Friday, 11 September 2015

Car hire weekend from Hopwas

Fri 28th August

 The Social Club at Hopwas, scene of last night’s folk club.

An unusual wooden cruiser moored at Hopwas

We had two motorbikes along the towpath, going very fast.  Hugo dashed out from the bushes at the noise and missed the front wheel by inches.

Then he was chased by two spaniels, who were totally out of control. The poor cat was having a bad day!

We went to the Tame Otter car park as planned to meet the representative from Enterprise. James had great difficulty fitting into the car, so it was just as well that we had requested a group B car.

At the office we were given a local street map, printed off the internet. We had been unable to get online to get the Ordnance Survey map of the area, so we drove around Tamworth to get orientated.

We visited Sainsbury’s in Ventura Park for a few essentials, before parking in a multi-storey in the old part of town.  A pub called The Vaults was having a cider festival, so we tried one of their large selection, and had a basket meal. They were all the rage in the 70’s.

Cider Festival

Wasp excluder

We visited Tamworth Castle, which we found fascinating. It is the second largest motte and bailey in the country (after Windsor Castle) and it has medieval buildings within the walls, and an approach on a causeway wall

Tamworth Castle motte and bailey

Tamworth Castle inner area

Tamworth Castle causeway

Causeway and castle

Finding the way back to Hopwas was a bit of a challenge, but after one false start, going the wrong way on the A51, we turned round and returned to the Tame Otter car park.  This appears to be a public car park adjacent to the Tame Otter.

Our hired car

Awesome Wonder had arrived.  This is the third time we have seen him this year. We still don’t know his name.

No boating today

Sat 29th August


No internet again this morning, so we couldn’t get the maps we wanted for High Wycombe. Thankfully we have a small road atlas which helps us plan our routes but it does not provide the detail.

We set the feeder for Hugo, and set off, sadly forgetting James’s phone, therefore no photos today or tomorrow. We drove first to Braunston, as we wanted to buy some paint.  Midland Chandlers had no black raddle paint. This was a surprise as they had quite a range of paints.

We had lunch at the Boat House, watching boats go past, before finding our way to Wharf House Narrowboats where we bought some Hempel paint that is primer, undercoat and top coat all in one. It’ll do.

Down towards the M40 via the A5 to Daventry and the A361, where we were stuck behind a tractor and hay cart. When they finally turned off, we had a mile with no hold-up, and then we were behind a horsebox.

We managed to find our B&B after taking a wrong turn and asking the way.

In the evening we went to Alan and Geraldine’s golden wedding party in a local village hall.  Peter and Lin were there, as well as Margaret and Rex, plus a couple called Andy and Jane Slater, who are folk music enthusiasts and live in Oxenhope. We may call in to see them if we do the Leeds and Liverpool next year.

Back to the B&B where we met the landlady, Fran.

The place was immaculately kept – very clean, with everything you need. The only problem was that the bed was too soft, and James had an uncomfortable night, being used to a harder mattress. He has slept on railway platforms in India in the past.

No boating today

Sun 30th August

Boat and Hugo at Hopwas, James and Hazel in High Wycombe. 

Continental breakfast at our B&B, then we drove about half a mile to our lunch party at Alan and Geraldine’s. Once again, a great time.  We chatted mostly to Andy and Jane, the people we met last night.

We avoided motorways and chose a scenic drive back, visiting Long Crendon Courthouse on the way.  This is a medieval building in a delightful small village.

Long Crendon Courthouse

We had panned to take the A43 to the A5, but this was horrendously busy – maybe a Silverstone event?  We crossed over and used the A361 again, finding ourselves once more behind a horsebox!

On arrival back at Hopwas we made our way to the boat just as it started to rain. Hugo was happy to see us.

No boating today

Mon 31st August


Very wet this morning

Highlight of the day: shopping at Ventura Park.  The place was packed out.  Finding a parking place was a challenge.  M&S plus “lunch” at KFC, a new experience for us.  Why don’t they put the menu where you can read it before you get to the order point?

A pair of shoes for James, then stocking up at Sainsbury’s before driving back to the boat.  Thankfully it had just stopped raining when we needed to walk from the Tame Otter car park to the boat.  It started again later.

Another motorbike went very fast along the towpath!

No boating today.

Very behind with this blog. After the car hire weekend we had a great weekend at the Taft to celebrate 20 years of BCF, then painting the boat sides at Tixall Wide, then heading for a boat festival at Huddlesford on 18th/19th/20th Sept. Details soon.

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