Monday, 29 June 2009
The voice of
Saturday, 27 June 2009
27th June 2009
Thursday, 25 June 2009
It is part of a serious campaign to get cyclists to take more care as then travel along the towpaths, some of whom seem oblivious to the safety of other users.
Is this a good use of resources? Well, like the 3d effect of the street art, it depends how you look at it. Viewed from above it makes no sense taken from the right perspective the results come dramatically into focus. It’s a bit like BW’s funding problems – viewed straight on, the expense of the system is high for a limited number of boaters, but step into the millions of towpath users shoes and the cost benefit equation is radically transformed.
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
By Gerard Morgan-Grenville
I owe a debt of gratitude to Jim Davies of nb Starcross. His original review of Barging into France prompted me into buying a copy of its sequel, Barging into Southern France. If that wasn't enough, he then kindly agreed to do a swap with me and the above book was waiting for me when I got home from work last Wednesday evening. Two days later and I had finished it, spellbound by a the tale of an epic European boat trip undertaken nearly forty years ago.
Whilst I rated the second book "very good" this introductory publication was even better - A* in fact.
All my questions about the nature of the boat and how he came to be in the middle of France were answered in a beautifully crafted narrative. He made it plain that the tale was about the boat, Virginia Anne and the places she visited, not about the character of her crew.
ISBN: 7153 5456 6
Sunday, 21 June 2009
It's been a big day in the Ahab household.
Belle, after seven years of hard work, has graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Literature from the Open University. I am so proud of the way she has stuck at this task during some very difficult years, and to end up with a First - Congratulations!
Today was the official graduation ceremony at Symphony Hall, Birmingham - which was the scene of my own graduation twelve years ago.
A new frock was purchased and a gown ordered and she looked stunning (as well as very clever).
The ceremony was followed by a family celebratory meal at The Living Room on Broad Street. So what connection can all this have with the waterways?
Well, its a bit tenuous but:
1. A lot of the study took place on Wand'ring Bark
2. The award ceremony took place alongside Brindley Place
3. The meal was in a room overlooking Gas Street Basin (design - not chance).
Congratulations Belle, I am so proud of you. Here's to the Masters you start on the Autumn.
Friday, 19 June 2009
I like most things about boating, but chilling out with a beer at the end of a long hot summer's day is right up there at the top of my list.
Belle has taken exception to these airborne invaders and rather than consume half my salary on aerosol products with names like Doom and Raid, and further denude what little remains of the ozone layer, I have decided to invest in some flyscreens for Wand'ring Bark. Of course, to merely buy some flyscreens would be too easy, so a DIY approach was called for. This has resulted in screens for both the front and back doors, at a price I can afford.
Front door screens before stain / varnish
I was pondering what sort of netting or gauze I could use when I remembered the power of the Web. One quick search on Google using the ford "flyscreen" quickly led me to "The Flyscreen Company". Its name suggested that I was on the right track and I promptly ordered the minimum amount of polyurethane coated glass fibre mesh. 5m x 1.2m for £24 plus P&P which duly arrived a couple of days later.
The bottom layer of the timber sandwich with mesh about to be cut
The product is great - virtually unbreakable. I can't break even a single strand with my bare fingers. This bodes well for the life span of the finished product. I then called in to the local timber merchant and bought 15m of softwood batten for the frames. Great - all set, except I miscalculated and forgot that I would be using two layers of batten with mesh sandwiched in between. Der...
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Saturday, 13 June 2009
But this action put the idea of replacing her X reg car firmly centre stage in my mind, and the following day I spent some time on Auto Trader looking at what is what in the market, and what we could get for our money. That evening discussions went further and it was decided that what Belle really wanted was something similar to the current car, just newer, more reliable and more fuel efficient (diesel).
- We considered the fact that one car had pulled up first (but the other was turning round in front of the house at the time). No solution in first come first served.
- We considered a dutch auction, but I didn't really want to play that sort of game.
- We finally settled on the toss of a coin to see which offer should be accepted. I had to borrow a coin from one of the prospective purchasers and allowed the lad for whom the car was potentially being bought to call - heads.
Staffs and Worcester Canal
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
Following NB Starcross's recent review of Gerard Morgan-Grenville's first book, Barging into France I came upon a copy of the second in the series, Barging into Southern France, which I purchased for slightly less than the 1972 cover price of £2.95.
Of course, I should have read the first book first, but from the off I found this second book a real page turner in its own right. It follows his journey in an ancient estuary barge "Virginia Anne" south from Epinal in mid France to Castetes near the Atlantic coast. This journey covered the Canal Marne a Saone, Canal bu Burgogne, River Saone, River Rhine, Canal Rhone a Sete and finally the Canal du Midi over three cruising seasons.
Its very much a book about the place rather than about the people he met along the way, providing a detailed account of what was seen and done causing me to make repeated references back to the maps provided at the start of the book. Morgan-Grenville's jourmey appears to have been inspired by an earlier journey down the Upper Saone, undertaken by Philip Hamerton in 1886 and who is extensively quoted and provides historical context to this trip, which he saw as possibly one of the last journeys along some the the lesser waterways.
Morgan-Grenville was a man of many talents and added thirty beautiful pen and ink drawings, which add significantly to the images his words create.
Saturday, 6 June 2009
A weekend is never complete without a watery fix. This weekend it was the lads annual sea fishing trip involving the core of the "boat boys" staying in an assortment of houses and flats owned by three of the eight participants.
In the event the morning was overcast but still and dry, so a decision was made by Chris the skipper to take his boat Bilko out of Aberdovey and see how things went. We stopped for 45 mins just off the Aberdovey sandbanks and caught a hundred or so Mackrel, some of which were to be used for bait. We then moved northwards along the coast and took up a position about a mile off Tywyn and spent a couple of very satisfactory hours reeling in:
With storm raging over nearby Snowdon and Cader Idris we decided to make for home at 3.00pm, and were promptly soaked by a mixture of rain and spray from the bows. What a contrast, the previous weekend it had been stifling hot with tee shirts and shorts, and now we were all wrapped up in fleeces and waterproofs, trying to stop our beer mugs from the Brittania Inn slipping through numbed fingers. A typical British summer!.
Mr Truth's DogfishNotwithstanding the deteriorating weather, it was a joy to be out on the salty stuff appreciating yet another watery perspective on life. Oh, and my tally : over 20, but with a specialism in the wicked Weaver Fish.