Brinklow – Braunston
Today felt like summer, it was definitely a hat and sunglasses and plenty of water sort of day to be outside.
We stopped behind a familiar boat when we tied up for provisions in Rugby, the Milly M, Maffi’s boat. He wasn’t in but we arranged to meet up later.
No queues at Hillmorton which was surprising, and then we were in Braunston, in time to pop in to the Chandlers. Our friends Mikey and Katie of Victoria and Mercury were also there by coincidence so it was nice to catch up with them.
Also in Braunston were Simon and Ann of Melaleuca, and we were pleased to catch up with them too. In the evening we went to the Admiral Nelson with them and Maffi which was very pleasant. Good food and beer. A was fast asleep when we arrived until the bar skittles woke him! But he was good as gold through dinner then fell asleep in the buggy on the way home. Getting him over the ladder bridge was interesting – James and Simon carried the buggy over between them.
The clocks go forward tonight, I wonder if A has got the message?
Atherstone – Brinklow
We started the day working up the rest of the Atherstone flight in the morning sun. The daffodils are out and spring was in the air. A fell asleep in the buggy just as we reached the top lock so I carried on along the towpath with him to give him a nap.
Then on along the Coventry, past the famously eccentric Charity Dock with its gang of oddly attired mannequins, reaching Sutton Stop mid afternoon.
We tied up at Brinklow, then it was time for bath and bed for BoatBaby. We bath him in our huge Belfast sink which is like a swimming pool for him!
Hopwas – Atherstone
A glorious day for boating! We had arranged to pop in to Glascote Basin, run by our friend Sarah so once up the two locks (BoatBaby in sling), we turned in there. We hadn’t visited since Sarah took over so it was fun to have a look around and a catch up while the laundry was going. James also sorted out the new bilge pump and cleaned the diesel filters while we were stopped.
Then it was off along the canal to Atherstone, where we hoped to make it to the top. On the way we passed another Sarah on nb Enceladus, crewed by Lesley. Alas I couldnt wave because I’d just got A to sleep and didn’t dare move!
Pre BoatBaby we would have definitely carried on to Atherstone top but after 6 locks there is a long pound and he started grizzling so we tied up early.
Great Haywood – Hopwas
Not many locks or social engagements today, just a steady chug along the Trent & Mersey and then on to the Coventry.
A slept in his sling as I walked the towpath to work the few locks there were, but mostly we stayed in and got on with things like finding homes for all the baby things and doing the handwashing of baby stuff and underwear (we do have a washing machine on board but not the power to run it until we have our shore line).
Trentham – Great Haywood
We had stopped above Trentham Lock so got through that first with the help of a random bloke on a bike! By the time we arrived at the top of Meaford I had BoatBaby ready to go in his buggy seat and we set off lockwheeling. Unfortunately friends who had hoped to help werent able to make it. But we still made good progress. I worked locks with A in the buggy sleeping.
I worked out some rules for myself to make sure he was safe:
- Brake on when I am not rocking the buggy even if its flat.
- Park on flattest surface, at least 2m or so away from edge.
- Never park buggy in swing of lock beam even if it can’t move yet.
- Face A away from lock gear in case of flying windlasses
I wanted to make sure he would be safe if I needed to do something like run and drop a paddle.
He made it until the last lock (Star) when he got hungry, so I sat on a pub bench and fed him while the lock filled (I love how convenient breastfeeding is)
Once tied up at the bottom of Stone locks we met up with a friend and her baby, who is just 2 days older than A and went for proper Staffordshire oatcakes!
Then onwards towards Great Haywood and A slept most of the way but had a knack for waking up demanding to be fed just before a lock so I couldn’t be very helpful.
Congleton – Trentham
Lovely sunny day for our first full day’s boating
James is effectively singlehanding while I look after BoatBaby inside. But I do hope to do some steering in between feeds (as A is breastfeeding) and if he is happy in the buggy, some lock working too. So when friends Alison, Rupert and their son Peter offered to help with the Stoke locks after school we abandoned our plan to stop at Etruria and instead went all the way through to Trentham.
Lindsay and Keppel at Etruria
Our last blog had us arrive at Bollington ready to start work at the boatyard. As we were so busy at the yard, blogging rather fell down the priority list! We had a great couple of years at the yard, we both learned a lot but then someone came along who rather changed our plans!
We initially planned to stay at the yard with BoatBaby aka A, but after a lot of thought we decided to move away, as James had been offered skippering work in London that would mean I could stay at home with our little boy at first. Plus we had always wanted to try London boat life and have friends there.
A was born on 7th Feb and we all stayed at my mum’s for his first 6 weeks. But on Sat 23rd March we moved back onto the boat to begin our journey South. A’s first boat trip!
On Saturday we said goodbye to our colleagues & friends from Macclesfield then on Sunday the voyage really began!
We had 7 lock workers to help us down Bosley and A slept in his buggy the whole way. Hopefully we have help sorted for the rest of the flights, but the more the merrier and if we are passing we would love to see you! Our route is via Braunston.
We tied up on the embankment at Congleton overnight, what a beautiful spot. We had always wanted to stop there.