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SEPTEMBER 2017

Tuesday 26th. Bright and cheerful. Troy came in a hired van to transport us and all our belongings home, it was time to say goodbye to the Iron Butterfly and the end to our boating adventures. We thanked James for his profecionalism and speedy delivery of buyers. It all happened so quickly he didnt even take a photograph, never mind all the other stuff that usually goes with boat sales like, discription. lay out plan etc.
With mixed emotions and one last look at our beautiful boat, we left Rugby Boats yard and headed home

Sunday 24th. Sunny and warm. I did a bit more cleaning in readiness for John and Michaels visit. They were more than happy with the work we had done, so over a cup of tea they asked loads of questions, which we were more than happy to answer, also giving advise on some of their ideas, like the down side of having full sized bicycles instead of folding ones. We then took them for a cruise, Michael doing some of the driving, just a short trip to the winding hole and back. After an enjoyable afternoon we parted company.

We are leaving the boat for the last time on Tuesday, the earliest Troy can pick us up with a hired van to transport the items accumulated over the last two years back home.

Saturday 23rd. Sunny and warm. How busy have we been...rubbing down, priming and glossing the battle scars, blacking the hull and generally making the boat pristine for the new owners. Although I am gradually clearing the cupboards, we will not be picked up until Tuesday so will still need to live, so its made it quite difficult. Once clear I shall give our lovely boat one last clean and that will be the end of our adventures afloat, sad but time to move on.
Everyone has been most helpful, the man in the workshop with words of wisdom and a good supply of cardboard boxes and the staff at Rugby Boats who have all helped to make this experience as stress free as possible.
The boat was lifted once again back into the water, after a good wash she looks lovely with the new paintwork, a credit to our hard work.

Tuesday 19th. Sunny and warm. I cleaned the boat inside and polished the stern deck, Dave did the bow.
Two men, Michael and John, came to view the boat all the way from York. John had already viewed our website on line so knew a lot about the boat and our cruising. They loved her as much as we do and placed a deposit, we still have to make the paintwork good but they are very lucky to have purchased such a fine craft as their first floating home. They intend to do six months afloat and six months caravaning in warmer climates, like Spain.

Late afternoon the Iron Butterfly was craned out and put on the side where Dave set too and pressure washed the hull ready for the start of remedial works tomorrow. we are now high up, perched on railway sleepers overlooking the canal.

Monday 18th. Buckby to Stowe Hill Wharf. Sunny and mild. We used the services, then waited ages for another boat to pair up with for the Buckby locks, but no one appeared after 1/2hr so we set off alone. At lock three we met another lone boat so we had company down the rest of the locks and where did they come from...Bedford. The last time we did these locks we had Gregors help, I could have done with him today as well. We stopped at Weedon Bec for a meal at The Heart Of England, a to for one, then got a few bits from Tesco Local before carrying on to our final destination of Stowe Hill Wharf.
We turned the boat around and moored up as we wanted to wash and polish the starboard side. I washed and dried the whole side, while Dave polished half, to be finished tomorrow.

Sunday 17th. Milder than late with a bit of sunshine. Jody and Willow who came to stay last night, were a great help going up the six locks out of Braunston, we then had a nice cruise to Buckby top lock where we mooring for the night and for Tiny to pick up the two girls. I did a roast pork for tea which everyone enjoyed and then our visitors left at 6pm.

Friday 15th. Braunston. Wet for most of the day, so we stayed in with a good book a peace. Dave walked to the shop for provisions, while I did some more polishing between showers until rained off.
While we have been moored here, hundreds of boats have passed without incident. Today we were sitting in the lounge when we were rammed in the side, not just a glancing blow, a full on whack to the center and then as it slid along, another to the stern as it passed, Dave opened the window and shouted, 'ant you even going to appologise' the chap driving said 'sorry, but I was hit buy that boat, which knocked me into you' pointing to another passing boat going in the other direction. One guess who was driving and crewing, Timothy West and Prunella Scales, no less, notorious for his bad driving, in fact the marina where he moors has moved him to as near the entrance as possible because he kept hitting a bridge and damaging it and then hit a pontoon so hard it broke.

Thursday 14th. Braunston. Showers all day but mild in between. Paul from Braunston Marina and James of Rugby Boats came to value the boat. Although Paul gave a higher valuation, Jame's terms were more favorable, so that made us decide to go with him.

I washed and polished the port side of the boat, Daves back made him reluctant to help, so left him to relax aboard, how lucky is it my arm is a lot better, although still painful and weak.

Wednesday 13th. Lower Shuckburgh to Braunston. Wow, what a night, a storm of rain and wind which rocked the boat and made such a noise I didn't get much sleep. Luckily I had taken the pots off the roof and put them along the side of the boat, sheltered from the wind, if I hadn't, I don't think there wold be any flowers left. Although we didn't travel far today, there didn't appear to be much damage, just the odd tree down. Stopped for services at Midland Chandlers before finding a mooring in Braunston, not much choice, I suspect because of the wind people were reluctant to move, so we moored at The Boat House.

We walked to dump the rubbish at the Stop House, I then went to swap some books, while Dave went to arrange a valuation for the boat. We ate in the Boat House, then as I was boarding the boat, a chap came to speak to me, it was Roger, who I had met on Gongoozlers years ago, he is friends with Jenny who used to run it, he reads my blog so knew what we had been up to, his wife, Jane, had gone for a break in America, so I didn't get to see her. Jenny is also in America visiting her brother, alright for some!

Dave is still crippled with his back, so there isn't a good one between us! I gave the bathroom a good clean in readiness for the valuers tomorrow.

Tuesday 12th. Long Itchington to Lower Shuckburgh. Sunny, windy and dry. Dave was doing the locks, when he walked towards me and I thought, hes walking funnily, his back had gone and he was in a lot of pain, so I did the rest of the locks, how lucky that my arm is getting better or we would have been up the swanny, as they say, two poor old gits, indeed!
Lots of boats on the move, so about five locks were, one in, one out but the rest were against us.
We got more plums from the tow path, it amazes me more people don't bother to pick them, after all, you cant beet a plum crumble. The weather forecast is dire, storms, wind etc, so we are securely tied up tonight, all hatches battened down, as they say!

Sunday 10th. Leamington Spa to Long Itchington. It stayed dry for the duration of our journey much to our surprise, as the weather forecast was grim. We paired up with a hire boat for the locks, it was quite good fun as there were five nubile young men aboard, none of which had a clue but I soon had them knocked into shape, for which they were grateful, except one who didn't want to do much at all except drive and that left a lot to be desired. They had all just finished uni, two did biology and three science, so brains as well as looks. We parted company at the last lock as we stopped for water, they were headed to the pub, after Dave told them it was a half hour further on.
We have a nice, quiet mooring in the country but near to the village of Long Itchington as we owe Colecraft some money for a brass runner, which Dave will drop into them tomorrow.

Saturday 9th. Warwick to Leamington Spa. As forecast, Sunny spells and showers. We walked to the Saltisford Arm Basin to see what their Heritage Day had to offer. There were a few stalls and boat rides and 'Adamant' the steam boat. The chap that runs the place, who we have always got on well with, bought the last five roof pots I had left, at a reduced rate but still in profit. We left Warwick down two locks and then a short run to Lidl and onwards to Royal Leamington Spa and out the other side to a country mooring. While I was doing the locks the heavens opened, it was such a torrent it bounced back up to wet you again. In the twelve years of boating it was the wettest I have ever been, absolutely everything I had on was soaked., Dave faired a little better but needed dry jeans, we would have stopped and waited in the lock for the rain to pass but there was another boat coming, so we had to get on with it. We also managed to scrump some more plumbs, the yellow juicy kind, yummy!

Friday 8th. Rowington to Warwick. The weather forecast was blanket rain but apart from a few minor showers, it was sunny and bright. We waited at the Hatton flight top lock for another boat to pair up with as these are big double, heavy locks and the paddle gear leaves a lot to be desired. Finally a boat appeared and the lady walked up to us and asked if we were going down and would we pair up with them. We both looked at each other and laughed as they are friends from 2005 who we met on the Thames when they lived on a Dutch Barge. We lost touch for a while but as we were having our second boat fitted out at Braunston they were there one day when we visited, they were also having a boat build but by another builder, Bob Mitchell Narrowboats, another friend of ours. So we had a good old catch up and started to descend the locks, however, at 12 noon they wanted to stop for lunch and we didn't, so we left them to it and went on alone. Dave did all the locks today as they were to hard for my arm, so at the end he was shattered. We moored up in Warwick by the Saltisford Arm and Dave went off to retrieve the parcel they had taken delivery of for us, the chap that runs the arm was quite upset we didn't want to go in as usual but understood that it would have only been for one night and with the Heritage weekend in there, more trouble than its worth. We may pop along tomorrow before we leave just for a nosy.

Thursday 7th. Lapwoth to Rowington. Although the weather forecast was dire, it wasn't, we had sunny and warm which is a real treat when doing 15 locks. It was an early start for us because last night Dave said he wanted to leave at 8am, so I was up early and getting dressed when he said, 'why are you getting up so early', I reminded him of last evenings conversation, to which he replied, 'that was a joke', well the joke was on him as I made him get up as well. It was an easy run down the locks, I managed to do 10 of them, meeting only a few boats going the other way. We stopped for services where the Stratford upon Avon Canal meets the Grand Union Canal, we had come down the Stratford but changed to the Grand Union for our journey southwards.

That very elusive parcel from LeeSan has finally arrived at Warwick, Saltisford Arm, so we will pick it up on our way past as they have a heritage weekend and although we usually stop there, have decided it may be in our interest not to this time.

Tonight we are moored up on a high embankment, overlooking a valley, no houses or buildings of any kind, just country, a very pleasant spot and extremely quiet.

Wednesday 6th. Highters Heath, (West Midlands) to Lapworth, (Warwickshire). Dry but chilly with occasional sunny spells. Managed to scrump some golden and juicy plumbs by a lock. I did the four locks today, they were single and the paddle gear, user friendly, it felt so good to be on the go. Tomorrow will be the tell tale, will my arm be in agony or feel better for the work out...who knows!

Tuesday 5th. Showers. Birmingham to Highters Heath. We stopped to use the services at Cambrian Wharf before heading off out of the city. The weather was alright to start with and then the rain came, so I left Dave to get wet while I did some jobs inside. We puled over once when the rain was heavy but like always, as soon as we were tied up it stopped, then as we set off again it started to chuck it down again, oh dear such is life.
I got struck on the head by an apple, thrown by a gang of youths, of an age that should have known better, but what can you do...nothing if you want to live a peaceful life.

Monday 4th. Tipton to Birmingham. Warm with light showers. A quiet night, not even the Canadian geese disturbed us. We set off passing by our usual stopping place the 'engine arm', it was to early to moor up, down three locks and continued on into Birmingham, finally mooring right by the Sea Life Center and National Indoor Arena. We haven't stopped here before but there are other boats and we have used chains, so hopefully will not get set adrift in the night.

We walked into town and got lost, it was a bit worrying trying to get back, luckily Daves radar was working well and we made it even though it was a hell of a long way round. Would you believe the town is full of beggars, we were approached by six saying, 'have you got any spare change', after the first two I looked them in the eye and said 'NO', the last one looked spaced out so I told him 'yes I have change and its staying in my pocket'. The next thing was a group of men high on that zombie stuff, we gave them a wide birth, I will never slag Bedford again.

Passed under Spaghetti Junction where they are doing major remedial work, scaffolding everywhere.

Willow started at big school today, she did a video call so we could see her how smart she was in her new uniform, she was so excited. Poor old Poppea missed her so much, when she came out of school she gave her a big hug and they skimped home hand in hand.

Sunday 3rd. Wolverhampton to Tipton. The weather forecast said dry until 12 noon, so after using the services we set off at 9am, two minutes later it started to drizzle which got heavier and turned into rain as time went on. We were going to try and moor at the Black Country Museum but it is very popular, so the chances of getting in were slim, so on our way we spotted a park mooring which looked very inviting, so we stopped there instead. Being a Sunday we do like our roast dinner, so I walked to the nearest pub to do a recce, but it didn't do food but told me the next nearest place, The Pie Factory, a bit of a trot but I eventually found it and the carvery looked good, so I reported back to Dave, who was sat comfortably reading the paper. I said, 'I have just fallen in the canal, banged my head and drowned and you didn't even notice I was missing'. His reply was 'that was silly, why did you do that', so if you suddenly hear I have drowned, its because no one gave a s**t!

We went to the Pie Factory around 1.30pm, it was a spit and saw dust kind of place with real saw dust on the floor and was absolutely heaving, when we asked for a table, they wanted to know if we had booked, of course we hadn't, had I been told to book on my recce I would have done so, but no one thought to tell me this, however, after a short wait with a long cold drink at the bar we were shown to our table. The food was excellent and so much of it I had to leave some or I wouldn't have been able to drag myself back to the boat...and what does a full gut make you...sleepy, so I had a siesta, all be it a late one.

Friday 1st. Oxley to Wolverhampton. Chilly and sunny. We waited until 4ish for a parcel to be delivered to the marina, however, we received a text informing us it couldn't be delivered as no one was there. This was a lie as it was a working boat yard and one of the chaps had been in the office all day and no delivery vehicle had entered the yard which he overlooked. There was no point in hanging around when a new date wouldn't be until Monday. The chap at the marina informed us that it would be wise to leave early in the mooring to do the flight of 21 locks as it is bandit country and the bandits would be in bed till noon. I was fed up with waiting around so suggested we leave now, so at 4.05pm we set off. A good journey as the locks were mostly in our favour and were fairly easy, it took just 2 1/2 hours. We had a mooring in mind as we had been this way before and had found it then, a secure place by the sanitary station, it was empty so in we went and tied up to a CaRT tug.

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