At 58 feet length, TQ (as we call her) is a steel hull narrow boat built by Colecraft and fitted out by Elton Moss Boatbuilders. Currently based at Aqueduct Marina in Cheshire we're able to cruise some of the most popular waterways in Britain. The Shropshire Union, The Trent and Mersey, The Llangollen Canal, The Four Counties Ring and Cheshire Ring and more.

Our friendly Syndicate decided to go down the Self Management route on 1st March 2012 and so far it has been very successful. Please visit the other pages in this blog to see the new Web Site and if shares are available for sale. (There'll not be many).

I am having to place a watermark on the blog content as someone on Facebook is stealing photos and claiming them as their own. I wouldn't mind if they asked first and attributed it to my blog. If it continues I will name and shame them. I hope it doesn't spoil your enjoyment.

All content is Copyright N. B. Tranquility © 2008 - 2019

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Sunday, 20 September 2009

Home again.

Well another holiday over, they go far too fast for my liking. Sorry I didn't blog last night, but I was so busy cleaning and polishing TQ, I didn't finish 'till after dark and was too exhausted to get the laptop out. The paint work on TQ had become very oxidised and had a dull finish, so I used T Cut to remove the oxide and then polished with Craftmaster Wax. Now she shines beautifully. I'm sure the next shareholders to holiday aboard will appreciate it, and its set ready for the onslaught of winter.

We moored just South of the M42 Motorway bridge and it was surprisingly quiet in the night, just the odd vehicle going by, and the sound deadening bridge sides helped to muffle it considerably.

No pix for today, but here's some I took earlier:-

A problem occurring here...

...and here.
About time this was repaired, look at the weeds growing in it.
That piling is not a permanant solution.

Yarningale Aqueduct

This is Lengthman's Cottage, a Landmark Trust building.

Probably has one of the best extensions.

Typical milestone along the Stratford.

Part of the flight at Lapworth

That bizzarre bit on the side at Preston Bagot.

An inscribed lock coping stone.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Two days worth, and I get shot at!

Yes, there was no signal again last night (Thursday), we were moored just above Lock 33 near Yarningale, and its right out in the sticks. Before we got there we made a stop at Bridge 49 to pick some sloes. Its a good year for sloes, they're everywhere, but these were exceptional in that they were huge, about the size of grapes. I stopped TQ right under the bridge and left her there while we scrumped the harvest. We haven't weighed them yet, but it looks like it may be around a kilogram, picked in about ten minutes. All along this canal there are lock keepers cottages with round topped roofs. Many have been spoiled by some unusual extensions being attached. This one at Preston Bagot looks kind of OK in a bizarre way, but is definitely not in keeping with the original building. Others have had extensions built with a poor attempt to keep the style by using new bricks and brand new tiles. They look awful. Here's some pix:-

Most bizzarre

This on looks better, but you can't see the new extension behind.

I thought pigs could fly...

...but this takes the biscuit!

Lapworth Bottom Lock No.27. I know where I'd rather be.

23 locks today.

Friday, and its full steam ahead to get as far as possible so we have plenty of time to clean TQ before we leave on Sunday. We made good headway up the Lapworth Flight and at Kingswood Junction I was walking back from preparing lock 19 when there was a hissing sound went rapidly over the top of my head and crashed through the trees. It was the unmistakable sound of an air rifle. I reported it to the BW man at the scene and he did a walk round the area but found nothing. A bit later Lin heard the same thing. Whoever it is they'll get caught.

Made it to lock 14 and couldn't resist going in The Boot for lunch. And the weather was so good we opted for lunch in the garden. It was wonderful.

Onward, and we had the rest of the flight to do and we are now moored just outside Hockley Heath between bridges 24 and 23. A lovely quiet spot and good telly and 3g connection. We've done our last lock today, and there's one last lifting bridge tomorrow, an electric one, so much easier.

30 Locks and 2 lift bridges. Phew!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009


Slipped the piling hooks at 09:40hrs and headed off down the last five locks to Bancroft Basin. We intended to start later this morning to give time to those leaving the Basin to vacate the premises and make their way up the locks leaving them in our favour. We moored just a few yards outside the Basin and walked under the bridge to see the state of play. There were plenty of spaces but we didn't fancy mooring side by side on the pontoons, so we decided to stay put. Its a relatively quiet spot so we're happy. The Basin and surrounding area has become very commercialised with ice cream sellers, burger bars, river trips and floating restaurants - shame.
We made enquiries about a temporary licence to take TQ onto the River Avon, not that we have time, but it would be interesting to know. £35.00 for the Upper Avon (valid for 15 days) and £55.00 for both Upper and Lower Avon (also valid for 15 days). Not today thank you!

Had lunch in the Dirty Duck. This is a quaint olde worlde pub often frequented by thesbians from the Royal Shakespeare Company. Didn't see anyone famous today, though. I had a cheese ploughmans and Lin had a ham, and we swapped half the cheese and ham to have half each, if you see what I mean.

The wide beam in the distance is a restaurant boat.

The blue and white boat on the far side is an ice cream sales boat.

Tomorrow morning we head into the Basin to wind and then make our way back up the Stratford. Not sure where the next stop will be yet.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The best laid plans...

Well, I was hoping to start writing up this last Sunday evening, but there was no signal from where we were moored. No 3G, no mobile phone signal on mine or Lins, and no telly. Not even a glimmer. Anyway, Sunday we left Alvechurch at around 11:45hrs and made our way North through Wast Hill Tunnel which, incidentally was the slowest journey we've ever made following another boat. We were on tick over and kept catching up with the boat in front, and having to stop to let him go on a bit. At Kings Norton Junction we turned right onto the Stratford upon Avon Canal and left the slowcoach to go on his way to birmingham. The rest of the days journey was eventless, oh, apart from a couple of egits who found it most amusing to spit at us as we exited Brandwood Tunnel. Could have been worse, could have been bricks! We didn't fancy mooring any where along this stretch and it wasn't for at least five miles before mooring became a possibility. We found a spot just past the Blue Bell Cider House at Illshaw Heath, in a bit of a cutting covered with trees, very peaceful. 1 lock. If you can call it a lock. It used to be a lock which separated the two canal companies. Both gates are left open so its straight through now.

The next morning we were up early, well early for Lin, and by 08:00hrs were on our way again. Soon we came to the Top Lock at Lapworth and began our decent, stopping off at the Boot Inn for lunch. well, it would be rude not to. As it was lunch time and we had a million locks to do we thought it best to only have something light so we opted for a ploughmans each. It was too much really, it came on a huge wooden platter with ham and two cheeses, and all the other stuff. Very nice, though. Onward, and we had to force ourselves to get going in the afternoon, so we went straight on at Kingswood Junction after taking on water, and finished the day between bridge 40 and the Fleur de Lys. 29 locks, 2 lift bridges.

Today, and not quite so early and we got away at 08:40hrs, chugged our way down the Stratford to Yarningale where there is an aqueduct very close to lock 34. Here's some pix:-

Yarningale Aqueduct

Low level tow path

Its a lovely spot

Only a little way further on at Wootton Wawen is another aqueduct which spans the A3400 trunk road to/from Birmingham. Its very odd to be cruising over a main road and drivers and passegers are waving at you 20 feet above them. And, would you believe it, another aqueduct, even more impressive, is the Edstone Aqueduct at Bearley Cross. This spans 475 feet and is 28 feet high above a by-road, a tributary of the River Alne, and the twin tracks of the Birmingham and North Warwickshire Railway. It must be a bit odd when walking the tow path to look up at narrow boats cruising by. More pix:-

Edstone Aqueduct, tow path side...

...and the other side

Looking back across Edstone Aqueduct

The weather has been good so far, but today has been quite windy although it's not effected us too badly. We're now moored just below lock 50 for the night ready for the five locks down to Bancroft Basin tomorrow.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Old Waterscape maps - Ended?

...Just tried to look up the old Waterscape mapping system and it's gone. Shock horror, but I'm not surprised. Typing in the link just takes you to the home page. Another money saving cut made in order to line the already heavy pockets in Ivory Towers no doubt. The old maps showed locks, bridges and tunnels etc, in reasonably accurate detail, but now locks, bridges and tunnels are not shown. A load of other less related "stuff" is there now, and accuracy is to the nearest parish. For instance Alvechurch Marina is indicated by a Moorings sign in Droitwich. I don't think I'll bother with it in future.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Did some gongoozeling today...

It was great, we went to Devizes to see the Caen Hill Flight and it seemed fairly quiet considering its the height of the season. We parked the car in the BW car park and paid the princely sum of one pound for the privilege. Never mind we had a great day and we helped someone through one of the locks which was proving a little difficult. The tail gates wouldn't open despite the pressure applied by four strong blokes, (me being the whimp of the four) and yes before you ask, the lock was as empty as it could be. Eventually we got it open but not before Muggins went down flat on his bum in front of a crowd of other gongoozelers who were trying their hardest not to chuckle loudly. OK, it didn't hurt a bit, but I felt the need to lubricate the joints, so it was off to the Black Horse for lunch, and it was good food, good ale and good value too. I had a bacon, brie and cranberry baguette, and Lin had a round of cheese and onion sandwiches, rounded off with a pint of 6X. It was delicious.

Here's some pix:-

Devizes Wharf

Lock No. 50

The Black Horse

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Home again

Woke up before the alarm this morning and outside the weather looked quite good but there was no hanging about for us today as we had to vacate TQ as soon as we could. So for Lin a major cleaning session (not that it needed cleaning, it was very clean already) and for me a wipe down of the exterior (which I did last night but it needed doing again this morning) and that included the brass. Once done, we took the short trip to Alvechurch Marina, winded and moored up so that TQ could be serviced. We loaded up the car and I went into the shop to pay our dues and then we trundled home picking up the cat in North Petherton on the way. No pictures today (sorry) too busy. Lin and I hope you've enjoyed reading our blog this last fortnight and we hope you'll join us again on our next adventure in September. Cheers for now...

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Our last full day

Started out in Birmingham this morning after these went past:-

Check the speed, the bow is out of the water

This is the reason the mooring bollards are getting loose and some already have "Do not use " notices on them.

This one is a bit slower

And these two even slower

The plan was to go up to the junction and turn into Ouzells Loop and come out near Old Turn Junction. This is where we found out that TQ is too long to go around the acute bend and we got stuck. Luckily a big strong man appeared, and with his help (many thanks) we managed get unstuck. So we proceeded along the BCN for a quarter mile and winded in the entrance to Monument Lane Railway Basin, no problems here. So back to Old Turn Junction and right towards The Mailbox where I tried to moor to take on water but the wind was so strong I couldn't get near quayside. after two attempts we decided to get water at Hopwood. A pleasant journey between the showers, and at Kings Norton we stopped briefly for lunch. Just as well because it rained hard just after we were moored. Onward, through Wast Hill Tunnel and we filled with water at Hopwood and arrived at our planned mooring for the night between bridges 61 and 62.

Approach to Wast Hill Tunnel (North Portal)

Along the way we saw this:-

A narrow boat covered in concrete!

This is our mooring for our last night

I'll blog again tomorrow...catch up with us then.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Not much done today

Had a lazy day today, first we did a recce to see what was moored outside Symphony Court and a few had moved on, leaving some spaces. So Lin went shopping for some essentials and I moved TQ out of Gas Street Basin. As I approached our chosen mooring spot, another boat was heading for the same spot, and we ended up moored bow to bow. I needed to polish the Port side, I'd done Starboard earlier in the week, and I had to do todays work between the showers. We had a lot of rain last night, and I mean a lot of rain, and it continued to drizzle most of the morning and this afternoon the showers are packing in closer to give more prolonged spells. In fact we had thunder and lightning for a while. But I managed to get all the polishing done, thats the main thing. All thats left is the brass work, and I'll try to get that done tomorrrow.

Todays Pix:-

BT Tower in the mist

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Three days in hand and another record (for us).

This happened because we pushed quite hard the last couple of days to try to beat the weather, but it seems the weather isn't going to be so bad after all. Indeed today has been very dull and misty and from lunchtime, occasional light drizzle. We left the Queens Head Inn this morning at 07:00hrs and started to ascend the Tardebigge Flight. We took it in turn doing the locks, five on and five off, and we had a system working which made the flight easier and more enjoyable. Get this - THREE AND A HALF HOURS to do THIRTY LOCKS. I have to admit every one was in our favour, and by 10:30hrs we were finishing off the top lock. Time to stop for a break and as we have three days to use up, we decided we would press on to Gas Street Basin and we arrived at around 17:00hrs to find our favourite spot (Symphony Court) was already fully occupied on both sides. So we turned back and found a mooring actually in Gas Street Basin where Brenda from NB Mr. David recommended we moor next time we visited.

A view along the Tardebigge Flight

We had an interesting experience on the way here, at Kings Norton Junction a working boat pushing a mud hopper found himself jammed in the junction as he was bit too long to go around in one go and the wind direction wasn't helping either. He asked if I could nudge his mud hopper around so that it pointed into the Stratford Canal. No problem, and I carefully touched the side of the hopper and then applied a lot of shove but it wouldn't move, so he reversed back a little and I tried again this time with success, and he went on his way a happy chappie.

Sorted - Got him out of a pickle, happy to be of assistance.

The view from TQ across Gas Street Basin this evening.

We'll move out to Symphony Court tomorrow if we can, but first we'll have to do a recce on foot to see if there's a space.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

What a dirty day...

...And there's more to come tomorrow. Drew back the curtains this morning to find it heavily overcast and it wasn't long before it started to drizzle. By the time we got under way it was drizzling hard, and we had 12 locks to go through to our planned overnight stop. As we were a little ahead of schedule for today, we decided to stop off at the Eagle and Sun at Hanbury Wharf for a light lunch. Mooring here was easy, there was a space right outside, but then we noticed there was a coach in the car park and our fears were realised when we went in. The pub was full of (ahem!) senior citizens in for their weekly carvery. There was a very long queue for the bar and all the tables were occupied or reserved. So it was in one door, out the other and back to TQ for lunch. That done we got under way again and soon came the first of the six Astwood Locks after which came the water point opposite the Boat and Railway. No, we didn't, but we did fill TQs tank with water.

Seen in Astwood Locks, six canoes tied in pairs and full of school kids...entering the lock!...this rings alarm bells to me, but who am I to question it.

Six locks left to go and at the first I spotted this lovely garden. Someone had made a really good effort to create something nice out of what could have been a piece of waste land.

A super little garden

We moored up between the Queens Head Inn and Tardebigge Bottom Lock ready for the flight tomorrow morning, and because the weather forecast is bad - very bad - early. (How early? I'll let you know tomorrow).

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Lowesmoor to The Bridge, Tibberton

Slipped the mooring at around 10:00hrs and made our way out of the basin onto the main line of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. Arrived about 4 miles and 12 locks later at The Bridge. There's some nice countryside along here but its spoilt by the noise from the M5 Motorway.

Its a floating dry dock, a boat within a boat.

In Lowesmoor Basin.

Offerton Top Lock. That's the M5 ahead on the bridge, the noise is horrendous

Can you see my reflection or is it my ghost? TQ shines nicely.

At The Bridge

We went in The Bridge tonight for a meal. Lin had Chicken and Mushroom Pie, and I had a Sirloin Steak. Very well done for me, and it was spot on. A very friendly pub, I'd recommend it, and they serve real ale too.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Not much done again today...

Had an easy morning, breakfast was what we call a Ham Quickie, ham eggs and mushrooms all scrambled together and presented on toast. 'kin delicious. Later Lin decided to walk into Worcester and visit the Porcelain Museum. In the mean time I tightened up the stern tube gland as it was leaking. One turn on each of the two bolts was enough to stop the drip. I also cleaned the external brasswork. Now It'll rain.
We pressed on to Lowesmoor Basin, all of one mile and one lock, and winded 270 degrees to get through the bridge and into the basin. I winded again to bring the stern close to the diesel pump and so that the pump-out cap was wharf side. We were able to self declare on our diesel and I declared a 40/60 split (40 prop/60 dom). We also changed a gas bottle and filled the stern greaser. We'll stay here overnight and we were allocated a mooring next to another narrow boat. The thing is , I had to manoeuvre TQ through a steel gantry in reverse and against the side wind. Somehow it worked perfectly. In the afternoon we walked into the City and did some shopping - just the usual run of the mill stuff.

Our current berth. Note the gantry I reversed in through. And I never touched the sides

A sea of narrow boats in Lowesmoor Basin

Sunday, 10 May 2009

...And back to Worcester

Moored up outside the Commandery again but this time facing the other way. Its a long old haul up the Severn and it took all day to get here. Bearing in mind the current was against us we didn't do too bad. Started out just South of Llanthony Bridge at 09:30hrs and 09:50hrs when we exited Gloucester Lock. Arrived at Diglis Basin 17:45hrs and moored up here at 18:05hrs. Lin nipped out for some fish and chips, a real treat.
This is where we've been...

...And this is where we're going

Much of the Severn is like this, you can't see over the river bank or the hedges. this is what makes it a bit boring. But would I rather be at work? Remember Tewkesbury in the news last year about the floods? The picture below shows the water treatment plant that very nearly flooded.

Tewkesbury water treatment plant. The bridge was built in 1825.

Waiting for the green light at Upper Lode Lock

Lin sporting her new lifejacket.

Its been a nice day weatherwise with some warm sunshine. The forecast for tomorrow is more sunshine but high winds and later in the week heavy rain and high winds. Oh! well.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

We're here

A cold and windy start but not as windy as yesterday. They said on the TV that gusts of up to 45mph were recorded and is expected to die down for today which in fact it had. Made it to Sharpness, but there isn't much there, apart from some outstanding views across the estuary. most of the designated public moorings have been turned over to private, although there is plenty of mooring space before you get to the docks junction. We found the water point on the right immediately before the private moorings. The Cats Whiskers a Dutch Barge featured on TVs Waterworld was moored next to the water point.

This is what much of Sharpness looks like

And this is the view across the estuary

We saw this stunning tug built by R. W. Davis and Son. We want one!

Typical bridge keepers cottages dotted along the G & S

After we filled with water at Sharpness, I had to do an unusual maneovre to get TQ away from the quayside because the wind was holding us against it. First I had to tie the bowline to a post on the quayside and release all other lines. then engage forward gear and full rudder to move the stern out into the canal with the bow pressed against the quay. When TQ was about 90 degrees to the quay Lin released the bowline, jumped on board and I engaged reverse gear and pulled away from the quay. About 30 feet out I engaged forward gear and full rudder and proceeded back toward Gloucester.
We're moored in exactly the same place as the night before last, just South of Llanthony Bridge on the G & S Canal.
Tomorrow is going to be a gruelling journey, all the way up the Severn to Worcester, 30 miles upstream.