Tuesday, 11 June 2019

A giant effort

We have arrived at Alvechurch with supreme efforts expended since Thursday.

Elapsed duration: 6 days,
Actual Boating time: 3.5 days.

Pretty impressive, eh? and we had great help/leadership from Team Granger.

Team Granger ready to do the business on the Buckby Flight

Thursday morning:  Gayton Marina to Norton Junction, 12.5 miles, 7 locks
  • After a car shuffle with pick up at Norton Junction at 7am and a drive back to Gayton Marina).  
  • Mick and Julia drove me back to Gayton to collect my rental car and they went home
  • late that afternoon/early evening, Tony and Helen came onboard Waka Huia for a drink and lots of nibbles which were all David and I had for dinner; not sure if they ate a meal back on their boat. However, as they had consumed two bottles of sauvignon, I wouldn't have thought they would need food ...
    It's not often I see the boat from this angle. Mick is at the helm.
And smoothly into the lock
David getting a ride between locks on the Buckby Flight, I think.

Friday morning:  Norton Junction to Braunston, 4.25 miles, 7 locks.
  • Started at 7am
  • Julia and I both drove to Braunston to leave one car at Dale's yard, and one outside the Admiral Nelson carpark, while David and Mick came through the tunnel and met us at the top of the locks.
  • and all done and moored up next to Dale's boat by 10.30am.
  • Mick and Julia went home and David and I drove to Birmingham for an appointment that evening with Pete Shah and Imran Masood, the surgeon.
 Saturday 11.30am - 5pm:  Braunston to Wood Lock, 11.75 miles, 19 locks
  • David and I drove back from Birmingham in appalling weather, Mick and Julia were dropped off by Mick's brother early in the morning, but the weather was so pants that they stayed put on the boat.
  • We started off with my steering in the rain and wind because it is only water and air, after all. Mick didn't last staying inside out of the rain - he said it didn't feel right sitting down inside ...
  • The weather cleared as we came to the Calcutt locks and we were away on a mission. 
  • We shared with a hirer who had her 89 and 86 year old parents on board who were celebrating their 65th anniversary. She was a very good steerer.
  • David, Julia and I did the locks while Mick steered.
  • Then on we went to the 8 Stockton Locks and the 2 Itchington Locks and the 4 Bascote Locks and Welsh Road Lock and Wood Lock.
  • Moored up and had roast pork and crackling, roast potatoes, broccoli, carrots and peas with yummy gravy for dinner.
  • Played 5 Crowns, Mick won the practice hand, Julia won the game
  • Early to bed
  • Not sure where this is, but the rain had started and it was very chilly.
    The roast pork with yummy crackling - cooked in the Barbie doll camp oven (as designated by Jaq Biggs) ...
Dinner is served and about to be devoured!
Sunset in the cratch after Wood Lock

Sunday 6.50am - 5.50pm (with a one hour stop for lunch after the Hatton Flight): below Wood Lock on the GU to Hockley Heath on the Stratford on Avon Canal, 18 miles 46 locks (I think - I may well have miscounted - correction required, Mick? Corrected since Mick and Julia have read it.)
  • Mick and I shared the steering on the Hatton Flight and assisted Julia and David on the locks
  • I was delighted to see that the other gate comes open for Mick as he steers into a double lock too ... I'd thought it was something I was doing wrong!
  • Julia was working ahead and keeping the boats ahead of us on track and moving more swiftly than they had been - we caught them up with the Efficiency Team techniques, so Julia was on coaching and helping those not yet inculcated into the Granger methodology ...
  • Mick steered on the Lapworth Flight and I was on locks
  • I did have a bit of a grump about an owner who was filling a lock that was our way - esp when she said 'Oh, I didn't see you' - mainly because she didn't move forward of the top paddles, dammit!!
  • And then two locks further up, a bunch of Aussie hirers were doing the same thing - gggrrr!!! They HAD been told by some walkers that the boat in front of them was going down, so they were sort of excused ... and I did apologise for being grumpy, OK?
  • Julia was working ahead again as there was a boat ahead of us with only one guy operating the locks - they dubbed Julia the Sergeant Major, but really appreciated her help and training. She got their life story while coaching and assisting, and coming back to help us as well - she is a star!
  • dinner was panfried marinated salmon (sweet thai chilli sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, chopped coriander), salad from the rooftop allotment, new potatoes, followed by Gu puddings - salted caramel (2) and millionaire shortbread cheesecakes (2). Yum
  • plus lots of chardonnay for me (and for Julia but without effect apparently)
  • I was sent to bed and fell asleep within a couple of minutes - shades of Sawley last year and my being locked in at the Lockkeeper's Rest ...
  • Mission accomplished - all locks on the way to Alvechurch were completed so Mick and Julia were to be released in the morning.
Julia and David

David is on his way to the next lock, Mick is clearing the one I am in - must have got warm as the jerseys are off!
In the Lapworth Flight. See our lovely new cratch cover? And my rooftop allotment?

Monday 1.30pm - 4pm. Hockley Heath to the Shirley Drawbridge at Solihull - in the pouring rain and wind
Julia's alarm was set for 5am and David's was set for 5.30am, so he wasn't getting out of bed till then. Mick and Julia stacked their bedding and created a wall. A somnolent person determined it was trapping him in situ ...

  • we all left the boat at 6.30am and headed by cab to Alvechurch Railway Station, 
    • David and I were heading to University stop near Edgbaston for an appointment with Prof Shah
    • Mick and Julia were going to New Street, to catch a train back to Kettering - as their mission with us was done.
  • After the appointment, where David had his eyelashes carefully cleaned with iodine to reduce the chances of inflammation and infection post surgery, we headed back to Alvechurch by train and then a cab to Hockley Heath
    Apostrofix.com has been at work - there is no such word as childrens ... I just had to fix it while waiting for the cab back to the boat in the early afternoon.
  • It was raining, but I decided to get cruising as there were at least 5.5 hours (turns out it was closer to 6.5, but that is the speedy Granger team - they move much more quickly than we do) to do to get to Alvechurch Marina (15 minutes in a cab ...), so off we went with David inside making tea for me at regular intervals
  • I only lasted 2.25 hours, until we got to the drawbridge at Shirley which David had to come out and open. I took advantage of the stop to go and have a wee, and realised how cold I was (wet coat tails on the tummy will do that to you ... AAARRRGGGHHH!!!
  • So I told David I wanted to stop for the day. Mooring was nice and quiet.
  • I fell asleep on the sofa and was told to go to bed, so I did. No dinner required!
Tuesday 5.50am - 11am Shirley Drawbridge on the Stratford on Avon Canal to Alvechurch Marina on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, with a stop for water
  • The rain had come down most of the night I think, but was quite light at 5am and, according to the forecast, it was due to stay that way for a few hours before becoming heavier
  • so off we went at 5.50am.
  • I wore more clothes than yesterday (the major additions were a T shirt, and my dad's woollen jersey - so I had 5 layers on top, plus a scarf and rain jacket and my bushman's hat.) I still got  cold ...
  • David made brekkie while I steered and when we stopped for water, I ate and put a load of washing (towels) on
  • then back out into the cold and wet (I am a hero)
    Trying to keep my legs dry by using a modified plastic bag. The white above my right ear is one of the tissues that I had put under my hat to keep dry ... (My nose always runs when I am cold.) And my cost is extremely wet on the outside! The hat got a trifle damp too. and the gloves - I wrung them out afterwards. Note to self: buy waterproof tramping gloves at an outdoor shop very soon!!

  • by the time we arrived I was bloody cold and my hands would barely function when I was trying to attach the sides of the pram cover - did you know that cold fingers don't do domes and poking turny things through holes and turning them to secure said turny things? Well, now you do!
  • It was inside for a shower to warm up, then David warmed up the leftover roast pork and gravy for me to eat with buttered vogel bread - and there's a thing: Waitrose sells Vogel's bread!!! Yay!!! The soy and linseed is very yummy indeed!
  • After lunch, I beat David again at 5 Crowns so now the score is 7-1 to me in our tournament, but I only beat him by 3 points this time -  think that made it worse for him ...


Carol said...

Wow Marilyn that was certainly an epic journey. Our thoughts are with you both. x

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Hi Carol,

It has been a big job to get here so quickly - the locking with M&J was great and fast and efficient. And boating in the rain yesterday and today (plus a bit of Saturday) wasn't the most pleasant, but good to get it out of the way - and most importantly, it is raining harder now and we are snug and warm inside!

And all is good on the eye front, thus far ...


Jennie said...

That is truly and epic trip, Marilyn, but I am sure you are glad to be safely tucked up in Alvechurch. Let us know how things go and when you have a date for David's surgery. You know where we are if you need anything. Jennie x

Lisa said...

Bloody Brilliant heroic effort to all of you. Hope all goes well.

Lisa & David

Anonymous said...

Well done to everyone working hard together as a team.
I like your improvisation to keep the rain off while your'e steering Marilyn!
It feels extra special to snugle up cosy and warm after a long, cold wet cruise doesn't it?
Hope all will now run smoothly for you bothe.
K&A xx

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Thank you all for your comments.

The McD/Granger combo is pretty damn good, I have to say. And to think it could all have gone nowhere, if we had taken offense way back in 1994 when they thought we were Australian ...