Monday 31 March 2014

Abandoned or lived in?

This boat is tied up by the towpath at a certain place on the GU. It is listing alarmingly - is it sinking?

And yet it has some signs of having recently been someone's home: the laden bicycle; bags on the ground; the bike trailer; and clothes drying in the hedge.

I think the boat is called Short Fella. There is no glass in at least one window, and the blue tarpaulin billows in the slightest breeze.

It has been like this for some time.

Sunday 30 March 2014

Blisworth Tunnel: you CAN see all the way through

I was reading someone's blog the other day - sorry, I can't remember whose - where it was stated that it was impossible to see from one end of Blisworth Tunnel to the other. (It was something about a widebeam coming through).

But, as I found when approaching the tunnel last week, you can indeed see the light at the other end.

This is the north portal; I thought I was photographing the speck of light at the other end, but it hasn't come out too well!

When I looked back at the photo I thought it was the glimmer near the top in the blackness, but now I think that's a leaf. Also, it looks as if I'm not lined up with the tunnel: you can see the left wall but not the right.

Oh well, perhaps I'll be more successful next time.

Incidentally, I put the hammer down and made the transit in 29 minutes - and managed to avoid most of the waterfalls.

Top Thirty, 2014 week 13

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking (top thirty-six places) as it stood at 1555 on Sunday 30th March 2014. This is taken, with permission, from Tony Blews's UK Waterways Ranking Site.

Tony has a poll running inviting you to vote on some aspects of the ranking system: click here for details.

1 Canal World Discussion Forums (=)

2 CanalPlanAC (=)

3 Pennine Waterways (=)

4 Living on a Narrowboat (=)

5 Jim Shead's Waterways Information (=)

6 UKCanals Network (=)

7 Retirement with No Problem (=)

8 Water Explorer (=)

9 Waterway Routes (+1)

10 boatshare (+3)

11 Towpath Treks (-2)

12 boatrent (-1)

13 nb Epiphany (-1)

14 Contented Souls (+2)

15 BCBM Ltd (-1)

16 Canal Shop Company (+1)

17 NB The Manly Ferry (-2)

18 Captain Ahab's Watery Tales (=)

19 boats and cruising (=)

20 Narrowboat Dreaming .... Parisien Star (+1)

21 Narrowboat Briar Rose (+5)

22 Narrowboat Chance (=)

23 Seyella's Journey (+1)

24 Halfie (-4)

25 freespirit (+7)

26 Google Earth Canal Maps (+3)

27 Tony Clayton's Canal Photographs (+8)

28 nb Waiouru (+5)

29 Eileen Inlanding (-1)

30 The Association of Continuous Cruisers (-3)

31 Skippy's Random Ramblings (+5)

32 Still Rockin' (-)

33 Herbie (-8)

34 Milburn Boats Ltd (-3)

35 The Real Life of a Narrowboat Wife (-)

36 Boats and Canals Forum (-6)

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 111 entries, down from 112 two weeks ago.

Saturday 29 March 2014

Blisworth Mill; the boat which looked after Jubilee's shaft; and more on spelling

On my way back from the Grand Junction Boat Co. at Gayton Junction I passed the stunning Blisworth Mill.

Tied up opposite was Purity which had been looking after Jubilee's long shaft (boat pole) for two weeks since I kicked it into Stoke Bruerne Top Lock by mistake.

Thanks Martin and Sue for your help.


Further to my post about spelling yesterday, I've just watched part three of More4's Great Canal Journeys with Timothy West and Prunella Scales. Did anyone else spot the two spelling mistakes on the graphics?

Friday 28 March 2014

Dodgy spelling on the Grand Onion*

Approaching Stoke Bruerne bottom lock from the south is this CRT sign.

Oh dear.

And at Cosgrove Junction ...

Oh dear again.

Am I being too picky?

*You say onion, I say potato - let's call the whole thing a stew ...

Thursday 27 March 2014

A thousand little suns

Sunday 23rd March 2014

The day I brought Jubilee back from Gayton to Milton Keynes was a superb cruising day. It's a lot easier and quicker going down a flight of locks single handed than going up - especially when there are bystanders who can be roped in to close gates - and if the sun shines, as it did, then that's a bonus.

At Grafton Regis the sun sparkled on the water: the optics of the camera giving a starburst effect to every glint.

Doesn't this look like a map of Britain? Well, I think so.

Here's a wider crop to include the field of sheep and the sky:

And this is the original photo.

There you go: three for the price of one.

Sunday 23 March 2014

Boat leak fixed

After two weeks of no apparent progress with Jubilee at the boatyard it's suddenly all done. And I have picked up the boat and cruised it back to Milton Keynes. Ally had driven over to Norfolk to pay us a swift visit, and I get a lift back with her to MK; Ben then drove me to Gayton so I could board the boat last night.

The boatyard had helpfully moved the boat further along the Northampton Arm - had it still been at the boatyard I wouldn't have been able to access it as they are closed until Monday morning.

There is now a small, very neat, circular hole in the floor at the back of the cabin under the step. It's about 2.5" diameter, and it's plugged with the original wood from the hole, if you see what I mean. That had to be done in order to suck out all the water which had collected in the bilge. I don't know why it hadn't made its way through to the bilge pump under the stern gland. Anyway, I'm assured that a leak was found and is now fixed. It was from the first radiator of the run. Last night I checked the level in the central heating header tank - on the max line - and switched it on. So nice to have reasonably instantaneous heat throughout the boat!

I've left the hole uncovered for now as it's still rather damp and smelly down there. I have an old computer fan with me which I'll try to rig up to force a bit of ventilation.

On my way back to MK I stopped off at Blisworth to pick up the shaft (boat pole) which I last saw floating at the bottom of Stoke Bruerne Top Lock. Fellow boater Martin from nb Purity had very kindly fished it out for me two weeks ago (while I cycled to Wolverton to catch a train) and had been looking after it on top of his boat. He is now a bottle of wine up on the deal.

My progress down the locks was much quicker and more enjoyable than the passage up a fortnight ago - the presence of daylight in today's trip certainly helped! Going down locks single-handed is quicker anyway, as it's easy to haul the boat out of the lock and close the gate while still holding the centre line.

OK - that will do for today. Photos will have to wait until I get home. Now I must book my train ticket...

Friday 21 March 2014

The Practical Electrician's Pocket Book 1944

I rediscovered this on my bookshelf recently. I must have picked it up from a jumble sale or similar as there's no pencilled-in price.

I've been reading through it, getting a flavour of what was important 70 years ago and how things were done then.

One fascinating thing is the occasional reference to the war. In a section on mercury-arc rectifiers is the following:

"Recent experience has shown that glass bulb rectifiers are not affected in any way by the explosion of a high explosive bomb within twenty-five yards of the building in which the rectifier is used."


Incidentally, the spine of the book (about 3.5" x 4.5") doesn't have the title. It's taken up with an advertisement for commutator maintenance ("Use Martindale Commstones - Martindale Electric Co. Ltd., Westmorland Road, London, N.W.9"). Oh, the price of the book is there: 3/6 net. That sounds like a lot of money for 1944.

The pocket book is liberally sprinkled with great adverts ranging from The "Fluxite" Gun (price 1/6 or filled 2/6) to Nalders "Bijou" circuit breakers to John Tonks and Co. spring washers.

At the back is a table of Supply Voltages in the United Kingdom. I see that Norwich Corporation had DC supplies of 220V and 440V; and AC supplies of 230V and 400V at 50 cycles. Some areas had even more variation than this, for example, Northampton E. L. & P. Co. (probably Electric Light and Power, not Emerson, Lake and Palmer) supplied 210V and 420V DC; and 210V, 230V, 365V, 400V, 420V and 460V AC. Must have been a nightmare getting appliances to work correctly, unless the "non-standard" voltages were only for industrial use. Even so, you'd have to know whether your mains was AC or DC.


Update on Jubilee: the boatyard says that the boat is all fixed and ready for collection. Hooray! I don't know how much it will have cost me yet.

Thursday 20 March 2014

No word from the boatyard...

It's now two weeks since I took Jubilee to the boatyard for them to look at the central heating leak. And I haven't had any progress report. I e-mailed them after the first week: they said that they hadn't looked at it. I shall e-mail again tomorrow.

Monday 17 March 2014

Quizzical chimney

Spotted at Braunston in April 2013.

I love the expression.

Top Thirty, 2014 week 11

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking (top thirty-six places) as it stood at 1330 on Sunday 16th March 2014. This is taken, with permission, from Tony Blews's UK Waterways Ranking Site.

Tony has a poll running inviting you to vote on some aspects of the ranking system: click here for details.

1 Canal World Discussion Forums (=)

2 CanalPlanAC (=)

3 Pennine Waterways (=)

4 Living on a Narrowboat (=)

5 Jim Shead's Waterways Information (=)

6 UKCanals Network (+1)

7 Retirement with No Problem (-1)

8 Water Explorer (=)

9 Towpath Treks (=)

10 Waterway Routes (+1)

11 boatrent (+2)

12 nb Epiphany (-2)

13 boatshare (-1)

14 BCBM Ltd (+1)

15 NB The Manly Ferry (-1)

16 Contented Souls (=)

17 Canal Shop Company (=)

18 Captain Ahab's Watery Tales (=)

19 boats and cruising (=)

20 Halfie (+2)

21 Narrowboat Dreaming .... Parisien Star (+4)

22 Narrowboat Chance (-2)

23 Armadillo (+10)

24 Seyella's Journey (-3)

25 Herbie (-)

26 Narrowboat Briar Rose (=)

27The Association of Continuous Cruisers (-4)

28 Eileen Inlanding (-4)

29 Google Earth Canal Maps (+7)

30 Boats and Canals Forum (-1)

31 Milburn Boats Ltd (+4)

32 freespirit (-)

33 nb Waiouru (-1)

34 Like Ducks 2 Water (-)

35 Tony Clayton's Canal Photographs (-)

36 Skippy's Random Ramblings (-8)

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 112 entries, the same number as last week.

Saturday 15 March 2014

A walk in Wymondham

No, not near a navigable waterway. We went to the Norfolk market town of Wymondham (pron. WINDum) and walked alongside the River Tiffey.

A fence post supported the camera for this self-timed shot as we posed on the bridge crossing the river.

The well-known local landmark of Wymondham Abbey was visible for much of the walk.

Someone had put a dropped child's glove on a post ... as you do.

Looks like a rude gesture, doesn't it? Purely unintentional.

Thursday 13 March 2014

Garden fence repaired at last

On Christmas Eve last year, while we were away visiting family, I got an e-mail from our neighbours to say that our fence had blown down. Not all of it: just three panels which were in a fairly ropey state anyway.

When we got home I investigated the options. It's not a difficult DIY job, but when I added the cost of the panels, posts, concrete mix and delivery it came to about £135; fencing companies all quoted the same figure of £200 for them to do it. At the time the weather wasn't particularly pleasant, so I decided to pay the £200 and get it done professionally.

Of course, when they eventually turned up - everyone's fence blows down at the same time so all fencers were busy - the weather was perfect!

I get a quote for replacing the entire run of eleven panels, using concrete posts and concrete gravel boards, but that would have been £1,100.

This should last long enough.

Oh, I gave the lawn its first cut of 2014 yesterday. And I sat in the garden to eat my lunch today. Lovely!

Wednesday 12 March 2014

"Waterways Pageant" replaces National Festival

The IWA has announced that this year it will hold a Waterways Pageant at Saul Junction. This promises to have a very different feel from the National Festivals of the past. For a start, this will be free for everyone to attend. Scenes like the one below, from last year's Festival at Cassiobury Park, should, thankfully, be put behind us.

Despite the sunshine there were not enough people there to make it viable. So free entry should create a much better atmosphere, especially as the focus promises to be on boating rather than the commercial aspect.

We intend to go.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Mysterious tunnel at Great Linford

There's a curious brass plate set into the path by the offside visitor moorings at Great Linford. It's not very big and so is easy to miss.

It reads: "Crown of tunnel 4.760 metres below water level - May 1975".

Er... what tunnel? Looking at the OS map gives no clue. Perhaps there's a culvert down there.

Oh look, this is slightly easier to read.

The plate is just visible on the extreme left centre of this photo of Jubilee.

And to locate this more, the Nag's Head pub is just across the grass down from the mooring.

Monday 10 March 2014

Some problems with rubber hoses

On inspecting some of the pipework on Jubilee the other day I found two examples of things that can go wrong with rubber hoses which carry hot water.

The one in the foreground here had gone rock solid.

And this was so soft that it had kinked.

Both have been or will be replaced.

Sunday 9 March 2014

Mysterious bridge near King's Cross

On the train down from King's Cross on Friday, just north of the station, we went past a construction site by this strange bridge crossing overhead.

It looks to me as though it carries a railway, but it's too far north to be Crossrail (which is in tunnel in central London anyway). Does anyone know what this is, and why it's in the form of a tube?

Later on the journey our train used a new rail crossover viaduct. On the way up to King's Cross I'd noticed the new embankment twisting away to the right.

The clouds were interesting too, with flat bases. I should know what this signifies, but I've forgotten. It's not something to do with temperature inversion, is it?

Top Thirty, 2014 week 10

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking (top thirty-six places) as it stood at 1920 on Sunday 9th March 2014. This is taken, with permission, from Tony Blews's UK Waterways Ranking Site.

Tony has a poll running inviting you to vote on some aspects of the ranking system: click here for details.

1 Canal World Discussion Forums (=)

2 CanalPlanAC (=)

3 Pennine Waterways (=)

4 Living on a Narrowboat (=)

5 Jim Shead's Waterways Information (=)

6 Retirement with No Problem (=)

7 UKCanals Network (=)

8 Water Explorer (+1)

9 Towpath Treks (+2)

10 nb Epiphany (=)

11 Waterway Routes (-3)

12 boatshare (=)

13 boatrent (=)

14 NB The Manly Ferry (+2)

15 BCBM Ltd (+3)

16 Contented Souls (-2)

17 Canal Shop Company (+5)

18 Captain Ahab's Watery Tales (+2)

19 boats and cruising (-4)

20 Narrowboat Chance (-1)

21 Seyella's Journey (+5)

22 Halfie (-5)

23 The Association of Continuous Cruisers (+8)

24 Eileen Inlanding (+3)

25 Narrowboat Dreaming .... Parisien Star (-2)

26 Narrowboat Briar Rose (-1)

27 Narrowboat Harnser (-6)

28 Skippy's Random Ramblings (+5)

29 Boats and Canals Forum (=)

30 NB Northern Pride (-)

31 Rock n Roll (-)

32 nb Waiouru (-8)

33 Armadillo (-)

34 The Real Life of a Narrowboat Wife (=)

35 Milburn Boats Ltd (-5)

36 Google Earth Canal Maps (-)

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 112 entries, up from 110 last week.

Saturday 8 March 2014

... and then I lost the boat shaft ... and got help from the boating community

Friday 7th March 2014

Part two of the story: now for yesterday's excitement. I got up at 0630, determined not to repeat the previous day's battle with the clock. I set off from the long pound at Stoke Bruerne at 0715, but it was 0815 before I'd cleared the top lock. I was pleased to see Kathryn of Leo No.2, and we exchanged pleasantries before I got under way again. She warned me about the torrents of water gushing from the ventilation shafts in the tunnel, so I was prepared to put my hood up. I had a torch with me so I could look at interesting things in the tunnel.

The first interesting thing I saw was, well, the absence of a thing. The absence of the boat shaft, to be precise.


Immediately I knew where it was.

Stoke Bruerne Top Lock and the flag pole surrounded by phone lines. Kathryn has persuaded BT to reroute enough cables to enable the pole to be lowered, allowing flags to be flown for the first time in about 30 years

As I said yesterday, I bow hauled Jubilee up the locks. The only lock where I couldn't do this was the top lock, where there is a footbridge for gongoozlers. This would have got in the way. I therefore had to motor the boat in, and then climb out of the lock using the ladder in the wall. As I did so I was aware of a wooden clattering sound, but, at the time, I assumed that my foot had caught the plank as I stepped on to the ladder.

This was not the case. What had happened, I now realise, is that the centre rope had caught the shaft as I was scrambling up the ladder, flipped it off its cradle and sent it down the side of the boat into the lock. You might have thought that I would have heard it go, but the white noise of the water leaking through the top gates would have obliterated a small "plop".

And now I was in Blisworth tunnel, beyond the point of no return. One moment I was blissfully unaware that anything was wrong, now I was only too aware that Jubilee's expensive long shaft was floating in Stoke Bruerne Top Lock.

Had I but known it, the shaft was there when I took the above photo.

I had to keep going, of course. As I steered through the waterfalls in the tunnel I had plenty of time to consider what to do next. What I did was to continue to my destination, the boatyard at Gayton Junction, just on the Northampton branch. Here I talked Steve from the Grand Junction Boat Company through what I wanted him to do. Then he phoned Kathryn (at Stoke Bruerne) for me, but when he handed me the phone I found I was speaking to an answerphone. I left a message, asking Kathryn if she would be so kind as to have a look in the lock and see if the shaft was there.

With the boat handed over, I had to get to Wolverton Station in time for the 1237 train. For various reasons - southerly wind; relative proximity of stations - I had decided to go to Northampton and pick up the train from there. I set off in drizzle, and cycled 1/4 mile.

Then I stopped. And looked at the time. It was only 1020. I would surely have enough time to revert to plan A and cycle to Wolverton, a distance of 14 miles. Even with a headwind I could exceed an average speed of 7 mph, couldn't I? Yes, of course I could (barring punctures). And I would be able to call in at Stoke Bruerne to see if there was any sign of the missing shaft.

I suppose it was about five miles to Stoke Bruerne; it seemed to take quite a while. At last I was there, and cycled right to the top lock.

I looked over the edge, and there, floating in the empty lock, was the boat shaft!


Had no other boats passed through the lock since me, three hours previously? Apparently not, although the lock being empty mystified me. Perhaps the bottom gates leak more than the top ones.

Two people were walking past the lock and were just about to disappear beyond the road bridge. I called out to them, asking if they were boaters. They were; I explained my predicament; they said they would help.

I'm extremely grateful to Martin and Sue of nb Purity. Martin walked back to their boat to get his windlass while I filled him in on the background and my need to catch a train. Martin said he would fill the lock, fish out the shaft, and put it on his boat. He would then drop it off on Jubilee on Monday as they were heading in that direction anyway.

What a great example of the helpfulness of the boating community.

One thing I neglected to do was to see if Kathryn was in. I don't have her phone number so that was the only way of letting her know I'd located the missing item of boating equipment.

So now it was back to the bike for me, and a determined load of pedalling to Wolverton. At least the route was easy, requiring no stops for map reading. It was the A508 all the way to the big A5 roundabout, then through Old Stratford and on to Wolverton. Amazingly I got there with an hour to spare! The dread of missing the train must have spurred me on. I had time, therefore, for an excellent "Western Breakfast" at the North Western in Stratford Road.

the North Western

At the station I discovered that the train would be delayed by nine minutes owing to a "preceding slow train". Now, if only that had happened to the very first train of this excursion!

Wolverton Station building

The rest of the journey home went smoothly, I'm glad to say. When I got in I found a message from Kathryn saying that she'd searched from the top lock to the next one down, including the dry lock, without finding the shaft. Oops! Well, thank you for looking for me (more community spirit), and I'm sorry you wasted a chunk of your time.

Next time I need to move the boat I'll try to ensure that I can do it in a much more relaxed way! This was all a bit too hectic.

Friday 7 March 2014

It all started with me missing the train...

6th March 2014

I'd got up at 7 o'clock so I had bags of time before my train went at 0952. And that was taking into account the 20 minutes it would take me to cycle to the station.

At 0900 I was completely ready to go, but it was too early. I'd be hanging around on the platform getting cold with nothing to do. Suddenly it was 0920, and I thought I'd better hit the road. It was probably more like 0925 when the wheels started turning, so I still had time in hand.

Those seven spare minutes soon evaporated, though.

I got a puncture.

Only a slow one, but I had to stop three times to pump up the back wheel. And while the wheel is deflating there's more rolling resistance. I was up against it.

Though I pedalled like mad between enforced stops, I arrived at the platform at 0954. The train had left two minutes before, without me.

Oh dear. My ticket was an advance ticket, valid only for the booked train. While I thought what to do, and waited for the next train which would be along in 58 minutes, I repaired the puncture. A nice thorn was still piercing the outer tyre: I was able to remove it without pliers. A good job, as I had no pliers with me.

Inspection of the ticket and its accompanying reservation showed that the only time stated was that of departure of the train from Euston, the third and final train of the journey. I would continue to London and sort something out there.

Alexandra Palace, where I started my BBC career, from the window of the King's Cross train

The train to Cambridge was fine; and I got the connection from there to King's Cross. This train, as it happened, suffered a delay (at the Welwyn Tunnels). This was to be my saving grace. To cut a long story slightly shorter, a very kindly ticket office person at Euston listened to my tale of woe, and when I mentioned the delay at Welwyn she took my ticket without a word, stamped it with an official ink stamp, and wrote on it to the effect that I could catch the next train. Result!

Of course, another result was that I was now going to be an hour later to the boat. Time for the briefest of inspections of Ben's fantastic bathroom fitting efforts and a slice of pizza - thanks, Ben - and then Ally came home and gave me a lift to the marina. Thanks Ally.

I set off on Jubilee at 1615, but it seemed to take ages to get to Stoke Bruerne bottom lock. Now, I could have stopped there overnight, but I knew that the locks were going to take longer than usual as I was on my own, and I didn't want to be in a rush the next day (today). So I emptied the lock and bow hauled the boat in. After carefully filling the lock I pulled the boat half out, and then went to set the next lock. This, again, was against me. I ended up bow hauling up the first five locks (all but one against me), finishing in the dark. I was very grateful to tie up in the long pound. I lost no time in walking to the Navigation and having a large mixed grill (with some liquid refreshment too).

That was yesterday.

Today there was more disaster, but I'll tell you about that tomorrow.

(Sorry for the tease - this post has already gone on long enough!)

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Short cruise coming up

I've bought the train tickets, I've packed some things, now I'm looking forward to taking Jubilee to the Blisworth Arm (I'm not sure that I had realised there was such a thing). The purpose of the trip is to leave the boat with the Grand Junction Boat Co. for them to investigate the mystery of the disappearing central heating water. I'll ask them if they can fix the leaky mixer tap in the galley while they're at it.

The mixer tap leak? Well, it doesn't leak now, but that's only because we remember never to twist it. The H and C taps work fine, without dripping, but as soon as the spout is moved to a different position water leaks out of the join between the moving part and the fixed part. I have taken it apart and tried replacing various O-rings, but to no avail. And it's important to sort it out as the mixer tap is mounted on the wooden worktop. Any leakage is tending to rot the wood - not what we want.

Actually, what Jan wants is a complete replacement sink/drainer unit with the tap(s) mounted into the stainless steel. I agree that that might be better, but I don't know how that would be achieved without spoiling the nice look of the worktop.

So, the timings: my train leaves Wymondham at 0952 tomorrow. I change at Cambridge for the train to King's Cross. Then I have nearly 50 minutes to get all the way to Euston, a ten minute walk away (or 5 mins by bike). The train leaves Euston at 1254 and gets to Wolverton at 1352. Then I'll cycle to Thrupp Wharf Marina, which will probably take 45 mins. I might call in at the North Western for lunch.

At the boat I don't think I'll have enough daylight to get up Stoke Bruerne Locks, so I'll stop overnight at the bottom, continuing to the boatyard (actually at Gayton Junction) on Friday morning. After handing the boat over I'll then cycle the 13.5 miles back to Wolverton Station to catch the 1237 to Euston. Hmm. I'd better allow two hours for this, just in case. That means leaving the boatyard at about 1030, so I'll have to start on the locks at 0700 to be sure of getting to the yard with enough time for handing over. I'll be single handed so I need to give myself plenty of time, especially if there's tons of water pouring over the top gates making them difficult to open.

Perhaps I'll have enough time to get up some of the locks before I run out of daylight tomorrow...

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Crossing Grafton Street Aqueduct in Milton Keynes

22nd February 2014

By hopping off just before the Grafton Street Aqueduct on the GU in MK it's easy to nip across to the railway walk bridge over the same road and take a photo of the aqueduct.

Here is Jan steering Jubilee across (heading towards Wolverton).

It's a shame the railings get in the way, but there is a path on both sides of the aqueduct, so they are unavoidable.

I would think that most road users are unaware that boats can and do cross overhead. If they happen to pass underneath at the right moment they probably get a surprise. The best example of this was last year when Ally and Ben drove under as we were going over. Pure coincidence. There was a bit of hooting and much waving from both "vehicles".

Monday 3 March 2014

Caption competition

In Wolverton's Secret Garden we came across a Bill Billings* sculpture. A couple on a settee watching television. I had to sit down between them and take a self-timed photo, didn't I?

Next time I'll take a picture of what they/we are watching.

In the meantime, the photo is crying out for a caption. Any offers?

*Bill Billings was the creator of the black and white mural along the nearby GU depicting Wolverton's history

updated to add info

Sunday 2 March 2014

Top Thirty, 2014 week 9

Here is the UK Waterways Site Ranking (top thirty-six places) as it stood at 1425 on Sunday 2nd March 2014. This is taken, with permission, from Tony Blews's UK Waterways Ranking Site.

Tony has a poll running inviting you to vote on some aspects of the ranking system: click here for details.

1 Canal World Discussion Forums (=)

2 CanalPlanAC (=)

3 Pennine Waterways (=)

4 Living on a Narrowboat (=)

5 Jim Shead's Waterways Information (=)

6 Retirement with No Problem (=)

7 UKCanals Network (=)

8 Waterway Routes (+2)

9 Water Explorer (+2)

10 nb Epiphany (-2)

11 Towpath Treks (-2)

12 boatshare (=)

13 boatrent (=)

14 Contented Souls (+12)

15 boats and cruising (=)

16 NB The Manly Ferry (=)

17 Halfie (+5)

18 BCBM Ltd (-1)

19 Narrowboat Chance (=)

20 Captain Ahab's Watery Tales (-6)

21 Narrowboat Harnser (+14)

22 Canal Shop Company (-4)

23 Narrowboat Dreaming .... Parisien Star (=)

24 nb Waiouru (-4)

25 Narrowboat Briar Rose (=)

26 Seyella's Journey (-5)

27 Eileen Inlanding (+1)

28 Herbie (+6)

29 Boats and Canals Forum (=)

30 Milburn Boats Ltd (+1)

31 The Association of Continuous Cruisers (-7)

32 Narrow Boat Albert (-)

33 Skippy's Random Ramblings (-6)

34 The Real Life of a Narrowboat Wife (-)

35 Tony Clayton's Canal Photographs (-3)

36 Baddie the Pirate (=)

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 last week.

Saturday 1 March 2014

Post van and crocuses ...

21st February 2014

... or a study in red and yellow.

I just put my camera down at ground level, pointed in what I hoped would be the right direction (I couldn't see the screen) and pressed the button.

I'm rather pleased with the result, serendipitous as it is.