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  • clivenmel

Dec 8th

Normal 0 false false false st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} We moved a little further down the canal on Friday and moored up right outside The Tame Otter, a really lovely pub which we had visited the last time we were here.  Clive popped in and had a chat with the bar staff (he managed to not have a pint!) to check if it would be OK for Gareth to leave the car in their car park over the weekend and they said that would be fine.   In the end Gareth and Indy didn?t come until Saturday as he was a bit concerned about the weather on Friday.  It only took them an hour and twenty minutes to make the journey from Cambridge and it was absolutely lovely to see them both ? we have missed them!  Indy immediately made herself at home, she had brought a bag load of soft toys with her, which were soon decorating the boat!  We went and had a lovely lunch in the pub - it is the same franchise as the Fox and Anchor where we had lunch a couple of weeks ago so we knew the food was good and they didn?t let us down.   Everybody slept well on Saturday night and Indy didn?t wake up early as we all expected, however an early bird in a boat went past around 08.30am and the noise of it breaking the ice, which then banged up against our boat was deafening so needless to say she woke up then!  We had been thinking of taking a drive into Tamworth, just for something to do, but ended up just staying on the boat ? it was nice and warm on board!  Gareth and Indy decided to set off home about 3.30 ? we were sorry to see them go, especially Indy as we won?t see her at Christmas, she will be in the States with her mummy, however she gets back soon after and we will have a second Christmas with her then ? can?t wait.   Clive and I felt a bit flat after they had gone so decided to cheer ourselves up with another trip to the Tame Otter ? they had mulled wine on the go so that was me sorted!  Clive has developed a taste for a rather nice draught beer called Black Sheep!  We also thought, as we are here we might just as well have dinner too!   Having watched the weather forecast on Sunday evening we decided to set off in good time this morning to get as far as we could before the rain arrived.  We left at 09.00am and once again the canal was frozen over.  There hadn?t been any other boats going through before us so we were ice-breaking on our way.  It was considerably thicker than previously, almost an inch thick in places.  The noise of it breaking was different this time, before it sounded almost like birds cheeping, today it sounded more like wind chimes!   Our first objective this morning was to get water and the second was to get coal.  We came across a regional British Waterways office just before Fazeley Junction and managed to fill up with water and Clive popped into the office and got some details relating to our new cruising license which will run from 01 January 2009.  This one will be a gold licence and will give us access to the waterways of East Anglia, meaning we can actually cruise to Cambridge!  East Anglia?s waterways are governed by The Environment Agency (as is the River Thames) whereas the rest of Britain?s waterways are governed by British Waterways, so our current licence will not cover us for East Anglia.  So, watch out you lot in Cambridge ? we?re coming home in 2009!  Only for a visit though, we have lots of other waterways to see and places to go before the end of 2010.   We continued cruising and finally arrived at a coal merchants just outside Tamworth and stocked up on Taybrite smokeless fuel.  We are gleaning wood as we cruise but of course it has to be dry and seasoned.  Some of the stuff we pick up is bone dry and can be burned straight away but a lot of it needs to dry out and of course it all has to be cut up into bite size pieces for our cute little stove.  We hadn?t been cruising for long when we saw a Tesco Express very close to a bridge so we quickly pulled over and Clive held the boat while I nipped over and stocked up on food supplies as well ? all in all we had a very productive day which meant that we didn?t need to moor up near civilisation tonight so we carried on through Polesworth and found a nice little spot out in the middle of nowhere and here we are now, all tucked up and warm.  We have a great TV signal and have lots of Freeview channels to choose from and a reasonable signal for the dongle, but not 3G unfortunately.  However, I didn?t take any photographs today so it doesn?t really matter if it?s a slow signal as there is nothing to download.   Tomorrow we have a busy day ahead with the Atherstone Lock Flight ? 11 locks!  Luckily the weather forecast is very good ? phew!      

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