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

Follow TQ by Email. Simply write your email address in the window below and click the submit button

Saturday, 28 February 2009

What a day - Saved two lives - potentially

There's no photos of today to publish, so I'll post some others later, but first, this:- the (allegedly) unlicensed boat in the photo of yesterdays post, behind TQ, was running his engine quite late in the evening last night. I switched off my engine at 20:oohrs and later during the night I could still hear his engine. During the small hours I woke two or three times and I'm sure I could still hear it running. Sure enough when I opened the back doors there was a tell tale cloud of diesel around the stern of his boat. I thought that engine has definitely been running all night, which worried me. So I strolled up to see if I could see anyone around. Nobody. So I strolled down to Broad Street Tunnel hoping to meet the BW lengths man aboard Aquarius. Luckily enough I did, and explained to him that I was worried about this boaters welfare. We investigated and couldn't find anyone on board. We tried to stop the engine but couldn't hoping this would bring him out wondering why the engine had stopped. The BW guy said he would contact the duty supervisor before taking further action. About an hour later he returned and as he passed TQ someone appeared from the boat. What a relief.

While all this was going on Lin went to visit Brenda and David aboard N B Mr. David moored in Gas Street Basin and having followed their blog for some time she was pleased to finally meet them. Next time we're passing we'll pop in again and say hello. As an aside, whilst chatting to Brenda and David, Lin learned that they had entertained Nigel Kennedy the acclaimed violinist, on their boat. Funny that... we saw him last Monday walking the towpath near Birmingham University. He did speak to us saying we are very lucky to be boat owners.

It didn't stop there, next we came across a narrow boat and a cruiser close to Birmingham University and the cruiser was straddling the cut. We thought a chin wag was going on but it was a lot more serious than that. The cruiser had broken down and the steerer had been in the water. Later we learned he only had one arm (no this is not a joke) and because of this he couldn't get out of the cut. Some passers by David and Maureen were assisting him and managed to get him out of the cut. The poor guy was freezing and may have been suffering from mild shock. David and Maureen organised a change of clothes for him and we towed his boat about quarter of a mile to a place where it could be moored to the pilings. His mate caught up with him at this point and helped him fix his engine, and this is where we had to leave. We offered David and Maureen a lift back to Alvechurch and we stowed their bikes in the cratch and made our way back through Wast Hill Tunnel, and moored right out side their house near the boat yard.

What a day. Chicken curry and a beer beckons. Cheers for now.

Over Stewart Aqueduct BCN Old Main Line

Inside the Black Country Living Museum, new Classic Car Museum

Factory Locks and Lin is struggling with the handcuff key

Friday, 27 February 2009

A bit more, and I forgot to mension

Just took this photo at our current location:-

TQ moored at Symphony Court again. The boat in the background is allegedly unlicensed. Someone is aboard as there is a cloud of diesel smoke around its stern!

I forgot to mention, yesterday whilst heading back here along the New Main Line we saw two young yoofs on the tow path spraying graffiti on the walls. One was doing the painting and the other was videoing it on his mobile phone. And to dispose of the evidence they threw the cans to another couple of yoofs on the other side of the cut who promptly cycled off on their bikes. But they must be a bit fick 'coz they left the tin lids on the tow paff.

We'll stay put today

We'll stay another night at Symphony Court, having done some shopping in New Street, The Bull Ring and High Street. Bought a new 3G dongle thingy to speed up our internet connection. It works well at the moment, and I've managed to upload the photos on the previous days' blogging.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Merry Hill to Symphony Court

Had another lazy start today, left TQ moored on the quay side at the waterfront and strolled over to the Merry Hill Shopping Centre. Wow, it is huge, two miles of shops ranging from clothes shops and shoe shops to phone shops and food shops. A whole range including a model shop selling radio control aircraft (see my other blog). We looked at the possibility of going 3G for faster internet access when on TQ. Found some useful gen, and conned ourselves into buying a usb lead for our existing phone as it is alledged that Bluetooth slows down the delivery speed of a dial up connection. What crap.

OK, lets see if I can upload some photos tonight...

Sorry, it won't have it!
UPDATE: Got ourselves a 3G dongle thingy. Can upload photos, now.
So, got back to TQ shortly after noon, and winded right from where we were moored and made our way back to Blowers Green Lock. Unbelievably the lock was in our favour, so it was a case of open the gates and drive straight in. After raising the 12 feet depth of the lock, Lin steered TQ around to the water point at the top of the lock. We continued our way back to the Netherton Tunnel and turned right at Dudley Port Junction. Now we're on the home straight back to Symphony Court. I noticed that a lot of engine revs were needed to make normal progress along the cut. This meant a visit to the weed hatch, but I resisted the need until we got to our destination.
Netherton Tunnel Northern portal viewed yesterday from over Tividale Aqueduct

Netherton Tunnel Northern portal viewed today from under Tividale Aqueduct

This is Blowers Green Lock, but this pic shows the journey to Merry Hill.

Arrived at Symphony Court at 17:05hrs and moored up in our favorite spot. First things first, switch off the engine, remove the ignition key and place it in my pocket. (LOTO). Then open the weed hatch by loosening the tee bolt. Worryingly, it wasn't very tight. Any way, I removed the hatch to find the propeller was well tangled with plastic from old rope, plastic coal/fertilizer bags, and even some knicker elastic. Enough to 1/4 fill a dustbin bag. Not much in the way of weeds, though. Managed to get it all off using my "Bargee Kev" spade tool. Placed the hatch back on and tightened the tee bolt down reasonably tight.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Black Country Living Museum to Merry Hill

Well, The Waterfront to be precise. The day started by attempting to fill our water tank at the BCLM, but the supply was so slow it would have taken about 3 hours. So we abandoned that idea and went into the BCLM. An amazing place and such a lot to see. We can highly recommend the fish and chips, and the ale in the Bottle and Glass is really good. This must be the only pub in Britain where there is sawdust on the floor. (Unless you know of another). Could have spent nearly a whole day in there but we had to move on to be at The Waterfront before dark. First things first, the water situation had to be sorted, so we moved TQ over to the other side of the canal where there was another water point. We had to moor alongside another narrow boat and the owner was more than happy to let us scramble accross his boat for access to the tap.

What a journey - back to Tipton Junction, on to Factory Junction and down Factory Locks, along the Main Line to Dudley Port Junction, under Tividale Aqueduct, (we went over it yesterday), through Netherton Tunnel, (at 3027 yards, this is a big bore tunnel. Wide enough for boats to pass and two towpaths), along the Dudley No. 1 canal to Blowers Green, through the lock and all the way down to The Waterfront. What a strange place, all these modern buildings seem to offer promise of something, I don't know what, and at the time of writing this all the lights are on everywhere, and there's not a soul around. The only secure moorings are the private moorings, but with so many cctv cameras around it ought to be safe-ish. The place is free of graffiti and litter, and is spotlessly clean, so that must be a good sign. There is a boy racer driving around an empty car park nearby. Its been dark for hours now, and the birds are still singing their hearts out. Its all a bit creepy.

Hardly a soul around

Something annoying has cropped up, I can't upload even the smallest photo to this blog as my connexion is too slow, so I'll have to wait untill I get home, but I'll still keep taking the photos and writing it all up.
Update: We've got ourselves a 3G dongle for the laptop and hey presto, broadband, and I can upload my pix, So I'll update where appropriate.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Symphony Court to The Black Country Living Museum

Started today early and slowly, and another, but only slight change of plans. Decided to go to the Black Country Living Museum first, so we had a relaxing morning and visited the Sea Life Centre right close to where we're moored. Fascinating and informative. We were surprised by how well everything is kept and how crystal clear the water is. Expensive admission though, nearly £32 for two adults, and the admission price is nowhere to be seen in the foyer, so you don't know how much 'till you get there. And it was full of school children. Later we did some shopping in Sainsburys, then back to TQ.

A shark in The Sea Life Centre aquarium.

A Stingray?

Fired up the engine and pootled off up the Main Line to Smethwick where we turned right and went up the three locks to the summit level. As we passed under Smethwick Bridge we saw a notice strapped to the iron work but couldn't read it in time. (The bottom lock is where I bumped my head in Florence last September). All the locks had to be emptied before we could go through. No change there, then. At Spon Lane Junction there was another notice. this time we stopped to read it, and it wasn't good news. The canal was closed at Stewart Aqueduct, just around the corner. A quick phone call to British Waterways to confirm this and all was well, the canal is open and the notice should have been removed. Onward and under the M5 Motorway. What a weird place this is. Its desolate and concrete and eerie, and with all that road roar from above...!

Further into Oldbury and oh! look, its Florence.

N B Florence on her moorings in Oldbury.

We hired Florence last September

Arrived at The Black Country Living Museum an hour before dark, winded (turned TQ around) and moored near the water point. Spotted a fellow jumping over the wall from the BCLM. He was covered in paint and was carrying paint pots and brushes. He explained he'd left his BW key in his car which is why he couldn't get out of the museum grounds. Also he was trapped on the wrong side of the canal and couldn't get to his car, so I ferried him across to the other side. He was appreciative. We'll be going in the BCLM tomorrow, got to have some fish and chips and a pint from the Bottle and Glass. Gotta be dun annit.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Eleventh hour change of plan

Today is Monday, but first lets go back to Sunday.

Drove up to Alvechurch, no problems on M5 or M42, and according to the trip computer the car was doing 35 MPG, not bad for a '99 Vauxhall Omega 2.5 v6. Mind you I kept the speed down to 60 most of the way. Arrived at Alvechurch in plenty of time, too early in fact, as TQ hadn't been refuelled from the previous user, and we had to wait for Mr. Tesco to deliver our groceries. After all that was done and we'd loaded up our gear we headed for the Crown Inn 1/4 mile up the cut from the boatyard. No food served on Sundays so a quick pint and back to TQ for a sandwich. Next stop was Hopwood and the Hopwood House Inn has looked inviting on previous trips so we thought we'd give it a go. Big disappointment. It was a "two meals for a tenner" offer. We had Rotisserie Chicken with carrots, boiled in their jackets potatoes and cabbage. The veg looked and tasted like it had been reheated mor than once, and the chicken was tough and borderline cooked, and not overly hot either. I thought I might get a jippy guts in the night but I was OK.

This is where the change of plan comes in. We thought why go down to Lapworth, OK its countryside, but we can't go any further as the locks are closed for maintainance. So we've decided to go straight to Birmingham, stay the night near Gas Street Basin, then head off up the Main Line and take a detour through the Netherton Tunnel, and stop in the moorings at Merry Hill. We've never been there before so its a bit of new water for us. Then we'll come back through the tunnel to the junction with the Main Line and turn left to Factory Locks and left again and stop at the Black Country Living Museum. This time we've got to have some fish and chips. We missed out last time we were there.

Our current mooring - near Gas Street Basin...

...opposite Symphony Court

Looking back in the distance is the junction with Ozzels Loop, and further back is Old Turn Junction. The NIA (not in the photo) is right here.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Not long to go

The excitement is building, and there is so much to do before Sunday. I have to work Tuesday to Saturday this week, and we (I) have to finish decorating the bedroom. Just the gloss paint to apply and the wallpaper. The carpet will have to wait.

Plans haven't changed since the last post and wer'e looking forward to a great holiday. The weather forecast is good for this week, but I fear its peaked too early. The long range weather forecast isn't good, cold and windy with occasional rain for our week aboard TQ.