Sunday, 20 August 2017

Samuel Langhorne Clemens

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, is better known by his pen name of Mark Twain. The name taken from the sounding line used when testing the depth of water under a vessels keel. He was an American writer and humorist. Mark Twain wrote the classic American novels 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' and 'Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.'

I read them and 'Pudding Head Wilson' several times as a child. I have gone on to read much more as an adult. He honed in his writing a distinctive narrative style, friendly, funny, irreverent, often satirical and always eager to deflate the pretentious. He would certainly be on my bucket list of dinner guests for a convivial evening.

Well known for his one-line-quotes such as: 'I don't like to commit myself about heaven and hell - you see, I have friends in both places.' He was also know for his short pithy comments such as: 'Go to Heaven for the climate. Go to Hell for the company.' He was revered in his lifetime for his political observations such as: 'Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.' 
 
Not forgetting a quote that seems so true today: 'The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.'

Before turning his attention to writing for various newspapers. He was a boater of sorts and in real life for a time a river boat pilot on the Mississippi. Often his writing would have a waterways influence in it.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Fisher Folk

While we are out cruising we generally slowdown for fishermen. For some reason the well worn fishing spots are also where rubbish on the bank or in the water margins often accumulates. Sweetcorn tins, crisp packets, soft drink bottles and beer cans. About three or four times a year we go out on well advertised canal clean ups and litter picking. By some coincidence we never ever get any fishermen joining us for a litter clean up. 


Monday, 14 August 2017

Summer Cruise 2017 Report ❷⓿


Summer Cruise 2017 Report

Our short but sweet summer cruise to Liverpool proved to be quite entertaining in more ways than one. It was our first organised trip which made a significant change to our usual canal and river cruising style. 

Working a group of boats through locks rather than just our own was one major  change. Normally if bad weather comes about, we usually moor up and sit it out. Whereas in a group and working to a schedule meant at times boating into the rain.

Would we do it again - yes, but with a couple of changes. Not working to a schedule other than a point of arrival time and date would be one. Departing earlier to have more time to enjoy the journey and no fixed arrival back time. The real enjoyment came from the leisure time barbecues when sharing food drink and the usual conviviality.

Cruise Total:
319.2  Miles:
152     Locks:
40       Swing / Lift Bridges:
22       Tunnels: 
145.2  Engine Hours

Elapsed Days:
24    Days Total:
19     Moving Days: 
16.8 Average Miles Per Day:
2.1   Miles Per Lock:


Accumulated Total:
Miles: 3019 .5
Locks: 1888
Swing / Lift Bridges: 402
Tunnels: 82
Pump Outs: 28
Engine Hours: 3955.9


 

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Summer Cruise 2017 ❶❾

Summer Cruise 2017 (19)

Now Subtitled: "The Magnificent Two go to Liverpool" Nb Rose of Arden team up with various boats to enjoy a summer cruise along the inland waterways.
 
Plardiwick Bridge 36 to Hawne Basin

Date:  13/08/2017

Overnight the weather cold and odd short showers. By moring it was a uniform grey sky but no rain.

Morning:  Early start from
Plardiwick Bridge 36 at Gnossall and we just chugged along heading for Cowley Tunnel and eventually to Autherley Junction stop lock. Intended to get some diesel at Wheaton Aston - but closed on a Sunday!  At Autherley Junction we topped up the diesel tank. 99p a litre ouch! Kerching! At the next boat yard along it was only 69p a litre.
 

Afternoon:  The sun was quite hot by lunch time. Which coincided with the start of a 3 hour climb up the Wolverhampton 21 flight of locks. We we had done the first 14 when help arrived in the shape of - John off Kalkara and Paul off Our Little Nightmare. Everyone paused at the top for a meal provided by Janet and Rose before setting off again, through Wolverhampton Tunnel.

Evening:  As the late afternoon light started to fall, it was a steady chug through weeds and debris through
to Coseley Tunnel, Once through the Factory Locks (Which Bones had set in our favour) it was down onto the Birmingham mainline. To Dudley Port Junction, then turning first right and then through Netherton Tunnel and turning onto the Dudley number two at Windmill End. Next was Gosty Hill Tunnel and it was getting quite dark as we arrived at the basin.

Wildlife:  Rat, Grey Squirrel and Rabbit.

Birds: House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Starling, Blackbird, Mallard, Mute Swan, Pied Wagtail, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coot, Moorhen, Cormorant, Grey Lag Goose, Canadian Goose, Kingfisher, Grey Heron, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Kestrel, Buzzard, Thrush, Herring Gull, Greater Black Backed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Black Headed Gull, Common Tern, Swallow, House Martin, Swift, Pheasant and Jay.


Butterflies: Meadow Brown, Common White, Small White, Comma, Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral.

Bats: Pipistrelle, Daubentons,

Damselfly: Common Blue Damselfly,

Dragonflies: Four Spot Chaser.

Today's Total:

Miles: 27.9
Locks: 26
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 5
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 13.6


Accumulated Total:
 
Miles: 3019 .5
Locks: 1888
Swing / Lift Bridges: 402
Tunnels: 82
Pump Outs: 27
Engine Hours: 3955.9

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Summer Cruise 2017 ❶❽

Summer Cruise 2017 (18)

Now Subtitled: "The Magnificent Two go to Liverpool" Nb Rose of Arden team up with various boats to enjoy a summer cruise along the inland waterways.

Nannys Bridge 8 to Plardiwick Bridge No 36

Date:  12/08/2017

Overnight the weather was cold and overcast - it was the same in the morning.

Morning:  pulled the pins at 8:00 and headed off down the
Shropshire Union Canal (Middlewich Branch). To the first two locks. Not much on the move, so quickly passed through. Fun and games at the entrance of the Llangollen Canal and Shropshire Union Main Line. Hire boats and boat owners at loggerheads about who was next in the lock. So we were at the Junction of the Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal - Main Line and the Chester Canal.

Afternoon:
Audlem flight of 16 locks there was little moving on the flight and the first six locks were in our favour. Next it was Market Drayton and the Adderley Locks before cruising on to the Tyrley Locks.  

Evening:  We had never done much night cruising - and then only by accident.  However, we followed a boat that was proceeding at tickover and refusing to move out of the way for about an hour and a half. When the boat paused to ask another boater some question - we squeezed by. So we now pushed on in the gathering gloom to Norbury Wharf stopping later at Plardiwick Bridge for the night.

Wildlife:  Grey Squirrel.

Birds: House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Starling, Blackbird, Mallard, Mute Swan, Pied Wagtail, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Robin, Long Tailed Tit, Coot, Moorhen, Cormorant, Canadian Goose, Kingfisher, Grey Heron, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Kestrel, Buzzard, Greater Black Backed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Black Headed Gull, Swallow, House Martin, Swift and Pheasant.

Butterflies: Meadow Brown, Small White Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral.


Bats: Pipistrelle, Daubentons,

Dragonflies: Ruddy Darter, Four Spot Chaser.

Today's Total:

Miles: 31.7
Locks: 29
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 14.5

Accumulated Total:
 
Miles: 2991.6
Locks: 1862
Swing / Lift Bridges: 402
Tunnels: 77
Pump Outs: 27
Engine Hours: 3942.3

Friday, 11 August 2017

Summer Cruise 2017 ❶❼

Summer Cruise 2017 (17)

Now Subtitled: "The Magnificent Two go to Liverpool" Nb Rose of Arden team up with various boats to enjoy a summer cruise along the inland waterways.
 
Lymm Bridge 23 to Bridge 8 Middlewich Branch

Date:  10/08/2017

Overnight the weather cold and windy with occasional light showers. By morning it was grey and gloomy.

Morning:  Cast off at 8am and headed through Lymm. Quite a good run before the locks. Not many boats on the move and frequent boats moored out on their own requiring us to slow down. Met up with Shane and Wendy to find out that their boat had broken down in Preston Brook Tunnel.

Afternoon:  By the early afternoon we were approaching the Middlewich branch. It was persistently raining when we met up with a chirpy smiling hire boater asking which way to go for the sunshine. Turned out to be Billy Brag

Evening:  The rain started to get a bit heavier and so we moored up a bit sooner than intended.


Wildlife:  Grey Squirrel and Rabbit.

Birds: House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Starling, Blackbird, Mallard, Mute Swan, Goldfinch, Robin, Blue Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Coot, Moorhen, Cormorant, Canadian Goose, Kingfisher, Grey Heron, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Kestrel, Lapwing, Buzzard, Herring Gull, Greater Black Backed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Black Headed Gull, Swallow, House Martin, Swift, Jay the highlight being a  flock of about 200 Lapwing.

Butterflies: Small White.

Dragonflies: Four Spot Chaser.





Today's Total:

Miles: 34.6
Locks: 7
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 3
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 12.1

Accumulated Total:
 
Miles: 2959.9
Locks: 1833
Swing / Lift Bridges: 402
Tunnels: 77
Pump Outs: 27
Engine Hours: 3927.8

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Summer Cruise 2017 ❶❻

Summer Cruise 2017 (16)

Now Subtitled: "The Magnificent Two go to Liverpool" Nb Rose of Arden team up with various boats to enjoy a summer cruise along the inland waterways.
 
Parbold Bridge 37D to Lymm Bridge 23.

Date:  10/08/2017

Overnight the weather was  overcast and cold. By morning the overcast was breaking up and there was some patches of blue.

Morning:  8:00 we pulled pins and headed off for the locks. We were accompanied by Nb Fenland Breeze. Everything went to plan hopping between various swing bridges and locks. Taking it in turns to set them up. By lunchtime we were in Wigan and at the Eli Meadow lock (89) close to the stadium. I had just entered the lock and was waiting for the other boat to join me. Soon the cry went up - man overboard - or in this case woman overboard!


Somehow The lady helming Fenland Breeze had caught a rope on her leg and it dragged her overboard. I backed the boat out of the lock. She was clinging to the centre line. I asked if she could swim. The answer was Yes. So I urged her to swim for the bank to get her away from the boat and any risk from the propeller. A couple of strong men on the bank had her lifted out in no time. I reversed up to her boat and roped it onto mine and drew it over to the bank. Time for hot shower and a change of clothes. Though she did observe that the water was warm. No injuries to note and though the adrenaline had by now kicked in. A cup of sweet tea and a chance to relax put everything right.


Afternoon:  We turned onto the Bridgewater canal and it took almost an hour to clear the first two locks. They are hard to open and take a long time to find a level. Then it was head for Plank Land swing bridge before the rush hour shutdown.  After that it was a steady plod on in the nice warm sunshine.  There were few boats on the move.

Evening:  At 8pm we moored up in Lymm by bridge 23.


Wildlife:  Hare and Rat

Birds: House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Starling, Blackbird, Mallard, Mute Swan, Pied Wagtail,  Robin, Great Tit, Coot, Moorhen, Cormorant, Canadian Goose, Kingfisher, Grey Heron, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Kestrel, Buzzard, Herring Gull, Greater Black Backed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Black Headed Gull, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Sedge Warbler, Swallow, House Martin, Swift and Pheasant.

Butterflies: Meadow Brown, Common White, Small White, Comma, Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Red Admiral.

Damselfly: Banded Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly,

Dragonflies: Emperor, Ruddy Darter, Four Spot Chaser.

Today's Total:

Miles: 36.4
Locks: 8
Swing / Lift Bridges: 4
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 12.1

Accumulated Total:
 
Miles: 2959.9
Locks: 1833
Swing / Lift Bridges: 402
Tunnels: 77
Pump Outs: 27
Engine Hours: 3915.7

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Summer Cruise 2017 ❶❺

Summer Cruise 2017 (15)

Now Subtitled: "The Magnificent Two go to Liverpool" Nb Rose of Arden team up with various boats to enjoy a summer cruise along the inland waterways.
 
Salthouse Dock Liverpool to Parbold Bridge 37D


Date:  09/08/2017

Overnight the weather 
was cold and overcast with a few light showers. By morning the overcast was broken with a bit of blue sky way off in the distance.

Morning:  We prepared for our departure at 07:30. Topping up water tanks and stowing things away in cupboards. We were at Man Island lock at 07:50 to be met by lock keeper Sid and his crew. We paired up with Nb Milly crewed by Jane and Willem. Three tunnels (St Nicholas Tunnel, Cunard Tunnel and Museum Tunnel) and what is known as "Sid's Ditch" then up the flight. By 09:30 we were exiting the top lock. We headed for Litherland swing bridge and the first trip down the weed hatch.


Afternoon:  At 12 noon  pm which was our appointed time we started for Swing bridge 6 which is operated by CaRT. there were 7 boats in the convoy. Periodically at various swing bridges the convoy would loose a participant. Usually because one was being tardy in keeping up and people waiting to cross the bridge were grumbling. Soon their was a nucleolus of four boats. Nb Milly, Nb Remembrance, Rose of Arden and Nb Fenland Breeze. Late afternoon we were entertained by a cyclist who rode off the towpath and into the cut. His cycling partner was in hysterics and we were finding it hard to keep a straight face. He climbed out - then went back in to recover his bike.

Evening: By 7:30pm the last two in the convoy had, had enough so we moored up at Parbold Bridge 37D.  Food, weed hatch, shower and beer in that order. By 8:30pm we were treated to an amazing sunset.

Wildlife:  Rat and Rabbit!

Birds: House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Starling, Blackbird, Mallard, Mute Swan, Goldfinch, Coot, Moorhen, Cormorant, Canadian Goose, Kingfisher, Grey Heron, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Buzzard, Greater Black Backed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Black Headed Gull, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Sedge Warbler, Swallow, House Martin and Swift.

Butterflies: Meadow Brown, Common White, Small White, Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Red Admiral.

Damselfly: Banded Damselfly and Common Blue Damselfly,

Dragonflies: Emperor, Ruddy Darter and Four Spot Chaser.


Today's Total:
Miles: 28.8
Locks: 6
Swing / Lift Bridges: 16
Tunnels: 3
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 14.0



Accumulated Total:  
Miles: 2923.5
Locks: 1825
Swing / Lift Bridges: 398
Tunnels: 77
Pump Outs: 27
Engine Hours: 3903.6

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Summer Cruise 2017 ❶❹



Summer Cruise 2017 (14)
 
Salthouse Dock Liverpool
 
Date:  3-8/08/2017
 
The weather in Liverpool has been quite changeable from rain, wind and sometimes hot sunshine - I suppose its a typical British summer. Memories of Liverpool will always be of the sunshine. While we are attending a wedding function it was however, time to catch up some outstanding maintenance tasks that need to be carried out.


1) Maintenance of the solar panel system. This required remounting of the panels and re-cabling the system to the controller and then into the battery bank.

2) The leisure battery bank finally gave up the ghost and I found some Exide RE550 115ah at a good price. Which were delivered right to the boat. Changing over the batteries should be a straightforward task. However its a tight engine hole and a confined space in which to work.

3) Now we have given the paintwork a good clean and a bit of a shine. Plus the usual touch up of any knocks, scrapes and chips. While there is a myth that boating is a contact sport the reality is, boating is not a sport its a way of life. So don't knock it.

4) An oil and filter change is due and I have some of the materials to hand. However the boat is OK for another 30 engine hours.


Thursday, 3 August 2017

Summer Cruise 2017 ❶❸

Summer Cruise 2017 (13)

Subtitled: "The Magnificent Six go to Liverpool" As Nb Kalkara, Nb Alchemy, Nb My little Nightmare, Nb SWJKSDL and Nb Heavy Metal (BellOil) Nb Rose of Arden team up to enjoy a summer cruise along the inland waterways.
 
Litherland Swing Bridge to Salthouse Dock



Date:  03/08/2017

Overnight the weather 
was cold and windy. By morning the wind was still building and we were battered by a heavy downpour at first light.

Morning:  We prepared for our departure at 10:30. Topping up water tanks. Nb Diligent Too joined us at the top lock. After having their boats ropes cut in the night.  Patrick and his partner were people we had met previously and along with Nb October were part of a trio of boats who shared an entertaining trip along the south Oxford canal and onto the Thames three years previously.


Afternoon:  At 1:30 pm which was our appointed time we started down the lock flight into the Liverpool docks. The wind was making it difficult to thread our way through the pounds. At the 3rd lock the wind direction changed altogether as it was being funnelled through a large railway arch.  Three tunnels (St Nicholas Tunnel, Cunard Tunnel and Museum Tunnel) and what is known as "Sid's Ditch" and we were ready to enter the maze of docks and passages.

The trip through the dock complex was aided by 'Sid' of Sid's ditch fame. Sid is a friendly member of the waterways team. Like the typical 'Scouser' Sid kept us entertained with a running commentary. On what was and what used to be.  The wind was blowing a gale and it required the boats to be powered forcefully through the system. We were soon moored up in our berth by 3pm.


Evening: Time to relax after our 13 day trip. Soon everyone was sat around in a large group. Sharing our experiences of the trip from Hawne Basin to Salthouse Dock.

Wildlife:  Rat!

Birds: House Sparrow, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Rook, Blackbird, Mallard, Mute Swan, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Moorhen, Cormorant, Canadian Goose, Grey Heron, Wood Pigeon, Greater Black Backed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Black Headed Gull, Swallow, House Martin and Swift.
Butterflies: Common White and Red Admiral.

Today's Total:
Miles: 5.4
Locks: 6
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 3
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 4.5



Accumulated Total:  
Miles: 2894.7
Locks: 1819
Swing / Lift Bridges: 382
Tunnels: 74
Pump Outs: 27
Engine Hours: 3889.6

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Summer Cruise 2017 ❶❷

Summer Cruise 2017 (12)

Subtitled: "The Magnificent Six go to Liverpool" As Nb Kalkara, Nb Alchemy, Nb My little Nightmare, Nb SWJKSDL, Heavy Metal (BellOil) and Nb Rose of Arden team up to enjoy a summer cruise along the inland waterways.
 
Holmes Swing Bridge to Litherland Visitor Moorings


Date:  01/08/2017

Overnight the weather was overcast, cold and windy much as it has been for the last few days.


Morning:  Just as we were about to leave Holmes Swing Bridge round the bend came Tony on Nb Heavy Metal (BellOil). He has just caught up with us after leaving Hawne Basin 3 days and 4 hours before! Which is a distance of 154 miles. Including 10 Swing bridges and 70 Locks. Cosmic, bloody cosmic!

Afternoon:  By early afternoon we had reached our intended destination at Litherland. It proved to be quite a relaxing day with just the odd light shower.

Evening:  A shared barbecue with good boating friends was had by all. 

Wildlife: Badger.

Birds:House Sparrow, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Rook, Blackbird, Mallard, Mute Swan, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Coot, Moorhen, Cormorant, Canadian Geese, Grey Heron, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Kestrel, Herring Gull, Greater Black Backed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Black Headed Gull, Common Tern,Swallow, House Martin, Swift and Muscovy Duck. 

Butterflies: Meadow Brown, Common White, Small White and Red Admiral.

Bats: Pipistrelle, Daubentons,

Damselfly: Common Blue Damselfly, 

Dragonflies: Four Spot Chaser.

Today's Total:
Miles: 6.0
Locks: 0
Swing / Lift Bridges: 3
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 5.1


Accumulated Total:  
Miles: 2889.3
Locks: 1813
Swing / Lift Bridges: 382
Tunnels: 71
Pump Outs: 27
Engine Hours: 3885.1