Friday, 27 September 2013

Crash, bang, wallop

 Oh dear I really must keep up!  With bigger pictures as requested by Les and Jaq!

Tues 24 Sep 2013
Wootton Wawen to above bridge 53 to Lowsonford
4 miles 8 locks

Today we started the long climb back up the locks towards Birmingham that start at Preston Bagot, but we are going to do it really slowly – I think we are getting the hang of short days with time to relax, go for a walk and do the necessary domestic chores that have to be done. 

We met up with a boat called nb Daisy – they have a Border Collie called Beau – his exploits after rolling in something unsavoury had Chris and I in stitches!  Worth a read if you are a dog owner.
At one lock we had a group of ‘supervisors’ to ensure we did things correctly!
Once we were moored at Lowsonford the mist rolled in along with a red sky, so not sure what tomorrow will hold.

We went to the Fleur de Lys to have dinner and had one of their ‘famous pies’.  I am afraid we were not that impressed!  The pub is nice and is dog friendly and we have eaten other things here that have been fine.

Wed 25 Sep 2013
Lowsonford to just north of B65 on the Grand Union Canal
2.5 miles 9 locks

Today we started the Lapworth flight of locks.  There are not quite as many (27) as there are in the Tardebigge flight (30), but we think we both prefer the latter.  The Lapworth locks top gate has to be climbed onto to get from one side to the other – much easier at Tardebigge. 

The paddles are easier to wind here, but the gates are so heavy that is is a real struggle at times.  The bottom gate at 27 is a two person job and we had to go back to the top gate at 25 as I just could not shut it on my own.  Thankfully we had already decided to moor there for a while for lunch and a shower before continuing for the last mile and 3 locks before we stopped on the Grand Union just passed Kingswood Junction.

Kingswood Junction
Where we met this family of four
Move along there please
We emerge
Looking back and the other two have caught up
The view from our very peaceful mooring

Thurs 26 Sep 2013
just north of B65 on the Grand Union Canal to the link from the Grand Union Canal to the Stratford Canal at Kingswood Junction almost under a railway bridge via the bottom of Knowle locks and back
7 miles, 0 locks

We have decided to loiter and not make our way to Birmingham until Sunday, so as it was a nice day we just pottered up to Knowle locks for water and back again. .   We met that family again en route to Knowle – well just one of the parents this time and not looking too happy.
Now there are two conundrums at bridge 70 which is called Kings Arms Bridge:
 1 Why is only half the bridge painted white?

2 We expected the pub to be called The Kings Arms
But no it is:
I walked up to the top of the flight with rubbish, so was able to admire the view.
There appeared to be two VLK’s on duty – always a welcome sight even if we did not need their services today.  Then it was back to Kingswood Junction, but round the corner in the link between the two canals.  There is a lovely picnic site,
but we are almost under a railway bridge, so it is not the quietest of spots, but I did not hear anything in the night, so not a complete disaster.

And now to the 'Crash, Bang, Wallop'!!

The almost disaster of the day happened much earlier – I slipped whilst getting on at the bow and have a very large bruise on a place only Chris & the mirror will ever see!  I think arnica might be called for when we reach Birmingham. 

 We had already decided to go back to Birmingham via the Worcester and Birmingham canal rather than the Grand Union and having read this account of nb Waiouru 's trip we are happy we have made the right decision.  Time will tell!

A very relaxing day with a walk to a local shop (very basic needs), a quick look in the canal shop at lock 14 (definitely canal stuff, not basic supplies!) and we discovered that the local shop mentioned in Nicholson’s near bridge 34 now appears to be a hairdressers – hot off the press news as it is still being fitted out.  Our last stop was for a swift drink at The Boot, Lapworth which we discovered was part of the Lovely Pub chain that re-opened the Queens Head at Stoke Pound in July.  A roaring fire was welcome, if a little warm!  They are very dog friendly and even brought Monty a dish of water. There is a lot of information along the tow path including boxes with handles to turn that give a commentary bringing history to life.  This one was about a brickie called John Cobb and how the barrel roofed cottages came into beingGreat for children of all ages! 
Sadly someone has broken the handle off this one so it is now defunct.

Fri 27th September 2013
Kingswood Junction to between locks 15 and 14 on the Lapworth Flight
Half a mile, 6 locks

An easy day – originally so we could eat in The Boot in Lapworth (more on this later), but also to give my back a bit of a rest after yesterday’s fall.  The bruise – we are not talking yellow and brown, oh no, I have made a proper job of it – it is about 8 inches long,  2 to 3 inches wide and livid purple, red and pink!  I rather suspect I will have it for months.

A quick walk with Monty, then up to the junction for water and finally up 6 locks to moor between locks 15 and 14.  It was enough.

After lunch we went for a longer walk along a small part of the Heart of England Way towards Baddesley Clinton which is a National Trust property.  We did not actually get to see it even in the distance, but it was a good walk.   
 We went past Kingswood Park, home of ’Castle Eventing’.  
 This is a very serious set up with several very large vans
This one is sporting a lot of rosettes
And horses everywhere we looked

Then to The Boot to see if we could have a table for tonight – no chance!  The earliest was 9pm which is much too late for us, so it was back to the boat for a cheese omelette!!

ps – imagine my surprise when I took my boots off this afternoon to find this:
The socks are not that old – an email to Brasher has been sent, so I will wait to see what they say.  I guess it is testament to how good my boots are that I did not notice until I took them off.

Tomorrow off up the rest of the Lapworth locks to Earlswood ready for the push to Birmingham on Sunday.

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