Friday, October 8, 2010

NB Rhapsody was our home for 3 months in summer 2009

Picture shows NB Rhapsody in Birmingham, click picture to show in full screen.

We would like to thank John and Ann for the use of Rhapsody for a wonderful holiday

Feedback is welcome please email

Scroll down to read this page and then click "older posts" at bottom of the screen to open the next page.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Big freeze Jan 2010

The list of blogs on the left lead to the sites of interesting people, many of whom are "continuous cruisers" but these intrepid boaters have been ice bound for a month in Englands big freeze. Things are beginning to thaw although many facilities were damaged by the iceing of water and sewerage access points.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back to reality

All good things come to an end and so we had a farewell lunch on Rhapsody last Tuesday and then enjoyed two days at Upper Dentford and Hungerford near Newbury before flying out from Heathrow on thur night. Due to the time zones we arrived in Sydney on sat morning. Since then our sleep patterns have been erratic as we try to resync to Australian time.
The flowers on the roof looked great, the brass was polished.

And then it was time to say goodbye to our home for the past 3 months. We had a wonderful time and reccomend this 3mph way of life to all.

Thatched roofs are the go around Hungerford

This is a clatter gate, see if you can work out how it operates.

Lunch last wed was on Badger's Gift moored on the Kennet and Avon canal.

And so that completes our Canal Dreaming holiday blog....for now....

Monday, August 31, 2009


Some days last week were abominable, wind, rain, cold. But we had a very enjoyable time staying put at Newbold on Avon. We had a great spot at the southern end of the tunnel. It is as quiet as a churchmouse with two pubs and a mini-market within 50 yards. Weather improved and allowed us to do maintenance and cleaning.
We moved on down through Rugby to Braunston on friday and found a good quiet spot close to facilities. We will chill out here and bank some sleep ready for the return flight next thursday.
Braunston is on the Grand Union Canal and has a rich canal boat heritage that continues in the present day with several hire boat companies being based here. There is a large marina and several quaint pubs. The Admiral pub is alongside one of the broad locks that can accomodate two 70 ft boats. The antics of the boat crews as they bring their boats in for the first time and with 10 minutes tuition makes for a popular spectator sport. This section of canal has more than the usual number of working boats with butty's and very few fibreglass cruisers.

Supposedly edible, but we did not try them.
Braunston butcher shop
Emptying a broad lock

Powder puff sky

Storm clouds

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Coventry weekend

We left Hinckley marina on monday after an enjoyable weekend and a four night stay. As usual it all went too fast. On Friday we did shopping and tried to visit the Triumph factory but it was their half day off and besides that, tours have to be booked in advance. On Saturday we drove to Stoke Bruerne, it was the 25th anniversary of the reopening of the Blisworth tunnel so celebrations were happenning at both tunnel ends. It was good, especially the BBQ pork roll with extra crackling washed down with a pint of Northamptonshire's best cider.

On Sunday morning we attended a car boot sale, it was like the Lightning Ridge Sunday market but much larger with about 200 sellers and hundreds of buyers. As with the Ridge market, most items were well worn, incomplete, from a bygone era or absolutely useless. We rubber-necked all the stalls looking for that special something then gave up and went home for lunch.

After lunch at the boat we drove to Coventry, did the transport museum and the Cathedral, checked out the moorings at the basin and well, thats it for Coventry. Once again I can't speak highly enough about the Enterprise Car Rental service.
We won't be going down the Coventry arm having seen enough of Coventry on the weekend. Instead we have continued south through Hawksbury Junction and onto the Oxford Canal. Someone had damaged the stoplock at Hawksbury and the lock had been closed for 30 hours for repairs. The lock opened about 3pm and a group of BW personnel were manning (and womanning) the lock to speed boats thru. Fortunately it is only a stop lock with a the Oxford canal being a few inches higher than the Coventry. Scores of boats were still moored up in both directions and we quietly glided past around 5pm and only waited for 3 boats up and 3 down before it was our turn. Just after we had negotiated the stop lock we went under a small bridge and something fouled the prop. We barge poled to a bank and found a shag pile rug wrapped around the propellor. It was easily removed and within 15 minutes we were back on route. We moored soon after on an embankment with a view across a golf course. We were alone and it was so quiet, birds and rabbits were enjying the twilight and so did we. Next morning we discovered another boat had moored some distance behind us. They must have arrived in the dark and would have had to clear giant rhubarb plants to reach the side as we had taken the only good access in the area. We are now in Warwickshire, moored on the outskirts of Rugby, just past the southern portal of the Newbold tunnel and outside the Barley Mow pub.

So in reverse order, here's some snaps.

Newbold Tunnel, Rugby
Moored on the Oxford on Monday night. We are right over an aquaduct about 8 foot wide that allows golfers to pass under the canal between greens on both sides.

Hi guys.

Lady Godiva on a brass (entire) horse.

Coventry Cathedral destroyed by bombs dropped in WW2

Coventry canal basin. Great restoration job but lacks ambience and can only fit half a dozen boats. There were 3 boats in the basin when we visited and one was padlocked to the mooring with steel cables.

Coventry transport Museum. Waddyamean old? I used to ride one of these.

...and one of these.

T model ford, unrestored, best exhibit from my point of view.

Then again, this one looks good

Thrust 2, fastest car in the world. We took a ride in the simulator, ho hum, obviously these people have not travelled in my little red truck between Walgett and Lightning Ridge, now thats a ride cowboy.

Straight out of the cartoons or chitty chitty bang bang

I'll take it, name your price!

...and this one too

Now here is a late 40's Bentley, that we followed hoping it was on the way to a car show. At each roundabout the driver would floor it leaving our Ford Ka in a plume of smoke. I suspect from the accelleration and the size of the rear wheels that this car is not in concourse condition. Any way after 15 minutes it turned into a driveway and into its stable.

We only have 6 more sleeps on Rhapsody, then a couple of days later we will return to Corrimal. After that? who knows?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ashby Canal

After freeing Rhapsody's fouled propellor we sauntered off dodging all manner of unbelievable debris through the Coventry canal and suburban backyards of Nuneaton. Every boat was travelling at tickover speed ever wary of tyres, tables, doonas, fridges, drums, logs and weeds. Our convoy had six canalboats nose to tail like a train. There may have been more boats but the winding route means your foward and rearward views are limited to three boats each way. Nevertheless some backyards were done up nice and surely provide an enjoyable place for a beer. We dropped off the convoy to turn left into the Ashby canal at Marsden Junction. What a contrast, the Ashby is more like a stream as it has clean water, earthen banks and beaches rather than the industrial piling and concrete sides we had just left behind on the Coventry. We had a nice lunch beside the canal next day when friends arrived with a gastronomic feast."
Today we turned around for the return trip down the Ashby and moored at Hinckley Marina, right outside the Brewers Fayre pub. We will have 4 nights here while using an Enterprise hire car to explore the parts of the canal system that time will not allow us to reach by boat.

Triumph motorbike factory near Hinckley Marina
"Special ducks" Ashby

Ashby, Welcoming committee
Grassy canal

Ashby, corn high, no elephants eyed

Tight squeeze into the Ashby Canal at Marsden Junction.

Some use the Coventry canal wisely

Even grandly.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We have been taking it slow, real slow yesterday, in fact stopped with a steel ribbed tent wound around the prop. The spring steel slats and the rip stop nylon made a real tangle. I spent an hour with little success then called River Canal Rescue and he arrived within 15 minutes but left again in under 10 saying the boat would need to be slipped. He rang his supervisor and it was decided to get a second opinion next morning. Meanwhile I decided to give it another shot as slipping a 20 ton boat is not cheap and 3 hours later as the light was fading I had 90% cleared using a junior hacksaw and a box cutter. The remaining three turns of spring steel strap were around the prop shaft but loose so I couldn't get the hacksaw to bite into them. The access through the weed hatch is about 12 in x 8 inches and 12 inches deep to the prop. Only a double jointed orangutan could get both hands in there to work. This morning I attacked it again unsuccessfully and decided to clean the engine instead while waiting for the RCR to come with the right tool for the job, bolt cutters. It only took two snips to free the bundle and haul it to the towpath with the barge pole. We will have to carry the debris to the next disposal point.

Other than that and an encounter with a wayward hire boat that rammed us broadside on a turn, everything is great including the weather
Sparkling engine bay and motor
Camping tent anyone, guaranteed cyclone proof.