We left Tamworth after stopping to fill up with water. We must have been nearly empty as it took about 45 minutes.
Glascote locks were easy as each time there was a boat coming towards us and we didn’t waste any water with one up, one down.
We turned onto the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal – a very tight junction which we just managed in one move despite catching our hull on something submerged which spoilt our line of attack.
We moored up and visited Tolsons Mill where there are all sorts of amazing yarns to tempt the avid knitter or crotcheter. We weakened and spent money on ideas for prezzies. Their narrowboat tours the canals promoting their wares. www.tolsonsmillyarns.com.
We then moved off and stopped again after a mile to visit the Kingsbury Park Nature Reserve which we’d been told was worth a visit. Until 2007 this was a working gravel pit but now provides a welcome home to lapwings mainly. We walked through the park amongst the grasses and wild flowers that were alive with crickets, bees and butterflies before coming to one of the hides. Here we learnt that today we were to be honoured with the sighting of an unusual and rare visit of the Pacific Golden Plover. We were allowed to view this bird through a ‘scope’ that made us realise that our binoculars were totally inadequate for this kind of bird watching.
After being suitably educated and impressed, we moved off again and passed through a further three locks, running parallel with the M42, before mooring up beside the Dog & Doublet. Today is our 33rd wedding anniversary so we’re treating ourselves to a meal out.
We left Atherstone and worked our way through six locks, stopping for lunch at Polesworth. We loaded the rotary drier with washing and went off into the village to explore. We’d visited before in 2010 but couldn’t quite recall the village but we soon remembered when we saw the splendid gatehouse and clerestory that remain from Saxon times.
After our brief sojourn we set off again and passed under the M42 bridge, before mooring up on the outskirts of Tamworth.
We waited until early evening before heading off in search of some milk. We walked into Tamworth which we visited here by train on a previous occasion when we’d visited Tamworth Castle but on this occasion we just took a brief stroll round the town, bought our milk and returned to the boat.
After dinner on board we spent the evening trying to get our internet up and running as we need to place a Tesco order, do some internet banking and communicate again with the outside world. Storm is the hero of the hour as he’s found another transformer and a different adaptor that works.
We’re back on board after ten nights at home. We’ve been busy partying with friends and family all week. We’ve also been filling a skip with soil and rubble left over from having had a new patio laid, pruning and tidying the garden, and losing several pounds perspiring in the constant heat. In between we’ve been getting vehicles up and running after they’ve been stood for a while!
Max enjoyed daily walks with his best friend, Poppy, whom he’d really missed as he’d not seen her since January. He also made new friends with Charlie, the ever so patient Bassett Hound who allowed Max to wash him from head to toe despite it being one of the hottest days of the year.
Our train journey was uneventful and we’ve come back to the boat to dry out and try and save our pennies as life on dry land maintaining properties and vehicles always costs us more than we’d intended!
While we’ve been away the spiders have been busy trying to cover the boat in cobwebs, but otherwise all was well.
Sorry, I spoke too soon – when trying to upload this to the blog site, I discovered that there is no power to our router.
Our good friends Dave & Laurie made the journey to Atherstone to see us today and we found a cafe that offered a themed 1940’s war time lunch menu served up on blue edged white enamel plates,washed down with either ginger beer or dandelion & burdock. The staff were all dressed in period costume and the walls and surfaces were decorated with all kinds of 40’s memorabilia and music of the time was playing in the background. All that was missing was the odd air-raid siren, but perhaps that sounds at closing time!
We returned to the boat afterwards to sit in the sun and enjoy a cup of tea and home-made chocolate cake. A lovely afternoon.
Our first daytime drizzle for weeks meant we stayed put for the morning but by lunch-time the cloud had lifted and the sun was shining again and so we moved onto Atherstone, passing the historical Hartshill Boat Yard and the alleged site of Boudica’s last battle at Mancetter.
A scorching hot day and we headed off in search of some breeze towards Hawkesbury Junction, the stop lock and the Coventry Canal.
We motored on past Bedworth and were approaching Marston Junction, where there were boats moored up on the tow path right up to the bridge, hampering our sight line , when we had a close encounter with a boat coming towards us at speed, closely followed by three others. Thankfully we were travelling quite slowly and as we changed into reverse we could react quicker than the approaching boats. We did lose some of our new black enamel paint and were a little upset that the hot weather seemed to be impacting on their boating good manners as there had been a lot more space for manoeuvre at their side of the bridge.
We continued onto the outskirts of Nuneaton for lunch and moored up so we could go and explore the town centre, the birthplace of George Eliot, author of The Mill on the Floss.
By the time we returned to the boat it was getting slightly cooler and we moved the boat about a mile out into open countryside, close to Springwood Haven.
We left Brinklow and arrived back at Sowe Common in time for lunch. The weather was overcast but with no rain forecast we finally managed to get some black enamel paint on our gunwhale.