We left our mooring at Fazeley, just after the rain stopped.
After turning left at the Junction, we noticed a smallish narrowboat coming towards us, and it seemed to be skipping about over the canal. As it passed we noticed it was the Boaters’ Christian Fellowship, and recognised the helmsman. He’s a friendly face, whom we remembered from February/March time when we moored in different places above Glascote Locks, waiting for the Lock’s ‘winter stoppage’ to finish. The man appeared to make it his duty to say ‘hello’ to boaters on ‘his patch’ of the canal, making sure, at a very cold and lonely time of the year, that no boater was left in dire straights. I’m sure what he does is extremely worthwhile. As he passed I think he recognised us, shouting out “Hello, welcome back!”. It was a lovely to be welcomed back! The reason he appeared to be skipping about the canal (we think) was because he had an out-board motor on his little narrowboat.
As we entered the Tame Aqueduct, we passed a WW2 pillbox, which must have guarded the River Tame and the Coventry Canal during the war. The Coventry Canal was extremely important to the ‘war effort’, and it’s easy to imagine the chaos if this aqueduct was blown up by the enemy.
We cruised over a very ‘tame’ River Tame.
It wasn’t long before we were cruising towards Glascote Bottom Lock. We could see there was a boat descending, and there was a boat on the lock landing waiting to ascend. When the lock’s gates opened, and the boat inside had left, the boat in front of us didn’t move, the man at the helm didn’t cast off his boat. His boat was tied to a bollard by it’s centre line and he made no effort to get into the lock. Windlass in hand to help, I walked towards him, asking what was the matter. He said his engine gave way in Birmingham and he was on the way to Rugby. There was a boat in front going up the locks with a crew, who’s towing him to Rugby, and who’ll come back to pull his boat into the lock. I was confused, I didn’t ‘get’ what he was on about. So I returned to Cyan, trying to explain the situation to John. Another boat pulled up behind, and wanted to know the situation. It was daft having a lock open, set ready, while there were now three boats waiting to ascend.
The man in the boat behind us marched towards the first boat, I followed hoping there wasn’t going to be any conflict, though I was now getting very annoyed myself.
Long story short, the man had recently had a stroke, leaving him with legs that don’t work (his words) and that the crew from the boat towing him, was coming to pull him and his boat into the lock. The man from the boat behind us said, well I’ve only got one leg, but I’m sure we can at least pull you in the lock and make a start. So we did just that! His ‘crew’ did appear soon after we’d pulled him into the lock, they’d had trouble finding a place to moor . The man and his wife (who appeared with the ‘crew’) was so grateful for our help. Imagine what a mess they were in, he was made incapacitated through illness, their boat’s engine had failed, and their home/boat was in the wrong place. What a terrible situation for them. I was ashamed I’d prejudged.
At the top lock, I took a pic of a plaque that was on the fence. Another reminder!
The Tale of Leaky Lock
Just a note, to let you know, that this here Lock, is very slow.
So take a breath, relax and smile, (you might be waiting here a while.)
The problem is, (or so we’re told) is Lock Thirteen is very old.
Her paddles shot, through wear and tear, the water pours out here and there.
We’ve had them fixed, then fixed again, by some of Waterways finest men.
And for a while, the Lock works well, until again they leak like hell.
I pray this pause in your sojourn, has made you stop, to think and learn.
That on the ‘cut’ there is a pace, that’s not for those who want to race.
So if you’re rushing, running late, this tale of Leaky Lock you’ll hate.
If you’ve no time to gently float, then why a bloody Narrow Boat?
The Bard of Glascote
At the top of Glascote Lock we moored while I visited the Co Op shop by the bridge. Filling my new ‘old lady’s’ shopping trolley with fruit, veg, milk, bread etc. – but I forgot the sugar! (BTW I’m amazed how long Hovis 5 Seed bread stays fresh!)
We’ve been looking for crab apples to make ‘crab apple jelly’ while cruising. Crab apple jelly is glorious on roast pork and crackling! Today, very near to Polesworth, we found a tree with crab apples on it. The tree was on the edge of a wood, next to the towpath, but the apples were high up. John managed, with the help of the extending boat hook, to lob enough apples down. He’s been keen on ‘natures bounty’ since he brought damsons back from a walk, and I made jam with them. He’s been going on about a ‘jilly piece’, aka as a jam sandwich all week!
Now I’ve a problem with having no sugar! We decided to moor at Polesworth, while I scooted down the hill to the Spar shop to buy some for the jelly.
The weather once again, threatened us for most of the day.
The geese are getting fat!
We just loved these baby alpacas with their mums, I didn’t realise how playful these little chaps are. They were having a great time chasing each other, and skipping about, they must have a great sense of humour. (A baby alpaca is called a “cria”, a female’s a “hembra” and a male’s a “macho”.)
Nature’s takes over the remains of a bridge.
Despite the day’s interruptions, we’d planned to climb the first six locks of the Atherstone flight, but it started to rain quite hard, so we decided to call it a day! We’re moored for the night at the bottom of the flight, ready for a good start up the flight tomorrow.
Today we’ve cruised over 9 miles, and 2 locks. WiFi is 30+ Mg, digital TV signal is great.