Friday, 9 March 2018

Hatton bottom lock (I forgot about the intruders on the boat)

Buddy and I have spent most of this week taking walks around Warwick and up and down the Hatton flight. 

Looking up the top end of the flight on Thursday - still covered in ice

The weather has been mainly dry this week, so Karen has been able to walk to and from work without getting too wet.  Now she is winding down she has managed to reduce her hours, so gets home in the light which is good and makes us feel even more spring-like 😊

Even though all the ice has melted around us, most of the pounds higher up the flight still have a fair amount of ice on them.  Although most of the snow had gone by Monday evening, the remnants of drifts are still around.  These remnants really seem to fascinate Buddy; he makes a beeline for them and just stands in the snow.

On Tuesday I took the boat down to the Saltisford arm again, this time to get a new gas bottle, but whilst there I also filled up with water.  

There seemed to be quite a few people on the arm pottering around their boats and speaking to a couple of them it transpired that they are getting them ready to set off cruising for ‘the season’.  Many people winterise their boats and leave them in marinas for the winter and then cruise from Easter until late summer.  Each year, we seem to meet more and more people who cruise for six months in the UK and then spend the other six months in their holiday home on the continent.

The people I spoke to were both planning to set off at the beginning of April, one couple down to London and the south and the other couple will be heading north.

When we were moored outside Lidl in Leamington a couple of weeks ago, there was a rather worrying incident.  It was about midday and I was having my lunch indoors when I felt the boat rock and heard the sound of the rear doors being opened.  I shouted and ran down the boat to see what was happening only to see three young men running off down the towpath.  There was a set of wet footprints on the rear deck, so it seemed only one was on board.

I assume they were just being opportunistic, but it seems a bit odd to go into a boat that is obviously not locked so probably has people inside.  Other than being cast adrift in the middle of the night on the Huddersfield Narrow canal, this was the only other unnerving experience we have ever had.  We have probably been fortunate as we have been to some pretty dodgy places in our travels over the years.

No ice round us now

After getting the gas on Tuesday I had originally planned on cruising down the Cape locks and going back to Leam but Karen and I fancy trying the Catalan restaurant in Warwick before we leave, so it was another long reverse back to the bottom lock at Hatton from where it's an easy walk into town.

For those of you who read the last blog entry, you may remember that I rescued a fieldfare from the Oxford canal in Cropredy at the weekendMike was in touch during the week and suggested that it had got drunk from all the rotten apples it had been feeding on in the garden next to the canal.  This is probably true as the same thing happens to butterflies feeding on windfalls in late autumn.

Talking about butterflies reminds me that we have still not seen any yet this year but with a mild Saturday forecast we’ll be out butterflying so, who knows, we may get lucky.

On Wednesday I drove over to Springwood Haven marina just north of Nuneaton on the Coventry canal to pick up a new ignition barrel that I need to replace our intermittently faulty one. 

Yesterday I took Buddy to the vets to get his passport.  I attempted this a couple of weeks ago, but he couldn’t have his rabies injection as he had an ear infection.  The infection has now gone, he has had his rabies jab and we are now waiting for his passport to be made up, so we can pick it up next week.

For people who think their passports are expensive, Buddy’s passport was £80 and his rabies jab £60, so they are getting off lightly 😉  Bearing in mind the courses Karen and I are on in a month's time, the costs of taking the boat over to France for a couple of years are mounting, and not slowly!

Us from the other side of the cut

It looks like we are moored in the middle of a housing estate; well, I suppose we are, but with the high fences we are totally unaware of the houses.  Very few people walk along this stretch of towpath, so it does feel very quiet even though it doesn’t look it 😉

It seems that every time we look out across the water here we see a water vole on the opposite bank.  The strange thing is, is that it's always scurrying from the left to the right and we never see it going back the other way.

Must go now – fingers crossed for butterfly sightings this weekend. Oh, and only four weeks left on the countdown!

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