Thursday, 31 October 2013

Snowdonia as seen from Bangor

It would have been a perfect day to climb the mountains ...

... especially as the clouds lifted during the early afternoon. But we had other things to do in Bangor. Snowdonia was tempting on this perfect Autumn day, though. (24th October 2013)

One of the most recognisable mountains is Tryfan. I'm fairly sure that's it, with its dinosaur-like features.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Two halves of a rainbow

I'm not as clever as Neil on Herbie. I can't join my two photos of a rainbow together as he did here.

This was just after 5pm on October 20th. This was at the start of our recent few days away - we'd called in on Ally and Ben at the boat at Thrupp Wharf Marina on the GU on our way to Chester by car.

We'd had a fair amount of rain, then the sun came out strongly. I popped my head out of the boat and saw this. Jubilee's roof (top photo) looks highly polished. It isn't - that's just the wetting from the rain.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Where's the weir?

Just two days before we watched the antics of the kayakers on the Dee Weir in Chester, the river was up and the tide was in.

Compare this picture to those on yesterday's post. There's a weir here somewhere, but you'd hardly know it.

All I could see was a couple of cormorants drying their wings.

All right, one drying and one watching me.

Just upstream of this point is the suspension footbridge, Queen's Park Bridge. I took the photo for the river lapping over the promenade.

Queen's Park Bridge was built almost a hundred years after Telford's Menai Bridge.

From the meadows on the other side of the river we saw interesting buildings ...

... and posh gardens.

One day I'd like to follow in the Tuesday Night Club's wake and navigate this bit of the Dee. Would be a bit hairy though.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Dicing with death on the Dee - kayaking down the weir

Last Friday we walked the walls of Chester. Our route took us past the weir on the River Dee, where we witnessed an extraordinary series of capsizings.

First a man in a kayak shot down the weir, making it look reasonably straightforward. We assume he was an instructor as he then indicated for the next kayaker to follow.

We watched with growing horror as this next one flipped over immediately after starting his descent.

The foaming waters held the kayak upside down for several heart-stopping long seconds, with the occupant inside.

The currents were too strong for him to right the kayak. Eventually he emerged, separated from his kayak but still clinging to his paddle.

The flow then swept both paddler and kayak down the weir. He made it to the bank opposite, while the instructor chased the kayak, recovering it by the bridge.

A long discussion then took place between the instructor and the five or so would-be weir shooters. After this, someone was positioned by the weir holding a rescue rope ready for the next attempt.

This next one was tipped over at the same point as the first.

The instructor expertly rounded up the errant kayak.

This was the instant before the third victim's demise, and it is my favourite action photo.

Such a great expression as he loses it!

The last one to attempt the weir seemed to be the smallest. He was the only one, apart from the instructor, we saw making it down successfully...

... well deserving of the instructor's applause.

Perhaps it was not quite as dangerous as it appeared, but you'd never get me to try it! The undercurrents at the first step were so strong that a large log floating over the weir near the beginning of the events described above got stuck and remained there the whole time.

Top Thirty, 3013 week 44

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking (top thirty-six places) as it stood at 1915 on Monday 28th October 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 (+2)

7 UKCanals Network (=)

8 nb Waiouru (+3)

9 Water Explorer (=)

10 Boatshed Grand Union (-4)

11 boats and cruising (+7)

12 nb Epiphany (-2)

13 Waterway Routes (-1)

14 boatshare (-1)

15 BCBM Ltd (-1)

16 Towpath Treks (-1)

17 Boats and Canals Forum (+17)

18 boatrent (+1)

19 Captain Ahab's Watery Tales (+1)

20 Narrowboat Chance (-3)

21 Canal Shop Company (-5)

22 Narrowboat Dreaming .... Parisien Star (+5)

23 Narrowboat Briar Rose (-1)

24 Baddie the Pirate (=)

25 Narrowboat Harnser (-)

26 Seyella's Journey (+4)

27 NB The Manly Ferry (-2)

28 Eileen Inlanding (-2)

29 Halfie (-6)

30 Like Ducks 2 Water (-)

31 Rock n Roll (-3)

32 Milburn Boats Ltd (-1)

33 M. B. Willow (-1)

34 freespirit (+2)

35 Skippy's Random Ramblings (-6)

36 Herbie (-)

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 110 entries, down from 111 two weeks ago.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Preparing for the storm by lashing down the solar panels

We decided not to impose further on Ally and Ben so we drove home to Norfolk today. Before leaving Jubilee I wanted to make sure the solar panels wouldn't blow away in the event of the promised high winds. As I was saying yesterday, the panels merely rest on the roof.

I threaded both centre ropes through the panels' fixing brackets and tied them down on the port side to a fender eye on the gunnel; and on the starboard side to the roof furniture bracket..

I also passed a rope from one side of the boat to the other, taking it over the gangplank on top of the panels. This rope I also fixed to the fender eyes on the gunnels.

The chimney is a very firm fit, so I think it should survive strong winds, but the coolie hat is a different matter.

I tied this to the chimney with a bit of wire. Perhaps Ben should take it off altogether tonight.

If the storm happens as predicted, we might be in for rain like we experienced in Chester on Friday.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Battening down ...

We're back on Jubilee for a day or two, but we won't be moving from the marina. There's still wallpaper scraping to do at Ally and Ben's house!

I'm a little concerned for the solar panels on the roof (of the boat). High winds are forecast for Sunday night, and I don't want the panels blowing off. It has gusted a bit this evening, but I'm hoping that nothing untoward will happen until I've had a chance to inspect it all in the morning.

The marina is rather exposed, so we will catch any winds going. The panels are relying on gravity to hold them down, plus there's a scrap or two of thinnish rope attaching a corner of each panel to the roof furniture supports. In an attempt to make the panels heavier I've rested the gangplank on top. I don't know if this is a good idea.

Tomorrow I'll see if I can thread a rope between fender fixing points (on the gunnels) over the panels to hold them in place (Ben's idea).


Getting to Thrupp Wharf Marina from Wolverton this evening was trickier than usual. A police car had closed the A508 from the A5 roundabout, so I drove up to Potterspury to try to approach from the other direction on the A508. Unfortunately the road was also closed from the other side of the road to the marina. The police wouldn't let me through as there had been an accident this side - so I had to return to the A5 roundabout and get the police to let me through that way, which, fortunately, they did. The alternative would have been a half-hour drive!

Friday, 25 October 2013

Famous bridges across the Menai Strait

Yesterday we went to Bangor in North Wales for the day. No, we didn't drive all the way from Norwich - nor even from Milton Keynes. We're spending a few days staying with Jan's former college friend Jane near Chester.

We had an excellent time revisiting some old haunts, and we enjoyed a perfect autumn day's weather.

Our day started at Bangor Pier, where Jan used to take the children when I was at work. The pavilion at the end of the pier serves excellent scones, which we ate with our coffee and hot chocolate.

From the pier we walked to Telford's famous suspension bridge connecting the mainland with Anglesey.

The bridge was finished in 1826 and, at the time, had the longest span in the world. Telford built it to complete his London to Holyhead road, which became the A5.

Visible from the Menai Bridge is Robert Stephenson's Britannia Bridge, completed in 1850, which carried the railway over the Strait in a square-section tube. Again, this was the longest such bridge in the world. The bridge was reconstructed after a fire in 1970, and is no longer tubular. Above the rail deck was built a road deck, now carrying the A55.

We had a picnic lunch under one of the Anglesey arches of Telford's bridge - funny how this bit looks just like his Pontcysyllte Aqueduct - and then walked back to Bangor.

Here's a view of the Menai Strait from Bangor Pier.

I had a three month attachment to BBC Bangor in 1989 - we all thoroughly enjoyed our time in North Wales.


Thursday, 24 October 2013

What and where? - the full photo

Here is the full original photo.

Where can you see this?

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

What and where? - still wider

This is another part of Saturday's photo.

I think what it is is getting clearer now, but can you tell me where it can be found?

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

What and where? - getting wider

Getting easier now?

You might have the "what" by now, but what about the "where"?

Monday, 21 October 2013

What and where? - still more

Here's yet another slice of Saturday's photo.

What and where?

Sunday, 20 October 2013

What and where? - more

Here's another slice of yesterday's photo.

What is it and where is it?

Another piece of the jigsaw tomorrow.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

What and where?

Here's another "what and where?".

What is it, and where is it?

More tomorrow.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Supermarket trolleys in the canal getting rarer?

Is it me, or is this an increasingly rare sight these days?

As far as I can recall this was the only supermarket trolley I saw in the cut on my recent trip to the Black Country. This was just past Hempole Bridge on the Walsall Canal. The supermarkets must be getting better at looking after their trolleys.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Five ways to paint a pub sign

Just a quickie tonight: here is a lovely pub sign at a roundabout near the UEA in Norwich.

The five ways most people think of here are, of course, the five roads which meet at the roundabout. But the sign (click on the photo for a larger version) shows five ways of getting around: by boat, plane, train, foot and car.

And I'm pleased to see that the examples of transport are from real life: the plane is Concorde; the train is a streamlined LNER steamer; and the car is a VW Beetle. No doubt the boat is a specific type of dinghy, too.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Date in Roman numerals on Hempole Bridge

13th September 2013

On the Walsall canal, between Ocker hill and the Ryders Green Locks is Hempole Bridge.

This is unusual in having a date cast in an iron plate - and doubly unusual in that the date is in Roman numerals.

MDCCCXXV is 1825.

My 2003 (or MMIII) Nicholson's (Guide 2) calls this bridge Hempole Lane Bridge.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Old telegraph poles near Smethwick Junction

16th September 2013

As we cruised along the Birmingham Canal New Main Line I spotted some old telegraph poles near Smethwick Junction.

It looks as though some of the insulators are stuck to the pole, but one of the cross members has swung round.

The second pole shows things a bit more clearly.

Was it the case that the wires were uninsulated, hence the ceramic insulators on the poles?

And I wonder when the cables last saw service.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Millstone wall, Aston

16th September 2013

As we descended the Aston lock flight David pointed out an unusual wall.

When I've been along here before I've only seen the writing in the brickwork, but the wall is built on a foundation of old millstones.