Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Spring Cruse 2016 ❾

Hillmorton to Rugby

Date:  27th April 2016

Overnight the weather was cold with showers of rain.

Morning:  Stocked up with food we filled with water on the Hillmorton water point. Before a steady cruise to Rugby.  The water point in Rugby was not working - which proves the old rule. Never pass a working water point!

Afternoon:  Moored up on the park side.

Evening:  Television watching.


Wildlife: 

Birds: House Sparrow, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Starling, Blackbird, Mallard, Mute Swan, Pied Wagtail, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Coot, Moorhen, Canadian Goose, Wood Pigeon, Buzzard, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Black Headed Gull,  Sedge Warbler, Swallow, Pheasant,and Green Woodpecker.

Butterflies: Meadow Brown,

People walking the towpath - 5
People cycling the towpath - 0
Boats on the move - 6

Today's Total:

Miles: 3.0
Locks: 0
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 4.0

Accumulated Total:
Miles: 2732.9
Locks: 1744
Swing / Lift Bridges: 362
Tunnels: 63
Pump Outs: 26
Engine Hours: 3671.9

Monday, 25 April 2016

Confession time.

OK, OK I have a confession to make....

In a moment of weakness I went on one of my infrequent sojourns on Farcebook.  To a forum that is becoming more widely known as NUGgets-R-Us. 

It seems that some of the NUGsters have become aware that there is someone spray painting graffiti on the Inland Waterways. I can only assume that some of them must have gone to Specsavers and obtained for the first time a pair of non rose tinted spectacles. There was an immediate outpouring of angst and foot tapping. However the conflagration flames were quickly fired, to incandescent levels.

In 'Groundhog Day' scene, resembling the hand to hand fighting in the Bore War - 'Pump-out -v- Cassette' - altercation. The usual entrenched battle lines were quickly drawn and the sniping began prior to the main heavy artillery exchange of a salvo of smoke and mirrors.

On one side was the First 'Curtain Twitching' Division of the IWA. (Independent Waterways Army) The ground troops included the 'your boat is not shiny enough' brigade. Who immediately identified the graffiti culprits as - disgruntled boaters, who had been refused a boat licence. 

How you can be a boater without a licence never entered into the accusation. Which was proven beyond any unreasonable doubt. Using the same Kafkaesque logic that – it must be train drivers - that are spraying graffiti on the railways infrastructure. 
It should be remembered that CaRT have also spent money carving poetry on lock gates. CaRT have also spent money on 'Artistic Graffiti' competitions on waterways walls. 
On another side was a small detachment of the common sense brigade. However, as the battle commenced. And being hopelessly out numbered and outgunned. The small common sense detachment fearing for their sanity. In a scene reminiscent of Dunkirk, evacuated the arena. 

The second group of participants in the battle were the well entrenched commandos of the canal bridge trolls. Who added nothing to the conversation but helped by adding extra vitriol whenever the flames died down. 

The final group of participants in the battle were the CaRT apologists - who as usual - loudly harrumphed several times. Then from a lofty position - said that cleaning the graffiti was money being wasted out of the CaRT maintenance budget. 

The argument that this is money that could be spent on canal maintenance is a spurious one. CaRT deliberately underspend by about 50% on maintenance year on year. Nigel Johnson, CaRT's ‘Legal Director' made a sworn statement to the high court that in 2013/14 ‘The cost to the Trust of maintaining the inland waterways is approximately £130m per annum'. Have a look in the annual report for what is actually being spent.

This is not reducing the number (50,000 plus) of repairs. This £130 million figure is to reach a steady state where it gets no better or no worse. This is a continuation of the years of BW underspending – which went on for well over a decade prior to CaRT.  

As for another widespread held delusion that CaRT is only taking miscreant boaters to the High Court – it should be remembered that CaRT has lost more than it has been successful with.

All that aside – graffiti encourages more graffiti – just as dumped rubbish encourages more fly tipping. Boaters would be far better if they were united against such practices. Rather than making sweeping generalisations that do more to fragment the waterways communities than anything else.
 

I could not help but think that the nuclear fallout will be around for a while - so my brothers in arms - take care out there - its a jungle.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Spring Cruse 2016 ❽

Braunston Marina to Hillmorton.

Date 23rd April 2016

Overnight the weather was clear and very cold.

Morning: 9:30 saw me throw off the ropes and head back up the north Oxford canal. Waved goodbye to Maffi who was going heading southThe wind had quite a bite and so the garb of the day was hats, gloves and a warm coat.  Intended calling in at the canal shop for fuel - but it was closed. Current price is advertised as 60p a litre.

Afternoon:
Hillmorton waterpoint to take on water. Then went back up the lock to  Granthams Bridge.

Evening:  


Wildlife:

Birds: House Sparrow,  Magpie, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Blackbird, Mallard, Mute Swan, Pied Wagtail, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coot, Moorhen, Canadian Goose, Buzzard, Black Headed Gull, Sedge Warbler, Swallow, Green Woodpecker the highlight being the first Sedge warbler of the year. However, there were no skylarks in the fields.

Butterflies: Meadow Brown.

People walking the towpath - 11
People cycling the towpath - 0
Boats on the move - 9
 
Today's Total.
Miles: 7.5
Locks: 4
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 11.0


Accumulated Total.
Miles: 2729.9
Locks: 1744
Swing / Lift Bridges: 362
Tunnels: 63
Pump Outs: 26
Engine Hours: 3
667.9


Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Spring Cruise 2016 ❼

Rugby to Braunston Marina.

Date 19th April 2016

Overnight the weather was mild and included the odd shower.

Morning: An uneventful trip through the Hillmorton locks.

Afternoon: Late afternoon we arrived in Braunston. The waterpoint and elsan are still out of commission.

Evening: Into the Boathouse pub for a meal with a couple of friends Dave and Wendy. Watched television in the evening.

Wildlife:

Birds: House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Rook, Blackbird, Mallard, Mute Swan, Pied Wagtail, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coot, Moorhen, Wood Pigeon, Black Headed Gull and Swallow.

Butterflies: Meadow Brown and Small White.

People walking the towpath - 1
People cycling the towpath - 1
Boats on the move - 5

Today's Total.
Miles: 10.1
Locks: 3
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 6.3

Accumulated Total.
Miles: 2722.4
Locks: 1740
Swing / Lift Bridges: 362
Tunnels: 63
Pump Outs: 26
Engine Hours: 3656.9

Get a mooring or keep moving

It has been an eye opening experience  with Nazi salutes included to read through some posts on various Facebook boating forum. Its the usual CCer -v- MMer (Constant Cruiser -v- Marina Moorer) rhetoric. Portrayed by some as being a simplistic issue. At the same time, trite, crass, insensitive and flippant answers like 'either get a mooring or keep moving' does not begin to answer the real crux of the issue.

There are people who will take advantage of any situation. The inland waterways are no exception. The 1995 Inland waterways act addresses the issue with simplicity. There is one licence and there is no requirement to take a mooring. In this way, depending upon your circumstances you can then choose one of two lifestyles. A sedentary one in a marina or a roaming one, out on the cut.

The 1995 act is an all encompassing, simple, precise and clever bit of legislation. Nowhere in the act is there a distance that you are required to move. Nowhere in the act is there a restriction on retracing your steps. There is however, a temporal requirement to be on a bone fide navigation. In other words you should have a 'reason to move'. The default reason to move is the catch all clause of 14 days being the maximum amount of time that you can stay in one place. 
The Canal and River Trust has however muddied the clarity by introducing their own interpretation. Introducing the notion of a distance to be travelled - while at the same time - not giving a precise, but alluding to a minimal distance.

There is however, a safeguard built into the act which is based around extenuating circumstances. There are occasions when people are taken ill or other unavoidable circumstances overtake them while living on the Inland waterways. The natural empathy and compassion of people is to try and support such individuals. It pains me to say that some of the previous evictions carried out by CaRT have been visited upon the sick, old and vulnerable boaters in our community.

One old and confused lady living alone and obviously suffering from mental health issues. Was evicted onto the towpath with her only possessions. Which happened to be the clothes she was wearing. While her home was towed away. She remained living on the same bit of towpath for weeks. Eventually other boaters were able to get the social services involved and her protection ensured.

The trust washed its hands of the situation with the mantra - 'we are not social workers'. Another one used by the trust is 'we are not landlords'. While at the same time – the trust offers residential moorings. Where was the duty of care we all owe to everyone. I wonder how well the claim 'we are not social workers' would go down if a school teacher ignored a child being bullied. By saying its nothing to do with me, 'I'm not a social worker.'

Yet enshrined in the 1995 waterways act is a provision which allows you to stay in one place if circumstances dictate. When illness sneaks up, be it upon someone old and living alone with dementia or even someone young with a life threatening cancer. Their priorities are going to significantly change. A boater should not need to be looking over their shoulder for the enforcement officer. How can someone with a life threatening illness get access to medical services. If they are being chivvied along to a new place every few days.

Its not always as clear cut an issue as some people might think. As a community we boaters should be showing some compassion by supporting the sick and vulnerable. Trite, crass, insensitive and flippant answers like 'get a mooring or keep moving' can never take into consideration or take into account the individuals particular circumstances.

I would hope that if illness in whatever form was to overtake me. I would if I needed - be, supported by my fellow boaters. Not seen or portrayed to be some sort of free loader. Some people might need to give some serious thought to what they wish for from the Canal and River Trust – Because who knows what fate the future holds in store for them. Albeit next week, next month next year. No one is immune from debilitating health issues.

Monday, 18 April 2016

De-maining

The select committee investigation on 'Future Flood Prevention' was televised today. The Environment Agency, is being taken to task on dredging, maintenance, performance and planning. An item that was pushed by the Chairman. Was a lack of transparency of the maintenance performance and maintenance spend.

Another item that caught my attention was the proposed devolution of river management. No mention of a CaRT role beyond de-maining. It came as no surprise to anyone that de-maining was almost dismissed out of hand as an option by the chair to the obvious discomfort of Defra the EA!

De-maining is when the lower reaches of rivers are handed over to one or more operating authorities to operate and maintain them. Whilst at the same time the EA keep their designation for the upper reaches because of the need to manage flood risk.

Cognisance of the floods in the north were alluded to. However, the EA emphasised that there was now a real change of ethos away from the previous large engineering flood containment projects. To creating/recreating flood meadow areas where flash flood water could be held/absorbed. 
 
The preferred river management route was highlighted to be with the involvement of land owners, local authorities, the Association of Drainage authorities and Countryside Stewardship. The EA was also looking at purchasing large areas of farm land. Especially where land owners were reluctant to farm land that was also set aside as a flood management capture area. The preferred environmental option now being to store water on the land.

What does this mean for the future extending of CaRT's remit. Well its been a few years since the minister put in place a moratorium on the transfer of any of the EA waters. De-maining is now a government no no, and the EA has had to embrace a significant change of direction.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

CaRT Drowning in Friends Donations.

Charity Becomes Trapped in its Own Wealth


By Our Reporter on April 14, 2016
Starting with a base of 300 million visitors in 2013. Which jumped to 360 million by 2014. The current figure of visitors to the towpaths in the last year. is now a staggering 385,000,000! This equates to exactly 527 visitors every day to every mile of the trusts waterway!
Tragedy struck when the Canal and River Trust suddenly found that it had become trapped in a mire of its own wealth, with no possible means of escape. The rudderless CaRT creative accountancy apparatchiks now report that all of the 385,000,000! visitors have been posthumously recruited as friends. Now it seems that CaRT has fallen victim to the success of its own band of Towpath Chuggers.
However, all is not lost and the beleaguered Truss is trying a number of new tactics in order to escape from the cloying, claustrophobic horrors of having several humongous piles of unwanted cash. 'We simply do not have time to spend the money on any remedial work on the canal infrastructure. Because we are still far to busy counting the incoming tsunami of donations.' said Mr Knob a truss spokesperson. 
The government and especially Defra have however, not been blind to the savage strictures created by the accountancy workload for the truss.  'I understand the problem that the Truss is experiencing. As someone who was born into poverty and has lived an exceptionally underprivileged life. I also found myself trapped in wealth after I inherited even more money from my father’s estate.' said David Cameron.

It should be remembered that David Cameron still has shit loads of money holding him prisoner in his own rented out mansion. Now forced to live by circumstances not in his second or third home. He is now slumming it at Downing street. It is a hopeless situation. 'I am becoming desperate – I guess only those grubby Oiks who have to use food banks, can really appreciate my plight.' he said. 
The Truss revealed that it has recently invested some of the loose change from the public donations in 'Bootsmiths' to help speed up the legal hoop jumping before it could finish the final solution in the cleansing of the inland waterways.  

In an amazing coincidence Mr Cameron continued to highlight problems he shared with the Truss. 'Poor people just don’t know how lucky they are. Impossibly rich people like me – who don’t even have to do a days work – are treated like minorities. It’s not easy being rich and privileged. Why only last week I had to evict 35 families from the homes that they rented from my late father’s company. I increased their rental by 280% and they couldn’t pay! It was horrible – I actually had to speak to some irate poor people – imagine that?'

Our reporter suggested that if Mr Cameron were to pay some tax on his fortune, it might relieve him of some of his financial burden. 'Tax? that’s that thing working people have to pay isn’t it? My accountant in Panama deals with all my tax affairs and they are a private matter' he replied.

Our reporter then proposed that Mr Cameron should donate some money to the CaRT charity or did some voluntary work along the canal. 'Work, Good Lord no! Now get the fuck off my land, before I set the dogs on you.' he said.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Spring Cruse 2015 ❻

Hillmorton to  Rugby

Date 13th April 2016

Overnight the weather was mild and included the odd shower.

Morning: An uneventful tip through the Hillmorton locks. Where curiously - the Canal and River Trust has shut one lock on each flight.  Supposedly done as a water saving measure. So as we came down and no boats were coming up all three locks has to be turned at least twice.

Afternoon: Early afternoon we arrived in Rugby. The old waterpoint has now been moved to the opposite side of the canal and a bit further along towards
Hillmorton. 

Addendum. When we arrived at just after 1 pm, there was a fuel boat (Victoria) moored on the waterpoint. There was an empty visitor mooring just beyond the waterpoint. Here we are almost 24 hours later and the working boat is still moored on the waterpoint. 

Evening:  Watched television and the highlight was the 'Red Devils' Manchester United -v- West Ham. Man U won 2-1. Come on you reds.


Wildlife:

Birds: House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Rook, Blackbird, Mallard, Mute Swan, Pied Wagtail, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coot, Moorhen, Wood Pigeon, Black Headed Gull and Swallow.

Butterflies: Meadow Brown and Small White.
Bats:
Damselfly: 
Dragonflies:

People walking the towpath - 1
People cycling the towpath -  1
Boats on the move - 5
 
Today's Total.
Miles: 3.0
Locks: 3
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 9.3


Accumulated Total.
Miles: 2712.3
Locks: 1737
Swing / Lift Bridges: 362
Tunnels: 63
Pump Outs: 26
Engine Hours: 3
650.5


Tuesday, 12 April 2016

'Fix on Fail' or 'Fail to Fix'.

The canal infrastructure seems to be deteriorating ever faster than before. Everyone is aware of locks that are in a poor state. However, this year we have noticed long sections of the canal towpath are now being turned into quagmires. A typical section we have seen this year is between Hawkesbury junction and Hillmorton.



As the towpath seems to have lost any drainage. Creating pools of standing water which are then churned up by mountain bikes into ankle deep cloying mud. Then the walkers on the towpath attempt to bypass the growing patches of mud and start to tread down the grass creating a new pathway. The cyclist then start to use the widened track to avoid the pools of mud and the cycle of mud creation starts all over again. Soon the mud is from the hedge to the edge.



Then the vegetation management also plays its part. Hedges are not kept in control by sensible management. They are either overgrown and overhanging the cut reducing available width and sighting lines on corners and bridges. Or they are hacked back creating short stunted hedges that the birdlife avoid. The edge to hedge towpath seems to be a narrow strip. The matter being cut and strimmed is them blown into the cut. Everyone has seen the long trails of blown grass cuttings.



How bad is it?



Now we see home made notices asking for areas where wild flowers and other plants have been introduced not to be cut or strimmed. Last year, we picked some greengages from trees that had been planted on the approach to a lock a few years ago. They had been planted with obvious supporting stakes, away from the hedge barrier in a small patch of land between the waterway and open fields. This time as we passed, we noticed the trees had been hacked back. Not hand pruned - just hacked back to a uniform level. Leaving no differentiation between the lock side, hedge fence and the fruit trees. If you hired a Gardner to tidy up your garden and they were to treat your garden in this way – you would be understandably angry.



There are large trees overhanging the waterway. Many leaning at precarious angles that will at some point ultimately fall and block the waterway. There are saplings growing between the towpath and the waterway. There are what were saplings only a few years ago that are already beginning to force the pilings into the waterway. These are obviously items for proactive maintenance. Being proactive saves money – yet everything is either ignored or butchered.



This has spawned a new boaters phrase, one that is being bandied around by many. CaRT has changed the old British Waterways mantra of 'Fix on Fail' to the whole new 'Fail to Fix'.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Queen of Mean

How do the mega wealthy serial tax avoiders and complainers, view the little people who are the real working tax payers.  Not in a very good light it would seem.

Take Leona Helmsley, who was born in humble beginnings.  She steadily rose through various marriage to the heights of a property developer and businesswoman. Typically she was well known in social circles for her flamboyant personality. Yet at the same time she had a reputation for tyrannical behaviour towards her employees. Behavious that earned her the sobriquet the 'Queen of Mean'. 


Before


Leona Helmsley once famously offered the opinion that only the 'little people' pay taxes. Unfortunately for Leona, the judge handling the case of tax avoidance took issue with that remark and sentenced Helmsley to fourteen years imprisonment. 

After

However, don't feel sorry for her - she was out in less than two.

Her heart warming biography on Wikipedia is worth a read.


Sunday, 10 April 2016

Photo (25)


Throughout the last few years of boat ownership. I have been taking a number of photographs around the canals and rivers system. Obviously the subject would vary depending on where we were and what we were doing.  The photographic images are taken using a Canon 550d DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) which is my camera of choice. I use Coral Paintshop Pro X8 photo editing software for adding the logo and creating a smaller thumbnail image.


There is no particular theme, other than most of my photography is waterways inspired. It's whatever that caught my attention at the time. So I thought I might include a few of my photographs into the blog.
When originally constructed, the northern section of the Oxford Canal from Hawkesbury to Napton junction closely followed the land contours. From Hawkesbury to Hillmorton it took the line of the 300ft contour; then, having ascended through three locks; it followed the 325ft contour to Napton. A 16 mile flight for a crow became a long 44 mile voyage for a boat.

Newboald Tunnel on the Oxford Canal.
The Oxford Canal Company decided to modernise the canal. To shorten the length by eleven miles, This required embanked cuts and large aqueducts replacing the meandering loops. In May 1834 the new and significantly shorter line was opened.
I take photographs for my own personal pleasure. Whilst I reserve copyright ownership of the photographic image. You are free to use the image for your own purposes as long as the logo is not removed and you give credit to where the photograph came from. The image provided on the blog is a thumbnail of the original photographic image. 

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Coincidence or karma

I suppose I am as guilty as anyone for laughing at someone who trips or stumbles. Just as long as they don't hurt themselves and the only thing bruised is their pride. Today it was deemed to be my long awaited turn again! The Memsahib had been doing the washing in the machine on the boat. I think she does all this washing just to give herself something to do. 

As always happens, the water pump starts to splutter indicating that the fresh tank was nearing empty. So we turned around, and dropped back down through the bottom lock at Hillmorton and onto the water point. I had the Memsahib hanging onto the centre line while I tied up the stern. The wind was blowing the boat off the bank and the Memsahib was starting to lose the battle. Like all good skippers I came to her rescue.

She has looped the rope looped through a ring. I reached for the rope. Which just as I got a good grip of it, suddenly went slack. I was teetering on the edge. When a couple of hands gave me what felt like a gentle push. Though she says she was trying to stop me from falling in!

The water was surprisingly warm and deep. So I stripped off to the waist and like all good skippers secured the boat. Thanks go to a family of hire boaters who helped me out of the water. Apologies go to a young lady on a passing boat who was confronted by me in my budgie smugglers. 

Its been six years since I last went for a look under the boat, which was at Sprotborough lock. However, afterwards I remembered the last time the Memsahib fell in was just a few yards away at Hillmorton bottom lock.

Coincidence or karma?

Friday, 8 April 2016

Photo (24)

Throughout the last few years of boat ownership. I have been taking a number of photographs around the canals and rivers system. Obviously the subject would vary depending on where we were and what we were doing.  The photographic images are taken using a Canon 550d DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) which is my camera of choice. I use Coral Paintshop Pro X8 photo editing software for adding the logo and creating a smaller thumbnail image.


There is no particular theme, other than most of my photography is waterways inspired. It's whatever that caught my attention at the time. So I thought I might include a few of my photographs into the blog.

I like the northern section of the Oxford canal, if only for the photographic opportunities. It's the beginning of April and the leaves are still yet to come.  We were at Falls Bridge when as we passed the bridge 48 old canal route. I grabbed a picture of what looked like a giant eye in the sky. Created by the cloud formation that dumped a deluge of water on us a few moments later!





Keeping and eye on the waterways.

The Oxford Canal was first granted an act of parliament for its construction in 1769. Following the land contours, it was engineered by James Brindley. Later this tortuous route  at the northern end was realigned and straightened. Reducing the distance from Braunston to the Coventry Canal from 36 miles to 22 miles. This resulted in numerous canal arms formed from the now disused sections of the old canal route.  We are just a short distance from the Newbold Tunnel which was created to help in the realignment of this section.
I take photographs for my own personal pleasure. Whilst I reserve copyright ownership of the photographic image. You are free to use the image for your own purposes as long as the logo is not removed and you give credit to where the photograph came from. The image provided on the blog is a thumbnail of the original photographic image. 

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Photo (23)



Throughout the last few years of boat ownership. I have been taking a number of photographs around the canals and rivers system. Obviously the subject would vary depending on where we were and what we were doing.  The photographic images are taken using a Canon 550d DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) which is my camera of choice. I use Coral Paintshop Pro X8 photo editing software for adding the logo and creating a smaller thumbnail image.


There is no particular theme, other than most of my photography is waterways inspired. It's whatever that caught my attention at the time. So I thought I might include a few of my photographs into the blog. 

The coast of France has much to offer the visitor. Here are a couple of panorama pictures created from images taken of the beaches around Dunkirk. 

The beach near Dunkirk provides a brooding cloudscape

 There were a number of WWII pillboxes located in the sand dunes overlooking the shingle beaches.

The small French villages provide a colourful alternative to the browns of the shingle.

The rain squalls provided a deep rainbow over the village. However, by the time I went back for my camera the rainbow had faded away.
I take photographs for my own personal pleasure. Whilst I reserve copyright ownership of the photographic image. You are free to use the image for your own purposes as long as the logo is not removed and you give credit to where the photograph came from. The image provided on the blog is a thumbnail of the original photographic image. 

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Olympic feats.

On April 6, 1896—120 years ago to day the first modern Olympics were held in Athens, Greece. A lot has changed about the games and competitors since 1896. How much has it changed?
When John Pius Boland attended the first modern Olympics in Athens, he originally went as a spectator, not a competitor. The games were slightly more relaxed in those days: When one of his friends, who was organizing the events, asked if he’d like to compete, Boland thought, What the heck? He then proceeded to win both the singles and doubles in men's tennis and became the first Irish-born champion of the modern Olympic games.
Launceston Elliot was the man responsible for taking home Britain’s first Olympic gold medal. But Elliot wasn’t born in Britain. He was not even born in Europe for that matter. Launceston was actually from India! But as India was part of our British Empire - the medal was technically ours.

The first Olympic marathon was won by a Greek athlete by the name of Spyridon Louis. He completed the race in just a tad under three hours. As the marathon champion he was allotted one wish from the King of Greece. Instead of asking for personal wealth or property, he requested a horse and cart to make his day job of carrying water to Athens a little easier.

Spring Summer Cruse 2015 ❺

Falls Bridge (48) to Hillmorton Services.

Date 5th April 2016

Overnight the weather was cold and overcast. The rain seemed to hold off for a change.

Morning: A late start and the Memsahib bailed out in Rugby to catch a train into Birmingham to pick up the car.  So me and the dog single handed our way along the canal. It was very quiet with only the odd person or boat on the move. The towpath is in a dire condition. The canal is in need of some remedial work.

Afternoon:  Soon arrived at Hillmorton bottom lock and there was a volunteer on duty.  Hillmorton was where we had planned to stop.

Evening:  Out to the New Inn at Buckby for a pint with Maffi. We spotted a young lady pushing a bicycle in the dark along the road verge. A short time later she came into the pub. She has stopped because she had no lights and was on her way to London. A trip of about 70+ miles.  The land lady convinced her to get a train and to take the bike with her.


Wildlife:

Birds: House Sparrow, Dunnock, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Rook, Blackbird, Mallard, Mute Swan, Pied Wagtail, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coot, Moorhen, Canadian Goose, Grey Heron, Wood Pigeon, Buzzard, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Greater Black Backed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull and Black Headed Gull.


Butterflies:
Bats: 
Damselfly:
Dragonflies:

People walking the towpath - 9
Boats
on the move - 7  
 
Today's Total.
Miles: 4.7
Locks: 1
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 1
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 2.7


Accumulated Total.
Miles: 2709.3
Locks: 1734
Swing / Lift Bridges: 362
Tunnels: 63
Pump Outs: 26
Engine Hours: 3640.8

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Spring Cruse 2015 ❹

Atherstone top lock to Falls Bridge

Date 4th April 2015.

Overnight the weather was persistent showers of rain though the night was a mild one.

Morning: Early start - 7am as we needed to chomp the miles today. Plenty of wildlife including four water voles were spotted. One on the Coventry canal and three on the northern part of the Oxford canal.

Afternoon: Soon we passed through the stop lock at Hawksbury. The Oxford canal towpath is a quagmire between Hawkesbury junction and Falls bridge only three people seen on the towpath. We had a few short showers from time to time.

Evening: The usual television and the political bombshell on the news, of the levels of tax avoidance being carried out. As millions of bank documents from Panama are released.

Wildlife:

Birds:
House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Blackbird, Mallard, Mute Swan, Pied Wagtail, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Lag Goose, Canadian Goose, Grey Heron, Wood Pigeon, Thrush, Greater Black Backed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Black Headed Gull, Pheasant and Green Woodpecker and Egyptian Goose. The highlight being six Buzzards engaged in a territorial fight.

Butterflies:
Bats:
Damselfly:
Dragonflies:

People walking the towpath - 7 (mostly dog walkers)
Boats on the move - 9

Today's Total.

Miles: 22.0
Locks: 1
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 7.6

Accumulated Total.
Miles: 2704.6
Locks: 1733
Swing / Lift Bridges: 362
Tunnels: 62
Pump Outs: 26
Engine Hours: 3638.1

Monday, 4 April 2016

Spring Summer Cruse 2015 ❸

Fazeley Junction to Atherston top lock.

Date 3rd April 2016

Overnight the weather was cold and accompanied with frequent  showers of rain.

Morning: Away by 9:00 as we anticipated rain later.  A few people seen on the towpath in the main walking dogs.  The first two locks at Glascote were set in our favour. Then it was a long uneventful cruise to Atherston bottom lock.

Afternoon: Stopped half way up the Atherston flight to watch the F1 from Bahrain.  Just as we reached lock 2 it began to rain.  Moored up for the day in Atherstone..

Evening:  A evening of television, though the digital signal is weak.


Wildlife:

Birds: House Sparrow, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Starling, Blackbird, Mallard, Mute Swan, Pied Wagtail, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Coot, Moorhen, Canadian Goose, Grey Heron, Wood Pigeon, Kestrel, Skylark, Buzzard, Thrush, Greater Black Backed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Black Headed Gull and Pheasant.

People on the towpath - 16
Boats on the move - 11 

Butterflies: Meadow Brown.
Bats:
Damselfly:
Dragonflies: 
 
Today's Total.
Miles: 10.8
Locks: 13
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours:6.5


Accumulated Total.
Miles: 2682.6
Locks: 1732
Swing / Lift Bridges: 362
Tunnels: 62
Pump Outs: 26
Engine Hours: 3630.5