About Me

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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 16 September 2023

Off to the "National"

The Inland Waterways Association National Rally, aka the Festival of Water, was at Pelsall Junction this year. Although we decided late to book in we were happy to include this festival in our itinery. We have only navigated the Wyrley and Essington canal once before and that was from Walsall Junction to Wlverhamptin. This year by attending the festival we would do the whole length aside from the Anglesea Branch. We were looking forward to it.

Wednesday 23rd August 2023, Crew: Eeyore, the Best mate and Suepercrew. Tividale to Wolverhampton

We drove to Tividale Quays and embarked on Sonflower amongst several anglers. Local residents helped me to choose a place to park the car, in a quiet cul-de-sec on a nice development near the bus stop. You can tell it was a nice development by the proliferation on Audis, Mercs and BMW SUVs on the drives. 

Back on board we set off for an overnight mooring. All that delayed us was the amount of weed. There are plenty of water lilies alongside the  channel but more than that there was also floating weed and at times carpets of water fern or blanket weed. The inevitable BCN polythene burden gets mixed up in the weed and can soon clog the blades. The regular stop-reverse-glide procedure is ok most of the time but we had to use the weed hatch twive on our way to Wolverhampton. We moored on the secure mooring opposite the Broad Street Basin Boaters Facilities. This mooring is not accessible from the road adjacent without the use of a long ladder, whihc we did not have. We ate on board.

7miles, 0 locks, 4 hours 

Thursday 24th August 2023  Broad Street, Basin Wolverhampton to Pelsall Junction

We set off straight into the Broad Street Basin to use the facilities. We took on water but were unable to dispose of rubbish because the bins have been removed. According to CRT Customer Services the land was sold and the bins had to be removed. Alternatives have not been provided. We noted that the shower has been removed too but us still shown oin the sign. Ther was no evident elsan disposal point either but we nay just have missed this.

Having got under way again and turning onto the Wyrley and Essington Canal at Horseley Fields junction the complete change of nature of this canalk is evident. Ther is no evidence of industry any more.  The bridges of Birmongham wer cast at the Horsely Iron Works. Ther is no evidence of its existence any more.

Weed soon became a problem. Reed beds have been allwed to establish themselves and in some places they have encroached form both banks to reduce the width of the canal to a single boiat width. Water Fern is almost everywhere and floating penny wort was noted.

Floating Penny wort (above)   

I quite like water lilies but sometimes even these can be a little too much especially when one has to pass an oincoming boat. Someone has to plow through the lily beds..

So we visited the weed hatch regularly and made our way along the winding canal to the Sneyd Wharf Services. Here we found a skip for our rubbish and used the toilet facilities. We moved off the wharf to the adjacent mooring and had lunch.

The afternoon was uneventful. We were amazed how quiet the canal was. We only saw two other moving boats all day. One was in the Broad Street Services basin and the other at Sneyd while we lunched.

We arrived at Pelsall Junction to find the harbour master gesticulating and directing boats to moorings. He poiinted out that we had already passed ours! However another boat had already passed hisin the opposite dorection and the harbourmaster felt it expedient just to swap our moorings. Hence we got to moor on the outside of our good friends on nb Spring Water. They are part of our cruising club.We were not far from two other boats in our group. We soon got chatting and comparing the number of times each of us had had to open the weed hatch on our voyage to here.

13.1/2 miles 0 locks    8 hours

Fund Britain's Waterways

 Sunday 13th August 2023 

It rained!  We left our overnight mooring at about 10.00 am amd entered Birmingham, City Centre, mooring at the services just befiore the Mailbox to await the rest of the fleet. We wer there to highlight the need of adequate funding to keep the canals in gooid repair and as an national heritage asset and leisure resource.


We wer one of over 40 noats that gathered, sounded thir horns and listened to Zoom presentaions form the IWA Chailrman, Les Everidge, CRT Chief Exec, Richard Parry and others.  

The weather did not encourage much interest from the tow-path but ITV was there and interviewed The Best Mate for their report on Midlands Today.

After  the event we decided to cruise w=away form the city centre.

We motoored down the Main Line to Tipton Factory Locks. Here we were slowed by debris in the locks but were caught up by nb Little Owl who also was seeling an overnight mooring out iof town. He opicked up a coil of wire on his prop and needed some assistance as he is a single hander. We aited and them the two boats made thir way to Dudley tunnel entrance to moor overnight on the moorings adjacent to the Back Country open air Museum. 

We ate on board with the skippper of Littel Owl as our guest. 

12 Miles, 3 locks,  6 hours

Monday 14th August 2023  

Rain persisted so we cancelled our planned visit to the museum and  moved on to a lovely mooring at Tividale Quays, the ex Dudley Port. We wer welcomed by the chaiman of the liocalk angling society who was genuinely pleased to see us. From here we returned to Moor Streeet Station by bus and caught a train back home.

1 mile,  1 hour