A Weekend Off The Cut and Bad Beer.
Monday 28th May
No rain this morning, but an overcast sky and no wind. After writing this up, I was about to set off for the chandlers for some silicon to seal the hatch before adding the Creeping Crack Cure, but as I passed Jack once more and gave him some food that I was overstocked with, he happened to mention that he had some silicon and gun, so that will save a visit to MS. I winded outside the marina entrance and set off with a view to mooring outside The Old Royal Oak.
Progress was slow, as two boats ahead of me, was nb Olso, who seemed to open up when passing moored boats and then slowing down again in the open countryside – most frustrating and no indication was given to let anyone pass. The guy on the following boat indicated to me that whoever was steering Oslo must have been asleep, to which I gave the thumbs up sign. What is it with these people? Do they deliberately set out to annoy others?
Eventually I did reach the said pub and pulled in shortly before Jack passed me. We had a few brief words and he was on his way. I asked for a pint of Abbott, which was the only ale on tap and it was not until I got outside that I realised I could not see through the beer at all – a pint of sludge. Returning it to the bar, the boy offered me anything else but English ale, so I had a pint of Bierra Moretti. This attitude seems to sum up these large chain pubs, which are mainly staffed by school children and manage by people who are ignorant or just plain lazy. I think a strong letter of complaint is called for.
A Greene King pint of sludge.
Moving on shortly after, I arrived at Rugby just after 4pm and found a mooring close to The Black Path, which will take me to Tesco in the morning.
Tuesday 29th May
Although there was a red sky last night, the weather didn’t promise much first thing this morning. After answering several e-mails and doing the engine check, I eventually got to Tesco with a day sack to carry the small amount back to the boat. By the time I had finished a light lunch it was close to 3 pm, so rather than go back to that dire Harvester chain pub, I made the decision to move on The Barley Mow at Newbold – big mistake, because even though it was close to 3.30 pm, the moorings were full up. I passed another boat moored up after the tunnel and he complained about the lack of places to moor.
Coming up to the Brinklow Marina entrance, I decided on the spur of the moment to try it out. It certainly is big with many boats, as I found out, because it can’t be seen from the canal. Water was on the jetty and electric on a meter, neither of which I needed. There was no wi-fi either, which is unusual for a big marina.
A nights mooring was £10, which is par for the course in these parts. The marina is not owned by Brinklow Boats as I thought.
Shortly after I had moored up and paid the harbourmaster, another boat came in for diesel reversing onto the diesel pontoon. There was a lady in a wheelchair on board who could operate the engine controls, whilst the man decided to moor up. Although he had the stern against the bank, there was no way that he could get the bow in, which was making its way slowly towards Stronghold in the very light wind. I went out and held a balloon fender between the two boats until he got the centre line to pull the boat back in. Birdbrain boaters once again, because all he had to do was to drive the boat forward in line with the pontoon and then he could get hold of bow and stern lines – easy peasy! You could not make this up, because you would not be believed.
More stir fried chicken tonight, as it is hardly the weather for a BBQ. Anyway, it is not really the thing to do as a visitor in the marina.
Wednesday 30th May
After getting watered up on the pontoon in the rain, I set off when it had eased somewhat. Not far from here, I spotted a water vole; now when I was hire boating back in the seventies, they were a very common sight as they swam across the cut in front of the boat, but the numbers have been reduced every year, probably due to pesticides and those black enamel bastards called Mink. Getting to very familiar ground now nearing Sutton Stop and the rain had eased up to just a grey day. Several boats coming towards me and because of the blind bends, usually at bridge ‘oles, I was using the air horn regularly, which was fortunate, because at Bridge 9 the unseen boat coming the other way, went into reverse at the last minute and so lost complete control of her boat and was across the cut. She admitted to hearing my horn, which is very loud, but it seems that she made no effort to slow down at all.
Arriving at Sutton’s, there was one mooring available on the approach, but it was on a bend, so I thought I would go round the turn and see what was there, Luckily there was a vacant spot just beyond the water point. It was time to pay my annual pilgrimage to The Greyhound.
Thursday 31st May
Mist over the water early this morning, which promised a fine day, but not until after midday, when it got very hot in the sun.
There were several jobs that needed attending to, now that I had time, so I tackled sealing the hatch with silicon this time, which Jack Reay had lent me. The engine was screaming again on revving up, so the alternator belt needed tightening. The solid fuel stove was looking very dirty and a bit rusty, so that needed blacking. Before any of this could be seen to, I had a chance to get on a better mooring opposite the old engine house. There were two alternatives, either I motored up to Bridge 13 at Bedworth where there was a winding hole, or I could reverse to the turn and wind there. With only one boat on the visitor moorings, I decided on the latter. With several corrections, I did manage it, much to the surprise of the gongoozlers outside the pub, who probably wondered why I was doing everything backwards.
There will now be a few days break while I take time out to spend at my daughter’s house in Coventry.
Sunday 3rd June
Well, what a fantastic weekend that was. We went to a pub or two and the best night of all was Saturday in The Greyhound with my daughter, her man Jim and Mouse and Karen aka Mrs Mouse.
A jolly time in The Greyhound at Sutton Stop.
Luckily for me, Jim was kind enough to get me another pair of batteries to replace the ones that were not being sufficiently charged by the alternator. There will some investigation taking place, when he links them up to a 230 volt charger to see what effect it has. To affect a jury repair on board, the two pairs of battery banks were linked in parallel with a jump lead when charging, but the link had to be removed when the engine was stopped, otherwise the lower charged batteries would discharge the newer ones. My intention is to go to Calcutt Boats for a replacement rocker box gasket, alternator belts and to see if they can do something to repair the engine charging circuit.
Mouse and I travelled from Sutton’s down as far as Old Oak Wood together and Karen was kind enough to offer me lunch on their large foredeck. She had already offered a whole cake each to Toody and me when we met up – generosity indeed. We parted after that, as they had to get back home the same night to the Peak District.
I cruised gently to The Barley Mow at the far end of Newbold Tunnel, where Mouse told me there was a mooring space left. Sure enough, it was still there when I arrived. Nb Enceladus passed me later and the steerer new my name – how is that I wonder? After a quick pint in the pub, I ate and went to bed early.
Monday 4th June
I stopped to water up in Rugby next to a boat that had been at Cannie Cavalcade and after the ususal conversation, I mentioned that I did not have an entry form for next year, but they did. In fact they had two copies and kindly parted with one.
Onwards to Clifton upon Dunsmore, where I had arranged to visit a chiropractor in the morning, to find out if he could do anything for my back. In the meantime, I spent the afternoon reading and answering three days of e-mails and writing this up.