Tuesday, 22 June 2010


Having a lovely cruise along the Leicester section at the moment. I like the way the river Soar meanders in and out with the Grand Union so that one minute you have canal and through the next lock, you have wide river and scary weirs. I love the wiggly bits of the Soar - I had to keep my wits about me to make sure I didn't wander up one of the many little branches off the main flow that don't appear on the map!
In some fine company, I got to explore Leicester for a couple of days, highlights being a folk festival, a quirky bar and delcious curry. I think I like Leicester very much. We came across this wonderful building designed by 'Tanky'!
There are 16 heads along the front and at first, I thought they were all different people but the plaque tells us that they are all Tanky - Leicester's first private detective, in various disguises, which seem to mainly comprise of changing his hat and re-arranging his beard :-)

I didn't get any good pictures of the other faces but it's up from the station if you're in the city and want to take a look.

Aren't the days wonderfully long and the nights woefully short! I woke at 4.15am and it was so light I couldn't go back to sleep. My brain tells me to get up and do stuff! I took this photo at 4.30am:

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Erewashed onto the Soar

I'm on new waters here. The Erewash canal was an interesting adventure up the 12 miles of cul-de-sac canal to the west of Nottingham. There are 15 locks so you're kept busy and they are very hard work - or at least I found them hard work! The locksides are kept very tidy but the paddles are the most difficult I've come across and I'm afraid to say that most of the locks had at least one paddle that didn't work or whose anti-vandal lock wouldn't open (it recognised a vandal when it saw one!). After the first mile, there's no-where to moor except at lock moorings but there are so few boats (I maybe met 3 boats on the move in the whole there-and-back trip), it doesn't seem to matter. There are proper moorings up at the very end.
I met several BW workers along the way, clearing branches etc and what friendly, helpful guys they were. One pair stayed on after they'd finished work to help me through one awkward lock. I'd like to rant wholesale against BW, but then I meet such nice BW employees!
At the top of the Erewash is Langley Mill boatyard and, if you need anything, Pete is the lovely one to talk to. There's a sleepy basin of boats where you can leave yours at a reasonable price, as well as a busy boatyard where it looks like you can do your own boat blacking or Pete will do it for you. A boater told me his welding is excellent. I think I took photos up there but can't find my camera at the moment (hey, I do live in a narrow tube of 52 ft you know!).
Now I'm on the river Soar. It was funny emerging from the bottom of the quiet canal and getting whooshed out into the wide river Trent and across to the Soar. The Ratcliffe power-station cooling towers are amazing and beautiful - if only they weren't such terrible polluters! The river is lushious and green and winds around, overhung by trees dropping blossom, where cows stand in the shade, belly deep in the water. I guess that could be any river, it's just the first one I've been on in my boat so it's special :-)