Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Sent to Coventry

Since our last blog, it’s all been happening aboard the good ship “Cat’s Whiskers”. We’ve been dodging submerged craft, had an attempted break-in, and survived the beast that is “Coventry City Centre”. We’ve had sun, driving rain, thunder, and I expect a plague of locusts at any minute!

One of the locks coming out of Atherstone

For much of the time, on board we had an additional pair of hands, namely our pal Paul, whose photo we published in last week’s blockbusting issue. He was a boon in easing the pressure off Pat at locks, and enjoyed taking the tiller, becoming quite proficient as the week commenced.
We remained on the Coventry Canal all week and decided that a journey right into the city centre at Coventry was worth the risk. The guide books, and several boating forum members, had questioned the safety of mooring there. But what a find; an attractive basin, with excellent facilities, good security lighting and only three boats there. The police patrol the basin several times a day and it’s only a short walk to the centre of things. There are a number of “yoofs” about, but none that seem threatening.
Sharing a joke with James Brindley, Father of the Waterways at our mooring in Coventry City Centre
TCW is moored just behind the crane

Pat got quite animated when she discovered an Ikea in the city centre, and the Transport Museum, free by the way, was all it was cracked up to be. They even had our old Triumph Herald displayed there, and it was the same two-tone as the one we had in 1970. Shame it was sawn in half to reveal the innovative chassis.

Blimey. Is that my old car?

Between Tamworth and Alverstone somebody tried to break into the boat. Luckily they didn’t succeed and got no further than trying to gemmy one of the rear metal doors. The machine screws in the top hinge got yanked out and there is the mark where they inserted a screwdriver. So, that’s something that has to be sorted PDQ. I can get the screws back in, but can’t tighten them right up, but we can secure the door OK.
Then there were the submerged boats. One encounters these from time to time, but there were three in a ten-mile stretch of the canal as we approached Coventry and on the one in the photo, the owner was trying to salvage what he could. Kids again! At least he smiled when we took his photo.

That sinking feeling!

After a night moored at Hawkesbury Junction (The Greyhound - very good) we took the five-mile stretch into the city and the basin. Judging by the scraping noises half of the areas shopping trolleys must be parked there. The canal is very shallow and much more rural than I thought. But once in the basin I donned my gauntlets and had a feel around down the weed hatch and all was fine. Just the usual plastic bag or two. Ahh, nothing like living the dream, I say.
We stayed in Coventry all weekend, and really liked the place. Not sure if that is allowed, but it looked OK to us - a mix of mostly post-war architecture, thanks to the Luftwaffe in 1940, but the old medieval section has been lovingly restored and they have made an excellent job of it. They wanted to charge Pat £8 to get into the cathedral though. She refused and quite right too. What a rip off. Paul took us out for a Chinese on Friday night by way of a thank you and we waved him off on Saturday afternoon.
We then back-tracked to Hawkesbury Junction and got on to the Northern Arm of the Oxford Canal. We haven’t cruised this section and it is, in part, very rural, with just the trains whizzing by, to keep us company. Quite shallow though.
And the sun is shining as I finish this blog off. We are in central Rugby, but looking around at the greenery both sides of the canal, you wouldn’t know it.
There’s a Wickes and a Homebase around the corner, so I am off to try and buy some tamper-proof screws this afternoon.


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