Friday, 6 February 2015

Boat jam

Another quiet and lazy day on Thursday.  In the morning we walked up to Fradley junction to check on the progress of the lock.  The guys working on it said that it should be complete by Sunday evening but we remain sceptical.  You can see the new connectors put on the ground paddles here. 

The ground paddles are normally under water and Karen winds the paddles up using her windlass on the winding gear (the upright ratchet and cogs in the picture below) .  The water then runs through a culvert into the lock the other side of the gate(s) to fill it up.  As this is a single lock there is only one top gate and it can be seen open in this picture.

They have also replaced the metal collars and feet that are on the the top and bottom of each lock gate and aid them to swivel freely.  The lock being worked on is the second from the top of a flight of five.  The Coventry canal goes off south between this lock and the next one down.  There is an ingenious channel between these two locks that takes the overrun from the higher one directly down to the lower one.  This means that none of the overspill water enters the Coventry canal.  This was extremely important when the two canals were run by different companies.  All explained in this plaque here.

After lunch we found a green lane in Alrewas and had another walk.

We took some logs as we are running out.  I know it looks like we took them from the hedge but we didn’t, they were offcuts from a felled tree.

There is quite a gaggle of boats here in Alrewas; we have all come off the river and come through the first lock in Alrewas to find the canal frozen thus impeding progress.  We hear that a thaw is on its way so I suspect there will be a bit of jostling for position over the weekend as everyone wants to get on their way through the lock at Fradley when it opens.  Whoever goes first will hit the ice unless we all wait until thawed over the weekend.  If someone breaks first on Friday then we will probably follow up an hour or so later and moor up in Fradley for the weekend. 

Our immediate neighbours are a guy called Woody who works in the area and lives on his boat.  He is a continuous cruiser and therefore has no mooring and has to move every 14 days.  A typical liveaboard; really friendly, helpful and will chat for ages.  The other neighbours are a couple who have a permanent mooring on a marina and came out for a cruise not realising that once they were off the river they would be halted by the ice.  Nice as they are, they are not really our cup of tea.  Mind you we don't really know them; every time we see them, she is crocheting and he is watching TV or hanging out the side hatch having a cigarette.  To be fair he did help us when we were trying to moor in the ice.

As we don't have a permanent mooring we also have a continuous cruiser licence which means we have to move at least every 14 days.  We have been in this area long enough now and are both really looking forward to getting on the move again soon and seeing some new places.

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