Saturday, 18 December 2010
Thursday, 11 November 2010
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
Thursday, 28 October 2010
The Clifford Arms
Saturday 23rd October 2010
12 oz horseshoe Gammon
TOTAL SCORE :50%
COMMENTS: The prices charged were restaurant prices but the meals did not live up to restaurant quality. Both meals were served with cheap greasy frozen chips, and my horseshoe of gammon had been cooked far too much and as a result was dry and tough (fit for shoeing a horse) and Dawn’s Cajun chicken was nothing like any Cajun chicken she had ever had before. It came in a bowl and consisted of chunks of chicken breast in a very liquid sauce that resembled a Balti sauce. The best part of both meals was the salad dressing on the side of the plates, it was a pity as much effort had not been put into the meal itself.
MENU RECOMMENDATIONS: Would not recommend the meals that we had although some of the other meals being eaten looked ok..
TOILETS: Ladies toilets Clean if not a little dated. Gents toilets smelt terribly.
BEERS: Looked like a very good selection of six ‘real ales’ including Adnams, Speckled Hen, Bass, Directors however the Guinness was like vinegar and so was the cider so we both ended up drinking Vodka.
COST: About £24 in total for both meals which, had they been restaurant quality meals would not have been too bad but the meals were no more than ‘pub grub’ meals.
The Fox and Anchor
Telephone: 0190279 8786
Alongside the Staffs and
Sunday 24th October 2010
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Well a good three days boating was had last weekend taking Minnow up to Norbury Junction for the ‘end of season bash’ next week end. It all started on Friday after work when I went to pick up my new car. An hour old with about twenty miles on the clock and I was parking it an the grass verge opposite ‘The Junction’ car park to leave it there for three days for the birds to sh*t on and tractors to scrape down the side (tractors didn’t but by god there’s some big birds round there!)
Originally Dawn was going to work Saturday morning while I fetched Minnow up to the house from the moorings but Dawn decided to let the girls look after the shop so I thought oh good we’ll get an early start! Well first we went shopping then Dawn had a shower then we packed all the food and clothes into plastic boxes and we finally drove down to the moorings about 12.00pm and after loading up Minnow we set off about 12.30.pm. Had a good trip up to Great Haywood and managed to get moored right up by the Junction. After washing the boats down we had a wash and change and headed off into the village for a meal and a drink or two at the Clifford
Arms (more in the next blog) Sunday we were off by 8.30am and were greeted by a heavy frost with all the ropes stiff and everything stuck to the cabin top. Another great day and by about four in the afternoon we were moored up at Cross Green for a meal and a drink or three in the Fox and Anchor (more in the next blog) Monday and another 8.30 start and again greeted by a beautiful heavy frost which as the morning started to warm presented some beautiful scenes of mist off the cut and trees festooned with whitened spiders webs.
An hour saw us failing to make the turn into the Shroppie at Cut End
and then onto a canal I love/ I hate / I love / I hate. I love its depth and width, it’s straightness, its embankments and it’s rocking’s but at the same time I hate the miles and miles of moored boats, so do Bolinders as they like to be working not idling!
By about four we arrived at Norbury. I dropped Minnow into a gap just before the start of the BW moorings and dropped Dawn off to go and see what room was available nearer the junction. Dave Ray, the manager at
By 6.30pm we were all packed up and car loaded and we headed back, stopping at the chippy in Gnosall (more in the next blog) and sat in the rear car park eating fish and chips, big bottle of full fat Coke and all with Bolinder hands! Can’t beat it. Talking to Dave and Sue Cawson outside the Junction pub (from which Dave’s barred) it looks like it’s going to be a good weekend with quite a few working boats expected, but will report back after the event, but until then as always
Don’t bang ‘em about
Monday, 18 October 2010
Thursday, 30 September 2010
Old fools and Bolinders.
Something that those of you who know me really well will have heard me say before is that a Bolinder’s engines are great, in someone else’s boat! It is certainly a love hate relationship. Sunday we had a great day with the Bolinder skipping along all day and with Minnow flying through the deep water of the BCN and down the twenty one then along the twelve mile pound. Day two, again we were flying until we hit the problems I’ve already blogged about with low pounds. Hovering about mid channel at Shutt Hill lock for ages while other boats were fannying about and the Bolinder went out. Jumping down into the engine ‘ole to re-start it and it finally had its revenge and kicked back and copped me good and proper. This is the first time it has copped me properly in the whole of the four years we have had Minnow. As I have had a full knee replacement about five years ago, this was very painful and I was really struggling to bend my knee to lift my foot onto the flywheel pin to kick it off. Dawn tried but to no avail. She has made several attempts over the last three years to kick start the Bolinder and she just can’t start it. For one she is quite short and struggles to get her leg up high enough to get her foot on the pin and also she is frightened of it and one thing you can not afford to be is scared of a Bolinder or they will kick back and have you every time. (This time it kicked back on me because I think it was very hot and I probably should not have primed it before kicking it over again) we spent the next two hours below Shutt Hill lock after me bow hauling Minnow through and waiting for the pain to subside in my right knee. Dawn’s topic of conversation (and for the next couple of days was all about Minnow. The result of these long and drawn out conversations are that certain things have now been agreed about Minnow’s future and some of the salient points to come from these discussions were:
1. Dawn can’t master the change of direction of the Bolinder and get it to come over in reverse.
2. Dawn can’t work boat through locks etc because of above
3. Having a titanium replacement knee it’s getting too painful to just kick it over.
4. Silly old farts like me should realise I’m too old for all this palaver.
5. Dawn wants something that starts with a key/button!
And so this brought Dawn and I to an agreed decision on Tuesday night as to the future of Minnow.
We have had the boat for 4 years. It took me the first year to get the Bolinder running something like (with a little help from Joe Hollinshead of cause) but in the last three years we have thoroughly enjoyed four to six weeks boating every year covering well over 500 miles and 400 locks each but now the time has come to pass her on to her next custodian. I have already said that I will never be without a boat again and so we are on the lookout for something suitable and we are going to be putting Minnow up for sale. Dawn thinks something suitable will have cookers, shower, flush toilet etc. etc. when in reality it will most likely be a Grand Union, as I have always wanted a pair of Little Northwich boats, but I also like Woolwiches as well Big and Little!
Wednesday, 29 September 2010
As I mentioned in my last blog we had quite a struggle from Gailey lock down to Tixall lock with some low and some very low pounds and when you are grinding your bottoms away as you plough a channel along the whole length of a pound then it does get a little annoying to say the least and, I might add not for the first time for at least the last four times we have gone this way we have had to plough our way through. The problem is not ‘ as suggested on two occasions by BW staff’ “someone left a paddle up last night” but in fact a complete lack of maintenance. The gates at both ends of Tixall lock are leaking like a sieve and it takes two locks of water to fill the chamber and you don’t have to draw a paddle to empty it. The top gate is leaking all round and water is even pouring from underneath the ‘babby’. This is bad enough but to infuriate even more BW have got a tug, hopper and dredger spot dredging all along this whole stretch instead of fixing the leaking gates, and to infuriate even, even more the dredgings are being placed on the offside edge of the canal only to immediately start to wash/slip/slide back into the canal and within a few months will be back into the channel again. Early Monday morning we saw a BW employee with a black bag and an litter picker walking the pound at Boggs lock. While I accept that stretches of canal through towns/cities will suffer from litter louts but this is a stretch of canal miles from anywhere, in the middle of the country and not suffering with litter. The second irritating BW staff usage was just along the Staffs & Worcester from Hayward Junction where an employee was observed cutting waters edge reeds down with a petrol strimmer on a little used stretch of towpath and which were not causing any inconvenience anyway. I am sure that the working hours of these five members of staff along with the dredger,tug, hopper, fuel, wages etc. etc. could have been put to much better use. My final moan is regarding overhanging vegetation. When oh when are British Waterways going to start serving notices on home owners who allow their trees to block the canal navigation. On the stretch of the Trent and Mersey just between kings Bromley and Brindley bank are several examples where huge weeping willows hang right down to the water and block over half the width of the canal, the problem being for deep drafted historical craft you have a choice either go through the green curtains not being able to see through or past them or go round them with the risk of grounding. In this instance I have noted the exact positions of these offending trees (houses in Leyland Drive, Poplars Road, Little Brickyard Gardens and 153 Armitage Road which only took ten minutes on 'Google earth' and 'street map') and am sending a letter to BW’s area manager warning him that now that I have brought these risks to his notice and that he is aware of them, then any accident or injury resulting from these overhanging trees will be his responsibility under the Health and Safety at Work Act. Ok so whinge and moan over until the next blog!Blossom.
Tuesday, 28 September 2010
Another wonderful weekends boating. NOT! Started off great and ended great but the middle bit – We had booked a couple of extra days off work to bring Minnow back from the
Don’t bang ‘em about
Saturday, 25 September 2010
Monday, 20 September 2010
Oh what a wonderful weekend we’ve had, two whole days with people ‘spakin proppa’
It was Tipton Community and Canal Festival a lovely event based around the canal either side of
Saturday evening we had arranged to meet up with old friends and retired boaters Henry and Phyllis Johnstone, Horace Foster and Trish and Steve.The evening was spent with this motley crew in the ‘Fountain Inn’ home of the Tipton Slasher and at 11.30 we all made our way back to our boats. Unfortunately for Dawn and I, for security reasons, the access gates to our part of the site had been locked and this called for me to scale the iron railings. Unfortunately Dawn could not make it over the fence and so I had to go down onto the boat and shaft her over to the towpath side for Dawn to get on. The next morning she collared hold of the security man and had a word in his ear! As the day wore on the crouds started to drift off and we decided to make our way back to the museum and so the lamp was lit, Bolinder kicked into life and we made our way back to the museum where our car was parked and then home for hot shower oan food. The week end had lots available to keep people interested for as well as the many trade and charity stands there was Beacon radio intermixed with live bands, gospel Choir, Bangrah dancing, a brass band, as well as burger stand, Afro Caribbean curry & chicken, and much, much more.
On the whole there was something for all the family and a bostin day out, certainly a venue we will go to again but till then
Dow bang 'em abaht