Friday 20th June
We went for breakfast at Gongoozler’s Rest with Keith and Diane. Very pleasant service, well presented food.
We then moved on to the water point by the tollhouse, and emptied our rubbish. While we were filling up we chatted to George, the enforcement officer. He had nothing but praise for the waterways chaplains, and the church in Braunston, and Marian Thomas.
We turned round in the entrance to the marina, and moved down to the elsan point.
On the way we met David and Jane on Rowan. They used to be moored on the Wey and were familiar faces at Thames Lock where David was assistant lock keeper
While trying to make boil a kettle, the gas ran out. Another item for the shopping list at Midland Chandlers, where we went next. We bought some steel rods with fittings for fixing on the ceiling to dry clothes. We also bought some blue, but they didn’t have gas.
We had a pleasant cruise through lovely countryside to Hillmorton, where we moored above the flight of locks.
There we met David Lee (BCF) on Interlock and had a cuppa on the towpath.
0 locks, 7 miles, 2hr25
Saturday 21st June
Hillmorton was extremely busy with boats going up and down the locks. We poked our nose into the boatyard there, but they didn’t have the 6kg propane gas we were looking for.
As we left the bottom lock we found Tim and Tracey on their borrowed hire boat Dashwood. We said we’d catch up with them later, and we cruised on towards Rugby.
We stopped at Clifton Cruisers – no 6 kg gas. However, we did meet the man we sold our Great Ouse windlass to at Gayton Junction three years ago.
We managed to moor on the left at Brownsover, which is easier for getting to Tesco. We stocked up with the non-perishable things – four heavy bags. Thankfully we have a trolley.
We moved forward to the winding hole just through the bridge, but we discovered it was not quite big enough for 59ft. We had to straighten up again, and go on to the entrance to the town arm, where there is another winding hole. No trouble here, except that a hire boat was coming out of the arm and nearly caused a traffic jam.
On the way back, as we went under Bridge 68, a boat coming the other way didn’t see us and carried on a bit before attempting to stop, and we had slammed into reverse by then. We ended up bumping fenders but no harm was done. However, as we tried to move off we realised that we had picked up something on the propeller. We paused when we came to some piling, and James visited the weed hatch, removing a lot of what seemed to be stuffing from a mattress. It was wound round tight and it took a little time to get it all off.
We moored a few boat lengths from Tim and Tracey as they have a dog. They gave us a tour of their boat, which is being refitted in the drydock. We then had a meal on board Dashwood. They supplied the main course, and we supplied the wine, and Hazel produced an apple and date crumble. James was sent to fetch the ice cream from Gabriel at the appropriate time, as there was no freezer on Dashwood.
3 locks, 6 miles, 1 mouse, 3h25
Sunday 22nd June
We went in Tim and Tracey’s car to Rugby Christian Fellowship, an Elim Church which uses an old Methodist church building. The welcome was enthusiastic, the worship was good, and the talk was excellent. The speaker was from CMJ – “The Church's Ministry among Jewish people”
After coffee they had a large model of the temple in Jerusalem, and they gave a talk about how it was used. Very interesting.
The temple in Jerusalem
We went to a park to walk Oakley, Tracey’s guide dog, before driving to a pub for lunch.
Back at Hillmorton, we had drinks on Gabriel. It was a very warm evening.
Photo taken by Tim for Canal Ministries use
Hugo caught another mouse
1 mouse, no boating
Monday 23rd June
James trundled the cassette along the towpath to the facilities point by bridge 71, and while doing so, saw Rowan coming away from the locks. They were heading for Tesco. We said we were too, and then on to Brinklow.
We brought Gabriel to the winding hole to turn round, while Hazel emptied the rubbish. We avoided the water point, as it is notoriously slow.
Tracey and Tim temporarily on Dashwood
We said our farewells to Tim and Tracey. It had been good to spend time with them. There were no incidents on the way to Tesco, where we moored a little further back, and discovered that we could walk to Tesco through the new housing estate that has been finished since we were last here. We bought some fresh food this time.
We set off north again, through Newbold Tunnel, our first this year. We were looking for gas as we went. We tried T F Yates, Lime Farm Marina, and Brinklow Marina but none had the 6kg gas we wanted.
Birds on a wire – writing music in the sky
We discovered Rowan moored soon after bridge 35, so we moored behind them. David and Jane came on board for wine and nibbles and boaty talk.
David and Jane from Rowan
Evening at Brinklow
0 locks, 6 miles, 1 mouse 2hr30
Tuesday 24th June
We left before Rowan as we had a bit to do today. We said farewell as we moved off.
There were only four boats at our usual mooring at Brinklow, just before the cutting. We paused at Rose Narrowboats to pick up our 6kg gas bottle at last! However, their gas cage was under a tree in a muddy area, and the canister was filthy. We also found a card for the Hawkeys who are moving house this week.
We continued through the little swing bridge, and along the extensive line of moored boats, eventually going under the M6 high overhead. As we neared Hopsford Aqueduct we saw a boat moored up and it had BCF stickers on the front. Then we saw it had Canal Ministries logos on the side. It was Sandra and Ernie on Maranatha. We stopped just beyond them and they came on board for a cuppa and a catch up. This was an unexpected bonus, as we did not know they were in the area.
Ernie and Sandra from Maranatha
We moved on further and arrived at Hawkesbury junction. We had a bit of trouble with the lower lock gate, which wouldn’t open fully, but eventually, with some poking around with a boat hook, it opened.
We were now on the Coventry Canal.
We visited the sanitary station where we emptied cassettes, disposed of rubbish, filled the water tank and washed the mud off the new gas canister.
We moved on a little further and had a late lunch before phoning Christine to say we were on our way. Half an hour later we moored up alongside Grace, at their home in Bedworth, shortly before bridge 14.
Hazel was hanging up the washing at the bows, when James received a phone call from Amanda concerning a property she was looking at. The engine had been turned of, so Hugo thought we had arrived, and he sneaked past James, across Grace, and went off into the neighbour’s garden. We had a bit of rounding up to do, but we got him back.
Terry and Christine came on board for some date and walnut loaf that Hazel had made, and then we had a time of inspection of each others boats, as you do.
Terry and Christine Rigden
We had considered going up the Ashby to see Mary and Jim Sibley if they were there, but we have sent emails and phoned their landline and mobile with no response. We have concluded that they must be away. They could be in Poland visiting the in-laws to be.
We therefore went on past the Ashby junction, and moored up near bridge 17, in the countryside just after Bedworth, and before the built up areas of Nuneaton. It looked as though it might rain so we put up the pram hood.
Hugo brought in a live mouse, which tried to squeeze under some cupboard doors, but it couldn’t quite fit. James caught it and returned it to the wild.
1 lock, 12 miles, 1 swing bridge, 1 mouse, 5h25