Monday, 7 March 2016

Polesworth (summer & winter memories)

On Friday Buddy and I had a long walk in the morning.  First we went down to Glascote to look at the locks that have been closed for repairs over the last two months.  They were re-opened this week so we can continue our journey southwards; unfortunately, there are still stoppages at Atherstone  a few miles further on so there’s not much point progressing far until they are finished on Friday 11th March.
Repaired brick work at Glascote top lock

This sign before some residential moorings made me chuckle.

Pleasant way to get boaters to slow down
We then had a good look around the Pooley nature reserve but saw nothing of note.  I did forget to mention on the last blog entry that we saw our first kingfisher for several weeks when we were cruising down to Fazeley.  I came across several more 18th century milestones; the right hand face shows the number of miles to Coventry basin and on the left, the number of miles to Fazeley junction.

More Coventry canal milestones from the 1770s
When Karen got home from work on Friday evening we thought we would get all our shopping down so the weekend would be free.  Shops, especially retail parks, are places we try and steer clear of and Friday’s fiasco confirmed why, these are just some of the reasons:
  1. We had pre-ordered wine and food so we could just pick it up and save time.   There was a wait of 30 minutes because they were three staff short.
  2. When we got home we found we were overcharged by £2 on several bottles of my red wine.
  3. The self serve and pay  petrol pump we queued up for wouldn’t accept our cards (a fault on the reader apparently)
  4. Two cash machines not working
  5. M&S didn’t have the boots that Karen wanted despite the website saying they were in stock.

All this meant we had to go back on Saturday morning when it was even busier because it seemed like people make a day out of going to these places.  Anyway we sorted things out and set off to cruise five miles down to Polesworth.

This is Fazeley junction – to the right the Birmingham & Fazeley canal passes Drayton Manor, goes under Spaghetti Junction and then into Birmingham.  We turned left on the Coventry canal towards Coventry.

Fazeley junction complete with kingfisher and robin murals
An aqueduct took us over the River Tame – hence the name of the local town Tamworth.

Tame aqueduct
Here are the two locks we went up at Glascote.  Not a boat in sight this time compared to when we came down in September when we had time to make and eat lunch whilst queuing.

Glascote bottom lock and, in the distance, the top lock
This is Alvecote marina which looks quite a pleasant place to live if you’re the type who wants to live on a marina.  It is built on the site of an old coal mine.

Alvecote marina
There used to be several arms and branches off this canal leading to local coal mines and even a terracotta works apparently.  This is all that is left of this arm…

Old coal mine arm at Amington
…and this one is dry but can be traced through the woods that have now enveloped it.

Dried out arm in Alvecote woods
This is Pooley Hall built in 1509, it is the earliest example of a castellated manor house in the country and was recently owned by the American soul signer Edwin Starr until he died a few years ago.  You can’t really see but the canal banks are covered in snowdrops as are the lawns around the house.

Pooley Hall
We moored up at the visitors’ moorings at Polesworth and with some other boats that had been moored at Huddlesford when we were there.  We had a look around Polesworth for safe places to park the car and found a few places within easy distance of the boat.  There are several towny type pubs in the village and they brought back fond memories of when we spent a night in one with our boat friends Mike and Aileen.  Our recollection was that it was in the summer but on looking back on the blog we were surprised to see that it was well over a year ago in the middle of January 2015 – how time flies.  Reminds me of an interesting book I’m reading at the moment called Time Warped, a Christmas present from the children, which delves into how humans perceive time.

Later on we walked back to Fazeley to get the car and on the way made a stanking plank store discovery.  The stores in this area are built into the bridges but we hadn’t realised that air holes were made on the opposite side to the main door to help keep the planks from rotting.

Left: Stanking plank store door. Right: Air hole.
We had a lazy day on Sunday; went for a walk and had a roast in the evening.

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