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Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Hopwas Heaven… mostly

I have finally managed a whole week out on the boat. I returned to Hopwas, which is a small village with a large and beautiful woodland about 7 miles away. I was so relieved to get there and back without the assistance of the air ambulance this time!

Our trip was a mixture of cruising, walking and painting the gunwales of the boat. The weather was mostly lovely and the walking spectacular with squirrels throwing themselves out of trees in front of a delighted Bonny.

beautiful hopwas This was where we moored.

We spent a couple of days here before moving down to the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. As I passed under the first bridge after leaving our mooring I heard a tremendous rattling noise, as if the propeller had just dropped off. I immediately put the engine into neutral and drifted to the bank. When I investigated, I found that a helpful fisherman had left his metal rimmed keep net in the canal and the whole thing had wrapped itself tightly round my prop. It took ages hanging upside down over my weedhatch to remove it. Here are the remains…

taken off prop hopwas The white parts are all twisted metal!

I got to the B and F without further incident and with my propeller fortunately intact. I had planned to moor at Fisher’s Mill Bridge which is smack bang in the middle of a beautiful water park with fantastic walks. Unfortunately when we got there we found a major flood defence scheme under way…

no walking at the water parkNo walking here!

waterpark b and fShame – it would have been lovely.

There were bulldozers and lots of men in hard hats at my proposed mooring site so I went on as far as the first lock flight to turn at the winding hole. That was a major feat as the canal became very narrow and the winding hole not much wider than my boat!

getting narrower on b and f Turning here was a challenge!

I spent the night on the B and F – very quiet despite it being August and then returned to Hopwas for a couple of days to do some much needed boat painting.

All in all it was a lovely trip and it was particularly good to have some time alone as I haven’t managed much of that lately. As I was explaining to a friend only yesterday – most people are basically social creatures who can quite easily cope with periods of solitude – even enjoying it perhaps, but they get their energy from being with family or friends. I am one of the more unusual types who reverse that. I can quite happily be sociable for periods of time but I am most content and get my energy from being alone. Ah well, it takes all sorts!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

mini cruise opportunity

I am not needed at work next week which may not be good news for my pocket but it's excellent news for a cruise hungry pair of boaters ( Bonny and I). So next Monday (or Tuesday depending on work) we are setting sail (figuratively) down the Coventry Canal. Our first stop will be Hopwas. The last time Bonny and I were there was September 2012, when we had some fantastic walks in the woods but it was on our return from that trip on 1st October. that I broke my leg, so it will be good to return this time in one piece - hopefully!

If I am feeling energetic I will cruise longer days and go up the Ashby Canal - famous for skirting the field where the Battle of Bosworth took place. If I don't feel that fit I shall visit the bottom of the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal where there is a large water park that I have not visited yet. I heard this canal has suffered a breach so I shall have to check that it is navigable. I don't really mind where I go; just being out is fantastic.

I am still enjoying work, although the hours aren't quite enough to keep the wolf from the door so I may have to look for an additional few hours somewhere. When not working or doing all the chores of a boating life, I go out exploring with Stan. A couple of weeks ago we had a picnic on top of Cannock Chase with his two dogs Bess and Sam and Bonny. I was going to post a picture of us all but for some reason I can't at present - the mysteries of computing, all very easy until it's not!