Fabulous Fradley, but not quite round the bend

We’ve had several days moored at Fradley, next to Bridge Farm Lane, about a mile before the junction.

Heather was attending a nearby event called Flame Off, a convention for lampworkers, that’s working with glass, where the primary source of heat used to melt the glass is a torch flame, originally an oil lamp, as opposed to glass blowing which uses a furnace. We offered/demanded to provide her with bed and breakfast.  She attended workshops and demos and came back to the boat, excited to show us what she’d learnt. 

She was at pains to point out that these are all learning pieces, not perfect beads, but never the less I was impressed. 

While she was sweating it out with a high temperature blow torch, the rest of us took it easy, relaxing in perfect conditions.

And I went walking, looking at the flowers, these wild orchids are exquisite. Worth getting down on your knees to look at the intricate detail.

Fradley itself is divided into two halves by the canal, and is a merry mix of some beautiful old thatched cottages and a lot of new estates.  Sadly the need for housing is eating into the countryside and our beautiful old villages are being swamped and overrun with development. I wish I new the answer, cause I’m not sure the town planners do.  We all need somewhere to build our nest.

 

Meandering the Midlands

Continuing our cruise up the Coventry canal has taken us through some beautiful countryside. And having helped our friends, it was now our turn to take Firecrest down the Atherstone locks. 

There are often volunteer lockies here and a community that takes great pride in their canal, with plenty of colourful flowers displays. Next time, I shall make sure I have time to explore the town as well. Although it’s a couple of hours hard work, Eric took the strain with the windlass for a couple of locks. As you can see, he has a good work ethic.

We’ve commented on how few herons we’ve seen recently but this magnificent bird flew along side us for quite a way. 

There are another 2 locks in Tamworth, the Glascote pair. Which again are very pretty. We moored up at Ventura Park, the retail quarter of Tamworth, a huge consumer complex, it turns out we were moored next to the Jolly Sailor, not a pub, or a boater, but the car sales hub. We have friends/business associates in Tamworth and Chris has joked that his P&P is Personal and a Pint. Chris and Edna took us on  walking tour of the town, and despite the sprawling new housing estates, they are rightly very proud of its heritage. Unfortunately it was evening and not enough light for my photos to do justice to the town. Though being evening we did go out for a rather tasty Bangladesh meal.

The following day we were passed by another Braidbar boat, One Day, owned by Anna and Martin, this was one of the newly built boats at one of the open weekends that inspired us, so as we had spent a fair bit of time looking around their boat, it was pleasure to invite them onto Firecrest for a cuppa.

Continuing along the Coventry

I’m getting a bit behind with our journey as I look back to the spring bank holiday weekend.  We set out with great expectations in balmy baking hot sunshine, however the warning signs were there.  We gazed over the fields and saw the ominously dramatic storm clouds forming. 

We moored just beyond Nuneaton, at CampHill.  A quick look on google showed us that this area had been used for quarrying stone and manganese since Roman times. As there is a well marked footpath through the woodland, aka shade from the sun, we set off to explore. It didn’t take long before we felt like a handsome Prince searching for sleeping beauty.

Although the reason was sensible,

I didn’t photograph the memorials to the teenagers who had lost their lives in its hidden depth.

We made it back to the boat just in time before the storm broke.

I don’t think we have ever heard rain so heavy on the boat and the lightning was blinding. I have a real time storm tracker app which plots every strike so we could see the deluge that the Midlands was under although we only heard about the extent of the flooding and damage the next day. There are times when it’s very useful already living on a boat.

We contintued our journey northwards through countryside we were unfamiliar with.

For my friend, who tells me I am knowledgeable about plants, I believe Dr Zeus calls this one a Truffula tree

And we think this is a take on the modern facility known as a Man Creche.

 

Curious on the Coventry

Turning right at Hawkesbury junction takes us north rather than south into Coventry itself. Another case of us having a schedule to meet people, not that we mind I hasten to add. It’ll be the second time we’ve cruised this way and we always enjoy the curious sites we see around Charity dock yard. 

Although we do wonder who’s watching who.

And whether the locals are friendly.

Some of the gardens are beautifully tended,

Some are just “enjoyed”

Though I do wonder if the neighbours enjoy it as much as we do as we cruise past.

 

Happy Birthday Firecrest

Can you believe it. On 1st June 2017 we paid our licence fee, were given our paperwork and Firecrest finally became ours to cruise as we choose. Today we celebrated our 1st birthday with our daughter Heather on board with us, and a bottle of champagne.

We are moored on the Coventry canal, enjoying the evening sunshine. (Firecrest is the boat at the far end.) I’m hoping Eric will do all the figures about how far we’ve travelled etc, and I’ll tell you more about our Coventry journey. Watch this space.