Monday, 29 November 2010

Canal Walk

14:45 yesterday, all the chores are done, time to take Molly for a walk.
good advertising here on a farm gate just above ...
... Brick Kiln Lock (33)
Since George walked Molly this morning someone has opened the bottom gates and now it would be impossible for anyone to close them due to the continuous sheet of ice.
BW working boat Pheobe stuck in the ice - Ann had said that BW staff were working from here when Moore2Life travelled up last Wednesday - they were taking soil/spoil from the hod and piling it up on the offside bank - can't see why though.
the ice is not melting at all
but it does look so pretty
we've seen this bird before but are not sure what it is - it's obviously a hunting bird but I've looked on the RSPB site but can't find anything with quite such a red front - any ideas out there?
We stopped here, the sun looked as if it had set the trees on fire!
This is where Ann from NB Moore2Life caught up with us with (their) Molly; we were looking on the I-phone to see where the now disused railway line went.  We've previously walked to the left and it comes to a dead end by a farm and a road but we didn't know where it went to the right as we look at the picture here.  We discovered that it goes all the way into Cannock but it was difficult tell how far away this was.  (This morning Ann invited us to walk down this track with her, but unfortunately I was busy with other things so she set off with her Molly - I hope she has a great walk - if she enjoys it we've promised to walk that way with her again later in the week)
On the way back to our moorings at Gailey Lock we saw these very unusual bird boxes set high in the trees.
... the sun is starting to get very low in the sky now
Molly is waiting for us to catch up ...
... and she's still waiting as I take this fabulous shot back at Brick Kiln Lock with the setting sun sending beautiful colours across the sky. A fantastic way to squander away the last hour or so of daylight.

Sunday, 28 November 2010


Yesterday Ann and I with George and (our) Molly walked into Gailey to Dobbies Garden Centre as I wanted to buy some garden fleece hoping that it will prolong the life of my pots.  It was one of those garden centres that is more about everything else than plants and flowers as is common these days, but we did manage to find some fleece so it wasn't a wasted journey.  In fact I bought some super fleecy socks for George which he was very pleased with and he went back there later to buy some more and a Regatta fleece too!
On the way to the garden centre we called at Gailey Pottery for a look around and I purchased this beautiful plate - more about this establishment in my next posting.
  During a very entertaining evening with Ann and Chas from NB Moore2Life the temperature dipped to minus 8 degrees so it was not surprising that this morning we woke to a very hard frost.
These two pictures are of our galley window at 08:20 this morning - the ice hasn't yet all melted as I post this at 12:31. 
The only windows that we haven't had secondary glazing added is this one and the two small windows one in the bathroom and the other opposite the bathroom door, but have decided that we'll look at the feasibility of doing these when we meet up with our boat fitter when we eventually reach Milton Keynes.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Here it comes again, that ...

Here it comes again - the season that is!  Great 60's music!
woke up this morning to a thin(ish) layer of snow - that's Moore2Life in front of us
..... a sprinkling on the hawthorn branches
........ a beautiful carpet on the ground
Snow Flowers - the small collection of snow in the skeleton of the flower soon melted away
speaks for itself
and us

Friday, 26 November 2010

Brewood to Gailey due to the early arrival of winter!

08:00 Wednesday 24th November woke up to a hard frost 
but a fabulous sunrise
 the heron is all fluffed up to keep out the cold as he sits in the sunshine on our walk into Brewood and by the time we got back to RnR and prepared to up-sticks it was nearly noon
snow on the mountains in Shropshire - no, beautiful cloud formation in a brilliant sky!
We've turned north at Autherley Junction onto the Staffs and Worc Canal; this is Marsh Lane Bridge (67) a very pretty spot, there are always loads of ducks here obviously used to being fed from the bridge
and into the narrows ..
Forster Bridge (68) - Molly comfy and warm in her box on top of the back hatch seems to be asking if we really can get under this low bridge ...

I don't think so, she says, not without it taking off my ears!
but through we go without misshap - hope there's not a boat coming towards us
well at least there's a 'passing place' - for a small boat anyway.
We reached our destination point for today at about 14:45 alongside the Fox and Anchor at Cross Green near Coven.  We'd planned to meet up with Moore2Life but had a phone call from Ann to say that due to the deterioration in the weather they had moored up at Gailey. We didn't realise until we checked the long-range forecast that the temperature at night was going to fall like the proverbial stone more each night for a week or more!  I texted Ann to say that we'll see them at Gailey tomorrow!  
We upped sticks from Cross Green at about noon after walking into Coven for a bit more fresh meat to tide us over a few more days.
not sure what these markers were - obviously new wooden stakes painted yellow at the top, they weren't an equal distance apart and were seen over about 200 yards.
about 12:30 approaching the Hatherton Branch junction there is floating ice on the water!  We're glad we've moved on.
A wonderful view coming up to Calf Heath.
Arrived at Gailey at about 3pm and attempted to get a pump out at JD Boat Services - but even though we'd rung ahead to warn them and had asked them to try to ensure that the pipes were not frozen solid, they were when we arrived.  They promised that they would take them inside to ensure they could be used in the morning .. so we went down the lock where Ann and Charles from Moore2Life were waiting.  It was so good to see them again, the last time was stuck in the ice at Great Haywood in December 09! 
I started to batten down the hatches whilst George went back to close the lock gates - he was ages and when he did arrive he said that the guy from the boatyard had looked at the pump-out pipes and that they were ok and could we go back up the lock as he couldn't guarantee that they wouldn't be frozen tomorrow!  So down went the pram hood, out came the pins and we reversed up into the lock - George driving this time checking how the Axiom propeller coped - he said that it was excellent!
Took a while to get out from under this morning (the duvet, that is) I took these pictures at 08:30 ..
.. the brilliant sunshine reflecting off the ice covered canal - glad we're here now close to the services - with good friends too.  The forecast doesn't appear to be any better for the next 2 weeks - so this it - the start of winter freeze - I wonder how long it's going to last - into January perhaps?  We'll soon know!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Shebdon to Brewood with Kingfishers galore!

21st November 2010
Later start this morning (after the night before) and did a fair exchange with Sue (No Problem) a carton of milk for a pot of her home made plum jam - I'm sure that we got the best of the bargain, and after a spreading it thickly on freshly made wholemeal seeded bread for lunch we felt fit enough to set off - we plan to moor this evening at Norbury Junction
High Offley Church and village in the distance
Old Lea Wharf - what a lovely property
plenty of colour still in the hedgerows 
horseshoe bridges as we approach Norbury Junction
and that very famous bridge as we come round the bend
quiet night at Norbury - this is us leaving just before 1pm
the picture doesn't really do these red berries justice
I don't think you can beat the Shropshire countryside
lime green leaves still hanging on in there
see those red berries along the hedge - a lovely sight
oh look it's another kingfisher - I've never seen so many since we started out on the canals
another view of him - what a beak
not sure what this strange contraption is up in the trees
Gailey hire boat Twelfe coming through bridge 29
approaching bridge 26 near Church Eaton - a long line of moored boats ahead
oh what's that on the sign .....
...well blow me down - another one - this one checking the speed of your boat!
the birds just love the berries at this time of the year - a crow right at the top of the tree
the line of moored boats continue past bridge 25 at High Onn
It was after 5pm by the time we'd filled up the fuel tanks on board RnR at Turner's Garage in Wheaton Aston and found a mooring space albeit on the 'Reserved for BW Maintenance Boat' space
Looking towards the Hartley Arms at 20 past 8 this morning (23rd November)
and a very atmospheric view looking the other way towards Wheaton Aston Lock
a busy scene as we approach Stretton Aquaduct
and yet another Kingfisher
a Woodpigeon taking his pick of the berries
and a squirrel too
the Highland Cattle ...
prefer the grass!
10 past 3 ....
...... and the sun is starting to dip below the horizon
10 to 4 as we moor at one of our favourites spots
 between bridges 8 and 7 a mile or so south of Brewood - beautiful autumn colours.