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Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Boozin' and Cruisin' through the East Midlands (Part 6)

 Day 11 - Tuesday

We're on the final leg of our little tour of the Midlands and now moving away from the hub of Life After Football country!

The journey from Atherstone takes us through Hartshill (nice pub, the Anchor, but I haven't been for several years...bad timing!) and through Nuneaton heading for our lunchtime destination of The Greyhound at Hawkesbury Junction.

The gazebo/tent for outdoor service has gone and the pub is almost back to normal...except that it was table service via an app (which actually worked well!). This meant that for today's Bass porn you don't get to see the hand pump...just an 'interracial' threesome on a bar room table!
I've already played this game on Twitter - guess which is my pint!

Following a very pleasant lunchtime session we set off for a rare trip into Coventry - UK City of Culture 2021. The final 5-mile stretch of the Coventry Canal has become increasingly more pleasant over the past few years as decaying industry and derelict factories get turned into residential complexes. The canal basin at the terminus is still a lovely little haven, although mooring was at a premium as certain places had to be booked in advance because of Coventry's new-found status. We just managed to squeeze Peggy Ellen into a (semi) legal mooring spot.

And so, into Coventry we ventured! In the past we've struggled to find decent pubs in the city, but with the help of Retired Martin we headed for this gem!

Without Martin's excellent blog (and Google Maps) we would never have discovered this lovely pub...the Town Wall Tavern...a proper local in the city centre!

After a couple of pints we moved on in search of food - a lovely Italian - through the rain which always seems to accompany our jaunts into Coventry city centre (whether forecast or not!). Then it was onward to our final pub of the evening.

Yes, The Flying Standard is a Wetherspoon's, but it was now after 10pm and not much else was open! The rain finally eased and, after a couple of pints, we strolled back to Coventry Canal Basin and our slightly dodgy mooring!

Day 12 - Wednesday
In the morning we retraced our route out of Coventry to Hawkesbury Junction where we joined the (North) Oxford Canal. It was way too early to stop at The Greyhound again, so we pushed on to Ansty.
It is a good many years since I've been to the Rose & Castle and it has undergone a complete external transformation (#035 UPDATE). Inside, however, was pretty much as I remembered it. In reality the Rose & Castle is no longer a pub (and hasn't been for many years), but it was almost full on this Wednesday lunchtime so you can't really argue with their model! The food was good, the beer satisfied, so what's not to like!

The afternoon's cruising took us to Rugby with a brief stop for a pump-out at Rose Narrowboats. It was my intention to take my shipmates to some of the fine pubs we visited on our Proper Day Out to Rugby in 2019. As our mooring was well over a mile away from the town centre, we called a cab, first stop The Seven Stars.
My travelling companions were as impressed as I'd hoped, but we had to go after one pint as there were other pubs to see! Next stop the Alexandra Arms...except it only opens on Thursdays to Sundays (and it is now the Alexandra Tavern!)
So, it was back to an old favourite - The Squirrel.
Unfortunatey, for us, it was 'Open Mic' night so the place was packed, but we managed to get seats...without a table! It obviously works well for the pub, but not really our thing. We scurried out after a pint, had a Chinese meal across the road and finished off in The Rupert Brooke.
Yes, I know it's the town Wetherspoon's (two nights running!), but both the Victoria Inn and Merchant's Stores were in the wrong direction for us!
Day 13 - Thursday
Next morning gave us a pleasant session of Hillmorton Locks which can, sometimes, take ages to get through, but with the help of the Canal & River Trust volunteers, we traversed the three locks without delay. This meant a relatively early lunch stop at a pub that I'd visited on my first ever canal trip in 1980 (and moored in the exact same spot!).
formerly The Old Royal Oak
Back then it was a proper country pub called The Old Royal Oak, now it is a Greene King Pub & Carvery called The Waterside.
formerly The Old Royal Oak
Despite the fact it was Thursday lunchtime, carvery was the only menu choice (or hot roast baps!). Not ideal, but we usual!
Our afternoon was taken up with the relatively short stretch to Braunston where our first pub of the trip became our last pub as well.
Our final evening of the trip, back in The Boat House, which was as pleasant and satisfying as ever.
Day 14 - Friday
This just left us the 90 - 110 minute journey back to Wigrams Turn Marina. We'd agreed on a breakfast free, early start, but a mis-communication between the Captain and his crew saw us get underway at the ungodly remarkably early time of 7:10 am! The crew had been expecting an 8:00 am start (after the Captain's morning walk, which never happened!) and were somewhat startled as the engine started up just after 7 am! 
Our Captain (and proprietor) was under the impression that this was normal procedure for the final morning trip back to the marina, but I do believe that he had mistaken us for a different crew that he also journeys along the waterways with! No real hardship and we were back at the marina and on the road home by about 10:00 am at the end of another thoroughly enjoyable trip aboard Peggy Ellen!

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