Sunday, 14 January 2018

Lapworth (shooting all over the country again)

Wednesday and Thursday were a real mixture of weathers – from clear blue skies to fairly thick fog.  We stayed put on our mooring and Buddy and I had a few walks and explores.

Sunny and crisp on Wednesday morning

We walked back up the Lapworth flight to Hockley Heath on Wednesday and then down the other way towards Stratford on Thursday.

Karen and I always try and buy free range eggs from canalside houses so I often carry a spare egg box or two in my back pack on the off chance.  At Lowsonford I came across this sign:

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a Saturday or Tuesday, so I will have to return next Tuesday to stock up on eggs.

When walking past one of the many barrel roofed lock cottages, typical of the South Stratford canal, I noticed the one between Dicks Lane and Lowsonford was on the market.  This is one of only two that have not been extensively extended over the years, so I endeavoured to find out more. 

   (Picture taken last summer by the way)
We have always been particularly attracted to this lock cottage as it is so remote.  We always remember it as the geese cottage as every time we have been through the lock, the owner’s geese are patrolling up and down the lock side.

I got in touch with the selling agent to find out more about the cottage: it is a mile from the nearest road, fresh water is from a well, electricity is supplied by a (broken) generator.  Looking at the pictures it is still very basic inside and very little has been done to modernise it.  All in all, it would be a brilliant hideaway apart from the fact that the traffic on the M40 can be heard.  I mentioned this to the estate agent and his typical response was, ‘Oh, I hadn’t noticed.  I’ve been there several times and always thought it was very quiet’.  Interestingly, all viewers have to be vetted and prove they have £165,000 in spare cash to buy the place and at least £50,000 additional cash to make the basic improvements.  Imagine explaining those figures to the lock keepers of the early 1800s ๐Ÿ˜‰

Dicks Lane lock cottage which is the relative neighbour of the lock cottage that’s for sale

In the picture above, you can see the original barrel shaped cottage next to the water with large extensions creeping out to the right.

The boat engine has been starting straight away every time I have tried it over the last four days or so, thus suggesting that Aileen was right and the boat was just sulking because we had left her for nearly three weeks ๐Ÿ˜‰.  I have had a few messages from people saying that they agree with my supposition that it can’t be the fuel start/stop solenoid that is failing, contrary to what RCR said, and more likely it is the starter solenoid or ignition barrel that is intermittently failing. 

After the fog had lifted on Thursday – at least foggy weather means there is no wind

Looking at the pretty iron bridges reminds me of another feature of this canal, the cast iron aqueducts.  Unlike most other ones in the country, the towpath runs along at the level of the base of the aqueduct so your head is practically at water height.  The longest aqueduct on this canal, at nearly 500 feet, is at Edstone and we have spent many a happy week moored around there.  I mention this because I came across an interesting (well, to me anyway) picture in the week.  The aqueduct has a drain plug in order to empty out the water for maintenance or inspection and I have included the following picture on previous blog entries:

The drain plug on one of our journeys over the aqueduct in 2017

The picture I came across showed how the drain plug was used in the steam engine days for locomotives to take on water.  This picture was taken in the 1850s according to Historic Warwickshire.  You can see the fireman half way up the side of the arch turning the wheel to control the water flow.

On Friday, we went up to Yorkshire to see my mum and dad for the day.  Dad has got weaker I’m afraid, but we still hope to get him into the care home up the road from their house in a week or so once the room has been redecorated. 

On Saturday it was another early start as we went down to Woking to help move my youngest son, Jake and his fiancรฉ, Dominique, into their new flat.  We had a great day and I was really pleased to see they had chosen a place right next to the Basingstoke canal.  No doubt the rest of the family would say they had chosen well because of the proximity to the railway station and town centre ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s a grey morning again today (Sunday).  We’re going to take it easy today, but we’ll probably reverse up through the lock and take on water. Hopefully, no one will take our mooring spot whilst we are away, and we can come back and get a slow roast going for dinner this evening.  The chances of our spot going are quite remote as I have only seen one boat come past in the seven days we have been here so far.

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