A blog about our big adventure on our narrowboat 'Amarantine'

Monday, 11 February 2013

Birmingham and Back - Our Short Trip 2012

 Brenda locking at Foxton

 For our 2012 trip we planned to go to Birmingham with Brenda and Mick on their narrowboat ‘Ada Apple’.  For anyone who doesn‘t know, Brenda is Ken’s sister.  This was always going to be a short trip and we planned to leave mid June and be back around the end of August.  This was also always going to be a challenging trip.  The day we set off I had my first cycle of my third round of chemotherapy.  We were going to have to return to Peterborough every three weeks for the duration of the trip for me to have my treatment.  Oh well, so be it, we will do it!

I should also tell you that sadly we no longer have our little Max.  He was such an adventurous little soul, but he adventured a little too far one day and had an argument with a car.  RIP Max.


The trips home were only the first of the problems.  We had a drought and there was not going to be enough water for us to get through to the canal system on the Northampton arm of the Grand Union canal.  The arm was only going to be open at certain times.  So we were on a tight schedule.  Then there was a chemical spill which held Brenda and Mick up at Stanground so they could not join us to set off as planned.  We waited at Peterborough Cruising Club for four days till they could join us.  It was a very lazy, laid back and frustrating wait.

Eventually they arrived on 27th June and we set off at break neck speed up to Northampton to get up onto the canal during the open window.  We were only about a week behind our original plan.

 Drinks with friends

As we invariably do we stopped at Northampton Boat Club for the weekend.  Lucky us, our visit just happened to coincide with a party.  Met old mates and caught up on the gossip as usual.  The weather was still rather nice at this point.  However, the following day, by the time we hit the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union the heavens opened and it rained all the way up.

As I wasn’t quite as fit as I would have liked we decided that I should take the boat through the locks while Ken does all the hard work.  I was very nervous to start with, but after a few locks, I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.  Brenda was adamant that she wasn’t going to take her boat through and continued to do the locks while Mick took the boat.  She soon decided she wasn’t going to be outdone by me so took the helm of her boat and followed us through the locks.

So our trip began and continued uneventfully.  We hit the pubs and cruised leisurely for the next three days.  Then it started to rain.  We arrived at Kilby Bridge and moored up.  We couldn’t go any further.  A visit home was required and news was the Soar was flooded.  This was going to hamper our trip.

After a week and home visit done we managed to move on to Leicester.  Only to be delayed again.  Quite a few boats were moored at Leicester and it ended up like an impromptu boat rally.

 Boat Rally Leicester!!

Eventually we were able to move on.  We visited the Dudley Living Museum, which we loved.  Then onto Birmingham itself, which we absolutely loved.  We wanted to stay longer, but by this time we were on a tight schedule to get home.  Ironic!! Two reasons, the Northampton Arm was going to close and Brenda and Mick were booked to go abroad.  It really wasn’t going too well.

We did have a good time, but it is always better if you feel free to go at your own pace and not be dictated to.  So, we high tailed it back to
Peterborough.  The weather was on and off as it had been throughout the trip.  We got back on 29th August, a week before the arm was due to close.

 Loved this big fella in Birmingham

The plans for 2013 are in the making.  This will be a big trip starting on 5th May 2013 and we plan to be back around end of August or September.  I will up-date you shortly on the route.  My plan is to blog once a week.

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