Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hey Ho and Off We Go

….. Roaming again!!!    After a very pleasant 7 weeks at Trent Lock, we got off the Erewash Canal last Thursday evening when a very nice CART man came and told us that he would unlock the gates and let us through if we left there and then, otherwise we would probably be there for quite a few more days.   This was due to the pollution I told you about last week.   So we locked down onto the River Trent and stayed overnight on the lock moorings ready for setting forth Friday morning.

Thanks to John and Mick at Kingfisher Narrowboats for the jobs done and letting us “overstay” on their moorings!

So, Friday morning saw us cross the River Trent (quite literally) and turn down the River Soar.   Now, previously, I haven’t much cared for cruising on rivers as there’s been steep banks with trees so you can’t see much other than the river and moorings are very limited.  The River Soar is very pretty with lots to look at and plenty of places to moor.   Friday night we stayed just outside Kegworth in the middle of lovely, tranquil scenery.    What we hadn’t realised is that it was quite a hike back up the towpath to reach the village!  Never mind, the mooring was well worth the walk as we needed a few groceries and Sunday joint.   Dai still cooks a full Sunday roast dinner every week so we were pleased to find a butchers in Kegworth which I have to recommend to you all.   We had pork loin and it was up there in the best ever eaten.

Dai is ecstatic with his new prop - it's improved the manoeuvrability and reduced the engine revs which, in turn, will reduce the  amout of diesel consumed (and he has his girlie button back so happiness all round!).

But …. The best laid plans and all that …. Rain started and flood warnings abounded.   The River Soar levels go up and down like a yoyo with any rain so on Sunday we decided to move or risk being on a rising river.   It is not very clear from Nicolsons (canal atlas for those who don’t know) when you are on the river and when you are on the canal - the only way to really work it out is look for the weirs and flood gates.    So we went through Bishops Meadows lock just on outskirts of Loughborough as we knew we were then on canal.   Moored just before Loughborough Lock safe and sound!

Loughborough was quite a surprise to us both even though it isn’t a million miles from when we were housebound near Nottingham!   The town centre is much bigger than we expected - although on reflection, we should have known because Loughborough University is a renowned centre for sports science.   Of course, this week is Freshers Week so students everywhere!!

Yesterday we went through Loughborough Lock and down the arm to the basin for the services.   it’s a small basin with pontoons for 4 boats - Dai remembers there were plans to fill in the basin in the late 1990s but after an outcry, it was tidied up instead and now is quite smart… and the town centre is only minutes away with a huge Tesco and Sainsburys well within “trundling shopping” limits!!

We didn’t stop there however as we prefer to be on the towpath and overnight away from the very nearby pubs, so we just came back out of the arm and are moored just through Bridge 39 on a very pleasant mooring.    Boats have come by today so obviously the River Soar must be open again with water levels back down.

Staying here until at least Friday or Saturday as we have a local coal merchant delivering sometime on Friday (maybe longer if the River comes up again in the meantime - been some sharp showers today and forecast not good).

Since last blog we have done … 9 miles and 8 locks  
Total since Setting Off ….. 1967 miles and  1596 locks  

our latest gadget - and what fun!
Top figure is outside temp
then humidity; then inside temp,
bottom figures are date and time
and the weather boy changes dependent on weather
so he might be stripped to his trunks, in normal clothers
or hat, coat and scarf on!
he also shows deckchair or umbrella or snowflakes!
and it seems to be pretty accurate!
..... following popular demand ....
new carpet (but you can't see the colour
very well.  It's a lot brighter in real life.
Love it !!
River Soar and South here we come
"emergency mooring in floods only"
ummm - well, I suppose if you are in a flood
you'd be very glad to see this
Wasn't flashing when we went by ....
but was a day or two later
cute eh ---- nice to be in Tuggyland

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Just when we thought it was safe to go ….

The Erewash canal has a stoppage!!    There was a fire at a big factory a few miles up the canal yesterday or day before which resulted in a “pollution incident” so the Erewash is currently closed at Trent Lock while they re-oxygenate the water.   Might be open tomorrow but don’t know yet.    Mind you, the CART men have let some boats down Trent Lock and a few up today.   I asked about us going down tomorrow and was told we’d have to ask in the morning …… so after being here since mid August moored at Kingfisher Narrowboats on one of their moorings, I guess another day or so won’t really matter that much ….. Except Dai is badly wander lusting and now that we have caught up with family and friends, I am also ready to go.

We are planning on going onto the River Soar from Trent Lock as we haven’t travelled that stretch before.   We have now of course to start planning round the Winter Stoppages but the first one we meet will be at Lapworth Locks from mid Nov to 7 December so we then have some options : might meander there to go through after the stoppage into Birmingham; get through before the stoppage; or change route before then off the Grand Union at Braunston ----- so many choices!!    We will then get onto the Shropshire Union.

Amy and Andy are gone!!     Set off from home last Tuesday evening to get to Heathrow for flight via India to Thailand, night in Bangkok then a 12 hour train journey north to Chiang Mai where they will be working.
So both busy now job hunting to teach English and today had their first demo teaching ---- I’m sure they will soon be set up.      It’s really hot over there right now ---- just as the nights are drawing in here.   We have started to have the odd fire in the evenings but at least the daytimes are still bright and sunny.

We have had our kitchen, bathroom and bedroom carpeted today and its looks lovely!!    We had vinyl tiles in those rooms, because of Foxxie dog and all her hair shedding - but they were starting to lift here and there.    So we are now “taking shoes off indoors” which is something we said we would never do!!   Oh, and had to buy a vacuum cleaner which has to live in the shower!!    No room anywhere else!

Since last blog we have done … 0 miles and 0 locks  
Total since Setting Off ….. 1958 miles and  1588 locks

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Where have all the weevils gone .....?

Still at Trent Lock ---- feels like being on holiday to me with lots of catching up with family and friends.  We are going to be here until at least Sept 12 when Amy and Andy fly off back to Thailand to work as English teachers (so expect an entry spotted with tears next Wednesday!!).

Highlights this last week have been :----

1.  We’ve had some good sunny hot/warm days (now that its September and the nights are drawing in!!).
2.  My mum brought my niece and nephew to visit before they started back to school today.
3.  We won the pub quiz at the Steamboat pub last Friday with our friends Archie and Jackie after the manager’s persistence that we join in!!   The nicest surprise was that homemade sushi was handed around and we ended up with 2 plates full (think other tables must have declined --- it is the most unusual freebie food we have ever had in a pub!!).    Neither Dai or I had ever tried it before and you’ve got to haven’t you when it’s sitting there in front of you ---- it was delicious and full compliments to the manager’s wife who had obviously spent ages preparing it.
4.   We’ve splashed out and bought two new outside chairs which was very opportune with all the sunshine we’ve had the last few days.   Cost us an arm and a leg but, hey, it’s only money!!
5.  Caught up with old friends at The Crown in Beeston where they sell loads of Real Ale and Ciders - a good time was had by all (thank goodness we had a lift!!).
6.  Watching contractors today just above Trent Lock “removing” the azolla weed from the Erewash Canal.  Apparently they were doing a trial (what happened to the water weevils feasting on it?) with two little putt-putt boats and a boom, dragging the weed along the water to a digger on the towpath who then proceeded to haul the weed out into a tip-up truck.    OK, they did get a fair bit out but why wait until it had nearly all gone anyway??    This last week we have seen water around Jandai instead of the Green Carpet, the weed seeming to be disappearing by, presumably,  (1) now fat water weevils (2) a bit of wind and boaters using the lock so flowing over into the River Trent - we understand the weed doesn’t like flowing water so shouldn’t be too much of an issue on there - (3) natural dying off and/or (4) hugely growing ducklings and baby moorhens/coots (or is that cooties and moories??).

Since last blog we have done … 0 miles and 0 locks  
Total since Setting Off ….. 1958 miles and  1588 locks  

card school in action !
but Sam would sooner play with Foxxie!
While Millie at 7 yrs old requested we play
"threes and fours" !!
first boon-full of weed collected (between the yellow
plastic and towpath)
.... and then the digger fishes the weed out