Today I am really excited, as I left Hawksbury Junction I was headed to Coventry Basin, where later on I will be met by my son Glenn with his wife and my new Grandaughter Ellie. She was born in April this year and the last time I saw her was just a few days after she was born. Now she is 6 months old so she wont know me, worse still I wont know her. Still, she is so beautiful, I cant wait.
On the Coventry Canal leaving Hawksbury, it doesn’t take too long I think around 4 hours, I as always, leave myself plenty of time so I am just pootling along. After a mile or so, I am aware that there is another narrowboat closing in from behind so I wait till there is a good straight stretch before slowing and waving him by. Aware also that the channel is quite shallow, with lots of Flotsum and Jetsom I stay well away from the edge. As the chap behind starts to overtake, I am away from the bank by a good metre and a half, still leaving the other guy mid stream. When there was a terrific thud and Alfie lurches away from the bank rising out of the water by a good 10 inches to a foot or so. I was absolutely terrified, never have I hit anything so hard, goodness only knows what it was. I carried on, but looking imediately behind saw the look on my fellow boaters face, even he saw Alfie come out of the water. I suppose if there is any lasting damage I will find out soon enough, fortunately, I am still afloat.
Arriving at the basin after passing amongst other rubbish, a sofa, a cupboard, and a couple of internal doors and a 40 foot long banner for new build flats caught around the rudder. I am relieved to have made it almost unscathed, what a mess, the locals should be ashamed of themselves.
Glenn, Steph and Ellie arrive an hour later to change my mood imediately. She is so beautiful and delightful, smiling and laughing all the time, such a happy little baby. I soon forget my mood and enjoy the rest of the day. I treated them all to lunch in a local Pub, Ellie eating as much as you could give her, she is obviously one of the family. Time disappeared so quickly and no sooner than lunch was over, they had to leave
James Brindley stands looking over his plans for the canal Basin.
Although it was a very small basin, with mooring for only around 10 boats, one hire company has the monopoly of half of it, leaving free about 5 or 6 spaces. I still managed to get in for my 48 hr stay. Having said that, I spoke to Canal and River Trust about an overstay, due to the lack of traffic and they were fine about it. Lack of traffic, now there’s a statement, as we were well into the last of the “Holiday season” I really did expect to see more boats on the move. Sadly, more and more, I am seeing lots of overstayers and less roaming the system than I expected when I set out. It’s no wonder CaRT allowed me to overstay. Anyway, the reason I gave them and the actual reason I wanted to overstay, was that my old friends, Ken and Annie were travelling up the Oxford, and wanted to “pop in” to Coventry for a catch up. If you havn’t read my whole blog, Ken and Annie are a couple I met way back in April on the Thames while stranded next to me at Abingdon in the floods. They were fully aware that I am/was a newbie, and besides, we got on really well drinking, sharing curries and generally having a laugh, so I was looking forward to meeting them again. They arrived as predicted quite late in the afternoon, but that didn’t stop us from chatting well into the night on the bank side.
The next day, Ken and I made over to the Transport Museum, my second visit of the week as the first was not long enough. The Transport of yester year has always been of interest to me, especially English cars and motorbikes. And as most of British Bikes and Cars were from the Midlands, this place is Mecca, I especially loved the prestine E Type Jaguar. Along with many old British Bikes, I loved this place.
As my stay was to be quite short, I never did too much historic learning, though appreciating the cost that Coventry made in the war effort, it was more than my old body and legs could cope with in a few days, so the City walk about was put on hold for another day.
We set off later that afternoon to make Hawksbury for a slap up meal and a couple of jars before going our seperate ways. I love Ken and Annie, they have been stalwarts for me during my apprentiship period, thank you guys.