Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Friday, 30 November 2012

A Trip to Yorkshire

Since we are unable to go anywhere further along the Stratford Canal 'til the work on the locks is finished, we have been away on a little holiday.  Well a change anyway.  We went to visit our daughter in Bradford.  
There we enjoyed cold days out and about in Bradford, Saltaire, Ilkley and Harrogate. And enjoyed some time with our little girl and opportunity of a bit of spoiling.

Glad to have relief from rain, but it was very cold.
Being poor students the rule in the house is no heating on unless someone is ill.  We put a tenner in the pot and turned up the thermostat!  We were missing our stove.
I also enjoyed the chance to have a bath, comes to something when a bath in a student house in Bradford felt like luxury!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Wooten Wawen - Lapworth


This morning I popped up the the village shop in Wooten Wawen for a newspaper, the forecast was for rain all day, but it hadn't started yet!
Along the way you pass the old paper mill, converted to housing.

 The weir and old mill race,

The old Manor house, surrounded by crisp frosty scenery,
The Church with the lovely old Saxon part in the front.   People have been worshipping God here for over 1,000 years. The original building would have been wooden, with many changes being made over the years.
There is also this little chapel close to the mill building, but I can find no information about it.

 Coming back,  I took a closer look at the Wooten Wawen aqueduct,  shorter than the Edstone, but built in the same way.
They rightly were proud of their work, and so they should be, still in place after  200 years.
At Yew Tree Farm where the craft workshops now occupy the lovely old farm building set around the farmyard, there is also this very impressive log store.  Someone has been busy stacking it so neatly and evenly.

Once on our way, we enjoyed working the first few locks in the dry, though we had dressed prepared  for rain as last night's forecast warned.
And they were right, although it was never too bad, and we made good progress climbing up through the Warwickshire countryside.
 At Preston Bagot the car is still parked in the same position as last year.
The barrel roofed lock house, much altered and added to.
Perhaps not quite the right style beside the canal.
At Lowsonford a more original cottage, well maintained and in good condition. I know which one I prefer.  The story goes that these lock cottages were constructed with the barrel roofs because the canal engineers who were asked to design them, at the time of building the canal, knew well enough about bridges and tunnels, but not so much about houses, so used a style they knew they could do. 

We got to Lapworth (lock 25) at 2pm, just about 4 hours journey, rather wet and hungry.  It didn't take long to get the frying pan on, and 20 minutes later bacon, eggs and mushrooms were ready to fill that gap!  
This is where our journey ends for a while.  Locks 24 & 23 are having lock gates replaced, hopefully to be finished next Friday. With work beginning on lock 26 behind us on Monday.  Dodging the stoppages has begun!

5.5 miles,  14 locks

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Still Waters

Friday  ( getting a bit behind, had no signal the last few evenings)

We're so glad to be on the safer still waters of the Stratford-on-Avon Canal.  After a great deal of rain again last night, today dawned bright and sunny.

We had the Wilmcote flight of 11 locks ahead of us and it was lovely to be out in the warm sunshine.  Working locks, coats and top layers we soon stripped off,  enjoying the feeling of sun on bare arms is a real bonus in November.

We had a quick stop at Wilmcote village to get a newspaper, then it was on the way again. Just one more lock and the wonderful Edstone aqueduct before we got to Wooten Wawen.
Another red plaque; Edstone Aqueduct, opened 1816, 145m long, the longest aqueduct in England.
 It is a cast iron trough set on brick pillars, with the towpath set level with the bottom of the trough, rather than level with the water. It feels a bit strange walking alongside.
 It crosses a road,
 a railway,
 a farm track and field.
 A duck's eye view of Tacet coming across.
 Ignoring the new 'no thoroughfare' signs set beside a newly cleared path with handy handrails  fence alongside, I scrambled down the back to get a different view.

As we moored up the sun was just going down,and the air has a real chilly feel to it now.

Before it got too dark we walked up to the village and a quick visit to the ancient Saxon church, 
and a look around the crafty shops at Yew tree farm.  The old farmyard buildings have been converted to make a little shopping village, with a cafe and farm shop too.

5 miles, 12 locks

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Deep and Wide

First thing to do this morning was check on the river levels.  There had been no more rain, but as it takes time for water to drain down the river had been rising all night.
The current was strong and swirling as it came through the arched bridges.
Hardly any of the red board left now.
The river is the same level as the basin and canal the other side of the lock.
Not many boats would fit under there today.

Creeping over the recreation ground.
The bandstand has become an island, with the swans enjoying a new lake to explore.

The beach at Bancroft Gardens.
But all is peaceful and calm in the basin.  However more rain is forecast and if the river rises more it will be over the lock gates making the basin level rise too.  As there is a low bridge leaving the basin and up the Stratford canal we decided to move on today rather than tomorrow, getting up a few locks and so to safer ground water.

So we have left the delights of Stratford-on-Avon and tonight we are away from the lights and sounds of the town, it is dark, windy and very wet.  But we are tucked up warm and cosy in our lovely boaty home.

2 miles, 5 locks

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Water is Wide

Yesterday it rained; a damp, mizzling sort of rain.
Last night it rained; wet, heavy showers of rain.
This morning it rained; wetter, continuous rain.

This afternoon it finally stopped, and the water level in the basin has risen now looks like this......
                                                                     ...........................chocolate soup.

The river level started to rise..............
                                                                    ......................onto the red board,

 and up to the edge of the pathway.

In fact it is now over the bank edges on both sides of the river, and still rising.
But tomorrow promises to be a better day.............

Monday, 19 November 2012

Busyness in the Basin

The weather was just perfect all day yesterday, and the crowds were out and about enjoying the Canal, River and the Basin in the sunshine. The shops were busy too, but we kept away from them.  We went walking along the river and round the basin as well, so many more people about than my early morning stroll in the frost.
But Tacet is the only visiting boat moored up today.
Entertainers were out too; we saw from across the river a tight-rope walker on his rope stretched from the lock bridge to a tree, (too far away for a photo). A crowd had gathered around him on the ground.
We could hear the tinny sound of an old piano being played and as we moved around we saw this fellow going past.

 By pedalling as though on a bicycle, he seemed to be pedalling backwards, his piano moved along sideways, whilst he was playing and singing his merry tunes.
He had various other instruments, horns and bells to play, a tankard of beer and of course the upturned hat (begging bowl).
At the top of the lock entering the basin this signpost gives the distances to these big cities.  Last year when we were here, we had only been to York, now we have been to them all.

Today we had a little excursion back onto the river, we needed services and to run the engine to charge the batteries and do a load of washing.  We went up river under the lovely old bridges, with just enough headroom and went up to the service point at the Old Bathing Place.
Here the water had been turned off for the winter, this has been common along the Avon, but we had two cassettes to empty, which we still did, sluicing the hopper down with buckets of river water. Our taps were just beginning to make gurgling sounds, so we knew there wasn't much left in the tank, we really did need water. Fortunately we knew that there was a tap alongside the recreation ground opposite the theatre and more fortunately it was still on, so now our water tank is full again too.
On the upper stretch of the Avon, there are some very grand homes, lots of caravan parks, and this enormous log cabin on stilts being erected.
We ventured up this way last year and went as far as we could, almost to Alveston Weir, today we were more sensible and turned at the winding hole at Avoncliffe.
We shall be staying in Stratford for a few more days as it is now the season of stoppages and we shall be planning our cruising around the works being carried out on locks and bridges over the winter.  Work is currently being done and planned on the South Stratford and Lapworth, so we shall have a few days hanging about up that way next week, so for now we shall enjoy the opportunities of being near civilisation for a few more days.

4 miles, 2 locks

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Frosty Morning

This morning was dawning sunny, cold with a wonderful frost. I wanted to be up and out for a walk along the river with Jumble and my camera.  Leaving Ian still tucked up in the warm,  I'm so glad I ventured out. 
You can follow my journey........
first breath of cold frosty air
scrunchy frozen leaves under foot
crossing the river
watching the mist rising
others were out early too
but no-one here, I shall have to walk further
across the playing fields, breathtaking!
are you keeping up?
don't forget to look behind sometimes
imagine the noise of the water over the weir
look up
and down
and all around
sunny sunflowers
past Hall's Croft, home of Shakespeare's daughter, Suzanna
and the alms houses behind the Guild Chapel
past the cottages owned by the RSC for actors' lodgings
back to Bancroft Gardens
what a lovely way to start the day