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The name describes my demeanour and voice! I love narrowboating and that is why this blog is mainly about the boat and our interaction with it. I have been keeping a log for Sonflower ever since we bought her and moved onto her as our main residence. Some incidents in our boating life have been hilarious, some scary and some down right dangerous. I cannot tell what will come in the future but you can now share them! The crew are an 'ordinary' couple. The Best Mate and I.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Hillmorton to Polesworth

Skeleton crew leaving me!
A lovely couple of days boating. We arrived at Hillmorton at about 8.30 on Friday morning. We found the fridge off as the gas had run out. I changed the bottle but the second one had the plastic stopper already removed and did not go hiss when the valve was opened. Not a good sign. Gas was needed soon. 

The skeleton crew of Alex and the Best Mate made good progress north to Stretton Stop and I took the car to Atherstone returning to the boat by public transport. Getting to Rose Narrowboats first I inquired about gas. They had two bottles in stock. I ten walked down the towpath, the peaceful silence only punctuated by the contact calls of a family of buzzards. Sonflower came along when I got to the disused Brinklow arm junction.

So on to Stretton Stop where we moored on the water point (with all the Rose narrowboats around there really was nowhere else), took on water and gas.

Thence northward, watching the wheeling buzzards for quite a few minutes, toward Sutton Stop. About two miles short of this we were caught up by MV Nuneaton towing her butty nb Brighton which were on their way to a boat gathering at Alvecote. One of their crew hailed us to tell us that their crew at Sutton Stop had set the lock. We worked down and Alex made the run on good style: his first time on the tiller for this U-turn under the junction bridge and onto the Coventry Canal.

All was fine until we got to Marston Junction where nb Annie, a Black Prince Hire boat, came at us from the off side as we went under the bridge before the junction. Prompt avoiding action by both craft averted a collision but scared the wits out if the crew of Annie who were sitting in the bow well deck.

The motty boat and butty caught us up again at Springwell Haven and we pulled to the side to let them pass.

Nuneaton and Brighton
From then we stayed at cruising speed until we reached an overnight mooring just before Anchor Bridge: the Anchor Inn beckoned. We were moored behind a veteran fibre glass canal cruiser with cabins fore and aft and a central wheel house. They had two grandchildren aboard and a large dog and kindly gave us a poo bag to clean up the mess that was just where we needed to tie! We sat at the table next to them in the restaurant at the Inn as well and learned how they had often helped friends move the boat, fell in love with it and bought it as soon as the opportunity came when their friends bought a steel narrowboat.

This morning they were well ahead of us when we set off at 7.30am. We stopped for breakfast before the Atherstone flight. We worked down the first three locks with the "assistance" of the three volunteers who were on duty today. Although nice to see them they are not really much help to us for only three locks out of eleven! I wondered whether they were always at the first three locks. If so, single-handers who really do need help who are coming up would have no help through eight locks before seeing them! It was quite busy today and we only had to fill one lock all the way.
descending Atherstone lock 6

I left the boat at lock 9 to return to the car to get it to Polesworth. I parked next to the Bull Inn. Unfortunately this hostelry does not do lunches on Saturday, the restaurant (Indian cuisine) opens at 5.30pm. I met the boat at Bridge 51
Sonflower approaches Bridge 51
 We moored on the rings just through bridge 54. Lunch was now a necessity.

While we were eating our lunch, al fresco at The Anchor Inn under their fabulous gazebo, the heavens opened and a thunderstorm of great proportion started. We were glad that we were not boating this afternoon and felt sympathy for any holidaying hirers who "had to" carry on anyway! We remember those times.

Hillmorton to Polesworth 31.1/2 miles, and 12 locks,             15 hours

Editor's Note:  On 28th July 2008 we were here before: that time the blog says "a thundery shower stopped the expetition to the pub". Today we were already there!

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