Day one of the Tipton Canal Festival turned out to be sunny, warm and busy. There was a constant stream of people walking past our BCF boat race game; most of the time it was just Jan and I running it. We were helped for a while by Trevor, who had driven from Stoke-on-Trent to see us.
Before the crowds arrived a man came over to say that he could remember the Halford Branch, the location name signwritten on our boat. He then told me that he was born on a boat, first steered aged five and worked with his family, the Tolleys, first for Fellows, Morton and Clayton, then for Thomas Clayton bringing tar from Ellesmere Port to Oldbury for distilling. He said that it took only 15 minutes for the tar to be pumped out of the boats. I wish there had been more time to talk to him as his memory was sharp (although I find it astonishing that tar could be pumped so quickly). His surname is Tolley but I can't remember his first name. Can anyone help?