Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Back On The Cut

Hello Friends, family and fellow boaters

The Cat's Whiskers at rest somewhere near Atherstone on the Coventry Canal, surrounded by fields of rape.
Well we finally chugged out of Mercia Marina last Thursday morning, after some six weeks back in the country and a day later than we had planned.

We invited all our “pontoon pals” down to The Green Man in the village last Tuesday evening for the pub’s weekly “Pie Night”. I was a bit dubious as to how successful it might be after our last “Pie Night” expedition last November when they only had one choice available, but I should not have worried. The pies were superb – everybody had them, and all commented on how tasty they were. It’s just a shame Sarah couldn’t make it, after hurting her back again. See you in August ladies and gents. We’ll miss you.
Our pontoon pals join us before we leave Mercia Marina at The Green Man, Willington for their weekly "Pie Night"
Wednesday morning rolled around and it was blowing a “hooley”. Frankly it would have irresponsible to go out on the cut with winds of over 40mph, so we paid for an extra day’s mooring and left the following morning.

It was nice and sunny .... for about an hour and then – hailstones, gale-force winds and driving rain. Hang on, I thought. This is May, not March!  But nobody ever said this boating lark was going to be all sunglasses, shorts and G&T’s on the deck – unless you pick up a hire-boat brochure where it’s always sunny.

So we had the works thrown at us, and we hadn’t yet reached Burton-On-Trent, which is only about five miles from the marina. Since then the weather has picked up a bit, though strong winds have been a feature. Sunny periods and strong winds sum it up.
An hour out of the marina and I've broken out the brolley and gloves
At Branston (where the famous pickle used to be made) we took advantage of the lady selling her rhubarb at her back gate for charity. Pat knocked up a lovely rhubarb crumble, which, as you will see from the photo, didn’t last very long.
Pat prepares to work her magic on the rhubarb we bought from the towpath
It didn't last very long however

From The Trent & Mersey, it was a sharp left turn on to the Coventry Canal at Fradley Junction and we spent much of the weekend in the little village of Whittington. Our pals Dave and Angie  on “Lady Esther” were coming the other way so we waited for them to arrive. It was good to catch up and Dave, being a Leicester City fan, was in a good mood after an excellent win by them. Talk about “The Great Escape”.  We had a very pleasant Sunday lunch in a local pub with them and waved goodbye on Monday morning.
Dave & Angie leave Whittington aboard Lady Esther, proudly displaying their Leicester City FC flag
We have set ourselves a bit of a target and plan to be entertaining Pat’s brother-in-law, Des, on Sunday in Braunston.  He’s over from Australia. However, losing a day’s cruising on Sunday has meant some longish days, but we have now caught up with our schedule and are on the Oxford at a place called Ansty. Not much to say about the place except the village used to be owned by the infamous Lady Godiva.

We have got back into the cruising routine very quickly and it’s great to see nature renewing itself as we glide through the countryside. The scenery has been dominated by waving fields of yellow rape. I love the smell but I know it drives some people’s sinuses crazy, but it’s become very much part of the landscape in recent years. Tiny baby ducks squeak for their mums as we separate the families in our wakes and although we have seen several swans nesting, many others have had their young and are out and about with them. And if it’s not fields of rape we are gliding past, then it’s sheep and their lambs, bleating and gambling around.
A typical scene on the Coventry Canal

Proud mum and dad and their goslings
It’s been a couple of years since we last cruised the Coventry Canal. I seem to remember the weather wasn’t that good when we were last there and that can make a huge difference to how you remember the experience.
Following the fall-out surrounding Top Gear,"The Stig" moonlights on the Coventry Canal. 
A number of boaters advised us not to moor in Nuneaton, which is one of the biggest towns you cruise through. We had no intention of doing that but were amazed at the amount of allotments that skirt the canal as you cruise though. They just go on and on and on.

No shortage of allotments in Nuneaton
Five miles short of Coventry, you come to Hawkesbury Junction, a famous canal spot. Here we turned left on to the Oxford Canal at lunch time today and now it is evening and we are wondering what to do about tomorrow. Shefali, the Weather Lady on Midlands Today reckons we are going to have another wet and windy day tomorrow, so we might make a dash for it first thing, down to Rugby or sit it out here and catch a bus into Coventry.
Toodaloo folks

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