Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Back to the junction

Mags was still a bit under the weather today, so, after the Tesco delivery, we made the short trip back to Fradley.

After a cold night we had a splendid morning, bright sunshine soon clearing the thin ice on the canal.

Beautiful morningSAM_4680

Old waterworks, now owned by Integrated Water Services

Someone’s got a project on!

We had a very gentle cruise, enjoying the warm sunshine,  and the satisfaction of knowing that the new batteries are doing what they’re supposed to do. Yes, we had power to spare this morning, and the charge rates are just as expected. That’s a relief.

Arriving back at Fradley JunctionSAM_4686

We moored just south of the junction again, on the Coventry Canal, but there were far less boats here now.

The last mile or so runs along the boundary of what used to be Fradley Field, a WWII training airfield. There were a couple of bomber raids launched from here, but the base was mainly involved in navigator training. The main airfield area is now redeveloped, called Fradley Park, it is mostly given over to warehousing and distribution companies, with large storage units. There are still some of the old hangers giving good service…SAM_4685

When we’d sorted out  took Meg for a circular walk, taking in part of the fringes of the old airfield. Visible from Gorse Lane there’s an odd plastic construction running through the undergrowth, and I was lucky enough to bump into a local the other day who explained it’s function.
It appears that it’s a newt proof fence, built to keep a recently discovered, voracious species from rampaging across the countryside.

Tyrannus newtusNewt Clone
A bit like Hadrian’s Wall, then. Or Worm Fradleywood Scrubs, maybe?

No, only joking. It is a newt fence, designed to protect a colony of Great Crested Newts that breed here. When the airfield was redeveloped there were concerns that the inevitable increase in traffic would result in lots of flat newts, so the fence is for their own protection.
Apparently it cost in the region of £20,000…..

This afternoon I’ve done something I’ve not done for 40 years. Mend a puncture on a bicycle tyre. Poor John Sage was looking a bit deflated at the rear end, investigation revealed the bane of all towpath cyclists, a thorn, left over from hedge trimming.
Good job I’d bought a puncture repair kit when I bought the bike, eh.
With all the advances in push bike technology since I last had one I was surprised that you can still remove a tyre with a pair of spoons handles!
Be right back

Mags is still not right, so we may stay here tomorrow. We’ll see how she feels in the morning. One thing, we’re not going to starve…

Oh and I see that we've a new Pope. This one hails from Argentina, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, and will be know as Francis. He’s the first non-European for 1000 years, is 76 years old and was runner-up to Ratzinger in the 2005 elections. I hope he’s up to the challenge…..

Locks 0, miles 2

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