Boatwif Blog

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Pelicans, pastimes and a pier…

Oceanside on a holiday weekend is a good place for people watching. The lifeguard huts might not be manned    (after all, this is winter now) but the beach is still busy. Post Thanksgiving last Friday some family groups gathered up their post-feast leftovers and headed for a beachside shelter for a beachside picnic.  Park down near the pier ($4 for two hours) and you are well placed for fun… You can hire a bike (various types available)       or RENT ME...

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Juggling

When there are three children of three different ages to entertain an element of juggling inevitably creeps in.       Out in Southern California with the Cal Clan during the Thanksgiving Break  there have been activities to involve all, activities applicable to all but appealing specifically to one or two family members – and activities that have just one fan… Take ice-skating.     Cal Gal adores it, her brothers don’t. So while the Captain and Cal Guys Snr and Jnr remained in Vista at...

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Downtown

“When are we going Downtown Daddy?” Cal Guy Junior had pestered. “Daddy” (aka Cal Son) was busy working on a plan. Each of the Cal Three had expressed a Downtown preference – and somehow the preferences had to be knitted together into a workable operation… Downtown of course in American terms is a reference to the oldest areas and the business districts of a city. For the Cal Clan Downtown is the historic and harborside districts of San Diego. It...

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Whose time is it anyway?

To Heathrow, for a transatlantic flight. How many hours ahead of take off do you need to be there? How much time do you need to build into your plan to allow for traffic delay on the motorways or congestion at the airport…? On Wednesday Storm Abigail had blown herself out but Storm Barney was still a boisterous intruder. Traffic on the motorways was flowing freely and so by 1230 the Captain and Boatwif were through Terminal 2’s security channels, with...

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Work party

When you live a three hour drive away from your boat you can become concerned, indeed obsessed, by Jobs That Need To Be Done. “When am I going to paint the gunwales?” the Captain had sighed. “Can we get the boat washed and polished before winter…?” he had pondered. Opportunity knocked. The Cheshire One, delivered to Beds. for her half term break by train, needed to be returned mid-week. So, after a night in the Macclesfield loft and a disregard...

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The Last Ascent

Just two days’ cruising lay ahead when Cleddau pulled away from Biddulph Aqueduct on Tuesday morning. To Bosley Locks would be a non-stop run of about 90 minutes. The Cloud, that steep lump of a hill just outside Congleton, was a silhouette in the morning haze.  The painted resting cow was a signal   that the locks were not much further ahead. Over the River Dane, then Bosley Bottom Lock was in sight.     Water trickled from between the gates indicating...

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Back to the Macc

Stone (Staffordshire) to Congleton (Cheshire) Stone in Staffordshire is a canal-minded town. The bottom lock (of four) is right beside The Star Inn. Early morning on Saturday only a father and toddler      watched proceedings as Cleddau rose in the lock. Boatyards, former workboats     and old buildings     make the transit through the town an interesting one. Then, with barely enough time to boil a kettle, the four Meaford Locks had to be tackled. Here stunning Autumn colour begged to be photographed!  ...

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Sliding into Staffordshire

From Atherstone to Stone The Coventry Canal tumbles down the 11 locks at Atherstone, weaves its way past open fields       and under the West Coast railway line towards Polesworth. This is a pleasantly kept, large ex-coal mining village  in North Warwickshire. When passing this way a few years ago church bells were ringing out across the Anker Valley. Where had the lovely sound come from? Only if you strain your eyes to the north east of the canal might you...

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Know your junctions…

After 89¼ miles northwards from the Thames at Brentford (or so the Norton Junction sign says) the Grand Union main line bears left and westwards, past some open fields, then through a tree-lined cutting and into the 2042 yard / 1867 metre long Braunston Tunnel.      As canal tunnels go it’s fairly high and also wide, wide enough to allow narrow boats to pass in opposite directions. There is a kink in the alignment near the eastern end, which does...

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Waiting at Weedon

There’s been a hiccup in the Cleddau Final Leg Cruise. Three days out from Milton Keynes the domestic alternator failed. Moored peacefully last Sunday evening near Stowe Hill the readings were worryingly low. “How could the batteries be charged to 94.3% this morning – and after four hours cruising be lower, at only 94%…” pondered the Captain. When percentage numbers seem high what was there to worry about? “The ‘fridge! The freezer! We need to get onto mains power before...

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