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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.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Bl**dy annoyed. No... more like seething!!!!

Tuesday pm

Fabulous mooring for the night...or so we thought. BBQ at the ready, wine nicely chilled and just settling down to enjoy the peace and quiet when...

This arrived opposite and stayed spraying for a good hour. Hardly any wind so no nasty chemical smell or taste. And not just that but.....

this appeared hovering right by the mooring and checking the power lines! Then, what with the railway just over the mound ( not aware of it until after we had moored) and what with the evening commute starting (train after train).... and the acorns bouncing of FS's roof because we happen to have moored by an Oak tree (couldn't move because we were stuck)....well....it was anything but peaceful!

Wednesday 27th

In spite of feeling bleary-eyed the day started so well, we managed to push FS out of the mud (although getting the mooring pin out was a different matter) and the run to Fradley was very pleasant indeed.  A boat at the top of Shadehouse lock was ready to descend but with a volunteer lock keeper on duty he had us all down in no time.

 Turned right at the junction onto the Coventry canal, stopping for water and using the facilities before heading off toward Fazeley.

Turned right at the junction
 Along the Coventry canal and you eventually get to Huddlesford. It was here that a boat rally had been held over the last weekend. We knew about the rally but also thought it would be all over by the Monday. Suddenly we started meeting oncoming boats, a few to start with but soon it was a constant stream. Every blooming bridge 'ole we got caught and the one time we didn't want to meet another boat was on a long narrow section between bridges 87 and 86. Here the offside vegetation beggars belief. And here I finally lost it and said to Ian that boating was no longer the joy it once was!!!! Why is it that C&RT expect us to take the boat through trees, hedges and briar's just because they can't be arsed (excuse the language) to maintain the width of the canals! This stretch had room for one boat and only the half of another. It stood to reason that the boat on the offside would have nowhere to go other than the overhanging foliage. And it was here that 7....yes 7 boats came toward us. FS was by now stationary and tucked over as far as possible. Of course the inevitable happens as a boat comes past. FS moved forward and then sucked out towards the passing boat. The branches on the overhang grabbed hold of our chimney flinging it to one side and right into the water. Then the next boat comes along and FS is swept along and out again and the branches do their best to do the same to the planters! Meanwhile, Ian is trying desperately to control the movement while I at the same time charges down FS's length for my fishing net to try and retrieve the chimney! Finally, having fought branches, twigs, briar's as well as stopping FS, the last boat comes past and disappears. Now the fun started as we try in vain to find the chimney. Ian tried with the magnet although with it being stainless steel he didn't hold out much hope. Thought he might feel it with magnet hitting steel. And no....we didn't find it and now we have to fork out for a new chimney. I've a good mind to send the bill to C&RT with a very, very nasty letter about their dereliction of care. Surely the license fee the boaters pay every year is not just for all of us to cruise the canals, and in return, we should also expect C&RT to maintain the canals to a "navigable" waterway.  But this doesn't appear to be happening or is it they just don't care!

This taken after the 7th boat had gone past

Trying in vain and yet another boat heading towards us.
 This was not the end of the tale as on the approach to Fazeley Ian spied a moored boat. None other than The Little Chimney boat selling stainless steel, double skinned 12" chimneys. We had expected to fork out nearly £90 for something similar from Midland Chandlers but the one Ian did purchase and, in Ian's opinion, much better put together with a heaver steel was only £65. Still annoyed though about what happened and a copy of the receipt will be sent to C&RT requesting reimbursement. We don't expect to get anything!

Moorings found just before the rain started!
And wildlife,


nb Chance said...

Your getting to the point that we could see was happening sadly. Badly maintained canals and lack of funding. It won't be long until they start shutting them down because they can't afford to keep them open. As well as permanent moorers on the system we saw the writing on the wall a couple of years ago.

Linda Chandler said...

We lost 3 chimneys before we finally started chaining them on and I've lost count of the number of coolie hats that blew off, fell off or got knocked off. Tomorrow will be better - even the worst boating day is better than those bad old days stuck behind a desk.
Ps I do admire your stamina, we're still pottering along the Shroppie 🙂

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

So sad when this lifestyle was once idyllic. We are now thinking of getting a camper van as we are getting more and more despondent with the way C&RT are neglecting the canals. We don't want to give up this way of life but getting het up all the time is not good for one's mental state or health!

Alf said...

Might be worth putting a length of suitably sized chain around the handle of the chimney with the end fixed to the chimney boss somehow ?

alan baker said...

Hi Ian and Irene,sorry about your chimney,After I lost one I made a cap out of a catering tin (fitted snugly onto the cast iron fitting), drilled some holes round sides to give ventilation, so always cruised with that on and if one caught the side of a bridge hole or tunnel it was easily replaced.

Alan ex nb ebony

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

A chain is a brilliant idea. Thanks, Linda and Alf for that tip. And Alan not sure where to get a can to fit the collar. Maybe I could have a word in a pub eatery to see if they can provide us with one.

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