We are into the countdown for moving to Spain during the long British winter where walks by the Med are clean living rather than walking muddier than muddy towpaths. We have a life, for better or worse, and we need to live it while we are alive.
|Nb Te Papa|
We have been moored near Kinver since the month of October 2017 began. Kinver is nice, a friendly village on the outskirts of Stourbridge and close to Kidderminster.
The Staffs & Worcs Canal is quiet with boat traffic, pretty countryside to moor in and we are in no rush to move along while we wait to put DB to bed in Ashwood Marina on Nov 1st for her winter hibernation!!
A plus is we have the Yeti, nearby, and we made a bold decision to venture away from the Canal for 24hrs and drive to Blackpool to see The Illuminations and return via North Wales.
|This train lit up the Illuminations for us.|
It was my first time to Blackpool, yes the night lights were illuminating and well worth a one-time visit. Cptn thinks he would have last come here as a 5-year-old, that was a long time ago!
The drive back went over the R. Mersey and back to Kinver through North Wales and it was fabulous.
The bi-lingual road signs were interesting, I was driving so no photos. I think to speak, as a novice, Welsh words (full of consonants) are beyond me. Reading the written word using my brain full of English phonetics, at least 44 sounds (phonemes don’t phone me!!) plus my Kiwi dialect...blah blah. I got my tongue around Pontcysyllcte, earlier in the year but that is the sum of my spoken Welsh. I love hearing a Welsh Male Choir.
Anyway, it was a good ‘away’ trip. I had my first time driving the Yeti (1.793m width and 4.223m length). It is a lovely vehicle. It is more or less the same width as the Astra but it felt wider to me. DB is a few cm wider and a lot longer than Yeti (2.08m width and 20.73m length). The drive was good until the Sat Nav took me off course onto a narrow country lane. In hindsight, I should have turned around but I managed to get up close and personal with the edge of the lane and it reacted with biting a chunk out of the tyre.
Damn bugger and blast!! I was instantly remorseful and not keen to keep driving once the wheel was changed to its standard temporary-not-to-be-used-permanently spare.
Well, it’s all sorted now with no big dent to the pocket and I’m back helming DB. Earlier in the month, we had DB’s Boat Safety Certificate renewed. It was her first 4 yearly inspection and she would not be able to be relicensed without meeting the safety regulations. It was an intensive 2-hour informative examination for DB and she passed with distinction!
|Hurricane Irma brought sand from the Sahara and fire ash from Portugal. Eerie day sky.|
We had some human, yearly service, and canine health issues attended to, as well. Storm Brian was forecast so we brainstormed a cruising plan and acting on impulse decided to go on a firewood hunt along the Staffs & Worcs Canal to Stourport-on-Severn before the storm hit. We had our eye on some willow oak logs we had seen a Lock away but thought we’d collect them on our return.
We passed some school kids and their teachers out for the morning paddling large canoes along the canal. It was pleasing to see they showed respect for Narrowboats and pulled into the towpath to let us cruise past. They gave us a warning that there was a fallen tree, ahead, blocking the canal. I didn’t take much notice until we followed around the bend after the 85yd Cookley Tunnel or is Tunnel Cookley, and the Canal was blocked by the tree.
|DB helping with tree pushing.|
Fortunately, the workmen were on the job with ropes and chainsaw. DB floated, naturally, to the towpath and held her position without needing to be secured with ropes. Then the school canoes arrived. Their permanent mooring rings were adjacent to us, on the other side of the Canal and the school party left for lunch and Half Term.
About 2 hours passed while we watched the tree get removed from the canal and we waited to be given the all clear for passage.
Amazing what a length of rope and a car can achieve in raising a tree, not forgetting the blokes who made this happen. We were given the thumbs up to move and were happy to take the men across to the other side of the Canal. THANK YOU.
Our day for cruising had shortened. Past Kidderminster we caught a glimpse of logs but they were not easily accessible, and the plan was to remember the spot and give it a go on our return trip. We had time to get to Stourport-on-Severn and get the canopies up, before nightfall.
Storm Brian brought a few wind gusts and rain but no harm was done in our neck of the woods. Our Brain Storm to get wood was made more of an impact!
The day after was possibly going to be sunny and it was. We packed away the canopies and winded heading back to our latest seen log stack near Pratt’s Wharf. That was fun. Not the Towpath side but with a bit of manoeuvring I could get DB close to the bank. Cptn stayed dry when he did a wide move to shore and using the bow saw he could cut away some of the dried branch obstruction and secure DB with her stern rope tied further up the branch.
|Throw me a Log!!|
Then he got started with transferring the logs to me to haul onto the stern. What can be achieved with a thin sturdy rope! A total of 7 logs delivered in rhythm with the grand finale being the branch, that DB was tied to, cut from the dead tree and lifted across DB’s stern.
Cptn could safely use this as a stable way to step back onto DB. Thankfully no traffic came past as DB was pretty much nose to Towpath straddled across the Canal.
Plan B was to saw the logs into smaller pieces. Early afternoon we moored above Wolverly Lock and out came the chainsaw. We had put the Wheelhouse Canopy up, thinking that we would stay the night but we were without Internet signal so we moved on with the canopy remaining in situ. Well, the obstacles would be a bridge and the next Lock. And as chance had it, it was all clear!! We cruised through ending the day close to the site of the fallen tree. Still no Internet signal but closer to the next wood pile! No not the fallen tree, too fresh and wrapped in a vine.
Next day, we were back at the site of the heavy logs. Maybe they are newly cut Willow Oak Logs. A couple of rounds of sturdy string enabled us to carry these heavy 5 beasts to DB. We moved back to our favourite just-before Kinver mooring and were motivated to get these logs cut into rounds.
I’m not learned with the chainsaw but I am an adept hand with the axe. The small log rounds of the previous day were easy to chop but the oak was new felled, a few split with the axe but best to wait for seasoning!!
|DB is bursting with wood|
There was plenty of rhythm to our wood stock. Burn baby burn.
And to finish
|Never on your own- under bridge to Kidderminster Lock|
|Going into Kidderminster Lock|
Tow Path Meetings 21/10, here are my words in summation but their story left unwritten...
-The Couple from La Marina (Costa Blanca)
-The Man from Iran
-The Winter-in-Spain Caravan Man