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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, 3 August 2016

In the thick of it.

Dismal is the only way I can describe our journey to Fradley. The drizzle was relentless soaking  everything. Even my so called waterproof turned out to be not so waterproof.  Leaving Great Hayward the Tower of Winds became a misty monument and the house almost disappeared completely. And to think we are still in Summer, what's happening to our weather?

The Tower of the Winds was completed in 1765 and is based on the Temple of the Winds Horologium of Andronikos Cyrrhestes in Athens. Downstairs was once used as a dairy and it is thought that the 1st Viscount Anson used the upstairs as a gambling den. 

There has been no end of photos about the boat 'moored' in the middle of a field on the South Oxford canal. Found this one on Millie makes three blog but I know it's been on loads more. A large hole was dug before removing the last bit of the bank allowing the water to fill the hole. The boat was then pulled in and the bank reinstated.  So seeing this one on route (cant remember which bridge number it was at)  before reaching the diesel boat by bridge 69, Taft Wharf,  I wonder if this boater will do the same. Will be interested to find out when next we are in the area.

Finding the diesel at a very reasonable price, 59p Ltr, we pulled alongside and took on 110 litres. Only cash excepted at the moment and not sure if he will ever take cards. Just one thing to point out, it is very difficult to tie up to Dextar. Ian had to wrap the stern rope round one of the cross planks and I held onto the front by standing on the boats stern. May have had a problem if another boat had come past.

We had a clear run through the Armitage narrows. Once a tunnel but subsidence due to coal mining meant the roof had to be removed. A quick walk ahead to see if it was free (room for one boat only as no passing places) we were lucky enough to get nearly all the way through stopping another boat that was about to enter from the other end.

Armitage narrows
At Rugeley a Buddleia bush was overhanging just after bridge 66. Having come through the bridge I was confronted by an oncoming boat. Boats moored on the towpath side meant the other boat had to keep well out and consequently I ended up in the thick of it, literally. Got well and truly smothered in all the flowers. It picked up our Wi Fi aerial and nearly deposited that over board. Just the lead saved it from a watery grave, my fishing rod nearly went the same way too and a large number of flower heads from my planters were also lost in the process. No damage or scratches to the paintwork thank goodness, except for me. I got a lovely scratch on my cheek going through the middle of the thing. 

This is not the one by Rugley but another one overhanging the canal!

Our plan had been to reach the facilities in Fradley and moor opposite the woods. Plans were changed somewhat when we spied a boat we new, Nb Eli and Colin and Ann waving frantically saying how about stopping topside of Shadehouse lock with them. Mentioning something about the pub later, we jumped at the chance. Chairs came out and a most enjoyable 10 minutes in the sun...then the rain started again and it was a very quick sprint back to FS to resume where we left off. We agreed on early doors at the Swan where a most enjoyable few hours were spent. Great to see them again, last time was at Droitwich over a year ago.

And seen at Tafts Wharf a most peculiar sight of a fluffy face, shorn body of a Llama

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