Monday, 31 October 2011

Oooo I didn’t get far.

Although I only set off on the 4th of October, I have now (in the last six weeks) travelled the full length of the Oxford canal (arms excluded). According to my calculations I have travelled 100.5 miles 8 moveable bridges and 48 locks. That does include Banbury/Cropredy 3 x
Wigrams/Braunston 3 x and Braunston/Hawkesbury 2x


One could be forgiven for thinking that this blue rope had no real function at all other than maybe from stopping the fence from falling over. Some of these fences can be tricky you know!


However it is attached to the one side of the floating shock absorbing cushions and another is attached to the other side, they both being joined together in the middle. I say shock absorbing because I think they have a twofold purpose. A. to stop you hitting the bridge )which is obviously in a considerably poor state) and b. to absorb your shock that it has been like this for four years
22102011774This is not the only one though this might be the worst. BW do not have the funding to sort this and I think it’s a fairly certain bet that C&RT will never have the money either. So I have to wonder , “What is the plan?” Is it a case of waiting for it to fall down then dig out the canal? In the meantime are BW hoping against hope that no poor boater is under it when it collapses. Or maybe the plan is to dig a winding hole either side of the bridge so that when you come across a collapsed bridge you can turn  around. We know from past experience that some managers do subscribe to the ‘3H’ management system (that's Hope, Hoping, Hopeful)


There are 86400 seconds in a day and at the most a boat takes 5 seconds to pass under. 5/86400=17280. So there is a 1 in 17280 chance that the bridge will fall on one boat passing under the bridge and a 1 in 86400 chance of it hitting the end with someone on it, unless the female member of crew leaves the galley to sun herself on the forward sun deck at which point the risk is doubled to a 1 in 4320 chance. If 50 boats a day pass under the bridge that becomes a 1 in 345.6 chance of hitting a boat and a 1 in 1782 of hitting the end with some one on it and a 1 in 8640 chance should the crew lounge around on the sundeck, of the bridge collapsing on a boat. Nonetheless this is still an acceptable risk or they would have fixed it by now instead of wasting £40,000 on the Thrupp lift bridge and £90,000 on the mooring pontoon and barrage at Isis Lock and £200.000 on Belchers Bridge above Aynho.

Tea anyone?


‘Just another five minutes dad’DSCF1441

Milly M on her temporary mooring, Braunston Marina Behind the hedge.DSCF1450

Dover out on the hard.DSCF1442If ever you find yourself with a lump of brickwork you can’t be assed to move, make a feature of it.DSCF1448

This in inventive.DSCF1449First sunset of the new time zoneDSCF1454

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Closing the Gap

[This from the Chesterfield Canal Trust site. These guys are doing some sterling work in getting this canal open.]

In 1968 the Chesterfield Canal was saved from complete closure. In 1989, nearly half of it was a muddy ditch or had disappeared completely. Since then the navigable parts have been cleaned up. More than half of the rest has already been restored, including building 11 new bridges. In 1989, 16 locks worked, now 52 locks work. 4 of these were restored by our Volunteer Work Party; they designed, engineered and built a fifth from scratch.

In 1989, 26 miles of canal were navigable, but boats kept getting stuck in weed, now 37 miles are virtually weed free and are used regularly. In 1989, there was a Trebor sweet factory near Chesterfield station, the site now has the new terminal canal basin which has been dug as the centrepiece of the £310 million Waterside development.

The Chesterfield Canal has come a long way in 20 years, we believe that the time has now come to Close The Gap and link Kiveton to Staveley making it possible to take a boat from the River Trent into the heart of Chesterfield for the first time since 1907.

Another half mile of canal was created at Staveley in 2009 as part of the Northern Loop roadworks.

Staveley Town Basin will be dug in the first half of this year.

Hollingwood Lock House is being rebuilt and extended to create a social hub and cafe, opening this summer.

Restoration of a stretch of canal at Renishaw was completed in 2009.

The people of Killamarsh have agreed upon a new line for the canal through the village and Killamarsh Greenway follows this route.

The site of Kiveton Colliery has been redeveloped with the route of the canal clearly defined.

Kiveton Waters fishery is designed to become a new canal marina.

Ecological studies, archaeological studies and engineering studies have been completed for virtually the whole of the unrestored gap. Plans and designs exist for locks, bridges and aqueducts.

An economic assessment study by Gibb Ltd. in 2001 predicted that the complete restoration of the canal would lead to the creation of over 1000 permanent new jobs and over 1700 temporary construction jobs with an annual tourist income of over £3 million.

We advocate that major works should start as soon as possible to boost the local economy, improve the environment and preserve the heritage of James Brindley's last canal.

Saturday, 29 October 2011


This is an old CRT TV it would be a bit large to fit on a narrowboat although I have seen some fairly large TVs on boats. It was dumped on the tow path below Blue Haven Marina. I really must ask those who dump stuff like this to have some consideration for my advancing years. Although this had been relieved of all its internal components it was still bloody heavy and awkward to get on the stern deck, more so to get it off again at Braunston then lift it up to put it in a dumpster.


Today I went up to the top lock to visit with Keith and Jo on Hadar. On the way me and Molly filled a bag and during the rest of the day a further 3!


Tickled Pink

On Thursday I was pased by Canalworld Forum member Starcoaster who has just bought her own boat. As you can se here she is tickled pink right down to her finger tips. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone so excited (except Bones on Christmas Day). Her boat, Wendy May, is a 30 foot Springer that she bought off e-bay for a bargain price.27102011801This is she onboard with another forum member Carl T who leapt into the breech to help her move it and teach her to helm the boat. She is too excited to do anything, but hold on. Matty40s also turned up to share in her exuberance.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Coombeswood Canal Trust

I found the Coombeswood Canal Trust (CCT) as I was wandering around the net. They are part of the Dudley No2 Canal on the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN). I noticed they had little over 5,000 hits in the two years they have been running. This seemed a little unfair to me as my blogs gets 10 times that  pa for the dribble I write. The CCT and the Coombeswood Canal Company (CCC, the trading arm of the trust) are providing a good service to boaters on the BCN and deserve our support.  I will be up that way in a few weeks and will stop by, I will probably need a refuel by then. I will report back with what I find. Meanwhile click on the site  have a look at what is going on and make them feel they are cuddled by boaters everywhere. The Trust also has a Face Book page here

CCTProceeds of the 2011 working group. Didn't they do well?

Hawkesbury Junction

I visited Hawkesbury Junction a few days ago. It is a conservation area.

As conservation areas go it is/was quite nice. The work done is good but there is no follow up, Dog bins have not been emptied and there is rubbish every where. The water point is a mess along where it says Coventry Canal in the picture and up the lock you wouldn’t believe. The lock surrounds are crumbling away and there is litter and prop foul and dog poo all over the place. Not what I expected at all.

DSCF1393Outside what I assume is the old lock keepers cottage

DSCF1385The poo bin

DSCF1394 The crumbling lockside

DSCF1382Prop foul just dumped. There were several piles just discarded.

DSCF1383This is a water point. I wouldn't use it

DSCF1384As is this from which the locals have hived off a connection for the own personal supply

DSCF1391The bridge looks nice but the wooded area to my left is piled high with rubbish. Here I am standing on the tow path on the map where it says Coventry


Thursday, 27 October 2011

You get what you pay for

When it comes to bricks it is all important to use the correct ones. Or else they fail if you use cheap ones. Probably looked very nice when it was done. DSCF1428


Two pictures 180 degrees apart



Wednesday, 26 October 2011


I moored up not far from Blue Ocean Marine.  With the boat secure I took Molly the Wonder Dog for a walk along the litter strewn towpath. With plastic bag in hand I set about clearing the path. I had a strange conversation with a woman walking her dog.

“That’s very public spirited of you,” she said.

“Yes I suppose it could be construed as that,” I said as I put yet another dog poo bag in the bin liner.

“Some of the mess the boaters leave lying around you wouldn’t believe.”

“Ah! says I, “but I am a boater.”

Now between you and me, I thought she was going to choke to death, but alas she didn’t. She mumbled that I must be one of the better ones and toddled off as fast as her little legs could carry her.

Rolling on the floor laughing



Newbold tunnel north of Rugby was illuminated in 2005. There are ten groups of three lights  facing the offside wall. That’s 30 large sodium style lamps. 16 of these are defunct. So the ‘rainbow’ effect is not really apparent. The object of the lamps is to light the way through the tunnel for boaters (who have their own tunnel lamps) and pedestrians. Well the tunnel is only 185 yards long. It is quite well lit from natural light, but the time you really need the tunnel to be illuminated is after sunset and that is when they turn them off. Apparently there are bats that drink the water at night and they don’t want to disturb them. There is an old saying about about peoples inability to see the stupidity of their actions, ah yes, Blind as a bat!


Ansty again

In total I removed 5 bin liners of rubbish from Ansty. However I simply refused to remove this.

DSCF1368That, peeps, is a full size bath.

My boat roof looks bad enough as it is with wood coal and bicycles on it but with 11 bin liners full of rubbish on it I looked like a right pikey.


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Ansty poo centre.

Last night I arrived in Ansty. I moored up just through  bridge 15. The bridge is under repair.
DSCF1366 There are 2 black bin liners worth here. To be fair this is probably because the bridge is out.

Although I cannot think why a temporary bridge like this should stop dog poo engineer from collecting the deposits.

Well before I got up some idiotwat did this:-DSCF1367

So I placed a bag over the bin and attached a notice saying


DSCF1369Now I don’t know what it is about dog owners, but this is simple. You don’t need a degree or a PhD. So you can imaging my ire when I returned a few hours later and found this.


Some idiotwat has opened the bottom of the bag and dumped in another bag of poo. Now there are those that say it only a minority that are responsible for this sort of thing, but lets remember 49% is a minority, so we are not necessarily talking a couple of people we could be talking about nearly half the dog owning population in Ansty

Monday, 24 October 2011

Dog Poo Bin

This story is taken in its entirety from the Buxton Advertiser. Read it carefully and ask your self what BW did wrong. (all bracketed comments are mine) Despite the removal of the dog mess bin at Toddbrook Reservoir dog owners have continued to drop waste there.

Despite the removal of the dog mess bin at Toddbrook Reservoir dog owners have continued to drop waste there.

Published on Sunday 23 October 2011 11:00

COUNCIL chiefs are appealing for Whaley Bridge dog walkers to show ‘common sense’ after a row over a dog waste bin left a local beauty spot a mess.

Residents have been kicking up a stink in recent weeks over the unemptied bin at Toddbrook Reservoir, just off Reservoir Road, which had been left to overflow with bags of dog faeces, which were subsequently being deposited on nearby grass.

The complaints prompted High Peak Borough Council to take the unusual step of removing the bin off British Waterways’ land (if as they say later that it is not their problem why did they take the bin away from BW property),  but this has failed to solve the problem, with bags of rubbish and dog waste continuing to blight the beauty spot.

High Peak Borough Council said any past arrangements with them for emptying the bin on behalf of the landowner were “lost in the mists of time”, (council guilty of poor record keeping) together with the circumstances under which the bin had originally been installed (every dog is owned by a taxpayer so why shouldn’t the council empty the bin without charge).

“It is British Waterways’ responsibility to keep their land clear and tidy,” a council spokesperson said. “This bin has not been on our list to empty for many years, but we did empty it from time to time when we were in the vicinity. (the poo bin man, for want of a better phrase, would have a regular route so he would be in the vicinity as regularly as his route defines). 

“We have returned the bin back to British Waterways and offered them a quote for the annual cost of emptying the bin under contract. (why should BW pay the local council to take away the poo that is left by their taxpayers). Ultimately, if British Waterways do not accept our quote and do not make any alternative arrangements to empty the bin or keep their land in a litter-free condition and clear of dog waste (it seems to me that BW should ban local residents from walking their dogs there) , then we have the power to take enforcement action (bloody fascists).

“We are appealing for dog walkers to show common sense and not leave dog waste in an area where there is no bin (it is obvious that their dog walkers don’t have any common sense), and to either put it in the nearest suitable bin (did the council put up a sign saying where the nearest bin is? after all they stole the bin from BW in the first place), or take it home and dispose of it in their general waste,” the spokesperson said, adding that anyone caught failing to clean up after their dog risked an £80 fine. (cleaning up after their pet isn’t the problem, it what to do with it after the council has wantonly stolen the bin that it doesn’t want to empty)

The issue was discussed at a meeting of Whaley Bridge Town Council last Thursday, when councillor Ron Bowdon questioned why dog waste had been allowed to accumulate at the site as it was a serious danger to public health (because they stole the f***ing bin).

Council chairman Jon Goldfinch said the majority of dog walkers disposed of dog waste responsibly, but added: “It all comes down to people keeping their own environment clean and tidy.”

David Baldacchino, waterway manager, Manchester & Pennine Waterways, said: “We have been discussing the situation regarding the dog waste bin at Toddbrook Reservoir with High Peak Borough Council. We have now come to an agreement and we expect the bin to be reinstated shortly.

“It is disappointing that people have carried on leaving waste at the site when there is alternative disposal facilities close by (where is the sign).

“If the bin is full in the future, we would urge people to use the alternatives or take their waste home.” (yeah right that is not gonna happen)

Question: So what did BW do wrong?

Answer: If the council as they claim had no responsibility for the bin then they trespassed on private property and stole the bin. BW didn’t report the theft of the dog poo bin to the police. Had they done so they could have cut a deal with the council to drop the charges in return for free emptying of the bin in future.Winking smile

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Taliban gas attack

If we bring our troops home from Afghanistan before the local population are properly prepared to look after themselves, the Taliban will move straight back in. The medieval ideology will return and young girls will be condemned to the most horrendous life. Read this. Gas attack on high school girls

Friday, 21 October 2011


Gosty Hill came this morning (Thursday) and I parted with some of my well earned sovs in exchange for 5 bags of coal. You wouldn’t believe the fuss a hire boater made because Gosty was breasted up delivering coal.

I set off before lunch heading towards Braunston. I quite like this stretch of the canal once you get past the junction it becomes very wide, compared with the narrow canal up to now.

Local farmers are vandals. Look what they did!


These are up to 5 inch diameter trees just hacked to shreds for a distance of several hundred yards.


Just smashed into fire wood and left all over the tow path for people to trip over.


BW are not happy and the farmer is being told to clear it up

I arrived at Braunston only to find some old friends moored up as I turned on to the GU. I breasted up for a short while for a quick chat, keeping my station with forward and reverse and short blasts on the bow thruster. Suddenly the BT stopped working. I later found out that my bow rope had fallen in the water and been sucked into the BT and was then firmly wrapped around the impellor. Doh!

It seems I moored up in the very same place that Chas & Anne of nb Moore2life had left only a few hours before. On a recent blog post they put up this picture of a stretch of the canal that was under repair.

111011-1Well when I came through there had been considerable progress.

DSCF1280Well done British Waterways!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Community Spirit

I have a cunning plan and I need your help, but more of that later read on. Yesterday evening (Wed) and again this morning (Thu) I set out with a black bin liner, a lazy hand and a bucket I walked along the tow path picking up rubbish I found in the hedgerow. Also I picked up odd bits of wood and from piles of ash I picked up unburned coal. I collected one bag full of rubbish and two yes 2 buckets full of fuel for my fire, this included about half a bucket of coal.


I am quite pleased that I removed so much rubbish from the towpath/hedgerow, but more pleased that Thursday night I didn’t need to use any fuel that I had paid for and instead kept the boat warm for free.


Now to my cunning plan. For about two years now I have walked around the area of my mooring from the wharf to the pub then on to the road side up  to the traffic lights along the foot path and under Langford Lane bridge back to the wharf I have picked up all the litter I saw about once or twice a month. Often I collected a bin liner full. It kept the area clean.

lazyhandNow I reckon if we all armed ourselves with a lazy hand which can be bought from ARGOS for only £9.99 then when we arrived at a new mooring, be it in a town or in the country, we could all take the time to a) forage for fuel and b) pick up the litter that others wantonly leave behind then we will be warn in our boats and the towpath will be so much cleaner. If you only did 100 yards it would make a difference, a big difference.

I would suggest clearing up doggy doo but that might be a bit too much to ask, but if you feel you can do  that then the local council will provide bags FOC or TESCO basic nappy sacks are only 9p per 100.

I would like to think that a good many of you would climb on board with this and even encourage your friends to join in. OK OK I know you are thinking ’it is not my job’ well no you are probably right, however BW do not have the resources to do it and the C&RT will defiantly not. So logically if we want to see our canals cleaner it really is up to us to sort this out.

So who will join in? You know you might as well say yes or I will nag everyone for months and I am so good at carrying on don’t you know. Photographs of participants and their haul can be sent here and I will post them.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

No bangers!

It’s an odd life I have. Today I simply sat on the veranda and read until lunch time. Then I got dressed to pootle off to Napton. As a boat going north passed I started to untie ropes. The Sewing boat came by going south. They fixed my cratch cover after it had been slashed earlier this year. Then the other Sewing boat came south as another boat came through the bridge going north. The Sewing Boat moved over to my side of the canal to let the other boat past and lost it in the wind and the northerly boat had to wait while she got it sorted. Before SB No2 came as I said I was untying my ropes. So now there I was hanging on to my front rope. SB got it sorted eventually and the other boat passed. SB came by even though there was yet another boat at the bridge hole. I quickly tossed my front rope on board and let go aft. I didn’t want to wait in a queue for an endless stream of boats to pass me but I can imagine that the last boat going north which reversed out of their bridge to let SB through, thought I was being a pain, they wouldn't have seen the preceding 10-15 minutes.

However the boat that was now in front of me let me go down the flight first as they were only going to the Old Engine Arm. Which was nice. A chap working at the old Lock Keepers house at the bottom of the flight locked me through the last lock and I pootled off to Braunston.

On passing the Bridge Inn I noticed that on Tuesday nights the was an offer on 10oz steak £8.95 Ok I stopped there for the night instead of going on. Silly me! Later when I went in and ordered my steak the barman said it only applied on Tuesdays.
“But this is Tuesday,” I protested.
“Er no sir its Wednesday,” he said.
“What, where has Tuesday gone?”
“That was yesterday sir.”

I am still thinking I have been duped. I don’t remember Tuesday being gone or what I did on Tuesday that made it go.

My steak that I was so looking forward to was reduced to Sausage and mash. No not bangers, not even SuasageS. Sausage. It was a big one, but still ‘a’ sausage. Not only was it just ‘a’ sausage (of the spiral kind) it spiralled for a left handed eater. Nonetheless jolly tasty as sausages go, and this one did, go that is, straight into my tum.


19102011768_thumb2The only saving grace for not getting my steak was the pudding. Lime cheese cake, didn't last long though. Absolutely scrummy! And the Guinness was only £3.25 which was another plus. Sunday night in the Wharf Inn Fenny Compton I had paid £3.70 and in The Brasenose at Croppers I am sure it was £4.00 (and they didn’t serve a full pint).

And so to bed. Night Night.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Priors Hardwick

Today I met up with John and Jan Halford, ‘Halfie’ to blog readers. They moored just behind me yesterday and we were due to enjoy a pint together but it turned out that they were too tired for socialising as indeed I was after a roast beef dinner with the Wrens. So at about 9.45 this morning I heard a small voice in my slumbers "Maffi are you up?"  I started chatting through the window then the side hatch, then John said to get dressed come for a tea. I had a look around nb Shadow. It is a nice boat and is probably what I would have designed had I ever seen more boats.DSCF1197 After they left I went to say my good byes to the Wrens and set of on my merry little way. Its been a bit windy today and quite cold, though the sun shone bright all day. I find this bit of the canal somewhat boring. Though today I stopped for the night short of Marston Doles at bridge 124 Spurfoot Bridge. I stopped here because about a mile across the fields is the village of Priors Hardwick. It is supposed to be a must see and I can tell you I wasn’t disappointed.DSCF1189DSCF1174DSCF1175

DSCF1176The local bee keeper must have been kept busy.


On this memorial obelisk were the names of at least11 members of the same family. Haynes.

On the way back to the boat I picked a few pounds of sloes. There are tons of them up here.

PS I have now left Oxfordshire and have entered real dragon land Warwickshire. One has to be very careful the dragons disguise themselves as horses. There seem to be lots of dragons in disguise.

Sparkles day out

DSCF1096Sunday and my visitor was imminent. Whilst waiting at the bridge Graham and Jane nb Alnwick stopped to unload their car onto their boat. Graham was off bell ringing. As I sat outside the shop on the low wall I instinctively waived at the car coming over the bridge. It was Kate a twitterer who had come for a day out with her son Charlie 5. Kate is thinking about buying a boat. A piping hot mug of tea was drunk and we set off. The wind was cold at first and it seemed that we would be wrapped up for the rest of the day. After locking through Cropredy Lock it started to warm up and by Broadmoor it was very pleasant if a bit windy at times. We had very pleasant trip up arriving just after 4pm. Finding a space by the pub gardens we moored up and went for a later dinner at the Wharf Inn.

DSCF1097As we were finishing our meal The Wrens arrived to start the car shuffle. All in all it was a lovely day. Kate was fun to be with and Charlie is a diamond. Charlie slept all the way home.