Bridge 22 overlooking Weaver
Bridge 22 Painting gunnels
Extra Bow Fender
Extra Bow Fender
British Waterways?
Sunrise nr Gailey
Hyde Lock, Kinver
Advice Line
Les Lobbs Diary
May 2013
Contact us
Happy Mayday.
06.00 - Good news - Dawn got a piece of Perspex from a DIY shop, so that's a job for today (I hate cutting that stuff) along with tightening up the stern gland packing, because it's dripping quite a lot now.
It's dry here, but cool enough to light the stove, so I've done that and put the kettle on, while the crew slumbers on. The mallards are grazing on the algae growing on the boat at the water line; makes you wonder what the tapping is when you first hear it. There used to be a swan near here that would watch for signs of movement on moored boats and then come and tap on the hull, and if that didn't get him some bread, he'd tap on the window.
14.30 - After Dawn had got some small bits of timber and mouldings from Jewsons, we set off to the first lock just before 11.00. It reminded me of one of the benefits of travelling early, queues at locks, fortunately we were the third boat up, so didn't have to wait too long. We have stopped at one of my favourite moorings, just after Bridge 22; it's out in the country, looking down on a small river and lake and has a good depth of water and a wide towpath. We've started work on the cratch and got the cross member cut and fitted; I also eased the drop down flap as it was a trifle tight or, if you believe Dawn, ******ing impossible to open. Head of decorating is now slapping primer on to any untreated wood she can see and any spider that dares stick his head out.
When I was a young boy I remember looking up into the sky one clear night and seeing a million stars sparkling like diamonds on a velvet backdrop and thinking......."I wish my dad would put a roof on this lavatory."
Bridge 22
06.00 - I've looked on the chart and found that the river we are looking down on is the upper stretch of the Weaver. Dawn got the painting bug yesterday and did the starboard gunnels, they get a lot of wear and we usually do them at least once a season; we'll do t'other side when we moor on t'other bank. We will probably stay here today and do a few more jobs; it's quiet and not many moorers, they seem to prefer dog poo alley in Middlewich, which is nearer the shops and pubs.
19.30 - Well that was a really productive day; we got the window cut and fitted, just the outside trim to do and slap some paint on. Dawn sold two blankets to a couple off a hire boat and then another boat passed us and pulled in and blessed if they didn't buy one as well; she's got a permanent smile on her face now. After the euphoria had died down a bit, she donned her engineer's hat and tightened the packing in the stern gland, there's no end to the girls talents! The sun was hot enough for a bit of ray catching, so we've both ended up a bit pinkish. Tomorrow we plan to move on to Barbridge junction and finish the cratch repairs.
Shroppy Mainline Bridge 89
No frost this morning, so we set off just after six with the intention of stopping at Barbridge junction. Both locks were in our favour and we made good time, so instead of stopping we turned left at Barbridge and filled and emptied at Nantwich before motoring out into the country and tying up here. As we came in to moor, a chap on the towpath gave us a hand and, when we got chatting, we realised that we had shared a table with his family at the Gt Haywood BBQ last year; he has a share in a boat and is moored at Nantwich - we will probably meet them again further along.
Head of painting is cleaning off the port gunnels before ladling on some blue paint. We did some long stretches without locks this morning and Dawn used the time to do a few loads of washing; it is now whirling away on the rotary drier (or has blown off into the cut!). Had a good sighting yesterday evening, a water vole; I'd been watching the movement in a clump of sedge grass on the opposite bank, thinking it was a moorhen nesting, when out he swam - cute little critter.
Bridge 89
06.00 - Another blanket sold yesterday after we'd tied up; there are only two left and most of the wool is in the camper, so Dawn can't work on any new ones yet. We're undecided whether to head down to Banbury or turn right at Autherley and try again to do the Severn and Avon. There are quite a few miles and loads of locks before then and lots could change before Autherley. I haven't done the trim round the cratch window because it has been blowing a bit and not ideal conditions for working outside; I'll see what it's like today. We don't want to travel too much this holiday weekend, so perhaps we'll stay here or move just a couple of miles, through the two Hack Green locks and stop at the picnic site there.
14.00 - This morning turned rainy (cos someone put the clothes drier up!!), but we still managed to get the trim on between showers and a seal of silicone on the bottom rail. The wind has gone round and is more northerly now and we have some blue sky showing through again. We'll probably move through Hack Green tomorrow, wait and see what the weather does.
Coole Lane picnic area
09.00 - This morning we had a short hop of three miles and two locks then moored up here. There is a strong wind blowing across the canal making it difficult to control the boat at low speeds - no pleasure like that, so we'll have a day here before tackling the fourteen lock flight at Audlem. We got the temporary bow fender made and fitted yesterday; it's a length of ship mooring line we got from an Army & Navy store at Exeter, with fixing lines whipped at each end and a loop in the middle to fit over the bow T. We should only need to use it on locks like Audlem with strong side sluices downstream of the lock entrance.

Use the letters from the word below, to fill in the blank squares, making complete words both down and across.
A man left work one Friday afternoon. Being payday, instead of going home, he stayed out the entire weekend fishing and drinking with the boys, and spent his entire wages. When he finally appeared at home, Sunday night, he was confronted by a very angry wife and was barraged for nearly two hours with a tirade befitting his actions. Finally, his wife stopped the nagging and simply said to him, "How would you like it if you didn't see me for two or three days?" To which he replied, "That would be fine with me."
Monday went by and he didn't see his wife. Tuesday and Wednesday came and went with the same results.
Thursday, the swelling went down just enough where he could see her a little out of the corner of his left eye.
Market Drayton
14.00 - It was a beautiful morning when we set off, just before seven, light winds and sunny, all the locks on the Audlem flight were in our favour and we came out of the top lock at 10.00; as it was such good weather and we both felt OK, we pressed on and did the Adderley flight and arrived at Mkt Drayton at 12.40. A good mornings run - 8 miles and 20 locks. The new "fender" served us well and is now resting in the rope locker; the side wash was not the worst we have experienced, but still pushed us about. Our granny trolley is now following Dawn into town, while I'm left in charge of the shop.

Market Drayton
12.00 - A lot of shops were closed yesterday, allegedly, so head of acquisitions trotted off and left me to paint the cratch. After taping off the diamond on the hatch, I glossed all the new timber, existing uprights and the hatch; it was then that my back decided to show me who was boss and gave me a belt. Dawn came back with a bag of assorted wool from a charity shop and various bits she couldn't get yesterday.
I don't know when we'll move on, it depends on my back and the weather. The next flight of locks is about a mile away, after which we have Woodseaves Cutting, which is very narrow and rocky with only a few places for boats to pass, so we usually do it early morning. There was a boat festival at Norbury last weekend and there are quite a few boats coming from that way.
16.00 -
I looked at the forecast and it seems as though we are in for a couple of day's rain, so we upped sticks just before two and had a slow run through the locks to here. First kingfisher sighting in Woodseaves Cutting.
Who played Dr Frankenstein in six Hammer films?
06.00 - Raining. It didn't take long for the next blanket to start taking shape; this one's going to be a mix of blue, yellow and white and, at the rate it's growing, should be done in a couple of days. The cover on the cratch is in need of repair and there is a boat based firm that makes and repairs them moored about 4 miles on, near Shebdon Bank, so that's our next target.
15.00 - Still unsettled, so we're staying here tonight; didn't make the Pub for lunch!
BC - That's good news. I'll send an email or ring you, when I've got a better signal.
Shebdon Bank
Windy and threatening rain, ugh. After a blowy few miles we've tied up on the aqueduct and Dawn has taken the cover across to have it stitched up or patched up, whatever. There's a pub here called the Wharf Inn (imaginative name!) so we had more or less talked ourselves into a pub lunch and then I walked along to look at their sign - Fine ales and evening meals. Dawn's going to call in on her way back from the repairers to see what they offer at lunchtimes. I don't fancy travelling any further in this wind, so we'll stay the night here anyway. Next stop is Gnosall with a great little Butchers shop, and that's just over 5 miles on - a nice morning's run!!
14.00 - Covers done and fitted back on the cratch, only £30, cheaper than a ladies haircut!! The pub's up for sale and has not got a very good reputation locally, p'raps we'll try one in Gnosall (pronounced "knows all"). The crochet hook is just a blur; I suggested she should put a cup of water nearby to dip the hook in now and again, to cool it down - from her reply, she obviously thinks I work in a bank.

It was bright when we left this morning at six, but it had just started drizzling when we arrived here at 08.30. The first half hour was on tick over, because of the seemingly endless string of moored boats but, after Norbury, where we filled and emptied, there are some good wooded sections. We were serenaded by wrens and robins and others that I couldn't identify, as I watched buzzards being worried by crows. A green woodpecker buzzed the boat and herons were every few hundred yards; they play chicken as they stand on the bank and wait till the last minute, before flying a bit further on. Dawn's writing a letter to Mum and will have a walk to post it, when the rain stops; I hope she'll call in at the butchers and get some goodies.
Bridge 21
Dawn came back with some black pudding, steak pie and a pork pie - yipeee. As we were near the pub, we strolled up for a long awaited lunch and had a good meal and emerged into sunshine. When we got back to the boat we decided to carry on to Wheaton Aston and set off; an hour later we came upon a queue of moored boats, all waiting while a fallen tree was cleared. It was 15.30 when we restarted and of course the sun vanished and was replaced with rain; there were 6 boats in front of us so we stopped at bridge 21 rather than go into W. Aston and not be able to find a mooring (and we were soaked through!).
10.00 - We had a peaceful night at Bridge 21, it's one to remember for the future; although we keep saying we've done the Shroppy enough, we keep coming back - it's a pretty canal. There was only one lock at Wheaton Aston, where we were going to top up with fuel, but the garage was closed. We filled and emptied there and while Dawn was doing the loo, I took the rubbish to the skips; when I came back, I heard banging and a little voice shouting hilp, hilp, she'd only locked herself in the loo!! I saw a kingfisher really close up as we neared Brewood, the colours are so brilliant! The rain threatened all the way here, but held off and let us keep our gear dry. We are meeting Paul over the weekend and then we'll continue towards Autherley and the Staffs and Worcester canal.
Australian Love Poem
Of course I love ya darlin'
You're a bloody top-notch bird
And when I say you're gorgeous
I mean every single word

So ya bum is on the big side
I don't mind a bit of flab
It means that when I'm ready
There's somethin' there to grab

So your belly isn't flat no more
I tell ya, I don't care
So long as when I cuddle ya
I can get my arms round there

No Sheila who is your age
Has nice round perky breasts
They just gave in to gravity
But I know ya did ya best

I'm tellin' ya the truth now
I never tell ya lies
I think it’s very sexy
That you've got dimples on ya thighs

I swear on me Nanna's grave now
The moment that we met
I thought you was as good as
I was ever gonna get

No matter what you look like
I'll always love ya dear
Now shut up while the cricket'’s on
And fetch another beer......

Brings a lump to your throat doesn't it!!
Advice for anyone camping in Wales -
If camped near sheep, do not use the awning zips, the noise frightens them!
Tummy tucks are OK, but arse lifts don't suit everyone!
Advice Line
17.30 - Drizzle on and off all day, but not too cold. Paul and Jane came to the boat lunchtime, weighed down with local cheeses and goodies; we had a pork supreme and rice meal and spent an enjoyable afternoon chatting. The batteries will need charging by tomorrow morning, so we'll probably head off towards Autherley, weather permitting. We can run the engine to charge the batteries but, in towns and villages, it doesn't feel right disturbing the peace with a smelly diesel's noise and exhaust. We have had a couple of rainy trips lately which means drying out our gear in the boat; this leads to condensation and so is best avoided.
Gailey, Staffs & Worc canal
A lovely bright morning, so I set off before six, leaving management to doze. We joined the Staffs & Worc at 7.30, just as the wind started to pick up and a few dark clouds were forming in the distance. Twice we tried to moor, but could not find enough depth, so we carried on to Gailey and tied up on the visitor moorings. After we had got the covers on and were listening to the pop master quiz, the heavens opened - good timing or wot?
In hindsight I should have posted my Facebook status as: "I've blown the head gasket on my 1997 XR3i" rather than "I've just buggered a 14 year old escort".
The police still haven't seen the funny side, my lap top's been confiscated, and the wife has gone off to her mother.
08.00 - After a 5.30 start, we came down through 5 locks and covered 2.5 miles to get here by 7.30. I've just had a couple of the eggs which Paul brought us, on toast they were scrummy.
All gone!! A knock on the roof yesterday, and a lady bought the last two blankets; I'm trying to persuade the producer that she should invest the takings in a pub lunch, but I think I'm on a loser.
14.30 - Bridge 91.
Dawn wasn't very impressed with Penkridge and the weather was holding, so we did another 5 locks and tied up here just before 14.00. That's put a good charge into the batteries and if we need to run the engine for charging we're out in the sticks, so no problem.

Bridge 91
Raining steadily, so staying put. The roof vent, that I should have sealed but forgot, is still leaking and I suppose I'll have to get some screws and fix it. The grass cutters have just gone along the towpath, reckon they're stalking us. They certainly cover some miles, two with strimmers, followed by a mower man; no bad weather stops them
Paddy is on his final question for a million pounds with Chris Tarrant, he has only 1 life line a friend.
"Which bird does not make a nest,?" A Sparrow, B Swallow, C Blackbird or D Cuckoo'.
Paddy calls Murphy. Murphy answers "be Jesus its a Cuckoo 100%".
Paddy wins the million.
Afterwards Paddy rings Murphy 'how the heck did you know that ? Murphy says ' well Paddy yer thicko.. It lives in a frickin' clock!
Gt Haywood
Yesterday was more wet than dry and quite blowy, enough to convince us to stay put. This morning we started before six and had a good run to the marina, with only two locks, arriving at nine and getting diesel and gas before going to our berth. Dawn has already got two loads of washing done and is giving the boat a wash down to get rid of all the blossom and leaves that have become attached to us. Later we need to get some stuff from B&Q, to complete the work on the cratch board before we gloss it.
13.30 - While the sun was out and the oil was still warm, we decided to service the engine; we've done gearbox and engine oil and filter, and will do the fuel filters tomorrow. Before we started, I had to pump a fair drop of rainwater out of the bilges in the engine bay - the price we pay for having a cruiser stern.
Gt Haywood
10.30 - It looks a bit grim this morning, the weather that is. Our domestic water pump has been getting noisier than usual lately, so we stripped it down and cleaned the filter, but could find no obvious reason for the noise. When the engineer tried to screw it back to the mounting board, which is bonded to the base plate, she found the board was no longer fixed and could vibrate against the steel. We have a few off cuts of the sound proofing that we used in the engine bay, so just laying the pump on that has got rid of the noise; when the area has dried out, we'll try and re-fix the mounting board and give the whole area a dose of Hammerite. In a fixing mood, I tackled the roof vent and found that the self tappers that held it down were loose in the steel and letting water in; I tapped the holes out to 5mm and fitted it down with brass pan heads and liberal amounts of mastic. As we are now on mains, housekeeping is busy "ironing". I think the fuel filters will have to wait for better weather.

Use the letters from the word below, to fill in the blank squares, making complete words both down and across.
What is the sacred flower of Buddhist tradition?
Gt Haywood
11.00 - All done; fuel filters changed and Dawn decided that the engine bay needed "tidying up", so lots of stuff has been dumped into the skip, grrrrrr. We managed to get finished without it raining, but it's turned reet cool, so we've lit the stove and put the covers back on. The cratch board has been primed, so the glossing can be done anytime we get a fine spell. We're going back to Taunton next Wednesday, all being well, and coming back after the weekend. Our next trip hopefully being the Rivers Severn and Avon; we tried this trip last year but were foiled by the high water levels on the rivers.
Gt Haywood
More fun in the engine bay; Dawn noticed that parts of the "floor" were getting flaky and so today we've scraped it down to sound metal, dried it off (with hair dryer) and put a good coat of Hammerite down. While we had the tools out, we altered the aft under-floor inspection hatch, so that we don't need to remove skirting etc. to lift it.
I think today is the first time I've not put a shirt on, perhaps summer is coming! We've just finished our meal on the aft deck and come inside now as it's clouding over; we put the covers on as we don't want to risk water getting into the engine bay until the paint's set off.
In the Bible, it says it rained for forty days and forty nights, and they called it a disaster; in Britain we call it the summer.
Gt Haywood
06.00 - It rained in the night; I just hope the paint had gone off enough, before any water found its way into the bilges. Nothing planned for today, take it as it comes; just made a brew and toast & marmalade.
18.30 - A very relaxed day; this morning we visited Paul to see how the renovation work on his house is progressing. On the way back we had a scampi and chip lunch and then bought some more Hammerite from B&Q, for the foredeck and steps to the aft deck. If we do the painting Tuesday evening, we can sleep in the van and let the paint harden off until we return at the weekend. Dawn has got the sewing machine humming away, so I'm keeping to my end of the boat; she has just finished crocheting a blanket and obviously needs a change.
My mate was driving the getaway van when they robbed a paper factory in Bristol. He took the A4...
14.00 - Dawn got the painting finished yesterday, so it should be nice and shiny when we get back there. We filled up with diesel this morning and left Stafford at 03.00; the roads were dry and most of the traffic was wagons, so we had a good clear run and stopped at Burnham on Sea at 05.30. After having a nap, meeting a friend and doing some shopping, we went to Taunton campsite, to find it fairly empty. There were several hard standings available, which makes it easier to pull off if it rains too much. Steve is bringing the car over this evening, after picking Alex up from cricket practice and tomorrow we'll go to the doctors and then visit Mum.
What a busy day!! First stop was the doctors, where he confirmed that I have got a hernia and is referring me - I came out of there with a sore throat, after all that coughing. We then had a cuppa and a chat with Mum, who has got a selection of bedding plants waiting to be put in; Ivan and Jean have spent a lot of time tidying the garden up and Dawn will put the bedders in on Saturday. Next stop was Exeter, to get some rufflette tape for the curtains Dawn is making for Alex's bedroom and then the Army & Navy store, for a few bits and pieces for the boat. A trip up the motorway to Julie's, where I did a few updates on my laptop, while Dawn measured up for the curtains and then back to the van. I'm cream crackered!!
What is the second letter of the Greek alphabet?
I just love the British summer ----- it's my favourite day of the year
08.00 - Tis a bright sunny morning and I've just had my flakes; the peacocks are in fine voice and it sounds as though most people are up and about. Dawn spent the night looking after the kids, so I've had to make my own brekky and coffee - not that hard really, when you get the hang of it. When Dawn gets back we're off to Mum's to put in the bedding plants, so the sunshine is welcome; just hope there's not too much traffic.
15.00 - Still sunny!! Dawn got all the bedding put in while I waited to see a fencing chap who had arranged to meet me there at 11.30. At 12.15, when he had not turned up or contacted me, I rang him and left a message telling him not to bother - I left a message on the answer phone of another firm over a week ago and they have still not returned my call; how do people like them make a living? Nuff grumbling.
Steve dropped us back here and took the car home, so we'll head off back to the boat early tomorrow morning; I hope the motorway is clearer than it was this morning, one long, slow moving stream of Emmets (Cornish for ants) heading west.
Mr Cadbury met Miss Rowntree on a Double Decker.
It was just After Eight.
They got off at Quality Street , and had a drink in Mars bar.
He asked her name. 'Polo, I'm the one with the hole' she said with a Wispa.
'I'm Marathon , the one with the nuts' he replied.
He touched her Cream Eggs, which was a Kinder Surprise for her.
Then he slipped his hand into her Snickers, which made her Ripple.
He fondled her Jelly Babies and she rubbed his Tic Tacs.
Soon they were Heart Throbs.
It was a Fab moment as she screamed in Turkish Delight.
But, 3 days later, his Sherbet Dip Dab started to itch.

Turns out Miss Rowntree had been with Bertie Bassett and he had Allsorts!
A Sweet Tale
Gt Haywood
Filled up with diesel and on the road at three, and arrived here just after six. Uneventful journey till we were flashed by a wagon near B'ham only to find, just round the bend, a crunched up car in the outside lane and a few vehicles on the hard shoulder. We stopped, but there was nothing we could do as they'd already phoned the police and nobody seemed hurt, so we carried on. Makes you wonder how, at five o clock in the morning, with very light traffic, someone could try to take out the central barrier; tiredness, lack of concentration, it's only a split second thing I suppose. Any road up, we've got glorious sunshine and after doing the "van to boat" transfers, we're going to sit out and enjoy it. T'plan is to set off tomorrow down the Staffs & Worcs towards Stourport and call in at Midland Chandlers on the way to get some click together floor tiles for the foredeck, cos the rubber mats we've got now just hold the water underneath them and encourage rust.
Staffs & Worcs Bridge 98
Fine weather this morning decided us to do some paint prep on the small fore and aft decks; these are blue gloss and take a hammering from the ropes etc. After lunch we set off down the S&W and met a few hire boat Wallies; I usually manage to keep my trap shut, but I did try to explain the danger of a 8 year old kid walking along the gunwales when the boat is moving, to one couple who gave me a "wot the *****s it got to do with you" look. If he fell in, life jacket or not, the prop would have taken his feet off; after the recent speed boat tragedy you'd expect people to be more aware, or the hire boat company to make them aware. Apart from getting rammed under a bridge by a chap who said he thought my warning horn blasts were from a car, and another hire boat with tiller dyslexia, the journey was OK.
Well tweren't a bad summer worrit? We left in a light drizzle, which has been with us nearly all morning, and got to Midland Chandlers just after they opened. Head of purchasing was pleased because the tiles were "on offer" and they look fairly easy to cut and lay. We continued through the Penkridge locks and parked up, so that head of housekeeping could do a spot of shopping, while I try and fit a new reading light above the bed. This is a good mooring for BT Fon as I get five bars with my aerial and it lets me do a few updates etc.
15.00 - Shopping's done and we've lit the stove; there's a pot of chilli bubbling away nicely on top of it. The new reading light is fitted and wired in, so we're reet posh now; we seem to be able to do most jobs with the gear we've got onboard, though it might have been a mistake taking the welder home.
Wightwick Lock
A dry start today; we left just after six and it stayed dry, if a little cool, until we tied up above Wightwick lock, south of Wolverhampton. The sun is trying to show itself, but I think the clouds are winning. The cutters have been out along the towpath and there are loads of chopped weeds and grass in the water; these were making it hard for a group of fisherman holding a match just outside Autherley. Going past fishermen and moored boats on tick over means that the prop gradually gets bunged up with the greenery and needs a good blast in reverse to clear it.
Hyde Lock Nr Kinver
Another six o clock start in very fine drizzle, which soon cleared up and we had dry weather until just after twelve, when we decided to stop. This is a pretty rural mooring, with a meadow coming down to the water opposite us and trees on our bank, but not close enough to be a bother. The tally for today was 11.5 miles and 17 locks - this includes a couple of staircases, a triple at Bratch and then a double a few miles on. We have got a system of hand signals so that Dawn can let me know what's happening; they include come on, slow down and stop, and lock full/empty and part full/empty, and also a couple for boats coming up or down. She had me foxed this morning however, with a complicated display of hand and arm movements; when I reached the lock and asked her what that was all about, I got a "god you're thick" look and she then explained that it meant there was a mallard chick trapped in the lock and not to squash it as I drove in, simples really!
Hyde Lock
06.00 - Today, we are heading for Kidderminster, it's about 7 miles and 7 locks, which is less than we have been doing; housekeeping is already making shopping lists. The Lock Keeper at Bratch said the Severn was on "Amber", but with a couple of fine days that should improve.
20.00 - Brilliant days cruising! We started in sunshine and have just come inside after the sun disappeared behind the opposite bank. Our first stop was Sainsbury at Kidderminster, which did nothing to make purchasing smile, in fact she's been muttering away most of the afternoon about prices. When the shopping was all packed away we set off again, following a single hander working boat; he was not very fast, so it was a slow three miles and three locks to Milton on the outskirts of Stourport, where we are now tied up. We have had an old bottle of Sancerre knocking about for ages, so we opened it tonight and had it with our fish and then followed with cheese and bickies.