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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 23 November 2023

So was it closed or not?

 Fradley Junction to Alrewas, a distance of roughly two miles, we would go no further than that today. It has always been our practice to shop at Coates the Butchers The meat is all locally sourced and the quality is extremely high, their pork pies and sausage rolls are to die for.  Today we also treated ourselves to a chicken and leek pie, plus sausages, bacon and pork steaks, Ah..hang on a minute, I seem to be getting ahead of myself because first we had to leave Fradley.

Ian set off to do the swing bridge and then get the lock ready. He again was limping, not because of that knee of his, but he had only gone and twisted his ankle stepping off the boat yesterday. Straight down a hole went the foot, and at a nasty angle too. That man of mine can not be trusted! He reckoned I should get myself someone new. I replied it was hard enough coping with the one I had and besides, would the next be as handy as him? Nop, I always maintain it's better the devil you know.....

The wind was a bit blowy as I set off with FS but in a good way for that turn onto the T&M. Helped get me round nicely, even the lock was with me for a change, so no trying to keep FS still in that strong breeze waiting for the gate to open. 


Took a photo of the moorings below the lock, we could have got ourselves a spot yesterday after all.

Facilities are past that workboat on the right.

Notification came through several days ago that the facilities were out of action, we stopped there anyway to get rid of the rubbish. Ian went to check on the elsan. Hmm...not only was there no notice to say 'do not use', but Ian lifted the lid to find the basin clean and the flush working. So I did a quick check on the web, still nothing to say they were open but with everything looking in tip-top shape, we did empty the two cassettes.  I reckon CRT have been a bit lax in telling their customers that the facilities can be used after all.

Fradley Marina looks pretty full, unsurprising as it's well situated for the T&M and Coventry Canal. 

At Alrewas's Bagnall lock, the board showing the state of the river levels had a 'proceed with caution' sign up. Now that did surprise me. No significant rain has fallen in days, so I would have thought the levels to be normal. Tomorrow we hope to drop down onto the River Trent and hopefully the levels will have fallen even more. 

Alrewas was almost empty. In fact, apart from a boat moored on the offside, only two other boats moored, one on the 14-day and the other by bridge 46. This was also our planned stopping place, and with room a plenty pulled up in front. No sooner had we placed the last pin in the cladding, when ropes were untied on that other boat and away they went! Was it something we said? So now we are all on our on in this popular place, that doesn't happen very often. Not that I mind, there is something nice about being the only boat, especially this time of year when stoves are lit and wind blows smoke from boats chimneys in our direction. And no...it was not our smoke blowing over that boat which made them leave. If anything, it was the other way round!


The shop to the butchers was done before lunch. That sausage roll would go down a treat. I then left Ian nursing his ankle while I set too on the port side of FS by given her a good scrub. 30 minutes later and patting myself on the back for a job well done, the rain arrived! Only drizzle, but isn't that just blooming typical?

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