Wednesday 31 August 2011

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (2-3)


Wednesday 31st of August 2011.
Day 10 Bingley 5 Rise to Skipton.

We were up and about early a light breakfast and we were underway by 7:45. From Bingley through Skipton there is a 17 mile section of canal without any locks. This makes this a popular section of canal for the hire boater. We exchanged greetings with a couple of walkers on the towpath. Little did we know, but they would be along side us for most of our journey to Skipton.  Many of the swing bridges were being controlled because a lot of work boats were moving around. So we were making good time. The weather was overcast and almost no sunshine to write about. The number of boats about on the canal was few and far between.

There was several sections of canal where repair work was being carried out around some of the swing bridges. In the main this consisted of bank side repairs. However a few sections were being dredged though we found a couple of sections where we seemed to be going through more mud than water.

We called in at "Puffer Parts" chandler located alongside the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Keighley. We enjoyed a browse through the Aladdin's cave that composed the stock area. We purchased a couple of spare fenders and some large nylon connectors for the pump-out kit. Iain and Elaine were most informative and friendly. Nip in for a browse if your passing.

Snygill boatyard was busy as we passed by, with boats being repaired and re-painted. soon we were into the visitor mooring area of Skipton. Skipton in Craven to give it its full title is a small market town, It is located on the south side of the Yorkshire Dales National Park where it also gets the title "Gateway to the Dales" from.

Skipton has an ancient Castle first constructed in 1090 as a motte and bailey by Robert de Romille, one of the Norman Barons. The protection afforded by Skipton Castle encouraged the region to become a prosperous market town, trading sheep and wool. Now Skipton's economy is based on the tourist trade, aided by its historic architecture and proximity to the Yorkshire Dales.Skipton was connected to other major cities via the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and its branch Thanet canal, known locally as 'Springs branch Canal' A short branch which leaves the main canal in Skipton, and runs to some loading wharfs near Skipton Castle, which were used to load limestone from local quarries into boats for onward shipment. It was opened in 1773, and extended in 1794..

Daily Total
Miles: 13
Locks: 0
Swing / Lift Bridges: 20
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1819.9


Tuesday 30 August 2011

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (2-2)


Tuesday 30th of August 2011.
Day 9 Salts Wharf, Saltaire to Bingley 5 Rise

We had a leisurely start to the day and were up and about for 9am. A short walk into the town centre to visit a few shops before returning back to the boat. In the town we were accosted by Derek a gentleman of considerable age who was attracted to the dogs. It was quite an enjoyable conversation which was made even more entertaining when we found out that he had worked in the days of the coal boats on the Leeds Liverpool canal. In his younger days he worked as a casual and helped to empty the boats of coal onto the Wharf. We had a good natter about the traffic on the canals in his younger days and he remarked that many of the boats had dogs on them and for some reason most of them were wire haired fox terriers.

Back to the boat in time to set off at 11am and head further along the canal. One surprising thing is the number of boats with for sale signs in their windows. However, the prices being asked for some of them beggars belief.



We were the last boat up the 5 rise before the locks were closed for the day at 3:30 in the afternoon. On our way up, we were entertained by a Spitfire and Hurricane pair doing a fly past. They were obviously flying on VFR and below the cloud base. There is something quite unique about the sound of the Spitfires Merlin engine. During the war the Merlin engine crankshafts were forged and machined in Sheffield.

We decided to moor up for the night at the top of the 5 rise. Later I went out with the bat detector. It was a chilly 11C and overcast so the numbers were restricted to a few Pipistrelle and Daubentons.

Daily Total
Miles: 3
Locks: 11
Swing / Lift Bridges: 3
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1813.7


Monday 29 August 2011

Summer/Autumn Cruise (Week 2)

Summer/Autumn Cruise (Week 2)

Monday 29th of August 2011.
Summer into Autumn Cruise 2011.
Day 8 Kirkstall Moorings to Salts Wharf, Saltaire.

The wind increased during the night and was quite fresh when we awoke. This called for a later start but we were under way by 9:30. I had to back the boat out of the marina, which I did with few problems and got a well done from a gongoozeler watching from a bridge. We were soon back at Kirkstall Lock and all of the useless none waterways locks had been removed. The bottom gates are such a bad fit (heavy) and with no willing helpers to hand, we had to open both sluices on the top gates to help shut the bottom gates. So much for saving water!

We were followed out of the marina by Thames Mystique where like us they had passed the night. We have been in and out of their company for the last few days. We wanted to take on Diesel at Rodley, however there was a loud rock concert going on and while the boatyard was open, it was deserted. So we pressed on in one of the occasional spells of sunshine we had today. We took on board 110 litres of diesel at Apperley Bridge Marina at £1.30 and 83p, fixed 60/40 split. Thames Mystique passed us and we eventually passed them again later when they were moored up.

Forge Locks (3) were done without problem with a gallery of people out enjoying the bank holiday. At Newley Lock (3) there were a couple of lock keepers to lend some support and we passed through in double quick time. Dobson Lock (2) we had to wait for a wide beam to do their descent before passing through. At Field Lock (3) their was a lock keeper on duty and we soon passed through the flight.

There was little boating traffic encountered throughout the day. However, we did notice that other boaters would leave locks with gates open or the paddles not closed. We came across one couple out gongoozeling who were going on their first hire trip on the Monte in a couple of weeks. They were very excited about the prospect. In hindsight we should have invited them on board to cruise up one lock and get a look and a feel for the boat – maybe next time!

We arrived at Salts Wharf (a 7 day mooring) near bridge (207E) at 6:30 in the evening in the middle of a downpour of rain. We had the whole mooring to ourselves. The blustery wind made mooring up quite difficult. We also had a problem lighting the fire. Unbeknown to us there had been a fall of soot onto the stoves baffle plate, that was blocking the chimney flue. I need to get my brush on a rope down the chimney and give it a good cleaning.

Saltaire is a World Heritage Site, thanks to its preservation as a Victorian industrial village. Mill owner Sir Titus Salt built the village for his workers and today Saltaire attracts visitors to its magnificent Victorian architecture.

Went out with the bat detector and we had good numbers of Pipistrelle bats and other myosis species that we were unable to positively identify. I think we also spotted a possible Pipistrelle colony in an old disused wharf building nearby.

We watched a program on TV with Stephen Fry talking about the top 100 gadgets that had made our life easier or in my case more difficult. However, by the time we had counted down from 100 to 35 we tumbled into bed for the night so we never did find out what the top ten must have gadgets were!

I woke up at 4 am with Poppy giving long deep warning growls, when I heard voices I had a look through the window. There were four men hanging about on the towpath who were looking over a fence into a construction yard. I turned on the bow light and they quickly walked away down the tow path.


Daily Total
Distance: 10.5 Miles.
Locks: 12
Swing / Lift Bridges: 10
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1799




Saturday 27 August 2011

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (1-7)


Day 7 Clarence Dock to Kirkstall Moorings.
Saturday 27th August 2011

The weather had improved as the rain almost petred out. Now the wind had freshened up quite a bit. but our time was up on the 48 hour moorings and we would have to move. We moved to the pump outpoint and did a general fettle of the boat. It was very difficult to turn the boat around and face upstream. I had to tie off the front end to the mooring to swing the back end round with the engine.

Oddy Lock needs some urgent attention. We had to open the sluice to fill the top lock as the leakage had drained the lock. The leakage was such on the bottom gate that we also had to open a ground paddle to lift the level in both sides of the lock to clear the cill. After closing the centre gates the and filling the top half of the lock water was now cascading over the bottom gate.

As it was a bank holiday weekend the towpath velodrome was very apparent and we saw a few close calls with cyclists passing walkers and fishermen at high speeds. When we arrived at Garden Lock the inevitable had happened and a cyclist had swerved to miss a walker and was down with a suspected dislocated shoulder. Other cyclists continued to pass him by at high speed without slowing down. One group urging each other to "go for it" as they passed by.

We reached Kirkstall lock at 15:10 to find that the locks were closed - even though BW said they would be open until 4pm. I rang the BW emergency line at 3:30 and some one rang me back at 15:45 to say that the locks would close at 4pm. This was due to the need to conserve water. The problem with this conservation was that the bottom gates were open. The top gates were leaking on the mitre and one of the top sluices was part open. This shoddy working with water pouring through was compounded when we found out that the lock had closed at about 2:30. 

The up shot was that we and another boat that had arrived had to reverse back along the canal about a mile to find a safe place to moor up for the night..I spoke to a fisherman who confirmed that the lock had been closed by a "man in a white van" half an hour before we arrived". Maybe it will be something I will chase up with BW at a higher level. Watch this space. 

At the moorings we spotted a mink trying to sneak up on someones chickens. Poppy was sent to see it off. It disappeared up a small drain much to Poppys annoyance!

Went out with the bat detector and noted Pipistrelles and Daubentons plus other myosis species. Then a Tawny Owl started calling at about 4 am in the tree next to the boat. I took the dogs for an early morning walk.

Daily Total
Distance: 4 Miles.
Locks: 8
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 1
Engine Hours: 1795.6

Friday 26 August 2011

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (1-6)


Day 6 Clarence Dock Leeds to
Friday 26th of August 2011.

The weather has been dire over night and we are sitting tight hoping for a break in the weather so that we can make a push to our next overnight mooring point. The wind has also picked up which will no doubt make cruising conditions much more arduous.

We were joined late in the afternoon by a very nice narrow beam Dutch Barge called Saltairian. Which when our canal cruising days are over, we will aspire to owning as live aboard's.

Daily Total
Distance: 0 Miles.
Locks: 0
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1795.6


Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (1-5)


Day 5 Clarence Dock Leeds.
Thursday 26th of August 2011.

We were awoken at 6:30 by heavy rain on the roof. Decided that we will stay here on the visitor moorings until there is a break in the rain and we have had a walk round the city centre. We would also like to fit in a visit to the Royal Armouries.

Found a visitor mooring with a couple of pounds of credit on the meter. Makes a pleasant change from feeding the electric meter and then leaving with some credit still on. I intend to purchase some of the BW electric cards at the Leeds office because they are thirty units for £10. At Tinsley Marina there are only 25 units on the BW card for £10. I also want to purchase some of the visitor mooring cards at £1 each. We were moored next to Nb Lindsey Ann last night. She was last seen when the proud new owners were collecting her from Sheffield Basin.

Visitors expected later today in the form of John and Tracy calling in for a meal (one of the Memsahib's Chicken Curry Specialities) this evening. Dipped the fuel tank which was not quite full and found that we have used about a quarter tank (200 litres) so we are averaging 2 litres per hour when cruising at 1400 RPM 3mph. The rain has not stopped all day and so we have lit the fire for the first time this cruise. I hope we don't have many more days like today. We noticed that the city centre went very quiet last night when it started raining. The bistro's and cafe's are very empty!!


Later.....

Thursday 25 August 2011

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (1-4)


Day 4 Bulholm Lock to Clarence Dock Leeds
Thursday 25th of August 2011.

The rain overnight was very heavy and drummed us awake on the roof several times in the night. It was continuing still with light rain at 9am. There are contractors demolishing the old chemical plant and they like to start early!!! Just before we set off Gravel Barge Battlestone passed us going upstream with a light load because of the low water levels. We steadily motored up to Castleford Flood lock where we topped up the water tank again. About an hour up the River Aire from Castleford the sun broke through and the day warmed up.

Just above Knostrop lock held a surprise in the form of a Submarine shaped narrowboat. As far as we could see there were no windows so the interior must require lighting at all times. Whilst I can see the fun element in owning such a boat. I can't see the practicalities of owning one other that improved security through a lack of windows. Each to their own.

Arrived at Clarence Dock at 5pm in the afternoon and found quite a few empty visitor moorings. Quite a tight turn into the dock when when coming up stream. The sanitary station is located down stream of the dock near the armouries car park. Toilet pump outs are available at the sanitary station you need to use the separate mooring for access..

Daily Total
Distance: 10 Miles.
Locks: 6
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1795.6


Wednesday 24 August 2011

Summer Autumn Cruise 2011 (1-3)


Day 3 Junction of New Cut and the Aire and Calder Navigation to Bulholme Lock
Wednesday 24th of August 2011.

It had been a cold night as low as 5C and a thick fog carpeted the canal until the sun burned it off at about 9am. I spotted a pair of Cormorants on the Pennine Trail footbridge over the canal with their wings in the crucifix position drying their feathers in the early morning sun.

The weather was very warm again today. We made good progress as all the locks were either set for us, or the locks were manned by Lock keepers. Quite a bit of commercial traffic around as we came up against the Humber Princess returning from Castleford empty. I was a bit peeved by the Humber Princess crew as she was deliberately accelerated out of the confines of the lock at Pollington which channelled the water creating a large bow wave. This threw our boat on the lock moorings around much more than normal. I will be writing to the manager of the operator to express my concern.

We watched at Whitley Lock an Ariel ballet performed by a Red Kite and a small group of Carrion Crow who were mobbing it. The Red Kite was going round and round in lazy circles as it rode a thermal. The Crows were careful to remain behind the Kite at all times. A spectacular display of indifference by the Kite and bravery by the Crows.

We paused for lunch just before Sheppard's Bridge. The run up to Ferrybridge Flood lock was uneventful. The flood lock was open and we soon left the cooling towers behind us. We only met one large barge on its way down which was being pushed by a tug. Unlike the Humber Princess they showed some consideration and slowed down a little. This then gave us a chance to turn in on their wake to cross at right angles.

Later we spotted a Kittwake flying along the canal just before we arrived at Bulholme Lock. As we moored up for the day Poppy chose this time to fall over the side into the water. We had to hold the boat out from the bank until she swam clear. She seemed to be quite happy about being in the water. However, when we landed her, it was straight into the shower for a wash and brush up. The Memsahib also took the opportunity to give Abbey the same treatment.

The rain started about 7pm. I checked for bat activity after dark at 10pm but it was too wet for them to come out. It was a very warm and humid night.

Daily Total
Distance: 16 Miles.
Locks: 3
Swing / Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1790.6


Tuesday 23 August 2011

Am I a religious zealot

I'm in a philosophical and Meldrew mood this morning. In the main due to listening to the radio and a conversation between the host and a guest pontificating on the evergreen topic of religion. If its not religion its politics, sometimes a new subject for discussion would be good. What about Manchester United the World's best team or some other worthwhile subject. Politics and religion is to small a subject base. The more discerning reader may have already discovered for themselves from previous postings that I don't harbour a belief in any form of religion.

But I digress...

I am a pretty down to Earth sort of a person, well I like to think so anyway. I have an enquiring mind, so I don't always take things on their face value. I know that I have a very jaundiced view on life, but again that's just a part of me being me. However, I have always had a problem with accepting religion, this started in my case at an early age. In my time at school, Anglican flavoured  Christianity was almost force fed to us as part of the curriculum and then beaten into us for good measure. I hated with a passion RE more than any other subject.
The only positive thing I found about my early exposure to Anglicanism, was that it nurtured within me a wholesome scepticism that still burns bright today. So in all fairness I suppose have something to thank religion for. 

Don't get me wrong, if you believe in some all mighty being (of whatever flavour) then that is what floats your boat. If you find comfort and well-being from holding such views then I am not going to decry your conviction or try to disprove your beliefs. Far from it, I know people who take a great deal of comfort from their belief, I respect their choice.

But if we look at what is happening in the Arab nations today, where a change of government is being instigated by people power. Those currently in power are turning the brute force of their own armed services against their own people. Again all done in the name of their bank accounts and their own god.

In Spain the protest-hit papal visit of Pope Benedict XVI is faring no better. A few days ago he warned of an “eclipse of God” outside a 16th-century Spanish monastery. How can an all powerful Deity like god be eclipsed and who by? The Catholic church is one of the wealthiest institutions in the World. Guess who is paying for the visit - the people of Spain - a country who's economy is teetering on the edge of collapse.


I would say that now I hold charitable views, what some would call Christian values when it comes to running my life. It has not always been that way, there was a time when I was less than charitable. I have mellowed and changed over the years to a point where I am very comfortable and happy with being me.

There are any number of thing about religion that I as a practical and enquiring person find so hard to understand. Therefore what I can't understand, I question, because I cannot accept anything as being defacto. I have always felt the need to question everything and anything that ping’s my “I don't believe it” button. The button has bothered me from time to time. Often its something or other of a religious nature that has been niggling away in the back of my mind. The niggles are always very basic and fundamental questions about religion.


The first niggle is why is so much despair and destruction carried out in the name of religion. I'm not going to single out any particular flavour or religion as being the chief despair and destruction perpetrators. Because, if you look at the broad spectrum of religion, you would be hard pressed to find one with a completely clear conscience. Yet most of these belligerent religions would espouse high principals such as compassion and care.
There are people who believe that their god actually talks to them on a personal level. They also believe that this one way conversation gives them the Divine right to impose religion on others rather than to be persuasive. There are others that feel that martyrdom is the thing to aspire to. But they frequently want to martyr others who are simply not given any choice in the matter.

There are people who encourage others to become martyrs and at the same time seem to be able to sidestep becoming the ultimate martyrs themselves. There are religious flavours who abuse our children in one way or another. There are other evils such as the discrimination against women. The list of evil done in the name of religion is long and peppered with all kinds of issues.


The insurance industry loves the phrase "an act of god" whenever it needs to cop out from paying large claims. Yet the god never seem to get any bad press. I know that god always gets the credit for the good things. But why are our gods not given the some form of negative credit whenever things go bad.

Oh, I know the oft given answer answer is that it is “a weakness” in us as humans and we are being tested in one way or another. The gods are supposed to be very liberal and lavish benefactors. But where is the munificence in a child with a disability or in someone sent to martyr themselves and to send others to an unexpected and I suspect unwanted martyrdom.

If the gods are the benign and munificent beings as they are often portrayed. Then where did the gods go wrong and how come I am so right.

Later....


Summer/Autumn Cruise 2011 (1-2)


Day 2 Sprotborough to Junction of New Cut and the Aire and Calder Navigation.
Tuesday 23rd of August 2011.

We had a walk around with the bat detector last night we found a good number of Pipistrelle and Daubentons bats on the river at Sprotborough. The Pipistrelles were out just after dusk, the Daubentons were about half an hour later before they turned up. We estimate that we detected 12 Pips and 4 Daubentons.

It was a warm night and I was still wearing my shorts, so I managed to get both legs bitten by mosquitoes. So I will be paying the price for the next week or so! We have one of those piezoelectric “Zap It” devices. They are painless as you don't feel much of a shock. However, it does take all the itchiness out of the bites for about 12 hours at a time. I zap the bites in the morning and in the evening before bed and I have managed to remain itch free.

We spent last night moored next to Barge Ethel who provide trips and holidays afloat for people with disabilities. We were under way in company with Nb Joanne by 8:30 and the first task was to manoeuvre round NB Emerald who was moored up on the lock moorings. By the look of it it seems that they have been staying there for some time. There are considerate boaters and then there are the owners of Nb Emerald.

Just before Doncaster Town Lock, we passed a couple of police officers walking the river bank. I wonder if they were looking for an absconder from “Doncatraz” the prison is set on an island a little further along the River Don.

At Doncaster Town Lock we were amazed to find the same large log still inside the lock that we had reported to BW at Easter this year. Read Here. It was jammed in behind the lock gates again. We managed to pull it clear and then to push it clear through the gates. Good old BW, its good to know that reporting a problem that might cause damage to the lock gates had received such prompt attention. Now I can see why the higher echelons of management get such big performance bonuses. I wonder what performance is measured?

By 9:30 we had done two locks with Nb Joanne before waving them and Daniel the Spaniel goodbye as we moored up on the town centre mooring at Doncaster. We paused here for the Memsahib to go shopping and for me to top up the water tank.

Just as I finished topping up the tank the rain started to set in. We decided to sit it out for a while. This gave me a break from steering and a chance to catch up on the blog. I noticed that one of the boats in the marina has routed a hose pipe under the pontoon deck fastened the end on with a jubilee clip to the water tap. Thereby they have run a permanent pipe back to their own boat. So instead of two boats being able to take on water, only one can now do that here. Another considerate Banjo playing boater.

We set off again at about 10:30 and ambled our way to Long Sandal lock where we met with a couple of friends returning back to Tinsley Marina after their summer cruise. We continued as far as Barnby Dun swing bridge, where we stopped for a bite to eat. No sooner had we settled down to eat than we had another rain shower arrived. So we decided to stay and sit out the rain before setting off again.

Sykehouse Lock is a daunting lock to operate and one that always takes some time to negotiate. We were in luck a pair of boats coming the other way were about to drain the lock. However, they waited for us to arrive and we had a quick passage through.

At 3:30 we moored up for the night at the junction of the new cut and the Aire and Calder canal. It was a very quiet late afternoon and evening here. Only one boat passing by and turning right towards Goole. Just before dark a wide beam pulled in from the Aire and Calder to moor up at the other end of the moorings for the night.

Another evening out walking the dogs and detecting bats. Wearing jeans this time! We walked over the aqueduct over the River Went. There were patches of mist in the low lying areas along the Went, which suggested that as it was a clear night it would turn quite cold later. A few Pipistrelle and Daubentons were detected along the new cut section. However on the Aire and Calder where it borders the South Field Reservoir there were so many bats it was not possible to get an accurate count. Pips and Daubentons and other Myosis species in good numbers. I also watched a Barn Owl quartering a field for quite a while. After it went to ground hunting prey, I lost sight of it.

Daily Total
Distance: 15 Miles.
Locks: 5
Swing / Lift Bridges: 6
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 1784.8



Monday 22 August 2011

20000

We are at long last free and out on the canals cruising. We will be away now for two months. One of the problems is the lack of connectivity in some places. So the blog will be hit and miss for a while!

Today, I have posted my 300th item into the blog. Whilst the target of the blog is the inland waterways, I wanted to do something different to many other blogs who provide a day by day account of their journey. I wanted to bring my own perspective first of all from being a newbie to now injecting some humour and to writing about my observations. I also try to comment on the blogs of other people by way of encouragement. This also comes at the same time as my 20,000 visitor to the blog.
I have been blogging for 634 days or 1 year, 8 months, 27 days. That's just under one posting every two days. The current blog visitor rate is 31.5 visitors a day. It took 516 days or 1 year 5 months for the first 10,000 visitors. It took 115 days or 3 months and 24 days for the next 10,000 visitors to arrive.
This is a story about a  man, who lives in "gods wonderful county of Yorkshire". A man who also had a little dog. The man loved his  dog, for 15 years every day without fail  he took it walks. He played everyday with his canine friend and companion by throwing a small red ball. He ensured that the dog had a good diet as he fed and cared for it. Then one day sadly the dog died. The man it has to be said was heart broken about the loss of his companion of so many years.

A couple of weeks later the man took some photographs of the dog to a jewelers in Barnsley. He asked the jeweler if he could make a little statue of the dog. The jeweler asked if he wanted it in "gold or platinum?". The man said "gold would be nice but also include some precious stones for the eyes". The Jeweler asked "would that be eighteen carats?". The man said "Naw, just playing with a small red ball!" If you live outside of Yorkshire you'll maybe not understand it!




Later....




Summer/Autumn Cruise (Week 1)

Summer/Autumn Cruise (Week 1)


Monday 22nd of August 2011.
Summer into Autumn Cruise.
Day 1 Sheffield to Eastwood.

We went out with the bat detector last night round the lock flight at Tinsley. Good numbers of Pipistrelles and Daubentons were detected. I took a flash light and we were able to watch the Daubentons skimming insects off the water surface.

We were booked to descend the flight at 9:00 and we were under way bang on time.

The cruise for us always starts out with a visit from the marina to the canal basin at Sheffield for a pump out. We then retrace our steps back to the marina. We failed to do this on our Easter cruise this year. You can read the results of that oversight here.


Rosie's Starting Total
Distance: 227 miles
Locks: 156
Swing / Lift Bridges: 25
Tunnels: 0
Pump-outs: 2
Engine Hours: 1744

Passage down the eleven locks of the Tinsley Flight is always the start and finishing line for our trips out on Rosie. We like Tinsley marina and think that the number of locks is a small price to pay for the facilities that Tinsley offers. Today with lock keeper Derek and in company with another boat we passed down the flight without problem. This is a good omen for the rest of our extended trip. Our previous passage was something of a disaster which you can read here. We shared the locks with Nb Joanne which made the passage easier as we shared the work.

We don't have a tight schedule, in fact we don't have any schedule at all. This is because we don't have a destination in mind, we are going to just go with the flow so to speak. We have about 50 days before we have to bring Rosie back to her moorings for the winter.


Part way down the Tinsley Flight of locks we pass under the Tinsley (Double Decker) Viaduct which carries the M1 motorway on the top deck and a local road on the lower deck. On the left you will see the Meadowhall shopping complex. Known to all the locals as the Meadowhell complex because of all the traffic congestion it creates.


We were soon down the flight and through Jordan's Lock and puttering our way down the valley towards Homes Lock. At this point we were on our own as this is the end of the locks covered by the Tinsley lock Keepers. We wished farewell to Derek and headed off towards Ickles Lock passing the Rotherham Boat Club Marina on the way.


Every time we pass Jordan's Weir I am minded of the ghost poem here. There is also an amazing story about Narrowboat Copperkins II that happened between Holmes Lock and Ickles Lock that you can read here.

I remember as a child seeing all the industrial activity along the Ickles Lock to Rotherhan Town Lock section of the canal and river. Now that the steel industry has almost gone forever. Few of the buildings remain standing but those that do, are supporting a different commercial activity.

I wrote a posting about this part of the River Don and canal in April last year here. Since then the canal side warehouse has been demolished. We soon pass through Homes and Ickles Locks and head towards the confluence of the canal, the River Don and the River Rother. It is only a short section of the River Don before we reach the Rotherham Town Lock. If you want to see something of the history in steel making in Rotherham and Sheffield a visit to the Magna Centre is well worth a visit.


Just before we reach the lock on the left is the remains of the facade of the Guest and Chrimes factory. Guest and Chrimes were brassfounders and it was a place where my maternal grandfather once worked around the year 1920 as a "Pattern Maker". James Payne, owned a small factory located in Water Lane which runs down to the river at this point.


Peter Chrimes, who was a plumber in the town, patented an improvement in the design of water taps. The factory was eventually built for the purpose of manufacturing them, leading to the founding the world famous firm of Guest and Chrimes Brassfounders.

Among the principal products manufactured by Guest and Chrimes were, fire extinguishing apparatus of every description, hose couplings and general plumbers' and gas-fitters' products. In 1861 about 300 workmen were employed, and the proprietors of the works had a branch warehouse in London.

The Chrimes family took a serious view of their responsibilities and a deep sense of the obligations of their success that the business placed upon them. As head of Guest and Chrimes, Richard Chrimes displayed keen business nose which put his firm in the forefront and gained for it a world-wide reputation. He used his wealth for the benefit of others and he never forgot human infirmity or the poor. No individual or firm were more liberal in their help when appealed to on behalf of deserving and charitable objects. During the Franco German War in 1870, he subscribed large sums of money to the Red Cross Society.

But what of the Guest side of the business. Rotherham’s historian John Guest, was born in May, 1799, and lived to the ripe old age of 81. He joined Mr. Chrimes at the brassworks and as a member of the old Local Board, he sought election as a councillor when the RotherhamRotherham, stating as his reason that he could never, as chief magistrate punish a man for doing what he had so often done himself.

Extract from "Our Exemplars, Poor and Rich" by Matthew Davenport Hill, 1861. "Mr. John Guest of Rotherham, may be properly called a self-made man, and, in his locality, a public benefactor, being foremost in every social and benevolent movement that takes place in that neighbourhood. He is an energetic member of the Rotherham Mechanics' Institution. He was the first to introduce building societies into that town. He is a leading member of the Total Abstinence Society, a man of refined manners, of good literary taste, and, in his earlier years, was a frequent contributor, both in poetry and prose, to the local literature of this part of the country. He is an energetic sanitary reformer. Mr. Guest. possesses an extensive library, and a large gallery of good modern pictures by many of the best modern masters, including Reynolds, Gainsborough, Collins, Uwins, and the best men of the transition period. Mr. Guest's wife is happily a fit companion for a man of his taste and accomplishments; and many a cottage inmate in Rotherham and its vicinity may be heard to bless her name. She is a true sister of charity, benevolent and unostentatious. Without this couple Rotherham would be a wilderness."



The factory site of Guest and Chrimes has stood empty and derelict for a number of years. However, recently "The Millers" (Rotherham United) have announced the old Guest and Chrimes site as the new stadium location. A football club statement said "The former Guest and Chrimes Foundry site has now been confirmed, this is an ideal site for our new home back in Rotherham, it will also provide significant regeneration benefits and leave a legacy for the future, not just for the Football Club, but for our town. The Council have played a pivotal role in making this happen, and we are very grateful for all their continued help and support. We have been working hard on the new stadium project behind the scenes for over 18 months now and have gained tremendous knowledge of numerous stadia throughout the country, and we have a good understanding what is needed for it to be a success for both supporters and to work for us commercially to provide financial stability for Rotherham United Football Club for years to come. Our town needs a Football Club to be proud of, playing in a stadium to be proud of, providing facilities for our community to be proud of. Make no mistake this is a significant day in Rotherham United's history and to say I am delighted for everyone concerned is an absolute understatement."




By lunch time we had reached Rotherham Town Lock, this section of canal has two Supermarkets close by. Each is in easy walking and carrying distance. The first is Lidl which is on the left and the second is Tesco which is on the right next to the lock. The main Rotherham railway station is also next to the lock At the side of the moored boat in the picture. Moor upstream of the lock, which is just outside the Police Station and Law courts so it is pretty secure and there is plenty of space at this point.

Between The Rotherham Town Lock and Tulleys boatyard the bank has collapsed into the canal and is cordoned off with a line of bright orange buoys.

We now head past Tully's boatyard and the point where the Humber Princess off loads her cargo of oil. It was at this point where I wrote some time ago about one of my ancestors who lost his life launching a boat on the canal.

Our next stop is Eastwood Lock. Eastwood is the first of the Electric hydraulic powered automatic locks. We chose to take on some water at this point. However, the boat has to be in the lock to fill the tank. Can anyone else see why having the tap sited on the lock might be a bad idea. This is one of the Memsahibs favourite places to stop, because of the Parkgate Retail Park nearby. There is a long list of retailers here including Homebase, Morrisons, Boots, TK Max and many others etc.

Depending on the weather, the time of day and what time the Memsahib gets back from her shopping trip. We either moor up here for the night or move along the canal to our favourite place to stay which is Sprotborough Lock. Tonight we are staying at Sprotbrough Lock.

Daily Total
Distance: 19 Miles.
Locks: 22
Swing / Lift Bridges: 1
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 1
Engine Hours: 1775



Sunday 21 August 2011

Tinsley Marina (1)

There have been a number of postings into the “Tinsley Marina” thread on the CanalWorld Discussion Forum, before the thread was deleted by the moderators. To be honest I thought the original posting was a bit petty in nature. Most of what has been going on, has happened without my knowledge. But then as we are not live-aboard boaters and for the vast majority of the time we are away from the marina, that does not come as a surprise.

Having recently retired I had some time to take an interest in and to reflect on the situation arising at Tinsley. I initially thought that there was some issue of personality differences between individuals that was fuelling the discord. Like in every other walk of life, some people cannot rub along with each other. However, from my conversations with various people on or around the marina. It would seem that there is much more than a personality difference. There are four different groups of people with very different perspectives about how the marina should be organised and operated. 

For want of clarity, I shall describe the four groups as:-
  • The pro-active boat owners.
  • The laid-back and relaxed boat owners.
  • The fence sitting boat owners.
  • British Waterways
I fit into the fence sitting grouping.

A group of the pro-active boat owners have joined together and created the Tinsley Marina Boat Club. This in itself I think is a good idea and has some merit. One representative voice for all the boat owners, live aboard and leisure moorings alike. Everyone should be playing a part in this. Everyone should also feel that they have an interest within that group and have a part to play.

Pro-active over zealous actions, if channelled in the wrong way can turn out to be counter productive. If people feel that the club does not truly represent their concerns. It becomes a recipe for a conflict of interest and the resultant ill-feeling.

My understanding is that the pro-active boat owners who have formed the Boat Club are only representative of a small number of the overall head count of people owning boats moored at Tinsley. However, I don't have the actual membership figures and so I am flying my kite on anecdotal evidence.

When we were looking for a mooring, we saw Tinsley in the BW auctions site. We then visited Tinsley marina, we met a small group of people who made us most welcome. After winning in the mooring auction we were very happy and looking forward to joining a friendly group of boat owners.

When we first arrived with our boat to our new mooring. We were advised about the Boat Club and that we were welcome to become members. At the time it was also pointed out by someone else, that the boat club was trying to make some changes to the mooring terms and conditions. One of which, was a ban on having dogs on the Marina. You can imagine our dismay at this prospect as we have a couple of dogs.

We immediately felt alienated from any possible membership of the Boat Club. Therefore, we decided not to join as it would effectively be like Turkeys voting for Christmas. As dog owners we would be giving tacit agreement to something we opposed. So essentially, we have played no part in the Boat Club and their activities. We have continued to get along with our boating neighbours in or outside of the Boat Club group without any problems.

(Cont) Click Here

Tinsley Marina (2)

Since the issue about dog ownership within the marina was raised, we have not had any further indication of when this proposed change might be brought about. There are a number of other dog owners at Tinsley Marina. I expect they would be as enthralled by the prospect of a change in the mooring terms and conditions, as we were.

I understand that there have been issues of dog fouling within the marina precincts. I think that the current BW terms and conditions are sufficient to manage that. I fail to see what a blanket ban on dog ownership will achieve. A walk along the tow path will illustrate the amount of dog fouling that goes on. As a responsible dog owner my dogs have been trained to pee and poo on command. I also try to set an example to others by our clean up actions. We often offer a poo bag to dog owners who have a dog that has fouled the tow path. If done in a nice friendly way most will respond as appropriate.

Recently, the members of the Boat Club, formed a fishing section. However, the intention was not as you might expect to promote and foster fishing around the area. The ethos of forming the Boat Club, Fishing Section was essentially to have a marina-wide ban on fishing. Some people expressed the opinion that fishing was causing some damage to their boats.

Plus the disabled anglers were using the marina toilet facilities. This caused some consternation amongst the boat owners on the marina who enjoyed fishing within the locality. Eventually there was an allowance made by the Tinsley Marina Boat Club (fishing section) for boat owners to be able to fish in the Marina but only from their own boats.

I can well understand that anyone who pays their mooring fees and likes to enjoy a spot of fishing would feel that this does not fall into line with their requirements. As one said, the proponents of this change are the people who are not anglers. I can understand this differing viewpoint. However, everyone is entitled to hold an opinion. But is the outright fishing ban proportionate and does it give any real measurable benefit?

There are a small number of disabled anglers who frequent the marina from time to time. I have met one or two of them and they are quite friendly people. There is wheelchair access to a limited number of fishing spots around the marina. However, the majority of the area where people can go to fish is off-limits to the disabled, due to a lack of suitable wheelchair access.

In this time of working in partnership with other waterways user groups. I had a very succinct comment from a disabled angler. He said: "The Boat Club did not implement the fishing ban as a Boat Club policy. The boat club in first forming a “fishing clubthat was diametrically“opposed fishing” was seen by the canal anglers as a deliberate and provocative measure. It was done as a spiteful act against the disabled anglers to whom they object." That is pretty powerful stuff that this person is feeling. He is going to take up his concerns with other groups who represent and support people with disabilities.

The message that this sends to the disabled anglers is one of us and them. You can't fish here but the privileged few can. It is the anglers and other similar waterways groups who are going to have to provide the volunteer workforce for the new waterways charity. Its not a good example of working together to start by creating deep divisions between the various waterways groups.

Now, I used to fish as a young man. However, I had a complete change of heart and decided that it was not something that I wanted to continue to do. However, in all fairness I did get a great deal of enjoyment from the sport. I feel that it is up to the individual and their conscience to either abstain or continue to fish. I have no axe to grind on this issue. Each to their own.


(Cont) Click Here

Tinsley Marina (3)

By way of an example:-

I understand that recently there was a confrontation between members of the Tinsley Boat Club Fishing Section (bailiff) and a disabled angler in a wheelchair. The outcome was that the police were involved. This action caused some concern amongst other boat owners. Some feel that – once again by inference as boat owners – they are all being viewed as supporters of the fishing ban. Thereby souring the relationship that they have built over many years with the local anglers.

There was at one time some talk about personal privacy issues. How anyone can expect to moor within a few feet of their neighbour and maintain any significant level of privacy beats me. But this concern was then aimed at anyone fishing in the marina precincts. I even overheard a complaint aimed at people walking on the side of the marina. For my privacy issues I use curtains whenever I feel it is appropriate.

One disabled angler now comes to the Marina, he sits in the same place as he did to fish before. But now he does this without actually fishing. Banning fishing in this particular case puts the privacy issue into a whole new perspective.

I understand that one Marina boat owner has had their car tyres slashed and this person feels that it could possibly be as a result of the fishing ban being imposed. A fishing ban that this individual was totaly opposed to in the first place.

I feel that if a dispensation was made for the disabled anglers to be able to continue to enjoy fishing from the few spots that they are able to reach with their wheelchairs. This would be a much more proportionate response than a total blanket ban. Its a small concession to make. The disabled have enough of a hard time without further barriers being placed upon them. The anglers are supposed to be our friends and acquaintances not our enemy or an unwanted neighbour with a disability. I understand that the Tinsley Boat Club Fishing Section have refused to give the disabled angler access.

Previously, I understand that the door locks were changed on request of the Tinsley Boat Club on the BW maintained sanitary station. This once again, this was opposed by none members of the Boat Club and subsequently after some dispute the locks were changed back. I have no axe to grind on this issue, as it had occurred before we arrived. But I would be a bit peeved if as a boater, if I wanted to visit the sanitary station and my BW key did not work. As would any other boater passing through this part of the waterways system. We are all boaters sharing a resource that should be available to all.

One person at the marina pointed out to me that the fishermen on the canal were seen to be using the BW sanitary station toilets. My take on this is that as an Inland Waterways user and someone who had purchased a BW key, then they were as entitled to use the facilities as any other waterway user. Be that a walker, boater, fisherman or cyclist. I am sure that BW would also hold that line. Why would anyone begrudge the use of the facilities to someone in such need.

Another issue is that there is a small shared compound space where boat owners can place a locker to store items of equipment. I understand that the locker spaces are only available to Tinsley Marina Boat Club members. As we are leisure moorers we have little need for any external storage. However, I know that some people who are not members of the boat club feel a bit left out when they would like a space in the compound. At the same time some Tinsley Boat Club members have more than one space allocated within the compound.

Some people see themselves as Marina clientèle who are being disadvantaged because they choose not to be a member of the Boat Club. These individuals would like to see BW manage the allocation of space in the compound.

(Cont) Click Here

Tinsley Marina (4)

The Marina is essentially a secure area. I understand that the gates into the car-park and landings should be locked between certain hours approximating to dusk and dawn. Because of the ill feeling between people, there has been either deliberate closing of the gate to inconvenience other non key holders, such as visitors. Or reluctance on the part of some people to close the gates after returning to the Marina before or after the appropriate time. This is a symptom of a entrenched partisan malaise. It is obviously to the detriment of everyone who leaves a vehicle in the car park or chooses to walk around the Marina at night.

The marina is blessed by an excellent well tended green space in what is essentially a very desirable area, if only for the nearby facilities. Never mind the excellent quality of moorings. Tinsley marina is a well kept secret. There is easy access to facilities such as, Sheffield Supertram which gives access around the city and into the Meadowhall Shopping Complex. There are Supermarkets, Pet shops, various food outlets, craft shops, Ten pin bowling, Cinema complex, Football stadium, the Sheffield Arena, a plethora of pubs and much much more. And all are in easy walking distance.

The Marina has had trees on the lower pond heavily pruned (some say vandalised) to the point where BW actually had to take action and fell the trees. BW also at the time issued dire threats if any similar occurrence should happen. This action caused some concern again amongst other boat owners. Some feel that – by inference once again as boat owners – they are being viewed, as in part causing damage to the trees.
BW does not cover itself in glory by writing to all the people in the marina rather than the individuals known to be involved in problem issues. This type of shotgun correspondence only exacerbates the divisions. It directly involves people who up until that time have had no part to play. Rather than help to resolve the divisions and issues, it deepens them. The addendum to such correspondence such as “if this letter does not concern you please ignore” does little to placate the individuals. Its the arrival of the unwarranted letter that causes such great concern. As well as the feeling that British Waterways could not care less about their feelings on the issues.

The upshot of all this is that people feel forced to take one side or the other or alternatively to sit on the fence. Yet, from what I have experienced, as individuals the people at the marina are all very amiable, helpful and friendly individuals. I find it hard to understand why the sides in this conflict have become so deeply entrenched.

I know from conversations that some people feel that the situation is unfair and not representative of the majority boat owners view. Some people have said that when they have been to boat club meetings. That their opposing views have been rubbished, ignored and given no credence. So there is no incentive for them to become members or to play any further part in the proceedings. In effect the way that business is conducted disenfranchises the ones it purports to represent. I have attended a couple of meetings and what has been apparent to me is that the outcome as been pre-ordained.

Some people have expressed concern about the Tinsley lock keepers. The lock keepers are not on site to be at everyone’s beck and call, whenever there is some discord. Their role is not to take sides, but to sit on the fence, express no preference and to do their day to day job. Which in my opinion is being handled very well by the lock keepers in what is a sometimes a difficult and uncomfortable environment. This speaks volumes for their tenacity and dedication. Yet, I have had conversations with a minority of boat owners who condemn the lock keepers out of hand, without any apparent rational or reason.

(Cont) Click Here

Tinsley Marina (5)

Is there a solution?

I don't know. I am reluctant to take part in any form of reconciliation as I don't want to be seen as being for or against one side or the other. I know people that I consider to be good friends and acquaintances who are in one camp or the other. I certainly have no intention to alienate any one of them. It is up to everyone to put any prejudice and ill feelings behind them. To extend the hand of friendship to one another. Leaving all the difficulties where they belong, in the past.

What is apparent is that for many their perception is that there seems to be a desire to implement only the ideas of a minority of boat owners. That a significant number of boat owners do not feel that they have any real input to what is seen to be happening. That changes can and do take place despite their concerns and opposition. People feel that their deep held concerns are of no concern and considered frivolous to the Tinsley Boat Club. There are many facets to this issue, I have only addressed some of them.
Maybe BW should step in and bring back some semblance of balance and fairness to what is in effect causing deep divisions amongst some of the boat owners. A meeting each quarter with the local manager to address any issues would go some way to bringing everyone back together.
Well, I have tried to give an explanation of the issues as I understand them to be. If there are discrepancies in the actuality it is down to a lack of understanding on my part. I don't want to see people who enjoy life at Tinsley Marina begin to feel that the atmosphere is one in which they are now increasingly unhappy.

There has to be a much easier solution than voting with your feet or in this case with your boat. We are all grown up adults and should be able to sit down together and to resolve the disagreements. To do that will require give and take by everyone.

I have asked a couple of people who's opinion I trust. Who know something of the issues in much greater detail than myself. To read through this and to give me some critical comment as to accuracy. I am trying to be unbiased and to give balance and fair comment. Its not an easy task because I know that I will have stood on the toes of people in either camp. Individuals whose opinion, I know will differ to mine.
If anyone is offended by my remarks, I offer my unreserved apology. My comments are intended to be constructive and not destructive and should be taken in that context.
The matter is now unfortunately in the wider public domain. By being aired on a mainstream waterways forum and by the disabled anglers is being aired elsewhere. I hope that these comments will stop any further speculation and internal dissent one way or the other. That people will realise that Tinsley Marina is second to none for facilities and a good environment to moor your boat in.

There are disagreements between individuals, but as adults sharing a common interest and lifestyle we should be able to listen to each others viewpoint, understand the other persons concerns and if necessary agree to disagree. We should feel free to make known our thoughts and to part as friends. Personality conflicts should have no place at Tinsley Marina.

Is it going to change over night – I don't think so. People still feel aggrieved and it will take some time for the deep and divisive divisions to repair themselves.

Time is a good healer, patience is a virtue, an unwarranted remark is enough at this time to inflame the situation.

That's my thoughts.

To Be Continued. Click Here



Saturday 20 August 2011

Multiplication - that's the name of the game.

In the words of a song "Multiplication, that's the name of the game." as sung by Bobby Darin. But in my case, its with regard to the narrow-boat blog. I like Blogger, but I am having some serious problems with posting items. This is due to some quirk with MS Internet Exploder version 9 and Blogger. My PC is set to do MS auto updates and so it auto updated Internet Exploder. Luckily my laptop is still on Internet Exploder version 8 and I have now turned auto up-dates off.

So I have been looking at moving the blog to another site, just to get away from the posting issues.

Then Blogger went off-line for a whole day in May whilst they fixed a few upgrade issues. So this set me to thinking even more about self-preservation of my blog. I came up with a simple solution. Duplicate the blog content between two hosting sites. So I chose WordPress which is another popular blogging application.

I wanted to move to a mainstream site and after experimenting with a number of products I seem to have settled on WordPress. All blog hosting sites seem to have their own little quirks and so I may just run the sites in tandem for the time being. I need to get my head around learning WordPress'es little foibles (that means learning how to get round problems) this may take some time.

To see what I am playing around with - you can find the blog mirror here on narrowboat73


Later ....

Friday 19 August 2011

When Harry Met Sally.

You may have seen the film "When Harry Met Sally" starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. Billy and Meg play the two main characters who happen to be called by coincidence Harry and Sally.  This is a romantic comedy film, with a story line that follows the lives of the two main characters. Starting from the time they first meet and a few chance encounters over the following ten years. With a sub-plot posing the question "Can men and women ever just be friends", which makes for a great  deal of funny dialog and scenes.

The film soundtrack is also very memorable and was performed by several artists including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Harry Connick, Jr. The film score for me will always be Connick with a big band belting out the standards such as "It Had to Be You", "Where or When" and "I Could Write a Book". Which in hindsight seem quite appropriate to this story.

The movie industry it seems, can sometimes reflect real life. So today, I shall tell you about the time "When Mick Met Mags". Cue the music. Action. The movie When Harry Met Sally starts with stories told by several elderly couples about how their relationships started. So here we go as a retired couple with the "Story about our relationship and how it started".

If you have been watching Dan Cruikshank's "The Country House Revealed" and in particular the program on Wentworth Woodhouse. This was the area I spent all my time as a Dell Trotter like child just running wild.

As a youngster my formative years were spent in a small village environment. There were a few other kids around. Travel into Sheffield, Rotherham or Barnsley was the exception. So my interests developed around exploring and enjoying the local countryside. I did however have a few little tricks up my sleeve for raising funds necessary to any self respecting apple scrumper. Selling vegetables gleaned from the local farmers fields, to unsuspecting people in a nearby housing estate, was one such venture. However, my big money spinner was Keppel's Column. It was nothing to do with me, but most summer weekends I could be found administering a small charge to climb to the top. I always was a bit of an entrepreneur in spirit.


1957 was a good year for visitors, I remember the spring that year was very dry and sunny. I was doing my "personal cash flow adjustments" up at the column one day. When I was confronted by identical twin girls. The post war years meant that most of the kids that turned up did not have any money. This was one of those days, but being the very benevolent softy that I am, I let them both climb the column for free.

It was at Kepples Column, a part of the Wentworth family estate "When Mick Met Mags". The girls were Helen and Margaret (Mags) and fate had drawn us together for the first time. I was a mature ten year old and Mags was a feisty eight.

In the film, Harry Burns and Sally Albright first meet during their time at University in Chicago. Fast forward twenty years and fate drew us together again. However, this time we were both working at one of the  Universities in Sheffield. Mags was working in one department and I was working in another. We would meet up from time to time in the communal refectory in the building our two departments shared. At that time we both had ongoing relationships and families. But throughout the next twenty years of University life our friendship endured and we had the occasional encounter.

In the film, Harry and Sally have other relationships which come and go. But over time they are drawn closer together. It was the same for us, our previous relationships had drawn to a close. Once more it would seem that the hand of fate was to draw us together again. It was at the staff Christmas and New Year knees up.  (A typical boozy end of another academic year party)  Everyone is in the pub, we all have had a few beers, our inhibitions lost. When "it all started with a kiss" in a very Harry met Sally moment. Cue the hot chocolate sound track.

As individuals, Mags is feisty and fires from the hip, as for me I am very laid back, but you would not want me as an enemy. If I was to describe our relationship, "We are our own worst critics and our own best friends".

If you have not seen the film, you should. If its been a while, watch it again real soon. Those who have watched the film, seem to have their own favourite scene. For the girls the most popular is the restaurant scene where Sally demonstrates faking it! Plus the unforgettable woman customer's retort to the waiter "I'll have what she's having."

For men, there are so many to choose from. The film is full of wonderful comedic lines, my favourite Harry line is when he says to Sally on the phone. "Had my sex fantasy dream again where I'm making love, and the Olympic judges are watching. I'd nailed the compulsories, so this is it, the finals. I got a 9.8 from the Canadians, a perfect 10 from the Americans, and my mother, disguised as an East German judge, gave me a 5.6, it must have been the dismount."

This is followed by Sally recounting one of her dreams.
Sally "Well, basically it's the same dream I've been having since I was twelve."
Pause.
Harry "Which is?"
Sally "Okay, there's this guy."
Harry "What does he look like?"
Sally "I don't know, he's just sort of faceless."
Harry "Faceless guy, okay."
Pause.
Harry "And?"
Sally "That's it."
Harry "That's it? Some faceless guy rips off all your clothes, and that's the sex fantasy you've been having since you were twelve?"
Sally "Well sometimes I vary it a little."
Harry "Which part?"
Sally "What I'm wearing."

I love films.

Later....



Thursday 18 August 2011

The Poll Tax returns to the canals.

Here we are, enjoying our cruise and life has slowed down its pace, we are loving every moment. A slow chug along the River Don as we make our way to who knows where. Life was proceeding all calm and serene, then we heard on the radio today that the new government is toying with the old Thatcher idea of bringing back the poll tax.

It is twenty one years since Thatcher’s Tory government tried to impose the Poll Tax. Officially termed the Community Charge, the Poll Tax amounted to a flat rate tax that individuals had to pay to their Local Councils regardless of their income. In an effort to bring the Cameron  Big Society one step closer, it has been announced that council tax is to go through a re-evaluation process for each house and this will also apply to every live-aboard boat in the UK administered for boaters under the new Inland Waterways charity.

All current house and boat values will be reassessed and one of the main criteria for the assessment will be the quality of the area in which you live or have a mooring. How this move back to the poll tax will square with the big society I am not altogether sure. Will they will charge us more if we live or moor in a nice area and charge us less if we live or moor in a rough area. Your guess is as good as mine about how the quality will be assessed. I suppose it will have something to do with the crime figures and the numbers of families living on state benefits.

Just down the road from where we are moored at the moment, there is a huge house. It would seem that there is an extended English, Greek and German family living in it. The owner "Vinegar Liz" is a grumpy old woman who always wears a head scarf. She also has a large pack of irritable noisy dogs which have been allowed to run free in her garden. To the best of my knowledge her car isn't taxed or insured and doesn't even have a number plate, but the local police do nothing. I know she lives on state benefits and she has never held down a real job. Yet they seem to be able to afford to spend months away on holiday every year.

Her bad-tempered husband known as "Phil the Greek" is notorious for his racist comments. A local Asian shopkeeper blamed him for arranging the murder of his son and his son's girl-friend, but still nothing has been proved.

All their kids have broken marriages except the youngest, who everyone thought was gay anyway. Two grandsons are meant to be in the armed forces but are always out partying in nightclubs although one has recently married and may quieten down. It is suspected that they may not have the same father. To be honest the family are totally dysfunctional and out of control. I feel sorry for the families living near Buckingham Palace, maybe they can get a poll tax rebate.

Later....