Thursday 7th September – Atherstone to Fazeley Junction

Wolfgang and Marlene had asked us if we had ever been awoken by tapping on the side of the boat when we were on nb Lucy. We said that the swans use to tap at the kitchen window when they wanted food but was never awoken by it – that was until this morning.

There were six Mallards down the left hand side of the boat having a good feed off the slimey green stuff that collects down near the water line. Apparently it appears this is a delicacy for them. For us it sounded like mini sub machine guns boring into our sleepy brains. So we can now say yes in answer to their question.

We had five hours of cruising ahead of us today so needed to be up and out the hatch by 9.30am. We had moored up the top of the eleven Atherstone Locks last night so that we could get a good run at them first thing. After the tasks of rubbish, water and pooh bucket drop off completed we headed off down them.

We were most appreciative as all the locks were in our favour so it was just a matter of cruising into them, closing the back door and dropping down. You usually allow fifteen to twenty minutes a lock but we accomplished them all under ten minutes per lock. Makes a big difference when the locks are with you and other boaters are there to help you. In our case, more boats were coming up than going down which puts it in your favour even more.

Di is here in intense mode keeping an eye out for the lock cill on her way down into the lock. The last thing is to get the back of your boat caught on a cill as that is when you will sink her. Don’t really want to hand back a bedraggled Ange De L’Leau to Wolfgang and Marlene. We might never get invited back on board!!

It’s always fun when you go through the suburbs to check out people’s back yards as many homes do back onto the canals. You can certainly see the house proud owners and the not so house proud inhabitants. Here is a good comparison and in this first case they were actually next door neighbours!!

Unfortunately we are not quick enough sometimes with the camera to catch some really bizarre stuff. We missed the Gnomesville garden shot as got side tracked with an oncoming narrowboat but found this really weird contraption in dry dock.

A couple more of garden comparisons.

And then of course there is this guy who would rather live beside the sea side.

Not that many years ago you wouldn’t want to live within cooee of a canal as they were desolate, polluted, vermin infested cesspools but now with the resurgence of the canals, land values have shot up enormously. Some people certainly make the most of it and embrace them. They are still waterways that you would not swim in or eat fish out of but many people sport fish from them.

We had forgotten all about the “grumpy old men’s club” as haven’t seen many of them up until now. You can never please these buggers. Either you go too slow, too fast, wrong section of the canal or don’t conform to wearing the camouflage clothes that they all insist upon wearing to disguise themselves to the fish – believe us, it is deadly true!!!

Cruised passed a rather inviting pub and felt a tug on the tiller but was braves and kept going. We are going to treat ourselves tomorrow night as we know a great pub a little further up.

We have moored tonight at a place called Fazeley Junction which isn’t the nicest of places but it suits our purposes to line ourselves up for the big run through the outer suburbs of Birmingham on Saturday. It will take about seven hours and is probably the worst section of the canals anywhere. Saturday is not a good day either as school will be out so all the feral kids will be down the canals using us an opportunity for some  target practice. We hope to set off early so to avoid as many of them as possible. Should be interesting!?!?








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