Sunday, July 03, 2016

On through... Nuneaton

The hotel boat moved us before us this morning, leaving us thinking what a strange way that is to spend a holiday. The boat has three guests at the moment; two Australian women and an English man. The boat is skippered by a man. I'm guessing there's one other crew member, probably his wife, who's responsible for the domestic tasks. The guests are encouraged to help at locks, mooring and so on. Five people living in very close quarters. I'm wondering just how that English gent feels. I'm told he makes a habit of going on long walks.

There's a marked increase in ambient noise as you get closer to Hawkesbury Junction, rising to a din. The M6 runs parallel. It's a shame, for most of the journey is visually interesting, if not always picturesque, and the row is an unpleasant distraction. But at least there's no railway nearby.

Arriving at Hawkesbury, we passed NB Takara taking on water, and we descended the very shallow stop lock, pulled over for the few minutes it took me to dispose of refuse, and took the hairpin turn out of the basin and onto the Coventry Canal. I see that the tiny building at the side of the basin is now some kind of CRT museum and information centre. They're now saying it used to be a toll booth, but I'm pretty sure it's been a police station more recently.
The stop-lock
Signs outside The Greyhound Inn

I've photographed and blogged the highlight of the town of Bedworth on more than one occasion, and it features in my book, too, but I have to admit to the pleasure I get from seeing the creativity displayed in the piles of junk along a stretch of the canal here. Marked in our ancient copy of the Nicholson Guide as the home of the Warwickshire Canal Carrying Company, it seems to be nothing more than a scrap yard. The extent of it is hard to put in words.
But what makes me smile are the numerous mannequins positioned alongside the canal, clad in all sorts of costumes, in all sorts of poses, each of them a key player in some kind of frozen drama, a tableau for the entertainment of passing boaters. There's always something new to be seen, and I love it.

Passing Marston Junction, the start of the Ashby Canal, and after stopping for a couple of hours for a bite to eat (and for me to finish yesterday's blog post!), we moved on under sunny...

OK, let's sort out the weather situation. Let's assume that the weather on this trip is going to continue like this...
It's sunny and bright, even warm at times. Then it clouds over, threatens to rain for less than half an hour, then pours with rain for up to 20 minutes. Very strong winds are entirely likely, too. After this, the sun comes out and steam-dries everything, and the pattern repeats.
This has become so much the norm over the past weeks that I shall no longer mention the weather unless something extreme happens. We'll accept the above to be the case every day. OK?

First thing this morning, as far as I was concerned, the Coventry Canal, beautiful as it is, has one major problem.


Detritus on the water and on the banks. Graffiti on every available surface. Dog poo on the verges. Sunken, rotting boats in the canal. Flotsam and jetsam. Rubbish and filth.

But today I have to hand it to the people of Nuneaton, their local council, whoever's made the effort. We were pleasantly shocked to find the whole length of canal through the town to be very, very much cleaner. Unbelievable, but true. Almost nothing floating in the canal that shouldn't have been there. Almost litter-free banks and towing-path. And though the graffiti was still there, none of it looked new. All was faded. Nice one, Nuneaton!

The weather was


We moored for the night in another lovely spot just above Bridge 27.

I'll mention the wind.

It was very extreme!

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