Maximus Restored - 5th 2003
Route Streethay Wharf to Kings Bromley
Thursday 6th March Streethay - Kings Bromley
We arrived at Streethay Wharf to pick the boat up after blacking and other work had been carried out. Ian briefed us as to what they had found and how they fixed it in his normal friendly and informative way. We went to the boat to find it all smart and clean ready for us to move in and take away.
We backed the boat back to the wharf and the improvement to the handling now that the rudder has been straightened was very obvious. There was a strong side wind blowing us off the wharf and Ed came our aid and assisted as we backed into place. All the work had been done in a thorough and competent manner and I am most impressed by the professionalism of these guys.
We were soon underway in pleasant afternoon sunshine heading north to Kings Bromley where we would meet up with co-owner Dave Ferguson. Fradley junction was once again clogged up with Ownership's boats moored all over the place but we threaded through.
Once at K B we moored in Uncle Mort's slot to keep it warm during the boat's long absence - a fact that wasn't lost of Jean the warden. Dave joined us and we set about some spring cleaning and did the car swap, getting in and out of Streethay by road is a white knuckle ride as you are straight on and of the fast A38.
Friday 7th Kings Bromley - Amington
The weather was forecast to deteriorate so we made a fairly prompt getaway and retraced our wake from yesterday. This time Fradley was almost impassable with even more Ownership's boats apparently abandoned at random. Then just to make things worse another one arrived and stopped by the diesel pump pretty much blocking the canal altogether. While they waited for someone to come to fill their tank they casually mopped the deck ignoring the fact that they were blocking the canal. My comment about inconsiderate mooring was met with "We have to fill with diesel". After some time I managed to shoulder our way through only to find even more moored at the junction, making the turn almost impossible.
After that we had a pleasant run south to Hopwas where we stopped for lunch as the rain threatened. We moored at the visitor moorings and walked to the Tame Otter but found we could have moored outside. We enjoyed a passable pub lunch while the rain came down like stair rods outside. Chris sent them into panic by asking if the brownies contained nuts, they didn't know (why not?).
After lunch the rain packed in but it was still cold and windy and we proceeded passing Fazeley and Glascote. At Glascote we peered in SMH's yard to see if Uncle Mort was there but didn't see it. We pushed on and turned just beyond Amington where we moored for the night - not a good choice. About 8 pm there was one hell of a bang on the widow right by my head as some drunken lout tried to kick the window in. This was followed by another as he had a go at the next window along. We rushed outside to be confronted with a gang of youths holding back one of their number. They explained that he was drunk and they were taking him home and apologised for his behaviour.
We didn't feel safe there so we asked Neil at Canal Craft if we could use his offside mooring just the other side of the bridge. Neil was most helpful and welcoming and invited us to stay and helped us moor up. Judging from the noises we heard in the night we would not have been left in peace had we stayed were we were.
Saturday 8th Amington - Kings Bromley
After a rather poor night's sleep we were up early, and after saying thank you and farewell to Neil we were underway at 7:30. Not only were we keen to leave Amington but we wanted to make the most of the weather which started nice but was expected to deteriorate as the day wore on. We met a lot of Ownership's boats coming the other way so there was some hope of getting through Fradley. When we got there it was still clogged but just about passable.
By the time we got back to KB the wind was really strong and I knew getting in was going to be interesting. As it turned out I needed Dave on shore to haul the bow round and line it up with the marina entrance. The next challenge was getting onto the refuelling pontoon. I decided to go for it and use lots of power - risky, but it worked (sort of). By the time we pulled into our own berth I was getting the hang of the wind and went in with gusto with Dave on the pontoon signalling as if he was guiding planes down on an aircraft carrier.
We spent the afternoon spring cleaning and doing odd jobs listening to the rain hammering on the windows for a time, in preparation for leaving the next morning.