Sunday, 31 March 2013

All aboard for Halfie's Retirement Cruise!

So far it's just the two of us, but we're expecting an invasion tomorrow. David, Penny and Fergus are intending to meet us at about noon; and Adrian might come a couple of days later. So we could have a boatful - six is the usual maximum for sleeping on board.

We set off in the car after church and lunch, and called in at Jubilee on the way. There I investigated a leaking Webasto central heating header tank. I omitted to take a photo. The contents of the header tank slowly - or quickly - drain out from an unused connection at the bottom. I'll get Ally or Ben to take a photo for me, and then you can see what I'm talking about.

Having not managed to fix that one, we continued to Braunston Marina where we were expecting to find Shadow.

Er ... where was Shadow? We looked and looked, walking to the end of the first set of pontoons, and couldn't see it. Then I went to the footbridge over the entrance and found the boat on the towpath. Not terribly convenient for loading, so I brought it in to the first old wharf arm where we tied up to some convenient rings, and got the car reasonably close.

By the time we'd loaded, had something to eat, and got the stove going it was dark, so I'll do the car/bike shuffle in the morning. We should be all right here in the entrance - it's quite wide.

The only ice was at the very end of the arm. I'm anticipating a bit of freezing over tonight - we'll see.

In the morning I'll drive to Wigram's Turn with my bike in the car, park up, and cycle back to the boat.

Hooray! The "Retirement Cruise" is (almost) under way!

Apologies again for the lack of photos

Top Thirty, 2013 week 13

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking (top thirty places) as it stood at 0900 on Sunday 31st March 2013. This is taken, with permission, from Tony Blews's UK Waterways Ranking Site.

1 Canal World Discussion Forums (=)

2 CanalPlanAC (=)

3 Pennine Waterways (=)

4 Jim Shead's Waterways Information (=)

5 Living on a Narrowboat (=)

6 Retirement with No Problem (=)

7 Waterway Routes (+1)

8 Water Explorer (-1)

9 UKCanals Network (=)

10 nb Epiphany (=)

11 Granny Buttons (=)

12 nb Waiouru (+1)

13 Jannock Website (+2)

14 boatshare (-2)

15 Towpath Treks (-1)

16 One Thing After Another (+5)

17 Canal Shop Company (=)

18 Captain Ahab's Watery Tales (=)

19 Narrowboat Briar Rose (-)

20 Seyella's Journey (+2)

21 M. B. Willow (+2)

22 Baddie the Pirate (-3)

23 Contented Souls (-)

24 ExOwnerships (-8)

25 Halfie (+1)

26 Chertsey (+1)

27 nb Piston Broke (-)

28 nb Lucky Duck (-)

29 Boats and Canals Forum (-)

30 boatrent (-10)

31 Rock n Roll (-3)

32 Caldon and Uttoxeter Canals Trust (-)

33 boats and cruising (-9)

34 Narrowboat Bones (=)

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

There are 192 entries, up from 187 last week.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Dismantling a Hozelock hose reel

Three days ago I set to work on the hose reel from which I had cut off most of the hose the last time we were on Shadow. The problem was that no water would flow through the hose as the inner end was badly crushed and kinked.

I had already tried to unscrew the screws holding it together: nearly all of their heads had rusted so badly that a screwdriver was ineffective. The only solution, as I saw it, was to drill the heads off.

After a long time, and much pulling and bashing, I managed to separate the two halves of the case. But I am no nearer repairing it, as I can't remove the bit with the twizzly knob from the inner drum, meaning that I can't get to where the inner end of the hose attaches.

I think I'll give up. If a new hose reel hasn't miraculously appeared on board, I'll check out the chandlers I pass ...

Friday, 29 March 2013

Halfie's leaving party

The day arrived at long last. My final working day in my long and illustrated BBC career (well, it's been television). And it wasn't, as I had hoped, a gentle winding down into obscurity oblivion retirement. On the contrary, after a quiet morning, many of my colleagues walked out of the building on strike: and I was busy all afternoon editing for Look East and the next day's (i.e. today's) breakfast bulletins.

So no official - or unofficial - sending off. A bit of a let-down.

But my leaving party was a success. There was a video-assisted talk by my boss - very good, not too embarrassing (thanks, Tony) - followed by a probably-too-long speech by myself. Lots of people came; there was lots of drink (it was in a pub); and there was plenty of food.

A group of editors - past and present - came together for a photo:

from left: James, John, Chris, Halfie, Wernie, Andy, Terry

Many more photos were taken which I might share another time.


Meanwhile ... Jan and I took part in a silent walk of witness between two churches in our village this Good Friday morning.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Watery Ways

I got a surprise when catching up on my Canal Boat magazine today (yes, I know the next issue will be out soon - I'm rationing myself!)

Val Poore, formerly known as VallyP, a regular commenter on my and many others' blogs, has written a book called Watery Ways. It's reviewed on page 15 of the current (April 2013) Canal Boat.

Now I know I shouldn't be surprised. I have looked at Val's blog before and knew she was an author, but I confess I hadn't kept up-to-date with her books' progress - she has written at least three.

So what is Watery Ways about? Borrowing from CB:

"This is the story of the author's adventures amongst the historic craft in the Oude Haven harbour in Rotterdam. After a marriage break-up she is trying to make a new home aboard an unconverted ex-working barge. The harbour community supports her as she struggles to learn the language and to install a basic water and electricity supply, and refurbish the woodwork of the old cabin ... Romance and travel feature strongly ... It's a personal story, set against the background of a waterways community rather different from our own."

Sounds like one for Captain Ahab to read and review.

Val, I wish you every success with your writing.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The motley crew of the New Inn, Buckby

One or two bloggers have posted photos of the now boarded up New Inn at Buckby Top Lock. I looked for one of mine, from when the pub was open, but could find only this:

Taken inside, obviously, in March 2009.

Did Shelley find love? How did Lisa's wedding go? Has Debs now returned to Cornwall? And what happened to the rest of the "motley crew"?

I hope the pub is resurrected - as was the Admiral Nelson four miles away in Braunston.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Our view of Braunston will have changed

This is Braunston as we approached it in 2009.

Nothing wrong with that, you might say, but on top of the boat is my old bicycle. Well, that particular velocipede is now scrapped. Future cruises shouldn't have the view enhanced obscured by a bike: my new folding two-wheeler, when I'm not lock wheeling, will be inside or on the well deck out of the way.

I was sorry to read that Sarah and Jim of Chertsey and Bakewell have decided that the current cold and windy weather is not conducive to fun boating, and have abandoned their plan to go to Ellesmere Port for the Easter gathering of old boat(er)s.

I'm beginning to wonder whether our (my) plan for an attempt on the Erewash Canal might not be a little ambitious too. Do I really want to stand/sit at the tiller for seven hours a day for a fortnight getting various parts of my anatomy frozen off?

Sunday, 24 March 2013

3GB sim card ordered

Following Nev's post about pre-loaded "3" sim cards I've ordered one from Amazon. I hope i) it arrives before we go on Shadow and ii) I can get it to work with the laptop. The laptop will be expecting the original sim carded dongle, so I don't know how the My Three page will cope.

I won't know unless I try, and if either it doesn't arrive in time, or I can't work out how to connect to the internet with it, I'll just have to buy another £10 top-up.

We haven't yet invested in a Mi-fi thingumajig - is it possible to connect two laptops together with a network cable so the one without a dongle can still connect to the internet?

Top Thirty, 2013 week 12

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking (top thirty places) as it stood at 0930 on Sunday 24th March 2013. This is taken, with permission, from Tony Blews's UK Waterways Ranking Site.

1 Canal World Discussion Forums (=)

2 CanalPlanAC (=)

3 Pennine Waterways (=)

4 Jim Shead's Waterways Information (=)

5 Living on a Narrowboat (+1)

6 Retirement with No Problem (-1)

7 Water Explorer (+1)

8 Waterway Routes (-1)

9 UKCanals Network (+1)

10 nb Epiphany (-1)

11 Granny Buttons (=)

12 boatshare (=)

13 nb Waiouru (=)

14 Towpath Treks (+2)

15 Jannock Website (-1)

16 ExOwnerships (+7)

17 Canal Shop Company (=)

18 Captain Ahab's Watery Tales (-3)

19 Baddie the Pirate (+5)

20 boatrent (+7)

21 One Thing After Another (-1)

22 Seyella's Journey (-1)

23 M. B. Willow (-5)

24 boats and cruising (+4)

25 NB The Manly Ferry (-6)

26 Halfie (+6)

27 Chertsey (-5)

28 Rock n Roll (-)

29 Milburn Boats Ltd (+2)

30 Boatshed Grand Union (-)

31 Working Narrow Boat Hadar (-)

32 Derwent6 (-3)

33 NB Percy (-)

34 Narrowboat Bones (-9)

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

There are 187 entries, the same as last week.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Brewing up at Foxton - in a volcano kettle

A few days ago I made part of Foxton Inclined Plane the subject of a mystery photo. But when I was there taking that photo in 2009 I stumbled across another mystery, one which was quickly solved, though.

A volunteer was tending a device I'd not seen before: a volcano kettle.

It's a simple and effective machine. A water jacket surrounds a chimney: Fill the jacket (through the off-centre spout), light a fire underneath, and the hot gases drawn up the chimney quickly heat the water. No pressurised gas cylinder, no need to worry too much about wind. Brilliant!

If the fire dies down a bit, just drop more fuel down the chimney.

The tea made this way was to be fuel of a different sort - for the volunteers working on the Plane.

BTCV - the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers - has had several rebrandings, and is now known as TCV (The Conservation Volunteers).

Oh, and just to show that here in Norfolk we didn't quite escape the snow today (23rd March 2013) ...

Friday, 22 March 2013

Not long to go now...

Today was my penultimate day at work in The Forum, Norwich, for BBC East.

I was editing for the regional opt-out for The Sunday Politics (the photo is actually from the weekend, where I was editing for the regional news bulletins - there's footy on the monitor. Footy doesn't feature much in The Sunday Politics).

It felt strangely like a normal work day and an unusual one at the same time. I supplied hot cross buns to my colleagues in the morning, and cake in the afternoon. I said one or two goodbyes, but most will happen next week.

My very last day will be on Thursday, which will be even stranger. Very annoyingly, there's an NUJ/Bectu strike planned for that day, starting at noon, so most of my colleagues will walk out leaving the place almost deserted. But things will look up later, as my leaving party gets under way in a city centre pub.

I'll write more about my time at the Beeb after then, no doubt.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

The Adlard Coles Book of Diesel Engines

I was pleased to find the Adlard Coles Book of Diesel Engines, by Tim Bartlett, in the Oxfam bookshop recently.

The blurb at the front reads:

   "Aimed at boatowners rather than experienced mechanics, this book explains clearly how a diesel engines (sic) works and how to look after it. Tim Bartlett looks at tools, working practices and winterizing (sic) as well as providing handy hints and tips. This new edition has been revised and updated to take into account new developments in engine technology."

The slim paperback book was first published as The RYA Book of Diesel Engines in 1998 (this edition 2005).

It gives more emphasis to sea-going boats than canal boats, with raw-water cooling and dual station controls described in detail. But there's plenty relevant to the standard modern multi-cylinder narrowboat engine.

I read all through it in a couple of sittings, which gives an idea of the readability (high). Nevertheless, it immediately plunges into the workings of fuel injection pumps. I learnt about the "jerk pump" with its cleverly designed plunger, and how an in-line injection pump is a series of jerk pumps looking like a miniature engine. I also know now why there's a leak-off feed from the injector back to the fuel tank (some of the diesel fuel is intentionally allowed to flow past the needle valve and push rod in order to lubricate them).

There are occasional moments of levity, such as when Mr. Bartlett mentions how relieved the crew of a Viking longship must have been when they realised they'd get less wet if they stuffed rags in the gaps between the oars and the boat. This was in the section introducing stern glands!

The book is also full of "Things to Do" boxes taking you through procedures such as replacing the fuel filter, bleeding the fuel system and checking drive belts.

I found it good to give a background knowledge of how the engine - and its ancillaries - works, and I will certainly refer to it when attempting a new (to me) job. Perhaps then the book will lose its "as-unread" condition.

£1.49 well spent, methinks!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

When the Archbishop of Canterbury came to Norwich

A week ago the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, came to Norwich at the start of his prayer pilgrimage. Before walking to the cathedral he drew the crowds on the steps of The Forum where I work.

I was asked to film from our vantage point on the second floor - this was my view through the glass wall. (I took these photos before being asked to film.)

Susie Fowler-Watt (in the red scarf, on the left) interviewed him for BBC Look East.

Despite all the "proper" cameras there my high shots were used briefly. Which was nice. It wasn't quite the last time I wielded a camera for the BBC: on Saturday I filmed a demo against what the BBC isn't allowing itself to call the "bedroom tax" - or even the "so-called bedroom tax". That was probably my last bit of filming. (Just over a week to go ...)

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Mystery photo: it was Foxton Inclined Plane

Well done, Sue of No Problem. You got it. You spotted that the ground dipped away in the background and guessed, correctly, that it was at Foxton Inclined Plane. Others suggested that the rail was a GWR-type. I don't know about that. (See previous post)

When I was there in March 2009 volunteers were clearing another part of the inclined plane. (My post from the time is here.)

Monday, 18 March 2013

Mystery photo - widest shot

As a well-known Australian entertainer would say, "Can you see what it is yet?"

I realise that this doesn't show a huge amount more than previous views, so I'll give a clue as well:

A picture clue. Yes, it's similar to the first photo, but there might be enough here for you to make a guess about the location.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Mystery photo 3

Some people are getting close (see comments on yesterday's post) but no-one has nailed it. What is it for, and where is it?

Full, uncropped photo tomorrow.

Top Thirty, 2013 week 11

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking (top thirty places) as it stood at 1220 on Sunday 17th March 2013. This is taken, with permission, from Tony Blews's UK Waterways Ranking Site.

1 Canal World Discussion Forums (=)

2 CanalPlanAC (=)

3 Pennine Waterways (=)

4 Jim Shead's Waterways Information (=)

5 Retirement with No Problem (+2)

6 Living on a Narrowboat (-1)

7 Waterway Routes (-1)

8 Water Explorer (+1)

9 nb Epiphany (+1)

10 UKCanals Network (-2)

11 Granny Buttons (+2)

12 boatshare (+4)

13 nb Waiouru (-1)

14 Jannock Website (+1)

15 Captain Ahab's Watery Tales (+3)

16 Towpath Treks (-2)

17 Canal Shop Company (=)

18 M. B. Willow (+1)

19 NB The Manly Ferry (+2)

20 One Thing After Another (-9)

21 Seyella's Journey (+11)

22 Chertsey (-)

23 ExOwnerships (+3)

24 Baddie the Pirate (+1)

25 Narrowboat Bones (-)

26 Boats and Canals Forum (+4)

27 boatrent (-3)

28 boats and cruising (-1)

29 Derwent6 (+2)

30 Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust (-)

31 Milburn Boats Ltd (-9)

32 Halfie (-9)

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

There are 187 entries, up from 183 last week.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Mystery photo 2

Well, either this has got you stumped, or you're all ignoring me. Someone have a guess! Please?

Here's just a teensy bit more:

What and where is it? It is canal-related.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Mystery photo

I know how much you like these!

What and where?

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Wigwags? Defective ones? What is CRT talking about?

Alert from Canal and River Trust received today:

Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation

Barnby Dun

Monday 25 March 2013 - Wednesday 27 March 2013
Urgent works are required to enable safe passage through the bridge. This will involve the replacement of defective wigwags which will require the canal to be out of operation during the below times. On the 27th March, most of the work should have been completed, so there may just be a short delay whilst waiting to go through the bridge. We are working with the contractors to minimise disruption. Please ring the number below for latest updates.

The work will be carried out work between 8am-5pm daily. There will be no passage through the bridge during these times

Enquiries: 0303 0404040

This is the second time in as many weeks that I've been presented with a word that's new to me.

I looked up "wigwag" in my dictionary. It defines it as (v.i.) to twist about: to signal by means of flags; (n.) the act of wigwagging: a level crossing signal which gives its indication, with or without a red light, by swinging about a fixed axis (etc.)

Indications from Wikipedia are that wigwags are American signals of various types, found on the railway and in cars and lorries. (Or railroads, automobiles and trucks.) Oh, and a Wigwag is the Canadian version of the Curly Wurly bar (bet you didn't know that!)

I had never heard of a wigwag in any context, let alone a boating one, but they must exist as they're on the SSYN. Except that they're defective. Perhaps they only wig. Or, maybe, they only wag. Or - horror of horrors - could it be that they neither wig nor wag?

Am I alone in my ignorance of canal wigwags? Do you know what they are? What do they look like?

Yes, this is a railway signal. It is not, as far as I am aware, a wigwag.

[And the other new word: frit. It was in the Times. Thankfully, on Saturday, there was an explanation: apparently it's a contraction of "frightened".]

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Autumn mist on the Llangollen Canal

I came across this photo this evening and thought I'd share it with you. I like the way the early morning sun lights up the mist through the bridge hole and spills through this side.

I think it's just to the east of Wrenbury on the Llangollen Canal. It was November 2010, and I'm sure the weather was considerably warmer than it is now!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Loose's - a museum in Norwich where everything is for sale

Loose's used to be a china and glassware emporium. Now the premises are filled with the most amazing range of artefacts from the past. It's like a museum of everyday objects spanning the last hundred years where, instead of a description, labels carry a price.

There's everything from individual horse brasses for £1 to a vibraphone for £995. (All right, not everything is "everyday".)

You could spend a whole day in there and still not see everything. And the prices are very reasonable - I have to be very disciplined! I've seen similar things costing more in charity shops.

I can think of several bloggers who would love the place. I haven't spotted much that's specifically canal- or narrowboat-related, but there's plenty of brass for those who like that sort of thing. And not much muck.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Taking a punt on the Wensum in Norwich

I came across these two punts in the middle of Norwich today. I had not seen them before.

Someone must be getting ready for summer, and starting a business. The plate on the side of the punts states that the maximum number of people allowed is 12 (like a narrowboat, then). I imagine a 12-up punt must seem rather crowded, and I don't suppose there'd be much freeboard!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Kidderminster Lock and church in August

Remember when we used to have summers?

This was August 2008: we were cruising from Worcester to Stourport, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, and back to Worcester. This is Kidderminster on the Staffs and Worcs Canal.

I'm sure my camera used to work better back then - perhaps I need a new one now.

Here are a couple of alternative croppings.

If I do get a new camera I'll stick with a compact, though, as it's easy to carry around.

Top Thirty, 2013 week 10

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking (top thirty places) as it stood at 1220 on Sunday 10th March 2013. This is taken, with permission, from Tony Blews's UK Waterways Ranking Site.

1 Canal World Discussion Forums (=)

2 CanalPlanAC (+1)

3 Pennine Waterways (-1)

4 Jim Shead's Waterways Information (=)

5 Living on a Narrowboat (=)

6 Waterway Routes (+1)

7 Retirement with No Problem (-1)

8 UKCanals Network (=)

9 Water Explorer (=)

10 nb Epiphany (=)

11 One Thing After Another (+17)

12 nb Waiouru (+3)

13 Granny Buttons (-2)

14 Towpath Treks (-1)

15 Jannock Website (-1)

16 boatshare (-4)

17 Canal Shop Company (-1)

18 Captain Ahab's Watery Tales (+2)

19 M. B. Willow (+2)

20 Herbie (-)

21 NB The Manly Ferry (+10)

22 Milburn Boats Ltd (+4)

23 Halfie (=)

24 boatrent (+3)

25 Baddie the Pirate (=)

26 ExOwnerships (-9)

27 boats and cruising (-8)

28 Boatshed Grand Union (+1)

29 Narrowboat Briar Rose (+3)

30 Boats and Canals Forum (=)

31 Derwent6 (-7)

32 Seyella's Journey (-)

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

There are 183 entries, down from 188 last week.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Have we not had enough snow this year?

Apparently not.

It started raining at about 6pm yesterday, and has continued through the night, into the morning, and afternoon, when it turned into snow. As I write, it is still snowing here in Norwich (nearly midnight, i.e. 30 hours since it started).

We trudged through the snow and slush to Adrian and Willie's house where we enjoyed an excellent meal and conversation. To add to the occasion an interesting insect made an appearance.

Now, where's my book of wildlife? I've tried to identify this online but without success.

edited to add location

Friday, 8 March 2013

New licence has arrived from CRT - but do they want me to pay again?

Six days ago I received an invitation from Canal and River Trust to renew the licence for Jubilee. Then next day I did so online. The day after that the money left my bank account. Three days later (yesterday) the new licence came in the post. Quick service, CRT, have a brownie point.

Ally and Ben are visiting us near the end of this month - I'll have to try to remember to give them the relevant bits to stick in the windows.

I was a little surprised to receive with the new licence an invoice for what looks like another £804.60. But I've already paid! That's why CRT sent me the licence! Nowhere on the invoice does it acknowledge my payment.

I don't find this terribly friendly. It's a good thing, in one way, that the amount is so large. Even I am unlikely to forget that I've paid.

I'll have that brownie point back.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Droitwich Junction Canal

No-one has yet suggested where yesterday's photo (from 2008) was taken. Ray Butler has correctly identified the photo as the Droitwich Junction Canal. The locks were Hanbury Locks.

(I was writing the above at the same time as Ray was commenting on yesterday's post).

This is from Hanbury Lock no. 3. It's exciting to think that now boats can once again travel along here, and that one day I might too.

More excitement: Sarah has written another blog post! I hope she returns to more frequent blogging - she always does it well.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Another destination, another time

Five years ago we were here, but we couldn't get through.

Now we could.

Where was I?

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Route planning: the Erewash beckons

I spent some time today in the pleasurable pursuit of canal route planning. This is for our two week Easter "retirement" cruise on Shadow.

We haven't explored the Erewash Canal before, so I consulted a map, then CanalPlanAC. Going north on the Oxford, Coventry and Trent & Mersey Canals; then up and down the Erewash; across the Trent and up the Soar, along the Leicester Section and back to Wigram's Turn via Braunston - with a detour to Market Harborough - comes to 199.5 miles and 131 locks, taking 95.5 hours. If I allow 12 days (to give a day in hand for stopping/exploring etc.) then that's 8 hours per day. Easy peasy.

That's the current thinking, anyway.

Can you identify the location of the photo? Bonus "points" for getting the time of year (although this might be easier than the location!)

Monday, 4 March 2013

Three Underground photos

On a recent trip to London I managed to grab (from the train from Cambridge to Liverpool Street) a shot of the Victoria Line's Northumberland Park tube train depot.

Not a great shot - I had to scrabble for the camera as usual!

Here's another snatched shot - before the doors closed - of part of Baker Street Station. I must try to get round all the Underground stations at some time (perhaps when I've retired) as there are some gems of Victoriana to be found. A better shot of Baker Street Station was the other side of the tracks (this was from the Circle/Hammersmith and City line). Unfortunately another train was in the way.

Not all Underground lines and stations are underground. The early sub-surface lines such as this one used the cut-and-cover method of construction.

Who'd like to join me in an exploration of the Underground? (I can't imagine it would appeal to Jan!) I'd have to cover every inch of the network (much as I'd like to do the entire connected inland waterway system eventually!) but not all in one day. I don't suppose you can get Rover tickets these days, but I'd just take my Oyster card to the max...

Sunday, 3 March 2013

CRT tries to patch over its BW past

I received my first licence renewal from CRT yesterday. Have I really had Jubilee for a year already? Well, no. Not quite. As I bought the boat in April last year, even though it was very nearly the end of that month, I had to licence it as from the beginning.

So, now, the renewal. The Canal and River Trust is trying very hard to eradicate all signs - literally - of its predecessor, British Waterways. With the renewal form came two stickers for me to cover up the BW-ness of the licence plates, should I choose to do so. I choose not to do so. And I can't imagine that anyone will. To start with, many boat owners have the licence number incorporated in the signwriting. The thought of anyone plastering a sticker over any BW logo is laughable. And who will bother to do the same to their aluminium licence plates?

Despite its best efforts, some BW terminology has escaped CRT's red pencil.

At one point in the paperwork comes the invitation to send my "BW customer number" to CRT.

Not that it really matters.

I renewed online. £804.60 (prompt payment rate). Unfortunately for me, I just catch the above-inflation increase coming into effect with this renewal.


Top Thirty, 2013 week 9

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking (top thirty places) as it stood at 0900 on Sunday 3rd March 2013. This is taken, with permission, from Tony Blews's UK Waterways Ranking Site.

1 Canal World Discussion Forums (=)

2 Pennine Waterways (+1)

3 CanalPlanAC (-1)

4 Jim Shead's Waterways Information (=)

5 Living on a Narrowboat (=)

6 Retirement with No Problem (=)

7 Waterway Routes (+2)

8 UKCanals Network (-1)

9 Water Explorer (-1)

10 nb Epiphany (=)

11 Granny Buttons (=)

12 boatshare (+2)

13 Towpath Treks (+2)

14 Jannock Website (-1)

15 nb Waiouru (-3)

16 Canal Shop Company (+1)

17 ExOwnerships (+1)

18 nb Lucky Duck (-2)

19 boats and cruising (+2)

20 Captain Ahab's Watery Tales (=)

21 M. B. Willow (-)

22 Narrowboat Bones (+3)

23 Halfie (+3)

24 Derwent6 (+3)

25 Baddie the Pirate (-6)

26 Milburn Boats Ltd (-2)

27 boatrent (+1)

28 One Thing After Another (-6)

29 Boatshed Grand Union (+1)

30 Boats and Canals Forum (-7)

31 NB The Manly Ferry (-)

32 Narrowboat Briar Rose (=)

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

There are 188 entries, the same as last week.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

The Stort and the Lee from the train

Of more interest, probably, than the plane spotted from the train on Thursday were a couple of navigations.

First came the Stort (as I was going south). This is a hopelessly poor shot grabbed through the window. Somewhere near Sawbridgeworth, probably. You might be able to make out a cruiser through the trees. There's also the back end of a narrowboat if you look hard enough.

And then we crossed the Lee. We must have been going quite slowly - you can actually see some boats!

It made a nice change to be travelling in daylight.

Friday, 1 March 2013

AWACS seen from the train yesterday

Lumbering over the Suffolk/Cambridgeshire fens yesterday was this AWACS aeroplane, with its distinctive radar dome sprouting like a mushroom from its fuselage.

It was kind enough to give me time to get my camera out and aim it through the train's dirty window.