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Please have a look at our website
Facebook page ~ Chamberlain Carrying Co
You can also view examples of my hand painted canal art (Roses and Castles) on my Facebook page Canal Art by Ruth.
If you would like to contact us, please use the icons below each post or you can email us using chamberlaincarrying at and we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as we are moored and have a signal on our dongle! Mobile: 07754 003834
We hope you enjoy reading about our lifestyle and thank you again Ruth and Richard

Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

We would just like to say happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year to everyone who has followed us this year.  We have had a wonderful time attending the festivals on our route this year and intend to do the same in the spring.

The New Year brings the butty stretching and much fun in designing a new shop and workshop area.  I will be following the transformation from first 'cut' to complete 19 feet extension in the next instalment!

Thank you for all your support over the past year and come and say 'hello' if you see us on the towpath.

Best regards and seasons greetings

Ruth and Richard

Butty Stretching - Part 1

Today, we took the boats down to Sheet Stores to get Paul to have a proper look at the job.

Leaving the marina mooring

The weather was perfect and the Trent for once was behaving.

Looking back at the walkway over to the marina

Richard had breasted the boats together, for the penultimate time, thank goodness as it steers like an aeroplane wing.

Down to the locks to drop down onto the river - power station in full flow

Looking back to the railway bridge and the locks - with squinty eyes...

The river wasn't pushing much, so we glided gently with the flow and after a few minutes reached the entrance of the Erewash Canal.

Erewash Canal entrance

Woah, Richard had to hard reverse as the entrance is more than 90 degrees and the aeroplane wing is on the inside.  It was a push but he got it in without scratching anything!

Getting Richard to do the work for a change lol

I normally do the gates, but this time I brought the boats in, as the anti-vandal mechanism worked a treat on me!

Dragging a large tarpaulin out of the canal above the lock - wouldn't want that round the prop!

Such a good boater, taking it to the bin

Interesting porch arrangement!

Clearing the prop was a nightmare leaving the lock to travel along the short stretch to Sheet Stores.

One of many wonderful houseboats along the lower Erewash Canal

As the steering was rubbish, the canal and houseboats got closer to the edges of our boats.  It was so close at times, especially one houseboat which had a bay window.  But close doesn't count, we didn't hit anything!

The entrance to Sheet Stores, off set from the canal just like Trent lock below.

Getting into the entry was interesting, as we had to go past and then back into and under the bridge.
The 'appropriately moored for the challenge' widebeam just past this entry made life even more tense as the angle increased to reverse in.

Up on the trailer ready for scrutiny, my butty....

Paul greeted us as we tied up under the bridge and separated the boats.  Next, we walked the butty around to the trailer waiting in the water.  After a couple of attempts at dragging it out, the butty decided to play ball and dropped centrally on the trailer, and off she went up the ramp.

So, now we wait until New Year for D Day.  The steel is ordered and we are back in the marina unscathed.   We are so excited about it.  the butty will be 19feet longer matching the length of Comfortably Numb and therefore easier to breast up, bigger shop/storage area and cheaper trading license!

As we think it all is going well, notification form the garage that the car's ecu has gone and so we have to arrange the final demise of our wonderful Renault Scenic.......bu$$er

Welcome to our brand new website!

At last I managed to pluck up the effort to create a proper website to support our butty shop.

Christmassy horseshoe ready to dangle over your door

I am trying to populate it as fast as I can with things for sale and portfolio/ gallery pictures as well as updating the diary for next year's cruising.

Orders and product enquiries
As you probably know from my display in my butty during the summer months, I do have a wide range of products for sale.  If there is something you would like a price on or to check availability, please use the Contact Us page on the website.
Also, if I am given enough notice, I would be delighted to take orders and give feedback on the item's progress for completion.  When it is ready, I will issue an invoice including relevant Post and Packing.

Shipping - postage and packaging charges
There are 3 flat rates of postage/packaging, so many items can be put in the same basket for just one charge.

  • For thin packages ie. less than 2.5cm thick up to 500g - £3.10pp
  • Wider than 2.5cm. signed for but less than 1kg - £4.20pp
  • Collect+ - tracked courier service up to 2kg in weight for £5.89.  Very reliable trustworthy company.

Please have a good look around and copy the link to your friends.  Thank you very much and don't forget, any enquiries or comments, please use the Contact Us page on the website.

I look forward to hearing from you!  Thank you for your support  Ruth

Post 100! Whittington to Sawley (32 miles, 18 locks)

So this is my 100th post since I started blogging a couple of years ago!

Small milk churn I completed for Sawley Marina the other week - it's in their window!

Martin and I had left Whittington weeks before and arrived at Fradley unscathed, ready to meet Richard with the car.  During that time we had found out that Martin had got his posh engineering job near Oxford, so dutifuly we had celebrated with a HUGE takeaway chinese from Lichfield.

Martin with Lister 'on his knee' and asleep - he forgets he has back legs!

Leapfrogging the car became something of a bore for me, as I wanted to be back in the boats helping.  Richard had booked a day off and started to move the boats with Martin down through the locks at Fradley.

Coming through into Alrewas village, I walked ahead to prepare the next lock down onto the river section.

Parking the car at Alrewas, I walked half way back to Fradley in time to meet the boats as they had completed Common Lock, so I was too late, but at least we knew we were all ok.

A miserable day, hence the hi vis - but the river was behaving after all the rain - for the minute!

The heavens opened, as we bid our farewells at Alrewas lock.  I watched as the boats sailed into a lovely storm and guiltily jumped back into my heated car to meet them next at Barton Turns, about 3 miles away.

The boys relaxing - Lister with his nose wedged against the metal door frame.... they have also swapped beds

I joined the crew and we carried on through Burton on Trent to moor overnight at Willington. Richard had arranged to meet his brother Ian there for a lift back to Barton to fetch the car, for work the next day.

Stenson Lock - me on my own to do the boats - I hate that lock it's so deep!

Martin and I did the next section of canal on our own again, a little more confident, but knowing there were some horrible deep locks in our path!  Stenson was first, and I let a couple of boats go past before I had enough courage to get it done!  The big boat went in and then I dropped the cross-straps one by one to swing the butty in.  And it went in a dream, (better than Richard!) and we dropped down the lock slowly and cautiously.

Safely out of the lock we composed ourselves!

Separating the boats coming out of the lock, I cross-strapped again and aimed for the towpath to pick Martin up.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten that damn bywash (we had had a lot of rain and it was running well) and ended up in the trees.  Martin managed to vault across to get on the stern of the butty and I floored it to regain the correct line for the boats.

I love this sign - makes me chuckle everytime we come past!

I had decided by this time that we would call it a day and moor before the next big lock at Swakestone - what a chicken!  Richard met us there with the car for another day off the next day.

Nearing Sawley cut and thank fully the river was still in the 'green'

Richard was pushing to get the boats safely to Sawley where we had booked moorings, before the river came right up, as it did only the next day!  I had leapfrogged the car again to Shardlow, helped them through the Clockhouse lock and then met them at Sawley.

Floyd aficionados will understand the irony in the proximity of the blue boat!  In good company.

So here we are, probably for the winter, depending on Richard's work.  Next on the list, finish creating my new website and then ......   stretching the butty.  Now that will be an adventure.......

Whittington, Hopwas, Fazeley Junction and return to Whittington!

The last few weeks, I have neglected to update the blog as I have had not a deal to share with everyone.  Work type things and lazyness, truth be told, have prevented it's revision....

Moored safely at Whittington for the night

However, today, I was given the unenviable task to steer the big boat towing the butty (steered by Martin, my eldest) over a few miles for the first time all on my own.  Richard has been at work, so the responsibility of moving the pair fell to me.

Narrow bits all the way on the Coventry and usually with a bridge thrown in the mix!

About time, I hear you cry!  Only been living aboard for the past 5 years!  Ok, short distances with Richard on the boat, yes, I have partook in this task, but never on my own.

Not many outside the Tame Otter in Hopwas today

So off Martin and I set from Fazeley Junction this morning.  An hour later we were weaving through the narrow little village of Hopwas, where we had moored on the way down to the junction.

Martin, already quite an expert on the butty, never quite gets excited at the prospect of steering

Hopwas was busy with moored boats and I was dreading getting the boats through before an oncoming boat would halt my progress.

The beautiful willow on the way through Hopwas

But, we were lucky, no boats moved until we came out the other side.  I started to breathe again!

Approaching Whittington and ooh it's tight!

Before we arrived on the outskirts of Whittington, an emergency stop was needed as an oncoming boat came around a blind bend into the same bridge hole I was nearly in.  I didn't panic, which surprised me, as I put her in reverse and came to a stop without any paintwork being touched on either boat!

Scooby loving his position on the flight deck with me

The butty didn't jack knife, so Martin jumped off and pulled the boats back with the centre line, allowing me to jump off and bring the motor into the side out the way.  We let everyone go past, just like buses, so nobody was being held up by us and we carried on to Whittington.

Lovely Whittington

Nearing our destination, we gently tiptoed through Whittington, so we didn't disturb the neighbours, but then...

And the award for the most sensible mooring spot goes to....

We rounded the final bend for the final bridge on our maiden voyage, to be greeted by Mr Stupid and his insanely moored boat leaving exactly one boat width passage between him and the offside privately moored boats.  But hey, we passed between, where cigarette paper would have struggled!

A mooring space greeted us before the long bend and we grabbed it.  Our voyage will continue tomorrow, in our attempt to get to Fradley village......

Alvecote, Alrewas and return (18.5 miles, 10 locks)

Misty morning at Alrewas

Since the Alvecote Gathering, we have made our way steadily to Alrewas, on the Trent and Mersey Canal, and as a result of promises of work, we turned around and have started back onto the Coventry Canal.

Weaving our way through Tamworth and some gorgeous gardens on view

Setting off early in the morning, we dealt with the 2 locks on the outskirts of Tamworth, in order to miss the usual congestion which occurs there.

Fab plethora of gnomes (there must be a collective term for this phenomena?)  on this raised part of someone's garden

Tamworth was a delight, as always, to weave through as was the pretty village of Amington.

Brand new marina at Streethay called King's Orchard - might check out their winter mooring prices

We moored at Fazeley Junction, and decided to have a walk to the out of town shops on the edge of Tamworth, we had visited this time last year.  A good walk, but luckily we remembered to take the trolley!

Lovely butty called Kenneth - newly built with undercloth conversion, I suspect and hydraulic drive!

For our overnight mooring, we carried on to just past the village of Hopwas and spent a couple of days enjoying the peace and quiet.

Richard's brother's nickname

Blackberries everywhere, we spent lots of time gathering what was ready and then forgot to use them!  We wanted to get soem apples to go with them in a crumble and then forgot, durrr!

Me on the butty tiller, giving Martin some time off!

Fradley Junction was the destination for the weekend, in the hope that we could open the shop for the last time before we packed away for the winter.

The big boat in the junction lock at Fradley going downhill

Unfortunately, it was really quiet for the whole weekend and it wasn't just us, the Candy Boat reported the same downturn in visitors.  I think autumn must already be here!

View back towards the junction and The White Swan pub

Moorings at Fradley Junction

Martin is still recuperating after his fall off the stern of the boat whilst putting his bike on the roof at Alvecote.  He had broken his fall with his ribs it sounds like, but was adamant that his ribs felt fine, it was just bruising.  However, since then, every time he sneezes or coughs, the pain seems to come back with a vengence!  I think we should have insisted on getting him checked out, but hindsight etc....

Sunset at Alrewas

After dropping down the next 4 locks at Fradley, we moored outside the village of Alrewas, ready for supper of fish and chips from the Alrewas Fryer.  Very much looked forward to!

The A513 at Alrewas - much better with a bit of mist!

Martin has had confirmation of a welcome full time job in engineering in Tamworth, so we have turned around to go back in that direction on the Coventry Canal.  Myself and Richard can now base ourselves in that area for work for the winter and start thinking about what to do about the butty.........

Alvecote Historic Boat Gathering 2013

Firstly, I would like to say thank you to our hosts for a wonderful weekend at this year's gathering! We had a great time, made new friends and booked for next year!

Panoramic piccy, courtesy of Martin, of the Gathering

I would also like to say thank you for everyone who took an interest in my little shop and didn't just walk past!

My little gift shop ... with me inside

It made for a very sociable and friendly weekend and makes the hours of slog over paint and thinners worthwhile!

Excellent turnout of historic boats this year

Over the weekend, we had a boater's breakfast each morning and bands playing in the afternoon and evenings.

Boats 'winding' (turning round) in the 'layby'

As we were told originally, to moor in the 'layby' alongside the Cheese Boat, the 'winding competition' (turning around without hitting other boaters or edges of layby) would require substantially more skill than before!

Paul and Viv on Whitby negotiate the winding area

Our boat Comfortably Numb stats :
Day 1 - a direct hit broadside from Minnow - thanks Graham! Several glancing blows from other boats, fended off successfully by Richard from the roof of 'Numb!

Day 2 - moved out of 'layby' to the safety of the towpath leaving the poor Cheese boat to repel boarders!
Day 3 - still hiding out of the way, where we stayed whilst the evening Illuminated Boats parade finished.

View of the causeway with moored boats alongside

The Cheese Boat sustained 2 direct hits, moved and scored again - Minnow playing pinball again!  Apparently, one of the incidents was whilst the CEO from Canal and River Trust was aboard!

Sickle with Alan and Kath, Jan and Dave aboard, ready to tackle the 'wind'.

Alan on Sickle managed a full 360 degree turn in one!

Paul and Viv on Whitby returning after 2 x 360 degree turns after each other, attached to another full length boat, faultless performance!  The got some cheers from the balcony, I can say!

Elizabeth - oldest converted narrowboat on the system - if I got that correctly

One of the wonderful old working boats at the gathering

Biddie and Olive - owned by friends Rod and Tracy 

At breakfast on Sunday, Jan and Dave, who volunteer to help with the fundraising boat for the Chesterfield Canal Trust, told us the bilge pump had been running on and off all night!

Python on Day 1 still floating well!

Had we got any overalls to spare as the original slow leak had became a not slow leak and action was needed!  Richard donned his bright orange British Sugar overalls and went to have a look. Yes, it was a leak and it needed sealing quick.

Winding competition on Day 1 - all going well so far!

Jan and Dave secured a tow to a wharf nearby, where hopefully Python will be safe for now until repairs can take place.

A beautiful sight of all the competitors in the Illuminated Boats parade winding in the 'layby'.

My mum had come over to stay on Sunday night, so we had gone to the Pretty Pigs at Alvecote for a carvery during the evening.  It was worth the visit, as it was cheap and a large plate full!

Peacefully moored out of the way during the rest of the weekend

Tuesday morning, we moored behind the butty once the Candy Boat had moved off towards Fradley, and filled up with water.  As there was now space on the towpath side of the canal, we pushed across and had a quiet day enjoying the rest!