Archive for July, 2008

My own island

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Wonderful day yesterday as I spent the day on my own moored up on Hazleford Island. I was the only boat till later on in the day, so early morning it was just PIp, Jet, me and hundreds of rabbits.

The mooring was against a set of steep steps, which the dogs just about managed.

Mooring on Hazleford

Paul arrived back from Bristol on the local stopping train from Nottingham to Bleasby. I cycled the two miles or so from the island to the little station, so that he could put his heavy bag in the front panier. It was a bit of a struggle to get the bike up the steps and then over the lock gate – but we did it.

View of the lock Hazleford

Back to today and just doing funding bids and phone conferences first thing. Then Paul and I are setting off at about 11.30 am (if he ever gets off the phone) for Cromwell Lock – the last lock before the tidal Trent.

Karen has me working for me egg sarnie

Monday, July 21st, 2008

This is Ray here. Up early, away by 10 past 7. Everything quiet, no wind and everyone else walking along to work along the footpath. Just Karen and me Paul is away to Oxford. All quiet now, a change from Nottingham on a Saturday night, (we saw some sights walking back from seeing Jacki Chan in his new Kung Fu film the other night)

Ray doing the paddle

It was a stiff paddle to turn. I thought I was losing my strength at first – I nearly had to shout for Karen.

Having a look at the Trent and finding out there is plenty of room for manouvering, a big change from the canal.

Leaving Nottingham

We made good time to Stoke Lock and I was ready for me egg sarnie. We stopped here because it was a nice place to stop. Had a walk by the lock, Jet tried to walk on the cattle grid into a field – lost his tennis ball but found a fisherman’s bag.

Stoke Lock

Lots to see, lots of herons, horse with its foal on the side of the Trent, and a Kingfisher – for Joan.

Moored up at the bottom of Hazleford Lock on an island. Sat watching the activity and a good view of the large lock. The lock keeper said he could get up to 12 boats in there.

Hazleford Island

Karen speaking now – and just to say I’ve had a great day with Ray. Great company, fabulous weather and now, moored up on the Island with not another boat in sight. Fab!

Ray joins us

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

Saturday moring and we were up bright and early. Paul making pancakes and coffee, me walking the dogs along the tow path to meet David and Ray who were joining us for a spot of breakfast. They admired the mooring location

Ray on boat Shardlow

After a very heavy shower of rain, David went off to work and we set off for Nottingham. The first lock was a hundred yards or so down from the mooring. Ray was back in the driving seat with no worries at all….

Paul and Ray going into lock

We are planning to stay in Nottingham for the weekend to stock up on food and to do the washing. Paul is going to Oxford and Bristol on Monday, back Tuesday evening. Ray and I will move the boat out of Nottingham on MOnday, and down on the Trent to Stoke Bardolf. More later.

Summer Newsletter is out

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

Well maybe thats a mistake – calling it the summer newsletter? Don’t know about you, but we haven’t seen much sun yet. Hopefully August will be lovely..

Since Joan’s death I’ve found it really difficult to sit down and do anything creative. Paul and I were talking about this only the other day. Like me he has been able to do the “firefighting stuff” – like answering email etc. but the deep, critical thinking bit has been a real struggle. Part of it is to do with ability to concentrate. I have found that after a while my mind drifts off to think about stuff to do with Joan, like the wierd presents she used to give me (10 boxes of panti-liners), or as Im looking despondantly at my now wild hair in the mirror, remembering how she said my hair resembled Camilla PB, and seeing my reaction (I really didn’t think I looked that old) continued to tease me by calling me Camilla from then on! Isn’t it strange, the kinds of things you remember and miss…

Oh well Ive got the dogs to distract me….until Paul gets back anyway.

Pip and Jet cuddle up


Monday, July 14th, 2008

We stayed at Hawkesbury Junction a day or so over our allowed 7 days, because it was too wet to move the boat. However Thursday 10 July (Happy Birthday Dan) dawned bright and sunny so we filled up with water, emptied the loo and set off for Burton on Trent. Paul worked while we cruised so I did a lot of steering that first day, to the top of the Atherstone flight of locks.

The next day we made it to Fradley Junction, and the dogs had lots of walks in between the heavy showers. Just as we approached Fradley, Jet – with tennis ball in mouth – suddenly dived through a tiny hole in a hedge and reappeared a couple of minutes later with an ornamental garden squirrel and no sign of the ball. I wrested the ornament from him and stuffed it under the garden gate, hoping no one had seen us!

A drink in the Swan that night was a little disappointing. Beer not so good, but lots of canal gossip to earwig!

Next morning we awoke to bright sunshine and set off on the final leg to Burton, not sure of where to moor. WE had a look at the water park on the run into Burton, but Jet found a pile of rubbish and there was a loud pop concert booming away in a neighbouring field so we carried on through Burton to the lovely little village of Willington about 5 miles or so Nottingham side of Burton-on-Trent. We found the same place to moor as we had last year….


There is a nice wide towpath, where we sat with David and Mandy for a picnic lunch when they visited yesterday. Jet has lots of room to lie down and watch the action.

Jet on the towpath

I am on my own with the dogs until Wednesday. Paul has gone to a meeting in Bolton, then going on up to Penrith to stay with his Dad for a couple of days.

Exploring Hawkesbury Junction

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

We are moored up on the 7 day moorings by the stop lock at the junction. Been exploring and found a railway station at Bedworth, a massive shopping centre on the way to Coventry and walks for the dogs on a reclaimed pit area done out as a park.

Dogs in park

Best of all the “Greyhound” pub is only 2 minutes away along the towpath with great views of all the action as boaters make the 360 degree turn from the Noth Oxford onto the Coventry canal going north.

The turn at Hawkesbury Junction

Change of Plans

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Back to boating and the four letter word – work.

Whilst we were away in Penrith the boat was in Rugby having its bottom blacked. David at Hillmorton Boatyard did a good job at £6.50 a foot (inclusive of vat) in a dry dock – which is very reasonable.

Now we are back on the boat we have decided to make our way up towards Nottingham, to meet up wiith Paul’s Dad at the end of the month. Paul and I are rather behind in our work, and Paul has to travel for a couple of meetings so needs access to trains. So we are now moored at Hawksbury Junction near Coventry. Fortunately the 80’s temperatures have faded and it is much cooler and overcast, so we can sit and work at our laptops ( don’t feel too sorry for us).

Before we left Rugby we met up with Pete and Di (owners of our Banbury mooring) who were on their way back from the Historic Boat gathering at Braunston. Here is a photo of their tug/ice breaker (Oxford No 1) in what is thought to be original livery. Pete has been restoring the boat, a six year project so far (I think).

Pete’s tug

Oh and Jet is a bight of a nightmare round here with all the rubbish – he loves beer cans and rips them up. Not too good an idea as he cuts his gums, stupid boy!