn around of lodgers, see a show and pick up post. Mick would have to return the following weekend to swap bedlinen over again, this time by train from Rugby. Stand still budgets and inflation required Pip to do more work on panto so her days were kept busy reducing Cinderella’s carriage from £2000 to £400.

Stoppages around the network meant we had only one real route we could take to head back north. We winded and climbed our way up to the Leicester Section. Here we met up with Ken and Sue NB Cleddau at Houdini’s Field sitting out till way after dark. Then a small detour to Welford to meet up with NB Panda and Lizzie for an evening before we continued our way north.

Another detour to Market Harborough before Leicester where North Lock had a badly leaking cill which required a crew of C&RT chaps to force the bottom gates open, booked passage was required, this meant we got a few days to enjoy the city whilst we awaited our turn.

Sadly by now the lack of water on the Chesterfield Canal meant the top end of the canal was closed, no point in rushing up the River Trent for a return visit. In Nottingham Pip’s little toe had a kerfuffle with a cupboard necessitating a visit to the drop in centre for her little pinkie to be realigned. This meant Pip had to hand the windlass and key of power over to Mick for the last locks of the year.

Downstream on the River Trent, stopping at all our favourite moorings. Pip’s knitting needles came out again to knit more socks for Dementia UK. We had a trip into Lincoln along the Fossdyke Canal, we actually managed to finally visit the Cathedral this time!

Tides were not helpful for the rest of our trip north so a couple of days at West Stockwith was needed, but that did mean we’d be sharing the tidal waters back to Yorkshire with NB That’s It whom we’d met earlier in the year.

There was time for a catch up with David as we passed through Bramwith, a jaunt up to Doncaster and then finally along the New Junction and onto Goole where a space had been found for us in the marina. A train ride to Scarborough to pick up a van and see the latest show before packing up the boat again for the second time this year.

Planned works at the house then went very smoothly. Scaffolding arriving the day after we arrived, new windows later in the day with four carpenters and two days later the decorator who was to give the house a much needed new coat of paint outside.

Mid October Pip moved to Chipping Norton for a month to work on panto, Mick and Tilly left to welcome a new lodger for the Christmas show in Scarborough. Panto was as much work as normal with the addition of Pip getting covid after the first week of rehearsals. The show opened to toe tapping audiences and many many bananas, getting great reviews. Mick had a days trip to London to support boaters who had gathered outside the Houses of Parliament for a Fund Britain’s Waterways rally.

Back in Scarborough Christmas came early with a visit from the London Leckenbys at the beginning of December, they hadn’t been to Scarborough for ten years. A few more house jobs have been done but a list has been compiled for the new year along with those on Oleanna. We’ve had a lovely Christmas, catching up with Scarborough friends, Tilly has slept lots, we’re lucky to see her before 2pm most days! I’m just resting for when the outsides start changing again.

Don’t worry Tilly the count down has started.

This year our plans changed all because of an invite from Pip’s cousins. We travelled our favourite canal, cruised many familiar waters , visited ‘Home’, climbed trees and pounced, caught up with many boating friends and made many new ones along the way. One very sociable year.

So our vital statistics for 2023 according to Canalplan are

Total distance of 805miles, 2.25furlongs and 436 locks.

There were 121 moveable bridges, of which 33 are usually left open; 151 small aqueducts or underbridges and 16 tunnels – a total of 6 miles, 5 furlongs under ground and 7 major aqueducts.

This is made up of 244 miles, 1.25 furlongs of narrow canals; 251 miles, 5.5 furlongs of broad canals; 69 miles, 1.5 furlongs of commercial waterways; 95 miles, 4.75 furlongs of small rivers; 57 miles, 3.75 furlongs of large rivers; 87 miles, 1.5 furlongs of tidal rivers; 185 narrow locks; 223 broad locks; 28 large locks.

Although according to Nebo we did

815.09 miles and 431 locks! Hmm maybe my maths isn’t so good. But then we only started using Nebolink in August, tracking our every move rather than just on our phones.

470 engine hours, 789.8 litres diesel! Ouch, having to run the engine to top the batteries up on an evening didn’t help with this, 150amp hours down to 100, 3 gas bottles, 120kg coal, 19.5 litres oil, 2 oil filters, 2 fuel filters, 1 shower mixer, 1 domestic alternator, 1 set new engine mounts, 1 overnight guest, 3 packs Dreamies, 1.5 packs Bonkers, 39 friends, 6 brought in, 34 Mrs Tilly stamps of approval, 34 pairs of socks, £1132 for Dementia UK, 2 shows, 9 lodgers, 10 supermarket deliveries, 33 boxes wine, 1 toe, 6 months cruising, 3 boat mover sightings, 209 posts, 184 likes, 9,503 visitors, 31,309 views!

Thank you for following our journey during 2023. We have a plan for 2024, but there are several invites and a rendez vous with some New Zealanders. Will we stick to our plan? Have to alter course to fit everything in? Wait and see, we’re already counting down the weeks to being afloat again.

Dodging Balls. 31st August

Kegworth Marine and Ratcliffe Bridge 46 to Trent Junction, River Trent

Ratcliffe Lock

A cruiser just beat us to Ratcliffe Lock, a crew member sent ahead to set it. I checked with the skipper if they would be willing to share or if they’d rather be on their own. Some cruisers are weary of narrowboats in locks, but on this occasion they were fine about sharing just so long as we went into the lock first. Fine with us.

Closing in a years time

Now close to Ratcliffe on Soar powerstation, the cooling towers in just about every photograph. Through Redhill Flood Lock and on towards the Trent. A narrowboat came towards us at speed, had they misjudged the bend by the big weir? Plenty of wellie and they managed to adjust their course to avoid us.

Trent Junction

Now the water stretches out as the Soar meets the Trent, meets the Erewash Canal, meets Cranfleet Cut. Sadly no space on the pontoon mooring, one of our favourites which is a favourite with many others, can’t remember the last time we managed to get moored there. However a space against the wall was available, we winded and pulled in, here Tilly would be allowed shore leave and we’d still have quite a view from the side hatch and our bed in the morning.

It was still quite early, before midday. The height of the bank and forecast rain in the afternoon put me off doing the mushroom vents, again!

Trent Lock onto the Erewash

I planned a walk, checked when rain was due and set off hoping to remain dry today. I walked over the bottom of Trent Lock Junction, we’d forgotten the existence of the Lock Cafe, maybe we should have gone there for lunch.

Heathers

I walked along the banks of the Trent up to he small garden centre where I checked to see what was for sale. Diddy Christmas trees! Our new Christmas tree had been doing quite well back in Scarborough when last checked and this year we don’t plan on being onboard for the big day, so no need for one.

FOUR!

My plotted route brought me to the edge of a golf course. I could just make out the next yellow post marking the footpath across the neat grass. Groups of men swung clubs. Would I make it across without getting hit? Would I be a distraction? Should I change my route? I decided that the course would have to accomodate me and other walkers, so hopefully I’d not be in the firing line and have to dodge balls.

I survived and then walked right down the far side of the course. I didn’t bother trying to count how many balls were sitting in the grass of the driving range. Presumably they have a sit on hoover to collect them at the end of the day.

Mills Dockyard

The footpath popped out at a bridge over the Erewash Canal. We’d considered having a trip up to Langley Mill, but decided against it. Eight years ago we’d cruised to the end, we enjoyed it (apart from the chap with a shotgun), but it isn’t one we simply must return to. Mills Dockyard did look very picturesque today.

Under the railway lines

Across a field to walk round a lake, under two railway lines, then across another field back to Cranfleet Cut where I rejoined the towpath back to Oleanna.

Yum

Time to make that carrot cake. Tilly mumbled something at me as she came in the stern doors, she was ushered straight out the front doors before she’d finished what she was saying, the doors closed firmly behind her. WHAT IS RULE NUMBER ONE TILLY!!!!

Only just enough wind

Early evening three sailing boats came out for a race, a very slow motion race as there was just about no breeze. One of the boats needed motorised assistance to return to the club house.

1 lock, 1 flood lock, 1.9 miles, 2.5 miles walked, 1 dry boater, 4 times in 3 days! 200 grams of carrots, 1 apple, 75 grams cream cheese, 1 improved internet, 1 loose connection, 1 stove lit, 0 Mrs Tilly stamps of approval, 1 cat grounded!

https://goo.gl/maps/ARKFfzsBnmx9pJN48

Going Down Kegworth. 30th August

Zouch Lock to between Kegworth Marine and Radcliffe Bridge 46

Coats were required when we pushed off this morning. Two boats had just come past heading southwards and as we rolled the covers up one headed towards Zouch lock, we had ourselves a locking partner.

Sharing

The chap with the boat asked straight away how far we’d be going today, ‘We’re definitely going down Kegworth Deep Lock today’. Then the lady at the lock asked the same, my reply was the same too. After that we’d then see, we’re not in a rush to get anywhere so if we saw somewhere good to stop then we would. This sounded good to our partners.

The lock was surprisingly half full, the reason soon became obvious a paddle had been left partly up at the bottom end, it still took quite sometime to fill. A C&RT chap arrived with windlass in hand he’d come to help a crane boat up the lock, he ended up being a handy extra bum to push the top gates open.

Breath in!

Below the crane boat appeared, Pride of Sherwood, you can tell we’re getting closer to Nottingham now. We exited and the crane boat squeezed into the lock only a few inches to spare on the width, most probably length wise too.

Time to add waterproof trousers to the mix. Thankfully soon blue skies were ahead of us and dark grey behind. We’d considered moving down to one of the moorings shown on Waterway Routes yesterday, but with the flight path directly overhead for East Midlands Airport we’d decided against it.

The first glimpse of the cooling towers at Ratcliffe on Soar power station, NB Somewhere Else had a good mooring for the view.

First glimpse of The NORF

Shortly before Kegworth Deep (New) Lock as the weir stream moves to the west you get a view of a fine house. Stone work and brick suggest the building has had several lives and scaffolding on the far end suggests a new roof was happening.

Flight path

It took a while for me to find information about the house, The Hermitage. It was sold last year and I found several articles in local newspapers from when it went on the market. Each one suggested a different asking price ranging from £2,000,000 down to £1,500,000, quite a big difference only over the space of a couple of weeks. I wonder what it sold for in the end.

Such a pretty setting

Back in the 16th C the house was used as a religious retreat for church dignitaries travelling between Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. The property was owned by the Parr family and used as a hunting box, Catherine Parr (Henry VIII wife) never lived here but it is thought that she’d have visited. Bay windows were added in Victorian days and an extension was added in the 20th C.

There are gardens of all kinds, rose, water in the 5 acre grounds. Eight bedrooms, 2 pantries, a wine cellar, a beer room, quite a house and somewhere mentioned a boat room!

More details here and photos inside. https://alto-live.s3.amazonaws.com/z_IcaADIjwbX0Gg7FTWCHHXJVK0/CbwyhoDNHGVaV3SsdWHJbn_TtCw/Brochure/[0]/zawPywL1gkyKv_dyF2nsSg.pdf

Slow!

Our partners slowed as they came round the bend to the top of Kegworth Deep Lock a boat was just exiting, we swapped positions and were helped down by a cruiser that was waiting below. In a couple of weeks the lock will be having some remedial work done to one of the paddles, a notice has been in existence for the lock for a couple of months now. Despite the notice all paddles worked, stiff but that’s only to be expected on such a deep lock.

We followed through Kegworth Shallow Flood Lock and then pulled in at Kegworth Marine. A gas bottle had run out last night. If we hadn’t filled with diesel we’d have topped up here £1 a litre, but you have to pay cash. We cobbled together enough cash for a couple of bags of coal too and chatted away to the chap. We’d arrived just in time as they were closing up for the day to do some grit blasting.

Onwards, what would a mooring be like that we’d got our eyes on? Round a couple more kinks and there it was, high up but accessible. We pulled in, a nappy pin at the stern, but at the bow this wasn’t possible the armco having a solid top to it so no gaps, spikes were brought out and hammered in.

Kegworth Marine

Tilly was given five hours, we didn’t see her for quite a while. Thigfs ogtsdies gd, i sorldt hevos a Thissy stbieo od aprooel! Another day of her talking with her mouth full!

This afternoon I sent an email to the chap who knows what he’s doing regarding printing for scenery. I explained how I’d made my model and was concerned that I’ve shot myself in the foot by making it as a collage. He agreed that a scanner only focuses on one level, but suggested I send in a piece of model and he’ll do a test print. I’m so hoping he can find a way of making it work, otherwise I’ll have to repaint everything flat for the cloths to be printed. It took ages to do the original! Fingers crossed.

Late afternoon I had a catch up chat with Jo the props maker, she’s been doing woodwork, making trick boxes and working out mechanisms for collapsing chairs.

2 locks, 1 flood lock, 4 miles, 40kg coal, 1 gas bottle, 1 cat evicted, £500,000 difference, 1 high mooring, 55cm a touch too wide, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.

https://goo.gl/maps/poW36n2wnafnnawe7

An Extra Shower. 29th August

Zouch Lock to Zouch Lock

Ahead of ourselves. Should we stay that way or let the days catch up with us? A day sat still could mean some much needed maintenance work on Oleanna, rust around the mushroom vents needs sorting before winter.There’s the grab rail that I’ve been meaning to do for a couple of years too. Don’t mention the gunnels or cratch board!

Forecast rain and still having a headache put me off. We decided to move.

That’s a good view!

Three boat lengths up there was a newly vacated gap with a better view. We moved up and gave Tilly some shore leave, hoping she wouldn’t get confused following her scent back to where we’d just left.

A morning of pottering. There was one job that could be done. I dug out my pencils, pens, watercolours and paper. Time to do a new first night card for one of our lodgers. Tanya is on her third visit, so the house and a compilation of Scarborough views have been used, time for a new one.

Drawn out

I went through the photos I’d taken on our Scarborough walks during the second lockdown, shortlisting a few. Another photograph found on the internet was used along with mine for the composition. This was drawn out and inked in.

I could have sat at the dinette all day, but wanted to stretch my legs and see if a walk would help dissipate my headache. I plotted a route, showed it to Mick, made sure Tilly was inside and set off, crossing the bridge over the canal and the field alongside our mooring to meet the road.

Hooked up

The boats at Zouch Marina have poles to rise up and down on, they also have a contraption similar to a caravan hook up which attach to the boats bows. These must be to help keep the boats in position when the river goes into flood.

Not very picturesque

I took the chance to get off the busy A6006, only to find the footpath was fenced in and overgrown with nettles, a new development planned for the other side of the fence. More main road before turning down Wide Lane in Hathern. I’d hate to think what they were comparing Wide Lane to when they named it, cars having to park on the pavement. One half timbered house had dormer windows in it’s roof line, most probably a framework knitters cottage, looms tended to be in top rooms where extra light could be sought.

£650,000 with swimming pool!

Next door a rather lovely house is for sale, sadly it’s not by the river so no mooring opportunities.

Hathern in the 19th C got the name Wicked Hathern. Rev Edward Thomas March Philips spent more than 50 years in the village trying to civilise his parishioners who liked to spend more time in the pubs than his pews. Cockfights and drunken brawls in the graveyard prompted the priests outbursts, the village being dubbed Wicked Hathern. Pubs still outnumber the churches 5 to 2, but I believe things have calmed down.

Sheltering from the rain

By now it was drizzling. I took refuge in St Peter and St Paul’s Church, the door open and organ music emanating from inside. A family of three sat by the organ, Mum cutting things out from a paper, Dad I couldn’t tell what he was doing and a young person possibly about seven or eight was sat at the organ, playing away pretty well. Not sure if they were using the pedals, I suspect their legs weren’t long enough to reach. I had a quick look round but didn’t want to disturb the practice.

KL4SEE

Small children in school uniform came from the direction of the school, an ice cream van sat waiting for new customers. I had no money on me so I couldn’t sample their wares, anyhow it was drizzling even more now.

Soggy isn’t it!

I could have waited out the rain under a tree, but decided that it looked to have set in, so carried on. A horse gave me a soggy knowing look as I reached it’s field. I crossed over towards the weirs.

A large curved gate holds back the water, presumably this is used in times of flood to speed the water down stream. Then I crossed over the curved weir and got chance to see just how many boats are kept along the arm, at least five. They must have to limbo under the footbridge to get in and out.

Moorings tucked away

Back to the towpath and back to Oleanna, I was by now soaked! Straight into the shower and my soggy clothes got a wash.

Chopped again

Time to put some colour on my drawing. Base colours, then a touch more detail. As this dried, so had the outside world. Mick had requested a haircut so without the aid of my assistant, she was more interested in the trees, I got to work with the clippers. A smart boyfriend again.

The final shadows were added to my painting. It just needs scanning now and making into a card. I’ll also need to run off one of the house for our other lodger as it’s her first visit. Those who know Scarborough will know the subject matter.

0 locks, 0.1 miles, 3 boats worth, 1 busy cat, 4 more paracetamol, 2 damp a day for jobs, 1 new card, 3 very soggy miles walked, 2 weirs, 7 year old organist, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.

https://goo.gl/maps/hYdFNHYakd5GmUuc7

Is There Anyone Behind You? 28th August

Barrow Upon Soar to Zouch Lock 55

Breakie!

Finding a gap in the traffic would be our problem this morning. Cars, canoes and paddleboards were everywhere. We managed to push off just as the cars were returning at the end of their time, this also coincided with all the paddleboards deciding to stop for some refreshments and tying up at the service point! Thankfully someone came along and pulled the boards to one side giving us enough room to tie up both bow and stern.

Traffic chaos

Water, yellow water, rubbish etc, all the chores done, we could be on our way again.

Deep

Barrow Deep Lock is as it’s name suggests deep. It took quite some time for a boat to come up, not helped by there being a ground paddle out of action. Then it was our turn to go down. Some gongoozlers asked questions. Now either I was thick or they were. They really couldn’t understand about the water having to be level before the gates would open, they repeatedly kept asking ‘Why isn’t it level?’ as if it should be an instant thing.

Pillings Flood Lock

Below we now followed the course of the river to Pilling Flood Lock which sat with both sets of gates open waiting for us. Our schedule had us mooring on this side of Loughborough today, but we wanted to visit the shops in town, so we passed by a stretch of nice looking armco and carried on along the cut.

A couple of boats came towards us. The cut here fairly wide and no sharp or sudden bends. Both boats asked if there was anyone behind us. We’d have understood them asking on the Llangollen or the Oxford summit, but here?! Not to our knowledge, and they were possibly in a much better position to see than us!

At Loughborough Junction we turned left, making sure to say hello to a group of lads at the bridge who’d been throwing stones into the cut. Only one boat was moored in the basin, we winded and then reversed onto a pontoon. Despite Tilly being excited at arriving somewhere she was left in charge as we headed into town.

No market today

A new sim card for the router at the house was needed, our original provider having fobbed Mick off with a solution to solve the poor connection which he knew wouldn’t do anything. A chat with the chap in EE and an explanation of why we only wanted a sim for a few months and we left with an envelope addressed to our current lodgers a new data sim enclosed. Back to Oleanna via Sainsburys for a few bits, then via Tescos for a post box. Sim on its way and so were we. Loughborough may have an interesting side to it but we hadn’t found it.

Hmmm

But where to moor for the day? We could head back to the junction then reverse the way we’d come for a mooring. Or we could continue straight on, which is what we did.

Certainly a meadow on the gates

Down Loughborough Lock and on to Bishop Meadow Lock where I helped a lady bring her cruiser up from the river section. They were looking for a mooring outside a pub for a Bank Holiday Monday meal, they’d not been having much luck.

Now on the river again, pennywort and some gentle bends. No-one here asked if anyone was behind us and they didn’t offer us that information either.

Passing Normanton on Soar you get the wonderful view of the church, a few big houses with their lovely gardens. Then you get the little summer houses, I prefer these. My favourite a green one, people inside waved to us.

My favourite

A rowing boat, paddleboarders what a shame it wasn’t sunnier.

If only the sun had shown itself

Passing the emergency flood moorings we wondered how you were meant to read the instructions in an emergency situation. We’d not noticed rings and bollards to tie to .

Photo taken for future emergency reference

On through the flood gates and onto Zouch cut. Blimey it was popular. We managed to find a space with a ring for the bow but ended up using a spike for the stern. Despite it being quite late and normally Tilly’s dingding time I allowed her half an hour of shore leave. She took longer, only returning when she did as Magpies were complaining about her on the towpath. She said something about a stamp of approval, but at the time she had a mouth a full!

4 locks, 7.5 miles, 1 left, 1 wind, 1 full water tank, 1 empty yellow water tank, 4 car traffic jam, 2 cooked breakfasts, 0 behind us, 2 North Lock boats passed, 1 new sim, 1 busy river, 30 minutes extended to 65, 1 woofing woofer neighbour!

https://goo.gl/maps/FM4qB71a3WFJnfor6

A Purple Morgan. 27th August

Sileby Lock to Barrow upon Soar Visitor Mooring

The Empire Pool, apples, Canary Wharf and Water Butts were covered on the Geraghty zoom this morning and we wish one of our number a speedy recovery from Covid.

This got me thinking, I still had a headache. Maybe I should do a test. The first test I did was aborted as there was not even one drop of liquid to drop on the test strip, yes I had put the liquid in the tube! There just hadn’t been enough of it. So another was done, only one line, negative.

Sileby Mill

We pottered away the morning whilst it rained. Boats came past quite frequently everyone wrapped up in water proofs. How many boats were headed for North Lock on Tuesday? We opted to have an early lunch before pushing off.

Around the lock at Sileby there are wood carvings, every character seems to be looking down, all very calm and thoughtful. We dropped down the lock, both bottom paddles required being lifted as water bubbled up from under the top gate. Mick paused to pick me up, then we zoomed across the bottom of the weir and slowed to pass the moored boats. One had just filled up with diesel, £1.18.

Almost bank to bank carpet

Gosh the pennywort was bad along here. It almost reached right across the river in parts. Someone has been trying to clear it, dying mounds sit on the banks. But it’s obviously growing just as fast as it can be collected.

I’ll go down the front to get off somewhere

At Mountsorrel we were greeted with no available lock landing. The charity boat from yesterday was partly on the landing, then a Wheelyboat had tied to the next to last bollard. The crew from the charity boat rushed to make their stern accessible for me from our bow, then one of them picked up a windlass and came to help at the lock. Their passengers were enjoying Sunday lunch at the pub whilst they got to eat their homemade butties.

We spotted a couple of houses for sale. One by the Wharf for £1,000,000. They like funny sofas and toilets in corners.

One of the Dutch style houses in the award winning development, £525,000. For extra money you could moor your boat outside.

A box with a view

We rounded the big wide bend where Meadow Farm Marina sits to the side, almost cut off by pennywort. Grey boxes look down the river, a great view.

Long gardens on the north bank of the river gradually bring you in towards Barrow upon Soar. Several houses have boats, one cruiser looked like it can’t have been out for a few years as weed and reeds blocked it in.

Another house for sale, this one with an end of garden mooring. £675,000. If you can cope with the virtual tour (eventually coming into focus!) you’ll see that someone really likes their feature curtains. Have to say if we bought it the bungaloo would be replaced. But the mooring isn’t long enough for Oleanna, so we’ll not bother.

A car! A purple Morgan maybe? With a roll bar? On the river? Just how old was the driver! Thankfully Dad stopped pedaling so that we didn’t have a collision.

A purple Morgan?

A space on the 48 hour moorings was available, we pulled in. Tilly was over the moon with the choice of trees, however the nosy woofers did spoil her fun.

Just by our mooring is a very smart bench for Brian Henman, he was obviously a well liked local man. Mayor of Charnwood and possibly a Ukulele player.

A very fine bench indeed

A nice roast chicken with all the extras was enjoyed onboard this evening, just a shame we had to put up with some very bad karaoke from across the way later on.

2 locks, 2.6 miles, 5 boats heading to Leicester, 1 Jolly Lamb with lady, 1 head still not sorted, 1 carpet of pennywort, 3.5 hours, 1 morgan, 2 nosy woofers, 1 sunday roast.

https://goo.gl/maps/MMF44w1b1y6GcXs27

Stop Talking Of Thunder Storms! 26th August

John Merricks’s Lake to Sileby Lock

Oh dear!

A cruiser came past as we had breakfast, out for a weekend jaunt. They’d just passed us when their engine just stopped. Had they been abducted by aliens? Had they reached their destination for the day? No they’d picked up a sleeping bag on their prop and were still trying to free it when we pushed off. Not much we could do to help.

Swans can be such scary things

Above the skies were moody, Mick made a comment about thunder storms. We’d once been along this stretch when the heavens opened, we then moored above Sileby Lock as the river level rose rapidly during the evening, then slowly fell the following day. I hoped he wasn’t jinxing our chosen mooring for the day.

Very moody

As we approached Junction Lock we could see that a Charity boat was just entering it. No-one looked behind them so they didn’t see us approaching. As they left the lock below we were already in position to refill the lock.

A lady with her young son stood and watched, twins in a pushchair were positioned so as to see us too, except Mum had forgotten that there was a blanket over the handle which blocked their view. They didn’t seem to mind.

Coming up to Cossington Lock the crew of the charity boat were closing the top gates, they’d almost certainly seen us, but carried on and walked to the bottom gate. The chap at the helm must have stopped them, got them to wind the paddles back down and return to the top gates to open them. Have to say they weren’t the sharpest pencils in the box. One ground paddle had been left up which only helped to refill the lock for us to be able to join them. I stepped back onboard leaving the crew to do their thing.

Through Cossington Road Bridge we could see a coal boat, the red of gas bottles giving it away. This would be our next port of call. We pulled in alongside NB Hampstead, positioning Oleanna’s stern close to the diesel pump. I popped a rope around a stern dolly whilst Mick attached our stern to their mid. My line was too long to tie off on us and too far back to get to safely along the gunnel with my dodgy grip. I elected to hold us steady as the charity boat passed, then winded a little further ahead to return.

Topping up in the rain

We called out, no-one came. Mick rang the number on the side of Hampstead, Tracy appeared from another boat and came to serve us. Originally they’d hoped to be able to sell HVO, but the price they’d have had to charge would have been £2 to £2.20 a litre, so they have opted to stick with Red Diesel. Earlier this year Hampstead was repainted in their livery and is based here at Cossington Lock. They do travel north to Nottingham and south to Leicester. Here is a link to their Facebook page. At £1.09 a litre it wasn’t a bad price and we like to use coal boats as they support many a boater through the winter months.

Just a shame it really started to rain as the tank filled. Mick put the brollie up and I unrolled part of the cratch cover so I could stay dry in the well deck. The transaction was complete just as there was a little lull in the rain. As an after thought Mick asked how much their coal was, £14.50 for 20kg, we should have got a couple of bags, oh well, it is August still isn’t it?!

Pennywort

The banks of the river seemed to be encroaching. Piles of dying plants covered the banks, soon followed by yards and yards of Pennywort. Blimey it’s taking over the world here!

Very moody

We pulled in above Sileby Lock, the mooring by the small weir. Tilly was given five hours. She wasn’t too keen. The friendly cover too covering and wet! We had lunch.

It’s rubbish this outside!

A Saturday paper was a possibility and we’ve never ventured into Sileby before so once Tilly had stopped popping in and out, just incase things had improved, we closed the doors leaving her incharge and went for a nosy.

Cricket

Two cricket matches were taking place at the club. ‘Come on Conway!’ the bowler a young blond chap who was getting a lot of praise from his team members. On our walk back the score was 68 for 1, not bad at all.

We’d never thought of Sileby as being more than a village, yet it boasts itself to be a town. The corner shop which advertised newspapers and magazines was lying, so we carried on down to Tesco Express. Here they provided us with our newspaper of choice and a few easy peel oranges and some cream cheese, I seemed to have ordered a lot of carrots so I’ll bake a cake to help stop them going to waste.

What a fine looking building, click on photo for more details

Just down the hill was a rather ornate looking building, 3 Cossington Road. Nice fresh paint and four door bells. What had this been before being carved up into flats? It used to be called Ebenezer House and was owned by Edward Martin, it was used as a Bank, solicitors and a dentists.

The 1891 census shows framework knitters, brewers and shoe making to be occupations for the locals. Clay pits were dug and bricks made that were used to build St Pancras Station. In 1901 James Newbold, a Baker and his wife Annie lived at 3 Cossington Road with their children Thomas, Fred and Annie, along with Fred Parker who was also a baker. These are the snippets of information I’ve found.

After laying empty for a few years the house was bought in 2019 and divided up into 3 one bedroom flats and a bedsit with communal outdoor areas. Rather nice, you’d just hope that the brook in front doesn’t flood.

We could have explored the other side of the railway which carved the town in half in the 1840’s but we decided to walk back across the fields and settle down for the rest of the day.

During the day we heard a rumble of thunder, but thankfully we didn’t relive the river rising, we’ll not have to keep an eye on our ropes overnight.

2 locks, 3.3 miles, 76 litres diesel, 0 coal, 1 unimpressed cat, 68 for 1, 1 village actually a town, 1 newspaper, 5 oranges, 150 grams cream cheese, 1 headache returning.

https://goo.gl/maps/x8Lgi5sWi34V67UY7