The Lloyd Family in England 2000
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updated 10/23/00

Trent & Mersey Canal.   the Midlands of England from the canal.   Now this photo should be on a calendar, what a terrific shot.  The captain is responsible for this and all the shots, one more beautiful than the last. 

We left Tamworth (in case you want to follow on a map) on Thursday, late afternoon planning to get thru the first couple of locks before nightfall.  But we so enjoyed the peaceful, top speed of 4 miles per hour that by the time we had gone the first few miles it was too dark to attempt our first lock.  Now we have done this before and its really not difficult, but we tied up, had a walk around and decided to wait until morning.

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Mvc-826s.jpg (35568 bytes) Another slightly different view including this magnificent tree.   This is a lock at Colwich, a little village we heard long before we could see it.   We came upon it on Sunday morning and heard the church bells ringing about 10:15.    They carried through the lovely morning for quite a distance and by the time we came to this spot and I dashed down a footpath through a heard of grazing sheep it was past 10:30.
The canals all have a footpath along one side which is the public side.   The other side is private property and there are areas where cottages are built near to the canals with their back gardens backing the canals.   Note and enjoy the blue sky, don't think the other picture days include same. Mvc-827s.jpg (32637 bytes)
Mvc-828s.jpg (41686 bytes) This is the view of the church at Colwich from the canal.  It is a church which had its beginning in the 800's.  And there has been a church on this site ever since.  There are some buriels within the nave dating back to the 15 and 16th centuries.  It is a lovely church with ornately carved wood and many memorial plaques to those whose final resting place it is.  This is a CE church and I was made most welcome.   We had decided to have a proper pub carvey for our sunday noon meal and people here were kind enough to suggest a place just down the canal about half an hours putter.
This shot shows the canal looking from the way we had come, you can just see our barge at the lower right of the picture.


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Mvc-830s.jpg (49531 bytes) The Colwich Lock.  As you can see there are gates at both ends of the canal.  These are closed and water either emptied or put into the canal to move the barges from one level to the next.  These canals were begun in the 16th century and carried barges with goods being transported from one area of the country to another.   Originally, before motors, the footpaths were horse or mule tracks and the barges were pulled, sometimes even by human power, to deliver the goods.  The stonework in the locks, tho some have been repaired, date back to the 16th century. 
This shot is taken from the bridge that you see in the first few photos and yes, that is our barge tied on the canal.  I came along the footpath, over the bridge, thru a stile and then the pasture to get to the church, great fun!

As you can see, England it NOT all rain!!!  We did of course have rain during our week, not many weeks here are without some rain, but it certainly did NOT spoil our holiday.

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Mvc-832s.jpg (46266 bytes) This particular section of the canal, as you can tell, is strictly a one-way situation.  We had a horn and used it several times to warn other vessels of our approach.  While we passed many other families and had a chance to chat with several, this trip is really a time to get to know those you travel with....This barge is 55 feet long and the inside is very much like a travel trailer.  I have stills of the inside and will add those when they are developed.  Rod is able to use the scanner at college.
This shot shows how little space we had on either side and yes, when I was captain I did hit things. Gently of course, but its very easy to miscalculate how much space you have.  At one point while I was at the helm we came upon boats on both sides and Rod became aware of something amiss when I suddenly went full stop.....he was able to keep us from ramming several other vessels. Other than this narrow area the canal varies from 30-40feet wide and of course there are some spots that are wide enough to turn this 55 foot-long barge around....but they are far between. Mvc-834s.jpg (39558 bytes)
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Now then, we did have three passengers of course, one who didn't want to wear his jacket (tho he did later in the trip) and two with life jackets which were required for the under 12's. All three managed to traverse the 6 INCH wide board that runs on either side of the boat. I guess thats a gunnell.  I did NOT even try it.

The kids also had a great time walking, well mostly running, along the footpath as we enjoyed the slow pace of the canal.

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Mvc-814s.jpg (31671 bytes) I think this photo is horrid, but Rod insists on using it. Not a very flattering coat, but I was nice and warm.
Rod had a great time trying to keep Jonathan from jumping back onto the boat once he hopped off to take the footpath; but he could jump quite a distance.

HOWEVER, near the end of the trip he did tumble into the canal.  Just one very wet, tall teenager who tried to blame a sister who was about 20 yards away at the time.  We all had a good laugh over it and had announced early on that if anyone fell in, all their clothing came off before they went inside to change.  He did strip down to his undies and had a towel to wrap around.

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Mvc-816s.jpg (40808 bytes) Another barge approaches, plenty of space to pass, but the 'rules of the road' call for a slow-down to pass.  The life-ring had to be on the hatch cover whenever we were running, tho we did not use it for Jon's tumble.  The canal is a trench with a shelf at the edges which one night caused some re-maneuvering to get us 'level'.  Hard not to be level in the water, but we were on a tilt until we found a place where the shelf was low enough to accommodate us.
Looking from bow to stern.  The bow is the master bedroom and has a very nice extra-wide bed nestled into it.  The head [bath] has a shower/tub affair like a motor home.  The hallways are very minimal to allow for maximum living space.   The galley was terrific, hob, oven, grill (used for toasting here), frig, dishes etc.  Only one problem is that we had a four legged addition, uninvited, who ate some our crisps and left a little trail.  We never saw him.  I did not draw Coast Guard orders for this voyage. Mvc-817s.jpg (47543 bytes)
Mvc-819s.jpg (53299 bytes) On the right side of the canal is The Red Lion, a pub of course, where we stopped twice...they had a very nice play area with a zip-line that the children enjoy very much.
And this is inside the Red Lion.  As you can see some things do NOT change and yes, that is iced tea in front of me!!!!  I could only have it when we were in a pub since they have ice. A pot of tea and two pints of ice, that was my "usual". 

a couple of nights when we were tied up near a pub, Rod and I did go to same for a quiet drink with the locals and/or other canalers.

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Mvc-822s.jpg (39493 bytes) Same pub, camera down!
This barge is new.  It was put into the fleet in January of this year.  Central heating in the form of radiators which are very handy for drying wet clothing...right Jonathan?? Mvc-823s.jpg (59232 bytes)
Mvc-824s.jpg (35722 bytes) That is the zip-line.  Quite a terrific item which even with a light sprinkle - notice those clouds in the sky - kept the children quite happy while we just enjoyed watching them have fun.
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