Sunday 11 March 2018
It has seemed an abnormally long winter. Rain most of the Autumn, snow in December and again in March but now Spring really is making an effort to burst forth and we have sallyed forth!
Our Winter wasn't as bad as for some, as Bonny and I left the boat on 16th December and didnt return until 4th February. We spent a while step-mother visiting and then went to Devon, to my friend's house for Christmas and then for house and cat sitting duties. So we were luxuriating in bricks and mortar for 50 days.
I worried about my boat, particularly in the cold, and missed her a lot. So I was very happy to return and find her in one piece. She didn't punish me much for abandoning her; just a couple of small leaks, easily sorted. The engine started first time, albeit with a cough and a splutter and my batteries had been well fed by my solar panel. It was perishingly cold in the boat but nothing my trusty woodburner couldn't address. It was good to know that, although I enjoyed house sitting, my boat is still my preferred home, even during the blizzards to follow!
Only a week ago we had snow drifts at Fradley Junction, but in the last few days they have melted away and for the first time there is real warmth in the sun. So, since I was due a marina visit to pump out and diesel up, I decided to make a trip of it. This morning we cruised through the fog to one of our favourite mooring spots just outside Hopwas on the Coventry canal. Bonny particularly loves it here for the wild woodland walks. The view from our mooring is the first, view from my loo photo.
We will see out the forecasted rain tomorrow here and then mooch down to the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal where there is a lovely little marina that sells very reasonably priced diesel. A couple of days at the water park before going back to Hopwas and then back home. I'm only planning to be out for a week but it will shake off the winter cobwebs.
I have my fantastic friends Roger and Shirleyann visiting in Mid April and then Bonny and I will be off cruising till Autumn. My plan at present is to go north, having been south for the last couple of years. I didn't make it all the way up the Macclesfield Canal because of my sorely foot. This year I want to do that and the Peak Forest. Also the Shroppie and Staffs and Worcester.
It has been three months now since the steroid injection and my foot has responded brilliantly. I have to do stretching exercises every day and it tells me if I have lifted anything heavy or walked too far, but other than that, I am virtually pain free and I am so grateful.
The other reason for my route is that I may be looking for a new mooring. The world is finally closing in on Fradley Junction. HS2 is already starting to have an impact, there are plans for houses to be built on the agricultural land near us and on the other side of the canal rumours of gravel extraction to begin this year. I am very grateful for the 9 peaceful years on my current mooring but I couldn't stay to see it ruined. So I will be keeping my eyes open for a new mooring, particularly on my favourite canal, the Shropshire Union. Mind you, it will be hard to beat this as a mooring!