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The Odyssey 2011: Day 12

Posted by indigodream on 15 May, 2011

Monday 9th May

Long Itchington to Warwick

The Two Boats pub at Long Itchington - nice atmosphere here...

Note: we are a week behind with the blog – will try to catch up soon! (Apologies Celtic Kiwi!)

We had a very quiet night on the mooring and the nearest thing to a good night’s sleep that we’ve had so far this weekend. So it was that we were up and about quite early, by our standards. This was a nice mooring spot – good dog-walking, good pubs and convenient road access for the car shuffle. The pub had kindly given us permission to leave the car in their car park, so we set off without any delay.

We didn’t have any guests on board today so we had quiet bobble along, taking the day’s 8 locks in our stride. Bascote locks were as lovely as ever – the hounds had a little rummage here and we had poignant memories of Blue – this flight was among his favourites as he’d get off a the top, rummage in the adjacent woods and meet us at the bottom sometime later.

We met a boat coming up the staircase at Bascote – good timing – they were a single boat in the bottom of the staircase and had just filled the top lock – ideal for us to get in. The ground crew duly emptied the top lock into the bottom lock enabling us to do a swap as soon as they were equalised. It was a good manouevre, thank you and saved us quite a wait.

Below the Bascote flight, the canal meanders through an ancient landscape, bisected by the Fosse Way, a typical roman road. We had the locks to ourselves for a while but we stopped for water just below bridge 32 (Fosse Way) – the water point is on the offside just after the bridge – there are prominent signs reminding boaters that there is no rubbish disposal here, though there is an elsan point.

The tank filled very quickly, just in time for a hire boat that we’d overtaken earlier (at the previous water point) to catch up with us. We shared the rest of the Fosse and Radford locks with them – they were a genial pair, over from the southern Hemisphere (wasn’t too sure whether Australia or New Zealand) – they’d hired a boat for 6 weeks – this was the start of their final week. They were interesting locking partners, with just enough experience to get themselves out of trouble but alas, not quite enough to keep out of it in the first place. The wind was very awakward and the lock moorings here are on the offside, which is a bit confusing. This meant that the lady of the boat often dropped her crew off on the towpath side and was promptly pinned there by the ferocious wind. The geography of the locks meant that to get from the towpath to the lock she had to cross the canal, against an adverse wind, while missing the ‘side pounds’ which used to be single locks alongsiide the big double locks in times gone by. We offered advice and help where we could, but communication was not our partner’s strongest skill – especially between each other! I had a chat with the lady of the boat and she said that they were much happier now than at the start of the holiday because they’d had a chance to practice manouevering the boat. I mused, silently, on what my singing teacher’s been telling me – “for a while, at the beginning, you just practice your mistakes – that’s where lessons can help!”.

Nifty manouevres at Bascote staircase locks....

When we last passed this way, there was thriving colony of boaters above Radford Lock – they’d set up a bonfire/picnic area in the woods adjacent to the towpath. We’d thought it might just be a coven meeting or whatever, but no, it seems to be a permanent little enclave as the clearing in the woods seems to have been set up as a garden/playground for the boaters moored there. We mused on whether you’d feel welcome mooring there – I doubted it – I think you’d feel like an intruder, but as far as we can tell, these are public towpath moorings.

We dropped our rubbish off at the service point below Radford lock – we had another Ty incident here as our own communication went awry. I took a second lot of rubbish to the bins leaving Richard in charge of the boat; he got off to give Ty a walk but I hadn’t realised that he’d left the boat untied. I looked back and there was the boat drifting away from the bank and quickly got on board at the bow (which was still touching the bank). In the meantime, he’d let Ty off the lead (conversations were had about this as we were close to a road here) and had control of the situation when he, too, spotted the boat drifting off, without realising that I’d got back on board and was working my way to the stern to get things under control. While he was distracted Ty did a runner but luckily only around the compound and Richard caught him before any harm could be done.

We regretfully cruised away from Radford – it is a beautfiul spot and I can quiet understand why boaters would want to establish a colony there.

Sadly, Leamington Spa was a little less inspiring – the water suddenly became trashy and the place had a run down air, though the towpath is in magnificent condition and there are ample mooring rings for visiting boats, though there are few boats actually using them. We’d had a good day’s cruising so we actually got to Leamington around lunchtime and as we munched our ‘gubbins from the fridge’ pasta we started looking at the logistics of the car shuffle. There weren’t any useful trains from Leamingon, so I dropped Richard off and he cycled back towards Long Itchington while I pressed on towards the Cape Locks. Sadly I wasn’t to get that far.

View from Bascote bottom lock - lovely....

I cruised on through a lacklustre Warwick, or maybe it was me that was lacklustre – I was little weary and fed up with cruising in the wind. As I was passing the two boatyards between bridges 48 and 49, I had an unexpected phonecall – Richard’s bike had a puncture, in the middle of nowhere around Radford Semele. Luckily we know where the village is in relation to the canal, having walked there on a previous odyssey. His call was well timed as I was just passing the last of the mooring rings opposite Kate Boats and was able to moor relatively easily – I’d been afraid that I’d have trouble holding the boat steady against the wind if I’d had to fiddle around with mooring pins. I left the hounds on board and went up to the road to ring for a taxi. By chance, I rang the first cab firm that directory enquiries listed – Fareway Shire – 01926 497777. I mention them because the driver they sent was tremendously helpful – he turned up quickly and took me to meet Richard at the White Lion in Radford. When I explained the situation to him, he offered to put Richard’s bike in the back of his car (it was a big volvo estate) and take us to Richard car at Long Itchington. This was exactly the service that we needed and the whole trip cost less than £20 – bargain!

We took Richard’s car back to the boat and started making plans – we needed to leave Indigo Dream somewhere safe for the week. I didn’t fancy the mooring rings where I’d left her but we thought we’d get some local knowledge from the Kate Boats office. They were very obliging – they usefully told us that the mooring rings opposite were safe, but they were only 48-hours. Then, without our prompting, the lady in the office checked with her guys and they offered us a mooring at their yard for £5 a night – brilliant! The only proviso is that we have to be away i.e. back on the towpath, by Friday night because their hire fleet is due back in on the Saturday. I moved the boat over to the boatyard and we very quickly unpacked and got on our way. It’s day 12 of the odyssey and we’re starting to feel the distance now, though we’re well compensated for our efforts – what a beautiful country we live in.

We had a smooth journey back and we all collapsed onto our various chairs and duvets – home-sweet-home indeed!

But our dramas were far from over – on his last run round the garden before bed-time, Ty crashed into the garden wall and cut his leg very badly – I’ve never seen so much blood! Cue a trip to the emergency vet – well two actually – one to drop him off for stitching and another to pick him up later and pay the bill – I’m not sure who was in more pain – Ty or Richard, as his credit card took the hit! The following day I had to take Ty back to his regular vet for a check-up – there I was made to feel like a very unfit mother indeed – the wound on his toe (acquired on Saturday) was nastily infected and he’d developed sore elbows – “pressuse sores” said the vet “caused by inadequate bedding – what sort of bedding does he have?”. I convinced her that we had adequate bedding  – well, if a proper padded dog bed, a duvet, a pillow and a sheepskin can be considered adequate. The trouble is that when he’s scared on the boat, Ty has a tendency to burrow under his bedding, resulting in his exposing his elbows to the timber floor. She said we’d have to watch out because pressure sores are very hard to treat if they’s allowed to ulcerate. So the rest of my day was spent in the DIY store looking for stuff to stick a soft rug onto the floor so that he can’t squiggle off it.

I can honestly say that this weekend, and subsequent week, has been a little too frantic for my taste, especially on the vet visits – I’ve had to take either Lou or Ty to vet every day this week and am finishing with a flourish as they both have to go on Friday! Ty is recovering well though – even his elbows! Lou is having a bit of a crisis with her kidneys – she’s well in herself but her urine/blood tests suggest that things are amiss so that’s an added anxiety.

Photoblog:

The welsh at Welsh Road lock!

Unusual craft....

Little playground in the woods above Radford lock...

We liked this yellow boat - the mooring ropes were yellow and the wheelbarrow - shame about the orange canoe really!

The outskirts of Leamington Spa - doesn't look too bad, maybe it was just my mood on the day...

Plentiful, but empty, mooring rings in Leamington Spa...

Is that graffiti on the boat? Never a good sign.....

Aqueduct over the railway in Warwick...

The aqueduct over the Avon - we're still hoping for a boat lift between the canal and the river....

Sad to see the perspex over this cottage's windows - we talked to the owners a few years ago when we had trouble on the mooring opposite - they have trouble with youths throwing stones across the canal - isn't that dreadful...

No doubt what this is boat is about - http://maidoffibre.com - a "sanctuary for knitters" according to their website - not for me then 🙂

Look at those flags - bit windy eh??

3 Responses to “The Odyssey 2011: Day 12”

  1. carrie said

    oh dear, that does sound a bit fraught, with things you could definitely do without (punctures, high winds, canine injuries and lots of expense) but please don’t feel guilty about Ty’s sore patches! I’ve seen what kind of luxury beds those woofs have, and that’s just on the boat!
    I hope his cut leg mends soon and you feel more rested too.
    By the way, your photo of the unusual winding gear on the locks reminds me of when I was travelling on that stretch. The windlass slipped out my hands and did several whirlwind rotations up my arm before I could grab it again – ouch! Perhaps we should all approach Leamington with great care 😉

  2. mickeys dad said

    Mickey says that maybe Ty could use a sofa to help his elblows.
    Also when he was watching the Greyhound racing on TV last week there was a dog running called Sizzlers Spirit and he remembered that his racing name was Sizzlers Turbo so he made us look up the bloodline of Spirit and we found that they shared a relative Head Honcho was Mickeys ‘Grandad’ and Sizzlers Spirit ‘Great Granda’

  3. indigodream said

    Hi Carrie

    I feel much better for a bit of sympahty – thanks! We’ve now stuck a fluffy rug tot he floor and Ty’s elbows have recovered!!!!

    Ouch on the windlass – that’s happened to me on the K & A – luckily with an aluminium windlass so no broken bones…..

    Hello Mickey – hugs to you gorgeous boy – at the moment Ty is too lowly in the pack to even think about being allowed (by Lou and Lynx that is)onto the boat sofa – but maybe if we had two sofas……

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