Thursday, 25 August 2016

Tomlow (more family time)

Buddy doing as he is told

Last Sunday we went to Lauren and Lewis’s for the day.  They hosted a barbecue for my youngest children and some of their friends.  Fortunately it kept dry all day and it was really good to catch up with everyone.

Polly (my youngest) surreptitiously tucking into olives

Lauren and Lewis – proud owners of their first barbecue

This week has been too hot again for Buddy so we tended to go for walks early in the morning and later in the evening.  I got very cross with him when we went past Calcutt locks one day as he saw a dog on the other side and ran across the gates without asking.  He is usually pretty good and will wait until he is told he can cross.

The next day I thought I would take him out and do some lock training.  All was good and he would wait by the lock gate until he was called over – see picture at the top. We carried on doing this for a while and I started to feel quite proud of him, especially as he was getting congratulated by passing boaters and walkers.  We walked on a while and a collie appeared from nowhere and they started playing really nicely together.  The next thing I knew, the collie had run across a set of lock gates with Buddy in hot pursuit – all the training undone in one foul swoop.  I was cross again, but as it was hot we decided to call it a day and walk back home.

I have mentioned before that there seem to be few kingfishers on this stretch of canal but Karen saw one when she went to work on Tuesday.  She was walking along the road to her car and one flew off the canal, over her head and straight down the road as if it were flying over water.  When she told me about this in the evening it reminded me of when we were moored on the Birmingham & Fazeley canal near the M42 east of Birmingham last year.  We were watching a pair of kingfishers and suddenly one took off at right angles to the canal and flew straight across the motorway.  I can’t believe many people have seen a kingfisher flying over a motorway.

Our peaceful mooring for the week at Tomlow.  We will have to move on next week though.

I haven’t really done a great deal this week because of the weather but I did see my first Dark Green Fritillary butterfly of the year when sitting outside reading the newspaper.  

I spent some time planning how we are going to get the boat up to Northwich in Cheshire to drop it off and pick up the new boat.  We really have to get going after the bank holiday weekend as it is 120 miles away and there are 78 locks to go through.  We will have been at this spot for two weeks on Bank Holiday Monday so it will be time to move on anyway.

Our route north west over the next four weeks

For the first two or three weeks Karen will come back to the boat each evening but after that we will be too far away for her to travel each day.  She will need to find somewhere to stay during the week whilst Buddy and I continue our travels.  At least we will be together at weekends and hopefully get some good cruises in.

Next week we will head back to Braunston on the Grand Union where we will turn north up the North Oxford canal.  At Hawkesbury we will join the Coventry canal until it meets the Birmingham & Fazeley canal at Fazeley junction.  Continuing roughly northwards we hit the Trent & Mersey canal at Fradley junction and stay on that canal until we get to the boatyard at Northwich around 20th September.

The journey is along canals we have cruised several times before but it will be a pleasant change to be moving every day.  We will pass through towns like Rugby, Tamworth, Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent and Middlewich so there will be ample opportunity to stock up on supplies.  No doubt we will bump into boaters we have met along the way in the past too.

This coming weekend we are off camping near Ludlow with my sister, Judith, and Nigel.  We are really looking forward to this as it will be a novel experience camping with them without any children with us.  Not that we don’t enjoy camping with all the children of course!

It was raining earlier this morning so I spent a bit of time reading some of our blog entries from when we were in the north last year.  I am so pleased that we keep a record of what we do; even the basic entries bring the memories and the feelings at the time flooding back.

Buddy, having been told he can cross the gates

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