Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Monday, 19 December 2011

Happy Christmas

We have moved from the boatyard, the engine is less smoky and we have paid our debts.
As all is sorted we will spend some time with family and friends during the Christmas period.
Enjoy the Christmas Celebrations wherever you are.

Happy Christmas Everyone clickety click

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Sitting Quietly

Steve the engine man has been busy trying different things with injector thingummys and resitting or setting or something and the engine is smoking less. He thinks it should be better but next thing to try is possibly tres expensive (lots of noughts) so he has gone away to think some more over the weekend. Decisions will be made tomorrow.
So we have walked to Blisworth, Milton Malsor and Gayton and bussed into Northampton over the last few days.

looking across to Northampton

Gayton Church

This morning was very frosty with ice on the water again...
Frosty bow

But inside the fire was gong well.....
Today we have had a short run down to Stoke Bruerne stopping at Blisworth for church on the way.

Thursday, 15 December 2011


Gayton Junction Old Toll House
After some long 8 hour days coming down from Birmingham we are now at Gayton at the Grand Junction Boat Company where the mechanics are doing various things down the engine 'ole trying to sort out why she smokes!
We really appreciated a lie-in yesterday morning, then a walk in the afternoon sun to Milton Malsor, with time to read and bake.

Lovely winter trees

glowing berries

Paella - using up the fridge

baking bread

And time for some more patchwork.......
                                                                                                                 it's growing!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Another Early Start

After a wet and windy night, this morning there were clear skies.  A bit of a breeze but not bad, so we set off early again, before 8.30am, slipping away from the mooring and Matilda Rose, hope we didn't disturb you Jill and Graham.
There is a good reason we have been cruising long days recently, Ian has been wanting to get the engine checked out as it still seems to smoke a lot.  The Grand Junction Boat Company used to look after Tacet for her previous owners, so we wanted to get back to them at Gayton for them to have a look, before we return to Sussex for Christmas.
Braunston Turn in the early morning sun,

Braunston Church across the green
The Braunston locks were all against us, so we had to be patient, then it was through the tunnel and on to Norton Junction.
Straight on down the Buckby locks to Whilton and we were at the bottom by 1pm passing a hire boat on the way down. The weather had changed now, clouded over and we had a sleet/snow shower on the way to Gayton. By the time we had tied up by the boatyard at 4pm we were very cold.
Inside the boat the fire was burning well and once I started cooking we were soon warm again.
Looking forward to a lie in tomorrow....

Bryony berries threaded through the hedgerows like nature's own Christmas decorations.

18 miles, 13 locks, 1 tunnel

Monday, 12 December 2011

Up At The Crack Of Dawn

Ok, I know its no big deal at the moment when we are so close to the shortest day, but this was the scene as we were just about ready to leave our mooring in Warwick.

Today was one of those days when the camera didn't come out of my pocket much.  But we have been busy with just a few locks (23) to do.
It was such a lovely sunny day that we were happy to be out and managed to get to Lower Shuckburgh where we moored up at 4pm just in front of nb Matilda Rose. It  was good to be able to say hi to Graham and Jill as well as Baxter, Muttley and Daisy.
So a long day, 8 hours cruising, not bad for December.
The weather is changing though, now it is windy and raining.
15 miles, 23 locks

Sunday, 11 December 2011

A Wander in Wet Warwick

This morning we joined the folk at Castle Hill Baptist Church for the 3rd Sunday in Advent.
We had a Sunday lunch at the Cape of Good Hope pub by the locks and then had a wander round the town, by this time it was raining.
So a few pictures of our wet walk round Warwick.

Houses in Mill Street at the back of the Castle


Lord Leychester Hospital and Westgate

Victorian Pillar Box at Westgate

We are now tucked up in the warm, with the fire going, the Christmas lights on, listening to the rain outside.  All we need now is mince pies and mulled wine, I'll go and see what I can do......

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Tacet the Icebreaker

After those beautiful clear skies last night, there was a lot of frost and patches of ice on the cut this morning.

Coming up to the top of the Hatton flight with the ice creaking and cracking as we break through.

Looming down the flight, there was no ice in the next pound, the sun was out and the sky was blue.

The paddle gears are different, hard work to wind, but the locks fill and empty quickly. In fact we only opened one and went on ahead to prepare the next, the timing worked just right and it saved walking across frosty lock gates too.

A bit of canal art in a side pond on the way down.

It was such a lovely morning to be out working locks.

Looking back up, glad they're behind us, now it's time to swap my windlass for the tiller.
There is still plenty of fruit on the trees for the birds, crab apples, sloes, and haws.
crab apples


I thought these looked pretty on the ground.

At the bottom of the 21 we sauntered along the Saltersford Branch, but there were no visitor moorings free, so we came back to the main line and through another 2 locks and are moored opposite Kate boats, Warwick.
4 miles, 23 locks

Friday, 9 December 2011

Feeling at home on the GU

Last night it was raining as we stopped to moor for the night and there was quite a heavy shower. But later the sky was clear with a bright full moon. So this morning there were pockets of frost, but not much, and the sun was shining, it was great to be out and moving.
A winter sky, blue one minute and rain clouds moving in. We have had a couple of showers when the sky has clouded over, but only for a very short time.
looking back up the flight
On the Lapworth flight we met 2 boats coming up and nb Futurest was in front of us, all making the most of the sunshine.

This photo was taken about 6 weeks ago, looking down from the same lock.  The autumn colours are gone now.

I love this house looking down the Lapworth flight.
Once at Kingswood Junction we joined the good old Grand Union Canal and turned towards Warwick. It immediately felt familiar even though we haven't been along this stretch before.

Shrewley Tunnel

We have often seen pictures of Shrewley tunnel with its separate tunnel for the horses at a higher level, and assumed it went all the way through, but when we got to the other side, there was only the canal tunnel opening.  So we stopped Tacet, and went to investigate. The village of Shrewley sits above the tunnel and the horse tunnel climbs up and out into the village high street, then there is a footpath across to the other side.

We are moored tonight above Hatton flight. 21 locks to work down tomorrow. They are wide locks too, taking longer to work than the narrows we have been used to.  Maybe there will be someone else going down we can share with.  The moon was up bright and early today.
While behind Tacet the sun was setting. Another lovely day.
9 miles,  19 locks, 1 tunnel, 2 bridges

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Christmas arrives on Tacet

This morning we left the Engine Arm with the weather bright, but cloudy and a bit windy.
We just had the 3 Smethwick locks ahead of us and a long cruise down to King's Norton and onto the North Stratford again.  We would have preferred to go down Farmer's Bridge locks and then to the Grand Union, but they are working on the locks and they are closed.
So with no locks to do and after a quick stop to collect some holly, yew and ivy, the inside of Tacet is now looking Christmassy.

Then feeling inspired and festive myself I made mince pies too.
ready for the oven

and ready to eat! Yum

15 miles, 3 locks

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Titford Canal

We left our mooring in Birmingham City Centre this morning and made our way up the main line around the Soho loop past Winson Green prison and asylum (now closed).
Onto Smethwick and up 3 locks taking us onto the old main line canal.  Sadly at the top of the locks a reminder of the dangers of the canal.
Floral tributes to Sara one of two teenagers who drowned in October.

A reconstructed BCN toll office at the top of the locks.
Now the old main line canal goes alongside the new line until Spon Lane Junction. Here we turned and crossed over the new line.

looking towards Birmingham

towards Wolverhampton
Then the canal continues its course now under the M5 motorway,
Titford Canal turning under the M5

Before we went up the Titford canal we went up to Bradeshall junction to complete that bit of the navigation.  We are gradually getting the BCN covered!
The flight of 6 Oldbury locks on the Tipton canal were quick and easy once we had refilled one of the short pounds which was completely dry!
Pumping station at top of locks

Our intention had been to get to Titford Pools at the end of the canal, but there was such a lot of rubbish in the water that we came to a stop at a narrow, old bridge site and gave up.

The old maltings at Oldbury above the locks which is the highest level of the BCN. Also pretty cold today, although it was sunny, there was a chilly wind blowing up here.

Back on the main line we passed again under the M5, the motorway dwarfing the canal bridge which leads nowhere now.
Tonight we are moored at the end of the Engine Branch at Smethwick named because of the steam pumping engine at the junction used to feed the old summit level. The engine is no longer there, it is now in the Birmingham Science Museum.