Boatwif Blog

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Dog Days of Summer

Monday 30th August: Rugeley (Trent and Mersey) to Tixall Wide (Staffs and Worcs): 6 miles, 2 locks (much queuing)       I never quite understood that line in a poem “the last dog days of summer”, but I took it to indicate lolling about, lazy, quiet, warm. An internet trawl would probably put me right but this seems a suitable title for this sort of day.  True, there was early(ish) activity when the Captain (in his role of Catering Officer) raided...

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Good sport at Fradley Junction

Sunday, 29th August: Just south of Hopwas to Rugeley, Staffs:  16  miles, 3 locks       There were musings yesterday on the forms of greeting on and near canals. There have been some more”You alright” remarks from time to time, but also “Hi-ya” and twice, to me, “Hello, me duck”. It was pleasing to see, however, as we cruised past Hopwas Primary School a clear notice upon the entrance gate: “Good Morning Children” it read. I will keep my ears (and eyes)...

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“You alright then?”

Saturday 28th August:  2 miles south of Atherstone, Warks to 1 mile south of Hopwas, Staffs: 14.8 miles, 13 locks       Greetings from one back deck to another is common on the canals. The Captain here tends to address a  brisk “Good morning” to oncoming walkers and boaters and usually it is returned with similar reply, even if delivered in a milder manner. But now we are in the country where such words might be too, dare I say it, posh, by...

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Coventry, its cathedrals and canal

Friday 27th August: Coventry to Hartshill, near Atherstone: 14.35 miles, 0 locks       I woke in the night – because it wasn’t raining any more! Nor has it since – and it is easier to see and to think when not under a peaked hat and encased in waterproofs!       We set off for the Cathedral early, crossing the ring road by a high footbridge and heading uphill. Up a cobblestone lane we reached the distinctive front of...

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Sent to Coventry

Thursday 26th August: east of Hillmorton Locks to Coventry: 22 miles, 4 locks       Mid-afternoon I may have been sent to Coventry: the fact that we were approaching it was the reason.     ” Whose idea was this?” shouted the Captain, several times. I played the Deaf Ears tactic, as it had been mine… Things could have been better all day, so perhaps the rhetorical question was disguising steadily increasing despondency.       Rain had provided background noise throughout the night. With an...

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HEADLINE: SUNK BOAT REMOVED FROM LOCK

Wednesday 25th August: Braunston to near Hillmorton, North Oxford Canal: 7.5 miles, 6 locks       Readers of yesterday’s blog (apologies for getting the date wrong) may recall the late entry of an accident that had occurred on the Whilton Flight behind us.       Early this morning the Towpath Telegraph reported that the boat had been lifted out of the lock overnight. But the crew of Wandering Star (see Monday’s blog) had been witnesses, moored outside the lock waiting...

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Sloe, blow, lock, lock, slow

Tuesday 25th August: Bugbrooke to Braunston Tunnel (West Portal) :    12 miles, 7 locks       An idea has just struck me: you know how at Christmas time you come across cheery little books on specialist subjects, such as tractors or garden mowers: perhaps a publication of boats with gorgeous decoration or witty names would make a welcome stocking filler. I say this because yesterday at Gayton Junction we passed a boat called L’escargot, a happy looking snail picture on...

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Out of signal again – Braunston

Quick update from Son-In-Law here. No blog post tonight due to lack of 3G signal near to Ken & Sue’s current mooring. As you should be able to see, from the map on the right, they are currently moored at the West end of Braunston tunnel. Normal service should resume tomorrow.

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Fast Trains and Frisky Dogs ( and the mystery of the missing holes)

Monday 23rd August: Northampton to Bugbrooke,  9 miles, 17 locks       Was it an omen that just as we were about to cast off Wandering Star (owned by residents of Congleton) sped by?  Yesterday they were moored at Northampton Park, he head down into the engine compartment, doing some routine servicing work. They were going to be ahead of us as we toiled uphill … The Captain had words to say about my very reasonable desire for a newspaper from an...

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Flags, flowers and a flotilla

Sunday, 22nd August: Cogenhoe Lock to Northampton: 6  miles, 6 locks         Picture if you can those scenes of a great ship’s homecoming, passing the Isle of Wight maybe, the ship shepherded by tiny craft towards her berth – now hold that scene in your mind until the next paragraph. Despite no need for an early start (since there was to be only a short distance today) the Captain could not resist setting off towards the blue sky, blue water and warm...