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.

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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.