Friday, July 06, 2012

Thursday and Friday - mixed weather

And yesterday, Thursday, we woke under blue skies! It was warm, it was sunny, it was... unbelievable! So we unpinned and moved on with as little delay as possible. And it was great! The countryside was green and lush, the birds were out in full force, singing loudly, and we wound our way through some beautiful scenery. There were no locks, apart from a very shallow one – no more than about ten inches – at HawkesburyJunction, where we left the Oxford Canal and joined the Coventry Canal. The Junction is charming, with several old Victorian canal buildings still in pretty much their original condition, including a pump house, a lovely pub and a tiny police station.
Disused pumping station

Police Station

The shallow lock at the end of the Oxford Canal
Oxford Canal on the right, Coventry Canal on the left
Moving on up the Coventry Canal, we passed the town of Bedworth and found a good mooring in countryside just a mile or so south of Nuneaton, and tied up for the night. Tweets from the Environment Agency were warning of heavy rain and flooding in parts of the country not far from us, so it looked likely that we would be here throughout today. Waking this morning to heavy rain, it looks even more likely now!

Our generator is still not working, and we're waiting to hear from Sam as to when he's going to come and fix it. The makers of the unit have suggested what the fault might be, so I'll send Sam the details and hope they're right. We also have a problem with our British Waterways License, renewable annually. When we bought Kantara, she had a license valid until this month. Since we are new owners, we cannot simply renew the old one; we have to apply for one. So, we filled in the sheaf of papers while we were back in Yelvertoft, and sent them off. Youngest daughter Jess contacted us yesterday, telling us that a letter had arrived from BW telling us that they needed both of our signatures, where we had only given one. And now, with no postal address for Jess to send that letter on to, we are in danger of having no current license, and possibly having to pay a £150 fine for late application. I shall contact them today, and see if I can talk them into accepting the lateness without fine. It must happen a lot, surely, when the “customers” are likely to be out on the cut?

At our new mooring, we were joined by a family of swans who spent a good half hour swimming up and down the length of the boat, eating the mossy weed which grows just below the waterline on canal boats. Stretching their necks down, upturning with their tails in the air, pecking madly at the hull, they made a funny sight – and quite a noise, too! We'd experienced ducks doing the same thing, one night back in the marina, when we had been awoken by the very strange sound they were making. True to form, these swans were back at around 5:00 this morning, noisily breakfasting!

If the rain stops later, we may well go on into Nuneaton and look around, and there are good moorings just outside the town if we decide not to go any further than that today. We did consider turning around and going along the Ashby Canal which branches off east just a mile back. It's 21 miles long, through idyllic countryside, with lots of sites of medieval villages. At the end, one has to turn around and go back, the original connection through to the original terminus having been unnavigable now for decades. We decided not to do this diversion, however, for various reasons. We'll just wait and see what the weather does. We're thankful, at a time when so many people around the country are suffering awful floods, that out home is floating, and the canals are unlikely to be in much danger.

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