Monday, 28 February 2011

More wine in the cupboard keyboard!

Wine_Glass_Splash.JPG.jpgphoto: Philip Serracino Inglott


I seem to be making a habit of this. It doesn't look good, does it? Not that you can see it, as again I thought swift action was called for, and pausing to take a photo might have allowed too much of the red liquid to penetrate the inner workings. Again? Er, yes. Eighteen months ago I did exactly the same thing. I accidentally knocked over a glass of red wine, most of it on top of the keyboard. Yesterday there was slightly less wine in the glass, but it was still a good aim.

I knew the drill. Unplug, rush to kitchen, hold keyboard under running cold water. When I judged the wine was sufficiently diluted I shook out the water and dried it the best I could with paper towels. I left the keyboard overnight in a draining position (!) and plugged it back in to the computer this morning. It looked all right, but the computer said "no". It wasn't happy. It made an almost continuous error noise, so I unplugged it again, and positioned it upside-down over the radiator. (The keyboard, not the computer. Don't be silly.) Then I cycled to work.

When I returned home this evening the keyboard was nicely warm and dry-looking, so I plugged it in ... and all now seems well. No nasty noises, and every key I've needed so far has worked.

How did I manage to make the same mistake twice, you ask? I know, astonishing, isn't it? After the first time I determined not to let any drinking vessel rest for any length of time on the desk where the computer is. And I think I kept this up until yesterday, when I must have had a lapse of concentration and put the glass down in front of me. Not having had to worry about such an obstacle for a year and a half I completely forgot I had to avoid it, and swept it over as my hand went to press another button.

So what's the answer? How can I ensure I don't do it again? Give up wine? Or just give up red wine? Or give up drinking wine when on the computer? Perhaps I should make the computer desk undulate ...

I found the image of the splashing "red wine" (it's actually coloured water) on the web. I think I'm at liberty to reproduce it here, but I don't know how to credit the photographer "in the manner specified".

This is the relevant section:


w:en:Creative Commons
attribution share alike
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported2.5 Generic2.0 Generic and1.0 Generic license.
You are free:
  • to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work
  • to remix – to adapt the work
Under the following conditions:
  • attribution – You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
  • share alike – If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.


Ideas, anyone?

BW and Oxford Canal lift bridges - is there a catch?

Blogger Maffi has written about lift bridges on the Oxford many times, cataloguing the tale of Bridge 221 at Thrupp in particular. Here is just one of his posts.

This morning some "Advice" messages came from Waterscape. It seems that "catches" have been fitted to at least three lift bridges: 193, 233 and 234.

Oxford Canal

Wolvercote Lift Bridge 233

Monday 28 February 2011 until further notice

British Waterways have installed a catch mechanism on bridge 233, Wolvercote Lift Bridge to assist in the operation of the bridge.Users will require a BW Watermate key to operate with full instructions available on-site.

If you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact Jane Marriott, Project Manager on 01908 302563


I assume these catches are to keep the bridge in the open position. No doubt Maffi will provide a photo and his take on it on his blog.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Snowdrops at Shotesham


Yesterday we went on a short walk with the local walking group. We usually have one organised walk each month. This year we're doing Boudicca's Way which runs (walks?) from Norwich to Diss, approximately parallel to the old Roman Pye Road, now the A140. Yesterday's section was from Upper Stoke to Shotesham.


We finished at All Saints' Church, Shotesham. Despite the gloomy forecast we somehow missed most of the rain, suffering only a small amount of drizzle when we stopped for a coffee break.


Outside the church were lots of snowdrops.

Top Thirty, 2011 week 9

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking as it stood at 1000 on Sunday 27th February 2011. This is taken, with permission, from Tony Blews's UK Waterways Ranking Site.



1 Canal World Discussion Forums (=)

2 JustCanals.com - Forums (=)

3 Jim Shead's Waterways Information (=)

4 Pennine Waterways (=)

5 CanalPlanAC (=)

6 CanalCuttings.co.uk (=)

7 Retirement with No Problem (+1)

8 Granny Buttons (-1)

9 ExOwnerships (=)

10 boatshare (+1)

11 Jannock Website (+1)

12 Towpath Treks (+1)

13 UKCanals Network (+4)

14 Water Explorer (+6)

15 Waterway Routes (-1)

16 Maffi's Boat (-6)

17 Canal Shop Company (-1)

18 WB Takey Tezey (-3)

19 nb Lucky Duck (+3)

20 Narrowboat.co.uk (-2)

21 Narrowboat Bones (-2)

22 Derwent6 (-1)

23 nb Epiphany (+2)

24 nb Piston Broke (=)

25 boats and cruising (+2)

26 Seyella's Journey (-)

27 Narrowboat Caxton (-4)

28 Captain Ahab's Watery Tales (+1)

29 Trafalgar Marine Services (+1)

30 The Wooden Canal Boat Society (-)


The figures in parentheses denote the number of places moved since the previous chart; (-) denotes new entry or re-entry into the top thirty; (=) denotes no change.

Halfie is at number 46.

There are 139 entries altogether.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Timelapse: Sonning to Windsor

Some more timelapse film of our Thames trip now.

1st September 2010. This timelapse film starts as if it's very foggy. But that was only because the window through which the camera was looking was misted up; it clears at Shiplake when we were watering up and emptying the Elsan etc.

Shortly after we set off we stopped at Val Wyatt Marine for Loctite for the prop shaft coupling bolts, and for a means of sealing the weed hatch.

Below Boulter's Lock is where we encountered the capsized canoe with its crew of three in the water. One frame clearly shows us rescuing one of their paddles.



  • Sonning Lock (0.00) 
  • Sonning Bridge (0.08)
  • Water and elsan at Shiplake Lock (0.28)
  • Shiplake Lock (0.37)
  • Shiplake Railway Bridge (0.43)
  • Val Wyatt Marine (0.49)
  • Marsh Lock (1.20)
  • Henley Bridge (1.36)
  • Temple Island (1.45)
  • Hambleden Lock (1.56)
  • Hurley Lock (2.29)
  • Temple Footbridge (2.39)
  • Temple Lock (2.40)
  • Marlow Suspension Bridge (2.53)
  • Marlow Lock (2.57)
  • Marlow Bypass Bridge (3.09)
  • Castellated building (3.12)
  • Bourne End Railway and Footbridge (3.26)
  • Cookham Bridge (3.33)
  • Cookham Lock (3.37)
  • Cliveden moorings (3.50)
  • Boulter's Lock (4.03)
  • Maidenhead Bridge (4.16)
  • Maidenhead Railway Bridge (4.17)
  • Capsized canoe rescue (4.22)
  • Bray Lock (4.40)
  • New Thames Bridge (4.46)
  • Summerleaze Bridge (4.50)
  • Boveney Lock (5.09)
  • Windsor and Eton Bypass Bridge (5.27)
  • Windsor Railway Bridge (5.29)
  • Windsor Castle and Big Wheel (5.31)
  • Windsor Bridge (5.33)
  • Romney Lock (5.36)
  • Windsor Bridge (again) (5.50)
  • tying up (5.57)


There are four more timelapse films to come, covering the rest of the journey back to Northolt.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Time on their hands


The clock on Norwich City Hall froze up in the cold weather and hasn't worked since. Today a team of abseilers was at work removing the hands as part of the repair process.


I've done a bit of abseiling myself. The first time was when I was 15 or 16, on a school CCF summer camp at Folkestone. There we abseiled down a cliff. Great fun, but it was all over in an instant.


Then, more recently, I abseiled down the side of a church tower. There's something exciting about climbing over the edge a hundred feet above ground, trusting in the rope, its anchorage and karabiners. Again, I reached the ground all too quickly. Well, not THAT quickly!


Until you see a human figure next to them for scale, you have no idea how big the clock hands are. They had to remove them from all four clock faces.

I'm looking forward to the clock running again, in about a month. The hours are struck with a very satisfying bong.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Look what's on my birthday cake

We've been staying with Ally and Ben for the last three days, and today is my birthday. Jan had made a cake and given it to Ben to decorate, and look what a fine job he's done!


That's my bike on top.


Ally did a fine job too, selecting and positioning the letters.

When I was allowed to see the cake it was presented with sparklers.


Thank you all!

(I'm just going to check it still tastes all right ...)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Driving to Brum via waterways places

On Sunday evening we drove to Birmingham to visit Ally and Ben. We would normally have gone in the 240, in case we had to transport large items. (It would have been useful, as it turned out, for moving a cooker.) But the 240's windscreen wipers stopped working recently, and so we went in the Amazon. And I thought I'd try setting the sat nav for "shorter distance" rather than "faster time". This usually doesn't make any difference to our journey time as I generally don't drive faster than 50 mph anyway. From Norwich (I went straight from work) Mrs. Satnav took us to several points on the inland waterways network. First was Downham Market on the River Great Ouse; then Salter's Lode; Outwell; Wisbech (River Nene), Guyhirn, Whittlesey, Stanground, Oundle; Market Harborough, North Kilworth (Grand Union) ... then we joined the M6 for a couple of junctions, crossing the Oxford Canal; then Coventry, Catherine de Barnes, and Birmingham (near the Worcester and Birmingham Canal.) We passed through some lovely places - it was a pity we couldn't see much of them as it was dark!

Total time 4 hours 15 minutes. It always seems to take that long even using the A11/A14/M6.

The car behaved itself, but when we parked up I saw that the rear number plate was at a crazy angle. One of the self-tapping screws which hold the bracket onto which the number plate is screwed had disappeared. I fixed it the next morning.

We'd come to do various jobs on the house, such as making good the kitchen ceiling after the water incident. But a more urgent task presented itself: while Jan was cleaning the oven the door fell off. Oops. New cooker needed (it had some rust holes as well). We bought one from Wickes and just managed to get it into Ally's Fiesta. I have spent most of today installing it.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Timelapse film shows my third dunking: Beale Park to Sonning

After the rest of Sunday and the whole of the bank holiday Monday at the IWA Festival at Beale Park on the Thames, we left our mooring at 1350 on Tuesday 31st August 2010, heading downstream. This 3' 09" timelapse film has recorded our journey to Sonning. And, yes, the sun shone!

This is remarkable for showing the aftermath of the third time I applied eau de Thames to my body. Yes, I splashed it all over. I fell in, spectacularly, when trying to shaft the boat round an underwater obstruction while tying up at the end of the day. Towards the end of the film you can see me struggle with bits of tree, and then climb up the bank on a ladder kindly and fortuitously supplied by the crews of Dizzy Duck and Barleyadola. This was after we'd spent some time looking for somewhere to moor which was within leaping distance of the bank and in the evening sunshine.



  • getting under way from Beale Park (0.03)
  • Whitchurch Lock (0.16)
  • Whitchurch Bridge (0.25)
  • Mapledurham Lock (0.40)
  • temporary Reading Festival bridge (1.06)
  • Caversham Bridge (1.17)
  • Reading Bridge (1.20)
  • Caversham Lock (1.25)
  • tying up outside Reading 24 hour Tesco (1.39)
  • under way from Tesco (2.21)
  • looking for somewhere to moor which wasn't too shallow (2.29)
  • me falling in while trying to tie up at Sonning (2.44)

Top Thirty, 2011 Week 8

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking as it stood at 2359 on Sunday 20th February 2011. This is taken, with permission, from Tony Blews's UK Waterways Ranking Site.



1 Canal World Discussion Forums (=)

2 JustCanals.com - Forums (=)

3 Jim Shead's Waterways Information (=)

4 Pennine Waterways (+1)

5 CanalPlanAC (=)

6 CanalCuttings.co.uk (+1)

7 Granny Buttons (-1)

8 Retirement with No Problem (=)

9 ExOwnerships (=)

10 Maffi's Boat (+1)

11 boatshare (+2)

12 Jannock Website (-2)

13 Towpath Treks (-1)

14 Waterway Routes (=)

15 WB Takey Tezey (=)

16 Canal Shop Company (=)

17 UKCanals Network (+1)

18 Narrowboat.co.uk (+1)

19 Narrowboat Bones (-2)

20 Water Explorer (+2)

21 Derwent6 (=)

22 nb Lucky Duck (+1)

23 Narrowboat Caxton (-)

24 nb Piston Broke (+3)

25 nb Epiphany (+1)

26 CutConnect - keeping boaters in touch (-)

27 boats and cruising (-)

28 Canal Photos (+1)

29 Captain Ahab's Watery Tales (-)

30 Trafalgar Marine Services (-2)


The figures in parentheses denote the number of places moved since the previous chart; (-) denotes new entry or re-entry into the top thirty; (=) denotes no change.
The Boats and Canals Forum seems to have become a dash: I've replaced it with the URL.

Halfie is at number 39.

There are 142 entries altogether.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

1000th post


This is my 1000th blog post since I started Halfie on 19th November 2007 (1188 days ago). Some posts have been more interesting than others; some have been commented on more than others - some have, I'm sure, been ignored completely - some have been my weekly snapshot of Tony Blews's UK Waterways website ranking chart.

The first blogging milestone I commented on was my 100th post, which came 154 days after the first post, making an average posting rate of 0.65 posts per day.

My posting rate now stands at an overall average of 0.84 posts per day, but the rate has been more than one per day since the beginning of 2010.

Now, isn't that completely boring? Even the "photo" is dull, being a screen grab tweaked slightly in iPhoto.

Things can only improve. And they will, with tomorrow's post containing a timelapse film showing me in the river for the third time.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Timelapse: Clifton Hampden to Beale Park

On Sunday 29th August 2010 we cruised on nb Willow from Clifton Hampden down the Thames to Beale Park for the IWA Festival. This timelapse film shows us getting away as dawn was breaking. We left out mooring at 0600 and were into Day's Lock at 0635. This was before electric power was available for "self service" operation of the hydraulic gear. Hand winding was hard work! We were out of the lock in twenty minutes.

Wallingford rowers made things a little awkward for a while ... but, at 1000, we saw the first outlying boats moored for the festival. We tied up outside five other narrowboats in our designated spot at 1010; at 1015 we were at marquee where the Boaters' Christian Fellowship service was about to be held.



  • Untying and swinging round to head downstream (0.13)
  • Clifton Hampden Bridge (0.14)
  • Day's Lock (0.32)
  • Little Wittenham Bridge (0.44)
  • Shillingford Bridge (1.00)
  • Benson Lock (1.08)
  • first encounter with rowers (1.23)
  • Wallingford Bridge (1.27)
  • more rowers (1.30)
  • Wallingford Bypass Bridge (1.34)
  • Moulsford Railway Bridge (1.49)
  • Cleeve Lock (2.03)
  • Goring Lock (2.14)
  • Goring Bridge (2.20)
  • Gatehampton Railway Bridge (2.27)
  • Boats moored for IWA Festival (2.32)
  • Tying up at Beale Park (2.38)

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Timelapse: Radcot Lock to Clifton Hampden

Continuing the series of timelapse films I made of our adventures on the Thames in 2010, this 6' 45" film sees us dashing to Clifton Hampden en route to the IWA Festival at Beale Park.

To run over the story again: Our propeller had just been refitted but we were now seriously behind schedule. The original intention had been to get to the head of navigation at Inglesham, and then go down to the IWA Festival at Beale Park by the Friday evening. But today was Saturday and Inglesham was seven miles and three locks from where we were at Radcot Bridge; there and back would take approximately six hours. The festival was already under way; we'd paid for our moorings and wrist bands. We'd have to forgo Inglesham and steam down to Beale Park, the other side of Goring, and try to get there for the Boaters' Christian Fellowship service at 1030 on Sunday.

We got away from Radcot Bridge at 0915 on Saturday 28th August 2010, five minutes after the prop-fitting engineer had left. Despite our tight (revised) schedule we stopped to help a boater try to find a metal cap he'd managed to sweep off his counter into the river at Culham Lock. I'm usually pretty good at recovering ferrous objects with my Sea Searcher but had to give up after 20 minutes. The film shows us tying up in the gloom at Clifton Hampden (at 2045).



  • Radcot Lock (0.05)

  • Old Man's Bridge (0.11)
  • Rushey Lock (0.28)
  • Tadpole Bridge (0.40)
  • we get stuck behind an extremely slow hireboat (0.43)
  • Tenfoot Bridge (0.57)
  • Shifford Lock (1.09)
  • Newbridge (1.37)
  • Hart's Footbridge (1.45)
  • Northmoor Lock (1.52)
  • Bablock Hythe, scene of the first prop disaster (2.11)
  • Pinkhill Lock (2.29)
  • Swinford Bridge (2.46)
  • Eynsham Lock (2.47)
  • King's Lock (3.12)
  • Thames Bridge (3.23)
  • Godstow Bridge (3.24)
  • Godstow Lock (3.26)
  • Medley Footbridge (or "Reduce Speed") (3.39)
  • Osney Bridge (3.47)
  • Osney Lock (3.54)
  • Osney Railway Bridge (3.59)
  • Folly Bridge (we went through the south channel) (4.04)
  • Donnington Road Bridge (4.10)
  • Iffley Lock (4.14)
  • Isis Bridge (4.26)
  • Kennington Railway Bridge (4.28)
  • Sandford Lock (oh, what a surprise) (4.36)
  • Nuneham Railway Bridge (5.03)
  • Abingdon Lock (5.13)
  • Abingdon Bridge (5.23)
  • Culham Lock (5.39)
  • Sutton Bridge (5.57)
  • fishing for a skin tank cap (05.58)
  • Appleford Railway Bridge (6.15)
  • Clifton Lock (6.25)
  • tying up at Clifton Hampden (6.36)

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Timelapse: Prop comes off again. Tadpole Bridge to Radcot Lock

This timelapse film of Willow's Thames adventure picks up where the last one left off: at the Trout at Tadpole Bridge. Friday 27th August 2010. We were up at dawn and set off at 0605. All went well until the approach to Radcot Lock, when the propeller fell off for the second time. We coasted in to the lock landing and secured the boat. The story is told here and here.



  • setting off under Tadpole Bridge (0.11)
  • Rushey Lock (0.21)
  • Old Man's Bridge (0.55)
  • Radcot Lock, and our prop comes off (0.57)

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Interesting stoppage alert and 80th birthday celebration (no, not mine)

A stoppage alert came from BW yesterday relating to the Erewash Canal. The interesting part is the penultimate sentence.

Pastures Lock No. 64

Wednesday 16 February 2011 - Wednesday 2 March 2011 UPDATE (14 February 2011): Due to the work at Long Eaton lock being completed earlier than planned; our maintenance team are able to start the work at Pastures Lock.

They will be replacing the bottom gate at Pastures lock and this should take approximately two weeks.

Boaters are asked not to travel though the lock while this work is going on. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.


Well, durr!

********************************

We recently went down to Essex to celebrate my dad's 80th birthday. Round the table for lunch were (clockwise from left) Bekka, Andrew, Dad, Jemima, Penny, Mother, Jan, David, Peter, Ally, Ben, Fergus and myself (although I'm not in the picture as I was behind the camera). Florence was unfortunately not able to come.


It wasn't as big a party as Mother had for her 80th - it was the wrong time of year for a marquee in the garden.


And that meant there wasn't as much light for the photos.


We all had a good time.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Timelapse: Bablock Hythe to Tadpole Bridge

On 26th August 2010 we got under way from Bablock Hythe on the River Thames with a new prop. This had been fitted in the afternoon, and we expected that to be the end of our problems. We were now really having to get a move on if we were to fulfill our aim of getting to the head of navigation before making it back down to Beale Park for the start of the IWA Festival. I was determined to get to a recommended pub, The Trout at Tadpole Bridge today. Well, we did, but the last bit was done as darkness fell. We could actually see more than this timelapse film suggests!



  • Northmoor Lock (0.13)
  • Hart's Footbridge (0.30)
  • Newbridge (0.42)
  • Shifford Lock (1.11)
  • watering up at the head of Shifford Lock (1.23)
  • condensation starts to obscure the view (1.32)
  • and then it gets gloomy (1.42)

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Timelapse: Running aground, and losing the prop (the first time). Oxford and Hagley Pool to Bablock Hythe

I must have had more timelapse camera power supply problems, as the next two timelapse files were very short. I'm publishing everything I have, though, so here are the next two: the first covering a hundred yards or so from our moorings at Folly Bridge to, er, Folly Bridge; and the second recording that part of our journey from Hagley Pool, just upstream of the Duke's Cut, to a small place I hadn't heard of before we stopped there. Unwontedly. When our propeller fell off. See it all from the bow's point of view as it happens.



  • Folly Bridge (0.01)


Now. This is the one. Not only does this capture the very moment of my throwing the rope to the passer by after we lost drive, it also records when I ran aground just upstream of Pinkhill Lock. I momentarily forgot which side of the green marker buoy I should have been, and stemmed up on a sandbank. Fortunately, as we were going against the current, our speed was no more than about 2 mph, and I was able easily to reverse off. There was really no excuse, as you can see a cruiser passes the correct side of the buoy as I approach! Perhaps he put me off ...



  • Eynsham Lock (0.20)
  • Swinford Bridge (0.24)
  • Pinkhill Lock (0.37)
  • running aground in shallows (0.42)
  • the moment the propeller came off (0.58)
  • throwing bow rope to passer by (1.01)
  • said passer by pulling us in (1.03)

Top Thirty, 2011 week 7

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking as it stood at 0925 on Sunday 13th February 2011. This is taken, with permission, from Tony Blews's UK Waterways Ranking Site.



1 Canal World Discussion Forums (=)

2 JustCanals.com - Forums (=)

3 Jim Shead's Waterways Information ()

4 CanalPlanAC (=)

5 Pennine Waterways (=)

6 Granny Buttons (=)

7 CanalCuttings.co.uk (=)

8 Retirement with No Problem (+1)

9 ExOwnerships (+1)

10 Jannock Website (+1)

11 Maffi's Boat (+4)

12 Towpath Treks (=)

13 boatshare (+1)

14 Waterway Routes (+2)

15 WB Takey Tezey (+4)

16 Canal Shop Company (+1)

17 Narrowboat Bones (+3)

18 UKCanals Network (=)

19 Narrowboat.co.uk (+3)

20 NB Siskin (-)

21Derwent6 (+2)

22 Water Explorer (+3)

23 nb Lucky Duck (+6)

24 boatsandcanals.co.uk (-16)

25 nb Blue Moon (+1)

26 nb Epiphany (-2)

27 nb Piston Broke (+3)

28 Trafalgar Marine Services (=)

29 Canal Photos (-16)

30 The Wooden Canal Boat Society (-9)


The figures in parentheses denote the number of places moved since the previous chart; (-) denotes new entry or re-entry into the top thirty; (=) denotes no change.
The Boats and Canals Forum seems to have become a dash: I've replaced it with the URL.

Halfie is at number 56.

There are 143 entries altogether.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Timelapse: Sandford Lock to Oxford

There's another hiatus in the timelapse record of our Thames cruise, unfortunately. Sometimes the leads to the camera come out of the (small, rechargeable) battery terminal - it's all a bit of a bodge. I'll have to come up with something better in future. So this timelapse film starts as we enter Sandford Lock on Tuesday 24th August 2010, and ends as we tie up just before Folly Bridge in Oxford.



  • Sandford Lock (no surprise there*) (0.02)
  • Kennington Railway Bridge (0.16)
  • Isis Bridge (0.18)
  • Iffley Lock (0.21)
  • Donnington Road Bridge (0.28)
  • University Boat Clubs (0.33)
  • Tying up (0.38)

*an in joke

Friday, 11 February 2011

Timelapse: Reading to Culham Reach, and boat gets caught on lock side

The last timelapse film ended just above Hambleden Lock when the camera's battery ran out. So there's a stretch missing from the upstream record of our summer 2010 trip. On Monday 23rd August we tied up for the night outside the 24 hour Tesco at Reading. The timelapse film below shows us leaving there at 0705, and continuing up to Culham. That's not where we stopped, that's just where this particular film ends.


Watch out for where Willow's gunwale gets caught on the side of Mapledurham Lock. I notice what's going on and dash back from the top control panel to push the boat away. Did I think to hit the emergency stop button on the control panel? Er ... I don't believe I did. I suppose I decided in a split second that the sooner I got to the boat to release it the better. Fortunately it popped out with no damage done. It was a worrying moment, but there was worse to come!





  • Caversham Lock (0.12)
  • Reading Bridge (0.19)
  • Caversham Bridge (0.24)
  • Temporary Reading Festival Bridge (0.39)
  • Mapledurham Lock (0.59)
  • see Willow tip as the gunwale gets caught on the lock side (1.03)
  • Whitchurch Bridge (1.32)
  • Whitchurch Lock (1.33)
  • passing Beale Park, site of the IWA Festival (1.49)
  • Gatehampton Railway Bridge with freight train (2.00)
  • Goring Bridge (2.12)
  • Goring Lock (2.13)
  • Cleeve Lock, shared with nb Tarragon which we followed for a while (2.23)
  • Moulsford Railway Bridge (2.42)
  • Wallingford Bypass Bridge (3.01)
  • Wallingford Bridge (3.08)
  • Benson Lock (3.20)
  • Shillingford Bridge (and then it rained) (3.33)
  • passing Clover and Fazeley (3.44)
  • Little Wittenham Bridge (3.56)
  • Day's Lock (3.57)
  • Clifton Hampden Bridge (4.22)
  • passing Archimedes and Ara (4.26)
  • Clifton Lock (4.26)
  • Appleford Railway Bridge (4.42)
  • Sutton Bridge (4.54)
  • Culham Lock (4.55)

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Timelapse: Old Windsor to Hambleden Lock

My timelapse film record of our summer 2010 cruise continues with Monday 23rd August. Another 23 miles and 10 locks are here condensed into 5' 56" (that wasn't where we stopped; that's just where this particular timelapse file ended). After retightening the propshaft coupling bolts we set off in the rain from the Harvester pub at Old Windsor. Above Old Windsor Lock the sun came out, but rain was to keep returning. There are some good clouds in this film, especially in the second half.



  • untie from mooring (0.12)
  • Old Windsor Lock (0.21)
  • Albert Bridge (0.47)
  • Victoria Bridge (1.00)
  • Black Pott's Railway Bridge (1.04)
  • Romney Lock (1.07)
  • Windsor Bridge and Big Wheel (1.26)
  • Windsor Railway Bridge (1.30)
  • Windsor and Eton Bypass Bridge (1.32)
  • Boveney Lock (1.42)
  • Summerleaze Bridge (2.08)
  • New Thames Bridge (2.13)
  • Bray Lock (2.16)
  • Maidenhead Railway Bridge (2.30)
  • Maidenhead Bridge (2.32)
  • Boulter's Lock (2.38)
  • Cookham Lock (3.14)
  • Cookham Bridge (3.31)
  • Bourne End Railway and Footbridge (with train) (3.40)
  • Marlow Bypass Bridge (4.02)
  • Marlow Lock (4.11)
  • Marlow Suspension Bridge (4.30)
  • Temple Lock (4.43)
  • Hurley Lock (5.00)
  • Hambleden Lock (5.46)

Monday, 7 February 2011

Timelapse: Albert Bridge to Old Windsor

This timelapse film is a continuation from the previous one, from Albert Bridge to Teddington Lock, and thence to Old Windsor and the Harvester pub at nightfall. Sunday 22nd August 2010 was quite a long day!



  • Albert Bridge (0.01)
  • Battersea Bridge (0.02)
  • Wandsworth Bridge (0.10)
  • Railway Bridge (0.16)
  • Putney Bridge (0.17)
  • Hammersmith Bridge (0.26)
  • Barnes Bridge (0.37)
  • Chiswick Bridge (0.41)
  • Kew Railway Bridge (0.47)
  • Kew Bridge (0.50)
  • sailing boats darting around (0.56)
  • Richmond Footbridge (with Richmond Lock on the left) (1.06)
  • Twickenham Bridge (1.06)
  • Railway Bridge (1.07)
  • Richmond Bridge (1.09)
  • overtaken by two narrowboats (cheek!) (1.17)
  • into Teddington Lock (1.26)
  • David, Fergus and Ally leave us (and so does Ben, but the camera doesn't see him) (1.41)
  • we overtake two narrowboats (aha!) (1.54)
  • Railway Bridge (1.57)
  • Kingston Bridge (1.58)
  • Hampton Court Bridge (2.19)
  • Molesey Lock (2.22)
  • more sailing dinghies - the last one on a suicide mission (2.42)
  • Sunbury Locks, and a white boat nips in front (2.58)
  • Shepperton Lock (3.36)
  • Chertsey Bridge (3.55)
  • Chertsey Lock (3.57)
  • M3 Motorway Bridge (4.07)
  • Penton Hook Lock (4.21)
  • Staines Railway Bridge (4.42)
  • Staines Bridge (4.45)
  • Runnymede Bridge (4.51)
  • Bell Weir Lock (4.54)
  • tying up at Old Windsor (5.32)

Bridges are blue; locks are red. That'll do: I'm off to bed!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Timelapse: Limehouse Lock to Albert Bridge

Our second and last night in Limehouse Basin was Saturday 21st August 2010, after returning from the flood barrier trip. The next morning, Sunday 22nd August 2010, we started upstream, the intention to get to the head of navigation. Great excitement, then, as the first bridge we were to pass underneath was Tower Bridge. This timelapse film records our journey as far as Albert Bridge. Don't worry, there's more to come!



For the trip to Teddington Lock we had extra crew, some of whom got in the way of the camera some of the time. On Willow I attach the camera to the inside of the door window using a suction mount, so I don't have to worry about it when it rains.

  • nb Scholar Gypsy leaves Limehouse Lock just in front of us (0.01)

  • Tower Bridge and The Gherkin (0.12)

  • passing under Tower Bridge (0.14)

  • Cleopatra's Needle (slightly wonky) (0.29)

  • Palace of Westminster and London Eye (0.30)

  • Battersea Power Station (0.40)

  • train going over Grosvenor Railway Bridge (0.42)

Top Thirty, 2011 week 6

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking as it stood at 1710 on Sunday 6th February 2011. This is taken, with permission, from Tony Blews's UK Waterways Ranking Site.



1 Canal World Discussion Forums (=)

2 JustCanals.com - Forums (=)

3 Jim Shead's Waterways Information ()

4 CanalPlanAC (+1)

5 Pennine Waterways (-1)

6 Granny Buttons (=)

7 CanalCuttings.co.uk (=)

8 The Boats and Canals Forum (=)

9 Retirement with No Problem (=)

10 ExOwnerships (=)

11 Jannock Website (+1)

12 Towpath Treks (+2)

13 Canal Photos (+10)

14 boatshare (-1)

15 Maffi's Boat (-)

16 Waterway Routes (-5)

17 Canal Shop Company (=)

18 UKCanals Network (=)

19 WB Takey Tezey (-4)

20 Narrowboat Bones (-4)

21 The Wooden Canal Boat Society (-)

22 Narrowboat.co.uk (-3)

23 Derwent6 (-3)

24 nb Epiphany (-2)

25 Water Explorer (-4)

26 nb Blue Moon (-2)

27 Contented Souls (+1)

28 Trafalgar Marine Services (-1)

29 nb Lucky Duck (=)

30 nb Piston Broke (-)


The figures in parentheses denote the number of places moved since the previous chart; (-) denotes new entry or re-entry into the top thirty; (=) denotes no change.

Halfie is at number 43.

There are 141 entries altogether.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Timelapse: Limehouse Basin to Thames Flood Barrier

One highlight of our summer 2010 cruise was to join a St. Pancras Cruising Club convoy and head out of Limehouse Lock onto the (rather choppy) tidal Thames, turning downstream to the flood barrier. We passed between two of the towers concrete piers to within sight of the Woolwich Ferry, then turned upstream to head back to the safety of Limehouse Basin.

This timelapse film runs out just as we approach the flood barrier on our way back (dodgy battery connection? dodgy battery?) and so there's another short (seven second) timelapse sequence of somewhere between the flood barrier and Limehouse.





After uploading this I discovered a feature on YouTube whereby I can join two (or more) films together, so here is the joined-up version of the above two films. No new pictures, it's just that having done it I thought I might as well put it here.



  • Canary Wharf (0.06)

  • Greenwich Naval College and power station (0.22)

  • O2 Dome (0.26)

  • First sight of Thames Flood Barrier (0.46)

  • Woolwich Ferry and turning back (0.55)

Friday, 4 February 2011

Timelapse: Dobb's Weir to Limehouse Basin

Things are starting to get interesting. This next timelapse film shows us travelling down the Lee Navigation on 20th August 2010 from Dobb's Weir towards London. The Olympic Stadium is clearly visible as we pass the junction with the Hertford Union Canal (Duckett's Cut). We stop just the other side of Old Ford Lock to have a look at the Olympic site; then we carry on a bit further before tying up again for a short while, at Three Mills. Then it's down towards Bow Locks, and onto the Limehouse Cut to Limehouse Basin for the night.



  • bowhauling into Carthagena Lock (0.21)

  • train alongside (0.34)

  • taking on water above Stonebridge lock (3.17)

  • unusual loco crossing bridge (3.39)

  • another train crossing bridge (!) (3.52)

  • Olympic Stadium (4.18)

  • tying up outside Olympic Park (4.30)

  • nb Scholar Gypsy passing (4.54)

  • tying up by Three Mills (5.08)

  • passing Bow Locks (5.15)

  • onto Limehouse Cut (5.17)

  • DLR passing overhead (5.29)

  • into Limehouse Basin with nb Fulbourne (5.31)

  • tying up in Limehouse Basin (5.35)

Still to come: onto the tidal Thames.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Timelapse: Bishop's Stortford to Dobb's Weir

The next instalment of our summer 2010 cruise timelapse film shows us travelling at high speed from Bishop's Stortford all the way down the Stort, and onto the Lee Navigation for a short distance down to Dobb's Weir. Here we tied up outside the Fish and Eels pub for beer and a meal. The food was good, but the pub had a noisy fan and there was a noisy gravel works opposite, so after we'd eaten we moved on downstream a couple of hundred yards for a quieter night.



Things to spot:

  • Stansted Express train passing over bridge as we approach (1.25)

  • stopping for David, Penny and Fergus at Sawbridgeworth (1.46), and then stopping for a fryup at the cafĂ© (yes, we overshot, then winded, and had to reverse and wind again to resume our journey) (2.22)

  • boathook left jabbed into grass by side of lock (2.49) (I realised later that it had been left behind, and cycled back for it to find it had gone.  I suspected that the crew of another boat had taken it, so I carried on cycling.  I eventually caught up with the boat which had "rescued" the boathook, asked for it back, and cycled miles back to Willow with it.  Boats go very fast when you're chasing them!)

  • Rye House Junction (5.50)

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Timelapse: Hertford to Bishop's Stortford

I've worked out that I don't need to "export" my timelapse films to get them onto YouTube. I can upload directly from iPhoto, where I load them from the timelapse camera's memory card. Doing it this way greatly increases the quality (but it does take a lot longer to upload). (For me, that is, it shouldn't affect your viewing, other than enhancing the experience (!))



Here's my latest offering, showing our 18th August 2010 cruise on Willow from Hertford on the River Lee Navigation to Bishop's Stortford on the Stort. Annoyingly, the camera's battery must have run out just before we got to the very end of the navigation, under the bridge which says "End of Navigation".

At Burnt Mill, opposite Harlow Station, we stopped for water and for me to have a shower at Moorhen Marina (3'19"); there are fine reflections at Sawbridgeworth (5'10"); and we suffer a downpour (6'24").

Now, do I go back and re-upload all my other timelapse films to the same quality?

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

NarrowBoat Magazine available in a newsagent

Passing through Foxton Locks a couple of years ago I got a second-hand copy of NarrowBoat Magazine from the Foxton Inclined Plane Trust's museum shop. I hadn't come across it before, and found it a good read. Reading that it was normally available only through subscription I put it to the back of my mind.

And then, just before Christmas, I found the Winter 2010/11 issue in WHSmith with a printed "sticker" on the cover stating "EXCLUSIVE TO WHSmith". I bought it, and had another jolly good read.




The magazine is splendidly glossy, with a wonderful smell, and is full of authoritative articles on historical aspects of the waterways. You won't find a cruising guide to a popular canal, nor a write-up of the latest 150 grands-worth of luxury narrowboat. Neither - and this is the best thing - will you find much advertising. Indeed, in the last issue of 48 pages within the cover, there are just three pages of adverts, and even these are just promoting subscription deals or books connected with the magazine.

It's stuffed full of fabulous photos and compelling copy. (Captain Ahab, you'd love it.)

Its editor is Hugh Potter, of Waterways World. The two titles are sister magazines.

To give you an idea of what you'd get if you bought NarrowBoat, this was in the last issue:
  • an analysis of photographs of a "Jam 'ole Run" with a wealth of detail about boat working practices (7 pages)

  • a feature on a tug boat built in the 1920s for the Regent's Canal (2 pages)

  • an article on a fleet of boats which served the Potteries for a century (4 pages)

  • boating during the second world war with extracts from the diary of a woman training "Idle Women" (4 pages)

  • photographs of boating activity at Leighton Buzzard in the 1930s (2 pages)

  • the story of the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal (11 pages)

  • a map with various early nineteenth century proposed routes for a Western Junction Canal linking Aylesbury to Abingdon (2 pages)

  • a collection of photographs of traffic and tunnels onthe Trent and Mersey in the 1950s and 60s (4 pages)

  • an examination of the Carclaze-Scredda tub boat canal in Cornwall (2 pages)

  • readers' letters (5 pages)

  • a few pieces of heritage news (2 pages)

NarrowBoat Magazine's website home page tells you that the mag is not available in newsagents.


But click on "see the contents" ... and it tells you that, as I found, it is indeed available in a newsagent, namely WHSmith.




I've just realised an interesting thing: between designing the cover for the website and printing it for the paper version - aside from the extra text on the Smith's version - an extra female boater has been inserted in the centre of the picture. And, in case the scene wasn't seen as wintry enough, a tree covered in hoar frost has been added (see top two images).