Just Hanging About.
Wednesday 22nd August
It was time to move again, as I had been at Atherstone since Sunday and as I needed to go home again next week, I wanted quite a long time in the town when I was away and I could only moor here for 14 days in total.
I motored up to the top lock where I could wind the boat and water up, which took a considerable time, so I was obviously very low on water. I cruised back south towards Hartshill and The Anchor, which I passed by on the way up, finding plenty of space close to the pub. This place has memories, as it was here some years ago, when I was crewing Nuneaton and Brighton, that I was looking for a leak below the engine header tank. I found it close to the drain plug, so I found a spanner and thought I would tighten it up, only to find that the aluminium tank was corroded around the plug which came away in my hand. We had a meal, then removed the tank, sealed around the hole and covered it almost completely with a baked bean tin, which had been opened up with scissors, wrapped around and tightened with copper wire. We then went to the pub to celebrate a successful repair, which lasted for a few more trips on the pair of boats.
I went in the pub for a pint of Everard’s Tiger and not much had changed, except that the food on the menu is more tempting than I remember.
Thursday 23rd August
This is noisy mooring, because directly opposite is a builders yard, with a lot of trucks in and out and loading or unloading in between, so I think I will move later. There are no other boats moored here either, which is rather strange for a pub mooring in August. Perhaps that is an indication of the popularity of the pub, where there were few customers last night.
Another load of washing was done this afternoon, which took that long, but with the engine running, the batteries are topped up along with the hot water.
Tony Redshaw’s boat came past this morning, with the overpowered 4 cylinder Gardner engine driving the boat fast and he cut the power when he reached my stern, so I was rocked around no end, despite having the lines tight and a spring line out. No bloody consideration for moored boats – selfish bastard! Much later Monarch also came past and there was Sam Noone, who now calls herself Sam Monarch holding little Archie on the gunwale and he is not so little now. They were in their way to Alvecote Historic Boat Gathering, where I would have been had I not had to go home.
Friday 24th August
A very changeable day for weather with many showers and bright spells. I took a chance between showers and had a walk down to the winding hole, not only to see how far it was, but also on the lookout for Nuneaton and Brighton on their way to Alvecote Historic Boat Rally, which I attended last year on the pair of boats. Shortly after getting back to Stronghold, I spotted them moving at a good pace towards me and got some photos. Howard Williams was steering the motor and Peter Lovatt was on the butty; both greeted me as they passed. The pics went on the Faceache Members Group straight away.
Nuneaton and Brighton passing The Anchor on the way to Alvecote Festival.
I ran the engine to get hot water and charge the batteries for about an hour, before changing the oil and filter. I am so used to doing it now, it is all over in about 30 mins and a job well done, as it is not a thing I relish.
I now had enough hot water for a shower, before I paid another visit to The Anchor, where I got chatting to another group of boaters, sitting close by.
Saturday 25th August
Continued showers in the morning, but I managed to dodge them again and I went down and turned at the winding hole and motored up to just above Bridge 32, where there were a few other boats moored up.
After a light lunch, I took quite a steep walk up the hill into Hartshill via a busy and fast road with no footpath for a while, to sample one of the two pubs. The first was the Stag and Pheasant, where they had Doombar or Doombar on two handpumps, so it was take it or leave it, the former being the best option. On first impression it was a local drinkers pub only, but on further investigation the other bar was an Indian Resturant called Tiffins. There were about six English dishes also on the menu. The main bar was not very inviting, but the Trip Advisor reviews on the food were spectacular.
Thinking about adding another two pubs to my database, I forged on to The Malt House not far away and what a surprise was in store; the place was humming with people eating in the bar and in the restaurant. It seems that I followed two other guys from the previous pub, who greeted me at the bar and told me that the pub had caught fire last year and had only been re-opened for six weeks, which explained the good order of decoration. There were four familiar ales on tap here and obviously good food to be had.
I walked back to the cut along Apple Pie Lane to Bridge 31, which was a far safer route, despite having no footpath, as there was no traffic at all, either way.
Sunday 26th August
The forecasters were spot on with the weather today – rain all day accompanied by a cold wind, so not a day for comfortable boating, nor a day for a ½ mile walk to the pub. Perhaps I should have stayed at The Anchor? It was also nearly cold enough to light the fire, except that meant digging out the chimney and liner from the fore end in the rain.
I was just making some soup, when I felt a sudden jar to the bow end and another boat had tried to pull in too fast and was being held by the centre line alone to try and stop. Not a wise thing to do where other boats are moored close together and there was no apology forthcoming either. It was fortunate that I was not pouring boiling water from the kettle at the time.
The weather is improving tomorrow, which is good, as I have to move back to Atherstone to get the train on Tuesday.
Monday 27th August
Although it was drizzling at 09.00, it had cleared by 10.00, so it was time to make a move and in an hour I was back on the town moorings, but at the bottom end this time. Not only was there good TV reception, but I had a five bar BT wi-fi signal as well, so a good place to stop. I walked up to the locks to dump the trash and refresh the drinking water, before having a shower and I was thinking of strolling up to a pub.
At that point I had a text from Maggie, who was coming up the locks with Mark. Although I took a windlass with me, I was too late as they were just coming in to the bank. We had a good catch up on Alvecote Festival, before Mark was to drive his car back home. We walked down as far as the station before Maggie and I went in The Kings Head opposite and had more conversation to catch up on. We then went back to our boats for a meal and bed.
This is the last entry for a while until I return.