Monday 19 October 2015

Farewell to Nuneaton

A student of mine in the 90s came from Nuneaton, and our tutor group went to work for a week with her church on a special project. We thought that, passing through Nuneaton today, we should pay a visit to the town, and revive some memories. And anyway, we had an important letter to put in the post.

I have to say that I come away from this town with less happy memories than I approached it. First up was the walk into the centre. Nicholson's cheerfully talks about good moorings at Bridge 20 giving access to local services. I know that narrowboat steerers often don't get enough exercise, but I'm not sure that I appreciated today's recommended 2 miles being all along main roads from the mooring to the centre and back. Second was the centre itself. No doubt Nuneaton is a delightful place to live for various reasons, but the centre of the town is surely not one of them. The fruit scone my best beloved enjoyed in Debenham's cafĂ© with her coffee was extremely good – and that was the highlight of our visit.

The third reason for the perturbations in my mind was the carpet which wrapped itself around Erin Mae's propellor as we attempted an escape. I envisaged five hours with a Stanley knife, but fortunately it responded to a good bit of pulling and pushing from within the weed hatch. I wanted (a) to get a photo, and (b) to remove it from the waterway before it ensnared some other boater, but on perceiving my intentions it sank away out of sight, to await the next approaching set of stern gear. I have to say that Nuneaton's waters were the most chock-full of rubbish we've encountered for a very long time.

The canal north of Nuneaton, however, was very pleasant. There were rather a lot of moored boats, some of them in awkward places, but we weren't in a hurry, having decided to tie up for the night before reaching the Atherstone flight of locks. Along the way is the CRT dockyard at Hartshill.

It lies between two closely adjacent bridges, and Nicholson's, unusually, advises the boater to slow down to appreciate the clock tower, "the mellow architecture and old dock". It certainly did look good – would be even better on a sunny day, no doubt.

To finish off the day we've found a really nice mooring just south of Mancetter, one of the sites touted as the place of Boudica's last battle. Here's a view through the side-hatch.

And here's another – there's even some blue in the sky though the photo doesn't show it well.

Ah! That's better. Memories of Nuneaton thankfully fade into the past.

Sorry, Michelle.


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