Friday, 27 July 2012

The sun has got his hat on.......and it's HOT!!!

Our next door neighbour in Bancroft Basin was a 26 year old boat called Black Adder. It's owner was a nice guy who told me it was his third boat and that he was very proud of having fitted it out himself, from new, but also didn't mind admitting that it still wasn't finished.  Although it was a fairly short boat at 45ft it had a boatman't back cabin with a beautiful boatman's stove.  He told me it isn't a traditional boatman's stove, is called a Queen Ann stove and has a triangular shaped back to it. It was originally designed to be fitted into a covered wagon used by American settlers heading East along the wagon trail. I wouldn't like to use it as it has an open grate and I'm not really into the old traditional style narrowboats, but this stove was truly beautiful to look at.

One of the nice things about living on the boat is that wherever we go we have our own "private" garden, with someone else to do all the maintenance, lawn mowing etc. Sometimes that garden is just a bit of grass and wild flowers, other times it's somewhere as beautiful as Bancroft Basin .

not sure what these are called but they were pretty spectacular

Clematis "Jacmanii"  we had this all over the
fence at our house

just one of the many Lavender bushes

giant Thistles

a Thistle flower

There were also many, many Lilies dotted about. Thankfully they weren't very scented as the smell gives me instant migraine. It also reminds me of funerals, so while they are beautiful they're not my favourite flower.

There's a separate formal herb garden containing fennel, thymes, feverfew etc. etc. and every section of the garden has Rosemary bushes.

We left the basin about 10.00 and had a slow trip up the 16 locks to moor at Wilmcote.  It was an eventful trip as the pounds between locks were very low due to the amount of boat traffic and with most of the boats being hirers they din't have a clue about managing the water levels.  The BW (sorry CaRT) man came out at the 4th lock to let water down the flight before we could continue.  It hadn't been helped by one of the hire boats in front of us refusing point blank to lower paddles or shut gates.  The skipper actually got quite "arsey" when asked to do it and we thought a fight was going to break out.  He must have been late returning the boat as he overtook an elderly couple in a brand new boat in one of the shallow pounds, grounding them on the mud. We had to let a couple of lock-fulls of water down and tow them off.  Once they were floating again they followed us up the locks but were dreadfully slow. They had absolutely no idea how to work locks and neither of them was physically fit enough to open the gates so the boat following them had to do all the work for them, just to keep the queue moving.

The sun beat down all day and it was a bit hot to be working 16 locks in 3 miles, but there was a nice breeze blowing and we swapped over every couple of locks. All in all we really enjoyed our day and moored at Wilmcote for the night.  Late in the evening we took Chico out for a nice cool walk and went up to Mary Arden's Farm.  We visited it last year and you can see the photos HERE. I was quite disappointed at the state of the cottage garden in front of the house. It was full of weeds and looked rather neglected. It had been my favourite part of the farm last year.

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