Monday, 3 February 2020

And a Jump - 3rd February 2020

Monday 3rd February 2020
Astwood to Crafted Boats 
1.5 miles, 2 locks

We had done the hop and skip, so today it was the final jump - mind you we have 'skipped' a day in between!  Yesterday we stayed put at Astwood whilst our daughter collected Chris so he could position our car at Stoke Wharf in readiness for us today.  My job for the day was some very very deep cleaning in the galley!  It feels good to have it done ready for the off in April.

Considering the rain we have had of recent months we certainly chose the right few days to do this trip as we certainly saw more sun than we have done in months.  Today was no exception and we had a smooth run to the bottom lock at Stoke Prior which we entered and went up.  The first job was to get rid of the rubbish and empty the wee pots before Chris winded and re-entered the lock.  By now the side hatch was opposite the car, so we were able to unload the boat with ease.

 The last job (or so we thought) was to remove the chimney and put the cap on

I opened the paddles and emptied the lock, and opened the gate on the towpath side.  Round I went to open the other gate, but it was not to be.  This big stick was firmly wedged.  I tried wriggling the gate to see if it would shift, but it wouldn't.

Plan B - Chris nudged the boat forward and came to the bow with his trusty book hook

He managed to move it out the way

 and we escaped taking the stick with us

I then drove to Crafted Boats whilst Chris travelled the couple of hundred yards or so to moor up outside their office.  We are now facing the right way to go back to Droitwich on (we hope) 4th March once the jobs have been done.

A successful few days.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Skip..... 1st February 2020

Saturday 1st February 2020
Hanbury Junction to B41 Astwood
2 miles, 6 locks

I did say we were taking it slowly!  We woke to sun and blue skies - such a rare commodity of late.

Naturally we have the fire going and we usually put the short chimney on when we are on the move.  Today we decided to see if we could manage without swapping - we thought the bridges were all high enough.  Would we fit?

Yes - room to spare.

The sky just got bluer and bluer - there was just a very strong wind to contend with.

Chris waiting at the bottom lock.  A boat had gone past us yesterday afternoon, so it was no surprise to find it full to the brim.

The view from the first lock

and there in the distance a canoeist

who turned out to be two and a lot quicker round the lock than we were.

There it is - the boat that past us yesterday just below the second lock.  The helmsman had just got the lock ready and was heading in - bad timing on our part.  I went and lent a hand.

The second lock (No 18) is the one with lock cottage and the wonderful garden on the offside.  We have never seen it in winter - all trimmed back and ready for spring growth,

 but still with some colourful pots outside the front door.

The helmsman on the boat ahead of us reckoned a crew of two would be quicker than he was on his own and when we got to the next lock, he had got it ready for us and let us go ahead.  There really are some wonderful boaters around.

I am not sure that we were much, if any, quicker than he was, but we were grateful for his consideration and kindness, especially as he was going further than we were today (up the 6 Stoke locks to Stoke Pound ready to do Tardebigge tomorrow).  I did open a paddle for him on the bottom gates, which I hope helped him a bit.  Once we got to the top lock I left Chris waiting and went back to the fifth lock to our kindly boater up the last two.

We went ahead and moored up and

waved as he went past on his way.

The sky was certainly darker when we moored at around 12:15, but as I type at nearly 17:00 the sun only left us about half an hour ago.  Thankfully the wind is blowing us onto the towpath and even that has abated a bit.