We are sitting near the Tame Otter pub at Hopwas near Tamworth on our way down the Coventry Canal. Our wonderful friends/relatives, Julie and Phil have just spent the weekend with us having transported many parcels all the way from Maldon for us. We are now the proud owners of a galvanic isolator to protect our metal boat whilst in winter moorings in a marina, two ammo boxes for storing our mooring gear, some patches to repair our tears in the bow and stern covers, and lots of presents for our children and grandchildren when we return to see them in Australia in just a few weeks.
The weekend was both relaxing and productive as we ate and drank, took long walks for exercise and purchased groceries, a conduction radiator to keep the boat warm and dry (to reduce condensation) whilst we are away, and lots of vacuum bags to better store our spare bedding and coats – again particularly while we are away. With that job now done we can plan the next few weeks.
We finally pulled pins in Stone on Thursday 22nd October and made our way down the Trent and Mersey finding moorings for a couple of days just before the Sandon Lock to wait out some predicted very wet weather. We were blessed at this mooring with stunning sunsets and misty mornings with our first frost one morning. Photos capturing these beautiful weather events can be found in the gallery.
On Sunday we decided to use the fine weather to make the journey through Great Haywood – making use of the services along the way and picking up some pretty cheap diesel from the pig farmer near Taft Bridge – and mooring opposite the cemetery in Rugeley for a few days to avail ourselves of the shopping and to wait out yet more rain – is this autumn in England???
Our next stretch took us to a lovely spot above the locks at Fradley Junction where we rested before positioning ourselves just onto the Coventry Canal in readiness for a quick trip to our current location on Friday to prepare for Julie and Phil’s arrival.
We have increasingly noticed the impact of the falling leaves at this time of the year on our progress. Whilst they look quite beautiful when so many fall into the canal they collect around the propeller and rudder necessitating frequent stops to clear. Fortunately a good burst of reverse does the trick and we are on our way again. Our “quick” trip to the Tame Otter took slightly longer as we had to stop and undertake this clearing exercise about every 300 meters! We still got there long before our visitors thankfully.
We got great moorings just outside the pub with a break in the hedge right next to our boat to the car park making transfer of parcels from car to boat very easy. And there were hardly any other boats around. This has been Halloween weekend with people also practicing their fireworks for Guy Fawks night on the 5th November so noisy at times but still very convenient.
We were also well entertained by some ducks that frequent the canal opposite our mooring, splashing around very early in the mornings and diving frequently for the acorns that the pigeons and squirrels drop off the overhanging oak tree opposite. Never seen such sustained, frenzied and unusual activity by ducks before. And then there is the 3 legged cat that frequents the garden, and the naked women who stands in the middle of the lawn. Quite an interesting mooring really.
Sadly we bid farewell to Julie and Phil last night but we will be visiting them in a few weeks to celebrate Julie’s birthday and an early Christmas before we leave for Australia.
And then today we got started on preparing our boat and possessions for the winter and caught up with the ever present washing before we head off tomorrow for the next exciting installment of our adventure.