Boating catch up
After all the excitement of last weekend you would think it would be a quiet, boat free week - but far from it.
Wednesday had more than a touch of ground hog day about it - 12 noon found me back on the site of Patent Shaft, again, meeting about 20 boaters, again, and taking them for a walk along the Bradley Branch to the Lock Gate factory and back via the Gospel Oak Pub and branch canal, again.
Its odd how groups differ. Last week everyone was all kitted up and ready for the off at noon sharp but this week it was all much more laid back. Canal time had set in and we had a leisurely introduction to the history of the area all washed down with a very acceptable pint of Bumblehole, which commanded a ridiculously low price of £1. I suspect that a deal had been struck for the last few pints in an open cask at the Titford Gathering the previous weekend - and I was very happy to be a recipient.
A gate in a crate
The weather was scorching hot, which makes three sun kissed Explorer cruise walks on the trot and certainly shows off the area to its best advantage.This time I gave the participants a copy of a map of the lost canals and this helped them engage with their surroundings, asking lots of questions and giving me plenty of opportunities to wax lyrical about the BCN in general.
Map on the wall of the Bradley works
The staff at the lock gate factory always seem happy to turn off the tools and show parties around, explaining how gates are made and letting the visitors see just about everything. Somehow you will always find a few of us (mainly Stuart) gathered round the skip extracting interesting and invariably heavy souvenirs. On my last visit I was disappointed to miss out on a 2010 gate plaque but this time I picked up half a dozen big gate bolts which will cut down nicely to form part of the false floor on the butty.
The new floor on the hold of Montgomery
And that offers the perfect Radio 2 segway into an update on the Jam Butty. This Bank Holiday offers a great opportunity to crack on with the new boat but sadly the weather on Friday didn't want to play ball. Helen demanded my muscle down at the wholesale market at 6.00am so I was up and about arriving on site at 8.30 and immediately set about installing a floor. As usual, nothing was square but I got there in the end.
Mid morning the Truths arrived to take Wand'ring Bark out to Etruria via Middlewich so with them gone I moved Montogmery into my main mooring slot where I had a supply of power and grabbed my opportunities to get some red undercoat onto the boat. The raim showers kept coming over but in the end I managed to pain the bows and the cabin roof plus the hold bulkheads / doors. Its great to see the boat taking shape.
No boat work on Saturday, but with the BCN Challenge taking place there should be lots to photograph during today's photographic workshop based at the Titford Pumphouse. No doubt the end results will be published tomorrow.
Good luck to all you Marathon Challengers and Crick attendees!