Saturday, June 08, 2013

Sad to say we have sailed our last in Enigma.

After 10 years exploring the English (and Welsh) canal system, my ill health last year forced us to put Enigma on the market.
She sold fairly quickly, and apart from the 'proper handover' I have promised to the purchasers when we return from holiday we will sail in her no more.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Cruising slowly

Well some of you will have been expecting a progress report from this years cruise - life conspired against me!
We started off on a sunny (!) morning through Crick tunnel, the next thing I knew was the boat hitting the side and me on the floor - twice.
Turns out the wonderful new pills to reduce my blood pressure worked too well, no pressure left. Mary finished steering us until we could moor and I sat around feeling very peculiar.
Eventually we decided to continue, but slowly.
We had a pleasant cruise down towards Napton Junction and then back up to the Ashby Canal, with only 3 locks (Hilmorton) and the stop lock at Hawksbury to give us exercise.

We managed 3 BBQs and a lot of sitting around in the first couple of weeks, and then the weather changed as you will know, we don't mind the rain for a day or two, we can usually sit it out and wait for the dry weather, but this year it seemed to have deserted us, so we turned around and headed for home.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Our home for the week

Glider View Cottage

 and what a view.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Well here we are 10 days or so on from our last message to the world.

Mary has been making good progress since we arrived here, in pain when trying to do anything for the first week.  We had the Doctor out and he examined her and said nothing broken 'just keep taking the tablets and let nature take its course.'    Meanwhile exercising to keep the muscles from wasting!
Just today (wed) Mary got dressed for the first time, and sat up in chair, so we now feel the end is in sight, we may even get off the boat and back to Buckby before many days are over.

Meanwhile, when not tending the sick I've been getting on with lots of boating jobs.  The picture shows my bow thruster tube and motor, waiting for the engineer to give it a bit of TLC.  Its given me the chance to de rust and paint the bilge all around it, with some very smelly (and probably toxic paint).

Some of my neighbours here have lots of bird feeders, and throughout the day they are full of Tits of various sorts, and the odd crow or to trying their luck.

We are very lucky having such good friends here and at home, so we have had no shortage of help and company. Thanks to you all.

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Sunday, June 05, 2011

Trip to Stratford - week four

16:23 28/05/2011 4.75 miles 10 locks
Found a locking partner whilst walking the dog, a dutch couple exploring our canals (not enough in Holland) with an english couple, so plenty of crew. As it turned out, the start of the bank holiday has brought out the boats and there was plenty of traffic, some being silly and not waiting to share locks, but that is their problem, it takes them more time.A good, but windy trip down to Long Itchington, rain threatened some of the time, but mainly held off.
In the afternoon I studied the map and set off with the dog to find the village shop, which I failed to find last time. Easy once you know the trick, up the old railway cycletrack, and down the lane for a mile, their set in the old village is a modern one stop co-op. Who gave planning permission for that I cannot imagine.

16:29 29/05/2011 day of rest.
We all went to the co-op to collect the paper and explored a bit more of the village, a lot of the houses are name 'old xyz'. As in village shop, post office etc. We did find a working hairdresser!
Very windy today, glad we are moored up, a bit worried watching the canl level here, it is definitely short of water, down by at least 4 inches.

16:24 30/05/2011 3.11 miles 10 locks
Rain, rain glorious rain, just right for a spot of locking!! It hasn't really stopped for long all day, except perversely the twice I've walked Bella. Pity about the last day of the Crick Show, never mind they had two goodish days. We gave up trying to keep dry through the locks and just carried on, steamed
up glasses or not. Crossing the lock gates when it is so wet is not good, slippery and can be dangerous, we had teamed up with another boat and took it in turns to do the nasty bits, apart from that there was a suprising amount of traffic coming the other way which is helpful. We are now sat listening to the rain on the roof, with the Central heating on.

16:14 05/06/2011 11 locks 3 miles and home (but not all in one day)

Sorry no updates recently. Unfortunately one of the crew had an accident in the night falling backwards in to the shower cubicle and injuring her back/arm/leg whatever. Now confined to bed. I did a few of the locks by myself and reached Braunston, when I called in reinforcements and Alison came to the rescue. So Braunston locks were no problem. We stopped for the night at Norton Junction as we usually do, and were within two boats of getting a tree on our roof!
The wind brought a large tree down on to the cratch (front cover) of a very posh boat. The owners were away at the time, a nasty shock when the got back. BW were called out, two men arrived (but with no tools). Went away to fetch a 'saw'. We inocently though 'chain saw', oh no, more like a large hacksaw. But it did the job of cutting away foliage, when it become apparent that the boat had been very lucky, the tree was suspended over them, and with a bit of trimming, it was reversed out from under the tree.

We are now settled in the Marina and working out our next steps, possibly staying here till Mary can walk........

Total distance travelled around 90 miles with 180 locks.
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Trip to Stratford - Week 3

15:32 21/05/2011 3 miles 1 lock
Getting organised now, went and collected the paper I ordered last night! I'll get it delivered next. Only a short journey today so we sat and read the paper ran the washing machine and generally had a lazy start, eventually moving off following two hire boats. Acroos the long aquaduct again, crew hiding inside as usual. The only lock on this section held us all up with something stuck behind the lock gate, a BW man appeared with a long rake like tool and hooked something out, promptly vanishing again. Pity he didn't stop as the gate stuck for the next boat as well, luckily he had a long pole of his own and raked around in the mirk for a bit clearing the gate. Moored at Wooten Wawen, just below the next aquaduct watching tennis.

17:18 22/05/2011 1 mile 0 locks
Gales today, so we moved up to just below the next flight of locks but put off going up them till tomorrow. No point in fighting the wind, it may be calmer tomorrow! But looking at the forecast I'm not too sure.

20:48 23/05/2011 1.9 miles 8 locks
Well today was suppossed to be calmer, but we battled on through gale force winds - luckily we were the only foolish boat going out way, so boats coming down the locks had set all the locks for us which made the journey much easier. Moored safely at Lowsonford, then the heavens opened, the Sky dish blew away and we hunkered down! By late afternoon all was peace and light and now we have a clear blue sky and no wind.

18:56 24/05/2011 4.32 miles 9 locks
Weather much improved today, so we set off for the next 9 locks (disputed number this, some maps show 10). Going up the locks with no one in front of us meant many of them were empty and waiting, or only needed a little water let out. Then a boat got in front of us, it must have been moored between locks overnight, but traffic started coming down at about the same time, so all was well. Soon we were at the Junction of the GU and Stratford, so it was round the hairpin to change our journey from mainly North, to South-East. Interesting watching a hire boat negotiate the tight bend, straight in to the bank! Nice sunny evening now although no warm enough to sit out. I wonder how Crick Boat show preparations survived the high winds.

17:27 25/05/2011 4.81 miles 21 locks
Didn't we do well today, moved from our mooring to just above the Hatton flight to wait for company down the wide locks to find a boat already there, the crew had gone to the Cafe for breakfast, turned out to be 3 men, deserted by their wives who refused to go boating any more! So we fairly sailed down the 21 locks soon working out a good routine with someone going on ahead to set the next lock, we met no boats coming the other way, and were sat at our mooring below the bottom lock for a good 2 hours before anyone else came down. Hazy sun all day just right for boating, we celebrated with a bacon and egg lunch.

19:59 26/05/2011 1.12 miles 2 locks
Short spin in the showers, round the top of Royal Leamington Spa, not very inspiring, the only mooring appear to be in the more industrial areas, the rest is narrow tow paths with concrete edges. We returned to the mooring we found on the way out, river below us and farm above.

20:05 27/05/2011 day of rest.
A day of rest, but we did the laundry, hoovered and did the house cleaning, quite a pleasant spot to moor for a day, Bella cannot relax on the towpath however as it is plaqued with fast moving (but polite) cyclists.
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Friday, May 20, 2011

Trip to Stratford - Week 2

12:02 15/05/2011 Day of rest!!

19:58 16/05/2011 4.29 miles 9 (narrow) locks
Left our nice mooring early for a brisk run up to Kingswood Junction, where the Grand Union meets the Stratford on Avon Canal, interesting junction, blind turn(s) around a hairpin to leave the GU going North and get across to the Strattford going south, lucky it was quiet and not windy. The boat is wearing out on us however, the bow-thruster has failed which makes some operations more difficult, and the fridge refuses to light on the gas, so is running of the batteries, which flats them! The narrow locks are quite light to operate, but are showing signs of age, with some of the lock winding gear very worn.

20:31 17/05/2011 4.37 miles 8 locks
Down through a lock with a really nasty offset bridge, designed to remove boat chimneys, luckily I saw it coming and removed ours! Took on water and plugged on through the Warwickshire countryside, taking in another 7 locks, we got it down to a good routine by the end, unfortunately we were following another boat so right until the last couple we had to fill the locks before we could go in. Never mind the weather stayed fine although windy and warm. We passed overf a fascinating cast iron aquaduct, and then at Wootton Warwen, called in at the marina for a pump-out, on the aquaduct he said, and unbelievably the do the deed whilst you are moored on another one way aquaduct, thus stopping all canal traffic.

16:01 18/05/2011 3 miles 1 lock
Really in to Shakespeare Country now, after a gentle cruise through only one lock we are moored at Wilmcote the (alleged) home of the Bard's mother. We spent an interesting hour or so looking Mary Arden's hose/farm and took oodles of photos. We stopped for lunch, and were amused by a class of primary aged children in period costumes, on an 'educational' day out. We walked home (well back to our mobile base) in the first real rain of this trip. Nearly forgot the best view of the day, another Aquaduct! Or actually 2, one very short but the other Bearley a good 200 feet long, with a good drop down to the road and path beneath.

20:08 19/05/2011 4.13 miles 13 locks
Said Goodbye to Wilmcote and Shakespeare's Mother, and off down the 12 locks to Stratford. More traffic than we have seen for all the time we have been out. Some of these locks are really hard work with very worn lock gear. However after 3.5 hours we reached the outskirts of Stratford and filled the diesel tank before winding (turning round) before the bottom locks. No where to moor and rather industrial so we went back up a lock to where it is more peaceful and we could sit out and enjoy the sun on the canalside. Shopping tomorrow.

17:07 20/05/2011 1.29 miles 11 locks
Peaceful mooring is a relative term - nearly under the A46 cannot said to be quite, although it did seem to calm down late at night. A kind Fairy (thanks Carol) took us shopping to Tesco's, so the larder is full again. We then tackled the 11 locks up to Wilmcote, not a single boat came the other way, so every
lock was full and had to be emptied before we could fill it up again with us in it. What I don't understand is why some lock paddles wind up and down we no real effort whilst others (same design) require brute force. And where has all the traffic gone? No boat has come by (possible 1) since we moored 2 hours ago. Just purchased a clever windlass, with 4 holes all in a line which allows you to use it as a 'short' handle required by some locks, or a 'long' handle when leverage is required. Full report later.