Friday, 8 April 2016

That was a mistake to make and then things get better

Thursday 7th April 2016
Earlswood to Hockley Heath
3 miles, 0 locks

Sadly not just one mistake - it was, in fact, a whole series throughout the day!  Our first decision was to wait until after lunch to move, hoping the showers would stop - they didn't.  When we decided to go, Monty and I set off expecting to walk most of the way.  Mistake number two.  Thankfully we had only gone about 200 yards when the phone rang - it was Chris asking us to go back.  The wind had changed and was blowing the boat away from the bank.  He needed me, his mobile mooring pin, to hold the boat whilst he untied and prepared to go.  On his own whichever end he had untied first would have been across the cut and knocking on the boat opposite before he had a chance to untie the other end and go!  All was well in the end and we made it off safely.

Mistake 3 was deciding to walk!  I would prefer a 'bicycle motorway' (see yesterdays post) to this.  A lot of the time it was a case of skirting round the edge as near to the water as I dared knowing that if I slipped I had to choose between the mud and the canal!!

Mistake 4 was wearing shoes not boots!

Mistake 5 - We stopped so I could pop up the road to a wonderful bakery/deli/greengrocers, called Wedges, to get a few supplies - what could go wrong you might wonder?  When we set off again I discovered my gloves were missing, so I guess they are still in Wedges.

We made it eventually to Hockley Heath and things got better - we got the last mooring on the bollards there - well - courtesy of the boat ahead of us who moved a few feet to give us room.

We wandered up into the town/village which must be one of the longest in the country. We reckon it must be a wealthy place too judging by the shops to be found.

You can buy a McLaren

Or a Rolls Royce

Or a swimming pool to add to your stately pile!

And you can only have your clothes cleaned if they are 'fine'.  That excludes me then!

It is a good place to moor with a Post Office and a local store for basic provisions a bit further along the road.

Friday 8th April 2016
Hockley Heath to Lapworth
2.5 miles, 13 locks

After the cold and showers of yesterday today was sunny and bright.  The warmed lined trousers were put back in the cupboard and I did not miss my gloves.  Things were definitely on the up today.  As we moved off this morning a boat came round the corner behind us - always better to be the boat in front when there are 13 locks ahead.  However, first we had two lift bridges to negotiate.  One is fairly easy and the other very hard - at least 40 very tough turns of the windlass.  We were obviously going to get the first one ahead of the boat behind - good for me as that is the easy one.  They sailed through and said they would do the same for us at the next one.  It would also mean we went ahead, so would reach the locks first.  Then it all went pear shaped for us as someone else had opened the bridge, so the boat ahead sailed through and onto the lock ahead of us!!  That would mean we would have to empty each lock before we could enter.  However, the boat ahead had a big crew and they opened up at least one paddle for us on every lock.  We also met a voluntary lock keeper when we were half way up and he stayed with us the rest of the way, so it turned out to be a very easy trip and all done with the sun shining.  Within half and hour of mooring the rain started again.

This is us arriving at the first lock.

 Coming out of lock 14 - our last one for today.

We used to moor a bit further along after lock 14 which is further from the road and used to have some lovely willow trees to shield you.  Now, however, it is better to be closer to the road.  Why?

The willows have gone and a housing estate is going up - very noisy during the day.  This was taken last October

and this is progress today

A bit further along and a wonderful display of daffodils which are nearing the end of the season

An interesting end to the day - I was busy in the galley when there was a knock on the window and it was the crew of nb Down the Hatch - the boat I was 'helping' as a volunteer lock keeper on Easter Monday last year when I fell in.  They were really helpful at the time and it was good to see them again and catch up on their year.

And finally an update on Evelyn.  She went back to the fracture clinic yesterday and now has a full cast.  The burning questions was 'what colour would she choose?'.  As a 7 year old girl you might think pink or purple, but not our Evelyn - she is not one to follow the trend - she went for blue.

The consultant said she can still do archery, but no climbing trees for a few weeks. Thankfully it is not a bad break and she should be out of plaster in three weeks.  For now she is looking forward to showing it off to her friends at school when they go back next week.


  1. We are terribly sorry to read of Evelyn's broken arm. She seems to be bearing up well enough with the resiliency of the young.

    The last time we were through Hockley Heath was late October. What a contrast to April with all that mud! Here is hoping the remainder of your early spring cruise goes of without a hitch.
    Jaq and Les xxx

  2. Good to hear from you Jaq and Les - Evelyn is nothing if not stoical and is doing just fine. The mud is certainly a problem along this canal and I suspect we still have more to contend with before we reach Stratford. Jennie and Chris