Tuesday, 15 June 2010

BCN Old and New

Last weekend we attended the Titford pump house rally. This meant doing a bit of the BCN Old Main Line, which happens to be covered in new bits, part of the way. It just so happens the new bits are falling down, as you can see from the photo below, and the old bits, over 200 years old are still standing, this is called progress?
On the way we past quite a few pieces of history that didn't survive, such as Sandwell Colliery coal drop. However BW have left an information board in it's memory. Not has good as the real thing I think.
The cast iron 1828 structures of Smethick Junction seam to be lasting better than the modern concrete type and a lot more attractive to look at too.

After viewing the latest DVD of Laurence Hogg's, we've been spotting how things used to be, sad isn't it. We've done Smethick lock many times and never noticed they used to be twin locks.
If you look at the photo below, albeit modern, the right arch as been reproduced for the second lock.
And at the top you can still see the remnants of the other lock. It's a shame the B16 brats have burnt down the Toll house. I don't understand the youth of today, they want somewhere to go out of the weather, so they burn the roof off! Does that make any sense at all?
You may note the above photo we're heading the wrong way, that's because the photo I took on the way up was crap so Andrea took another on the way back. Same for the one below.
I thought this showed how things changed, even in the early times of the canal system. You can see the original Brasshouse Lane bridge then the later addition of the cast iron section. Road traffic on the increase, even in those days.
In the DVD mentioned earlier this concrete monstrosity doesn't exist.
Nor this one at Spon Lane Junction!

Now leaving the concrete jungle and heading up the Oldbury Locks to Titford
We had all day Saturday and Sunday morning at Titford talking to the locals about boats and engines. Saturday night we had various brews and were entertained by a group that really didn't get it going till the end of the night. Shame really, they were very good musicians but left it too late to play popular music that people knew.
Sunday morning we had the company of Joe Hollingshead telling his tales of days gone by. I tried to video this but camera decided otherwise, I'll get him on film one day.

We left Titford at about 11:00 and decided to make a bid for The Dog and Doublet at Curdworth.... we made it, eventually!
The run through Birmingham was brilliant, just a bit bumpy in places, which is to be expected. Down the Farmers Bridge Locks, no problems at all, then Aston! mmmm.
Into the top lock, fine, boat coming up the second lock down. The bottom gates open, no water, well not enough anyway, I bounced over the cill and then sat on the mud. So after letting another lock full down I finally drifted into the second lock. It was like this most of the way down until lock number 4. Here everything looked ok until I went into reverse gear to pull away form the gate, nothing happened, I just sat there, I checked, we're in gear, water coming out of the sides, couldn't understand it. I then looked over the back to see the uxter plate about 6 inch out of the water...we're on the bottom of the lock...bluddy hell. It was then decided, by Andrea, to put just enough water in the lock to float us back to the cill, then empty the lock again, this would the allow us to open the gate. (Just as a note, the Aston locks, like all the BCN only have one bottom gate, so things are little tight with a boat 70'-6" long and even tighter with a big GU boat. I think that's why the cill stonework is squared off on one side, the rudder just fits in nice.) Then flush us out into ever so slightly deeper water, where I bounced and scraped my way to the next lock and the next, and the next. Then to top it all, a down pour of rain and I mean down pour. When we got to Salford Junction I had to change coats while under the motorway and weigh up the situation. As time was against us I decided to carry on, I've never seen so much water cascading off the motorway into the canal, it was just a water curtain. We then had a soggy plod down Minworth and Curdworth locks, arriving at the Dog and Doublet at about 9:30. Dumped the boat nearly on the lock moorings, quick wash, pub.
The photo above is out of the back doors where we left Dove. The lock silhouetted in the bridge hole.
We left here at 6:00 the next morning and got back to Fradley around 12ish

Monday, 7 June 2010

A few Photo's of the Ricky outing

While we're out and about working, I though I'd take advantage of the hotel wifi and post a few photo's of our Ricky trip.
Starting with the Gauging Lock at Brenford.
Then the Loading Dock at Brentford
Bull's Bridge, the Layby now surrounded by factory units and full of floating blocks of flats, not working boat in sight.

Dove surrounded by the red and greens
This is just after a rain storm, the rainbow doesn't seem to show up very well, it was really vivid in real life.

Couldn't resist this one, Dove sat at Little Venice with a setting sun

Saturday, 5 June 2010

No flies on me.....

....oh yes there is. Why is it as soon as you get the paint pot out the flies zoom in? I've been trying to paint the boarders of the cabin for weeks now. It's either raining or too hot and now the flies. I finally beat them yesterday, I got up before they did and sucsessfully painted the all the cream. We just need Jim to re-write the registered at Birmingham bit to complete the job. I've been doing one or two jobs that have dragged on a bit, like the new Swan neck/Rams head, call it what you will. (Que Blossom) I made this quite a while ago and fially got round to fitting it. The Britannia model was not quite right, wrong diameter and the wrong shape. I had a piece of tiller bar spare so I've made a dummy to cover the rusty bit. Don't know if this is right or wrong but I've got one, somthing else to Brasso.
While I had the paint brush in hand, you know what it's like, I went round touching up all over, then forgot what was wet and finished up with more paint on me than the boat.
Next weekend we're off to the Titford rally, so get ready for another trip report