Meanwhile Back On The Water.


The ABC in Ealing

Whilst I’ve been away working life of course has continued on Oleanna. Last week Mick had a couple of trips to London. His first excursion was to Ealing, where he grew up. He said it was so that he could go to Morrisons for some peanut butter (their’s is made purely from peanuts and is our favourite) but he also had a look round. The ABC (Old Empire) has been demolished, the front facade left in place, now covered for protection whilst a new development is going on behind. Here there is planned to be 200 new homes an eight screen cinema, shops and restaurants. link

A shop window with it’s own Strowger exchange

He also had a trip over to east London to pick up our post, returning with three shoe boxes. Once the contents were removed Tilly tried the slipper box out for size. Quite a nice fit, I am reserving judgement though until I’ve tried the other two out.

It smells of sheep!
The Liver Building, Liverpool

Last weekend Mick headed up to Liverpool for a night to celebrate John’s (his brother-in-law) 70th birthday.

Quite a view

There were drinks over looking the Mersey from Panoramic 34 followed by a meal at Radison Blu Hotel.

View fro the Mersey

Then a trip on the Mersey Ferry which was followed by drinks at The Philharmonic where Mick would have taken photos of the toilets but they were in use.

The loos

Then an evening at The Philharmonic Hall where the choir numbering 150 were accompanied by the Philharmonic Orchestra playing British Classics, Britten, Vaughan Williams and some Elgar. A very good evening was had by all.

The tour party

In the morning there was a tour of the Williamson Tunnels. Joseph Williamson was an eccentric, who in the early 19th Century refused to give money to the poor but instead employed them to dig holes and tunnels for no known purpose. The tunnels had been filled in with Victorian rubbish which volunteers have cleared out and cleaned up. The extent of the tunnels is unknown.

Lots of Victorian rubbish

On Monday morning the level of the Oxford Canal had dropped since I’d returned home, the small weir by Isis Lock not overflowing as much, perhaps levels were starting to lower. But by Tuesday the water was on it’s way back up. Mick headed down to Isis Lock to fill with water and do some washing, there is a tap there for the permanent moorers and sitting in the lock you can access it, lets face it nobody would be coming up off the river! The sixth brick below the lock was showing.

Sixth brick just in view

On Thursday morning the levels were looking a touch higher, the canal overflowing the lock gates into the river too. Oleanna was rising on the canal and with the amount of rain over the last few days Mick preferred to stay on Oleanna for the evening rather than heading out to Chippy for Press Night. Being on board, should the levels rise anymore he’d be able to do something about it. There was already a plan to nudge up to the hire boats opposite should the mill stream top the towpath. Being tied up to them would mean Oleanna wouldn’t be able to end up sitting on the towpath.

Oleanna sitting high on the canal

Mick had a chat with a fellow from the Environment Agency, the level of the canal was caused by run off in Oxford and not from the river. So the canal should start to lower once the rain stopped. The river would need quite a lot more water to come over the towpath as the whole of Port Meadow was currently being filled with water, a useful flood plain.

The canal almost level with the edge

During the day someone opened the paddles at both ends of Isis Lock to help drain off the excess as the weirs couldn’t keep up with the amount of water. So when Mick came to meet me at midnight he had a windlass in hand to lower a paddle.

Two weeks ago there had been a blue boat moored near Isis Lock on the canal, the following day it had disappeared. A walk over Osney Bridge to get one of our bikes serviced and Mick found the boat. Somehow they had got down the river, were facing upstream and had just managed to tie to the end of the railings there. Maybe they’d headed that way backwards as the flow along East Street at the moment is very strong. I’m so so glad Mick made the move when he did to get off the Thames.

1 lock gone into but not descended, 1 reverse, 2 moorings close together, 1 trip to Liverpool, 2 trips to London, 1 ferry, 0 panto, 1 cat not that impressed, 6 bricks, 2 paddles up, 1 big step up, £91 bike service.

5 thoughts on “Meanwhile Back On The Water.

  1. Don McCoskrie

    The exchange in the shop window is a blast from the past. I started my career on 2000 type SXS in NZ and am now working on core network fibre systems. Could you let me know where it is as my nephew lives in London and would likely be interested in seeing it.

    1. pipandmick Post author

      Hi Don
      I too started my career in the Strowger days as an apprentice with the Post Office before BT existed. I worked on many Strowger PABXs in the West London area. I stayed with voice all my career, although I left BT in 1986, but of course became conversant in many aspects of IT and voip. I gave up in 2014 and went narrowboating instead!
      The shop window is that of a Telecoms and IT dealer called Syntec and is at 18 The Avenue, West Ealing, W13 8PH

  2. Dave (Scouts)

    What a small world. I started as an apprentice with the Post Office in 1979 and after 18months or so was doing Strowger maintenance in Oxford Speedwell St exchange, including repairing the manual board.
    Come late 80’s i transferred to the then new digital exchanges both System X (GPT/Marconi) and System Y (Ericsson AXE). With all the exchanges slowly being converted a lot of the Strowger staff took early retirement which gave me a couple of years driving round oxforshire maintaining not only the new digital but also the old strowger.
    I moved from BT in 1998 as maintenance was being centralised and jobs moving to Cambridge and transferred to to BT Cellnet (Now O2) i’m still there now.
    If you ever take a trip to the Dean Forest Railway they have a working SAX exchange at Parkend.

    1. pipandmick Post author

      Hi Dave. I never had much to do with main exchanges except as an apprentice. In the third year of my apprenticship I specialised in PABX maintenance and stayed in the customer premises field for the rest of my career. After Strowger in 1983 I went on to specialise in the Philips EBX 8000 PABX, a reed relay system. I was part of the THQ National support group for that system (there was one at BL in Cowley). I travelled all over the UK for that job, good times. I then left BT, went to Lloyds Bank, project managing installations of Plessey iSDX 3000 systems but I missed the tools. I left there in 1989 and moved to Scarborough and became a service engineer for a private company maintaining all sorts of different PBXs across the north of England and sometimes Scotland. 50,000 miles a year, too many! I spent the final 15 years working for a small Telecoms dealership in York which was much more local. We supplied and maintained many different sorts of key system and PBX, but mainly Panasonic. I enjoyed it all but decided in the end that voip and sip wasn’t for me, mainly because people kept trying to run 10 lines over one slow ADSL line! I gave up then and went narrowboating instead.

  3. C geraghty

    I can’t comment on the exchange but the Liverpool photos were good to see and news of the Ealing ABC is always welcome. Love Christine

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