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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Saturday, 29 May 2010

Up to date at last!

Wightwick Manor

Up at 0600 and moved the boat up to first position for the Bratch locks. Open at 8, we were told. However, another boat arrived at the gates at 0720 and the lockkeeper let him through - and us afterwards- and he helped us a lot on our way through. Unfortunately, this was the rainy day and it was quite heavy at times.
At 1020 we tied up near Bridge 56, in order to visit Wightwick Manor, which was just a short walk away. This is a National Trust property and well worth a visit, very interesting. The tearoom does not serve hot meals like some NT properties do, but the soup and sandwiches were delicious.
Later on we walked along the towpath up to Compton to a supermarket near the traffic lights there; we were very lucky as we managed to get our bit of shopping done a few minutes before the shop closed at 6pm. Back to the boat to eat again!

The best made plans........

Friday 28th May.
Well, we were up early as usual but the morning did not go to plan. Unfortunately the Captain was not feeling at all well, tummy-wise, (probably the sausages from the evening before) and spent all morning lying on the bed. He still didn’t feel right when we finally left the mooring at 2pm in glorious sunshine. Combined with the Crew, who has had back trouble since the day we left home for Alvechurch, we made a sorry pair struggling with the locks and tied up at The Bratch at 4.30. We used the moorings on the left side and then went for a (slow) walk to Wombourne, where we got a newspaper and cold drinks. There was a pub nearby, which would normally have inspired us to go back later for a meal, but of course Steve didn’t feel like eating, so it was cup-a-soup time on the boat and an early night for a change.

Barbeque Day!?

Thursday 27th May.
We set off at 7am, round to the water point first just before the lock for leaving the basin and entering the Staffs. & Worcs. Canal. (For anyone like me, who always seems to ‘need’ a post box, don’t miss the small one in the wall of the last building in the basin.) We soon came across swans with seven gorgeous little fluffy babies!
At Kidderminster on the right hand side, there are several shops including Tesco and M&S, then a little further on there is Sainsbury on the left, both with mooring places. We got a good cup of coffee at the latter and food for a BBQ in the evening- the weather being good again.
We were delayed in our travels today as we ended up at one lock behind three boats which were all close together, so at the next six locks we had a long wait. We were hoping to moor at Greensforge but found that there was actually only one visitor mooring, which was occupied, so we had to carry on. There wasn’t anywhere suitable to moor for a long time- until we were near Hinksford Lock, so we stopped there. It was a very quiet area but not particularly good for a BBQ and by that time (8pm), it had gone cooler so we decided to cancel the eating out experience and try out the new cooker instead. All was ok.

Friday, 28 May 2010

The magnifficent Severn

Wednesday, 27th May
TQ on the Severn at Worcester

Our night at The Commandery mooring was without disturbance, just as it was two years ago.
At ten past seven we went through Sudbury Lock, then on into Diglis and out into the Severn. It was so peaceful with beautiful trees lining the river. We saw a kingfisher in flight- a glorious sight! Hadn’t seen one for a long time. We arrived at Stourport about 12 o’clock and went through the two sets of staircase locks into the basin, which is quite large and accommodates wide beam boats as well as narrowboats. There were a few visitor mooring berths available.
We walked into town to see if we could find a restaurant for the evening, but didn’t find anywhere we liked; just did some shopping and had a coffee at the Courtyard CafĂ© - a great place with friendly staff and nice coffee. Came back to the boat to eat onboard.

Arrive Worcester

Tuesday 25th May.
It was much cooler this morning when we set off at 0720, stopping at bridge 25 about an hour later to walk into Tibberton village. I like the artist’s postcards on sale at the post office/village shop. There wasn’t a lot of movement on the canal again today and we had a fairly quiet day with just 13 locks to get through. We arrived at The Commandery in Worcester at 3pm and TQ was the only boat moored there until late evening, when another one turned up.
We had a quick walk into town and bought some caps, as ours appear to have been left at home. If anyone else has that problem, we found good plain beige lightweight baseball caps at M&S, in the Men’s department. Later on that evening we went back into town for a delicious meal at Pizza Express.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Tardebigge here we come

Monday 24th May.
Set off at 0640 for the first lock of the day. It was a scorching day, so not the best weather for getting through 42 locks! Traffic was quite light and the ‘journey’ was fairly uneventful except for one crazy lady. Steve had prepared the lock ahead, with gate open and waiting for TQ’s grand entrance. As I walked down and had almost reached the lock, the said Crazy Lady got her windlass in position to open the paddle and let the flood begin. Fortunately she heard my third shout and stopped. Couldn’t believe it. She said she hadn’t noticed the other gate was open.
Apart from a quick coffee break, an hour for lunch and forty five minutes for filling up the water and getting a newspaper, we were busy all day until we stopped at 1820 at Hanbury Wharf, where we enjoyed a very good meal at the Eagle and Sun- and we were very glad to get to bed that night.

1st day of holiday

Sunday 23rd May.
Arrived at Alvechurch about midday in searing temperatures and found TQ looking in a far better condition than on our last trip. As we began loading everything but our kitchen sink onto TQ, we had a visitor. It was the Boat Safety Inspector, who had carried out a check the previous Sunday on account of the installation of the new gas cooker. He said that the boat had failed on a few points; he then reassured me that this is the usual case which involves a re-check. After he had finished the check, he said that everything was fine now.
We set off from the marina at 1530 and arrived at Tardebigge an hour later, tying up before Top Lock and enjoying a delicious BBQ in very peaceful surroundings. The extreme heat had abated then, so the temperature was very pleasant.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Our last day.

I moved TQ to another mooring this morning with intent on polishing the port side and I'd picked my spot but there was an underwater obstruction preventing me from getting close to the quayside. So I did a "180" and moored in the same place, and got to grips with the polish and elbow grease. I'd been at it for a while when David from NB Mr. David came by and said hello. We had to laugh, a chap from the narrowboat moored some ways back strolled up and said "Excuse me, I wonder if you'd mind doing up my zipper for me." I looked, (not wanting to) at his zipper and seeing it was already done up (phew!), and then looked at David to see he was looking at me, and then this fellow showed us his plaster cast around his wrist and thumb, and clearly he was unable to grip the zip on his jacket. David zipped up his jacket for him and we all laughed when the guy saw the funny side of what he was asking. (All in broad daylight as well).
While I finished off the polishing, Lin disposed of the rubbish, went shopping, and filled the drinking water supply, and when she came back we strolled over to see David and Brenda aboard Mr. David for a chat.
Then it was Alvechurch bound, I fired up TQs engine and we headed off up around Oozells Loop and up to the former transhipment yard where we winded and cruised back to Old Turn Junction where we turned right, through Broad street Tunnel and the Worcester Bar and down the Worcester and Birmingham Canal to our mooring at Alvechurch. There is a temporary diversion in place at Selly Oak where there is a new road being built under the canal. Great care should be taken here as there are a couple of dog leg turns to negotiate through the diversion. The lifting bridge is still in place.

Approaching the first dog leg, Birmingham side.

View down into what will be road

The narrow bit before the next dog leg.

So now we're back on our mooring at Alvechurch, cleaned TQ through inside and out and partially vacated. Lin went over to The Weighbridge and brought back a couple of pints. There was a beer festival going on there and all the festival ales were sold out by 2o:oohrs (they'd been open since noon) and the queue for the pub ales was outside the door. What a way to finish our holiday. Tomorrow its finish off the cleaning odds and ends and packing the car and then a sprint down the M5 back to home, picking up the cat on the way.

Thanks to you all for reading this drivel, until the next time...

Friday, 14 May 2010

Busy going nowhere.

Took a stroll into the City Centre this morning, and paid a visit to The Bull Ring and the adjacent market. Picked up a few odds and sods, and then we went to O'Neils in Broad Street for lunch. Graham and Jill from NB Matilda Rose, went in there when they were here in February. So we thought we'd try it out. We had Blackened Chicken and Bacon Salad, and it was great. We'll be going back in there again, I think.
Spent the afternoon polishing the starboard side of TQ and I also cleaned out the hatch gutters and drain pipes. Lin ran round with the vacuum cleaner and cleaned the windows.

Showroom shine? Well almost.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

You never know who you're going to meet!

We slipped our moorings at Cuckoo Wharf at around 09:00hrs and made our way up the eleven locks of the Aston Flight. All very uneventful, there wasn't even a boat coming the other way. Turned right at the top if that's how to explain it, its really straight on as the turn to the left is very acute. Not much further on and the bottom of the Farmers Bridge locks is looming. We opened the bottom gate and this well dressed fellow arrives and gives us a helping hand. He didn't have a boat, which we thought was a bit odd, anyway this kind fellow assisted us all the way to the top lock at Cambrian Wharf.
A very big thanks to you, Jim Shead, for all your hard work.

Scenes along the way:-

Our current location.

Lunchtime, and we installed ourselves in our favourite location under the security cameras in Oozells Loop, and then a stroll over to The Malt House for a pie and a pint - excellent.

Just as I'm writing this, something occurred. We could hear voices for some time outside the boat and wondered what was going on, so we looked out the window and saw this:-

Tranquility - with added glamour.

I tell thee, you never know what's going to happen next...

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

A day in the rain

Alvecote Marina to Cuckoo Wharf

First things first, coal from the merchant up the bank. 25kg of Taybrite £9.15. I carried it back to the boat and got told off for getting my coat dirty. Hey ho!

It started raining early today and didn't stop until we were moored at Cuckoo Wharf. Indeed, down the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal we had ice, not sleet or snow, or hail, but ice crystals falling with rain. I suppose you could call it rice. At least it was mainly light rain. The frustrating thing was, there was blue sky nearly all round, but we had to be under the cloud which was precipitating.

We made our way along the Coventry Canal to Fazeley Junction passing Amington, Tamworth and Kettlebrook. We were surprised how quickly the junction crept up on us, and how sharp the turn was toward Birmingham. We spotted NB Sanity near the junction today.

Locks at Glascote

Drayton Foot Bridge. Must be one of the most photographed bridges on the cut.

Locks 8 & 9 on the Curdworth Flight were very difficult. The bottom gate on Lock 9 wouldn't open fully and we had to ram it open to get enough space for TQ to get through and again at Lock 8, the top gate had a similar problem and I had to remove an obstruction from behind the gate using a pole to allow it to open. Then it was a tight squeeze. I've a feeling some bricks from the culvert arch may have collapsed.

Lock 2 on the Curdworth Flight with M42 madness in the background.

Blue sky, but its still raining.

Just turned left, still on the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal.

Our current mooring at BW Offices, Cuckoo Wharf.

TQ report:- All systems working perfectly, except for the grill in the galley. It still overheats and cuts out. When the fan is running there is no cool air flowing out through the venting slots at the top of the grill. In my experience, this may mean the DC motor has been connected with reverse polarity. It will need investigating.

The view from the front window.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Sunday - A long day


Anstey to Sutton Cheyney

No "3" signal again, so this blog is late - sorry.

Hawkesbury Junction

Hawkesbury Junction

A Police Station?

Made our way down to Hawkesbury Junction and turned right onto the Coventry Canal, then about 2.5 miles further on we turned sharp right again and made time to explore the Ashby Canal, and what a pleasant surprise. Its much llike the Shroppie in places, especially the Middlewich branch, and in others its like the Caldon Canal. Stopping at The Lime Kiln for lunch, we had a pint each but there was nothing on the menu we fancied and the service was slow. The ale was good, though. We went as far as Sutton Cheyney and winded. Looking for a mooring spot for the night can be difficult. Any steel pilings have got continuous moorers welded to them and mooring elsewhere usually means shallow waters. We found a spot out in the sticks between bridges 31 and 32 where the pilings were concrete with a wooden facing. Too thick for piling hooks, I wrapped the mooring lines around the wood - no problem.There are a couple of large marinas and some nicer smaller ones too, food for thought for the future.


Sutton Cheyney to Atherstone

Still no "3" signal.

I was impressed by the Triumph motorcycle factory at Hinckley, the factory where I work would fit in there 15 times or more, it is massive.
Turning right at Marston Junction was a smoother, less acute affair than when we entered the Ashby, and we find ourselves back on the Coventry Canal heading toward Nuneaton. Through the town the canal is loaded with detritus. I actually saw someone throw a beer can over a bridge parapet into the cut in front of us, and he didn't even look where he was throwing it. People who do this really upset me but there's nothing I can do as an individual. The local authorities need to clamp down hard on people who cause this problem.

Spottted Bittern today, She's a sister ship to TQ and is currently based at Blue Haven Marina on the Oxford Canal.

Bittern, one of the fleet

We needed to get this troublesome battery seen to today so we called into Star Line Boats and also had a pump out and topped up the diesel. Very helpful and friendly service. NOTE:- they do not accept credit/debit cards. Lin had to walk into the town and get some cash. With all that done we headed on our way out of Nuneaton through some very nice countryside in complete contrast to Nuneaton.
Monday night, we find ourselves moored near Bridge 37, very close to a very busy railway line, with freight running all night. Better moorings around the corner but we didn't find out about that until Tuesday morning - Oh! well.


Atherstone to Alvecote Marina

Yippeee! Maximum "3"

Saw fellow bloggers Chas and Anne aboard their narrow boat Moore 2 Life today, happy daze!

Polesworth is quite a nice village, the River Anker flows under the main road and the water is crystal clear. We had a stroll around and bought some award winning sausages from the butcher, pork and leek and pork and apple, and some ales from the off licence - some Crabbies Ginger Beer and some Speckled Hen. A sandwich back on TQ, a bit of blogging and then... I'll catch up later if I can get a 3 signal.


We've moved up to Bridge 59, just short of Alvecote Marina. A poor signal on "3" but I think I can get away with it.

Like last night the railway is very close although not so busy.

We had some of those sausages for tea. I can confirm they are really good. "Are there any left?" I asked. "There's two" Said Lin. "Two" With more emphasis. "I'm counting them." Even more emphasis. "Are they the same?" I asked, thinking there might be one each of pork and apple and/or leek. "No" she said, "They're bent in different directions." What? (Fall about laughing)

There's a coal merchant just up the bank from here, I'll see if I can get a bag tomorrow.

Battery system is holding out a lot better. We used the telly and a laptop for most of the evening last night and still had loads of juice left for the Webasto heating the next morning - result.

As you can see in the video the black cover is broken exposing the vent from which the gas is escaping in large quantities. Look closely at the video and you can see the vapour emitting from the vent. This is what was making the hydrogen sulphide odour. When a battery boils it gives off hydrogen and oxygen, potentially an explosive mixture, and with the presence of electricity...

Saturday, 8 May 2010

A dirty day and a nasty smell!

Hillmorton to Ansty

Had a lazy morning and left our mooring at 09:00hrs in the rain, and it continued to rain steadily all day and at times the rain was horizontal.

Through Rugby the bridges are decorated with art instead of graffiti. Its all about the history of the town and includes the story of the game of rugby and the story of the canals in the area. Unfortunately, some of it has been dawbed.

Rugby has a Tesco and yes you've guessed, we paid a visit. Another two carrier bags full of "stuff", and then it was lunchtime, and then it hammered down so we timed that just right.

After the rain had slowed Lin stayed inside and I steered TQ the rest of the way to Bridge 11 near Ansty. Along the way, Newbold Tunnel was well illuminated, nice, but I'm not sure why. Apparently the lights are turned off at night to allow bats to roost? I would have thought there wouldn't have been any bats in there at night. Maybe I've got it all wrong.

At Stretton Stop there was a bit of a surprise, there is a swingbridge, and its marked on the map but its small on the map and small in actual size too. I think its a sales ploy to get you to stop and buy something. Luckily for us someone came out to open it. Good job too as last time I went into a place like this all I wanted was a spare light bulb and ended up buying a new caravan.

Ansty is a odd place for boaters. It looks a nice village and I'm sure it is but its not boatie friendly. There are a few visitor moorings at one end of the village occupied by the usual continuous moorers and local hire boats' overspill from the local boatyard, and the rest (and there's quite a lot) are dedicated to permit holders only, and are unoccupied, and further on there is loads of space with "Strictly No Mooring" signs, so we won't.

On through Ansty and under the M69 Motorway Bridge and just after Bridge 11 looked a good place to moor but as usual along here its shallow near the edge.

Oh! I almost forgot, that bad smell. We blamed it on the toilet yesterday, but today I discovered what it was. In the port side rear locker is a pair of batteries. I think they are part of the domestic set, the other three being below in the engine room. One of them is gassing badly under charge which is why the smell occurs at the end of the day, and why battery performance is down. On Monday I'll phone Carefree and ask their advice.

No neighbours, just the distant roar of the M69

More tomorrow if I can get a signal from "3".

Friday, 7 May 2010

Thursday and Friday blogs

Warwick to Long Itchington

No "3" signal whatsoever last night so no blog yesterday, sorry.

Starting with Thursday, Lin did some more shopping in Tesco for the things we forgot yesterday. She was gone ages, but it always seems that way when you're itching to get on. Well worth the wait though. Pushing on through Warwick, over the aqueducts we spotted a duckling on a floating crisp packet. I bet he'll have a narrow boat of his own when he grows up. Should've taken a picture but we didn't see him 'till it was too late. We didn't stop in Leamington as we want to explore the Ashby Canal and we're already pushed for time having made one detour already, but I still think we can do it.

Our location at Long Itchington

View from our window

Long Itchington to Hillmorton

Friday, and we woke up to a hung parliament. (whoopy doo) Not that we're bothered much, we'll just sit back and watch them fight it out over the next few days. That'll be a laugh.

Thought I'd take a stroll over the aqueduct which spans the River Itchen. The Weedon and Leamington Railway used to wend its way along here and now its a Sustrans cycle path and all the railway track has been removed. Not many bikes use it I'd think, its fairly well overgrown on the far side of the aqueduct.

TQ in the distance

On through Stockton Locks and there was Portugal, a tug in our favourite style. I want one of those please.

Portugal. A lovely tug.

I was surprised to see how big Ventnor Farm Marina is. We were passing it for ages and then there was more of it right up to Calcutt Locks, and Calcutt Boats have a large marina as well.

Calcutt Junction is where we leave the Grand Union and turn left onto the Northern section of the Oxford Canal. This is much different, there are no concrete sides to the cut, just the odd bit of piling and mainly shallow slanting concrete slab sides which make it impossible to moor close to the bank.

Braunston Junction is not far away, we turn left again and the Grand Union continues to the right.

Approaching Braunston Junction

We've done well with the mileage today, just looking at the Pearsons Guide, 16.5 miles is our distance traveled. Currently moored at the Old Royal Oak, a Hungry Horse house, we went in and ordered fish and chips. It was good value at £8 for two. The ale was rubbish though, very cloudy, their excuse was it was a new barrel and needed to settle. They didn't stop selling it, and offered me a cheaper alternative and I didn't receive the difference in cost either. Shan't be going back there again.

Update on TQ, all is going well so far, although the batteries only just come up 12.5 volts after 8 hours engine run and an hours' rest, and after half an hours' TV they drop right back to 11.8 volts under load. I'm switching off the inverter overnight and turning the fridge back to one. This is helping a little, but I would suggest they need drop testing and replacement as necessary.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

From Black Boy to Cape of Good Hope

Another good day today, we were away by 07:00hrs even after spending an excellent evening in the Black Boy with Anne and David and being the last customers in the pub at chucking out time. We haven't done that for a few years.

Our trip to the Cape of Good Hope was hard work, Shrewley Tunnel was very wet and every lock on the Hatton Flight was against us. We passed a boat coming up the flight, but the next lock was still against us. There was a boat going down ahead and they were not prepared to wait for us even though it would have been easier for them as well as us and could have saved water in the bargain. We're moored on the visitor moorings opposite the Cape of Good Hope and we walked the mile to Tesco, did some shopping and walked all the way back and then we went in the pub and had an excellent meal. Lin had a beef burger and chips and I had sausage egg chips and beans. Well deserved after a hard days' work so burger the calories.

Shrewley Tunnel and the unusual separate towpath tunnel

Inside Shrewley Tunnel

On the Hatton Flight

I don't think this has moved since the last time I photographed it

A diversion on tick-over

This blog is dated Tuesday 4/5/2010
Sorry about the late blog there is something wrong with our 3G dongly thingy. I've found that I need to uninstall the programme and reinstall it again each time I use it.
We were planning on turning right at Kingswood Junction and heading off to Warwick, but friends Anne and David reccommended a pub on the Grand Union called The Black Boy (not sure if that's PC today). This meant turning left and a detour on tick-over (we have loads of time to spare) up to the winding hole just before bridge 70 and coming back past the Black Buoy Cruising Club and mooring up on the left, right outside the pub. What I've neglected to say was, we also stopped at the Navigation for lunch, and had a ploughmans and a pint. I made the mistake of ordering a pint of Dog Dancer which turned out to be cider. I might be from Somerset but I'm not a cider drinker. Well, it wasn't bad for the first half, but after that it became more and more samey. I'll not be doing that again. The ploughmans lunches were good though, but I can't help thinking the sandwiches others were having was better value for money. So here we are outside the Black Boy and we'll be meeting Anne and David here later for a meal. Tomorrow morning we'll have to be away early and get all the way down the Hatton Flight.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Connection at last and the paint job

This blog is for 2nd May 2010.
Sorry, tried to blog last night, but there was no signal. Turns out there probably was a signal, but a corrupted programme in my laptop was preventing me from receiving anything. Uninstalling the programme and reinstalling it did the trick.
Anyway here goes:-
Had a good journey to Alvechurch despite the rain and loaded up TQ straight away. I asked in the office if TQ had had her turnaround check done and they said it would be done at around 13:00hrs. so we had to wait awhile for that to happen. In the mean time we checked the loo (well you have to eventually) and it sounded different to what it had in the past, so we asked the engineer for his opinion. he said "It sounds just like it did last week and as its working, run with it and if it goes wrong, call us out." So that's what we've done. We decided to stay at Alvechurch that night and get away very early in the morning as we were meeting some friends later at Kingswood Junction.
I've got a picture of TQ in the camera, and I'd downloaded it to the laptop but blowed if I can find it now. I'll blog it here later.
I've found it!

Tranquility on her home mooring at Alvechurch

About the paint job TQ had week before last, OK its not bad, but the finish on the roof is a bit iffy. I don't think TQ is going to look really good until she has her full repaint this coming Winter, but for now I guess its OK. If this were the "final result" I wouldn't accept it.

This blog is for today 3rd May 2010.
Up with the Lark this morning, and away by 06:30hrs (that's not a typo) and made our way North to Kings Norton Junction. Lin steered through Wast Hill Tunnel while I had a shower, and I steered while Lin showered and made breakfast. Bacon butties on the fly. (Whilst cruising). Through Brandwood Tunnel, and we didn't get spat at this time, and on to the Shirley drawbridge where the buttons have to be held in to operate the lift gear. You have to press them in hard, I guess they've seen a lot of service. Locked our way down Lapworth and caught up with Anne and David near Kingswood Junction. They have a delightful boat and we spent the rest of the afternoon talking boats and engines. Time to retire, I'll continue tomorrow.