We are at Attleborough - no not the more familiar town in Norfolk, where we have friends, but the village in Warwickshire near Nuneaton - at least that is what the weather forecast on my phone says. We have been looking at our phone weather forecasts a lot recently. Tonight it's raining but unlike yesterday we had a period of dry weather from dawn until 2 o'clock.

Tonight's weather forecast 
(The warning is Yellow for snow)

We left our muddy mooring at Hillmorton about 9 o'clock. An hour before we left, Roger Alsop passed us with cheery comment as he went south on NB Comet. Later we got a text to say he had made it all the way to Cosgrove - quite a journey. 

A view of the towpath from our saloon window

We dropped down the three double locks at Hillmorton in parallel with another boat. It was interesting to see how much quicker the locks with ground paddles emptied. Through Rugby we met a few boats going south and as always we met a few at bridge holes where boats had moored. Just north of Newbold we met a Rose Narrowboat's day boat going south. Unfortunately they appeared oblivious of the fact that they should slow down where the canal narrows and we had to push off their bows before we had a collision. Maybe it will be a "learning experience". 

Approaching Hawkesbury Junction (Sutton Stop)
(with threatening clouds)

By Sutton Stop it was pouring with rain. Not for the first time we went through the lock in heavy rain. We met two boats going south. 

Sutton Stop Lock seen from the Coventry Canal

Hawkesbury Junction

The rain abated for a while but by the time we turned off onto the Ashby Canal it was raining again and temperatures were dropping. 

We moored up by the visitor moorings near Bridge 5. Tomorrow we are committed to moving on to meet family. It looks like we will boating in the rain all day.

Easter Cruise

We are currently on an Easter Cruise to the Ashby Canal, although judging by the Yellow Weather Warning for snow issued for Northamptonshire, I think the weather hasn't yet realised that its holiday time.

Taking on water at Norton Junction

On Tuesday Albert was examined for its Boat Safety Certificate by Roger Alsop. This is the fourth time Roger has carried out an inspection so he knows his way around our boat. Albert passed OK.

We picked up Albert from High House Wharf on Wednesday morning in fine but cold weather but then conditions went downhill rapidly. By the time we reached Weedon it was cold and wet with heavy showers and very soon, despite lots of layers, I was soaked. This continued all the way to Welton where we stopped for a pump-out, fuel and lunch in the Lockside Cafe. I had an excellent variation on their mini-breakfast - the variation being black pudding. I particularly liked the bubble and squeak.


We went up the Buckby Locks with a another crew and progressed reasonably well but the weather didn't really improve much so we gave up for the day just below the Top Lock - a little earlier than anticipated but we had some "work" to do - putting back curtains, and fixing some small fittings that were removed during the painting.

"New" curtain between the engine room and back-cabin
(Modified from a curtain bought on eBay)

We then just had to visit the New Inn. It continues to impress us with its food and beer. The sign referring to the tragic story of Matilda and the Buckby Can is still there.

The story of Matilda and the Buckby Can

 Today started with temperatures just around freezing with clear skies but by 9:30 we had the first of the rain showers that just got heavier as the day progressed.

Braunston Tunnel
(Clear right through)

The trip through Braunston tunnel, with only one boat coming through in the other direction, was easy. As we entered the tunnel Maggie asked if any boats were coming through the other way - as I responded "not yet" a boat appeared at the far end. We went down the Braunston flight with a single-handed boater and then moored up a Midland Chandlers for some "bits".

The trip to Hillmorton was quiet but the rain just poured down and showers appeared to come from every direction - crazy. We passed a couple of boats that we are familiar with. The first was the boat of fellow blogger who now goes under the name of The Museum of Thin Objects, we met them at Cropredy some years ago. The second was another Albert that we have passed many times - we got a cheery wave as we passed by.

Ex-BCN boat Eileen

Another Albert at Barby

Tomorrow we head towards Rugby, Coventry and the Ashby Canal.

Repaint Finished

Today Albert left the dock at High House Wharf. Colin and I spent the afternoon fitting the the fenders, reinstating paraphernalia such as the planks and the cratch cover, and then juggling boats around on the wharf. Tomorrow Colin is signwriting a boat.

Albert does look a treat and we are really delighted with the job Colin Dundas has done.

Out of the Dock

Pigeon Box

Bow Decoration

Reconditioned Stern Doors
(Dollies are now red)

Detail of New Scumbling & Harlequin stripe

Colin's identification "tag"

Repaint: Now for the Decoration

This morning I visited Colin Dundas to find that the coachlines and scumbling were in progress. Still some way to go but the sign-writing should be soon.


Well-deck and cratch-board preparation


Harlequin decoration on the roof

Repaint Progress

After all the preparation time, Colin Dundas is now into serious paint application. Albert is beginning to look smart. 

Shiny cabin side

Preparation for scumbling the lockers

Brass Cleaning

Albert is traditional and has brass (not chrome) external fittings. We try to keep the mushroom vents shiny but most other brass items rarely get a good clean - it's simply too much work. However, with all the external brass-work off the boat for painting it's a good opportunity to get it cleaned and shiny.

I recently invested in a small bench grinder and polisher and spent some hours buffing. Some items like the stirrups, which hadn't been cleaned since they were fitted, now look shiny. I'm quite pleased with the results.

Not a bad job for a snowy day. Mind you this is St David's day, first day of Spring, and it's been -5 °C outside all day. We have so far escaped the worst of the snow, unlike Central Scotland and the South West.

Brass polishing