Category Archives: Pantomime

Dap Dune, Dap Dune, Dap Dune. 21st July

Send Church Footbridge to Guildford Town Bridge

Still edible thank goodness

As long as I took things steadily, no rushing around I thought I’d be okay today. The other thing to avoid was bending down, as any sudden change in altitude usually ends with a very sharp pain between my temples, bloomin migraines! Yes we could have stayed put, but with an early train to catch in the morning we had to get closer to Guildford today.

Bad photo, but anyone know what this is? Wrong leaves for a thistle and a fluffier flower. the flower heads were a couple of inches.

Only two locks today we made our way round the tight wiggles with weirs on the outside bends. At Bowers Lock the navigation takes a left hand bend up onto a cut section. The weir here seems to be having major works done to it and the towpath is currently diverted through woodland.

How low can you get?

The lock first needed emptying, I did this by myself as it was quite a walk back to the lock landing around the bend. Then I had no choice but to inflict altitude sickness on myself. The bottom gates are so low that they only just clear the bridge deck. This of course makes it easier for those walking the towpath, they can just step over open gates. But to be able to close them you need to pull on the bar and chain. It took a little while for me to realise that to close the gates I also needed to be low to the ground. You can stand and pull diagonally, but the gate is reluctant to move in such a direction, it wants to go horizontally. I accepted being low to the ground and pulled eventually closing the gates behind Oleanna.

Coming up

As we finished rising in the lock a boat appeared above along with a lady popping out from the trees, this was their crew who’d decided to walk to set the lock. We chatted a bit, they’d been moored overnight at ‘……….Oh that wharf place’ ‘Oh what’s it called!’ ‘You know ……. wharf’. Sadly I didn’t know. She warned me that there wouldn’t be much space to moor there if we wanted to, but we needed to be closer to town anyway.

A few more manicured lengths off bank suggested moorings, one had been chosen by a couple from a canoe as a handy resting place for a picnic.

Another pretty lock

Approaching Stoke Lock we could see it was emptying, we hung back to give the boat space to leave, then entered closing the gates behind us. With ropes around bollards I was about to start filling it when Mick signalled to me. We were being joined, a chap opened one bottom gate and his boat came in. It was the couple from the canoe.

Yep that’s a lady in the lock with us

Okay so one tiny boat made of fibreglass with a lady sat in it alongside what is most probably 20 tonnes of narrowboat! Mick had warned them, but the chap said they shared locks all the time. Obviously I wound the paddle up just a short way to start with. Luckily these locks seem to behave and with the paddle open on your side with your stern line tied to the yellow post you hardly seem to move an inch, other than upwards. I kept a close eye on the lady, then the chap said to wind the paddle straight up!

They had come out for a paddle yesterday and camped overnight, so their boat was full of camping gear making it heavy, therefore they’d not wanted to lift it out below the lock. We all survived.

There’s a lower bridge to come

Now on the flat for the rest of the day I didn’t need to set the bow rope on the roof for the next lock and could stand down from my duties. We now had chance to practice as the canoeist had mentioned the wharfs name. Dapdune, Dap Dune, Dap Dune, not Daphne, Dap Dune. We’d got it.

A full wharf

Daphne Wharf was full of boats when it came into view so a good job we hadn’t wanted to moor there. We continued onwards into the side of Guildford I’ve not visited. A high mooring showed itself by the Odeon, so we pulled in. The cabin top only just above the towpath height.

After lunch Mick headed off into town to do a recky of other moorings, the station and for a new second hand tablet to be used at the stern. We’d offered to buy Josh’s old one from him if Mick could make it work, sadly it had been resting too long and will be added to the technological graveyard somewhere.

A boozer table that didn’t end up on the floor!

I got on with the last few jobs before my panto meeting tomorrow. A paint list and photos of the model now it was all completed so I could do a final story board for all the creatives to see. Outside it seemed busy, I could hear a group of girls on the path above, then I could hear footsteps above. Someone was using our roof as a continuation of the path! Oy!!

A group of young teenage girls were sat on the bench and by the time I got to the front and opened up the cratch two other girls were stepping off the roof. ‘Can I help you?’ better than a tirade of words. ‘Sorry Sorry lovely boat!’ Hmmmm!

Final checks

Mick returned a short while later the next mooring also as close to the station was free and a touch lower, so not at roof level. We moved.

Property Game

On the River Wey. Fleurs house has quite a large granny annex.

How much? Answers tomorrow.

2 locks, 4.73 miles, I edible loaf, 2 Lilliput gates, 1 tiny sharer, 0 shore leave, 2 moorings, 4 clomping feet, 0 harm done, 1 model ready and packed, 15 sheets drawings, 11 groundplans, 198 photos of models, 1 owy head, 1 twinge.

Yesterdays Property

https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-80242586.html

£475,000 Sold I’m afraid if you fancied it.

Windlass In Hand. 16th July

Ballot Box Bridge to ( The Fox ) Ontario Bridge 205A, Grand Union

Approaching Bulls Bridge

Time for us to push off. Whilst Mick pootled us along towards Bulls Bridge I had a catch up phone call with the production manager for panto and then tried to complete my technical drawings before we reached the junction. With just a couple of measurements to add to the last plan I bobbed my head out the front to make sure the way was clear, we turned left.

The water point moorings were mostly full, enough space for us at the end but sadly too far away from the tap, even if we used both our hoses. Water would have to wait until later. First lunch and then a biggish shop, we’re going to be venturing into the unknown soon so we wanted to be prepared, also the white wine stocks were getting low!

I’m helping with the drawings

I’ve still a few bits left to do for Panto, but they can all be done on A4 paper, so the drawing board has been stowed away until the next show. Hopefully I’ll fit these bits in between boating over the next few days.

Happy to be approaching locks again

We pushed off and soon arrived at Norwood Top Lock. Here the water point was empty, so as the tap trickled into our tank we had the pleasure (!) of listening to car wheels being spun and a shiny convertible zooming around the area just looking for an accident to create.

One lock down seven to go

Now at the top of the locks that would lead us down towards the Thames, a bit later than we’d hoped, we decided to push on down the Hanwell flight to save time tomorrow. Between the top two locks the pound was quite low, but Mick took it steadily. The bottom gates were leaking a lot so the quicker I could fill it the better, less water lost all round. Oleanna made it over the cill.

We could have moored in the next pound, there was space but we’d got in our stride so continued. A chap was watering his wonderful floral display on his boat and said they’d only just come up the locks, so they should all be full for us.

Three Bridges, road above, canal and rail below, not strictly three bridges

A tour were being talked to about Three Bridges as we approached. A local landmark and one in Mick’s life, the Hanwell flight is where he got attracted to boating at an early age. The tour moved off so I could get a picture of Oleanna.

Oleanna on the middle bridge

The next two locks were empty and bone dry, either the sun was doing a very good job or it had been a while since the floral boat had come up. We adopted our method of going down a flight. I walk on ahead to fill the next lock, Mick finishes closing up the one Oleanna is in and lifts a paddle, I return to finish emptying the lock, open and close it before walking down to open the now full one.

The pounds were full in the main flight

The distance between the locks is a touch far, but it was worth doing it so as not to waste too much water. There were plenty of people about on the flight out for a walk or just sitting in the shade. This if the fourth time we’ve been down the locks, the black bricks on the corners of the Asylum wall caught our attention this time. These must be where ropes used to ware the brickwork, near the lower locks you can still see the groves.

A lovely evening to be boating

The day had taken a lot longer than originally thought, most probably due to not being able to fill the water tank whilst we had lunch. The tap being sooo slow didn’t help either. We pulled up where the grass was long on the River Brent, a bit past the footpath upto The Fox, however we refrained from visiting. Too late for shore leave for Tilly, once she realised her charms wouldn’t work she retired to the bedroom to sulk.

If we couldn’t go to the pub, Tilly couldn’t go out

8 locks, 8.76 miles, 1 left, 1 full water tank, 3 boxes wine, 1 sulky second mate, 1 empty box of model bits, 2 storage plans to do, 8 groundplans to do, 1 stir fry knocked up, 2 hours away from the Thames.

Pausing, Power and Phone. 15th July

Ballot Box Bridge

Those trees are talking!

Just as well we’d decided to stay here another day so that I could carry on working.

Notice Alert

Grand Union Canal
Starts At: Lock 101A, Thames Lock (House side)
Ends At: Lock 101A, Thames Lock (House side)

Monday 15 July 2019 09:00 until further notice

Type: Advice
Reason: Repair


Original message:

Due to a local power supply fault, Brentford Thames Lock is currently not operating until further notice.Engineers are currently working on restoring power to the Lock and an update will be provided when this becomes fully operational.

However these things don’t tend to take too long to mend so Mick checked on the C&RT website and made a phone call to book passage down onto the Thames later this week. At first he was told that they weren’t taking bookings, but then he was passed onto someone else. This person then told Mick that the lock was operational again. Sure enough a notice to that effect dropped into our inbox as he was on the phone some 52 minutes after the first one.

Apparently in the summer you don’t have to book 48 hours in advance to use Thames Lock, Brentford, but at least we now knew when it would be manned, as the river is tidal there this alters.

Crossing things off

I spent the day doing technical drawings for panto, working my way through the list I’d made yesterday and sadly spotting a couple of things I’d missed too! By the end of the day my box of bits left to draw up only had a few things left in it. Only a few hours left and I’ll be ready for my final design meeting.

Nearly there!

Tilly spent the day dodging bikes and runners. There is definitely a rush hour or two between 5:30 and 7:30pm. The speed some of the bikes go at! So much so her shore leave was curtailed for her own safety and hour earlier than normal. She wasn’t impressed, but then she has had two whole days outside and decided to have a nap. This nap lasted until we wanted to make up our bed and had to disturb her.

Towpath Tilly

Mick caught up on the Tour de France and then headed off to get a bus into Ealing, this is where he grew up and lived until he moved to Scarborough. He successfully managed to walk past The Red Lion without going in for a pint, but also successfully managed to loose his mobile!

Being in Ealing he knew there would be an EE shop and an Argos, so that he could get sorted . But where were they? He’d look on his phone…Oh. He’d give me a call…..Oh. He’d use a phone box, found one, it did have a phone but stank of wee…Oh. At the library he was signed onto a computer so that he could see where his phone might be, the outcome likely to be on the 297 bus….Ah.

Still talking

He succeeded in getting a new phone, identical to his last and a new sim card then headed back to Oleanna. As soon as his new phone was working he gave Perivale Bus Garage a call, they had a phone that matched his description and when he called in he was able to unlock it. One phone not stolen, just misplaced.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 buses, 1 bus garage, 2 phones, 2 boxes of bits, 1 almost full, 1 almost empty, 10 hours, 7 taken, 5 talking tress, 73 mph bikes, 4 running paws, 1 lock booked.

Tense. 14th July

Ballot Box Bridge

There was only one thing for it today, we had to stay put. Last night the TV signal had been checked and double checked. We really would have had to move on if the signal was patchy, but luckily it was fine.

Reception good

Boats started coming past fairly early, the first being NB Lottie Jane heading in towards London. Our New Zealand friends Clare and Graeme had introduced us in Manchester, sadly we were still having our morning cuppa in bed as they passed. A while later one of the boats that had been in Paddington cruised past at quite a speed, at least if Lottie Jane had booked one space would have become available.

Sharing my studio

Soon after breakfast I set myself up for a day of model making, hopping that today I would put my finishing touches to my panto model. Mick turned the radio on, followed by the TV, there was an important cricket match that needed to be watched. Today because England were in the final of the World Cup it was to be shown on terrestrial TV, a first in a long time.

Bloomin bicycles

10 hours! Those trees out there may have thought that they had disguised themselves, but I could see straight through the ivy. Plenty of climbing, pouncing and bicycle avoidance today. My back legs were in need of a good stretch and they certainly got it.

Blimey!

With the commentary from the Test Match Special team keeping us company for much of the day, the delay of around five seconds before the TV caught up was handy, apart from when they went to adverts. Blimey it was tense, time after time. How close could one match be!

Boozer complete

We celebrated with a glass of Crabbies each as I did my best to finish my model. By 9pm the last bit of dressing was added, security boxes repainted, the list of model jobs was all ticked off. Just the long list of Tech Drawings to work through now. Thank goodness we had a good portion of Paella left to eat cold as soon as I’d finished.

0 locks, 0 miles, 0 steps off the boat for me, 1 load washing, 10 hours, 8 taken, 1 tenser than tense ending to the match, 1 shade of pink which became yellow, 1 model completed, 20 rows of knitting.

Shiny Boat Central. Day 3

Paddington Basin

Another work day for me today. I put my model together and worked my way through the scenes. The colours I’ve used work well with just about every scene, I may just change the shade of pink I’ve used in the kitchen scene. Second coats could go on to everything and by the evening it was looking pretty good, it now looks like panto. Still a few days work left to do before I can hand it over.

A sneaky peek of Panto

Mick headed off to find a hardware shop. The washer on the cap for the water intake has expanded, making it hard to put it back on. So he returned with two to try and a set of new bits for a screw driver. In the set is a square headed one, which we’re hoping will mean we can now take off the back of the freezer drawer.

Mick’s personal ferry

Then he headed off to make use of his 60+ oyster again. Today he headed first to Canada Water via the tube and southwards on the overground via Clapham Junction. Then on to Greenwich. Here he considered climbing up to the top of the Dome, but at £30 he felt that was a bit steep and the view wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as that from the Harbour bridge in Sydney.

Thank you

So instead he spent £2 and caught the ferry Predator 2 across the Thames to Trinity Buoy Wharf. This only took around five minutes, but he had the boat to himself. He’d remembered about the ferry from when we came to visit my friend Kathy a couple of years ago in one of the galleries at the wharf.

Greenwich and a big boat
Greenwich and a fast boat

Next was a bus to Canary Wharf, then DLR to Island Gardens where he watched big boats go past on the Thames, before returning back to Oleanna.

A busy day all round, except for Tilly. She has taken to sleeping until around 2:30pm, then she has a period of shouting at the back door before giving up and having to visit her box in the bathroom. A quick check at what I’ve been doing all day, by sticking her head right into my model box. Luckily she approves.

Excerpt from 9th September 1943

This evening I have started to scan my Dad’s diaries from the mid 1940’s. I only have two (I suspect that’s all he wrote) which cover his life from the age of 18 in York, then onto when he joined the army and training camps. The last few entries cover his journey across the seas to India where he rebuilt bridges around Hyderabad after the end of WW2. I’m wanting to try and collate his diaries, with letters, photos and his drawings at some point. Passing them on to Andrew to read has spurred me into action.

My Dad (central) at the age of 19
140th RE (Field) OCTU 175 Class April 1944

0 locks, 0 miles, 4 tubes, 2 overground trains, 1 ferry, 1 bus, 2 DLR, 1 back room den, 3 portals, 1 floor, 1 backdrop completed, 52 pages scanned, 1 cat saving up all her shore leave to have in one big go.

Shiny Boat Central. Day 2

Paddington Basin

A serious work day for me and as we are in London Mick was quite happy to head off for the day.

Traffic lights!

First he headed to Hammersmith where he used to work. Things have changed somewhat since those days, there are now traffic lights at Hammersmith Broadway. You’d no longer be able to race round in a Bedford HA van!

Hammersmith
Boats

He took a walk up to the river, you can never keep a boater away from water long. The tide was out and numerous boats sat on the bottom waiting to float again.

On the bus

Originally he’d thought of heading to Acton to the Transport Museum, but changed his mind as an interesting plane had arrived at Heathrow. So he caught the tube to Hatton Cross and then a bus to Terminal 5. Here he went up to the car park to see what he could see.

Terminal 5

Not many planes were in view, but the one he’d gone to see was. A British Airways Airbus A319 which has been painted in the BEA livery which is who Mick’s father flew for after WW2.

BEA livery

Back at Paddington, I caught up with my Production Manager for Panto, we both got confused about a quote she’d had and I got on with painting my model.

Boats nudged round the pontoon, one boat wants to leave early Wednesday morning and if a long boat pulled into the available space next to them then they’d have been trapped. Their first move meant nobody would be able to use their original mooring as they were blocking access to it. We could have moved in there, but I prefer being on the outside without people looking in all day as I work. In the end another boat who is wanting to go for water moved to be next to them, they will vacate the mooring on Wednesday letting out the other boat at the same time when they go for water.

Shades of blue

By the end of the day I had made definite progress with my model. Putting everything back into the model box it suddenly looked right. Phew!! I just hope it still looks right in the morning when I put the different scenes into it.


You will let me out! You will ! You will!! YOU WILL!!!!

0 locks, 0 miles, 3 buses, 2 tubes, 1 trains, 60+ rules, 1 plane, 2 many terms, 8 hours solid painting, 1 very bored cat, 2 hours of being stared at, sorry Tilly.

Last Lock To London. 5th July

Uxbridge Lock to nearly Ballot Box Bridge, Paddington Arm, Grand Union Canal

Yellow hose to water his garden

After watching a chap lower a pump into the canal, presumably to water his garden (bet he doesn’t have an extraction licence) we pushed off and rounded the bend to Uxbridge Lock. We dropped down and then turned into Denham Marine, for once we didn’t have to wait in line the mooring was empty.

79p, yes please!

Here is possibly the cheapest diesel in London, if you spend over £15 you can also fill with water. The tap now has a lock on it, so you can’t hog the service mooring just for water. The tank was topped up to the top but we refrained buying a bottle of gas, the price a shock after the cheap ones in Stoke. We’ll hopefully see a coal boat at some point and we’d rather give them the money.

Last Lock to London Town

A couple more miles and we had reached the last lock before London, Cowley Lock. We’d thought of emptying our yellow water tank here, but on seeing lots of people enjoying the sunshine with pints in hand we decided to wait until later. The yellow water has a touch of a wiff when it is pumped, also people just can’t help talking to Mick as he holds the hose spurting urine into our black container for disposal at the elsan.

Below the lock there was a handy space, we pulled in and had an early lunch. This is where I gave Oleanna half a wash a couple of years ago, a bird in flight had relieved itself all over her. I’ve recently been refraining from giving her a wash, hoping that a layer of dust would help us not to stand out too much amongst the London boats, very few are polished to within an inch of their lives. But most people can see through our thin disguise and make complementary comments.

Now which colour?

Over the next stretch I bobbed down below, only needed for navigational reasons now I could get on with some work. Now I have my paint colour charts again I decided to use them to select what colour I would use as my base for the panto portals and floor.

Helping
Pink!

My helpful assistant decided to join in on the decision, however pink is not the right colour for the job.

Hello Houds

After a short while I could tell we were near Murderers Bridge. West Drayton is where we said goodbye to our first Second Mate, Houdini, in early 2015. We crossed the bridge with a full cat carrier and returned with it empty, cancer having gained another victim. So I always pass under here with a tear in my eye.

There were lots of boats like this on the Lee in 2014
That way

From below progress seemed to be very slow. Oleanna seemed to be in constant tick over, but where were the moored boats? There was only one boat, a big wide beam taking their time in front of us. On a long straight they pulled over to let us pass. Thank goodness we could have been there all night!

Look at that sky

No need to stop for water at Bulls Bridge so Mick swung the tiller out and Oleanna turned onto the Paddington Arm, straight ahead to London Town.

I managed to get a base coat on my model, then a first coat of green. I really hope I’ve chosen the right colour this time. A week ago it was all too bright and busy, so I thought a grey would be better. But earlier today grey didn’t seem jolly enough for a panto, I opted for in between, now i’m not so sure! I hate designers who can’t make their mind up!!

What is going on there?

We pootled along, passing numerous boats. In Southall nobody was feeding the swans, only one coot visible and the water point looks like it is now in use. Plenty of boats, piled high, their own shanty towns on water. I quite like them, but wonder how they see to move their boat.

Big development in Greenford

At 5pm we reached our chosen destination near Ballot Box Bridge. We’ve stopped here a few times now. Next to a nature reserve, a couple of hours away from Paddington, in Zone 4 and should you need it, a big Tescos a good walk away in the old Hoover building.

Zone 4 sunset

2 locks, 12.01 miles, 1 straight on, 1 left, 60 litres, 87.5 miles to ? 2nd colour, 3 portals, 1 floor, plus extra bits.