Thursday, 19 October 2017

Lapworth (rescuing the squeeze box for a second time)

Gorgeous sunset from the boat on Tuesday evening

On Tuesday morning Buddy and I walked up the Stratford canal to the top of the Lapworth flight of locks and then turned left to visit Lapworth church. Lapworth is one of those villages that moved, so the church is now a couple miles away from the current village which grew up around the canals rather than the church.

On the way I noticed a boat, called Squeeze Box, was adrift as one of its mooring pins had pulled out.  There didn’t seem to be anyone around but I thought I’d give a quick knock before clambering onto someone else’s boat.  As I went to knock on the door, it opened and a couple came out.  They had just realised that the boat was diagonally across the canal and were coming out to re-pin it.

I held the boat while they got the pins safe and I said I recognised them but not from where.  The lady got it immediately, she said I had rescued them when they got stuck in one of the Astwood locks on the Birmingham & Worcester canal.  They had just picked up the boat and weren’t aware they should drive with the fenders up, especially in locks.  They had stuck fast but we got them moving by slowly letting water in.  I have a long lasting recollection of him going round with a knife, angrily cutting off the gunwale fenders once the boat was safe 😊
There were quite a few boats on the move up and down the flight so I suspect some areas are on half term already.  Once we reached the top lock we turned onto the country lane that leads down to the church.

Church built before 1200 (date not time) and has clearly been added to over the years

The church was open so Buddy and I had a look around.  The most interesting thing to me was the unusual flat roof:

Another odd feature of this church is that the tower was built separately, in the 1300s, but a passageway to the church was added about 400 years later.  You can’t really see this feature from the exterior picture of the church above.

I fancied a more circular walk so headed down a footpath opposite the church rather than back towards the canal.  It led through a really large cattle field and I passed a couple of ladies whose dogs were off their leads but I didn’t dare let Buddy off.  Fortunately the cows were right across the other side; Buddy's not keen on cows.

You can just see the cows in the far distance, to the right

We also passed one of the small brick field barns but this one has clearly been converted to a stable:

Brick built field barn complete with silhouetted horse

We re-joined the canal at the beautifully maintained Lapworth cricket field:

This canal-side house is near the top of Lapworth and has slowly been added to over recent years.  Each addition has taken more of the garden and this latest addition leaves just a small area of decking.  Not sure how that would affect the resale value especially for families with young children.

After lunch we had another walk and this time we bumped into Jo on his boat, Pohutukawa.  I mentioned Jo and Lisa when we passed them the other day; they are now living on a boat that our friends, Craig and Sarah, sold them.  Jo and I spent a pleasant half an hour chatting, mainly about boat life of course.  He and Lisa, are both teachers, and have sold their house and are having a year out whilst deciding what to do with their lives. It’s always fascinating to hear people’s stories and never ceases to amaze me how people have the guts to sell up and move onto a boat without ever being on one before.  I had to keep Buddy on his lead whilst we were chatting as one of their cats wasn’t scared of him and crossed the towpath in front of him a couple of times.

On Wednesday morning I dropped Karen at work at six and then Buddy and I drove up to Yorkshire to see my parents for a couple of nights.  It’s looking hopeful that Mum may be allowed home next week.  It’s amazing that the bones in her ankles seemed to have healed after only four weeks.  My dad has had a stairlift installed, one of the prerequisites for her being allowed home.  The family feel happier now that the lift is there as there is less of a chance that Dad will fall down the stairs.  I had a go on it as well but didn’t allow Buddy on, much to the children’s disappointment.

The drive up to Yorkshire is obviously not much fun for Buddy but we arrived by ten and went straight to the river so he could have a run:

In the middle of the afternoon I took him on a longer walk, partly along the canal.  This canal-side milestone, in the middle of the village, rather gives away the name of the canal:

Buddy was happy to be back by canal water and made it quite clear as soon as we got onto the towpath:

I rang Karen in the evening and, as it happened, she was just getting back to the boat after work.  She was most concerned as the solar lights weren't on.  It must have been a pretty dismal day in the Midlands and the lights only lasted a few hours or, probably just as likely, the wind had blown over the solar receiver which is in one of the plant pots.

The aqueduct where the Leeds & Liverpool canal crosses the Crosber Beck which joins the River Aire in my parent’s village, Gargrave

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