Thursday, 7 December 2017

When is a boat with no propeller not a butty?

When it is a paddlewheeler.

I remember seeing this boat on the Grand Union in the Milton Keynes area in the early 1980s. I thought even then, with few lockmiles under my belt, that it was a strange craft. Some years later we got to know the owners who lived in our village near MK. A short while ago I received an e-mail from them saying that advancing years - theirs, not the boat's - were forcing them to downsize.

The most notable feature of the boat is the propulsion system: a large stern-mounted paddlewheel. It's protected by a wire mesh cage above water so there should be little danger of getting anything caught in it. And, of course, there's no chance of getting anything caught round the prop as there isn't one.

This is from the broker's website (Virginia Currer Marine):

Savernake is most unusual, being powered by a stern mounted paddlewheel that is driven by a Lister SR2 diesel engine. Originally built by Fernie Boats and fitted by Foxton Boat Services, she has been extensively refitted internally by the current owner. The base plate has been overplated in 2005, together with the bow and stern sides. The vessel has been in the current ownership for 36 years. Originally built with a composite superstructure, this was replaced with conventional steel in 2008.


Savernake is 49 feet long, was built in 1974 and is for sale at £27,500. Here's a shot of the saloon, taken from the broker's website.

There are more pictures on Virginia Currer's website.

Oh, the downsizing? Our friends have bought a Wilderness Beaver.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Autumn colour

When we left the Black Country Boating Festival after helping to pack it up we headed back to Yardley Wood. Then we set off for a BCF social event at Fazeley.

Coming down the Farmers Bridge locks Jan had to steer round an ex-working boat coming up the flight. There wasn't much room.

The small yellow and red berries were out in profusion along the Aston Locks.

Pyracantha, I believe they are.

This was September 13th. (Six weeks later I am still in shorts.)

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Black Country Boating Festival 2017

We didn't get to Windmill End as early as we had intended this year for the Black Country Boating Festival. Our delay was on account of all the work we were doing at the Birmingham house, mostly painting. We left Cambrian Wharf in time to arrive at the BCBF at 1100; we immediately got stuck in to helping.

At one point we were asked to move the boat from its original mooring at the junction to just a little further on, opposite the main festival site. There we are, with the bunting up (such as it is).

Galileo was looking very good.

On the Sunday (10th Sep) Jan led a short BCF service in the beer tent. This year, for some reason, the local churches didn't get involved and the congregation was consequently small.

We had a good time at the festival despite the showery conditions, and resolved to do it all again next year. When the rain really fell down on Sunday afternoon that was the signal for the crowds to melt away - if that's the right phrase, dissolve might be more appropriate - and for the traders to pack up.

Here are David and Mary leaving on Kew.

Now I must go on the BCBF website and book 2018 ...

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

It's been too long!

I somehow got out of the habit of regular blog posts, which I shall try to rectify. On the boat we had run low of data which meant that I couldn't upload photos, then we were very busy at the Birmingham house. When I wrote last we were on the Stratford Canal at Yardley Wood. From there we went to the Black Country Boating Festival, then back to Yardley Wood, then to Fazeley for a BCF event. Jubilee is still there, on a friend's end-of-garden mooring. We are now at home in Norfolk.

I shall try to revisit the last couple of weeks of the summer's boating, with photographs, over the course of the next few days.

Meanwhile here are some photos of the strange sky we had on Monday. The light had exactly the quality of the light either side of a total solar eclipse (which we witnessed in France in 1999). I don't think it fooled the birds, though.

orange sky at 1752

the sun at 1522

eerie daylight at 1719
For a really good shot of a red sun see Erin Mae's blog.

Friday, 8 September 2017

CRT apologises for dozens of duplicate e-mails

A couple of days ago we were having our sandwiches in a break from painting when my phone pinged to indicate the arrival of an e-mail. Nothing unusual there. It was a standard notice alert from CRT. Again, nothing to merit comment. But my phone pinged a few seconds later with the same message, which I immediately deleted, as I had the first one. The phone then pinged again and again … and again and again and again with barely a pause. Something was clearly going wrong and there was little I could do about it. When my phone eventually stopped pinging I counted 120 duplicate e-mails (I might have missed some). Later a fresh e-mail from CRT apologised for the disruption caused to some people by a bug in the system. Let's hope it doesn't happen again.

We are now at the Black Country Boating Festival at Windmill End Junction - we could hardly be closer to the actual junction. We made an early start from Cambrian Wharf and got here at about 1000. I then spent a considerable amount of time scrubbing (notionally) white plastic tables, setting them out in the main marquee and putting chairs round them.

This evening we enjoyed an archive compilation film on boating in the midlands in the company of (among others) Andy Tidy, Barry and Sandra of the Homebrew boat, Brian and Diana of Harnser, David and Mary of Kew and Peter of Solar Kingfisher.

I expect tomorrow will see us with litter pickers in hand helping to keep the site clean.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

On our way to the Black Country

Jan's using the laptop so this will be another post devoid of photos, sorry. After spending five days at a house we let in the Birmingham suburbs painting and cleaning ready for a new tenant, we have at last been boating again.

We left Yardley Wood at 1500 and arrived at central Brum at 1745. I dropped Jan off by the Mailbox so she could go to Tesco and I carried on to the services at Cambrian Wharf. There was space against the bank in the wharf so that's where we now are.

Tomorrow we'll probably make an early start as we head for Windmill End and the Black Country Boating Festival.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Fazeley to Yardley Wood in one day

It's the sort of cruising we might have done in our shared ownership days. We set off from Fazeley at 0630 and didn't stop until we reached Lyons Boatyard on the Stratford Canal, 23 miles and 38 locks later. We have a change of tenant at our house near here and wanted to check the place over. We are going to have to paint every room and organise replacing carpets. We'll be very busy for the next few days.

Again, apologies for the lack of photos. I don't think I've described our journey from Ilkeston. We did the first leg with son Andrew. He'd driven down from Sheffield; we did a car shuffle and boated to Shardlow. The next day we stopped at Barton Turn. Not the quietest of moorings, especially as there were night-time resurfacing works on the road bridge above us.

Leg 3 was Barton Turn to Fazeley. Having read Derwent6's blog we stopped at King's Orchard Marina for gas and diesel. Not far from there we encountered Del and Al in person. Del was hard at work on their battery problem but we chatted to Al for a while. Del did poke his head out of the engine room for an exchange of greetings.

And the last leg I have already summarised. We met Lisa and Dave on What a Lark near the top of the Curdworth flight - good to see you again.

Our next scheduled port of call will be the Black Country Boating Festival next weekend; we're hoping to be able to get there a day or so early in order to help set up, as in previous years. We'll see how we get on with jobs at the house.

Monday, 28 August 2017

IWA Festival of Water, Ilkeston

We've come to the end of a hot and tiring festival here on the Erewash Canal in Derbyshire. This post is by way of a stopgap - a fuller report with pictures will follow when we have more data available. We got to our mooring last Tuesday. I helped with marking out the site over the next three days; we have both been doing stints on the BCF stand and I have been helping out on the rope throwing stand. Tomorrow we shall start our return journey down the Erewash and onto the Trent and Mersey.