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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.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Faith has been restored.

Well, I'm flabbergasted, I would never have believed it and what were the chances of that??? But we have a result. Ian received an email from Ian Lane West Midland manager today. First Ian's email,

Today (27/09/2017) at approximately 12.10 while travelling southward from Fradley Junction towards Fazeley, between bridges 87 & 86 adjacent to the A38, I had to stop my boat in the offside vegetation to allow northbound vessels to pass. (they had clear passage forward where mine was obstructed).  This action was necessitated by the fact that the offside vegetation at this point is so excessive that it impedes normal navigation of the water. Ie 2 boats cannot pass unhindered.  During this pause in my journey, my double skin stainless steel chimney, lying flat on the roof, was swept off into the water by the overhanging branches.  The following is a photograph of the section of water concerned which shows how intrusive the offside growth is and how little room there is for a boat to pass on the towpath side.  This photo was taken once all 7 oncoming boats had struggled to pass us.

And this is the reply,

Dear Mr Jameison, Thank you for the below email and please accept my apologies for the issue you have faced. I am aware that the trees in this stretch do require action and the proposed plan to manage them has already been brought forward to be undertaken prior to this year dredging project on the Coventry canal.

Unfortunately, as you are no doubt aware, tree management is something we try hard to manage but as you can appreciate it is a costly and never ending project. Whilst we aspire to keep on top of it, it’s not always possible and this is an unfortunate result. Therefore as a gesture of good will I will ask Yvonne to issue cheque in full and final settlement of your claim.

Given the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve this service and in many areas we are already seeing the vegetation/tree works undertaken by  volunteers to supplement the work our contractors has shown great success and is something we wish to grow. This is just a start but it is an issue we take seriously and want to address.

I trust this is acceptable and I hope you will be able to better enjoy the Coventry post winter after the tree works have been completed.

Kind regards  

Ian Lane
Waterway Manager
West Midlands Waterway

I am mightily impressed with the speed of their reply and the action taken. It proves that us boaters can get things moving after all if only we were to complain more.  Thank you C&RT.

So for the rest of today Friday 29th September,

Brilliant timing it was by us pushing across to the lock landing at 7am. It was the traffic noise that woke us early, wind in the wrong direction, so no point in staying in bed. With 5 more locks to do in the Atherstone flight thought we may as well get going. And no sooner had we entered the first lock when another boat appeared. Bet he wondered where we had come from!

Slight red tint to the sky as we set off

Into the first lock

Final lock on the flight
Reached the top of the flight at 7.50 am (not bad going, roughly 10 minutes a lock) and then the drizzle started. Wasnt long before it got heavier and saw no point in both staying outside so Ian took the first shift. 10 minutes later he looked as if he had gone through a waterfall, drenched he was. I got kitted up with waterproofs and took over. For 11 miles the rain was relentless and not a single boat was seen travelling toward us. Even at the dreaded Boot Wharf and Starline boatyard where we always meet boats and have trouble getting past those moored either side, today we had no problem at all.

 Reached Hawkesbury Junction and a sharp left-hander onto the Oxford canal. Just the one lock to do, shallow with a rise of about 6 inches. The rain had stopped which brought all the fair weather boaters out.

Saw this sign not far from bridge 4  and thought yea...right.. but wow..prooved me wrong when I saw not one but three voles.

Had a chap get really shirty with us. Two boats approaching a bridge 'ole, both with obscured vision and then both him and us into reverse.

He beckons us through so on we went. Got up to him and said thank you as one does and his reply was I would have stopped sooner if you had sounded your horn! What? How often does a boater sound the horn at a bridge other than when it is at a very sharp bend. Are we the only ones that don't do it? We always slow right down just in case but he insisted that we should have given him a warning because he had given us two blasts to say he was coming through. We told him we hadn't heard the balsts and maybe he should get a bigger horn!

Caught up with a boat at Stretton and if we had thought to have got away with it at Boots Wharf, well at Stretton it was a nightmare. Realised that we chose the wrong day to get to Stretton as all the hire boats were in and being shifted around. And what with oncoming boats as well.....

Ahother bridge hole meeting.
By 2 pm we decided to call it a day. Picked up an end mooring after bridge 34 and thought I would go for an explore. Not 50 yds from FS was bushes full of Sloes. Took Ian with the boat hook bringing the branches to my level and 30 minutes of picking to fill my mixing bowl. Finally, I can start the Sloe gin, which should be ready for Christmas.

 And wildlife from yesterday (too wet today)

Surprised to see the dragonflies still out and about.


Jennie said...

Well done and what a great result.

We don't sound our horn as a matter of course - obviously on a bling bend, but not otherwise. One place we do is the M5 culvert on the Droitwich, however, we have discovered that it cannot be heard from the other side and we have never heard horns of oncoming craft. We now use an airhorn from the front of the boat - something the grandchildren love! Jennie

alan baker said...

Ian & Irene, well done getting such a quick reply. obviously a manager that wants to keep customer properly. Don't know whether you follow Narroboatworld.com but they recently went on their after season cruise, from Sawley up the Soar and did the Lestershire Canal.Interesting read. Also a recent post saying part of that canal is to be clpsed. Could be worth a read. I've stopped getting stoppage posts now from CART. We enjoy the canals now through blogs and narrowboatworld.

Alan & Judith ex nb ebony

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Oh blast Alan, means we have to retrace our steps on the way back to Langley on a longer route rather than go the more direct way. Be more like early November before we get back now. Thanks for letting us know.

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