Greyhound Party and not a lot else.
Thursday 16th August
Well, well, would you believe that I have now been back on board for six days and no blog written up. I have to say that they have been pretty uneventful days, so not a lot to write about.
At Rugby Wharf I settled up my mooring fee, which was only £5.00 per night – the cheapest that I have come across so far. Obviously there were very few boats passing in and out of the short arm and they were mostly hire boats, as this is the base for Willow Wren. I motored back to Rugby to shop and paid two heavy trips to Tesco to stock up, before heading north again towards Sutton Stop.
Just short of Ansty, there were moorings on a bend with rings, between Bridges 14 and 15; not the best place to moor on a bend, but there was little choice. The intention was to pay a visit to The Ansty village club, which was well advertised along the towpath, so it had to be open to the public. The main problem here has always been the lack of moorings closer to this place, where there are positively NO MOORING signs all along the embankment where the houses are, so the village discourages visitor mooring and the club is asking for custom – a dichotomy indeed!
It seems that I haven’t missed much in the past, as the club is fairly sterile with few customers in the bar. Food is served at pub prices and there is a varied menu, but nothing out of the ordinary. Two beers were on tap at slightly more than local pub prices, with a third pump being off. Wi-wi was available, along with Sky sports and a full sized snooker table. There were a few smiles at the bar when I asked for the sparkler to be taken off, so they were aware of where I came from. So in retrospect, I will happily pass it by next time.
Being only just past midday, there were ample moorings to be had a Sutton Stop and I settled just before the stop lock on Armco for a few days. Of course the places filled up as the afternoon wore on, until they were all full.
The next day, I was taking a walk up to The Greyhound for a late lunchtime pint, when I spotted nb Curraghmore coming through the lock. Sue and Mike were very surprised to see me, although I had heard that Mouse had made contact a few days before on the Trent and Mersey, when he spotted their home mooring as being on The Wey. It seems that the ‘Towpath Telegraph’ is as active as ever, but now even faster by mobile phone. After they were moored, Sue and Mike appeared in the pub and we had a good catch-up session of news.
The Greyhound is always busy, inside and out.
Friday 17th August
Getting short of supplies again, so I walked up to the corner shop across the cut in the housing estate to see what they had for a meal. Well, it is a good job that I picked up some salad ingredients earlier in Tesco, because all this place had to offer in the way of food was either frozen or in tins and the choice was abysmal. I bought some tinned tuna to supplement the other fish that I had in a salad.
I had a message from Mouse this morning to tell me that he was on his way back from The Caldon and would be in Sutton Stop by Saturday, so I begged the waitress in The Greyhound to increase the table count to five for the evening meal, which she managed to do with a bit of table juggling. I look forward to it.
I caught up with some basic bits that needed to be done, such as running some of Captain Tolleys Creeping Crack Cure around the Houdini hatch, now that it was dry. Strange how the original Silicone sealant fixed the leak from the end of June and now it has started leaking again. Most likely it is to do with expansion and contraction of the glass, considering the long heat wave that we had.
I also did some refuelling from the 40 litre reserve that I bought at Braunston Hysterics. That will improve my cruising time for another 40 hours. I have to say that the inline pump speeds things up considerably compared with siphoning the diesel into the tank.
A pair of working boats passed by this afternoon and I walked up to the stop lock to see how they did the turn. They were motor Harrier and butty Lyra. Harrier being built in 1999 by Gary Gorton, with a 1946 Kelvin J2 engine. However, Lyra was built in 1935 by Yarwoods. https://www.reveriecanaltradingco.co.uk/
I had a brief chat with the crew of three as they went through the lock and learned that my guess about the Kelvin was correct, although I had only seen a few K2’s before. One of the crew commented on Nuneaton and Brighton’s perfect turn at Sutton Stop a week or so before. They also did it perfectly and got a round of applause from the Greyhound gongoozlers. Both cross straps were in place on the turn and the butty steerer was rowing the tiller like crazy.
Saturday 18th August
A lot of the morning was taken up with internet stuff and fortunately I get a good wi-fi signal here from BT broadband in the houses nearby, but for more secure connections, I use a personal wi-fi router.
I went to the pub for one pint of mild and had a text from Mouse to say that they had arrived and were below the water point. I saw him walk over the bridge to the bins and gave him a shout, so next minute he had a pint in his hands too. He had secretly been invited to eat with my daughter later, which was to be a surprise and it certainly was. What a great evening we all had and Toody had even brought a birthday cake for Jim, which was brought to the table at the end of the evening by the waitress.
A great evening in The Greyhound.
Sunday 19th August
Mouse and Karen left rather later than was announced last night, but I was up and waved them goodbye, before it was my turn to leave, with the intention of heading up to Atherstone for the night to do some food shopping, as I was now right out of anything to eat for a meal.
An uneventful trip and passing through Nuneaton was not the best of cruising. I spotted Terry and Chris’s boat Grace, which was obviously moored outside their bungalow, before passing Charity Dock, which is always good for a laugh and a few photos of the mannequins dressed in various ridiculous outfits.
Charity Dock, Bedworth.
No problem finding a mooring at Atherstone in the early afternoon, so I paid a visit to The Angel Alehouse in Church Street, which is North Warwickshire Pub of the Year once again after several years in succession. What an amazing selection of real ales and ciders on handpumps. Being a CAMRA member, there was also a 20p discount off a pint. Recorded music was being played on vinyl on a turntable obviously, which is a most unusual sight nowadays, especially in a pub!
Monday 20th August
A heavy shopping session was in order for today and the only two places to do it were The Co-Operative and Aldi. Although the Co-Op was supposedly a supermarket, it was so disorganised and almost impossible to find some items at all and if you did the choice was abysmal. Had I gone to Aldi, as I found out later, it would have been a far more rewarding experience.
The pub of choice this evening was The New Swan, also in Church Street and although it is a Pubmaster house, all three ales were from Church End Brewery, a favourite in my family. Apparently the pub had recently been refurbished and a family were there to run it.
Tuesday 21st August
Imagine my surprise when I checked the batteries this morning, to see Karen Cook (NBT) moored behind me. Her son James was with her and we had a conversation before they went into town. Then at lunchtime, Andy Belton (NBT) moored in front of me with wife Leslie, so another brief catch up was in order. Andy was previously moored at The Pelican not far from Stronghold, but recently moved house, job and mooring to Nottingham. Also moored close by was a Wey Navigation boat, that I had previously seen at Triggs Lock on The Wey. In all, what a small world it had suddenly become.
A few items were still needed in the store cupboard, or should I say locker? So it was off to Aldi this time, but not before a well needed haircut at Scissor Sisters, a male/female hairdressers in Long Street. As I was now further up the cut, I decided to investigate the train station and a way back along the towpath, which would be a shorter walk than through the town. Being close to The Kings Head, it was an opportunity to see what that was like after many years of closure. It was now refurbished and pleasant inside and out, with a garden and canal side mooring for one boat. Three ales were on and there was a varied menu of food available. The staff were very accommodating, offering to pull another pint before I even asked.
The steerer on this floating allotment cannot see astern and
has to peer alongside to navigate forwards. Quite a hazardous procedure, surely?