Wednesday, 26 May 2010


Hi All

Today we have walked miles Firstly we went for a walk around Warwick its a very ancient old town with lots of history and very very old buildings, naturally being an ancient town it is build on a hill and big hill but it was very very nice, Then this afternoon we walked into Leamington Spa I need 10 litres of engine oil I never new just how heavy that stuff is especially when you have to walk 2 miles back I am glad I took the day pack otherwise I would have had arms like a Gibbon.
So all in all I think we have done at least eight miles walking today.
Tomorrow after Noreen has departed I am going to service the boat I am doing it here because there is a boat yard opposite just in case I need anything else. Friday I am moving off here to the other side of Royal Leamington Spa its going to be very quiet out there so I may practice the guitar (I need to)
Whilst we were in Warwick we stumbled upon an old Hospital not the hospital in the medical sense but in the old use of the word meaning a home for disabled soldiers, very much like Chelsea Hospital though this place pre dates Chelsea by 200 years, its a fantastic place built in 1571 on top of an existing building then 150 years old. Today it is occupied still by old soldiers but now with wives, after our tour were talking as one does and we were actually offered a place
it all sounds very nice and something we will have to think about as we get towards old age.
Check the place out and see if you imagine me in that uniform??

Speak soon Big Al

The Lord Leycester Hospital Warwick

Haton Locks
Just before Warick it has a shop and a museum. The nicest Locks I have come accross

Monday, 24 May 2010


Birmingham Gas Street

Hi everyone

Yesterday we discovered Birmingham the bull ring Market just like Leeds last year it is like a trip round the world fantastic produce. the buildings and architecture are like Manchester really well kept and they have the most fantastic War Memorial.
Well we left Birmingham on Saturday morning ready to get onto the Grand Union Canal, now the sound of it intimates wide deep canals Well words can be deceiving its narrow, shallow, sticks, full of rubbish and very badly maintained, we suffered this all day Saturday even doing 16 locks at these I had to get the boat hook out and shift the rubbish before I could get the boat in the lock. we kept going all day I spent 7hrs on the tiller tyring to find a decent safe mooring, we eventually moored up late afternoon we were knackered. Sunday we started again we very rarely travel on the weekend but to be honest we had only seen 4 other boats all day yesterday so it was not going to be busy, about 2 hours into the trip the canal widened bridges became wider and the locks became doubles, and things became much much nicer. It is now Monday and we are in Warwick were I am staying whilst Noreen goes back to Blackburn to take the school kids on Safari to Yorkshire. Noreen has a passport and is qualified in the language and customs of that county.
I am being left here to do a full engine service. paint the roof, do some random maintenance, and try to keep myself fed whilst the real boss is away.
We came down 22 locks at Haton today they were really really nice well worth a stop over but today it was just too hot yes I will say that again too hot when I filled up with water I sprayed the top of the boat and scalded myself too blood hot.

That's your lot folks

Buggerlugs signing off

Wolverhamton to Birmingham

Wolverhamton & Birmingham


Today we set sail for Wolverhamton we spent last night on a good mooring at Napton Boats at the autherley Junction good mooring but do not ask the staff at Napton Boats for anything they are rude, unhelpful and particularly thick. Having left the mooring we had first to climb the 21 locks of the first stage of the journey. The locks are only about 2 miles long, however by the time Noreen had prepared one lock the walk to set the next one, then walked back to close the first one she must have walk a good 5 miles I however only had the job of getting the boat in the lock out of the lock and controlling the flow, we soon reached a rhythm and we were through locks in about 3 hours making it 9 mins per lock including the distance between them.
We are now settled in a safe mooring only 200 yards from the main Wolverhampton railway station. The mooring is just through the first bridge on the right, its very nice with a little garden and good path however when BW put it in they omitted to put in any form of access which meant we couldn't’t get off but no one could get on i.e. making it very secure. On the way up, the locks we did not see another boat in fact we have only seen four boats all day. I am beginning to wonder just how bad is this depression the government say we out of is, everyone I speak to from all sections of society whether they be people you meet at a lock, people who own ₤120,000 luxury boats, pensioners getting around in there little boat or people just trying to have a holiday they all have one thing in common they are broke, and being very careful with money, and all complaining of inequality, injustice and immigration. I believe that traveling around we get a good solid opinion and the opinion is not good. However, we all believe in tomorrow and it will get better.
Tomorrow we set out for Birmingham it’s a good 5hrs away and the map is very confusing, unlike the rest of the country were we have one city one canal Birmingham has about ten canals I see now why the call it “Little Venice” I just hope we can find our way through the labyrinth of canals and make Broad street Basin in the heart of the city.
Birmingham “ if the world had piles that were it would be” that was a common adage in the 70s but what a transformation We are in a nice mooring in the centre at Broad street just opposite the Sea Life Centre I was a bit concerned last night as we are surrounded by Clubs Pubs Bistro’s and Restaurants I really was expecting trouble but be 23.00 hrs the whole place had closed down and we got a good nights sleep, all boaters should come for a couple of days today we spent today exploring the new Birmingham, good shops, great architecture And quite nice people. Noreen stopped to sit on a bench in the middle of New Street she left her hand bag behind on the bench it must have been ten minutes before we noticed it missing when we got back to the bench there was a lady sat there guarding it awaiting Noreen’s return as I said great people.
Tomorrow we set off again this time towards Warwick that is about two or three days we have decided to moor up in Warwick whilst Noreen goes off to School camp
We have another 21 locks tomorrow to get us to the other side of Birmingham so wish us luck and hopefully I can post this tomorrow night, as I have no Internet here
We have no visitors this weekend so we are going to quite lonely

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Early Bath

Spotted in the tree this morning

Tavern Wharf

Hi everyone

We have spent the weekend here at Tavern Wharf about three miles south of Market Drayton, its a very nice setting with good moorings and a very nice bar/restaurant across the bridge; it's very very busy and has two caravan sites on each side of the road. I remember Alan and I went for a pint there last year and it took us twenty minutes to get to the bar so this year we gave it a miss, anyway our kid brought me some " G & T in a can" so who needs a pub.
As I said this weekend we have had Carol and Keith with us, they arrive on Friday afternoon. We have really enjoyed their company, and they do not mind loosing party games?? Kieth and I had a great time fishing on Friday and caught a good mixed bag. But Saturday was somewhat a disappointment that is until the afternoon. We spotted coming towards us a little plastic cruiser being tow by two blokes and a lady they gently negotiated a BW tug moored just in front of us by passing the tow lines over the top then it was our turn as they approached Keith and I just looked at each other in disbelieve. Keith's curiosity got the better of him and ask "what the bloody hell are you doing" remember Keith's from Hyde and does not mince words.
anyway after a little discussion we found out that the boat had broke down and was being hand towed to its mooring that was just opposite our boat. It was decided that I would lend them my pole which is a long one (not bragging here) and one would go on the boat and punt it across
Now that task of punting was assigned to one of the men who I must admit looked a bit apprehensive. Now the fun started the man who was going to do the punting was also holding the forward line keeping the boat in to the bank. he decided whilst still holding the forward line to get on the boat ( this is like sawing the branch you are sat on) and yes you have it has he started to put one foot on the boat it started to move away from the bank, and concluded in the longest splits I have ever seen in my life for a man of aging years, eventually the inevitable happened but instead of realising his fete and jumping upright for the bank he just held in there until gravity took over and tipped him side ways into the watery abyss. Now the lady that was him sprang into action and whilst we were onlooking in disbelieve she had darted in and hauled him out she must have lifted close on 16 stone including water, All this happened in about 45 seconds
but it was one of those occasions we have all experienced that moved in slow motion.
I decided to take control of the boat and gently pushed it across the canal to a waiting owner as I found out the man that had just taken an early bath was not the owner just a very helpful boater.
Well it made our day and when everyone had gone from earshot we had a great laugh I know we shouldn't and that we all fall in and it is a terrible experience but I just hope that the next time I fall in I give as much pleasure as that man did.
The rest of the weekend was an anti climax as nothing could top that but it has been a great weekend with lots to remember and laugh about
Thanks to Keith & Carol for taking us shopping we were able to stock up on bulky items its a great help
We are now off to Birmingham and hope to be on the other side before Noreen goes off to summer camp .

That's All for now


Thursday, 13 May 2010

God and his Rain


Yesterday we were told that the canal was short of water and that traveling up the 20 locks of the Audlem fight might be a little difficult. Apparently, the rain is either, not enough, not in the right place or not the right type of rain, either way the canal was low. So when you empty the upper lock into the lower lock you leave the "pound" the water between the two locks very low. Now multiply that by 20 locks and you start to get problems.
So as always we put our trust in God and asked for a little help with extra water? Please.
Whilst the rest of the world was sleeping I heard my prayer being answered and the tell tail pitapata of rain on the roof, now all I had to decide was, is it the right type, in the right place and was it enough. Only the dawn would tell. As we awoke I said a quick thank you to him upstairs and said OK God you can stop now we have plenty, the canal is full the plants are well watered the cattle have plenty of moist grass and all the underground wells are full. OK big Al said God that's all right I’ll send a bit more for good luck!
And he did, in the style of a heavy, very heavy down pour, after 2 hours I said OK God thanks that’s great we enough now for the whole summer, Best be sure said God I will send just a little bit more to be on the safe side,
And he did, but this time in the style of hail, sleet and thunder, by this time I was beginning to lose my faith, God and I were starting to fall out. OK God! that’s fantastic everyone has plenty now, the canal is flooded the birds have gone in, the cows have only soggy grass to eat, the sewers are flooded and spewing raw sewage into the street and Noreen and are Pi—ed wet through to our undies. So if it is all the same to you turn the bloody tap off, send the rest to frigin Ireland they seem to like rain. And it came to pass then after 5 hours of torrential rain, hail, sleet and thunder, as soon as we moored up for the day it Stopped. thank you God
The Moral of this story is, be very careful what you pray for, always give a quantity and never leave it for God to decide how much.

20 locks in the appalling weather, not only was it wet, very wet it was bloody freezing; someone told me this is the pleasure of boating??
We have now made Market Drayton and are going to wait here until Keith and Carol arrive on Friday

No Pictures of this leg as the camera got wet along with everything else.

Big Al

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Marbury Merry days Country Fayer

Raiding Vikings (though the little one at the back looks like one of my ex Officers)

Big man little engine

Saxon Tent

Albion ( before my time )

Hi All

This weekend Lorraine Mat and Thomas joined us. We have had yet another lovely weekend in spite of the weather, Today we went to the Marbury fete, the fete is organised by the village council who do a very good job of and all money raised goes to the parish church. today they had the reenactment of the Vikings raiding a English village very amateurish but great fun to watch and the reenactor's do it with the greatest of enthusiasm and really take on the roles seriously.
there was steam engines, Newfoundland Dog display, Vintage cars, vans and Motorbikes,
I'm not keen on the vintage vehicles as there was one car and one bike that I had owned ?? and it really gives your ego a boot to see them in the vintage section. Thomas loved sitting on the old tractors in fact it was very difficult to get him off it the rain hadn't started again we may have still been there.
But the best display was the puppet show, as usual the kids sat there uninterested and all the adults were doing the shouting "he's behind you" Thomas enjoyed it but wanted to smack the naughty bad wolf.
As it was a village fete it rained, I have come to the conclusion that just like test matches rain is part and parcel of any British Village Fete and we should never moan its all part of the fun??

Keep smiling

Big Al

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Quiet afternoon

Yesterday we moored up at a lovely spot called Bramble cuttings enven the name sounds tranquil, for an afternoon of fishing, reading and in general doing nothing as boaters do before gin time. We were sitting enjoying the sunny afternoon as the morning had been quite wet When! we were rammed by a boat containing four young men of indistinct reputation.
At the helm was a young man, who in my opinion and the opinion of boaters moored to my stern was in fact drunk or if not drunk certainly not in charge of all his faculties, was skippering the offending craft.
The bend at Bramble cuttings is very slow and gentle he had however managed to ram our boat broadside, the first impact managed to rip away one of our fenders. the poor unfortunate youth seemed unable to understand his left from right or forward and reverse the young mans brain must be one of those that work in reverse. After the first ramming another young man took over the helm and managed to get the bow out of my boat, having achieved this the second idiot gave the tiller and throttle to the original idiot who proceeded to have another go and rammed me for a second time this dislodging a fishing rod from the roof of my boat. A boater moored to my rear came to assistance and together we managed to push the offending boat back to the centre of the canal were yet another member of the crew took the tiller and guided it away from our moored boats and rammed it into the opposite bank were upon it came to an abrupt halt in the muddy bank, unfortunatly spilling them and thier beer across the length and breath of the boat.
When we challenged them about their inadequacies on boat handling, we were given abuse and told to “get over it, It’s only a boat. at this outrageous remark about dearly beloved Buggerlugs, I offered, as is my right to arrange the young mans teeth so he could eat his next meal through his Bum, this seem to upset the rest of his crew who were just picking themselves of the deck of their now stranded boat, by this time many boaters had come to my aid most were offering to hold my coat but a few of the adventurous ones or those who had had an afternoon on the gin were rolling up their selves and wanting to get stuck in. However as by this time there was a good amount of water between us and the offending crew the likely hood of a "gun fight at the OK corral"seemed very remote
We the Innocent ones decided now to just sit back and watch the motley crew extradite their now very stranded mud bound boat " there is a very easy way to get a boat of a mud bank that all boaters know but why spoil our fun" after almost 30mins of our side laughing and the opposing team sweating, swearing, heaving and towing we said goodbye to a now far more sober and quieter crew.

This is just to point out that not every day is peace and tranquility

Sorry no pictures
News Blackout

Big Al

Monday, 3 May 2010

Well what a weekend, we managed to get down onto the weaver were we spent a lovely weekend, Saturday Noreen and I went to Northwich by bus, surprisingly the bus journey to Northwich was quite uneventful? we even managed to get to the right side of the road. Northwich in my opinion is a one eyed country town, I was really expecting something quite unique with pretty avenues and expensive dress shops, but just like many other small towns the reality is far from the myth. the town is full of charity shops and inferior cafes, However the indoor market was very well stocked especially the vege and plant stalls. so after a very disappointing trip to Northwich we returned to the boat.
Maryanne came on Sunday morning and decided to take us out for a spin at more that 4 miles an hour, we headed off to Whichurch a very enjoyable trip through the Cheshire country side. again we arrived on a Sunday and found that Whitchurch was SHUT not even a cafe open we had lunch (a very medioca warm Tesco pie sat in the car in Tesco's car park " Oh how we laughed" only Hodges could find this funny.
At Tea time Thomas, Lorrasine and Mat arrived now that made six of us sleeping on Buggerlugs, I know we are all family but this is getting too cosy, but in true Hodgey style we managed, Mat Lorraine and Thomas in the bed room Maryanne Noreen, and I in the saloon with the two ladies deposited on the camp beds and brave me on the recliner, And yes we all had a good nights sleep. though at 6.30am the swans decided to clean the algae off the bottom of the boat making a horrible knocking noise.
We were moored at Salterford locks, the moorings are great but the road down to the lock is private and only for BW staff and residents but we had a word with lock keeper fed him some home made ginger nuts then he was putty in our hands and he gave us permission to put both cars in their car park, which made life so much easier.
Today we set off up the river and then up the Anderton lift back onto the canal it was a lovely sail with a bit of sun, after arriving at the top of the lift we decided to moor alongside the park and walk back to Salterford for the cars, It only took an hour and we all enjoyed the walk??????
Noreen and I are now again on our own and the boat seems very quiet and spacious
But not for long as they all return next weekend

keep Listening

Big Al