Monday, 28 January 2013
#100 Two Boats, Long Itchington, Warwickshire : 1981 to 2012
Well, I've made it to my 100th entry on this blog and I thought I'd treat you to a special post. Although I only started to take a picture of every pub we visited in 1986, I found this photo from only my second ever trip on Emma Jane in 1981.
This first visit to the Two Boats was on the evening of Wednesday 19th August 1981. I don't remember much about the pub in those days, but it was very convenient being right on the canal bank. That visit was close to the end of an epic canal trip that had started out from Preston Brook 12 days previously. For the first week of the journey we'd been up against the clock because of a breach in the canal near Audlem on the Shropshire Union and to get to Birmingham on time we were sometimes travelling for 12 hours per day non-stop. Once we'd reached Birmingham, the next week was much more leisurely with the replacement crew of Andrea and Jackie!
I did visit the Two Boats again in 1984 (29th August), but didn't take a picture!
Circumstances conspired to make it so that our next stop at the Two Boats was on the evening of Sunday 24th August 1997 at the beginning of a journey that would take us to Nottingham and Leicester.
Over the intervening 16 years the pub was no longer a Whitbread house and, miraculously, the chimneys had disappeared!
We returned again the next year, on our way to Oxford.
This was at lunchtime on Tuesday 1st September 1998. We would have been here earlier in the week, but we'd broken down in Warwick and had to wait two days for an engineer to fix the engine! Remarkably in just 12 months the outside had been completely transformed. However, inside it was still pretty much the same. It was a small pub with two rooms that made very good pub food and whenever the sun's out it can get very busy...but they've always managed to cope with the demand whenever we've been there.
It was another three years before our next visit, this time on our way to Aylesbury.
Another lunchtime stop, this time on Sunday 26th August 2001 and you can see how busy it was on that Bank Holiday Sunday. Again there are more changes to the outside signage!
The next visit was at lunchtime on Sunday 17th August 2003 on the way to Leicester.
Remarkably, the Two Boats was unchanged!
Over the following years we visited every other year and there were few changes, but the photos are shown below.
Lunchtime on Saturday 28th May 2005...first time we'd ever managed to moor right outside!
Lunchtime on Thursday 31st May 2007 - taken from Emma Jane, just as we moored up outside again (we don't like to have to walk too far for our lunch!!)
In 2009 we stopped at the Two Boats twice. Firstly on Sunday 24th May 2009 and then again at lunchtime on Friday 11th September 2009.
The only visible change was the removal of the trellis that had been there since at least 1998!
Again, it was another two years before we returned and again, the Two Boats had undergone another transformation!
Not only had it been whitewashed (again), but it was now a Charles Wells pub. This was at lunchtime on Sunday 29th May 2011 and I was expecting to see radical changes inside as well, but was pleasantly surprised to see that it was unchanged and, more importantly, the landlord was still the same. The food was also just as good as ever!
We did visit again that year on Emma Jane's last voyage, this time on the evening of Saturday 5th November 2011.
This was our last visit (so far) on our canal trips, but I did drive by in 2012 to get a more up-to-date shot.
This was on Sunday 26th August 2012 and I'm happy to report that the Two Boats is still as busy as ever, especially when the sun is out!