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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Not a good idea to leave youngster unsupervised.

Apart from a loud bang which appeared to come from our roof at 9.30pm (no idea what caused it) and a dog barking at 2am, my plea to the ghosts to have the 'night off' must have worked as we had a pretty good nights sleep. Having walked Jade early it was a good time to leave. At least we could get past the row upon row of boats all facing in the direction of Fradley. Imagine the queues at the locks if they all left at once. As it turned out we caught up with only one boat going very slowly and he kindly allowed us to pass as, in his own words, he was just pootling.

Misty Rugeley this morning.
 At the narrows (used to be Armitage tunnel and only wide enough for one boat) we had just put FS's  nose in when out of the gloom came a headlight. So into reverse and waited for the Viking boat to exit.

The roof to Armitage tunnel was removed ( I believe) in the early 70's. Left this deep cutting.
 Now I know it is still August and one doesn't expect to feel chilly. We haven't as yet resorted to lighting the stove (although the diesel heater has been on several times) but this seems to be the norm at present. Lots of boats with smoke pouring from chimneys and have seen some already gathering the wood for winter. Must be about time for us to start looking.

Lock cottage at Wood End Lock. Feast your eyes because it has been compulsory purchased and will be demolished to make way for HS2. Already empty and stripped of light fittings etc.
Having managed to get on the water point by the swing bridge on the Coventry canal ( a first for us!) we watched this chap trying to get into a mooring space using his sissy button bow thruster (apologies to all of you who have them but it's what we have called them ever since we saw the first one in action) and it proved to me that they don't always work (or maybe he pressed the wrong button!.)

Not a good place to block the canal
Ian walked over to the elsan to empty loo's and get rid of rubbish and we were just about ready to push off when 2 boats appeared on the Coventry approaching the swing bridge. This effectively blocked us in and allowed the blue boat to go through and get in front. At the helm was a young lad estimated age about 10 or 11. Dad was with him so all well and good. I'm a great believer in allowing the youngsters to learn how to steer properly supervised. After all they are our future to keeping the waterways alive.

 What I did disagree with was this.

Left on his own

 So when this happened it was inevitable. Boat approaching on a bend and the youngster having no idea what to do. On the bank (would you believe) was the boys father walking the dog!!!! At the front sat a lady. Did she come rushing to the boys aid? Did she heck!!! Next few photos show the near miss and its only thanks to the oncoming boat and the shout from the lads dad to put his boat in reverse, that a collision was averted.

Boat goes hard astern

Lad asking dad for advice. Not the female still sitting at the front.

Don't think looking will help missis

Still sitting at the front

Finally the lad shouts for some help and what appeared was not the lady but a chap. Where was he when all this was going on???
Because the lad was now stuck over the otherside, the oncoming boat managed to squeeze through and then the lad asked if we could pass him as well. This we did and finally the chap took over the helm and got the boat back on track. I ask you though. Who in there right mind would actually get off the boat leaving it to be steered by a 10 year old. Anything could have happened and it doesn't bare thinking about that a collision could have caused the lad to be thrown of the back!!

I was quite glad to get to Streethay where we had ear marked our mooring for tonight. Hadn't realised the railway was quite that near. It's only used by goods train so I do hope they don't run through the night 'cause it good be very noisy!

Is the first boat helmed by a ghost???

Had a lucky escape when this branch came down.
And seen on route.

Horses at play

1 comment:

Halfie said...

At least he appears to be wearing a buoyancy aid.

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