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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Monday, 20 December 2010

Roll on Summer (KLT)

Yes, it's all very pretty and fun for the kids (and some adults), but its been hanging around for long enough and I can't wait for it to thaw. Tranquility is still iced in at Barbridge and there is no sign of a rise in temperature to melt the ice. There is some work to be done on TQ before she embarks on her next journey, a new alternator is required for charging both the starter and bow thruster batteries, and another for charging the domestic pack. Also the Webasto heater requires looking at to prevent it flooding with fuel. Hopefully all this can be sorted once the ice has melted and TQ can be taken to Aqueduct Marina.
I find it a bit ironic that you don't hear much about Global Warming these days, but you hear so much more about Climate Change instead. Is it because the "Authorities" have changed their minds and are now not sure whether it's going to get warmer or colder? I think cleaning up our act and reducing emissions is the right thing to do but it's become a band wagon for certain "Authorities" to jump on and make multi millions out of us.
Lin and I took a stroll down to our local canal today, the Bridgwater and Taunton and although there is some ice it looks navigable. Here's a short video:-

Bridgwater and Taunton Canal at Bathpool

Monday, 29 November 2010

From bad to worse (KLT)

Woke very early this morning (Sunday), before 05:00 hours. We ran the engine all last night again and didn't get much sleep, exasperated by there not being much heat in the cabin due to the failure of the Webasto heater. By 08:00 we were on the move toward Hurleston Locks and the ice got thicker and thicker. At Hurleston Junction I had a job to turn TQ in the ice and I had to reverse several times and ram the ice to get TQ pointing in the right direction. Made it to Barbridge and that is as far as we were to go. I did a recce up the Middlewich Branch on foot, and the ice was 30mm thick or more so there was no way TQ has enough horsepower for that. I left Lin to do the housework and packing as we had decided to go home, and walked the 3.5 miles to Aqueduct Marina to collect the car, and brought it back to Barbridge Marina where we were able to load up near the water point. I then reversed TQ back to the mooring and went through the stages of shutting down the systems. I estimate that by this time the engine had been running for about 60 hours continuously. We made our way to Aqueduct Marina and handed in the keys, and then it was back to Sandbach and the M6/M5 to Taunton. Home at last. I hope our next holiday aboard TQ is is somewhat better than this one.

Here is a list of "happenings":-

Canal closed at Trevor in addition to Llangollen (not made clear by BW)
Flat engine starter battery
Alternator failure
Domestic alternator failure (Low output)
Even more "sluggish" bow thruster
Webasto failure (Valve left closed)
Webasto failure again (Flooding (fuel))
Being told that TQ wouldn't pass the BSS
Having to leave the engine running all night (2 nights)
Frost all over the inside of the windows (2 mornings)
Canal frozen solid
Kevin and Linda well teed off (and we don't play golf)

Sunday, 28 November 2010

It's so cold... (KLT)

After overnight light snow its been quite a good day weather wise although its very cold. so far we seem to have got away with most of the white stuff.
We've been a bit tired all day due to us not sleeping very well. We have to leave the engine running all night because if we stop it we won't be able to start it again. We're not moored near a boatyard so there is no one nearby to help if things get dodgy. We tried to get water at the top of Grindley Brook Locks but our hose is blocked with ice and the water pressure at the tap was not enough to push it through. We're not desperate for water yet, but it would have been peace of mind to have filled up.
Due to our battery problem we're not able to leave TQ unattended with the engine running which means we can't stop for lunch at the Willey Moor Tavern so we have to keep going until the cold beats us. We're moored on PVM (public visitor moorings) at the top of Baddiley Locks about 4 or 5 hours from our mooring at Aqueducd Marina, but I fear there's going to be some thick ice on the cut tomorrow morning from Hurleston onwards which might delay us.
The Webasto heater stopped working again tonight and it refuses to start, so the only heating we've got is the stove and its not enough to keep the boat comfortably warm. We're having to leave the engine running all night again and we've decamped our sleeping arrangements to the saloon so that we're nearer the stove and further away from the engine noise.
I took some video today:-
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Friday, 26 November 2010

A very frustrating day (KLT)

We over slept this morning, not getting up 'til 08:00. Ice on the inside of the windows again was a sign of things to come. Switched on the Webasto heater and it fired up OK but I was worried the current drain on the starter battery might mean the engine won't start. My fears were realised when I turned the ignition key to heat the plugs, as all the control panel lights went dull and when I tried the starter and the engine groaned as it tried desparately to compress the air in the cylinders. Then something odd happened, I took the key out of the ignition switch, and the engine tried to turn over again. I just put it down to air compression  in one of the cylinders expanding and turning the crank shaft. Rare, but its posible. (You can tell I have an interest in engines can't you. Check this out). So I went into Blackwater Meadow Marina and asked if they could help and they were very happy to do so. Their engineer came out with a power pack and when he removed the battery cover the starter motor engaged and tried to turn the engine. So there's an electrical short somewhere there. Anyhow the engineer (Sorry I didn't get your name) easily managed to get the engine running and then tested the current being produced by the domestic alternator. I sense more trouble here, its only producing 20 - 25 amps where it should be closer to 100 amps. He recommended not stopping the engine until we get to our destination preferably near a boatyard. Well we've ended up at the top of Grindley Brook Locks, on the PVM (public visitor moorings) away from everyone else as we have to run our engine 'til very late. We passed the Viking Afloat boatyard at Whitchurch and I asked if they were open tomorrow morning, (Saturday) unfortunately at this time of year its Monday to Friday only. So now it looks like we'll have to keep the engine running all night, to ensure we can move tomorrow morning.
Our holiday is now becoming just a little bit of a chore now, and we're beginning to want to go home...after having arranged to extend it by two days!
On a brighter note we saw three kingfishers today, and we had some snow...just a light sprinkling, but I dare say there may be more in the morning. I hope the cut doesn't freeze up too much, though I fear the Shroppie Main Line and the Middlewich Branch are more likely to freeze as they don't flow like the Llangollen does.
Sorry there's no pix today, after this mornings caper I forgot and didn't feel like getting the camera out.
More tomorrow.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Ice on the cut...and some snow (KLT)

I banked up the stove before we went to bed last night, and it promptly went out. So it was cold all last night and we woke early as a result to ice on the inside of the windows. The Webasto heater started OK but I was concerned about the capacity of the batteries being able to start the engine. It started on the second attempt and then it was only just. We slipped our moorings at 07:30 hours and cut through the ice in Trevor Basin and along the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. From the end of the aqueduct there was no more ice for the rest of our journey today but wasn't it ever cold.

Our location for the last couple of nights.
Notice the light dusting of snow.

Its Hurleston for us today.

Looking back along the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

The football ground under the aqueduct.

Industry - the saw mill between Trevor and Chirk

I did the two New Marton Locks on my own as it was a bit cold for Lin and I found them easy but of course we're going down hill now so it would be easy anyway. We didn't stop until we got to Ellesmere and we had to go down th arm and seek out a mooring but there was only one space big enough and there was a dog (possibly barking later) on the boat in front so that was a no no. We chugged up to the end and winded (turned around) and came back out again. Lin said there was a space just outside the arm on the left in the evening sun but when we got there it was taken up. We moored a few yards further up but not long after we arrived a dog started barking in the big house opposite. Lin went to do some shopping in Tesco and when she came back the dog was still barking so we slipped our moorings and moved on to a spot just around the corner past Blackwater Marina. As we pulled away the dog stopped barking...Arrgh! Anyway its quiet here and if we run into engine/battery trouble tomorrow morning the marina is right here.
On the way we saw this:-

Frankton Top Lock on the Montgomery.

Bridge 69 at Frankton Junction.

And this crept up behind me:-
It was a lot closer than it looks in the photo!

It was so quick I quite litterally pointed and shot! and I'm quite pleased with the result, the cloud is well defined and everything else is near sillhouette and the sun hasn't made a white line from top to bottom. Taken with a Canon Powershot A470.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Things didn't quite go to plan. (KLT)

There's never a dull moment when boating. Last night the diesel heater decided to switch itself off. OK, fair enough, it was warm in here so I didn't think any more of it. I just switched off the control panel when we went to bed. This morning it wouldn't fire up despite voltage meter reading over 12 volts. I thought I'd fire up the engine and try again. Guess what? Starter battery dead flat despite running the engine 'til 20:00 hours last night. Now as it turned out, the two faults were not connected. The alternator that charges the starter battery is ph^(<3), and together with last nights frost the battery refused to play the game. So I phoned Paul and spoke to Ken. (Don't ask). He said as we were in Trevor Basin ask Anglo Welsh if they could help, (saving a call-out fee), and they were happy to help. Tony from Anglo Welsh jump started the engine from the domestic batteries, and tested the alternator while the engine was running and this confirmed our thoughts. The quickest and easiest way around it was to connect a link between the domestic and starter batteries, and let the domestic alternator charge the starter battery aswell. We now have to be careful not to let the domestic set run down too much.
Next, on to the Webasto heater. Oh! dear, how sad, never mind. The rubber water supply and return hoses connected between the heater and the water circuit had collapsed stopping the flow to/from the heater so the pump had stalled and the water in the boiler had over heated hence the auto switching off last night. Tony removed one of the supply hoses and there was no water in it. I checked the water level in the expansion tank and that was 3/4 full, it was then I noticed the valve under the tank was off! Of course, that's it! With the valve off the water cannot expand with the heat so the rubber hoses expand and probably there's some loss of water, possibly through a pressure relief vent. When it all cools the water contracts and hence the hoses collapse. So the solution was simple, connect it all up again, turn on the valve and try again. Success! after a smokey start it was away. Tony fitted some curly wrap around the hoses to help re shape them and re terminated one of the hoses removing the flattened part. And it was all serviced last week, I reckon someone forgot to turn on the valve again. A big thank you to Tony from Anglo Welsh  for getting us out of a sticky spot.

The vacated Llangollen Marina - a sorry sight.

Llangollen Town

On to more normal things and we'd planned to go by bus into Llangollen today- we did, but much later than expected. After lunch in the Corn Mill (very nice) we did some shopping in the town and its not change much since we were here some four years ago. The old coach company next to the canal has gone and flats have been built in its place, and that's about it. The rest is much the same, which is good in my opinion. The canal is still closed at Trevor, but on our bus trip which runs next to the canal for some way we could see no evidence of any works being carried out, and the canal is full all the way. There are no boats up there only the trip boats, and there were no boats in the marina either.
Back to TQ and I stoked the stove and tested the heating, all OK, and then I went for a walk across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct to the lifting bridge in Froncysyllte and back on the other side of the cut to the aqueduct, then under it and back up to the towpath again. A lovely late afternoon stroll.
The weather forecast doesn't look good, there's a high possibility of snow over the next few days, we'll have to keep a watchfull eye on it.
More tomorrow - hopefully.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Tuesdays blog...Llangollen, well not quite (KLT)

Made an even earlier start today and lifted the hooks shortly after 07:00 hours and proceded up to the first of the two New Marton Locks. I was hoping to do this one on my own but Lin emerged from her pit in time to steer TQ into the lock. The scenery is becoming more interesting the further we go and is quite dramatic as we approach Chirk.

Crossing Chirk Aqueduct

We couldn't have wished for better weather to do this in, in fact for once the weather has been kind if a little chilly, but we can put up with that.
The thing is with this part of the world there is more excitement just around the corner, quite literaly as we cruise the aqueduct and then into Chirk Tunnel. Who would believe an aqueduct high above the valley then straight into a tunnel...amazing. The railway is on the adjacent viaduct and the canal bends left through the tunnel under the railway. There is so much going on here. As the canal follows the contour of the hills it bends and narrows as it flows through Froncysyllte, throught the lifting bridge around the bend and across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. This is 1007 feet long, and 216 feet above the River Dee. Not for the feint hearted as there are no railings on the offside.
We turned left in Trevor Basin only to be stopped by BW workers who told us the canal was closed so we had to back out the hundred yards or so back into the basin where we moored up. This is the end of the line for us, so we went for lunch in the Telford Inn and very nice it was too. We had Telfords Steak Pie with potatoes and peas. As much as we could eat.
As we can go no further on the cut, we plan to catch the bus to Llangollen tomorrow.
I'll upload some more video when I get home as although our 3 connection is fast here in Trevor it takes about 30 minutes to upload a video like the one above. So here's some pix:-

Approaching the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

The edge of the aqueduct is 2" wide. 50.8mm in new money.
 And that's 126 feet down into the River Dee!
T is for tall!

1007 feet long.

From the River Dee.

Not quite straight as a die, but that's the railings.

Mondays blog... (KLT)

Another long day today as we slipped the rings at Whitchurch at 07:30 in the rain and set the lifting bridge so we could pass under. Something that surprised us was the length of drain pipe stretched across the entrance to the Whitchurch Arm with a sign saying "Arm Closed". We saw a boat enter the arm yesterday evening, so what that's all about, I haven't a clue. There's another sign in complete contradiction saying "Welcome to Whitchurch". Maybe its been handed over private moorings, I guess that's most likely. A short way past Whitchuch and we're on new water for us. We've been to Llangollen many years ago but not with TQ. We stopped briefly at Bettisfield to fill up with water, and it took half an hour so we were pretty low. I remember the last time we came this far we decided to stop for lunch at Cole Mere and the weather was so hot we had to move the boat up to a shady area and we had lunch in the cratch. Today, in complete contrast was very cold and damp. Needless to say we didn't stop for lunch this time. We were considering an overnight stop at the Jack Mytton but its closed until Wednesday evening. Perhaps we'll visit on the way back.

I thought it strange that the bridges are numbered 1 from Hurleston to 69 at Frankton Junction, and 1W from Frankton Junction to 49W at Horseshoe Falls. I guess the W means West.

Tonight we're moored between the Jack Mytton and New Marton locks having set the mooring hooks in at around 16:30.

First bridge past the Frankton Junction marked 1W
Sorry I couldn't put this up in time but there was no 3 signal at all.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Nine hours to Whitchurch (KLT)

Untied the rings at 07:30 this morning and headed off toward Hurleston Junction. Made the turn to go up the four locks where British Waterways ask you lift your fenders. I heard Lin laughing and looked around to see her pulling up her trousers. "How rude", she said. Cruising on and there is a new marina opened up since the last time we were here at Swanley. It's huge as can be seen in this photo taken from Swanley Lock No.2.
Marina from Swanley Lock No.2
When we were on Tranquility in September we managed to pick some sloes to make sloe gin for Christmas. I noticed there is still some on the bushes, the birds haven't eaten them and I wonder if this is a sign that its going to be a hard Winter.
Sloes...and so many.
We arrived at Whitchurch without any hitches as it was getting dark and we're moored on the public moorings just short of the lifting bridge No. 31.
After nine hours cruising the batteries ought to be well charged so its X Factor tonight (not again).
Lin just asked "have we got to get up at stupid O'clock tomorrow?". "Oh! yes" I replied.
Thats it for now, will blog again tomorrow.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

What a day! (KLT)

It seems a long time ago the alarm went off at 04:00 hours. We finished the packing with the last minute items and by 05:45 we were on the road. Then it started to rain and became progressively worse the further North we travelled. The M5 was awash between Bristol and Gloucester, it hammered down. Just North of Gloucester it was dry and further North the sun tried to shine. No hold-ups along the way and we were in Sandbach by 08:45 after a short stop in the motorway services. Met up with Artie at Elton Moss and he kindly gave us a lift to the AGM in Middlewich. We didn't want to leave our loaded car in an unsecure car park so we left it at Elton Moss.
The AGM went well, it had an easy atmosphere about it, and some radicle decisions were made about the inside and the outside of TQ. After the February maintenance slot TQ should look very different. Watch this space! A lot of work has already been done, the Webasto heater has been serviced, Bubble stove has been blacked and chimney swept, galley floor has been sanded and two coats of varnish applied, a new stern button fitted, shower resealed, and woodwork inside the windows resealed, engine room degreased and cleaned, anti-freeze checked and topped up, etc. etc. etc.
After the AGM Artie brought us back to Elton Moss and we made our way across country through the lanes to Church Minshull and on to Aqueduct Marina. Poped into the reception (very posh) and enquired about the keys for TQ. Guess what, they couldn't find them, further they didn't know where TQ was. An engineer was called and he knew where TQ was and he showed me where and we looked in the gas locker and lo and behold there were the keys. We unloaded the car and awaited a visit from a prospective share purchaser and he turned up early - ideal. He just wanted to have a look around TQ with a view to buying a share.
All that done, we chugged our way out of the Marina and headed to Barbridge where we're moored for the night. Had a good meal in the Olde Barbridge Inn, nice, although its looking a bit careworn in places.
Sorry there's no photos today, haven't unpacked the camera yet. Not only that the 3 connection is a bit, no, very slow here so I doubt photos would upload anyway.
More tomorrow - hopefully!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

In preparation (KLT)

Thoughts are now turning to our holiday. I've been watching the stoppages and found the only route we can take is from the new Aqueduct Marina on the Middlewich Branch to Llangollen. We have temporary moorings at Aqueduct Marina and this is where TQs maintenance is being carried out as Elton Moss is locked in by the stoppages. TQ has been moved from Alvechurch and will stay around the Church Minshull/Elton Moss area until the Spring when she'll be moored at Calcutt. At least that's the plan. Our AGM is on the 20th November so we'll know everything for sure by then.

I've a feeling we won't get to Llangollen due to the shorter daylight hours at this time of the year, but you never know. Lets just hope the weather holds out.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Oozells Loop to Alvechurch (KLT)

We paid a visit to David and Brenda aboard NB Mr David this morning and after a quick sarnie for lunch we slipped our moorings and headed on down the W & B. On the way we negotiated the diversion at Selly Oak and it hasn't changed much since our last passage in January, except that the new aqueduct is beginning to taking shape.

Heading South in the diversion. The aqueduct is on the left.

The channel is over between the reinforcement bar cages

Looking back at the temporary lifting bridge. (Left open at weekends).

Saw a heron struttin' his stuff just past Selly Oak.

OK everyone sees a lot of these but we don't often get an opportunity to take a photo. They're usually airborne before we get close enough.

So TQ is back on her Alvechurch mooring and we've been busy cleaning, packing and preparing to go home tomorrow morning.

Its been a great holiday, we've been to some places new to us and we look forward to our next holiday in November.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Merry Hill to Oozells Loop (KLT)

We left Merry Hill after the rain stopped this morning and made our way toward Blowers Green Lock where we took on water just around the corner from where where we are in the photo.

In Blowers Green Lock
Lin was nervous about steering TQ around to the water point so she made me do it!

There's a festival on at Windmill End Junction this weekend and we got caught up in some of the traffic. Not too much of a delay, just a boat in front going along at a moderate engine speed, but with TQ on tick over, we kept catching him up and we had to stop and let him go on a bit before catching him up again. The festival was a sight to behold with loads of working boats, just a shame we couldn't stop as I have to go back to work on Monday. Here's a few pix from our passage through:-

On the approach

Then it was through Netherton Tunnel. This must be the biggest bore on the cut, two way traffic and a towpath on both sides. We passed five boats in the tunnel, all heading toward the festival. It was quite busy.
So under Tividale Aqueduct and a short stop for lunch, then a right turn at Dudley Port Junction, and just keep on chugging 'til we get to Oozells Loop. This bit always seems a long way, its about seven miles, but always seems longer. I pulled a fast one and dived in the back way into Oozells Loop (Western end) to save turning around and reversing back onto our favourite spot.

Our current mooring safe, under the CCTV camera

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Stourton Top Lock to Merry Hell Shopping Centre (KLT)

I worked all TWENTY FOUR locks in two flights today, the sixteen Stourbridge Locks and the eight Delph Locks. Phew! - exhausted... and now Lin wants me to go shopping with her! I must say all the locks were a pleasure to do, and I need the exercise to help reduce my pie retention. The Stourbridge canal is as picturesque as the Staffs and Worcs Canal up as far as Wordsley Junction where it turns more a shade of industrial mixed with housing. Then, of course, there's the locks. All the way to Leys Junction where a right turn is negotiated and then a respite in the locks department to allow some lunch on the swim. Its not long before Delph Locks require attention, and if it weren't for lunch they would have been a struggle.

Currently we're moored on the embankment near the Merry Hell (sorry, Hill) Shopping Centre. Its quite secure here with CCTV and a local Bobby patrolling. We were advised by a BW locksman not to moor in the basin, not because its less secure, but because local the night clubs turn out late at night and there can be a bit of late revelling.
Our current location.

View from our starboard window.

Foot note:- The problem with mooring in places like this is that passers by like to gawp in through our windows, so the curtains are drawn well before dark.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Stourport-on-Severn to Stourton Top Lock, Staffs & Worcs Canal (KLT)

We had another look around Stourport this morning and picked up some odds and ends we forgot yesterday. Then we took on Water at the water point in the basin and proceeded up York Street Lock, the first one of fourteen in today's itinerary. If you've not been up (or down) the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal before, then I recommend you do because it is beautiful, akin to parts of the Llangollen.

Kidderminster Lock

One thing that didn't happen today is rain. Not a drop, in fact its the best day (weatherwise) we've had on the cut for some years. Its been a long sunny day, just like Swallows and Amazons.

Tonight we're moored above Stourton Top Lock just past the winding hole.

Caldwell Lock

Internet connection is getting dodgy, I'mgoing to have to sign off...
More tomorrow - hopefully.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Worcester to Stourport via The Severn (KLT)

Today went very well apart from a minor blip which spoilt things ever so slightly, but we won't get down hearted about it, I'll explain later.

We left Diglis Basin this morning at 09:30 and I turned left to "do a donut" and moor on the river pontoon facing upstream in order to pick up Lin as there is no access to the river from the upstream side of the junction. Lin was well impressed with my manoeuvring skills.

We did Gloucester last year, today its Stourport

So we start the journey to Stourport and this river is so much more interesting in this direction. Here's some pix near Worcester:-

In Pearsons Canal Companion the locks are described as automatic which may lead one to believe they are unmanned. Not so, all the locks on the Severn are operated for you by BW staff and Bevere Lock is the first one North from Worcester.

Holt Lock

I took this because Andrew Denny of Granny Buttons fame featured something similar a while back. Shame I cut the top of the mirror off.

Note the life jacket - Lin an I are not the best swimmers so we wear these on the rivers just in case.

The thing that slightly spoiled the day was that it rained very heavily for quite some while and it was accompanied with thunder. There's nothing you can do except put up the umbrella and keep going.
All in all its been a good day and I have to say the Severn is much more picturesque North of Worcester.
Our location this evening in Stourport Basin next to the BW office

Monday, 6 September 2010

Start as you mean to go on. (KLT)

Woke up very early on Sunday morning to find it raining in Somerset. Thought - We've been here before. Last week was beautiful sunny days and warm with it. This week will be cold wet and windy. Well today is Monday and its wet and windy. The weather always seems to know when we're on holiday, and throws its worst at us.

The journey to Alvechurch was dire, heavy rain and as soon as we got onto the M42 the traffic came to a standstill. I switched off the engine for twenty minutes and eventually it started to move. Slowly and occasionally at first and then gradually faster and faster. There was no suggestion as to what the hold up was, and by Jcn. 2 it was all clear.

By the time we arrived at Alvechurch the rain had just about stopped and allowed us to get TQ loaded with all our boating stuff. We left Alvechurch by about 13:45 and headed toward Tardebigge. By 14:45...

...We were here...

...And by 18:45...

Not the quickest we've done it because a lot of locks were against us and a few even had their bottom gates left open. If it were'nt for a kind soul with a windlass going the same way we would have taken longer so many thanks to him for his help.

There being no "3" signal at the Queens Head (bottom of Tardebigge Flght) there was no blog yesterday...sorry!

Monday turned out to be a nice day although the gale force wind spoilt things a bit, at least it was'nt cold. We made our way to Worcester stopping off at the Eagle and Sun for a carvery lunch which was excellent, and at £5.99 each I thought it was a bargain.

Whilst making our passage through Offerton Locks the BW lengthsman helped us through by filling the next lock for us and opening the gate. All this while cutting the grass and lubricating the paddle gear. A helpful chap indeed.

As we approached the Commandery in Worcester it started to rain and by the time we arrived it was hammering down, and tonight we're moored on public moorings between Sidbury Lock and Diglis Locks. Tomorrow its the Severn and hopefully we'll reach Stourport and with a bit of luck we'll have time to look around the town.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Visit to Coughton Court

St.Peters, St.Pauls & St.Elizabeths
View from the tower

Today we went to visit the National Trust property, Coughton Court, near Alcester. We enjoyed our time there, learning about the history of the family who had lived there for six hundred years. The house was very interesting and there were lovely gardens. We climbed the narrow spiral staircase to the top of the tower and were rewarded with a wonderful view. St. Peter's C.of E church next to the house is about six or seven hundred years old- can't remember exactlyat this time of night!- and was originally a Catholic church until the Reformation. Seeing the priest- holes and reading about the designer/builder and his eventual fate (on the rack) really brings home how frightening those times were for some people. A 'new' Catholic church-only one hundred and fifty years old- was built further down the lane and seemed to be in use, as well as St. Peter's, so I enquired at the Hall if they knew the time of Masses. A very willing lady went to find out and told me there was a Mass at 5pm today, so I duly went down to the church in time. However, although the organist was playing then, he told me that Mass wasn't until six o'clock, so I had a long time to wait!
After that it was time to get back to the boat and carry on with the sorting and cleaning in preparation for leaving in the morning and saying Goodbye to TQ until next year!

Friday, 3 September 2010

'Home' Early.

Another nice day. Deck cleaning and exterior polishing at Hopwood before we set off for Alvechurch. It was rather quiet; we had been expecting it to be very busy this week, because of the Bank Holiday/last week of school holidays. We tied up at the marina at 1p.m. and after lunch we had a long walk down the canal bank up to Tardebigge reservoir. Great view over the countryside from that point. There were some boaters working their way up the last few locks of the Tardebigge flight; they were a little weary (so we lent a hand!) but very happy with the weather. Later we had a good meal at the Weighbridge Pub next to the marina. Fortunately we had remembered to go across and book before we went walking.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

'Bye 'Bye Brum!

Another beautiful day... We didn't rush to leave the mooring early. Got the newspaper and then we made our way round to the BW Water Point near the Mailbox. The water tap was in use when we arrived so the Captain took the opportunity to use the touch-up paint on the starboard side while I nipped over to Tesco Metro for a couple of things, then kept an eye on the flow of water into the tank. We set off at midday and enjoyed a peaceful cruise past the university area, on to Bournville and eventually into Wast Hills Tunnel. Even in this weather it's always cold, with plenty of drips! We always make sure we put on the waterproofs before entering the tunnel; it is quite eerie really, with the passage lasting about twenty-five minutes. Didn't meet anyone coming through this time. Still beautifully sunny when we emerged, as you can see from the photo. We arrived at the Hopwood moorings before three o'clock and started on the exterior cleaning and touch-up. The crew had some 'time off' and continued working on the needlework sampler for our fourth granddaughter. It's almost three years since it was started and we have been very busy since then!! We enjoyed a good meal at the pub later.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Retail Therapy.

Wednesday 1st September.

We had a quiet night at Oozells Loop, as on previous occasions, and woke to a beautiful morning. We decided to have a quiet morning on board, with an early lunch then off to the shops for some new clothes. The shopping centre was extremely busy and the open spaces were full of people enjoying their lunches and chats outside, amidst the lovely floral displays. As well as acquiring some new clothes, I also had the nice surprise of choosing a ruby ring to celebrate our Ruby Wedding Anniversary which is coming up in October! We arrived back at TQ about six p.m. and left about 7:15 for the very short walk to Pizza Express. All the restaurants were busy, with most of the tables outside being occupied. Quite a buzzing atmosphere. Back inside to the blog and a bit of reading.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Back in the City.

Tuesday 31st August.

We left the Bournville mooring at 0950 and set off to Birmingham. It was fairly quiet and we encountered no problems; even the Selly Oak diversion seemed easier to navigate- but maybe that's because we're getting used to it after having passed through several times! The construction work is coming on and we could see quite a difference since we were there in June. We arrived in Birmingham about 11 o'clock and were very pleased to see a mooring space in Oozell's Loop so were all tied up by 1110.
After lunch we went to the shops and decided to have a meal at the Yo! Sushi bar in Selfridges. We love Japanese food and have been to this bar before. Tonight's meal was equally superb as the previous one we enjoyed there. Brindley Place looked as pretty as ever as we walked back to TQ and I must say that it was really lovely to see all the beautiful flowers and plants everywhere we walked, on this last day of August.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Family time!

Monday 30th August

It was a great day! Stephanie, Chris, Tamsin and Sasha arrived at 10:45 and we had such fun. It was their first visit to TQ and we enjoyed a leisurely cruise to Bournville. The weather was fine- quite a miracle for Bank Holiday Monday- and all went well. The girls thought it was very exciting. We moored the boat at the BW site opposite Bournville station and left TQ late afternoon to walk with them to the station so they could get the train back to Alvechurch to get their car. Sorry to see them go...
Afterwards we walked into the town and it all seemed rather quiet. However, we found Selly Manor to be open on BH Mondays (until 5pm) and were delighted as last time we were here we arrived too late to visit. Well worth visiting. We walked round the village a bit more before returning to the boat and having a meal on board and a quiet night.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Last Trip on Tranquility This Year.

Sunday 29th August.

We arrived back at Alvechurch this afternoon, on a sunny Bank Holiday weekend, for a week's holiday. It was good to see Tranquility again. We've decided to take it easy this week as we've had a very busy year and could do with a rest! After unloading the car, we went down to the local supermarket but were thwarted when there was a power cut and the alarm went off just before we finished our shopping- everyone had to leave the shop at that time. We waited a few minutes for the All Clear and went back in to continue where we'd left off. However, shortly afterwards the same thing happened, just as we were making our way to the cash till. Having been turfed out again, we decided to hedge our bets and go on to Sainsbury's instead. Just made it before closing time.
Staying in the marina tonight as our daughter, son-in-law and two gorgeous granddaughters, aged five and three, are coming tomorrow to have a little trip on the boat with us! It will be a new experience for them so hope they'll like it.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

The last leg.

Spent the morning chatting to people in between carrying on with cleaning - or was it the other way round?? Steve also went up to the winding hole so he could reverse TQ back to our spot in order to see to her other side. I walked up to the garage as I’d found out that they now sell newspapers- very handy, as is the postbox next to Hopwood House Inn!
As I cleaned the oven this morning, I discovered that the top oven/grill is missing the inner door glass. This, of course, is the new cooker which was only installed on 16th May. I do not use the cooker very much and hadn’t used the top one at all, so I hadn’t noticed this before.
Another visit to the winding hole so we could set off for Alvechurch about 5.30pm- just after the gas bottle ran out. Tranquility’s berth was waiting for her, so we are now into the last stages of packing up so that all will be ready for an early start homeward bound.
Very much enjoyed our trip as always and look forward to the end of August.
Final tally: Stourport Ring (almost!) and Black Country Ring (almost!!), 127 miles, 149 locks in about 78 hours of travel.

Notice the shine on TQ

Friday, 4 June 2010

Oozells Loop to Hopwood

Forgot to mention that when we were doing the Aston Locks on the way into Birmingham, we crossed paths briefly with Firefly going the other way. This morning the weather was fine, so Steve cleaned the exterior of TQ. I walked to the Mailbox to get the newspaper and a Get Well card and discovered there is a postbox if you go down one floor from Tesco Metro and turn right out of the side door of the Mall.
We cruised round to Sherborne Wharf for a pump-out (£9) and water; also ice creams as it was really hot by then! It was about 12 when we left the wharf and started back towards Alvechurch. We have been through the canal diversion at Selly Oak a few times now, so have noticed the progress of the works. In spite of the lovely weather, Wasthills Tunnel was still very cold and wet… We arrived at Hopwood about three o’clock and moored in the last space available before the water point. As we pulled in, we met David & Margaret ( TQ syndicate members who also have a share in a different syndicate. )
After mooring, Captain continued the work on the exterior while I began on the inside. Later we had a barbecue and pleasant sit down in the evening sun.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Day of rest?

We had a quiet night with no disturbance, followed by an easy-going morning, (apart from his lordship cleaning the outside of TQ!) then went to town. It was lovely and warm so we joined many others and sat outside for lunch. Summer weather…. The three hours of shopping only increased the aching in the bones, which had started after the 36 locks had been completed yesterday. No more locks till next time now. By the way, if you are in a hurry, don’t go to the Post Office in the centre of town. I had to have a card weighed and went to get an ‘order of service’ ticket from the machine, but was given a ticket (Number 127) from a customer who’d got tired of waiting. On it was printed that there were 86 people in front of me! In fact by this time of the day that wasn’t correct as there were only 37. However I quite soon got tired of waiting too, what with the heat and backache- and just put two First Class stamps on the envelope and hope that our son gets the card in time for his birthday on Sunday. I’m sure he’ll be very understanding if he doesn’t. By then we’d had enough of the High Life we’re not used to, so returned to TQ for the evening.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

A June morning..

A misty start!

As you can see, we set off on a foggy morning (7a.m.). It was very quiet and not too cold -for a change- and by 0920 we had finished the Curdworth locks, only bumping (figuratively) into people at the last lock. Not too long afterwards we came into the urban area and I took a walk at Dickens Bridge in order to get a newspaper. This entailed a walk alongside a very busy road, plus a complicated detour over to the far side of the traffic lights in order to be able to cross the road safely, as there was no chance at all for pedestrians at the first crossing I came to. Having purchased the paper and some milk, I retraced my steps over this busy, noisy road but made a slight detour to a post box as I had a birthday card to post. (Always looking for a postbox!) Unfortunately in the excitement of finding one, I made a slight mistake in the choice of the two roads available and ended up on the wrong one, heading towards a roundabout that I didn’t remember. Only a few minutes’ delay, though, as I could se the Captain on the canal bank from where I was.
Oops, back to the blog. We were out of the Minworth locks at 1130 and ate our sandwiches on the go before cruising under all the motorway roads of Spaghetti Junction. What a delight that is- although at one place there were some beautiful wild lupins in the middle of it all. From Aston locks I walked into Birmingham while the captain cruised. We shared the lock work and had no problems apart from BW chaps painting some of the lock gate handles, though they did help work the locks at one place. By afternoon the weather had changed and it was very hot; of course we were then on the Farmer’s Bridge locks, which were rather difficult to say the least, but we got through them and tied up in the only place available in Oozells Loop at 1645. Quite a busy day followed by a good meal and good wine at Pizza Express in Brindley Place.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Easy, easy, easy...

The prettiest footbridge on the cut? (Drayton Manor)

Tuesday 1st June.
We spent a quiet morning on board at the mooring as heavy rain had been forecast and we didn’t set off until 2pm. It was still raining, but a bit lighter. Went through Fazely Junction into the Birmingham & Fazely Canal. At 1710 we moored after Bodymoor Heath bridge. We had tried to moor before the bridge but the water was too shallow to get alonside. Went to the ‘Dog & Doublet’ at the next lock; had a delicious meal and enjoyed chatting with some fellow boaters who were on their last trip after 25 years of boating.