Lush Green Narnia. 17th June

Dickens Heath Narrows to above Lock 6 Lapworth Flight

With a couple more hours on the flat today I got on with sorting out the coach for Cinderella whilst Mick popped on his waterproofs. Yes we had rain, but thankfully not too soaking.

A new improved version of the coach was drawn out to scale on a piece of thick paper and offered up into the model with all the relevant dressing for the scene. A reduction in width by 4inches would improve it’s look, but just how deep to make it? Will Cinderella’s dress be a big pouffy one that requires plenty of room so that she can sit down? In a usual setting for Cinderella this is likely to be the case, but in Chippy’s version set in Colombia, who knows? Well the costume designer may know. I chose a depth and then worked out how to make it in model form.

Top her up please

Mick pulled in at Lady Lane Wharf for a top up of diesel. £1.04 a litre considerably cheaper than in the centre of BUMingham. Mick also picked up a big bag of charcoal for £2.50, bargain, he should have got two!

Under she comes

Keeping an eye on where we were I managed to time my model making perfectly to have things that needed to dry with arriving at the lift bridges. The first one was so easily wound up, the last few turns of my windlass almost did themselves. This did however mean that something wasn’t quite in balance, so it was far harder to wind it back down.

A friendly soul had moored on the bridge landing, not too far to walk to the next bridge thankfully. Plenty of boats out on the hard for blacking at Swallow Cruises. The next bridge needs twice as many turns of a windlass, the amount of weight you are pulling up, or pushing down with the hydraulics is quite immense.

We’d been undecided as to where to moor today. Our schedule had us in the middle of the Lapworth flight, this could be tidged a bit either way. But neither place would be ideal. Should we crack on and complete the flight, or stop after the first four?

A very green Narnia

At Lock 2, Narnia Lock, we had a boat just leaving, a Calcutt Hire boat. If ever I get around to painting a mural in the top room of our house it will be based around Narnia Lock and the first time we came through it on NB Winding Down. I’ll just have to be creative in how I deal with the fireplace positioned centrally on the wall.

The next lock had a Canal Club boat just coming up, so all gates could be left.


We conferred. We’d do two more locks then moor up in the long pound before the thick of the flight. It was lunch time anyway.

One more to go today

I walked down to check if anyone was about to arrive below the two locks, one boat that had passed us this morning was just closing the bottom gates. I set the top lock then walked down to lift a paddle on the second one so that it could fill as we emptied the top one. I’d just started to empty the bottom lock as a boat showed itself heading towards us, no need to close the gates again.

Someone’s going to have to climb the ladder

Cowparsley and Hogweed are growing alongside each other in the next pound, thankfully not Giant Hogweed which you must keep away from as the sap causes blisters.

Tilly got to head off into the friendly cover, an extra instruction today, Please find your old collar! She was allowed an extension until 7pm, when her bum was wiggling ready for a pounce just by the back doors. Her preparation didn’t pay off, so it was easy to lure her inside for dingding.

Steps up to the coach

The coach was finished and some lanterns added to my model. It’s just about ready for another look through the show, then hopefully I’ll be able to do sketch working drawings ready for quotes.

4 locks, 7 miles, 2 lift bridges, 0 held up, 5 hire boats, 4 hours stretched into 5, 1 coach, 7 lanterns, 5kg charcoal, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.