Friday, 30 September 2011

Hot lazy Friday

Got up late on Thursday evening and were going to cruise today, but in the event we spent too long in Stafford in the morning and then it was too hot for much. Bought a pillow, a bucket and a squeegee from Tesco, and some kitchen scales from Asda. Arranged with Amazon to send the freeview minibox back as it won't tune BBC 1, 2 and News. Very impressed with the speedy positive response from Amazon's Customer Services. Tried out the boat washing gadget – mixed success. Filled up the water tank.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Meaford to Great Haywood

A long but straightforward trip, with the exception of coming on Aston lock unexpectedly and having to back up to join the queue behind Sanity Again. At lunch did some work on the database for Matt and Ian.

Got back to Great Haywood in time to see Jon about the starter battery. He says the one he fitted was a new 110 Ah, so we paid for it: £90.

Noted that some of the bridges would have been too low for a chimney, so we need a complete solution when we replace it.

10.5 miles, 8 locks, about 7 hours engine time.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Milton to Meaford

Set off just after 8.30, because of physio on Tuesday. Long day, a lot of it in the rain. Margaret did a lot of steering once we reached the Trent & Mersey, and also between linked locks when I was walking with the windlass. Good progress through Stoke, because the locks were mostly set in our favour.

Tied up close to the winding hole between Meaford and Stone, at the same spot we stayed on the way up.

12 miles, 13 locks, 1 lift bridge, 8 hours engine time.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Denford to Milton

Started quite early to get up to the junction with the Leek branch before anyone else. Met Alan (?) of the BCF coming down the flight.

Made it down the Stockton Brook flight alone, and Margaret took Erin Mae through Long Butts lift bridge while I worked it. Accompanied a single-hander through Norton Green Lift Bridge.

Fished a football out of the canal for a family in Milton, and then tied up opposite their house for the night. Ran the engine for a while to ensure the batteries were really full.

5.5 miles, 9 locks, 2 lift bridges, about 7 hours of engine time.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Froghall and back

Trouble with the batteries holding their charge overnight. By the morning they don't have enough to power the inverter, so the gas hob doesn't work. This meant starting early from Consall Forge, with breakfast on the way, which had us down to Froghall in no time. Walked to the basin and the tea rooms at the station (only open on train days at this point – i.e. weekends). Back to Consall Forge, giving a lift to Pete, Viv and Rebecca on the way, and stopping off at the pottery.

Lunch at Consall Forge, then up to Denford and tied up at the Hollybush for the night.

8 miles, 6 locks, about 6 hours engine time.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Cheddleton to Consall Forge

Got under way after lunch following an abortive visit to the flint mill. Canal still shallow – went aground briefly. Travelling very slowly, partly because of the shallowness, partly because we weren't in a hurry and partly because we needed to maximise the time charging the batteries. Met Graham and Pauline (NB Shy Girl) again at the second lock as they came back up. Margaret getting to steer into the locks.

Low voltage by the time we set out meant the inverter tripped out with a "low battery" warning. After some time running the engine, it still hadn't reset, and needed to be turned off and on again. That meant we could get the Intellichef making more soup.

Came under an open lift bridge, so left it that way. Joined the River Churnet at Oakmeadowford Lock. Moored up just above the weir at Consall Forge, opposite the lime kiln. Went to say hello to the Black Lion and returned there for pudding in the evening. Free WiFi.

3 miles, 4 locks, about 2.5 hours engine time.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Endon Bank to Leek

Rainy morning and very little traffic on the Caldon. Breakfast first then set out with Margaret taking the opportunity to practice at the tiller. Generally went very slow because of the shallowness and narrowness of the canal. Turned right at the junction to take the Leek branch. Went aground between bridges 1 and 2, and titled well over to the right – seemed to be caught about half-way along the length of the boat, and work with the tiller just made her pivot. Used the long pole and heavy use of reverse.

Our first tunnel at Leek, 130 yards. The light worked well. I hadn't pulled up the fenders, and the front right sprang up at one point and landed in the cratch. At least we didn't lose it. Winded at Leek just after the bridge and backed up the cut 30 yards towards the terminus. Very muddy bank, so we used the plank for the first time.

Had lunch and then the rain stopped, so we walked into town. The centre is quite interesting with a lot of independent traders, but in general the town couldn't seem to make up its mind whether or not it was trying to renew itself. Too much looked a bit ugly and run down.

Stopped at Morrison's on the way back to the boat and tried to gauge how much we could carry between us, especially as we had already bought in town some other stuff including a galvanised bucket for fire ash.

3.5 miles, 0 locks, 1 tunnel, about 2 hours engine time.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Milton to Endon Bank

8 a.m. start in bright sunshine, and through Engine lock, in company with NB Dash. Stopped before the Long Butts lift bridge for breakfast, and started another loaf in the breadmaker. Then the three-men-in-a-boat we'd met the previous day at Etruria came along so we followed them through the lift-bridge and up the five locks at Stockton Brook.

Stopped for lunch by the Stoke-on-Trent Boat Club just after Bridge 27A, and got the washing machine going for the first time. Not sure that the detergent capsules are going to work at 30ยบ – this one left some gunge in the machine.

Stopped at the BW station at Park Lane Bridge for water, and decided to stay the night on the visitor moorings there (SJ 933534). Good BW facilities, though the water tap required some taming. Walked back to bridge 28 and into Endon to the Spar shop for a few items.

About 3.5 miles, 6 locks, 1 lift bridge, about 4.5 hours engine time.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Etruria and up the Caldon

7 a.m. start because we needed to get to Stoke for a pump-out. Trentham lock was difficult, not only because we lost the new windlass. Worked up the Stoke locks and entered the Black Prince yard at Etruria for a pump-out – then discovered that we could have stayed on the canal service wharf for it. Filled up the water tank and bought a spare windlass and anti-vandalism key.

Lunch on the wharf, then up the Caldon. Patches of rain. Lost the chimney at bridge 9. Good beef stew in the Intellichef.
Moored overnight at Milton, SJ 9022550308.

10 miles, 9 locks, about 8 hours engine time.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Burlaston and Wedgwood

Early start with breakfast on the hoof, because the weather first thing was great in spite of the forecast. Still ended up trailing another boat through the four locks of the Meaford flight. Matt rang when we stopped for coffee, with info about the database changes. O2 and 3 signals both breaking up a bit. Moored just before Oldroad Bridge (104), and went to visit the Wedgwood works. Ended up having lunch there and paying to go round the exhibition, craft demonstrations and museum. Very interesting, if not the best. Shortly after returning to the boat around 5 the promised rain arrived, so we hunkered down. I completed the database work and watched the final ODI via Demand5. No worthwhile TV signal.

3 miles, 4 locks, 3 hours engine time.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Time in Stone

Morning exploring and shopping in Stone. Late lunch. Up one lock to water point. Long hose was leaking all over, so bought a new hose at the chandlers, plus an extra windlass and BW key.

Matt rang about database stuff, so I did some work. Then up the final lock and moored just before the winding hole on the northern limits of Stone. With the weather unpredictable, this postponed till the morning the decision whether to carry on or turn round.

1 mile, 2 locks, about 1 hour of engine.


John said that they had investigated and blown through the tank, etc. Paid £65 for the work. However, it looks as though there is still some reflux that will need further investigation.

Thursday, 15 September 2011


Starter motor would not turn over. Instead breaker Q16 trips out. Jon says this has happened since he's known the boat (3 years). He concluded it is the electronics responding to a very low voltage in the battery (around 7 volts). He loaned us a battery and everything so far seems good. Question for Aqualine (or the circuit diagrams) is whether the inverter/charger charges the starter battery as well as the leisure batteries, or if it needs a charge from the alternator.

Great Haywood to Stone.  9 miles, 5 locks, ~5 hours engine time.

Hot water from engine was good. Bread maker worked well. Got the Murso going in the evening with considerable help from firelighters. Taybrite is pretty damp.