Friday, 20 October 2006
Thursday, 19 October 2006
Caphouse mine is an amazing place. It is the National Coal Mining Museum of England. Above ground the old pit head still exists. Most of the old buildings stand proud as a monument to the age of hard graft and totally unrealistic working conditions that were the mainstay of the industrial era and up to the present time.
Below ground, 450 ft down the mine shaft to the old coalface, the museum moves from the late 1700's through to present day technology. The early part of the subterranean display is quite emotional, I think that is the right way to express it, the conditions were unthinkable for a soft southerner like me. Women and children as young as 5 were used to harvest coal for the nation to burn. An hour and a half of guided tour under the local towns and villages is more than enough for any one.
Steve, our guide, helped to soften the blow with his northern humour. Back on the surface the visual exhibits were absolutely superb. All well displayed, in a modern building. A tape plays continuously, listing all the mining disasters, and the death toll. You cannot help be humbled by the figures. If you are ever in the area stop by you wont be disappointed.
Oh and I discovered I don't have an anchor. It is on order but not yet recieved. Humpfffff.
Sunday, 15 October 2006
Tuesday, 10 October 2006
Monday, 9 October 2006
Still a bit uncomfortable in that I don't have curtains and there are not enough towels to do the job, but I get by. Once tied up I get a shower whether or not I intend to go to the pub. Dinner is as healthy as I can manage, I am no Jamie Oliver………yet. I see I have already lost a few pounds. Some of my trousers that were a snug fit are now falling off my hips plus I made a point of getting some scales for this very purpose.
I was up at 6 am. And took a walk along the 'river' bank just to see what was there (I'm an intrepid explorer at heart, ho ho).
I went through Kirklees Low Lock with out incident, which surprised me because I seemed to have so much trouble before having to remove my rear button, I must have been having a Maffi Day. I stopped at Brighouse Bottom Lock not wanting to go any further. While operating paddles for others (I need the practice) and such it occurred to me that the flow pattern of the exiting water would have an effect on my boat. I looked around the corner to the landing stage to see Milly a fair few feet away from the edge. "Oh shit!" I ran to the mooring just in time to catch the rope before it fell in the water and spent the next 10 mins heaving her into the side. Another lesson learned!
On the way back I helped a boat up through Coopers Bridge Lock. There were four guys onboard about my age. They left the lock leaving me to go down on my own. Thank you guys, I don't think!
Back at Battyeford Lock I Made a cuppa and waited a while to see if anyone was coming up rather than waste a lockful of water. After about an hour two small boats came up together, so my time wasn't wasted. They even let me down through the lock and I was on my way. Thank you, Elizabeth.
I watched a fisherman reeling in a crayfish. I had never seen one before, Crayfish that is. Why do the call them fish? Anyway I was so busy watching him that I ended up on the other side and had to navigate some trees. Sad to say my coolie hat under the influence of the tree bounced down the roof and into the water before I could catch it, Doh! Another lesson learned, screw it on! My smoke stack is now adorned with a red and white striped plastic bag, very Gucci.
Saturday, 7 October 2006
If you can't see the picture right click and select 'open link in new window'
I will go out again this weekend in the other direction, towards Leeds. Hopefully this will be my last shakedown run. Maybe Brian will have forgotten about his fence by now.
It would appear that going to the eastern side of Manchester is fraught with danger. Mike Bycroft was telling me that a police escort has been necessary to travel that part of the canal.
Nick and Diane left last Tuesday after spending 11 days cleaning their hull and putting on the primer and undercoat. Diane was a bit upset when the first can of undercoat was apparently too thick and left 'curtains' on the upper cabin. It will rub down, but that is not the point. The two of them worked so hard to get the finish they wanted only to have it spoiled by bad paint. I supplied them with cups of coffee last week, but I don't think that was any compensation.
Wednesday, 4 October 2006
Last night I tried the stove out and nearly choked me sen to death. No one told me that the first burn would release a load of toxic fumes. There was me just out of the shower at 11 o'clock at night leaning out the open side hatch in the buff gasping for air. Not one of my best boating experiences.
Had anyone been looking through the galley window they would have had a ring side seat veiwing my butt with my head out the side hatch.
Ya gotta larf aint ya?
It p*ss*ed down last night, even had me awake at 4 in the morning.
Today is going to have to be a washing day. I had planned to wash each time I had a load, but so far that has been a bit of a pipe dream. Well I mean, all I wanted was a machine that will wash and dry and tell me when it's done. What I have is a machine that requires a degree in dial setting and button pushing that would have Einstein scratching 'is head. Why is it not simple?
Do I really need three turny knobs and 6 buttons, not to mention the 9 led's, to say 'wash this' and gi'us a shout when it's finished. No! My old candy had one knob which was push/pull for off/on and I had the only cycle required marked with purple felt tip pen. Oh so simple. Sometimes I think technology is wasted on me.
I still have a lot of 'putting away' to do. My last box from Saudi hasn't yet arrived even though it arrived at LHR 4 days after I sent it at the beginning of September. It should come this week according to Carla at LHR who was more concerned with how I got her number than getting my box to me. Apparently they tried to deliver it two weeks ago, but were told that no one knew me here. The fact that I have sat on the wharf for over two weeks would tend to say that someone is telling porkies. Funny old thing It has just arrived as I am writing this. Gotta go!
There was a wine cruise going on from the local boat club. Given that wine and locks don't go together there are crews of lockers (all sober) along the route, which was nice because I didn't have to do the first three locks. It was quite a day; I didn't have to do the first two locks in Brighouse either. Such lovely people these Yorkies.
At Kirklees Top Lock there was a bunch of kids, 6 – 13, most helpful kids who obviously don't conform to the 'bandit' classification. All interested in the boat and boating.
Having moored before Cromwell Lock last night I was left with the decision whether to go a further 7 locks to Salterhebble to turn around or reverse up a mile through Brookfoot Lock to see if I could turn at the corner. Reversing up seemed like a good idea, that is until the Bow Thruster stopped working, but not to be put off I did it anyway. I also managed to turn the boat at the corner without touching the sides, so I am well pleased.
This boating malarkey is a doddle. Hard graft yes, but nonetheless a doddle. Once I got it into my head that slow does not mean 4 mph, but hardly moving at all, it all seemed to fall into place. If I keep learning at this rate I will be an expert in time for my funeral, which I hope will be a very long way off.
Ropes supplied, fore and aft, are far too long for the job. Once I sorted out a centre rope every thing was a lot easier. I will use my forward rope for the centre eye, tying it exactly in the middle giving me one rope either side. The aft rope I will cut in half for the stern and bow ropes. Sorted!
All in all a good weekend, learned a lot, taught myself a lot. Even the weather stayed good for most of the time. Most important of all I met a whole pile of really nice people along the way, the kids included.
Oh and yes she did go through Kirklees Bottom Lock, quite easily with the rear button off.