Friday, 30 December 2011

Newbold for water and recycling

Here we are, well here Pete is, waiting for water in Newbold. Elizabeth took the tiller through the tunnel and we were happily on our way east deciding to have done with this particular winter cruise.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Moored up at Hawkesbury

We moored up about a half mile from Hawkesbury Junction, where the Oxford canal ends and we turn (sharply!) to the Coventry Canal. We turn into the Coventry 5 miles north of the city center. When these canals first joined, they had a mile of utter parallel courses, because neither canal company wanted to give up that potential extra mile of toll fees. Thankfully over the years, time won out over toll and the Oxford was shortened that mile. So the sharp turn is literally turning back on ourselves through a cutting which used to be embankment. This now makes a lovely basin in front of the Greyhound Inn, where we sit to write this blog post.

The pictures in this post show the pub and basin, Bella moored up and resting and the horses we saw on the way. It was a cold and windy day, beautiful as only winter days can be. Bliss.

Newbold to northwest

We woke to a rainy start which turned bright and dry; a perfect day for a winter cruise. As we cleared up breakfast, a heritage boat with a Christmas tree a'roof passed us, just seen in this photo. Then we set out and passed the Barley Mow, our Newbold watering hole. Just after, we passed through the Newbold tunnel, lit up beautifully all year, but looks especially festive just now.

When we passed Brinklow Marina, we just had to catch a glimpse of the iron bridge made by Horsley Iron Works. They dot the Oxford canal from Braunston north and continue onto the Coventry. They are a reminder of how beautiful engineering just was. This is what was made, that's all.

It has been a lovely day so far, this written as we travel. And with both of us spelling each other at the tiller, it's been a grand cruise!

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Christmas twinklies at dinner

We're moored in Newbold, really the opposite side to Rugby from Hillmorton. Not too far away, but a different world!

We set out just before 12 today after a bimbling start, full of excitement. We've travelled little this year, calculated a few hours ago at half last year's mileage. What with the drought, exhibitions and lock-keeping, life was a bit too full to travel along for life as we have done the last four years. So we were both delighted to get a few more miles through our engine!

We bimbled along even then, helping Callisto, a coal boat, make its way. Because of stoppages, Callisto has not been on the rivers for two months and her circuit is the Leicester Ring including the rivers Trent and Soar. So we were pleased to help. Then we stopped in Brownsover to let Josie stroll and as the light went down, we decided that Newbold would be a good overnight mooring. We've been here a number of times, so as with many moorings, it feels happily familiar.

Out for a Christmas cruise

Here we are heading north under the Hillmorton railway bridges. We spent yesterday doing laundry and otherwise getting ready and Pete did a shop this morning. We had to store up as we're on our way to the Ashby Canal, where apparently the shops are few and far between. We thought we'd take advantage of the lack of ice this year and have a winter cruise. You van just see our roof top Christmas lights!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The dining room vine

Here it is. And below, the lights illuminate our Nativity tableau.

Some Christmas twinklies

A slowly ending winter afternoon on this shortest day shows a few of our Christmas lights. We thread them around the ceiling from the lounge, through the kitchen, then around the dining room. Tiny lights dot Bell's roof and inside, the tree (pine stems) decorations add to the lights. We hang a wonderful lit vine in the dining room window. All quite magical.

A quiet winter

We've been quiet this year on the boating front.  A mixture of interesting work, the Midlands drought, Pete's volunteering as a Lock Keeper and Elizabeth's art exhibitions have meant the we've not put the miles in this year.  And yet, we so love this life!  As the fifth Christmas aboard beckons, we just wanted to mention that life is good and this life is fabulous.  Pete is meeting with the Canal and River Trust Trustees today as Elizabeth sits aboard and redesigns Bella's blog. The ice has melted this morning and the weather looks to be warmer than last year when by this time, we were frozen solidly in place.  We are still not level, the rain of the last few days being nothing near to what is needed to fill the reservoirs. Yet the Christmas decorations cheer us and we look forward to a wonderful 2012.