Oleanna Workshop. 6th January


Talk has turned to what to do should the river remain too high for us to head northwards. A week would be fine, but what if it ends up being several weeks? Maybe our route requires amending. Last year we’d only been interested in stoppages before Christmas holding up our progress, we’d not taken any note of those on the network behind us this year. Would we be able to reach Yorkshire by one of the Pennine routes?

1.52 m

We knew Wigan closed on the 3rd Jan. But what about the Rochdale or Huddersfield Narrow? Mick looked through the stoppages. If we could get Oleanna to Huddersfield for my show that would be brilliant. We knew there was a stoppage stopping us getting there from the east, but what about the west? A long stoppage in Slaithwaite, oh well! The Rochdale has stoppages scattered around too. So no Pennine route open to us. Even if there had been we’d have needed to be through Stenson Lock before next Monday when it closes for new bottom gates.

So it looks like we are here for the foreseeable. Forecast for more rain in a few days. Great!

Stern workshop

Time to get to work properly. Most of the jobs involve contact adhesive which is very very smelly, so not a job to be done inside. I set myself up a workshop at the stern under the pram cover for some shelter.

Drying area

The hatch got a layer of plastic to protect it, aerials moved out of the way. One of the lockers was cleared for a drying area. Time to get sticking yoga mats onto the formas I’ve made. The two sugar lumps were covered before lunchtime. The vapours coming from the glue as soon as you start to spread it out was really quite something, I ended up opening one of the sides of the pram cover, but it didn’t help that much.

Not a bad view, two widebeams added last night

I have previous experience of this glue. Frank used to use it to fix edging onto pieces of scenery at the SJT. On one show we used it to add curves of silver laminate to what became known as ‘the doughnut’ which hung from the lighting grid in Scarborough for ‘Making Waves’ a show about the RNLI in Northumberland. None of us were too keen on this particular piece of scenery which when back lit illuminated everything above it, including ducting which normally remains unseen for very good reasons.

All covered

My first experience was at college fixing fabric to foam shapes, sitting all day in a workshop with the extractors working hard. When I got home that day I proceeded to empty the fridge of all four of my house mates food hunting for my cheese grater! It is strong stuff.


I decided that I’d only do so much gluing each day to hopefully save my brain cells, so I moved back inside to work on the giant mug. The pipe I’d bought yesterday was measured out with the hope that the hair dryer we have on board would get the pipe hot enough to bend into shape. No chance! I also needed a vice, pieces of wood all sorts which simply were not available on Oleanna. Time to rethink.

That should work

I’d bought three 90 degree elbows yesterday, if I had one more I’d be able to make a handle, quite square, but it would do the job. Pipe was cut, holes in the mug to slot things through, yep it would do. Mick was volunteered to head back into town tomorrow to pick it up along with a suitable mask to protect me from the glue fumes.

Are you waiting for your Dingding to be served Tilly?

Mick carried on working on the trip computer. He managed to install the Android Operating System with not too much bother. It just won’t re-boot now! Still work in progress. He then moved on to removing the Christmas lights outside.

Work boats

During the day a couple of boats have come past, one presumably returning to it’s home mooring and a C&RT tug boat which returned with another skip several hours later. Will these be used for dredging? Or will the new lock gates be loaded into them for Stenson?

Finished bunny

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 makeshift workshop, 1 stinky morning, 1 head ache, 2 sugar cubes done, 2 bottoms done, 1 handle rethought, 2 holes, 2 rolls masking tape, 1 elbow missing, 0 response from the trip computer, 1 Friday night roast, 0 way out of here come Monday, 1 pompom.