We had a beautiful mist on the water this morning at Alrewas. Everything was very wet with dew.
Mist on the water
We managed to get enough phone signal to call a taxi to take us the National Memorial Arboretum, which is slightly too far to walk for us. The journey was well worth the £5 each way.
We arrived at 1130 to find the place thronging with people, as there were several parades taking place, with lots of people in uniform everywhere. We bought a map and studied it over a coffee in the very noisy café. We thought we might take the land train ride to see a lot of the place, but at the desk we were informed about a buggy ride we could have as an alternative, with up to five people, stopping for photos and commentary. What a good suggestion that was, as we went to places we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
Gathering for a parade
An anchor from the Falklands War, with our buggy in the background
Women’s Land Army
On our return to the centre, we opted for the coffee shop instead of the café, which was much more peaceful. There was also a lovely butterfly-friendly garden nearby, where we spied some painted lady butterflies, all the way from North Africa. This has been a good year for them.
Fortified with cake, we set off on foot to see some more of this amazing and thought provoking place. We took lots of photos, but will restrict this blog to just a few. While we were up on the central mound where the armed forces memorial is, two small planes arrived and did some aerobatics for us.
The armed Forces Memorial – names since WW11
The shot at dawn memorial, one of the most challenging.
Silver eagle – the RAF memorial
We stayed until 4.30, when our taxi driver came to collect us, and he dropped us off at the George and Dragon, where we had a good value meal before walking back to the boat.
No boating today
Sun 15th September Alrewas
We had a short walk to the Anglican Church, All Saints, which is canalside. The service was fairly traditional, with prayer books, a choir and robes, but the welcome was excellent, with many people coming to chat, particularly over coffee afterwards.
All Saints, Alrewas
Before the service
Timewarp, the fudge boat was moored on the same length, and we visited them to acquire some more of their produce. We then moved the boat past the bridge and round the corner, partly to avoid the boat opposite, who had been running his engine, having noisy visitors for drinks and loud chatter in the evening, and then running his central heating all night. He also had six border collies on board who barked at other dogs. We spent the rest of the day back on the boat at the new location, by the churchyard.
The boat with the dogs
Timewarp, the fudge boat
Under the bridge
Moored by the church
Little boating today
Mon 16th September Alrewas to Fradley
Everything was very wet this morning, partly from rain early in the night, and also from dew.
Moored by the footbridge
We went shopping at the excellent butchers and the Co-op before setting off for Fradley. The first lock is Bagnall Lock, number 13. The bottom gates have a tendency to swing open, so for years there has been a heavy steel pole to tether the gate in place to stop it opening. Now the pole has been removed (in case people trip over it, which they never do), so if you are on your own, like the cruiser in front of us, you have to open the paddles on the top gates before closing the bottom gates. This health and safety business interferes with everything!
The cruiser was Dreamtime and he was asking about places to buy petrol. He might have to go as far as Fazeley where there is a garage.
The boat coming down was Penny from Heaven , originally owned by our friends Mary and Jim Sibley, and now owned by Sam and Alan.
Penny from Heaven
Just before the Fradley locks, we saw that a new marina was being built. Fradley will be even busier in the future.
Fradley Marina under construction
Leaving Hunts Lock
We moored opposite the café this time, as we don’t have to worry being by a road any more, as we sadly no longer have our cat, Hugo.
James went to find out about café opening times and menus, and explored the nature reserve on the way back.
Moored in Fradley
Fradley Nature reserve
The breakfast menu and the friendly staff at the busy “Laughing Duck” café opposite looked a better bet than the alternative Kingfisher Café, where they were a little off hand, and had already closed for the day due to the lack of customers. So that’s a plan for tomorrow, even though they don’t open until 10am.
4 locks, 2 miles. Dep 1300, arr 1430
Next: Breakfast at the café, then heading onto the Coventry Canal towards Hopwas for the folk club on Thursday.