Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Tuesday 28 February 2012


We didn't stay long, just one night, with time for a wander round the town, to the park and a visit to Tesco yesterday morning.
Carillon Tower in Queen's Park
One day we might get to hear the carillon playing. It is played regularly on Sunday afternoons,  from Easter to September. The tower was built as a war memorial, completed in 1923. The idea of building a carillon as a memorial came from the association of carillons with Belgium, where so many soldiers died during the first world war. It is 152 feet  high and the 47 bells inside were all cast at the Taylor Bell Foundry in the town.

Alongside our mooring some of the blossom was opening out, looking so pretty.
Last night we moored in Kegworth, listening to the aeroplanes coming in to land at East Midlands airport.
After a walk into Kegworth this morning we moved on to the junction at Trent Lock, where last time we came this way we went on up the Erewash canal, and then on to Nottingham and the River Trent. Today we made our way up river to the start of the Trent and Mersey Canal and Shardlow.
At Derwent Mouth lock just above the junction of the Trent and the Derwent rivers the first of the Trent and Mersey mile markers.

The other end of the T&M is at Preston Brook where it joins the Bridgewater Canal.  It opened in 1777 and made connection with 9 other canals and branches.
Tonight we are in Shardlow, where I shall be staying for a couple of days while Ian returns to Kent. 
Loughborough - Shardlow
12 miles,  7 locks

Sunday 26 February 2012

Moving on from Leicester

We have enjoyed our few days in Leicester, the market, eating out, the Golden Mile, and the National Space Centre. Our moorings at Castle Gardens were safe and reasonably quiet for a city centre. Having our daughter with us was great too.

a fresh bone from the market, a very happy dog

National Space Centre

Yesterday we left Leicester, passing again the Space Centre, the canal joins the river in places and is known as the Soar Navigation, winding its way through conservation areas with ponds and lakes alongside.
We stopped at Mountsorrel on a field mooring below the lock as the visitor moorings above the lock were full. We liked this village when we passed through last April, and enjoyed a walk round last evening, then an indian meal at the Spice Cube as it was Ian's birthday.
This morning we went to the Baptist Church morning service, the weather was so warm and sunny that we set off straight after on to Loughborough.
As we couldn't make our way south as our original plan was, we have been travelling on ground or water that we have already been on but this time we will take a left turn at Trent Lock and along the Trent and Mersey back towards Birmingham. Well that's the plan at the moment, but such is the relaxed boating life, it really doesn't matter if it has to change!

Leicester - Loughborough
15 miles, 10 locks

Thursday 23 February 2012

Gas Museum

On Wednesday as we neared the centre of Leicester, we stopped at Aylestone Mill lock and went to visit the Gas Museum as noted in Nicholson's guide.  It is at the entrance of a big British Gas depot and charted the production of town gas and its uses in lighting then the change to natural gas and development into other uses as competition from electricity began.
With Ian's interest in Tilley lamps and gas lighting, it was interesting. There was another family visiting who also had an interest in Tilley lamps, and discussion on where to resource mantles followed and e-mail adresses passed on too.
This area was set up as a 1920's all gas kitchen.
With gas stove, toaster, iron heater, water heater, fire and hotplate for kettle.  All recognisable and practical, but I'm not so sure about the hairdryer standing in the corner of the room...
We also love a combined gas cooker and refrigerator, and dual purpose washing machine and dishwasher! (didn't get a photo though).

We made the last bit of the journey, three locks, past the football stadium,

and are now moored at Castle Gardens in the city.

4 miles,  6 locks

Into Leicester

The view from our mooring on Monday night was across the fields to the church of Wistow, about all that remains of the medieval village site.
Jumble and I went for a walk across the fields in the morning, I love it when we can spot our home in a new setting as we did this morning.

We headed on towards Leicester and moored by a farm in a quiet spot. The locks through this section are slow and very leaky.  BW will be working on them next month.
I have been busy with crochet to make a change from patchwork, and this is the result so far...

A closer look another time.

E is still with us, its good to have her company and help with the locks. Jumble is enjoying a bit of spoiling too.

sleeping beauties

 Wistow - Glen Parva
7 miles,  13 locks

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Visitors for the weekend

We have had our very good friend D staying over the weekend. He came up to meet us at Husbands Bosworth on Friday evening.
So on Saturday morning we were up bright and early, and after a cooked breakfast to set us up for the cold we set off to the top of Foxton locks.
Help with the paddles, yeah!

 Although not new to boating, D had not done the staircases at Foxton before, so remembering the maxim, 'Red before white and you'll be alright', which applies to the order you wind the paddles, we made our way down the first staircase of 5 locks and passed a Canal boat club boat in the middle pound before going down the second staircase. 

halfway down, looking down,

and looking up.
Unusually for this time of year there were several lock keepers and BW staff around as it was an open day for volunteer lock keepers. Rather a wet, windy day, but then we boaters do it in all weathers!  There were still some gongoozlers out watching us on our way down despite the rain and cold.

Foxton locks and side ponds
We took the chance to stop and have a good look around the site of the incline plane which sits alongside the locks.
Incline Plane, Foxton

Looking up the slope where once boats were lifted up the hill instead of using the locks. 
Two narrow boats could go up and two go down at the same time in 12 minutes, compared with our journey today of about 45 minutes.  The Lift consisted of two tanks or Caissons linked by wire rope. A steam driven winch at the top, wound the rope on to one side of its drum and simultaneously let it off the other, raising and lowering the tanks. 
 This greatly reduced queueing times wating for the locks in the early part of the last century.
A boat showing the access point from the canal at the highest point to the position of the caissons.
The Foxton Inclined Plane Trust are raising money to reinstate the lift.
We moved on to Market Harborough, where we had a wander around the town before settling down for a meal and games in the evening.
On Sunday we made the return journey to take D back to his car, this time in the sunshine and at Foxton we were met by our daughter and some friends on their way back to Sussex from Leicester.

Time for ice cream break
Our daughter has stayed with us, and D has gone back to work (hee, hee,)(sorry D).

21 miles, 20 locks, 4 bridges, 2 tunnels

Monday 20 February 2012

Goodbye Braunston

Today (Thursday last week) we have enjoyed the unseasonal warm weather, and with the ice all gone, we moved away from Braunston, making our way up the locks to the tunnel.
leaving Braunston tunnel (south portal)

I never tire of the sight of bridges over the canal, it was a lovely journey to Norton Junction, with its lovely old toll house.
Norton Junction

Then it was onto Watford locks, no lock keeper about at this time of year, and not other boats moving so it was not long before we got to the top and stopped for lunch once away from the motorway.
Watford staircase

After a break and warm up, we made our way to Crick, and through the tunnel.

Inside the tunnel it is quite wet, but there are lots of stalactites and calcite formations down the walls, difficult to see in the dark, but just managed to get a photo.
Sorry for the delay in getting this post finished and put on, I gave up on this originally as the signal was so poor, couldn't download the pictures.
Then we have had a visitor with us over the weekend, so my usual blogging time has been filled with other things.  I'll try to catch up now.

Wednesday 15 February 2012

What floats your boat?

Being back in the water certainly floats ours!
The ice has melted really quickly in the last 24 hours and this afternoon we were slipped back into the water.
The Yellow Pulling Machine took up its position, this time to push,

Chocks away, and Tacet rolls back

In a matter of seconds she was back afloat.
Tomorrow we will be able to move again. Hooray.

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Gone Fishing!

Yesterday we walked up to Braunston Tunnel and then followed the horse path over the top. The canal is pretty much covered in ice still, with just a few watery bits where there is water running into the cut, or below a lock. On the way up we noticed how clearly we could see the bottom, usually the  water is muddy looking with boats passing through, so with nothing moving for over a week it was very clear.  So that meant we spotted a mooring pin and a windlass lost to a watery grave. Not being one to miss an opportunity Ian later went back with the boat hook and fished them out.
The mooring pin was in good condition, the windlass less so, but I guess it will clean up. Good to have a few spares, just in case, or to pass on to someone else.
Lovely shiny tunnel bands, now they have been glossed.

Sunset over Braunston last night, getting later every day. Hooray.

Monday 13 February 2012

Catch Up

No, we haven't got lost in the snow, we're still here in Braunston and still out of the water, as the canal is still frozen, so we can't get back in!
Following the snow which arrived a week ago last Saturday, Braunston looked like this on Sunday morning....
The sheep field in Pocket Park

with rather dirty white sheep!

a lone sledger at 8.30, there were lots more later

Bottom Lock, Braunston

Braunston Boats

From Butcher's Bridge

Butcher's Bridge

Braunston Marina

Footsteps in the snow on top of the ice

A small ice free pool,  just right for swimming! (If you're a duck)

It had been part of the plan that while Tacet was out of the water, having her bottom done, we would go back to Sussex and London to catch up with the family.  So come Monday, the canal was still frozen but the roads were clear so we travelled back for a few days and escaped the shed.
When we returned Tacet was out of the shed, but still not back in the water. We had only been back about half-an-hour when there was another heavy snow shower.
Over the weekend there has been some rain and  the snow is almost gone, but there is still quite a lot of ice on the water.
We have all we need here, water, electricity, loo facilities, village shop, good walks, and we have got various jobs done inside and out.

Saturday 4 February 2012

Living in a shed!

Yesterday morning the canal was frozen and covered with light snow. Jumble and I enjoyed an early morning walk on the frosty ground.
Braunston bottom lock

The crooked housed at the next lock

Ian got busy with rubbing down the tunnel bands, although it was bright and sunny, it was very cold out there.  It doesn't seem to bother the sheep in the field in Pocket Park on the way up to the village.

Looking across the canal at Tacet in her elevated position

Treated with rust inhibitor and primed

While Ian concentrated on the tunnel bands, Justin got busy with the roller and put the first coat of blacking on.
With the forecast for snow we were moved into the shed to protect the paint and make those working out there a little less cold.
Tacet in the shed

So now we're living in a shed, but it has meant that even when the snow started earlier Ian has put the undercoat on. It's taking a long time for the paint to 'go off' but hopefully it will be ok.