Hindrances to passage

Alvecote to Hopwas: 6.6 miles, 2 locks
             The boat rounded a long corner this morning to reach Alvecote: it’s a busy place with two marinas, online moorings and usually a fair collection of old workboats.

 Moored up in line was a glorious collection of high hulled colourful old boats, including Chertsey

(read here for owner Sarah’s account of how a brass band was delivered to the official opening of the Erewash Festival in May).
             Not much further on there was a summons to the back deck. However many times it’s passed it has to be photographed – the border marker for DDR (old East Germany),

positioned in someone’s back garden in Amington, on the outskirts of Tamworth. Just how did this piece of painted woodwork come to be here…? It was always difficult to cross the East /West Germany border – and almost as difficult to pass through and below one very large and very overgrown willow tree!

              The gardens in this area are a delight: there are veg patches, smooth lawns, gardens crowded with flowers and ornament, overgrown wildernesses, a bathtub filled with ferns, an enormous teddy bear sitting in a summer house, a badminton net – variety indeed.
              There are two locks at Glascote – and a slow queue. The locks fill and empty in slow time; an upcoming boater had been debarred from proceeding up last evening as C&RT contractors are currently working to dredge the top lock side pond between 1700 and 2100 each evening, closing the locks to boat passage. Then, as Cleddau arrived in the second lock, a problem was announced from the back deck. An orange warning light possibly indicated a loose cable, dislodged probably during Tuesday’s gear cable episode. The gauges for temperature, revs and electrical charge weren’t working. A screwdriver was produced, the instrument panel innards inspected – but there was no loose wire. While the Captain wrestled with a failed diagnosis Boatwif steered. A foul and fishy smell began to fill the air and an emergency mooring called for. Just after the Tame Aqueduct

came a straight stretch. Boat tied up

the engine boards were lifted – and out gushed steam.

The engine (its water tank topped up not three hours before) was boiling. The cause? A broken drive belt.
               Not another River and Canal Rescue callout?! The Captain quickly located a spare drive belt – and almost as quickly realised that it was not going to be easy to fit. Here’s his report:
              Left everything undisturbed for an hour until the engine cooled. The drive belt was the inside one of three so the first two had to be removed before all three could be refitted. In order to access the bolts holding both alternators in place the three panels surrounding the sides of the engine had to be removed.


                Three hours after the unplanned halt Cleddau was on the move again, through Fazeley Junction

(not taking a route south to Birmingham) but continuing towards Fradley. Suburbia soon gives way to rural scenes;

low hills beckon and within an hour the canal has twisted and curved its way to Hopwas. 
               Try walking along a pavement in this quiet village

– passage blocked again!
               A post box was located and the charming school. A school house was built in 1717 (see plaque)

but the village shop has closed. Does this pretty village need custom? Two pubs, The Tame Otter and The Red Lion sit on opposite sides of the canal – which shall it be tonight?
               Tomorrow: beyond Fradley Junction, near King’s Bromley


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