Sunday, 14 September 2014

A change of plan and a long trek to a pub

Monday 8th and Tuesday 9th September

After yesterday’s exertions we got up late then walked into Curdworth for a few bits and pieces from the shop before setting off down the locks at about 11.  On flights like this Dave does half the work while I lock ahead or go back to close up, so we made good progress especially as we crossed several boats on their way up.  Once we’d gone under the main road bridge it was peaceful again.

2 curdworth locks  4 curdworth locks

A boat pulled out in front of us as we passed the pub over half way down so we were slowed down a bit, and we moored below the locks for a late lunch.  We took Meg for a walk hoping to be able to go round the water park, but the path we would have taken was closed for flood defence works (the River Tame runs through the park) and she would have had to be kept on the lead anyway as it’s a nature reserve, so we mostly stuck to the towpath.

7 a water park lake

A mile further on at Fishers Mill Bridge we found a much better mooring spot – nicely mown and deep enough, past a long stretch of reeds.  So we went back to Chuffed – now in shadow – and moved down to a beautiful spot, sunny and quiet (apart from a busy road bridge a few hundred yards away) for the rest of the day.  We did various cleaning and maintenance jobs while Meg pottered about with only the occasional bike to look out for.

4 miles and 11 locks on Monday.

Tuesday dawned bright and sunny once more.  Here’s our lovely mooring with Fisher’s Mill bridge in the distance.

2 fishers mill bridge mooring

We made our way to Fazeley Junction past the intriguing Drayton Manor footbridge.  There is a curving flight of steps in each tower.

4 drayton manor footbridge

We moored at the junction as I needed to post a birthday card.  Dave popped out of the cafe as I came back, having been seduced by the Bakewell tart, so I was forced to join him for coffee and excellent carrot cake before a little browse round the wool shop which shares the building.  I didn’t buy anything this time but it’s now marked on Nicholson’s.  We have seen the boat before though – at the moment it’s moored up opposite.

5 maidoffibre at fazely junction

We can recommend the cafe – excellent baking, friendly staff and free treats for dogs!  We turned towards Atherstone at the junction, and crossed the Tame aqueduct on our way to Glascote Locks.

7 crossing the Tame

There was a short queue at Glascote – there always has been as far as we can remember, and it’s always blamed on the leaky lock;  you’ll probably have to enlarge the picture to read the ditty though.

9 tale of leaky lock glascote

We stopped at the far end of Tamworth for a light lunch (the cake having been very sustaining!) and did some more cleaning and touching up blacking as we were planning to leave the boat at Alvecote marina for a few weeks.  We hadn’t made a firm booking though and as we worked in the sunshine we thought the weather’s just too good to go home – why don’t we complete the ring and go back to Calcutt?  It would save Dave a complicated trip by public transport to retrieve the car, after all! 

We considered stopping at Polesworth but it was very crowded so we went on to Bradley Green, where we took advantage of the Elsan point before mooring a little further on.  As the evening was so lovely we thought we’d walk up to Grendon and have a pint at the Black Swan and check out the menu, as we haven’t got much in the fridge.  The trouble was that we had forgotten to bring our new Nicholson’s and were using the old version that came with the boat – which had both the village and the pub  to the north-east, near the church – in the opposite direction from the real location, a mile to the south-west, as the latest guide has.  We got the right directions from a local boater.  So we trekked off again (only 2 locks today, so we needed the exercise) to Grendon.  We knew the Black Swan was closed, but the Boot was opposite.  We wouldn’t recommend it – a mile walk, then across the A5, to find yourself in a half-empty roadhouse with the kitchen closed!  We did enjoy the beer though.  We walked back in the dark, as the moon rose – reddish and large, quite striking, apparently a so-called supermoon  – for late bacon and eggs on the boat.

One bright spot from this evening – a house on the wrong route had a basket of good windfalls outside the gate so we’ll look for some blackberries tomorrow to go with the half-dozen apples Dave carried for 2 miles in his rucksack.

10 miles, 2 locks, 4 miles walk in search of a drink

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