Category Archives: History

We’ll Let You Know On Monday. 14th June

Double Bridge Visitor Moorings to The End to King John’s Castle Moorings

Rain! What’s new! As we had breakfast and Tilly explored for a while NB Olive came past, brolly up sheltering them from the rain. We put on our waterproofs, hoped for a lull in the rain, which came and made ready to push off perfectly timed with the next downpour!

Hello!

Today we’d see more sky, fewer trees blocking it from view. When the sun is shining through the canopy the canal is magical, natures own break up gobo. But when it’s rainy and dark the trees feel a bit claustrophobic and the potential for rain to drip heavily on your roof guaranteed to keep you awake at night.

As we pootled along the Hampshire pound Mick got a phone call. ‘Yes that’s me’ ‘Oh Blimey!’ ‘If we were to turn round now would that….’ What was the conversation about?

It was someone from the Basingstoke Canal Authority, there was a problem at Lock 27. On Monday they would lower or drain a pound to investigate what the problem is. It may be a reasonably quick fix, or it could be something more substantial, a new lock gate could take 6 weeks to make and fit! Oh Blimey!!! When Mick had suggested turning round now and heading that way it was in the hope that maybe we’d get assisted passage past the lock before the investigation, but that was sort of ignored. ‘We’ll let you know on Monday.’

Water coming into the canal

We passed a paddleboarder, a group of canoes. We discussed our options. What options did we actually have, but to wait until Monday. If we were to be stuck, we’ll get to know the area well, explore further afield. Things we’d planned on doing elsewhere we could access by train, just a shame not to get there by boat. Maybe we’re about to relive NB Legend’s visit to the canal, hopefully not or as long though! Although that would be handy for an appointment in this part of the world in October! Maybe we should head back to Frimley Green and see if there’s an opportunity to go through the troubled lock at short notice, our booking not for a few more days? What will be will be, it’s just where to be when we find out.

A Kingfisher stood still on a branch as we passed, today I had my camera just about ready. Then a pair flitted about ahead of us.

Hello to you too!

The song of Woodpeckers, one flew across to a tree by Barley Mow Bridge. My camera tucked away from the rain. A fledgling was being fed by a parent, what an opportunity to have missed!

Some pretty houses with well tended gardens. A group of ducks loitering outside someone’s back door for some tasty morsels. Instructions to proceed at Tick Over, some banks saved from erosion. Plenty of big trees that at some stage have fallen to block the navigation.

Approaching Colt Hill Bridge we saw the Authoritys trip boats, a hire boat base, NB Bramble having passed us in the last couple of days. A chap stood on the stern of the trip boat John Pinkerton said ‘You’re not from these parts are you!’ Then a short distance further on a smaller trip boat with jolly waving folk inside. ‘You’re the second boat we’ve seen today!’ That would have been NB Olive.

North Warnborough Lift Bridge, a possible mooring for the day. A boat was moored at the end of the bridge landing, was that the mooring on our maps, or could we get away with mooring on the posts? NB Olive was guaranteed to be on the last mooring before the end of the canal ahead, maybe we’d return. I hopped off, read the instructions on the bridge. The barriers, drop down and were manual. Pulling out the pin and lowering them, then with the key of power turned I could press the lift button, holding up four walkers in the process. A cable was wound in, lifting the bridge.

Someone heading for an explore

Sure enough there was NB Olive, a ginger cat spotted on the towpath. The side hatch open and Josh appeared another cat in his arms. Had we heard about the lock? He’d been thinking about our friends on NB Legend and how bad luck also follows them around.

This is the end

Not much further was the end of the navigation, no big sign, just a few buoys strung along after the winding hole. We winded and then pulled in behind NB Olive, a second cat spotted on the towpath, Sorry Tilly! They most probably wouldn’t mind sharing with you, but the feeling would not be mutual. We’ve reached this years destination! From now on we’ll be northbound, that’s if we can get down the locks!

Greywell Tunnel

In the afternoon we walked along the towpath to have a look at Greywell Tunnel. It was built between 1788 and 1792 and is/was 1230 yards long. With no towpath boats had to be legged through the tunnel, an information board suggests it would have taken up to 6 hours! The tunnel collapsed in 1932, there were no attempts to revive it as commercial trade on to Basingstoke had already ceased. Canoeists could still get through until the 1950’s when the blockage became total, possibly a quarter of the length of the tunnel blocked.

Chalk springs in the tunnel provide much of the water for the canal, shafts were drilled into the tunnel sides of chalk to encourage water to percolate into the canal. The tunnel is now home to many bats, during the winter months it is home to the second largest hibernating population of Natterer’s bat in Europe. We didn’t see any.

We now followed the paths over the top to see if we could find the western portal. We crossed a field of cows, who were very interested in us before heading down a path through woodland which eventually brought us to the disused entrance. A bit of a scramble down to the caged off entrance, the brick archway just visible, all very dark inside.

A wonderful tree with signpost beneath it

We’d considered walking further along the disused canal, but the towpath looked in bad shape so we headed back to the cow field where we followed a sign to a bridleway which would return us to the canal further along. This did mean wading our way through a field of broad beans, those in pods not big enough to be eaten.

The castle now and how it would have been

A walk up to the castle, King John’s Castle. The ruins are all flint today, but at one time they would have been dressed in stone. King John had a castle built here between 1207-14, it was built as a stronghold but mainly used as a shooting lodge, there is still a deer park around Odiham. In 1215 the English Barons persuaded King Philip of France to pressure John into creating fairer land and taxation laws. Under duress King John rode from Odiham Castle to Runnymede to sign the Magna Carta, however little changed and Louis (son of King Philip) and the French army invaded England.

After the French siege King Henry III had the castle repaired. In 1236 he gave the castle to his sister Eleanor of Pembrokeshire, she married a French noble Simon de Montfort, he was invested as the 6th Earl of Leicester and they transformed the castle into their home. Simon died in the battle of Evesham and Eleanor was exiled to France.

A little drafty inside

Seven years later Edward I came to the throne and made improvements to the castle. There was some toing and froing, the castle passed down to son then son, Edward III granting the castle to his queen Philippa of Hainault.

Chats with Josh and his Mum regarding everyone’s plans for the next few days. They were in need of a pumpout so would head to Galleon Wharf in the morning, Tilly would then be able to have some shore leave. We were still in two minds whether to head back to Frimley Lodge Park so as to be close to the lock flight should there be an opportunity to go through if a longer closure was needed. Should we curtail our time at this end of the canal, or carry on as planned?

Having a sit down on a handy tree bench

During the afternoon we checked on tide times on the Tidal Thames for our planned date. Thames Lock at Brentford would need booking in advance. The day we wanted was not available, we opted for the day before, checked the times and then rang Teddington Lock to see what time they suggested penning down. Brentford was booked for late afternoon, but Teddington was suggesting we leave late morning, the passage only takes around an hour. We’re fairly sure the Teddington Lock Keeper was out by a few hours.

Now we just have to wait to see what happens on Monday.

0 locks, 5.8 miles, 1 wind, 6 cats at the castle, 2 tunnel portals, 1 squeeze through broad beans, 1 miffed Tilly that we hadn’t got there first, 1 problematic lock, 1 finale of The Responder.

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A Breakdown In Communications. 29th May

Above Days Lock to Wallingford

Not the best nights sleep. Yesterdays heavy rain made for a twitchy night. Had we been wise to moor here on pins? How high would the river come up in response to the rain? Were our ropes loose enough for fluctuating levels? How would the flow be when we came to move? Should we move? Sooner rather than later?

A lovely morning view

We both checked the internet for the levels. Overnight the river had come up by 6 inches. Would we now be stuck by red boards? The EA website gets updated at 11am each day so we wouldn’t know from there for quite some time. Mick took a walk along the bank towards the lock, wet grass soaking his trousers and shoes. The lock was normal and on self service. Time to make a move and go whizzing off down stream.

Looking back to Days Lock

Untying was planned, the bow rope last to stop us from drifting backwards and with Mick already onboard he’d be able to keep us steady into the flow. However the bow rope was quite slack, Oleanna had risen with the water and was now closer to the bank and this morning the wind was holding her into it. We followed our plan anyway, me trying to push the bow out against the wind, extra umph needed from a bow thruster to get the bow into the flow and Oleanna winding to head downstream.

Blue skies and fluffy clouds

A couple of boats had already been seen on the move and we followed a small cruiser in to the lock cut, they’d been moored on the weir stream overnight. I checked with their skipper if they’d be okay sharing with us which they were. They would head out first and I’d close up behind us. This of course wasn’t needed in the end as a boat was heading upstream and then a Lockie who was gardening appeared from nowhere and did the honours for us, the cruiser pulled in at the service mooring, we carried on.

Blue skies with fluffy clouds, that’s more like it! More boat houses I could live in. The fab big house on the bend near Shillingford still looks wonderful. Maybe one day we should walk the Thames Path which goes right outside the other side of the building so we can see the front door. If we lived there we’d give some ornamental tall grasses a trim to improve the view of the river.

Above Benson Lock there were plenty of moored hire boats, the recent yellow and red boards keeping them off the river, we’ve seen only a couple of Le Boats out and about. The cafe looked to be popular, maybe it would be a suitable place for a rendez vous, but our only choice of mooring nearby was on the weir side of the lock island, there’s a ferry that runs back and forth. However the moorings looked quite full and it would have meant winding to reverse into the weir cut, with the river running fast we didn’t fancy that.

Ouch!

Time to fill the lock, descend and then cross over the weir exit! Earlier this year a boat had lost it’s mooring and been swept towards the weir, only the bridge over it stopping the vessel from plunging over the top. Today the water crashed over the weir, where the navigation meets this there are green marker buoys to help keep you away from the build up of silt. We’d heard that these marker buoys had moved in the floods, so didn’t mark the channel well. They certainly looked to be further over towards the bank and the trees than we remembered, if you kept to the right side of them you’d almost certainly end up entangled in branches. After picking me up, Mick set off, cranking Oleanna up, the aim to pass through the green markers. It turned into a bit of a chicane but we made it through without touching the bottom or the trees, but very close to the buoys.

A space on the low bank

Not far now, we made note of possible moorings under the trees as we approached Wallingford, plenty of room should we need it. On the east bank there was a space, just not quite big enough for us, a few git gaps behind, we called out but no one heard us. The west bank was just about empty. We headed down stream through the bridge and then winded, no chance of running out of room to make the turn here. Upstream we headed, another call out to a narrowboat to see if they could move up, big thumbs up from inside and out they came to pull back six foot so we could moor. Thank you.

Earlier there had been a phone call, but not enough signal to hear anything. Mick had sent a message saying we were heading to Wallingford, he received a message saying a cuppa was being enjoyed at the cafe at Benson. Serious communication problems, Mick went off to try to find signal, Wallingford being added to our list of bad signal. Up on the bridge he got through to a French answerphone just as a car with two familiar faces came past slowing to say ‘Hello!’

Mick, Siobhan, Patrick and Pip

Siobhan and Patrick are friends of Micks from long long ago, they now live in Newcastle, Australia. Most years they come over to the UK to visit family and we do our best to meet up. They arrived earlier this week, had a few nights in London before driving down to stay with a friend in Benson, our cruising plans had just nicely managed to fit with their tour of the UK. Big hugs all round then a venue for lunch was found. We all got in the car and headed off to The Red Lion in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell a very pretty place.

A picturesque pub

Ham egg and chips, a burger, fish and chip and a vegetable tart were all enjoyed, better food and a quieter lunch than we’d had on Monday. Lots to catch up on, news of grandchildren, 70th birthdays, travel plans.

After a cuppa and more chats back at Oleanna it was time for them to head off and meet up with their friend in Benson. So lovely to see them both and Yes we do need to try to put a plan together to do a visit to Newcastle!

Brand new signs

As we’d returned to the boat there was a chap taking down the Town Council signs regarding mooring fees. New signs were going up, still the same fee but the moorings were now going to be overseen by District Enforcement. The chap chatted away, the moorings would be policed three times a week and anyone pulling up even just for the day (free) would need to register on line to moor there otherwise they’d be charged the penalty £100. Later in the day we wondered how we’d manage to register as our internet signal was seriously poor, at times there was nothing at all! This may be a problem.

We’ve only been able to moor in Wallingford by the bridge once before and we couldn’t remember if we’d looked round or not. Looking back on Lillian’s blog posts I suspect we didn’t as I had a migraine the day we arrived. So we headed out to have a bit of a walk around.

St Peter’s

In the early 12th Century Wallingford had many rights and liberties exceeding those of London and it is one of only four towns that were mentioned in the Magna Carta. The very recognisable spire of St Peter’s can be seen by all from the river, it is now a redundant Anglican church. Grade 2 listed it was built between 1763 and 1767, the spire added by Sir Robert Taylor ten years later. A local lawyer, Sir William Blackstone ( who’s books were widely used by the makers of the American constitution) paid for the clock face to be visible from his house. The church was deemed redundant in 1971.

There are plenty of antique shops, one of which Siobhan had remembered from when she worked in the area. We had a good look round at all the things no-one really needs. The shop went on and on forever!

Wallingford Town Hall

A couple of things were needed from Waitrose then we walked by the Town Hall, held up with extra wooden pillars bedecked with plastic ferns. The open area beneath was used for market stalls and the chamber above was used for Borough Courts and Quarter Sessions. Around the end of the 13th Century the town fell on hard times and shrank, only reviving in the 17th and 18th centuries with the vast growth of London and trade on the Thames. During Victorian times Wallingford had 50 pubs whilst only having a population of around 2000. Down a side street where half timbered buildings have been painted haphazardly in green and yellow and we wondered what the department store had been on St Mary’s Street.

Where St Mary’s meets St Martins a row of four terraced houses sits prominently over looking the junction. They are Grade 2 listed and are quite fine, their gable windows on the top floor hidden behind a wall.

Maybe next time we’re here we’ll explore more, there is what looks like an interesting walk around the town Link. So there is more to Wallingford than Midsummer Murders.

2 locks, 5.8 miles, 1 wind, 6 inches higher, 6ft too short, 1 broken cleat, 2 Australian visitors, 1 perfect rendez vous, 0 phone signal, 3 pints, 1 glass wine, 1 unimpressed Tilly, £12 a night, but not tonight, 1 more lovely day with friends, 2 equalised batteries (they sorted them selves a few days ago).

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Forty Minutes With Darth. 13th May

Cape of Good Hope Moorings to Lidl, Myton Road Bridge

Time to put long trousers and jumpers back on, time to move on again. Saying that and actually managing it was another thing. Boats just kept coming, some pulling up on the waterpoint which we also needed. Yesterday Mick had done two loads of washing and there was another in progress, so we’d need a tank refill today for sure. Handily there is a tap below the Cape Locks as well as above so we opted to use that one, we just had to find a gap in the traffic.

Cape Locks

A gap spotted we staked our claim on the lock before anyone else appeared behind. We worked down the two locks swapping with a Carefree Boat, lots to chat about with the lady onboard. Then we waved our locking partners on NB Lottie Jane farewell, not goodbye. They were off to stock up on shopping and go sight seeing in Leamington Spa. We would be topping up with water and getting close to Warwick station, any more would be a bonus.

There she is!

We pulled up a little before Bridge 49. Now where was Tilly? She usually is excited to see what the outside looks like and asks to be let out. But none of that today. Just where was she? Not on her shelf, not the sofa, not on the Houdini shelf. I looked around the bed as best I could with the airer laid on it full of socks and pants, out of the way. No Tilly! Oh blimey, had she got out? I called for ages, and then a little meow came from between our underwear. She was perfectly camouflaged, on lovely clean things!

Poor signage for those coming the other way on foot

I had an early lunch before heading for the station. On arriving I didn’t seem to be able to find Platform 1. I went under the tracks, the steps to the platform were cordoned off. At the main approach to the station I couldn’t get onto the platform so went into the ticket office, still no way to reach the trains. I asked a member of staff who directed me round lots of fencing, all the signage pointed towards those either leaving the station or having arrived by car!

Moor Street Station

Half an hour later I was arriving at Birmingham Moor Street Station. It felt like walking into a heritage railway. All painted in Great Western Railway colours, lovely old signage, what a treat.

Might have to have a go at making these

I had an hour on my hands, I’d hope to spend it wisely buying birthday presents, but those requested were not available at M&S in Brum! I paused for a sit down outside the library, maybe I could get things sent to the Leamington Spa branch for tomorrow, first delivery would be a day later, we were not wanting to hang around for a whole day. Maybe a rethink, maybe a delivery further along our route would work.

Old Union Mill

Normally I approach my dentists from the canal, today I walked along the other end of Sheepcote Street. This meant I got to see Old Union Mill, which was constructed in 1810 by Birmingham Flour and Bread Company, it remained in operation until 1927 and has recently been used as office and artist studio space. A redevelopment is planned to convert the mill into office units and buildings that had been built to the rear in the 1990’s, these will be demolished and new apartments built in their place. However right now it is an all day car park.

Crescent Theatre

Crescent Theatre was also passed. Earlier this year we’d had a look to see if we might be able to make it to Birmingham to see their production of Alan Ayckbourn’s House and Garden. Two linked plays, played simultaneously by the cast in two separate auditoria, one the house the other, you guessed it, the garden. I worked on the original production in Scarborough in 1999. Alan likes to set challenges for himself and his staff. In Scarborough the actors had to run up and down stairs between the auditoria, certain sound cues would be held until actors arrived, a dogs bark signalling the plot could continue. It was very hard work to create both House and Garden sets especially when on the opening weekend there was also a wedding booked on the House set with photographs in the Garden. We still had things to do, so hid in the dining room waiting for the wedding guests to leave so we could finish painting things before the evening show and then followed them into the garden to do a touch of pruning! A production was mounted at the National Theatre in 2000, adjustments had to be made as the journeys for the actors were longer, the curtain call was most certainly longer. So it would have been great to have seen the show here in Birmingham, but we didn’t make it.

Where has everyone gone?!

A hygienist appointment with Thomas, or as I know him Darth Vader. He was the hygienist I saw after lockdown when he had to wear a full mask whilst inflicting cleaning pain to my gums and teeth. Thankfully this was my last visit to the dentist and once I’d paid up I was on my way back to Moor Street Station, walking past Ozzie at New Street Station, time to say goodbye for a few months.

Goodbye Brum until later in the year

Back at Oleanna Mick had news about our faulty battery that we’d returned, we were needing a new one, but to receive this we’d require an address. We put our thinking caps on, maybe a friend could take it in for us, or perhaps a boat yard we’d be passing.

Near to Tescos, click the photo

It was only 4pm, so we decided to move on a touch and get stocked up with food before we head to more rural waters. A space showed itself at Lidl so we pulled in. A joint of pork was popped in the oven to roast whilst we filled a trolley full of shopping. Tilly wasn’t impressed as it meant she’d be staying in, no shore leave today. Just a shame she wasn’t still pooped from yesterday!

I wonder if the buses deliver dingding, or do they take you on a ride whilst dining?

This afternoon the rain returned, here’s hoping the tree we’re part moored under doesn’t keep us awake all night.

2 locks, 1.6 miles, 2 trains, 40 minutes with Darth, 0 bumble bee table cloth, 1 boat in Brum, 1 farewell to Ozzie, 1 very bored cat, 1 joint of pork, not enough carrots!

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Whilst Kathleen Blows Away. 6th April

Lock 46

After breakfast and writing the blog, on what feels like the smallest keyboard ever, we headed into town to do a bit of shopping, find a newspaper and have a look round.

They are rather fine

Two fine front doors stood out, one house for sale. You get quite a bit of house for your money in these parts. We’ve been spotting a lot of places named Royd recently. Old Royd Lock, Royd Street. Looking the name up it turns out that Royd is local dialect for ‘cleared land’ especially in a wood.

The centre of Littleborough has a mix of shops, not many unoccupied. Some smart clothes shops, a couple of butchers, a discount hardware shop and a knickers shop! Just who had the money for the fancy grave?

Who was so important to have such a grand grave

We got a newspaper, some thick cut bacon, a disappoinitng pork pie and a few bits and bobs fom Sainsburys before heading to the Co-op to see if their cat food was cheaper. It was, especially with a members card which we applied for whilst stood in the pet food isle.

As we headed towards the canal we spotted signs in the station window for a museum. Well that needed looking at, so we made our way up onto the platform where a chap asked if we knew there were no trains today. Yes, but we were looking for the museum. ‘Round the corner, there’s three chaps in there’.

No trains today

The main waiting room/old ticket office is now a museum for Littleborough Historical and Archaeologocal Society. We were welcomed in by a chap who immediatley mentioned about their flint collection and Roman coins. Flint is not found in the area, so was imported from other parts of the country. He also appologised that their main computer was broken so he wouldn’t be able to show us much from their archieve. This however didn’t stop him from chatting away to his hearts content.

As it says on the door

The chap chatted on for ages, he could have carried on for hours. Don’t get me wrong he was interesting, possibly being shown images and maps would have been even more interesting, but when someone wanted to show him a recent find that was almost certainly Roman we were quick in heading for the door. More a place for serious research on the local area than just a browse around.

Back at Oleanna we had lunch and enjoyed the last Hot Paw Bun of the year. These were the best I’ve made by far and Mick doesn’t see why they should just be for Easter!

Tilly came and went, then as the winds increased into the afternoon she was grounded. Kathleen was showing her force. Thankfully our mooring means Oleanna’s bow faces into the wind and with a few extra fenders out we are held into the side, so no bumping about.

Plans for the next few days were discussed. How long it will take us to get down into Manchester, which moorings to stop at, will the wind have died down sufficiently to make this all possible?

Tilly slept the afternoon away. The yellow water tank was emptied, Tilly’s pooh box refreshed and quite a bit of knitting done. I should just about finish pair 14 by the end of Sunday, Hooray!

Our evening meal was accompanied by growing winds and torrential rain. Really! Surely there can’t be anymore rain!!

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 windy walk, 1 puzzled baker, 9 rashers bacon, 1 pie, 1 paper, 0 knickers bought, 1 very knowledgable man, 0 wedding ring, 1 very blustery afternoon, 2 salmon steaks with red pepper sauce, 13.5 pairs of socks knitted so far.

Smiles All Round. 29th March

Salter Hebble Bottom Basin to Hebden Bridge, Rochdale Canal

Heading ton the top Salter Hebble Lock

A boat was coming down the middle Salter Hebble Lock as we were getting ready. Mick walked up for a chat and got them to leave the gates open for us. These top two locks are the shortest of the Calder Hebble Locks. On NB Lillyanne we had to come down these two locks backwards just so that we could get out of the bottom gate, we only had an inch to spare. We must have been so careful back then working these locks.

Sunny morning and smiles

The lock cottage alongside the top lock was fairly recently for sale, it’s certainly in desperate need of some tlc the roof couldn’t even be considered to being classified as a sieve! The last use of the Hebble Spike to get us up to the top and then the turn towards Sowerby Bridge.

Is that this outside?

We’d called ahead to Shire Cruisers to see if they’d sell us some diesel, so we carried on into the basin ready to back up to their pump. All the hire boats were lined up, front doors open and some engines running. A chap popped his head out of a door, ‘Are you wanting the services? The hire boats are about to go out, maybe you should come back after lunch’ I relayed this back to Mick. We reversed back out of the basin and pulled into the first space on the Rochdale Canal. Mick walked over the lock and went to see the people in the office, they of course said just come in and reverse up to the pump.

Topping up the tank the first time this year

We reversed back to the junction, and headed back to the pump where a helpful chap was stood waiting to grab our stern line. He filled the tank up then Mick went into the office to pay. We both remember the slightly stern lady here from when we’d hired from them years ago, she rightly wanted hirers to listen to her instructions on how to work a lock!

Another reverse back out of the basin. We discussed what we should do, maybe have a quick lunch and try to get going before all the hire boats came out and grabbed the moorings in Hebden Bridge, or maybe we’d be able to join the first one going up in Tuel Lane Lock. Three quarters of an hour later we pulled back out, no other boat had come along to share with so we’d be on our own.

What a pretty view

Spring blossom brought a smile to my face framing the scene below Lock 1. People stopped to watch, a couple of gents tried to open a gate for us but failed, they did help close it. Oh how stiff the paddles are! Am I out of practice? Or are they worse than five years ago?

Crossing the pound between 1 and 2 was very slow, it took a lot of effort getting into the lock, Oleanna sitting on the bottom! The paddles only just opened, one click on each side and then no amount of adjusting the windlass helped they simply wouldn’t budge. By now we had one of those silent crowds watching us. Thankfully some water was going into the lock and Oleanna was afloat again.

I walked up to Tuel Lane Lock to let the Lock Keeper know we were wanting to come through. You shouldn’t enter the tunnel below the lock as it may need to be emptied of it’s 130,000 gallons of water first! The Lock was full, thankfully the extra water would help us get over the cill at Lock 2 as the level looked quite low. We were instructed to sound our horn as we entered the tunnel. We paused to let the initial wave of water coming from the lock to settle, closed Lock 2 behind us, Mick had only just managed to raise one of the paddles when the water pressure had reduced. We sounded our horn on entering the tunnel and got three whistle blows back, not sure what that meant, the chap hadn’t told me.

Coming into the lock

The lock was waiting, all grey, dripping wet. It’s a modern interior to a lock, concrete built in 1996 to replace locks 3 and 4 as part of the restoration of the canal. Most of the canal had been closed to navigation and officially abandoned by an Act of Parliament in 1952 and parts of the route through Sowerby Bridge had been filled in for a road widening scheme. The IWA petitioned against various building proposals keeping the possibility of connecting the Rochdale to the Calder Hebble alive. In 1991 £2.5 million of funding meant the connection would be possible. The original plans were for the lock to be 57ft 6″ long, similar to the shorter Calder Hebble Locks, but a reworking meant they could accommodate a standard length lock of 72ft. The first boat to use the lock was on the 11th April 1996, the official opening in May.

Part way up Tuel Lane Lock

Passing a rope around the riser at the bow we then moved Oleanna forward to get the stern line around one too. The huge gates were wound closed behind us then a thumbs up from Gary the volunteer and a paddle was raised.

THANK YOU. Dave to the left and Gary to the right.

Down in the depths of the deepest lock on the network I was glad of the bright blue sky overhead. I was also surprised how still Oleanna stayed as we rose up, our ropes hardly needed. Gary was assisted by Dave, who had come down to see what was happening today, he will be a volunteer at the lock after his training which is to be on Monday. I think he was imparted some pearls of wisdom by Gary. As the noise died down I was asked if we’d been through before, ‘Yes our fifth time’. ‘You’ll have got a certificate then.’ ‘No, we’ve never been offered one!’ He returned and handed one over.

Now we wiggled our way along the side of the valley, views stretching out. Oleanna had smiled in the lock, now a smiley face beamed at us from the wood followed by a very happy jumper walking along the towpath.

Views don’t come without some work

Where to moor for the night? Should we stop part way to Hebden or carry on to ensure we got a space. Locks 5 and 6 were pretty heavy work, but I got the paddles up and Oleanna rising. However when it came to Lock 7 it was a different matter all together.

Sunny

In came Oleanna, gates closed, I went to lift one of the paddles. I tried repositioning my windlass to make the very most of umph power to get it raised and onto the first notch. Nothing! I walked all the way round to the other side (no walkway on the top gates) and tried again. Nothing! Oh B***er!

It’s when you can feel your steel windlass bending that you know you’ve got a problem! Mick climbed the ladder, we roped Oleanna up. It took a lot of doing and Mick’s extra weighted umph to get them shifted, they eventually moved.

Mile posts, they don’t mention how many locks there are though!

Thankfully we were through and headed for Lock 8. I’d re-read the blog post from five years ago which mentioned how hard it had been to close the near side bottom gate, Frank and I had serious problems with it. So this time we avoided it opening in the first place. Mick opened the off side gate whilst I kept the problem gate closed. It worked and the paddles were a breeze! Just the short distance now to moor up for the day.

Lucy in the sky

It was just gone 6pm, too late for shore leave for Tilly but there was plenty of room on the moorings to choose from for the weekend. The cruiser we’d seen at Brighouse was sat on the service mooring facing downstream. Is he waiting for someone else to share locks with? Don’t blame him if he is.

Hello Hebden!

9 locks, 7.9 miles, 19ft 8″, 5th time through Tuel Lane for us, twice for Tilly, Lock 7!!!!! 91 litres, 3 reverses, 1 left twice, 1 certificate, 2 boaters with weather worn cheeks.

https://maps.app.goo.gl/imAHKXsu6HuH5AA17

Click the photo for details

PS if you’ve a spare million pounds take a look at this house we passed today. The gardens were immaculate.

Albion Picture Houses. 11th March

Castleford Cut Visitor Moorings

Tilly climbed trees whilst we enjoyed a cooked breakfast. Hash browns from the freezer rather than homemade, Mick’s are nice they just take a bit of doing.

Breakie!

The EA Gauge was starting to come back down today, slowly. Mick had a walk up to the lock this morning and the river was still in the red, a red flashing light to go with it another at the opposite end of the cut. We’d not be moving until the level returned to below 1.5m, so not likely to be today.

For the last month I’ve been looking at new cameras on line. I’m wanting to replace my old one as the lens shutter sticks, therefore the lens can be quite filthy affecting the photos I take, plus it’s been mended twice! A compact, fits in your pocket, reasonable zoom, good megapixels kind of camera. Well it’s proving difficult find under £400! It’s as if no-one wants them anymore because phone cameras are so good now. Well except if you spot a Kingfisher at 90 paces you want to zoom in and not end up with a pointillist image. Also I’ve got used to using the camera to zoom in on locks ahead to see what is happening, a phone isn’t capable of that. So I’ve started to look at second hand cameras, CEX had a few I wanted to look at in Castleford so we headed off for a walk into town.

Well the Sony Cybershot has a great zoom but the whole thing is far too big to have in your pocket or bumbag whilst working locks. Crossing some lock gates I’d end up getting trapped! So sadly no luck today. We also tried Cash Convertors another local shop, still no luck. The hunt continues.

Woof!

A top up shop at Morrisons, not the biggest store and lacked some of our usual basic items, but fresh fruit and veg were stocked up on.

The walk back took us along Albion Street. A busy road. Here stood two buildings that had to have been cinemas, their facades giving away their early 1900’s age. The first moving picture was shown in 1905 by a touring company in the Queens Hall, a couple of years later films were a regular event. By 1911 another two venues were showing films and in 1912 four new cinemas were opened in the town which the year before had a population of just over 23,000.

Albion Old Picture House

The Albion Picture House sits on the corner of Wilson and Albion Streets. Quite a simple building but the shape giving away it’s history. By 1913 the Crown Picture Palace had opened up in Glasshoughton, it’s owner was in dispute with the central Castleford cinema owners as they were threatening to boycott anyone supplying him with films. It was forced to close only to open again in 1916, but burnt down in 1923.

Albion New Picture House

The Albion was rebuilt further along the road in 1927. It was converted to triple screens in 1975 and in February 1987 it showed it’s last film leaving Castlefield with no cinemas. Both buildings look like they have seen other lives, but now they look dormant, pretty much like most of the rest of the town centre.

Mural

Castlefield was greatly affected by the closure of the coal mines in the area. In 1984 the Wakefield area of Yorkshire had 15 collieries, by the end of the 1980’s only 4 remained. Frickley/South Elmsall and Sharlston closed in1993, Prince of Wales 2002 and finally Kellingley in 2015. Today the town looks dead, did it ever recover from the closures or has it been on a downward trend since the 1980’s? A stretch of houses along the south bank of the River Aire were all boarded up, due for demolition, part of the refurbishment of the area into part of the ‘riverside destination’. It’ll be nice to have gardens and pathways along the river. Hope it breaths new life into the area.

Sad sight

Thankfully Queens Mill is still open, Yorkshire Craft Beers, a tea room and the flour mill, the worlds largest stoneground flour mill. Along side it is Millenium Bridge, curving over the weir across the River Aire, joining both banks. Today there was quite a lot of water flowing over it.

Queens Mill and Millenium Bridge

River levels are still on the way down, but more rain is forecast overnight. The mooring here isn’t bad, but the evening and night time running of gennies from the permanent moorers across the way is really quite annoying. If we can we’ll move on in the morning.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 dry day, 0 suitable cameras, 5 bananas, 6 apples, 2kg potatoes, 2 cinemas on one street, 15 to 0, 21:30, midnight another! 2 boaters 1 cat hoping for levels to drop by morning.

Castleford Locks. 10th March

Castleford Visitor Moorings

It started to rain last night and was still going for it this morning. Not torrential rain, but as the land is totally soaked right now the rivers were going to rise quickly. Here at Castleford Cut we are protected by the flood lock out onto the junction of the Rivers Aire and Calder. Last night we’d considered moving up to above Lemonroyd Lock where there is a nice mooring both we and Tilly like, but the rain this morning put us off. Currently we’re not in a rush so why get wet. Others including NB Nee Nah were off early, their aim to head to Leeds to await Woodnook Locks reopening at the end of the week. We decided to wait for the rain to stop, weather apps were checked, maybe early afternoon.

Make it stop!

The Geraghty zoom this morning included conversations on fitted wardrobes and levelling up funding, diesel on boats in London, cat flaps and Masquerade by Kit Williams.

We pottered away the morning. Mick started to look at the river levels, hmmm, going up as we’d thought they would. There had been a notice this morning saying that Ledgard Flood Gates on the Calder Hebble were closed due to rising water levels. This is some way upstream but the waters would soon arrive here.

A walk to look at the level board at the flood lock. Waterproofs were donned and a slippy walk was made until we reached the tarmac and the road that weaves it’s way round to the A656. Down the footpath and back at the cut. Here we could see the normally amber light was now red and flashing at us. The flood lock closed. We crossed the lock gates and walked down to see how high the water was.

2 inches in the red.

The level board has a very long red length, suggesting the river can rise very high. Today the river was sitting at about 2 inches into the red, we’d not be going anywhere today! At this end of the lock there are three lights each facing a different direction, all of these were amber, navigation possible to get off the river section and into the safety of the cut.

Three ambers

We crossed over the top gates, stood and wondered just why the flood lock here was such an odd shape. A little further on was a clue, a channel which is possibly used to fill the lock now but it showed obvious signs of it having been a lock in the past. Gate recesses and metal work from where gates used to be attached. A look at our Waterway Routes map confirmed that it had been a lock. I’d also spotted that there was another old lock shown on the map. Maybe the course of the cut had changed through the centuries, very likely.

Odd shaped flood lock

On our return to Oleanna we took a slight detour and spotted the old lock which used to connect the River Aire below the weir to the cut. Had this been to bring goods up from the river to avoid navigational difficulties down stream? Time to do a bit of history hunting.

Old maps showed that there had been the smaller lock from the river that we’d seen today, but they also showed Castleford Cut. Hunting round I found a very good article on a Castleford History blog A lot to read, but worth it if you are interested. Here’s a quick precis.

Waterway Routes showing two old locks

In the C17th the textile industry was on the rise in the West Riding. Goods were imported and exported via York, packhorse boats sailing up and down the River Ouse which connected with packhorse routes across Yorkshire. In the 1620’s permission was sought in parliament to build short cuts to avoid weirs on the Rivers Aire and Calder. But opposition from York Corporation meant the bills were rejected. By 1698 royal ascent was received for the plans, meaning Castleford would become an important place during the canal boom years, the village growing into a town.

The original cut came off the river where we’d spotted the old lock. From here is continued in a straight line, through where the dry dock is and then down back onto the river behind The Griffin Pub on the big S bend, this meant bypassing the weir. Much of this old route has now been built over so no evidence is visible other than the dry dock. On the map below this route is shown by the blue line. This was possibly the shortest/cheapest route and opened in 1699. Castleford now became a key point for the collection of toles with wool, cloth, grain and coal passing through.

1699 Blue, 1774 Purple, 1831 to Present day Orange

The amount of traffic built up during the C18th, the capacity of the locks on the Aire and Calder were becoming an impediment. In 1774 an act of parliament was passed for a series of improvements. The awkward angle of Castleford Dam Lock was one problem the silt build up here another. So another cut was cut, shown above in purple. It came out from the current dry dock at 90 degrees then another turn to the east before dropping down to the river at Middle Lock, the ruins of which we’d spotted very close to our mooring. This all opened in 1775, but really wasn’t an ideal solution.

The original lock from the river

Trade was good, a weighing station was built in 1819. At this time Castleford also became a place where passengers would arrive by coach from Leeds and join boats heading for Goole and Hull. The Packet Boat steps are still visible below Castleford Bridge on the Aire. But in 1834 the opening of the Leeds Selby railway saw passengers move to the rails and then climb onboard boats in Selby to head down stream on the River Ouse. AS passengers reduced in number freight increased and further improvements were considered to the navigation.

The ruins of Middle Lock back down onto the Aire

In 1819 John Rennie surveyed the navigation and commented on it’s bad design and how the old lock was in a bad state of repair. George Leather did a survey in 1824 finding that depth of the cut was seriously bad, less than 5ft in places (not just a problem today!), the tight turns frequently caused damage to the boats. Where the lock met the river and the next half mile downstream was prone to silting. Various suggestions were made, Rennie added a suggestion of a new flood lock north of the current one. Then Thomas Telford was brought in, 1827, straightening of the River Calder was added into the mix and he agreed on much of what Leather had proposed. Works started in 1829 and by 1831 the north and south cuts had been joined and the navigation became what we have today stretching to Bulholme Lock where it re-joins the river, bypassing the weir, meanders and silt (route shown in orange).

Wipe your FEET Tilly!

The river levels have continued to rise through the afternoon and evening 1.66m by the time we went to bed. Tilly climbed trees, I knitted and Mick found things to do avoiding sorting out the remaining contents of The Shed.

Sadly not trading today!

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 old locks found, 2 bacon butties, 1 abandoned pushchair, 2 inches in the red, 1 soggy day, 21:10 generator turned off, 1 still going at bed time, 1/3 sock knitted, 6 sausages and roasted veg,1 boat trapped, 2 flashing red lights.

Imp Hunting. 19th September

Brayford Pool, Lincoln

With not having a couple of days away we decided that today we’d be tourists as much as my little toe would allow. I’d thought we might have an early start, but Panto had other ideas. Overnight I’d been happy that my artwork could be scanned and stay in focus, today I needed to see if we could afford for all the print to be done by one company, Prompt Side. I worded an email to those who could make the money decisions, I’d already alerted Gemma the Production Manager that this was the way I wanted to go. I clicked the send button, started my breakfast. A few minutes later my laptop binged a response from John, backing my proposal. Yipee!!!! Gemma soon followed, she’d been through the budget again and clawed as much back from everywhere as she could, we’d have no contingency, but with the budget bulging at the seams we’d make it. Bigger YIPEEE!!!!

Casual chaps

Being at Brayford Pool meant we were really close to the bus stop for the bus that runs up the hill to the Cathedral. We walked over and waited. The bus runs every 20 minutes during the day and for a return it was £3.50 each, we’d certainly be using the return. The ride was all of ten minutes taking a wide route up to the top of the hill, still on steep roads, but an engine got to do all the hard work instead of us. We were dropped off right outside the front doors.

First though a post box was needed to post the fourth pair of socks to their owner. Gold boxes are harder to spot than red, but we found it in the end.

The West Facade

We walked back through Exchequer Gate to get the full view of the west face of the Cathedral. Impressive.

Looking down the nave

In 1072 Bishop Remigius started work on the cathedral, the diocese stretching from the Humber to the Thames. The hill was chosen for the location, it’s vantage point for miles around an obvious location. Twenty years later the Cathedral was consecrated, it stood for thirty two years before it was ravaged by fire. Then in 1185 the cathedral was partly destroyed by an earthquake, it left only the western front and twin towers standing. The original cathedral is easy to spot with it’s round arches and ornate carving, lattice work covers areas which in later years would have been left plain stone.

In 1186 Hugh of Avalon was appointed Bishop of Lincoln and he set about building a new Gothic cathedral with state of the art architectural features like flying buttresses, ribbed vaults and pointed arches. His death in 1200 was before the cathedral was consecrated, he was buried here. Frequent miracles were reported by pilgrims, Hugh became a saint and in 1280 his body was reinterred in a newly built Angle Choir in the presence of King Edward I.

1237 saw the central tower collapse, thought to be due to the pioneering building techniques used. In 1311 the tower was rebuilt, a wooden spire added to the top making it the tallest building in the world for 238 years at 160m!

Cloisters

Extensions were added, spires either fell or were removed through the centuries. In 1834 Great Tom, the bell was lifted into the central tower to strike the hour. More info can be found here and here.

By the time we had walked part way round, seeing the military chapels, the treasury, I was in need of a sit down and some food. The cafe is situated behind the cathedral through the cloisters, reaching there we had to walk through what felt like a wind tunnel. Good views up to the central tower.

Mick had a club sandwich, I had food envy, my jacket potato didn’t look as appetising even though it was very nice. I did manage to sniggle some chips which made up for it. Now we had to prioritise one thing before we left, we had to find the Imp!

Somewhere up there maybe

Our map showed us where abouts to look, near the Angel Choir, we stood and gazed up at pillars and carvings, scanned round. I think Mick resorted to Google for some assistance. There he was sitting up high peering over everyone.

There he is!

‘Legend has it that one day the Devil was in a frolicsome mood, and sent two naughty creatures to cause mischief on Earth. After allegedly stopping at Chesterfield, twisting the spire of St Mary and All Saints Church, the two imps went to Lincoln to wreak havoc in the city’s Cathedral.

Upon arriving, the naughty imps went inside the cathedral and started to cause mayhem, knocking over the Dean, smashing the stained glass windows and destroying the lights. In a bid to put a stop to their antics, an angel was sent to warn the imps off causing any more chaos. One of the imps hid underneath a table, whilst the other started throwing stones and rocks at the Angel in a final act of defiance – “Stop me if you can!” it cheekily retorted.

In a moment of anger, the Angel turned the Imp to stone. He has remained in the same spot ever since, sitting cross-legged on top of the pillar overlooking the Angel Choir – a constant reminder of how good will always triumph over evil.’

The second Imp is meant to be blowing a hoolie outside whilst he waits for his friend. It certainly was blustery out there. We carried on round. Side chapels with murals painted by a two year old (?!). These are the dates that Duncan Grant painted the murals, he was part of the Bloomsbury set and was a theatre designer as well as an artist.

A sit down to admire the choir. Lots of the carved figures have very long necks. Were they replaced after the reformation? We got caught up in a guided tour by the font, no way out but through them. We sat patiently and heard about how often, or not, the holy water in the font was changed and about the Dole windows where pilgrims could collect food and drink and enough money to pay for shelter for the night, this is where the term Dole comes from.

A slow hobble to look down Steep Hill was needed, we walked down a short section of it, it is steep, but I suspect it gets steeper. Then we found a bench to await the bus to return us back down the hill.

Steep Hill

There is still a lot more to explore in Lincoln, my toe lasted but I definitely needed a sit down. Next time we’ll visit the castle, next time we’ll walk along Steep Hill and explore more. Not sure when the next time will be though.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 set passed and approved, 1 very happy designer, 2 buses, 3 hours of hobbling, 1 imp, 1 vast cathedral, 2 cuppas, 1 club, 1 jacket, 1 catch up with Jo, 1 bored cat.

Firstly I’m NOT Your Babe! 9th September

Kiln Pontoon

Last night a couple of odd things happened.

The pontoon was quite busy with comings and goings. A bike or maybe a shopping trolley came past a couple of times, the noise of wheels on the ramp very recognisable. Then soon afterwards there was a very strong stink of sewage. Blimey it stank! Where was it coming from? Mick stuck his head out of the hatch and could see a cassette being passed onto a boat. Could this have been the source of the stink? No proof, possibly just a coincidence. Thankfully the aroma passed after half an hour or so.

Then whilst reading in bed I kept hearing what sounded like small quiet wheels on the ramp, maybe someone was being considerate as they passed us. I twitched the curtains. There was a chap stood quite close to Oleanna. I opened the curtains some more, he looked up and down the pontoon and said, ‘Oh sorry I’ve got the wrong boat’. I closed the curtains.

A while later around midnight, I heard the noise again. I really wanted to be able to see without opening the curtains. Tilly assisted, a cat can get away with being very nosy. Once she’d got bored of being a voyeur she, as always, left the curtains ajar. The chap was stood just three feet away from our window. If he was peeking in I could certainly peek out! I opened the curtains wide.

‘Ah Babe … does it cost to be here?’

‘Firstly I’m NOT your Babe! What are you doing?’ He said something about looking for somewhere in the morning, well only quarter of an hour ago he’d got the wrong boat! ‘Well it’s full as you can see and I’d like you to move away from our boat!’. He turned, I said ‘Goodnight!’, he replied ‘Goodnight’ as he started to walk up the ramp. By the time Mick had opened up the hatch there was no sign of the chap anywhere, hopefully he’d gone.

Tilly and I stayed awake for sometime, trying to make a mental note of what the chap looked like, listening out for anymore noises on the ramp. Thankfully we eventually both went to sleep.

A very settled boat

The small cruiser in front of us had been showing interest in heading to Lincoln, they hadn’t realised that you need to book Cromwell and Torksey Locks in advance. Current manning of such locks is based on bookings and if there is no-one in the book for a certain day there may be no-one on duty to penn you through. We also suggested that they should have an up to date chart, parts of the river are very shallow and just sticking to the middle doesn’t always work. They had a very old Nicholsons. This morning they’d rung Cromwell and been told they could go anytime, the tide was so weak at the moment it wouldn’t make a difference. Off they set. Mick pulled us forward so that we no longer overhung the pontoon.

A tasty collation

A newspaper and a touch of shopping was required, also some shore leave for me to access how my toe was holding up. It was already rather hot outside, inside Waitrose was wonderfully cool. We picked up a paper and scanned round the sad git items for a cold collection this evening. It ended up being quite a financial outlay, but we’ll have yummy things for the next few evenings and not have to turn the cooker on.

After lunch Mick set off to Newark Castle Station to catch a train back towards Nottingham. Time to look round the signal box at Lowdham Station. The chap from Lowdham Railway Heritage started with a bit of a history of signalling on the railway. In early early days the signaller would time how long it was since the previous train had passed. The next train could be let past at slow speed after 5 minutes had elapsed or at full speed after 10. This was fine as long as the train in front never broke down but if it stopped for any reason a following train would plough into it. Not good. So signals were invented making use of electrical connections down telegraph wires alongside the track to the next and previous signal boxes. This enabled the signalers to communicate via a series of bell codes to see if the line was clear or not and set their signals and points accordingly.

There followed a demonstration with one chap working the signal box another two pretending to be at other boxes along the line. A delayed coal train had to be shunted out of the way to let an express passenger train through. There was also a goods train to be shunted into sidings, a train stopping at Lowdham station to be dealt with and level crossing gates to be opened and closed as necessary. All very busy. The signaler got a little bit lost at one point but the other two knew what should be happening so kept him on track.

An enjoyable but hot afternoon.

Back on Oleanna the day got hotter. The fan from last year had been plugged in meaning Tilly had to take diversions along the back of the sofa to get past it, fans are scary things! Curtains were kept drawn on the sunny side of the boat and when the sun had moved over to catch the port side I damped one of Tilly’s towels and hung it over the mesh in the side hatch hoping to cool any breeze that came in.

Flight

This afternoons viewing was a Denzil Washington film, Flight (2012), where Denzil is a pilot who turns up for work still drunk from the night before and high on coke. He somehow manages to crash land the plane after mechanical failure saving nearly everyone on board. The investigation that follows shows him in a different light to the hero he is hailed as.

Tilly the hot princess

This evening at around 9pm the aroma from last night returned, not quite as pungent but it lingered for much longer. No signs of anyone doing anything with cassettes today.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 trains, 1 walk to Waitrose, 2nd pair socks finished, 52 sts not 48, 1 wonky heel to be pulled out, 1 very hot day inside, 1 prowler, 1 stinky stink.

Muller Or Ski? 2nd September

Beeston to Sainsburys, Nottingham

A walk into Beeston this morning to post the design for one of my cloths to Promptside. I’ve been in contact with Peter regarding the scan of my artwork and it may be that layering up leaves hasn’t helped, a scanner focuses on one level. He suggested I send him some artwork and they will do a test print. If it turns out rubbish then I will have to re-do the model of the cloths and portals. But if anyone can get the print to work it will be them, fingers crossed.

Canary Girls

I passed a mural on my way, depicting the Canary Girls of WW1 who worked at the National Shell Filling Factory in Chilwell. During the war it filled 19 million shells with high explosives. On the 1st of July 1918 eight tons of TNT exploded destroying a sustantial part of the factory and killing 134 people of whom only 32 could be identified, another 250 were injured. The following day the factory was up and running again.

On my way back I walked along Humber Road wondering why it was called thus as it’s quite a long way from the Humber Estuary. Then a rather nice looking building came into view. Now a dance and fitness studio it had the look of a posh garage.

The Humber Factory

Circular motifs were on the walls with men walking round in circles. Then I spotted a blue plaque. This is where Thomas Humber the engineer made bicycles, motorcycles and cars before moving to Coventry, his factory opening in 1880. In 1868 he had developed a safety bike where the pedals drove the rear wheel. He then produced his Spider Bicycle an early form of ordinary bicycle, Penny Farthing. By 1892 he was employing 1200 people at the Beeston works and when he branched out into motorcar production it rose to 1800.

Time to move on. We rolled up the covers and pushed off from our tight mooring.

A Muller of Yoghurt pots

Each time we come through Nottingham we feel that there are more and more moored boats. Today this was most certainly true. Little communities of cruisers have grown up along stretches of the canal. One chap was busy doing his washing, his twin tub powered from a genny. We wondered what a collection of cruisers would be called? Maybe a Muller or a Ski of Cruisers.

Castle Marina is still in the process of replacing it’s pontoons, but there seem to be more boats in residence than there were in January when we last came through. We pulled up just past the main entrance through to Sainsburys and managed to find suitable rings to tie to.

A restock shop was required and with the weather set to get warmer again we had another look for a barbeque. Only the disposable ones were available, but we did managed to pick up some kindling for when we next light the stove. The shopping trolley accompanied us back to Oleanna and everything was stowed away. By now it was quite late in the day so we decided to stay put for the night much to Tilly’s dismay as she is still grounded.

This chap had a drum and cymbals on his extended bike

0 locks, 3.2 miles, 1 cloth on it’s way, 4 miles walked, 0 shore leave, 2 boxes wine, 2 much christmas, 0 bbq, 1 fridge stocked up.

https://goo.gl/maps/wK5j8J9KruPDkwun8