Friday, 27 June 2014

The Beer-Fishers of Coventry

Hawkesbury Junction - Coventry Canal

There are certain things that we just can't do without on the boat; Dad's beer, my biscuits, and toilet-roll.

Well, Dad had no beer, my biscuits were just a pile of crumbs in the bottom of the box, and the toilet-roll was nearly down to the cardboard.
Mums phone has a thing on it called a 'Google', and this Google told her that there was a shop by the canal nearby in Coventry, so we set off in the boat to find out where we could park to do a bit of shopping.

After a couple of miles, or an hour in 'boat-time', we saw the shop, but nowhere to park the boat. Dad said that we would have to turn around and try to find somewhere on the way back.

The trouble with our boat is that it is too long to turn round just anywhere, so we have to go to a special place that they have every few miles, where long boats can go in and turn around.

At the place where we needed to turn, there was a couple of men and a woman who had fishing-rods and seemed to be catching beer cans in the canal.
I don't know what time they had started fishing, but we'd got there quite early and they already had a big pile of cans that they'd obviously caught that morning.

Anyway, Dad started to turn the boat round when one of the men started throwing stones at us and the boat. As the man was holding a beer can that he'd just caught, his aim wasn't that good, and luckily, he only hit the back of the boat, but he started shouting at Dad that the canal wasn't there for boats, it was there so that he could do his fishing,

While the big pile of beer cans did indicate that it was a good place to fish, Dad told him that the turning round place was there for boats to use, but the beer-fisher didn't agree and followed us back up the canal still throwing stones and shouting rude words.
Mum took some photos of him in case we bumped into him again, and eventually, he turned round and went back down the canal so that he could fish for some more cans.

We did eventually find somewhere to park so that we could do some shopping, but I think we're all agreed that we won't go back to Coventry any time soon, just in case we hit the beer-fishing season again.

Just in case anyone is tempted to go down there, here is his picture.................

XX Beau


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Beau and the Biking Bankers

Marple Junction, Macclesfield Canal

I'm not at my best first thing in the morning.
Not quite as bad as Dad, who often has acute attacks of 'Vague' which generally follow acute attacks of 'Thirst' the night before.

The other morning, as usual, we were about to set off to check on my local 'p-mails'; Dad was clipped onto my lead to stop him from wandering off, and I'd checked to see which side of the boat the water was on. The final check is needed because sometimes Dad parks the boat on the left side of the canal, and sometimes he parks it on the right. Getting it wrong can lead to an unwanted early morning bath.......

With Dad firmly in tow, I'd just stepped off the boat when this machine went flying past, just missing my front paws..........

I looked up and saw, disappearing down the towpath, two wheels which seemed to be supporting a huge, shining black backside, which had a wide, dirty brown stripe going all the way up it.
This split-second image looked just like the rear view of a huge black labrador with a bad case of the 'runs'.

This near-miss was sufficient to bring Dad out of his bout of the 'Vagues' and he started a really good rant using some words that I hadn't heard since he stubbed his bare foot on the wooden step of the shower-block.
I'm not sure what a lot of the words meant but I think it was mostly to do with Mountain Bikers and Merchant Bankers, whatever they are.........

I'd pretty much finished updating my p-mails on the towpath, and anyway, Dad was beginning to drag his feet, so I pulled his lead back towards the boat, thanking my stars that we hadn't met any more Merchant Bikers during our walk.

No sooner had we turned round when there was a sound like thunder rumbling along the towpath behind us. Dad, who had quickly relapsed back into a 'Vague' whilst I was p-mailing, hesitated just long enough to nearly get trampled underfoot as a solid wall of runners, of all shapes and sizes in brightly coloured T-shirts, swept along the towpath.

All the T-shirts had the same words printed on the back which said something like 'Run For Your Life'.

After the morning we'd had, we didn't need telling twice.......................

xx Beau
                                                    I feel safer here for the moment....................

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Beau and the 'Canal of Monsters'

Hassall Green Locks, Trent & Mersey Canal

After a week spent with the constant worry that we'll run into the whales, Dad has come to his senses, and we have turned round to go back. (He said that he wasn't worried, but to my untrained eye, we seem to be going back a lot faster than when we came)........

We found a turning round space near a town called El Smear, which Dad said is Spanish for dirty windows. Because our boat is so long, if we hadn't turned round there, then we would have had to go on towards the whales for at least another two days, and, if I heard Dad right, we'd have had to run over two huge 'aqua-ducks' on the way.
As if the whales and the huge sheepdogs with numbers on their bums weren't bad enough, on this canal it seems you need to run the gauntlet of outsized wildfowl as well!!

No sooner had we escaped the 'Canal of Monsters' as I had come to call it, then Dad took us onto another new stretch, which in a few days, will bring us to a town where, he says, they make all the salt.
With the amount that he puts on his chips, I expect we'll be buying it by the boxfull.....

In the meantime, I'm going to lie on my bed and dream of less stressful times, when all I had to worry about was whether Mum would be putting homemade gravy on my bicuits, or whether Dad will find a place to park the boat where I can have a game of football.

As for the 'Canal of Monsters', well I won't be too sad if we never go there again.
Dad says that I worry too much and that loads of boats go up there every year.

He didn't say how many of them came back though.....................

xx Beau

                                         Keeping an eye out for the massive Aqua Ducks..............

Friday, 25 April 2014

Watch Out!!....Here Be Whales....

Willeymoor Lock - Llangollen Canal

Dad's taken a diversion onto a canal that we've not been down before. The book he's been reading says that it's mostly nice countryside, but, if I've heard him right, after a couple of days we'll be running into whales...............WHALES!!!....are you kidding me???
I've seen the programmes on the telly.........and they are huge; even that Attenborough bloke said that they are the largest animal on the planet, and Dad's cool about running into some, on a narrow canal, in the next couple of days!!

Mum says 'Don't worry, Dad knows what he's doing'....
That might have been true in the past, but he's been putting away the rabbit cider for the past couple of days and I'm not sure that his 'compost' is entirely 'mentis' if you know what I mean.

Whilst we've been cruising headlong towards certain cretacean doom in the shape of the worlds largest animal, I've noticed that other animals around this area are much bigger than normal as well.
Take for instance the size of the local sheepdogs......
Dad took a photo of one the other day and it's absolutely massive......Definitely on different biscuits to the stuff I have in my bowl everyday...(thank heavens).
It would appear that they aren't that clever at remembering where they live either, because nearly all of them have got their house number painted on their bums in case they forget...

A Local Sheepdog with its House Number on its bum....

I'll let you know how we get on with the whales.

xx Beau


Saturday, 19 April 2014

"Are You off a Boat??"

Audlem Locks - Shropshire Union Canal

I dont like roads......everything seems to happen so fast when you're by a road.

Living on a boat that creeps along slower than Dad can walk back from the Pub means that, when you do come to a road, it's a real culture shock.
For the past few weeks, the fastest thing I've seen is a poodle chasing a pidgeon, which wasn't exactly scintillating; but when we got to a place called Market Drayton, Mum and Dad needed to go to the shops and decided to take me with them so that I could help them find their way back.

Apparently, when they were here last time, they went to the Market Drayton Midweek Market, (try saying that with a mouthful of Wagg Complete Worker Biscuits), and they found a butcher selling rabbits. Now Dad, being an afficianado of anything that can be cooked in beer or cider, decided that they should try and get some more to put into the freezer, (the rabbit, not the cider).

Anyway, it was whilst we were on this quest that we were stopped by a woman of a certain age who demanded to know whether we were 'off a boat'.

How could she know..........was it the nautical bandana which I wear with such a jaunty and carefree elegance?, or was it Dad's rolling walk down the road, reminiscent of sailors back on dry land after months at sea.
Could she have been on one of the boats that Dad has accidentally 'made contact with' in the last few weeks, heaven knows there has been enough of them.

It turned out to be none of the above; the lady had walked past our boat by the canal and had seen pictures of me and my other 'blog' stuff in the back window, and, remembering my stunning good looks, had recognised me in the street!!

Notwithstanding this demonstration of the fame, (but not the fortune) of having a wide-ranging blog audience, the hunting trip itself was a failure and Dad didn't get his rabbit. According to the butcher, we'd had the wrong type of rain, or some such rubbish, over the Winter, and there wasn't a rabbit to be had, anywhere.
But Dad, ever the optimist, bought the cider anyway...........just in case.......

xx Beau 

'Quick!!!  There's another Collie like me in the water!!!!

Friday, 4 April 2014

Bedding Down, Stourbridge Style.....

Wombourne, Stafford & Worcester Canal

Now that he's filled up the boat with beer and bacon, we have left the big shopping place at Merry Hill and Dad says that Birmingham's behind, is behind us.

We went round a place called Stourbridge, and if I wore a hat (which I don't because of my ears), I would take it off to the local people in praise of their consideration towards the canal wildlife.
They have selflessly (and apparently without bothering about the cost), provided the canalside ducks, coots and moorhens with an array of quilts, sleeping-bags and old mattresses so that they can be nice and comfortable at night. I think that they run a sort of food-parcel scheme as well, because the empty plastic boxes and bags, and the shopping trolleys that they were brought in, have all been left out to be picked up by the local good folks the next day.

Dad was quite upset when we accidentaly picked up one of the ducks quilts around the propeller thingy at the back of the boat. He had to stop the engine under a bridge so that he could pull it all out. I can understand his concern at having ruined one of the ducks beds, but looking around, there were plenty more that they could use instead, so I couldn't quite see why he was getting so wound up about it.

Anyway, once we got the engine going again, we finally left the Stourbridge wildlife paradise, and have now turned onto another canal which is going to take us Northwards on the next part of our Spring adventure.

One thing I noticed straight away is that there are no mattresses, quilts, sleeping bags or food boxes round here, so it's hardly surprising that there isn't much wildlife either. On the up-side, it might mean that Dad isn't going to get upset at slicing a ducks bedding to pieces with the boat again, at least for a bit.......

In the meantime, if you are around the Stourbridge canal area and you see someone throwing bedding into the canal, do take the time to have a chat to them about their wildlife conservation work, otherwise they'll think that nobody cares................

xx Beau

If only we had some to spare, this would be a great place to throw in some more bedding for the ducks.....

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Farewell, Windmill End

Dudley No.1 Canal, Merry Hill

Well, we stayed a week, but the time has come to continue my adventures. So it's farewell to all my mates in the Windmill End Gang.
I don't know many of the names of the guys that I met, though there were definitely two called Max, and Max the Collie was an ace footballer even though his owner didn't know it before he met me.
I met Alan who already had a Collie, and now has a young pup to look after. I've seen the pictures and he's really cute (the puppy not Alan), but then again, I was cute at that age, and look at me now........

The trip along the canal to the Black Country Museum went quite well, at least Mum and Dad seemed to enjoy it. I, apparently, wasn't allowed in unless I was in the Guides, or some such silly rule, so I had to stay and guard the boat; which has its compensations, such as having the whole double-bed to recline upon instead of having to share it.

We've come a few miles along the canal to a big shopping place called Merry Hill so that Dad can replace the beer and bacon that he had to 'get rid of' when the electric thingy that made the fridge work broke.
While we were going along, (or 'gooing' as they say round here), we came across loads of guys on the towpath sat on stools and dressed in green Army clothing.
They had really long poles with hooks on the end, which they seemed to be using to pull all sorts of plastic and rubbish out of the canal.
One guy had a huge lump of it on the end of his hook, and although his mates were laughing, he didn't look that pleased. If he'd had gone a bit further along the path, there was a massive patch of stuff caught under a bridge and he could have pulled out huge chunks of it all day with his pole.

Got to go now, 'cos Mum and Dad are back from the shops and I need to get off the bed and pretend I've been on guard all the time they've been away

xx Beau

Note the absence of ducks and geese on the banks............