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A week in Alrewas waiting for the river!

The river remained in flood and yoyo'd between the amber and the red for another week, so we moored in Alrewas on the 14 day mooring and sat it out.

This herd had a bit of a paddle before the water receded, we were quite worried about them, but they were in the next field the following day, so the farmer had moved them in time!

Richard was taken by this duck, partly because it reminded him of our old collie/greyhound lurcher Shep.


Checking the water level each day, we discovered that the green marker was visible again!  Not for long, it went back up again shortly after this, but the weather had improved hinting at a calmer river in the next few days.

Much better!

No damage done to the park either.

Beautiful, well looked after graveyard with very old headstones dating back to early 1800s.

Tranquil moorings in Alrewas.  We always enjoy it here.

Chocolate box houses...

Ummm, Sunday dinner on the Cobb!

Monday morning, the water was well down in the green, encouraging us to press on downstream towards Branston Water Park.  The butty towed behind the motor like it was on the canal, no problem!  It is amazing the difference waiting a week can make!

Huddlesford to Alrewas (5 miles, 5 locks)

Last weekend, we arrived at Fradley Junction, optimistic that the sun would come out and our little shop would be open.  We moored before the junction, taking into consideration the fact that the River Trent section below Alrewas was in flood.....

Oh dear!  I took these photos the following morning during my 'run round the block', returning to give Richard the verdict and photographic evidence!  We were going nowhere for quite a while, that was clear!  The board showing the height of the water was very much under the water and so was the mooring landing!

Such a shame that the small park area, newly created had been swamped and was coming over onto the road.  I don't think the other side of the village was affected, but I'm sure this side of the bridge, sandbags in the opposite houses would have been at the ready!
Back in Fradley, we had dropped down through the junction lock outside the pub the previous evening, where the path was not muddy and we were not so out on a limb.

The bikes came out that day as the weather showed no sign of abating and we enjoyed a cycle into Lichfield.  
What a lovely city!  This is the Tourist Information Centre, underneath the Garrick Theatre, striking looking building.

The Tudor at Lichfield, although we didn't go in for food, we had a sneaky look down the alleyway alongside, where small shops and cafes were hidden away!

The reservoir with a view of the cathedral looking back as we began the long hilly cycle home.

Do you know what - I turn my back for a minute and look where the dog has been allowed to sit!  And he calls him Scab!

The official handover from British Waterways to the Canal and River Trust took place for this region at Fradley.  Many people attended, however, none of them really took an interest in us stranded boaters!  Poor us!  At least we were luckier than others, in that we had all facilities at the above BW yard, others were moored at the side of the A38 with nothing but the sound of roaring traffic.
It would have been nice to at least had one of the staff call round to us, ask us if we were ok and give reassurance  that the river would be unlocked as soon as it was safer for passage.  Probably they were not interested in the core topic of their careers, just playing lip service to the officials (politician, mayor and press included) present.  Controversial, sorry, I digress.....

We hired a car for the following weekend and visited our son Ryan for his birthday at my Mum's house in Lincolnshire and Richard's parents as well.

Most of the week had been predictably wet, but Sunday, I had one of the best days ever with the shop selling  canal art as well as various general shop items like badges and mooring pins!  Just as I thought we would never get a summer!  Glass half empty, starting to sound like Richard!

Last night we had a great night at The Swan at Fradley catching up with fellow forum  friends, Allan and Debbie and Sue and her friend and another couple on their boat mooring up from us.

The above photo shows the 'boat moored today at a very wet Alrewas and yes the fire has been lit!  It's July and 'orible, so I don't care, trouble is it's too hot in here now, I might need to open the side hatch properly....

River update  - in the amber and unlocked, but it still looks angry, so we will leave wiggling under bridges and going around weirs for another day.....................

Polesworth to Huddlesford (12 miles, 2 locks)

Pooley Hall (1509), once the home of the late Edwin Starr (soul singer), stands aloof on the offside of the canal.

Built originally by Sir Thomas Cockayne, who was knighted at the battle of Tournai by King Henry VII.  In 1847, a coalmine was sunk in the grounds of the Hall and coal began to be extracted in 1850 (The Pooley Hall Colliery).

Today, 62 hectares of the estate and remains of the subsidence ridden colliery, is a Country Park, operated by Warwickshire County Council, but the Hall is still a private residence.

Further along the canal, we came through Alvecote Nature Reserve, where there is a large marina, formerly the coal loading basin for working boats. Nowadays, a pub called the Samuel Barlow (famous canal operator on the Coventry Canal) serves holiday boaters as they pass by.

Glascote locks (2 locks spanning 13feet, 8inchs) proved an interesting obstacle to get through, as the heavens opened once more!  We had come across a few boats on our journey that morning, but coming out of the bottom lock, there was a queue nearly around the corner of waiting boaters.  The build up wasn't as a result of a woman on an old boat taking her time because she was single handed, it was the fact that the sun had been out and everyone wanted to move at the same time!

Coming out of the bottom lock, I moored behind a boat next in the lock, and then went back to help Richard with the butty.  Sometimes when lots of people try to help, it can break the rythym and I felt I was dazed and confused as I moored the motor up, and that I could have been quicker on my own.  Not that I wasn't grateful, but when we are used to doing it on our own, each knowing what the other is doing, people helping breaks the cycle and I seemed to spend time walking backwards and forwards, with the windlass as someone had already done the job I was about to do!

Winding our way towards Fazeley Junction, we came out from under a road bridge with an narrow passage above the Tame Aqueduct, with its very own pillbox, to cross.  A boat was already coming across the aqueduct, saw us and immediately reversed, so that we could cross.  'Thank you very much' said Richard, as we towed the butty through the channel, you don't get too much generosity these days, but that was beyond anything we had encountered for a while!

A beautifully graceful family awaited our mooring at Fazeley Junction.  Only 4 signets, but looking strong!

Filling up with water outside BW offices opposite our mooring at Fazeley.

We walked to the retail park to do some paint shopping for the boatman's cabin, which Richard is currently rescumbling and got caught in the biggest downpour on the way back.  One of the few occasions where we had not bothered to take the brolly!

I finished another project ready for varnishing, as the weather was dismal the next day, for a change!

As we left Fazeley, Sue, a friend off the Canal World Discussion Forum, took photos of us as we steered past her.

Thanks Sue, hope the dentist was gentle!

Gorgeous weather yesterday!

Nosey cow.......

After a super quiet night's sleep, despite the rain, we awoke to find that the canal had become a duel carriageway.  Don't think moving is an option today!

Atherstone Flight to Polesworth (5 miles, 11 locks)

We spent another lovely day with the shop open at the top of the Atherstone flight of 11 locks on the Coventry Canal.

I did lots of work on the water-can which Richard had prept for me, so now all that remains is the lettering around the middle.  Because I took the picture sideways, the water-can looks squashed, anyway, you get the idea!

The following morning, earlyish, we arrived at the top lock, thinking we would have the flight to ourselves, but not for long.  It seemed everyone needed to get down or up before the weekend.

 Richard bow hauling the butty, as I ran back to help him with the lock. 

The allotments opposite lock 3 contained this architecturally challenged shed complete with openings for windows.  Lots of chip board involved, so this rain wouldn't do it any good! Richard says his grandad would be proud

We took our time, taking turns with other boaters coming up, not realising how dark the sky had turned.  When over halfway, the heavens opened and we ran for cover (so to speak) by mooring up in a long pound.

What a good storm! Thunder and lightning with hailstones, but apparently we missed the tornado which had swept through our old home town of Sleaford and caused all sorts of chaos, at the same time.

Later in the day, we decided to complete the flight and moored up at the bottom lock ready for the weekend.  It seemed like a pleasant place to moor and open up the butty.

Atherstone bottom lock.

Sunday morning, I went for a run back up the flight with a diversion to get Richard some tobacco.  Bit embarrassing running with a pouch of tobacco!  I shoved it in my waistband to continue, despite it trying to gauge a hole in my side!  Managed to get lost in Atherstone after taking a wrong turn and had to ask a local how to get back to the canal!  Then when I was nearly back, a dog tried to take a chunk out of my leg, thank god for Lycra tights!   The owner did nothing whilst I shouted at his dog to stay and get down!  He didn't even apologise, I didn't register the name of his boat, but I'd remember his beer gut anywhere in a line up.......

Very dodgy weather over the weekend, but we bumped into some old friends and have now continued to Polesworth to sit out yet more rain!   I wonder if July will be any better?