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Monday 17 June 2024

Flue By.

 We had a quiet night pulled into Braunston marina but got up earlier than normal in case they were banging on the roof for us to get started. As it happened nothing started until about 09:00. I went to the office and they allocated us a working berth, but before I headed down the end of the arm the Monday move about when boats were brought out of the dry dock and new ones slotted in and others came in for work and at the canopy makers too. It was soon sorted and we headed to the end and moored up.

We were in to replace the collar at the top of our stove. The official name is the spigot. I had gone under a bridge with the chimney up 18 months or so ago and it had just caught. Seemingly this had transmitted the movement down through the flue to the top of the stove and cracked the spigot. I never normally travel with the chimney up, stove lit or not, but I can't recall why I had done that day.

It had never leaked gas as we have two CO detectors and a 'canary in a cage', Macy the Cat, as she is close to the deck so would be prone to the case, if there were any. I hasten to add we didn't use her as a CO tester, and I'm not too sure whether CO sinks or rises, it doesn't seem clear so we have our detectors one high and one low!

However we are due our Boat Safety Certificate renewing this year and I'm sure we wouldn't pass with it as it was. Time to get sorted.

They were soon aboard and freeing up the chimney flue from the roof. There was plenty of heat proof mastic and ribbon to remove, but soon accomplished.

Freeing the spigot from the stove top was a little more difficult but once again accomplished. You can easily see the crack in the 'collar'

Helen retired from the boat to a bench to carry on with her crocheting as the sun was shining.

The marina is getting a complete repaint at the moment ready for the Heritage Boat show in a couple of weekends. The dock area always looks well groomed and everybody is very friendly too.

The repair was soon done and looks pretty good. I wonder when I will get round to testing it.

All sealed in and a coat of stove black to finish it all off. I didn't have to 'sell our pig', but nothing is cheap on the waterways is it. Very efficiently done and nicely tided up though.

We were on our way after paying the bill by 12:30, and after waiting for somebody winding in the entrance we headed off. The Gongoozler's Rest had a few takers and the sun was shining as we passed the stop house.

We found a mooring close to Bridge 7 and as it was nice I decided to sort the 'tunnel rash' on the st'bd cabin top that we had caught in Husband Bosworth Tunnel a month or so ago. It had been sanded back, treated and then now has a couple of coats of primer on it. I fine sanded it back and then painted it and rolled it over to get a better finish. I never know what to do for the best buy I think rather than trying to blend it in to old paint, with the colour never matching, I have started to just do defined patches.

By making the touch ups more obvious I hope to achieve the idea that the alterations and repairs become part of the story of the boat as in Japanese Sashiko and Boro type repairs. Of course the weather clouded over and there was a little drizzle!

I didn't get the opportunity to get the port side polished. That pleasure will have to wait until, our next visit.

Sunday 16 June 2024

Bumbling along to Braunston.

 In honour of Fathers Day we had a lay-in, and didn't get underway until 10 am. Mind you I think everybody had the same idea as unusually only a couple of boats passed before we got underway.

This sort of sums up the day, beautiful blue sky and sun with frequent big black clouds going over, but no rain.

We were soon at Hillmorton Locks. The voluntary Lock keepers were having a very busy time chatting.

A lot of miles but to where?

Always looks like an interesting spot to visit, but never have.
Just before the reaching The Wharf we passed under these two high railway bridges. Both were London and North Western co. tracks, the first to Northampton and the second to London. Both electrified. Why are no liners electrified to Hull in this day and age. Where is leveling up?

These cattle just opposite Dunchurch Pools Marina Entrance were expecting the worst, but no, they were wrong. It continued to be sunny.

From Barby Moorings to Willoughby Wharf the old Great Central Railway runs parallel to the canal. The Original name for the company was the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway. They changed the name in 1897 as they were opening a London Extension. This was for fast traffic only and opened in 1899. It was the last complete mainline to be built until HS1 in 2003. The Sheffield  to London steam hauled expresses were also the fastest on the network. Other routes took preference and the line was closed completely in 1969. I had a memory of seeing a signal and there it was, a concrete one that I hope you can make out in the photo.

Helen took my photo as I was munching away on my Fathers Day treat of M&S Chocolate Cashew nuts.

As the weather was so nice we decided to moor up for a few hours so Helen could catch some rays, and turn a few pages of her book, whilst I caught up with some sanding and painting and several other little jobs. A nice quiet spot to remember for the future.

We got back underway just after 16:00 and headed off to Braunston, just pootling along. The junction wasn't busy at this time and there were even mooring spaces along the way.

We are having a bit of work done at Braunston Marina tomorrow so turned in and moored up just after 17:00 in bright sun. We will see what happens with the football and tomorrow.

Saturday 15 June 2024

Bye Bye to the Basin and Hello Hawkesbury.

 There was some heavy rain in the night, but otherwise it was pretty quiet. We got ready to leave at the normal time and then reversed out of the short arm and spun round in the wide bit under the gaze of James Brindley. Her gave me 5 out of 5!

As you can probably see it was drizzling a little as we left the basin.

The bridge at the entrance to the basin was deliberately very small with no towpath so as to be able to control access. It was shot over night. We stopped for water just the other side of the bridge, and on the none tow path side used to be another wharf, the stone edging still in place.

This map extract from 1937 has the water point by the main road bottom right, with the wharf on the opposite bank that dealt mainly in coal it seems. You can see that there is a short arm heads down to a timber yard/sawmill.

On the left of this picture was the Dailmer Motor Works of the map extract. A licence was given to build Daimler cars and this site was the first factory to build cars in England. The first car came off the line in 1897. A little later the Great Horselerss Carriage Co. was also on site. Much later the Coventry Climax Co. who built engines were on the site and it is them that filled the arm in.

On the left was the first power station in Coventry that opened in 1894. Is electricity was in its infancy the power company supplied 5 different voltages as nothing was standardised. On the right of the picture was the site of the Coventry Corp. Refuse Compactor, but is now a nice open estate of modern housing.

The chimney is the power source for a weaving/textile factory that stretched back away from the camera

You can just see a mooring ring in the concrete of what was a wharf serving Courtauld's Artificial Silk factory.

On the tow path side is this building from the late 1920's that was built as offices for the Courtauld factory. Fedex were using it the first time we came this way I seem to remember but it has been to planning to refurbish as offices and also once for change of use to apartments. It seems that the office idea has won at as there are no dividing walls to be seen.

A colourful spot at Prince William Henry Bridge, named after a pub that was off to the left, but now a builders yard.

Part of the old Courtauld's factory has been repurposed it seems.

The Stoke Heath basin is at the bottom right and the massive shed of the Cammel-Laird Ordnance Works is to the left. I was fascinated by the gun range running alongside the canal on the off side. They couldn't have possible tested the 15" guns here could they? It is where there are a few boats with permanent moorings.

This site was another Courtauld's factory, this time producing Acetate for yarns, the 'cotton' type stuff that was in a cigarette filter and the plastic for spectacle frames. It is all housing now, but the signs for the outlets still survive.

Next come the sight of the massive Coventry Corporation Gas Works that would have provided work for many narrow boats I'm sure. It was actually in this area that the first sod was cut in the construction of the Coventry Canal in 1768.

This concrete bench at Longford looks inviting but wont be that comfortable after a while.

As you approach the junction you go under this bridge with the birds that used to be a mineral railway that served the Wyken Alexandra and Wyken Old Pit mines as well as the Longford Power station.

I'm not too sure what this bridge was, just an accommodation bridge it looks like, but the walls facing the canal seem to have become detached from the corners and looks like it may soon topple into the canal, on both sides.

We had a day of drizzle and dull weather, and then once clear of Hawkesbury there was heavy rain with thunder and lightening, all very impressive. Once that had cleared the sun came out and it was a nice day. I waited for a boat to come through Newbold Tunnel and then another started through so I went through too. It is two way so no problem. We got to the Brownsover moorings and went on a little before mooring as there are still rings to tie to. We went in to Dunhelm for some stuff and then to Tesco's for milk and a few extras. We decided to head to the Harvesters for tea too. All in all a varied and enjoyable day, all round.

Friday 14 June 2024

Coming to Coventry.

 We headed off to the stop lock and met up with the voluntary lock keeper we had been told about the last time we had come through. He was from Hull, and we had a good chat as we waited for the levels, well for a boat coming from the Coventry basin direction, until he had swung into the basin and then left the lock for them.

Through the bridge and headed to the left, we were off to the basin.

Looking back at the stop lock we see the hire boat heading in that was full of Australian blokes. They had obviously done this before.

It is just off to the left where the original junction between the Oxford and Coventry Canals was made. Hence the wide area where there are now residential moorings by a pub but a sharp bend under this bridge.

The canal towpath, and the canal itself seems to be still much cleaner than when we first came this way. Three years ago we came this way as Coventry was (is, until the end of this year) the City of Culture taking over from Hull, and I think efforts were made to clean it all up, and it still is. The city had to contend with COVID etc, but I still think that they could have done better for their stint with the accolade. Mind you I think whoever has it will find it hard to beat Hull for the lasting changes they were able to make. Maybe this mural was one of the things added.

This is the over bridge at the entrance to Stoke Heath Wharf. It was the base for the Cooperative Dairy working 26 narrow boats carrying coal.

This building was the largest in the world when it was built in 1906. It was built by Cammell Lairds who took over the site of a works making tubes for the Admiralty. Here there were two huge lathes to bore out the tubes that went to make the 15" guns for the battleships of the era. ('Scuse the finger).

These are Cash's Hundred housing. In actual fact only 48 were built and now only 37 survive. Cash was a weaver, (who remembers Cash's name labels that were put in all our school uniform etc.). He was a firm believer in the fact that cottage industry could compete with factories. He built these houses form the workers and the top floor was for the weaving looms. There was a steam engine in the courtyard that powered all the machinery in the top floor by shafts and belts and worked with no trouble for 70 years until 1926.

Coventry was the centre of ribbon making until 1860 when a new a treaty with France meant that imported ribbon was cheaper and the town's industry crashed and very hard times were felt all around. These buildings were painted as some sort of remembrance to the trade, and colourful it is.

A little further on there was even more colour with this mural.

We got to the basin and found a berth before having a drink, getting changed and heading into town. Helen wanted to take advantage of there being a M&S and a few other shops we don't have, and came away with a few ticks off her list. We then walked over to the Herbert Museum to have a look.

We walked past the City Hall that had been commissioned in 1910 following a competition. The foundations stone was laid in 1913 and completed in 1917. It is constructed of Runcorn stone and roofed with Cotswold Stone. Above the door were added statues of Lefric, Lady Godiva and Justice in 1924. At the top of the door is an elephant with a castle and the motto 'Camera Principis' which means the Prince's Chamber as Coventry was regarded as the chamber of Edward, the lack Prince!

Dippy the Diplodicus is at the Herbert Museum. We went round the various galleries at a fair pace as we were getting close to closing,16:00.

One of the exhibits was an old microwave. We were struck as we still have one like this. My Mum and Dad bought all my brothers one of these and ours is the only one still working. This one was dated 1985
which was about the date we got ours too. It is still going strong.

The old cathedral got hit in November 1940 in the Coventry Blitz but has been a symbol of forgiveness  since the end of the war.

The new Cathedral is right next door to the old and is completely different. I con't really like the exterior but the interior is fantastic and featured a fair bit in the brilliant TV series 'This Town' recently.

Thursday 13 June 2024

Dull..... But Only The Weather.

Once again we were off at 09:30, but didn't get very far as we stopped just under the first bridge, by the Barley Mow pub, to top up with water as it was free. Soon accomplished and then round the corner and into Newbold Tunnel. There were a couple of boats approaching the other end, but they stopped to wait, despite it being two way, so thanks for that.

t Bridge 43 we could see Falls Bridge boat yard straight ahead and to the left is the old over bridge that goes over the old canal bend that started at Newbold and comes out here. One of the many loops that were cut off when the canal was straightened.

Helen catching up with the ship's log. She later completed the ensemble with her waterproof too, but still has he legs out, just to show willing!

All Oaks Wood should be done under the trade Description Act as clearly there are many different types of trees there. It is very nice though, however much nicer when the sun is shining and we aren't trying to go astern in a straight line like the last time we were here.

It looks like C&RT have taken preventative action here at Easenhall cutting as there is a second area of scalped bank. I wonder if although the roots of trees help bind the topsoil and scree together, when they get too big the top heavy trees topple over and bring anything loose with them. Maybe if they kept the trees small, more like buddelia or other shrubs, they would have the root effect without the tendency to topple over?

This was the site of the main slip that blocked the canal. There was obviously a work meeting going on, maybe to sort out the next spate of work.

Stretton Stop bridge was closed so Helen had to hop off and do the honours. The water point here is not very obvious and the sign that used to indicate it has gone. It also doesn't look like it is a 'proper' C&RT water point as it is just a tap on a fence post. I thought they had spent loads of money with those tin plate things as many of the old ones didn't not prevent accidental syphoning (or something similar!).

The M6 goes over the canal, the West Coast Mainline runs alongside it and the Oxford Canal makes an almost straight line (for now) towards Ansty.

The canal widens here and there is a depression across the adjoining golf course, all clues to show where another loop rejoined this bit of the canal before the straightening in the 1830's.

The concrete beyond bridge 9 shows where yet another loop left the canal.

Here the concrete to the left of the over bridge shows where the old canal joined here, but it was just a bend to go back under the over bridge on it's windy route to Wyken Colliery.

On the left of this part of the canal was Longford Power Station that provided much work for narrow boats bringing coal from the Warwickshire mines. On the right is the electric sub station that distributed the power and still does. It does look other worldly, and on the power station side slightly dystopian and the old concrete lamp posts are still standing despite the trees and bushes growing around them.

We found a mooring round the bend toward the Sutton Stop Lock. We didn't bother going any further as we were hoping to get moored up before the rain caught up with us. After lunch we went for a walk to drop off the rubbish, and to stretch our legs. This Oxford Canal Company plate was on the towpath just over the cross over bridge opposite the Greyhound pub. It seems very close to the Coventry Canal, rather than the Oxford so maybe not in the original position?

The stop lock to prevent the Coventry stealing the Oxford's water and a couple of canal cottages. I wonder if this is where the Sutton family lived that gave their name to the junction in canal speak?

The Coventry Canal is to the left and the Oxford Canal to the right with the junction made below the bridge.

The Greyhound pub at the junction. We are meeting a friend here this evening. and strange to think that we met in Dehli and it was also unseasonably cold then, especially when you have packed for very warm weather. Mind you they had temperatures of 45 deg last week so maybe I won't wish that heat for here.

A lovely splash of colour in these very red poppies.