We have a beautiful ‘3G’ modem signal here in Polesworth so I have decided to forgo a morning’s cruising bathed in glorious sunshine, in favour of writing something down.
I meant to do this last night after tying up at the end of a splendid day’s passage. But the earlier twenty miles and twelve locks overcame me as I sat in the easy chair just for a moment while I had quick cup of coffee first.
Yes, I nodded off, only to awake two hours afterwards, with my hot drink very cold and by then much to late to consider any writing.
So here I am today full of vigour and expectation and eager to tell of my adventures since leaving Napton.
A foggy Sunrise at Napton
The weather has been fine throughout in spite of a fresh and very chilly north easterly breeze. It has made navigation quite difficult at times and I felt the distinct need, while the Sun bathed us in unopposed sunshine, to bundle myself up with sweaters, coats and gloves in order to keep warm standing on the stern platform. But the travelling has been wonderful nonetheless.
On Saturday I arrived at Braunston from Napton in the early afternoon and as I needed to buy cotton rope from Tradline Rope and Fenders, and a couple of bags of coal from the chandlery I planned to make this my stop for the night.
Just as I left the ship to do so my good friends David and Heather off ‘It’s 5 o’clock somewhere’ happened to be passing by just at that moment. As neither of us had planned this, it does fully endorse the power of coincidence I think.
We hadn’t met for a full year so had quite a lot of catching up to do. I invited them aboard and as my supply of wine ran out before we had completed exchanging our news, we went back to their ship, just a few moorings down from me, to complete our recollections. I managed to arrive back safely to ‘Futurest’ sometime later.
They were staying a further night but I left the following morning for a brilliant day’s run (for me anyway) of eighteen miles up the North Oxford Canal. I finally spent a very quiet and peaceful night just north, but out of earshot, of the M6, along a firm piece of embankment with pins that hammered easily into the solid unyielding ground.
Then with an 8 am start the following day, I arrived here at Polesworth at half past six after covering the aforementioned 20 miles and twelve locks. I was tempted to remain at Atherstone after completing the eleven locks there and I was ready for it. But the Sun still shone and the breeze had dropped, so I was glad to push on for another hour.
I was so pleased that I did as it was on this stretch that I saw my first Swallows of the year darting and swerving smartly just a few inches above the green grass. I also saw my first tiny Mallard ducklings of the season like little furry yellow and brown ping pong balls swimming so furiously as to be almost walking on the water.
But I’m glad I moored here as I like Polesworth; I’ve tied up here once before, two years ago. It has the ruins of an old abbey nearby the church but like so many of these places, it was dissolved at the Reformation and a Tudor house was built in its stead.
The remains of Polesworth Abbey
The Tudor house on the site of the ruined abbey
The locals here also tell of a much more ancient legend that after the Romans defeated Queen Boudicca of the Iceni they dumped her body unceremoniously into the River Anker at Manduessadum (the site of the modern Mancetter near Atherstone) and it drifted down the stream coming finally to rest at Polesworth. The people here then fished her out and gave the poor lady a burial somewhere nearby that befitted her standing much more.
What a wonderful story.
The Bridge at Polesworth over the River Anker
And so dear reader you are more or less up to date again with my travels and as the weather is still very fine, I shall press on towards the canal junctions of Fazeley and then Fradley to join the Trent and Mersey Canal going westwards.