Saturday, November 25, 2006

It is with great sadness that I have to report the death of Bruno-dog yesterday evening.

Those who knew him will remember his immense enthusiasm for new experiences, exploring new places and meeting new people and dogs. He was a well travelled dog, having walked in the Scottish highlands, Welsh mountains, Dartmoor and many places in between.
His love of life was a joy to see.

Bruno "chilling"

As previously reported, he had contracted a tummy bug, and had a swollen prostate. As these cleared up, however, he started to have seizures. Whether the two problems were related or coincidental we don’t know.
Medication prescribed by the vet kept the severity of the fits in check, but could do nothing for the frequency. Finally he was having so many he was unable to recover in between. By yesterday he hadn’t eaten for 2 days, couldn’t stand and had lost the sight in his right eye. We had to make the decision to let him go with dignity.
He will be sorely missed.

We would like to thank Hayes and Borrajo at Birstall for doing all they could for him.

If Bruno had recovered, we were intending to head down to Foxton on Thursday, to join the protest there against the DEFRA cuts ( Unfortunately this was not possible. There is a local event organised for today here at Thurmaston. We’ll probably go down.
We can’t move south yet, Pywells lock just past Leicester is closing for a fortnight starting on Monday.
Our only alternative would be back up to Fradley and down the Coventry canal. We’ve not made any decision yet.

Can’t move for a while anyway, the flood warnings are up on the river.

Birstall Lock this morning

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Monday 13th to Thursday 16th November 2006

Traumatic times!
Bruno was OK in the morning, but started to go downhill in the afternoon. He seemed unable to get comfortable, was occasionally sick and very restless. On Andy’s recommendation I made an appointment at Borrajo’s, the vet in Birstall (of TV fame, apparently) as we intended to move there on Tuesday.
But Bruno wasn’t waiting till then, so we called out an emergency ambulance for him and took him into the PDSA clinic in Leicester, where Vetcall operate from out-of-hours. He spent the night there sedated and on a drip, and was transferred to Borrajos on Tuesday morning.
Many thanks to Brad the driver, and the staff at Vetcall.
We collected the old chap from the vet on Tuesday evening, a lot brighter, but still sleepy from the medication. He had a good nights sleep, and improved steadily through the day, eating well and taking regular short walks. Dad has lent us his car again (what would we do without him?) so it was easy to get back to Birstall for a follow up appointment on Wednesday evening. John Borrajo was happy with progress but wants to see him again in about a week. He prescribed a course of antibiotics and agreed to give him his annual MOT next week if he has recovered. As we’re staying here for a few more days, I’ve arranged a berth at Raynsway Marina in Thurmaston. This gives us easier access to facilities, and secure parking for the car.
While Bruno was ill, I also had the same symptoms, unable to keep anything down. Maybe a combination of worry and my unplanned swim on Sunday.
We moved off to Thurmaston on Thursday at about 11:00, arriving around 13:30 The marina is very pleasant, with good facilities and company. We’re moored next to NB BALMAHA ( for a few days.

The navigation is suffering from an infection of Floating Pennywort.

Bruno continues to improve, eating well and taking an interest in what’s going on again. Me too.

Locks 4
Miles 4½

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th November 2006.
Quiet days Thursday and Friday, then on Saturday went across to the boatyard to fill with diesel, top up coal bunkers and gas, and spend money in the chandlery! OK on the way across the cut, the wind just blew us over, but getting back was a different matter entirely!

We’d decided to empty the loo and fill with water on Sunday, so combined this with a trip into Loughborough to B&Q to get some timber to line the inside of the cabin doors. We took along Andy and family.

Met Andrew Denny on NB Granny Buttons ( at Mountsorrel, and followed him down to Barrow where he was filling with water. He’s heading north to Shardlow later in the week.

I’d misjudged how long it was to take us to get back to Sileby, and consequently we finished the last mile or so from Mountsorrel in the dark. While tying up I took a wrong step and got my first bath! Not recommended, the water here is cold and pretty deep! Still, no harm done, I even kept my cap and glasses on! I’ve no doubt the kids will be talking about it for days. I’m glad Nyree and Andy were on board though, else I’d have had to paddle my way to the stern to climb back on. As it was they hauled me over the gunwale onto the foredeck.

Bruno hadn’t been so good on Saturday, listless and not eating, but brightened up again on Sunday.

Locks 6
Miles 13
Swim 1

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Waited for an early shower to clear, so didn’t set off till 10:30. We had to empty all of today’s locks before use, and didn’t see another moving boat all day.
Used the BW service point at Bishops Meadow,

and shopped at Somerfield in Barrow, before arriving at Sileby Mill at 16:15.
We’re going to wait here for Reg to confirm that we can collect the cratch cover from Redhill. It’s handy to fill up with diesel, solid fuel etc.

Locks 5
Miles 9½

Just off up to Dad’s to see Sue before she jets off back to NZ tomorrow…

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A very enjoyable day on Sunday, a family meal at the Chard Restaurant near Nottingham, followed by “a bit of a do” at brother Andy’s place. It was good to catch up with everyone, especially my older brother Pete and his daughter Hannah down from Scotland, and sister Sue who lives in New Zealand and recently got married over there. We stayed the night at Andy’s and came back to the boat on Monday morning. Sue hadn’t seen Seyella, so we took her and Andy and Nyree for a short cruise into Loughborough and back, stopping for an excellent lunch at The Plough at Normanton on the way back. The rest of the afternoon was quiet, recovering from the exertions of the weekend.

We had heard through the grapevine that the planned closure of Kegworth Deep lock on Monday had been postponed till Friday, so this gave us the opportunity to get up to Redhill and ask Reg at Boat Hoods Direct to do some mods on the cratch cover he made for us a month or so ago.

New gates for Kegworth Deep

When we got to Kegworth, BW guys told us that they were just waiting for the delivery of the balance beams, and then would start with the replacement of the gates in the morning. So we dropped off the cover at Redhill, and came back down to Zouch so we didn’t get stuck on the wrong side of Kegworth. Dad will run me back up by car when the cover is ready, then I’ll refit the clips on the boat as required.

Arrived back at Zouch about 15:30, after a beautiful sunny day on the water.

Saw this brand new Dutch Barge coming up through Ratcliffe Lock. £180k and it’s yours!

Over the 2 days, locks 10, miles 16½.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Last day to get as close to Sileby as possible. Off at 08:00 with Ian and Gillian on “Little Lady” as arranged. Through Stenson lock then set off towards Swarkestone. Arrived after about an hour, but had had no sign of the other boat for the last 30 minutes. Helped a boat up the lock, then waited another 15 minutes or so but still no show, so we pressed on on our own. I wonder what happened. I hope they are OK.

Autumn Colours

Solo’d the locks until Derwent Mouth, which we shared with a cruiser. Traffic going in the opposite direction meant that most of the locks were full ready for us. Dredging operations near Swarkestone had been suspended for the weekend.


Through Sawley, shared with the same cruiser, and then onto the Soar.

Sawley Marina and Ratcliffe Power Station

A boater at Sawley told us that they had heard that Kegworth Deep lock was being closed on Monday for new gates. This would limit us as we had intended to stop just north of this lock. As it happened, there was no room anyway, most of the mooring taken up by workboats ready for Monday.
We decided to press on and stop at Zouch lock. Arrived at just before 17:00.

Locks T&M 6, Trent 1, Soar 3 = 10
Miles 17

Friday, November 03, 2006

Another beautiful, clear frosty morning. How long can this weather last? On the move just before 08:00, stopped at the services in the Fradley flight, but had to wait to fill up with water. By the time we had finished, other folk were on the move so we had to queue to go down the last 2 locks, and caught up with a boat at every lock up to Stenson. This meant we had to empty almost all of the locks we came to, which slowed us a little, but we arrived at Stenson lock at 16:30.
We’d met a couple at Fradley who were going through to Nottingham, and made a tentative arrangement to share the broad locks down to the Trent tomorrow. Saw them at Stenson and confirmed the arrangement.
Starting to feel a little weary, now. Up at 06:30, and travelling for 8-9 hours a day takes it’s toll after a while. Only 1 more day of this, then we can relax.

Locks 13
Miles 16

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Another frosty morning, colder than yesterday. High cloud made the sun hazy until lunchtime, which made seeing the route ahead rather easier.

Leaving a frosty Aston Lock

A day of long runs punctuated by the occasional lock gave Margaret a chance to put her feet up. We had hoped to get through Fradley, but a stop at Rugeley for essentials meant that we didn’t arrive at Woodend lock till 16:00, so called it a day shortly after. Will do the Fradley locks first thing, and use the services in the flight.
The last couple of overnight frosts have really hit the trees, a lot of leaves have turned suddenly. If we get another brisk wind, they'll be stripped pretty quickly.
We’ve got Friday and Saturday to get as close as possible to Sileby on the Soar, at the worst case we’ll get to Redhill. I need to have a chat with Reg at Boat Hoods Direct about the cratch cover. Nothing he has done wrong, just some modifications required. The weather looks to be holding fair for us.

7 locks, 20 miles

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Well, November started autumn for us, frost on the cabin roof, mist on the water and not a breath of wind.
We moved off at 08:00, after clearing out the stove ready for Harecastle. Through the remaining 3 locks of the Red Bull flight and waved straight into the tunnel.

Under Poole Aqueduct

Out into sunlight by 09:40, the only drawback being not being able to see where to go! The low sun, directly ahead, and the smoke from the relit stove made the view forward very difficult. As the sun rose higher it became less of a problem, but was still an issue all the way through Stoke.
We cleared the last of the Stoke locks by about 13:00, and pressed on down to Meaford, getting through these by 15:00. At this point we made the decision to carry on and get through Stone before stopping for the night just before Aston lock. We tied up at 16:30 after a long but satisfying day. Another cold night in the offing, but we’ll be toasty on board.

18 locks, 16½ miles.