Archive for December, 2007

Meeting up with David and Mandy

Monday, December 31st, 2007

We pushed on through the wind and rain from Penkridge to Fradley Junction. This was where we used to moor our first boat “Solong”and it was from here that Paul’s Mum and Dad had a wonderful holiday in 2001, on the boat with their friends David and Linda.

David and Mandy arrived at Fradley around 11am on Sunday morning. David had looked on the Waterscape web site for directions on how to get to us, and found it very helpful (better than Google etc).

We had lunch at the carvery in the Swan (with vege option for Paul and I). At £8 for main and a pudding and coffee, we felt it was really good value. Very tasty too.

 Lunch at Swan

 David and Mandy helped us move the boat down a couple of locks and round the corner onto the Coventry Canal.

David and Paul did the locks.

 David at lock

And Mandy did the steering.

 Mandy steering

A swift half in the Swan after saying goodbye to David and Mandy, then it was back to the boat for an early night, ready for a quick get away in the morning.

Jeff and Sandra

Monday, December 31st, 2007

We left Kinver on Thurs 27 for Compton and then Penkridge. We stopped at Penkridge to collect some more pills for Roly and to meet up with Jeff and his new love – Sandra, for dinner on the boat.

Paul cooked a splendid curry, prawn Korma, with tandoori potatoes and saffron rice, mmmm.

Jeff and Sandra have known each other for 2 years, but this summer their friendship blossommed into romance. Jeff anounced that they would be getting married sometime in 2008. Ahhhhh, really great news and they both looked really happy. What a lovely end to the year.

Jeff and Sandra

Boxing Day

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Late start, recovering from the day before. Lu took Matt for a driving lesson, Paul made his spina coppetta thingy – filo pastry stuffed with feta and carrots and onions and spices yummy.

Simon, Lu, Andy, Pippy and I went for a walk. Lu held back a bit so we could all keep up. Si had to leave at 12.30 as he had a flight to Stockholm at 4pm. He put on his pilot uniform before he left.

Si in uniform

Another lovely day. Finnished off with games then a Christmas dvd The Black Book – with subtitles. Very good film.

It was a big thank you and farewell to Lu, Mike and the boys for a wonderful time; the carol concert, panto and then Christmas and Boxing day; then it was back to the boat to bed, ready for an early start back to banbury the next morning.

Christmas Day

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Happy Christmas, pressies and tea in bed and a leasurely start to the day. Andy arrived with pressies for the dogs. Roly managed pretty well, though Pip thought he was  a bit slow and pinched his second pressy – some chews – which she tried to stuff down in one to keep them from Roly!

Roly and Pip with present

Wandered up from the boat to Lu and Mike’s bearing a nut roast Paul had made that morning, plus bottles of wine etc. The kitchen was a hive of activity – Simon had made inroads on preparing the veg; the turkey crown was cooking away, the wine was flowing and Mikes Mum and Dad – Theresa and Bob – had arrived.

Theresa and boys

Liz, the boys english tutor, and her partner arrived so we gave Lu a bit of quiet in the kitchen and introduced Liz and Theresa to “Von’s Game”.

 Liz Lu and boys

Briefly give everyone 3 or 4 bits of paper, write the name of something on each piece, then fold them up and place in a hat. Divide people into teams. First team has 1 minute for one team-member to take names from hat one at a time, and describe the name to other team members for them to guess. When 1 minute has elapsed, or team is stuck, the hat is passed to the next team and so on until all the names have been guessed. Team with most names has won that round. Names are put back in the hat and the game repeated, but this time name has to be described in 2 words. Third and final round names on paper are acted – no words allowed! Best with different age ranges and after a few drinks!

Simon’s attempt at acting Bambi (cavorting on all fours), and Mike’s Tin Tin (baked beans?) scenario have gone down in Wooler Christmas legends!

Tucked into a scrumptious lunch later on that afternoon, with Bob in fine form telling hair-raising tales of SAS days.


And followed by opening remaining presents and more games.

 Si relaxing

Brief walk with dogs. Supper of cheese and biscuits and port, then rolled down the hill to bed.

A Night Out in Kinver

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Last night we met up at the Vine pub by the canal then went on for an Indian meal at one of the excellent restaurants in Kinver. Lu and I retired early and left the guys to it. They were in fine voice – need I say more!

Lu and Matt

And more piccies – Im not sure Mike and Si will be too happy with these but they dont have editorial control… on these thumbnails to see full screen

Staring comptetitionMikeI the Vine

Chickens for Kaz

Monday, December 24th, 2007

While we were in Compton we saw some chickens at Limekiln Boat yard that looked as though they had come straight out of “Chicken Run”. Spoke to Dave the owner who said they were Buff Orpingtons. Not the brightest of birds (it took them two weeks to notice that the fenclosure ence had been moved to reveal more grass), quite heavy so not keen on flighing and the cockrel has a weedy, hard to hear crow that doesn’t upset the neighbours. So Kaz, when you finish your extension have a look at these lovelies…

 Buff Orpingtons

Also found a really interesting web site

More chickens, I think these are a type of Leghorn?


Some pictures

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Waiting for a lock after Compton

Waiting at a lockBreaking thru ice

Leaving Birmingham 7 am on a cold and misty morning

Leaving Birmingham

Arriving in Birmingham, going under Broad Street

Arriving Birmingham

Arrived Kinver

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

Where has the time gone?

No update recently because the phone signal in Birmingham and in Compton is poor.

We stayed in Birmingham for a couple of days so that Paul could catch the train to London for some meetings. Left the city centre for Compton, about 15 mins from Wolverhampton where we stayed for two days so that we could attend; a Christmas Concert at St Johns Church where my nephew Andy was playing the violin in the Wolverhampton Youth Orchestra (fantastic evening and a great start to the festivities); and the panto starring the Crankies (havent laughed so much in years, really great evening).

Left Compton at 7am today, and arrived Kinver about 3.30pm. Really cold day with freezing fog. My brother Simon has also arrived at Lu’s so we are all off out for a meal tonight. Got some great photos but no time to put them up. Will have a go tomorrow.

And even more locks

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Near the top of the Hatton flight a huge, wierd metal sculpture emerges from a (frozen) pond.

Monster insect

OK we were going to stop at the top of the Hatton flight, but we made it up in 3 hours so the day was young and we decided to push on.

 Arriving a couple of miles later at another flight of locks, the Lapworth flight of 21.


These locks were easier as they were single and not very deep. Up in no time!

 This is one of the old “horse turnover bridges” used when the towpath changes side. It has a bobbin for the tow rope to go round while the horse walks across the top and a split in the bridge for the rope to pass through.

Old horse bridge

As soon as the towpath widened we pulled over for the night. The temperature plummeted as the sky was clear, but we had a wonderful sunset.

SunsetA After an early supper it was time to break out the Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut, as we felt we deserved it.

Roly felt he deserved it too and tried to swop his chew for a couple of chunks. No chance!

Roly with chew


Monday, December 17th, 2007

We made it safely back to the boat after a lovely evening at the “Cape of Good Hope” where the bar was taken over with a guy’s bday party. Learned new game of darts called “Cricket”. Slept like babies and woke to the alarm at 6am for an early start up the Hatton flight of 21 locks.

Approaching Hatton

Paul winding a paddle

The winding gear on these large double locks is unique, which is just as well as its hard work.