Tuesday 30 November 2010

Photographing the snow

I'm sure Andrew Denny has talked in the past about why the camera records snow as blue, when we see it as white. Is it because it reflects the blueness of the sky, but our brains tell us snow ought to be white, so that's how we see it?

I took the top photo yesterday morning from the bedroom window. That is the desaturated version. What actually came out of the camera is the photo below.

For an explanation you could do worse than visiting the Digital Photography School website. Peter West Carey, in an article he has only just posted, explains that it's all to do with colour temperature. Here is an extract (it gets a bit technical).

Blue snow happens when a camera fails to recognize what snow looks like in the shade. Again, different cameras will handle things differently and maybe your camera is spot on, all the time. But maybe you get blue snow. I know I have from time to time, even with quality cameras.
With a point and shoot camera, use the “Shade” white balance, if the camera has it. This setting can also be used with a DSLR. “Shade” tells the camera all the light hitting the main subject has come from indirect sources from the sun. This light is about 7500K, while noon-day daylight is around 5000K (give or take a few hundred K). If a camera is pointed to a sunny scene and then pointed at shade, it may not switch fast enough. This also happens if the scene is a mix of shade and directly lit objects.

I got a sudden urge to stop off on my cycle home after work to try to take some night-time pictures. Those which worked best were where I used a long exposure and let car headlights light the scene. This was a three second exposure, with me holding the camera steady on the bicycle saddle.

Interestingly, there appear to be no issues with colour balance. The snow looks perfectly white.

And here's Norwich Cathedral from The Forum.

Monday 29 November 2010

Cycling in the snow

I cycled to work today. In the snow. And I got there rather quicker than if I'd driven. I didn't have to remove the plastic sheet keeping the worst of the snow and ice off the car. I didn't have to sit in the car with the engine running while the windscreen demisted. I didn't have to join the crawling traffic on the main road.

No, I just got the bike out of the shed (after holding the padlock in my hand to thaw it enough for the key to go in), put my bag in the panier, and set off.

No photos, sorry. Bit difficult on the bike.

Another thing I did today was to hand in my pass card for the car park I've been using in Norwich. It's been costing me a few hundred pounds every year, but most of the time I cycle, and hence I wasn't getting my money's worth. If it's lashing down with rain - or worse - I can always use the bus.

OK, here's a pic I took on Sunday when we recce'd the walk we're leading next month.

Sunday 28 November 2010

Burgedin Locks

Burgedin Locks on the Montgomery Canal seemed in good condition, and in water, when we walked past them in the summer.

A mile further north at Ardd-Lin, though, the A483 crosses the canal on a lowered Bridge 103.

As if throwing hands up in horror at the fate of the canal further up, a wooden sculpture looks on at Burgedin Locks.

Top Thirty, 2010 week 48

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking as it stood at 1715 on Sunday 28th November 2010. 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 Granny Buttons (=)

6 CanalPlanAC (=)

7 ExOwnerships (+1)

8 CanalCuttings.co.uk (-1)

9 Retirement with No Problem (=)

10 Jannock Website (=)

11 Canal Shop Company (+1)

12 boatshare (-1)

13 UKCanals Network (+4)

14 Waterway Routes (+2)

15 Boats and canals (-)

16 WB Takey Tezey (+2)

17 Towpath Treks (-4)

18 Narrowboat Bones (-3)

19 Narrowboat Debdale (+11)

20 Canal Photos (-6)

21 Baddie the Pirate (=)

22 Trafalgar Marine Services (-3)

23 Derwent6 (=)

24 Narrowboat Caxton (-)

25 nb Lucky Duck (-1)

26 Captain Ahab's Watery Tales (-1)

27 Narrowboat.co.uk (-7)

28 Chertsey (-)

29 nb Piston Broke (-1)

30 CutConnect - keeping boaters in touch (-8)

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.

There are 128 entries altogether. Halfie is at number 41.

Saturday 27 November 2010

Natural ice sculpture

I took a few photos of the snow in the garden this morning, as you do. While my feet were slowly freezing in my wellington boots, I noticed some ice dangling from a branch.

The snow on a spider's web had started to melt, but some clung to what remained of the web.

There were the occasional glimpses of colour too.

Friday 26 November 2010

Wern corn mill

Walking north along the Montgomery Canal from Welshpool we came to Wern after five miles. This is the site of Wern Corn Mill, by Red Bridge 106, which was powered from the water which collected in the sump pound. Every time a lock emptied there'd be another 25,000 gallons of water to drive the wheel.

There's not a huge amount still to be seen. Water bubbles up in an interesting way...

... and then flows away, its job done.

Thursday 25 November 2010

Bypassing a culvert on the Monty

From Frankton Junction on the LLangollen Canal the Montgomery Canal is currently navigable only as far as Gronwen (or Gronwyn) Bridge 82, near Maesbury Marsh. At least, that's as far as we could get when cruising this beautiful canal last year. Between here and Berriew the Monty is criss-crossed by lowered roads, or else is dewatered, with derelict locks.

But at Bridge 117 an underbridge has been built. The channel now bypasses the culvert under the lowered A458.

In the photo above the original course of the canal goes off to the left and disappears in a culvert. The new channel and bridge are to the right.

Here is the culvert from the other (south) side of the road. You should be able to make out the sloping iron grille stopping the beer cans and plastic bottles going in.


I was snowed on when I walked in Norwich during my lunch break today. It didn't settle, but we're promised more of the same over the next fortnight. Just the weather to be tucked up in a cosy narrowboat!

Wednesday 24 November 2010

LLedan Brook Aqueduct

(one for Captain Ahab)

On the Montgomery Canal, a few yards to the north of Bridge 119, which featured in yesterday's post, is an aqueduct over LLedan Brook.

It looks like a masonry structure, but below the arch you can see that it contains an iron trunk. The sign explains.

Here's the railway bridge beyond the aqueduct.

Through the bridge is a metal sculpture.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

y Trallwng, Powysland Museum, Welshpool, and a narrowboat mural

On our summer walk along the Montgomery Canal we came to Welshpool, or, yn Cymraeg (in Welsh*), y Trallwng. The Powysland Museum, housed in an old warehouse, was shut when we got there, so we bought some emergency rations from Morrison's and started our walk northwards. This was to be a long walk, over 11 miles, and we did need our emergency rations as both pubs en route were closed at lunchtime. Contemporary log here.

This is the bridge through which I took the photo of the museum.

And, on the other side of the bridge, a mural of narrowboat Veronica, with an abundance of windows.

Andrew Denny would, I'm sure, approve of my waiting for the lorry to come along before I pressed the button.

* Or should that be "yng Ymhraeg"? I'm beginning to forget forgetting the Welsh I learnt 20 years ago.

Monday 22 November 2010

Gifts from dangerous Stourport trees

This stoppage alert came three days ago:

River Severn - Stourport Pontoons

Friday 19 November 2010 until further notice
River pontoon between the broad and narrow locks at Stourport will be closed until further notice, due to the presents
(sic) of dangerous trees.

Enquiries: 01452 318000

Perhaps we'd better look more closely at the floating pontoon-based Christmas tree outside The Mailbox in Birmingham. I've borrowed Adam's photo from NB Debdale. I can't see any presents, though. Let alone dangerous ones.

(edited to add link)

Sunday 21 November 2010

Central heating fixed by replacing synchronous motor

I mentioned the other day that our (gas-fired) central heating system had stopped working. The symptoms were these: the boiler would fire up and heat the hot water, but wouldn't heat the radiators if the central heating was "on". If CH alone was selected nothing at all happened. The boiler just sat there, pilot light on, but otherwise lifeless.

Last night, spurred on by the prospect of there being 12 people here at Christmas, I started fault-finding. I had already suspected the synchronous motor which drives the three-port valve (routing hot water from the boiler to the hot water cylinder coil or the radiators or both), so I removed it and tested it.

Fortunately I had replaced one of these in the past, so I knew what to do, even though the fitting to the valve was a slightly different design. While removing it I noticed that the leads had become brittle with the heat, and the insulation was cracking where they entered the motor housing. The motor itself was open circuit, the winding having presumably burnt out. Not good! It's designed for a high-temperature environment (obviously), so the manufacturer must have been saving money by using lower quality lead-out wires.

The motorised valve in the photo is the one I removed four years ago after it had done 16 years' service and disintegrated internally. During that time I had had to replace its synchronous motor: it was that (relatively new) replacement which I re-installed yesterday. Now the system is up-and-running again.

Top Thirty, 2010 week 47

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking as it stood at 0955 on Sunday 21st November 2010. 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 Granny Buttons (=)

6 CanalPlanAC (+2)

7 CanalCuttings.co.uk (-1)

8 ExOwnerships (-1)

9 Retirement with No Problem (=)

10 Jannock Website (=)

11 boatshare (=)

12 Canal Shop Company (=)

13 Towpath Treks (+6)

14 Canal Photos (+3)

15 Narrowboat Bones (-1)

16 Waterway Routes (-3)

17 UKCanals Network (-2)

18 WB Takey Tezey (+2)

19 Trafalgar Marine Services (+5)

20 Narrowboat.co.uk (-4)

21 Baddie the Pirate (+2)

22 CutConnect - keeping boaters in touch (-4)

23 Derwent6 (-2)

24 nb Lucky Duck (-2)

25 Captain Ahab's Watery Tales (+1)

26 Google Earth Canal Maps (+4)

27 NBNorthernPride (-)

28 nb Piston Broke (-1)

29 Warwickshire Fly Boat Company (=)

30 Narrowboat Debdale (-)

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.

There are 125 entries altogether. Halfie is at number 35.

Saturday 20 November 2010

Sheep drinks Montgomery Canal, and cycling in fog

No particular reason for posting this now, but I was scanning some photos from the summer and came across this one of a sheep doing what you often see cattle doing, that is, having a drink from the canal. This was on the Montgomery Canal between Welshpool and Buttington Wharf while we were waking the towpath in July.


I cycled home from work through the fog yesterday evening. It was actually quite an enjoyable experience. The moon was almost full so the trees and hedges were a ghostly grey, emerging from the surroundings as I cycled along my country route home. With fog there is no wind, of course, and that makes cycling much easier. When I got in I found I was much wetter than I felt, if that makes sense.

This afternoon we rehearsed for our for choir concert next week. We're doing Adiemus by Karl Jenkins; his Armed Man mass; Byrd's Mass for Four Voices; Parry's My Soul There Is a Country; Bainton's And I Saw a New Heaven; a setting of Ave Maria by our conductor, Neil Ricketts; Elgar's The Shower; and an arrangement of Over the Rainbow. We found it much easier singing in the church than in our usual rehearsal venue, a school drama room, so we're hoping we can go there more often.

Friday 19 November 2010

Traction engine brings coal fire and steam smells to Norwich

It was the smell of a cold towpath where smoke lazes from moored boats' chimneys mixed with the oily heat of a steam railway. And it was in the incongruous setting of Millennium Plain, between The Forum and St. Peter Mancroft church in the centre of Norwich.

A traction - or showman's - engine was being fired up next to old-fashioned gallopers as an attraction for Christmas shoppers. The smell was delicious.

Where there's brass there's ... polish.

One plaque (not photographed) indicated that it's now based in Oxford. The writing behind the driver's legs reads "Queen Mary".

Thursday 18 November 2010

Lee weir keeper sacked for leaving sluices open all night (in 1934)

In a comment on yesterday's post where I mentioned Ware, my attention was drawn to Ware Weir. Martin asks if I was impressed by its location. I didn't understand what he was getting at, so I did a quick internet search, and found a website with a feast of historical information on the Lee and Stort. It's at www.leeandstort.co.uk. The page I landed on was that on Ware Weir. Richard Thomas has collated information from the National Archive, the London Metropolitan Archives, and a box of Lee Conservancy staff record cards. There's also information from census records. The entries under "Ware Weir Cottage" are fascinating. Here are a few to whet the appetite (it's arranged with the latest dates at the top, so read from the bottom up).

19.1.1934  Gold had left the sluices open all night and drained the river above to a foot below bottom level., stranding barges and wasting an “enormous volume” of water.  “Further employment of this weir keeper would be dangerous; …that he had given trouble before…lately become absolutely unreliable”  “Dismissed forthwith” (NA Rail 845/118)


W Gold

Weir keeper

+ 2/6 per week

NA Rail 845/115


W Gold (56)

Weir keeper

Appointed at 21/- per week plus house and uniform

NA Rail 845/114

17.4.1920  Letter received from Ware UDC asking if the Board have any objection to the weir keeper at Ware Weir acting as steamroller driver occasionally.  Resolved that “Weir keeper Phillips be allowed to act…as steamroller driver, provided his work…is not interfered with…and that he does not wear the Board’s uniform during the performance of his work for the Council” (NA Rail 845/47)


Thomas Rock

Weir keeper

Died on 30th June but his goods have not yet been removed from the cottage

LMA ACC 2423/15

30.6.1916I regret to report that Thomas Rock and his wife have been taken to the Infirmary and both are in a very serious state of health.  They were allowed to live in the Weir keeper's house rent free on condition they attended to the Weir.LMA ACC 2423/15
22.5.1914- as the Amwell Magna Fishery Co's lease of the cottage expires on 24.6.1914, the occupant of the cottage, Thomas Rock, asks to be allowed to stay on.  The Amwell Magna Company pay us £20 per annum for the cottage and we pay Rock £5 a year for attending to the weir.  Rock, who is 72 years of age (and his wife 75) offers to hire the cottage at 4/- per week and will also attend the weir.  He is very old for the job, but I think he might be allowed to remain for a time.LMA/ACC 2423/014
2.4.1911Thomas Rock (68)Water BailiffSarahTumbling Bay Cottage, WareRG14PN7477 RG78PN363 RD133 SD3 ED1 SN159


Thomas Rock (44)

River keeper


Lea side

Great Amwell/6/39


John Wells

Tumbling Bay keeper


NA Rail 845/22


John Wells (68)

Lock keeper


Amwell End Lock, Crane Mead

Great Amwell/5/58


John Wells

Lock keeper

To Hardmead Lock to look after lock until house is ready for occupation

NA Rail 845/21

The records start in about 1761 and chart details of who looked after Ware Weir up until 1947. The entry dated 22nd April 1881 shows that the job wasn't without its dangers.

The successor to the unfortunate John Wells, Thomas Rock, is appointed at age 44. In 1914 Mr. Rock is 72, and attracts the following comment: "He is very old for the job, but I think he might be allowed to remain for a time."

He died just two years later, just after being taken with his wife to the infirmary.

There's lots more where this came from, including the sacking of a Mr. W. Gold in 1934. He had "left the sluices open all night and drained the river above to a foot below bottom level, stranding barges and wasting an “enormous volume” of water ..." Well worth a look.

Oh, and I still don't know the significance of where Ware weir was. (Or is.)

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Ware to go for a friendly wave

I know, everybody makes a pun on the Hertfordshire town's name. As we passed Swain's Mill, now a car workshop, in Ware on the Lee Navigation in August, I thought I saw one of the mechanics wave as I pointed the camera. It's only now that I've tweaked the picture that I can see that he did indeed wave.

This is in the central dark opening in the top picture.

Why do people do it? It must be that a boat is still a comparative rarity, and still seen as somehow exotic. That's fine by me!

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Catching signal crayfish in Hertford Basin

Back in August, when we returned in darkness from eating at The Old Barge, we found that "our" landing stage was occupied by three or four teenagers dangling string into the water. My first thought was that they were crabbing, but they explained that they were catching crayfish. The bait was the same as that commonly used by crabbers: a lump of bacon. They were happy for me to photograph the crayfish they'd caught, but I felt I'd have been pushing my luck had I pointed my camera at their faces!

I rather rushed these photos, hence the poor exposure and focus! The crayfish were, of course, the invasive American signal crayfish, which have all but wiped out the native species.

Monday 15 November 2010

Bow Locks lock keeper interviewed on Woman's Hour

As I was on a day off today I caught an interview with a lock keeper on Woman's Hour. It was with Annie Myers, who is responsible for part of the Bow Back Rivers area. It's available on the iPlayer here for a week (go to 32.59; it lasts until 43.16).

If you can't be bothered to listen to it, or if you're too late, I've transcribed it for you below.

(Jane Garvey) Now with the Olympics just under two years away, preparations around the park in east London are continuing. And the waterways are playing a big rôle in providing a transport link for barges which are carrying construction materials and building waste to and from the site. One of the people who looks after the network for British Waterways is Annie Myers. She's on the river Lee, and is one of just a handful of women who do this kind of job throughout the country. Louise Adamson went to meet Annie out on the water.

(Annie Myers) We've just come off the Thames, downstream from Limehouse, turned onto Bow Creek opposite the Dome. We're going to head up oh, wharf here, and then further ahead you'll see the entrance to what is a whole chain of navigable channels. Our first port of call from the Thames would be, er, Bow Locks, and from there we have Abbey Creek, we have the new Three Mills Lock. Since it's formally opened this is the channel from which our commercial barges which are taking all the materials in and out of the Olympic site, this is how they get onto the Thames and through the waterways system through to the Olympics.

Well, we've just passed Canning Town Station. Obviously it's quite industrial, but there's something very beautiful about this area because you can see all the large skyscrapers, but also we have the ecology park here. We have otter holts just up here, believe it or not. And it looks quite industrialised, and yet on the port side you can see the Dome; and on the starboard side we have reed beds and we have tree planting, so it's quite an interesting area connecting the two together.

(Flute and piano music)

I grew up on the Wirral, and obviously surrounded by water. It's always been there, that I have to be near water. We grew up giving pony rides up and down the beach, overlooking Hilbre Island, so, plus my uncle was working for 35 years at the docks, and my grandfather was always at sea, so there is some sort of familial link there. And then I had two different careers before I discovered that I might have the chance to work on the water.

We've arrived at Bow Locks now, which is one of the most important locks for the lower Lee.

(Louise Adamson) And is this one of the locks that you operate?

Yes, this is one of the main locks, this is our sort of permanent base for us here.

And what sort of craft do you have coming through?

Obviously we have all the pleasure boat users, mainly narrowboats, small motor cruisers, occasionally we have the rowing club coming through with rowing boats or kayaks, and we have commercial traffic, so we have a lot of hoppers, a lot of barges.

Because it's an interesting area, isn't it? I mean, we're standing here, we're near City Airport, we can hear the planes going over, we're sort of in the east end of London, there's lots of office blocks around, but at the same time I can see a swan coming towards us over there, moorhens, all sorts of wildlife. It's a real mixture, isn't it?

Absolutely wonderful. It's a lovely, lovely area, because you do have this mixture. You can vaguely hear the A12, which is right over in the distance, that leads to the Blackwall Tunnel. We have about eight pairs of swans on our stretch, as you see there are a couple of cygnets, they are nearly full grown now; there are the feisty coots; and we also have moorhens around; and ducks. Lots and lots of ducks that are breeding here.


I think we've got someone coming now, who looks as if they're going to want to go through the lock.

Yes, there's a skiff that's booked in for 1430 hours, so I'm just going to have to guide them through the lock now, and the procedures, and make sure they're securely moored before we operate the lock.

"Hello, good afternoon! You go over to starboard side, it's quite a high tide out there, I'll just put a line on your skiff, and then I'll lock up. We're having to work on the flood gates today. I'll just go and sort the gates out..."

We're standing in, I guess you'd call it the control room for Bow Locks, there's lots of dials and buttons. It's not like the old locks where you used to have to turn wheels and push the lock gates, is it?

Ha ha, no, not at all, it's all automated. As a woman it's not that that physical strength is absolutely necessary. (clonk) So we have to select "upstream", and then we have to go over to a different panel to get the tidal gates closed.

So it's all electronic, it's buttons that you're pushing that do all this?

Yes, this is actually all automated. Erm, the upstream tidal gates are now closed, so we have to go back to the control panel, (clonk) switch off the upstream gate, and on to the downstream set. So what we're going to do is, we're going to gradually open the penstocks, and what that will do is that will gradually lift the skiff up within the chamber.


"All the best, good luck with the race. (Laughter) Quite choppy out there ... all the best, bye."


Annie, we've come up now, we're standing on a bridge over the River Lee, and I know this bridge is very historic,and very unusual.

Well it's a very beautiful bridge that was completed in approximately 1850, the treads across were actually for the horses when there were horse drawn barges going from here. I don't know what the gradient is, it looks about 1 in 8, so it's actually quite steep for them, hence the, erm, grip slats. And the original stables are just behind us.

What does it mean to you to work in a place which is so historic? You do get a real sense here of this being a place where people have worked going back over centuries.

You can actually feel it. I don't know what it is about it. When you look back and read all about the people who have lived and worked on the waterways, all those centuries. There's always been some method since I think probably the thirteenth century to keep this tide at bay. You can actually feel the past here, Very important to us all today. It's a very wonderful legacy for us all.

So tell me about, what's your actual job here? Do you have a job title, what's your rôle?

Ha, well our official title is "Waterways Operative" but we're sort of ... well, I'm a Jill-of-all-trades I suppose because we respond to whatever is needed on the waterway, but fundamentally I suppose we are there to keep the navigation navigable, keep the towpath intact, do the lock keeping, do the weir management, weir clearance, weir control, and we do obviously the flood relief as well.

Is it unusual for a woman to do this job?

Well, it appears, it appears so. I don't know why it's unusual, I don't know why women aren't applying, I really don't. It's not like it's based on pure physical necessity. I mean a lot, if you look at a lot of our machines, they're mechanised, so it's not just about physical strength.

What about the people you work with, who I guess are all men. How does it work? I mean, do people accept you as just part of the team?

I think initially there was a wariness, they're not sure. They're not sure a woman can actually do what's required of them. Hopefully they accept you as they see as you can do the work. There is a certain amount of teasing involved in the job obviously, so I think a rubber skin and a pair of cloth ears help from time to time, to be honest!


Annie, where are we now?

We're actually at Three Mills Lock now, and as you see, there's a large lock chamber, and it was actually opened in June 2009, predominantly for commercial vessels at the moment. So the vessels coming in from the Thames will come up the creek, enter the lock, and they will be carrying, or they are carrying materials to and from the Olympic site. There's far more barges coming up, because we've got lots of rivers round the Olympic site, and obviously the stadium's on an island, and it's bordered by the Old River Lee, City Mill River, Bow Back River. And all that was opened up to the public before, and not very well utilised, whereas now it's erm, it's all coming to fruition, and eventually all these pathways will be opened up to the public, and the navigable channels for the boaters as well.

What then for you, finally, is the charm of this place? Because it's not obviously a rural location, we're in east London, you can see Canary Wharf over there, see the skyscrapers. What for you is the magic of working in this place?

I think it's the contrast. I mean, we're sitting on a lock island now, we've got all the wildlife going about their business, we're surrounded by water, we can hear all the traffic, muffled traffic in the distance ... It's just, it's just the diversity, the contrasts of the whole area. And you can see the developments going up all around us. It's changing so rapidly with the Olympics. Who knows what it will look like in five, ten years' time?

And what does it feel like for you, coming to work here every morning?

Oh, I don't get that, you know that typical cliché, the Monday morning feeling. I never have it. I never have it. And it's just fascinating watching people and animals ... and birds. Although it's work, and it can be busy and you can be tired, it doesn't feel like work.


(Jane Garvey) It does sound absolutely brilliant. That was Annie Myers who works for British Waterways in east London, and our reporter was Louise Adamson.

Sunday 14 November 2010

Reaching the end of the line in Hertford

Three months ago we were on the Lee Navigation aboard Willow. Like Captain Ahab, I'm one of those boaters who like to explore every available branch, arm, nook and cranny, so, after the last possible winding opportunity in Hertford, we carried on, gingerly, to see how far we could get.

And this, unless your boat can climb waterfalls, is the end of the line.

Then I reversed back to the landing stage (not far) where we moored for the night.

Top Thirty, 2010 week 46

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking as it stood at 1025 on Sunday 14th November 2010. This is taken, with permission, from Tony Blews's UK Waterways Ranking Site.

1 Canal World Discussion Forums (=)

2 JustCanals.com - Forums (+1)

3 Jim Shead's Waterways Information (-1)

4 Pennine Waterways (=)

5 Granny Buttons (=)

6 CanalCuttings.co.uk (=)

7 ExOwnerships (+1)

8 CanalPlanAC (-1)

9 Retirement with No Problem (=)

10 Jannock Website (=)

11 boatshare (=)

12 Canal Shop Company (+1)

13 Waterway Routes (+3)

14 Narrowboat Bones (+4)

15 UKCanals Network (-3)

16 Narrowboat.co.uk (+1)

17 Canal Photos (-3)

18 CutConnect - keeping boaters in touch (+7)

19 Towpath Treks (-4)

20 WB Takey Tezey (-1)

21 Derwent6 (=)

22 nb Lucky Duck (+1)

23 Baddie the Pirate (-3)

24 Trafalgar Marine Services (-2)

25 Narrowboat Caxton (-1)

26 Captain Ahab's Watery Tales (-)

27 nb Piston Broke (+3)

28 Water Explorer (-2)

29 Warwickshire Fly Boat Company (-2)

30 Google Earth Canal Maps (-1)

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.

There are 126 entries altogether. Halfie is at number 34.

Saturday 13 November 2010

NB Ferrous - made in Edwin's shed

We've just got back from the AGM of the Boaters' Christian Fellowship in Nottingham. A convenient location for many people ... but there are few places convenient for Norwich dwellers such as us. So a long day, but a good one. We got there at about 1130. While I drank a welcome coffee I watched and listened as BCF member Edwin Fasham talked about his narrowboat, Ferrous, which he is refashioning. Or reFashaming. The man is a genius. The base boat was made in 1974, from which Edwin seems to be keeping only the hull. He has extended the rear hatch area, made a completely new fore deck, and has fabricated a new cabin. And made new gunwales. Oh, and he's made an amazing model which he brought to the meeting.

He's keeping the same exterior cabin layout, but it's all new. I wish I had a photo of the actual boat, but the model shows it very well. Much of the cabin is stainless steel. Why? So that the decorative cast aluminium
uprights either side of the windows don't cause a corrosive electrolytic reaction.

What looks like a flat grey bar between Edwin and the model in the top photo is one of the actual castings (unfortunately you can't see the scroll work at one end of the bar). He casts the aluminium himself in his garden shed! He cuts the stainless steel himself, does all the welding himself ... everything!

It's not easy to see the signwriting on the cabin side of the model (I wonder who did that): it says

Founder & Engineer

There is much more that could be said about this project, but Edwin himself would be the best person to say it. I don't know if he has a website - a quick search hasn't come up with one.

Oh, forgot to say: he made the propeller himself.

Friday 12 November 2010

IWA calendar photos and Lee Conservancy weight limit

Just a quickie tonight to say that I responded to a request in the latest IWA newsletter. They wanted photos for their 2011 calendar, so I sent ten recent ones from various boat trips. Initially I sent the full sized photos, but they bounced back. Presumably the inbox of the person I had to send them to has a limit on how much data it can accept in one go.

We'll see if any get used.

Here's one I didn't send! It's David peering at a cast iron weight restriction notice on the bridge at the tail of Fielde's Weir Lock on the Lee Navigation.

It looks similar to this one on the swing bridge over Stanstead Lock, the next one upstream.

                    S R HOBDAY
                          CLERK OF THE BOARD AND
 JUNE 1930                     GENERAL MANAGER