Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Old boat reveals its name

Problem: How do you identify an apparently nameless boat as you pass by?

Answer: you take a photo of its licence ...

... and then zoom in afterwards.

So this is Paragon. But, in this case, the identification problem doesn't necessarily end here. According to Roger Fuller's website on historic boats LMS boat Rival, built in 1929, was renamed Irlam. It was then renamed Paragon, but was apparently offered for sale in 1989 in two halves.

And if each half spawned a new boat, which half can legitimately call itself the "original", the "historic" boat? Or can both halves claim that?

Perhaps Paragon never was split into two, and remains the original iron BCN day boat (except now with a cabin).

photographed 4th April 2013 on the Coventry Canal by Fradley Bridge

Monday, 29 April 2013

A Norfolk walk including the River Yare, more snow and wooden birds

Last Saturday we joined the usual suspects for a walk in a lovely part of Norfolk.

The walk was a 5.4 mile stroll centred on the village of Claxton. We started from Rockland St. Mary, walking along a short cut leading to Rockland Broad. This looked very canal-like, with its concrete edging.

You don't get too many signs like this on the canals, though!

A typical Broads cruiser motored past ...

... while we walked part of the Wherryman's Way along the River Yare. (The river flows into the sea at Great Yarmouth.)

Despite temperatures hitting 20˚C earlier in the week, there seemed to be snow lingering on some roofs.

Or perhaps it was the previous day's hail, concentrated to look like snow.

In the centre of Claxton a tree had been receiving the attentions of a wood carver...

... commemorating the London 2012 Olympics by incorporating the interlocking rings into the village name...

... overseen by an owl ...

... and a swift.

St. Andrew's Church was very simple inside.

It retained the box pews for the lord of the manor and his family.

At last, the daffodils were out.

The last leg of the walk took us across a ploughed field with a well-defined path.

An excellent walk - thanks Tony and Helen - and I'm glad it didn't rain. I'd forgotten to bring my coat!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Huddlesford Junction and the eastern end of the "Lichfield" Canal

Easter Cruise day 4, 4th April 2013

After the overnight at Hopwas we continued north along the Coventry Canal. At Huddlesford we stopped so I could explore what I could of the eastern end of the Wyrley and Essington Canal - or is it the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal, or the Lichfield Canal? Whatever it is, the junction signpost gave the first indication that visitors were not welcome.

At the junction is the building housing the headquarters of the Lichfield Cruising Club. The towpath bridge is gated with plenty of barbed wire to ensure that only authorised people can get through. A swan was sitting on its nest sheltered on three sides by the wing wall.

Across the canal were the remains of a NO ENTRY sign dangling from a piece of scaffolding. Boats were moored on both sides.

David and I walked the few yards to Bridge 83 where we crossed the Coventry Canal. Just under the railway bridge is another access point to the Lichfield Canal, barred, of course.

Pressing on, we were able to cross the canal at Watery Lane Bridge, having walked down a footpath. This is the view back towards Huddlesford Junction.

By taking a short cut across a field we quickly got to Cappers Bridge, whose rebuilding was in part thanks to ...

... the European Union.

We were well over our allocated exploration time by now, so we went back the same way to the boat.

Top Thirty, 2013 week 17

There's a message from Tony Blews below this week's chart ...

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking (top thirty places) as it stood at 1635 on Sunday 28th April 2013. This is taken, with permission, from Tony Blews's UK Waterways Ranking Site.

1 Canal World Discussion Forums (=)

2 CanalPlanAC (=)

3 Pennine Waterways (+31)

4 Living on a Narrowboat (-1)

5 Jim Shead's Waterways Information (-)

6 Water Explorer (-1)

7 Retirement with No Problem (-3)

8 Waterway Routes (-2)

9 UKCanals Network (-2)

10 nb Epiphany (-1)

11 boatshare (=)

12 nb Waiouru (-2)

13 Towpath Treks (-5)

14 Canal Shop Company (-2)

15 Narrowboat Briar Rose (-1)

16 BCBM Ltd (+16)

17 Captain Ahab's Watery Tales (-)

18 Narrowboat Chance (-5)

19 Milburn Boats Ltd (-3)

20 M. B. Willow (-5)

21 NB The Manly Ferry (-1)

22 Baddie the Pirate (=)

23 Seyella's Journey (+4)

24 Halfie (-)

25 Boats and Canals Forum (-4)

26 Narrowboat Dreaming .... Parisien Star (-8)

27 Contented Souls (-4)

28 boatrent (-4)

29 UK Waterways Ranking Site (-10)

30 Rock n Roll (-5)

31 Narrowboat Starcross (+2)

32 'Eileen Inlanding' (-6)

33 One Thing After Another (-16)

34 Narrowboat Tacet (-5)

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 94 entries, up from 81 last week.

Tony Blews has asked me to remind all users of the UK Waterways Ranking System to update their websites to use the ukwrs.co.uk address instead of the coobeastie.co.uk one. The older coobeastie address will cease working half way though May. Thanks.

To update my Blogger blog I logged in to ukwrs.co.uk; clicked on the Manage Site option in the top left of the page; and copied the code from the appropriate box. Then on my blog I clicked on Layout; found the HTML/Javascript "gadget" corresponding to the ranking position; and replaced the code there with the code I'd copied from UKWRS.

People are gradually changing over to the new code, so the chart is still volatile.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Bird-brained chaffinch keeps banging its head against our window

For several weeks a pair of chaffinches have been repeatedly flying into our sitting room window.

We think they do this to be aggressive towards perceived competition, i.e. their reflection. It's usually the male who perches in the fig tree, then flies up at the window, bashes its beak once on the glass, and returns to its perch.

This happens every two or three seconds until, I suppose, it gets fed up. Or until I get the camera out to try to get a better photo.

The stupid chaffinches have done this to the kitchen window as well. Every day we'd hear a regular tapping - it has died down a bit now.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Greyhound heard but not seen

... until later

Easter Cruise day 3, 3rd April 2013, Hopwas

As per the schedule we ate at the Tame Otter pub. The Red Lion had been recommended, but there was hardly anyone in there whereas the Tame Otter was heaving. Next time we'll have to try the Red Lion.

On leaving the pub to walk back to the boat I heard the distinctive sound of a single cylinder semi-diesel engine working hard. Everywhere was still and quiet - apart from this - and it took some time before, at last, the boat powered by the engine came into view. The Bolinder - what else could it be? - had slowed to an irregular beat to pass the moored boats.

The boat was FMC Greyhound, built, according to Roger Fuller's historic boats website, in 1926 by Yarwoods.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Does this count as a "historic" boat?

Easter Cruise day 3, 3rd April 2013

This former work boat passed us on the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal at Hopwas.

Formerly known as Grenville, it looks to be recently acquired from CRT/BW.

How old does a boat have to be to count as "historic"? Or is it sufficient to have been a bona fide working boat?

This was not the only former working boat to pass us here. Tomorrow, a couple of shots of one which passed in the dark. We heard it coming from a long way off.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Ice, towpath repairs and lots of punctures

Easter Cruise day 3, 3rd April 2013, Atherstone

There was more ice this morning. It seemed to indicate that the water level had dropped several inches overnight, but we were not aware of any problems. We had moored half way down the Atherstone flight so a fluctuation in levels is to be expected, I suppose.

CRT were working on the towpath between two of the locks. No walking along here until it's finished.

David had been doing some bike/car shuffling. Some of this involved cycling along a section of towpath. When he made it back to the boat he set to repairing the punctures he'd picked up. Eight of them!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Jetsam on the Coventry Canal

Easter Cruise day 2, 2nd April 2013, Coventry Canal

Leaving Nuneaton we passed through a few very rubbishy bits of canal.

Perhaps it was merely that a particular combination of wind direction and sheltered/exposed bits of canal had the effect of concentrating the jetsam, but it was unpleasant all the same.

It would have taxed even Maffi.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Unusual sights in Nuneaton

Easter Cruise day two: Nuneaton, 2nd April 2013

After the cold start described yesterday we carried on to Sutton Stop. Here we waited behind a hire boat descending the lock.

As we went through the lock we could see the novice boaters ahead making heavy weather of the 180˚ turn onto the Coventry Canal. As we exited the lock they waved us on - they were regrouping before another attempt.

We stopped in Nuneaton for a look round the town, and for Adrian to buy his train ticket to get home the next day. There was still snow lying in odd patches: I think the small pile David used to chuck snowballs at Fergus was the remains of a snowman.

On our way to the town centre - not well signed from the canal - we saw a most unusual wedding procession.

I'd taken this photo before I realised that it was actually a hearse. I hope I haven't offended anyone.

We looked inside the museum. It wouldn't have taken long, but I made the mistake of following directions to the loo via the slowest lift in the world. It even had a notice asking passengers to be patient as the lift wouldn't move within 30 seconds of the doors closing.

Standing guard outside was a statue commemorating the men of Nuneaton who fought in South Africa 1899 - 1902.

At last, we found some shops. I liked the hardware shop with its wares spilling out all over the place.

The name of the building - the George Eliot Building - honours the famous author. The museum had a display recreating a living room of the period, complete with George Eliot and her family.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

This is how cold it got

Day two of our Easter cruise, 2nd April 2013

We woke up at Stretton Stop on the Oxford Canal to find the boat iced in. Not immoveably so - the ice was no more than 1/4" thick, but we decided to stay put until someone else broke it for us.

At what temperature does wine freeze?

I'd left a glass out overnight - the dregs were solid. There obviously wasn't enough antifreeze in the wine.

We didn't have to wait long before an icebreaker came along.

Perhaps they were on their way for a reblacking session anyway.

The ice hung in sheets around the base of reeds, always seeming to be above the water level. I noticed this to an even greater extent a couple of days later on the Coventry Canal.

We seem to have a cross between a zebra and a dinosaur on board.

I'm not surprised Fergus isn't showing his face.