Tuesday, 29 April 2008


I was in Stourport today, and couldn't resist going to have a look at the locks which link the basins to the River Severn. There are two broad barge locks, and two narrow staircase pairs. A Viking Afloat hire boat called Valhalla with an Australian family on board was in the bottom lock of the top staircase, and had gathered quite a crowd. They'd opened the paddles at both ends of the top lock, meaning they were sending water cascading down the side to the lower basin, and gradually draining the upper basin.

However, the collective knowledge of the gathered gongoozlers soon put them right.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Who's pulled the plug?

Monday was a late shift and I was early, so I took a detour to Paddington Basin. Someone has pulled the plug, and the end of the Paddington Arm is dry.

The reason is six new buildings going up alongside the canal, in a development called Merchant Square. There will be offices, shops, restaurants, and a health club, as well as lots of flats. There will also be a new waterside square, not surprisingly called Merchant Square. There's a website with lots of information, include a film and a 3D image of how the area will look when it's all done.

The good news is that boats seem to feature quite a lot: they're in the film and moorings are shown in all the plans. I'm not so sure about the strapline though: "Adding water to the West End". Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that the water had been there for some time -- and it's the buildings that are new.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Finally ...

I've been commuting to London from the south coast for more than seven years by a variety of routes. A couple of them (train to Victoria and car direct to work) take me over the Thames, and each time I look to see whether any narrowboats are tackling the tidal section.

Of course the chances of me going over the bridge coinciding with a narrowboat going underneath are minimal. Which explains why it has taken more than seven years to happen.

But today, as I drove over Hammersmith Bridge at 1.30pm, a green and yellow narrowboat called May was approaching, heading upstream. There were a couple of people on the back deck, and another couple at the bow.

Of course I didn't have my camera with me, and I couldn't really have taken a picture while driving anyway. Now I'm wondering if it will take another seven years before such a coincidence happens again.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Cover Up

I was amused by this completely covered boat, which we passed at the Foxton village moorings on the Market Harborough Arm last month. I particularly like the way each mushroom vent has it's own tailored addition. It must be quite a job to get it on and off, though, and what are you meant to do with a (possibly wet) 50ft cover when you've managed to remove it?

Thursday, 10 April 2008


The new issue of Canal Boat includes a piece I've written about Debdale and our earlier boating exploits. Half the photos I emailed didn't turn up for some reason, and so the editor chose some from my flickr account. I think it looks excellent, particularly with the full page picture of Adrian at the tiller as we went down the Napton locks on Boxing Day.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

No Problem

Now it's the turn of Sue on No Problem to spot Debdale. The two boats passed at the top of the Napton flight yesterday. Sue has even posted a photo (which I've taken the liberty of pinching!)

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Debdale helps Maffi

Maffi has reported seeing Debdale just outside Banbury. I believe it's Charlie on board Debdale this week, and he helped Maffi secure a boat which was across the canal.