I get a telling off from an Angry Boater at Fradley Junction!


Good morning. Well I spent the night last
night here in the village of Alrewas. I think that’s how you say, I’m gonna
have to ask a local to find out for sure. Apparently the village I stayed at last
night was called Alrewas. You miss out the L completely. I am going to aim to
get through Fradley Junction this morning. Even though it’s still quite
early at the moment quite a lot of boats have gone past, probably about five. One really,
really early. Sort of about half past five, which is quite early for narrowboaters
and there’s no time limit on when you can travel. You can travel all the way
through the night if you like, it’s a bit like driving on a motorway or a
road, there’s no time restrictions. You’ve just got to be aware of noise and how
fast you’re going. Like I’m going at tick over and it’s not causing any wake and
that’s really, especially early in the morning that’s really what you should be
doing because otherwise people will not only get out of their boat angry, they
will get out their boat angry and tired which is what you don’t want! [Music] I left the village of Alrewas and
headed southeast in a relatively straight line to the five locks at
Fradley Junction. I stopped here for a hot drink and carried on towards Handsacre
and then the larger town of Rugeley, Armitage Shanks has a factory here, where
they manufacture bathroom fixtures right next to the Trent & Mersey Canal. Once through
the town, I make a tight, right turn over Brindley Bank Aqueduct and moor up
just before Woolsley Bridge. There’s a long stretch of canal before
Common Lock and I can see lots of activity at the lock. A boat has just
come out of the lock and it’s only a narrow lock so it won’t take very long to
fill but I don’t know if they will wait for me,
or if they will see if they can get another boat through, down and out before I
get there. Yeah, they are squeezing another boat through so I’ve just slowed
down a bit, no hassle I don’t want to stress them out by going right up to the
the lock and I can see the other boat is gradually going down in the lock. So by
the time I get there, hopefully they will have been down enough open the gates and
out to come and then in I go. There are volunteers on all *five locks at Fradley
which is fantastic. [Music] You can’t come through Fradley Junction
without stopping off at the cafe here. Really early in the mornings it’s great
for breakfasts. I don’t know if this is the same for other dogs but Molly is
very, very affectionate. Whenever she lies down she has to be physically touching
me in some way, either a leg or bit of a back. If heaven forbid I move my leg,
she sort of shuffles over so she’s got some sort of contact and she’s doing it
right now. Well that was a very nice coffee at Fradley Junction nice break
and now it’s time to continue sort of south and then west and then south again. If I’m going up in a narrow lock like this on
my own, I usually butt the the front of the boat
up against the plate on the gate and I just have the boat in slight tick over,
so it keeps it nudged up against the gate. Whenever I’m going through and
other people are putting me through the lock, I tend to do the opposite and nudge
up against the the gate at the back, or the stern and keep the boat ever so
slightly in reverse. So therefore they can just open the paddles as much as
they like and let lots of water gush in and it speeds us through the lock quicker.
So if I turn left here it goes on to the Coventry Canal which leads down through
Tamworth and the bottom of the Ashby Canal and the Oxford Canal and obviously
down to Coventry but today I’m carrying straight on. Well that was Fradley Junction. I think
realistically, that’s probably the busiest that junction has ever been for
me to go through. Some people have said that there’s anything up to three hours
wait sometimes but luckily, I only had one boat to wait for and I just helped
them through and that was fine but I’m through now and the rain has held off,
the clouds around do look like a bit of rain but I don’t think it’s going to
today so hopefully I’ll have a really nice day. Oh dear, I’ve just been told off by an
angry boater. Remember I’m solo going through a lock
and when you have a volunteer sometimes you offer to get off the boat
and the volunteer says no stay on it because it speeds things up. This one I
didn’t get off and because I didn’t, the boater that was coming down shouted at
me. Now there were two on his boat so he’s used to dealing with the lock
whilst the other person navigates. With me, I have to get up on the roof, get up
out of the lock to help and that just slows everything down. Now yes, he was
right I didn’t help the lock keeper in this instance and I did apologise but
it’s a tough call to make sometimes. Sometimes you do it
and everyone’s annoyed that you’re slowing them down because you’re up and
down ladders and you’re on your own, and then sometimes you get up there and the
lock-keeper says stay down on the boat. So anyway. [Music] In a couple of videos ago a couple of
people asked me about Molly and did she have a bed or a blanket to lie down on.
Well funny you should say that because I’ve gone through all of those scenarios.
She’s had her bed out here, she’s had a blanket to lie on and every single time
she pushes it aside and lies on the wooden or metal floor. I don’t know if
it’s because of the warmth from the engine below but she prefers that rather
than lying on her blanket. It’s even got to the extent of once she sort of pushed
her blanket into the canal, which I obviously then had to fish out but I’ve
tried all that. She likes sleeping on the hard surface! At Bridge 61A it gets really, really
narrow and you have to sort of walk ahead to see if there’s anyone coming in
the opposite direction because there’s a bit of a tight turn and there’s only
enough space for one boat it feels a bit like a tunnel. Remember the television aerial I had as
well as the Wi-Fi aerial or the cellular mobile reception aerial?
Lots of people were saying that because the TV aerial was at the top and the
Wi-Fi was further down the pole, the pole would cause interference and not let it
work as much. I’ve changed all of that around. I did have the TV aerial on the
pole but the pole became quite heavy because the TV aerial was quite large it
got caught under a bridge and nearly speared me whilst I was travelling just
north of Oxford so I took the TV aerial off and it was all bent and twisted
because he got stuck under the bridge. So that’s gone. I’ve gone back to my MaxView
aerial which has got an amplifier with it and it works really nicely and
all I’ve got on the pole now, to make it nice and light is the mobile phone
reception aerial, or the Wi-Fi aerial as I call it. I have just done a speed check, I
do it every time I moor up, just to see if there’s going to be problems or not
because obviously I need to get online and the internet speeds both up and down
here are fantastic and that is good because tomorrow and the next day is
supposed to be very heavy rain and I don’t want to travel, so I’m gonna be
busy editing the next vlog. It’s not like you to bark. So whilst Molly runs up and down the
towpath and enjoys the summer evening, I’m gonna say hello to the wildlife and
until next time, I’ll see you later. You can’t just push in whilst I’m saying
hello to the ducklings.

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