Thursday, 27 November 2008

Lunchtime fix

I felt I needed a quick canal fix this lunchtime, so I went for a walk along part of the Grand Union Paddington Arm. From work, I got the tube to Westbourne Park, a station I've never used before. The Grand Union pub and a rather ornate bridge were indiations that I was in the right place. I walked along the towpath towards Ladbroke Grove. No moving boats today (I missed Epiphany by a couple of days!) but I was pleased to see a couple of huge barges next to a building site. It looks as though they've been used to transport materials to the development. Once I got to Ladbroke Grove, I walked down to the tube station, which turned out to be a bit further than expected. Then it was just two stops back to Wood Lane, and work.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Farmer's Bridge

Friday 14 November 2008. The most surprising thing on this evening was how few visiting boats were moored in Birmingham. There were three at the end of the Oozells Street Loop. And that was all. There were none on the main line, none at the top of Farmer's Bridge, none on the visitor moorings at Cambrian Wharf. The other side of the Broad Street Tunnel, there were none by Gas Street Basin, and none along by the Mailbox.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Knowle Locks

We broke out journey to Birmingham on Friday by having a walk at Knowle Locks. We came up the locks during our September cruise, and completed the flight so quickly (thanks to pairing up with a hire boat with a multitude of crew, and a bit of synchronised boating to get from one lock to the next), that we didn't really have time to look around. This time, we found a little car park by Bridge 73 and walked down the towpath to the locks. The pounds are very wide, and you can clearly see where the six old narrow locks used to be. The lock cottage, which is the same design as the ones at Stockton and Cape, is being renovated. Just above the locks is Stephen Goldsbrough Boats, although I understand that Stephen Goldsbrough himself no longer owns the business.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Owners' Meeting

Today we've been in Birmingham for the Debdale owners' meeting. We actually went up yesterday (via the Hatton Locks Cafe for lunch, and Knowle Locks for a walk), and stayed in Birmingham overnight. There's a Frankfurt Christmas Market in the city centre, and a huge Christmas tree at The Mailbox, built on a platform over part of the canal arm.

We could see Gas Street Basin from our hotel room.

We'd met most of the other owners at last year's meeting, but there were a couple of couple who were new to us. The big decision was next year's mooring: we decided to leave Stockton Top and move to Norbury Junction on the Shroppie.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Fiddlesticks Free on test

The December issue of Canal Boat is out, and contains my review of Fiddlesticks Free, by Cauldon Boat Builders based in Stoke on Trent. This was a quality boat, full of good ideas. And it was a lovely sunny day, in spite of a downpour just before we started.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

River Medway

Del and Al from Derwent 6 left a comment on the last post about Teston Lock saying it was their home town. I assume they're talking about Maidstone, which is just a few miles from where I grew up, and gives me an excuse to post a photo of the Medway as it goes past the Crown Court in Maidstone. It was a very dull, wet day, so the photo is rather dark.

The narrowboat said Tonbridge on the side, so I guess it's Medway-based, and hadn't done the tricky/exciting journey from the Thames estuary.

I remember times during my childhood when the river was in flood, that it often came up the top of the arches of the bridge, flooding the subway into town in the process. That's a lot of extra water!