Monday, 30 July 2012

Some days we should stay in bed.

The day started quite well, we watered at Greensforge.

This pair have been just above the lock for a while, anything to do with the floods?

In the lock cottage garden is this monster, I was expecting to hear "Feed me."
As we left the lock the day started to go downhill, the heavens opened, by the time I'd got the jacket on my shorts were soaked anyway so I didn't bother with the waterproof strides. It rained all the way down to Stourton Junction where we found two hire boats waiting because, as they explained, there was no water.

They were quite right, the second pound up was definitely on the shallow side and the next one up was looking nearly as short of water. It was the work of three quarters of an hour to run enough down to get moving again.
At the second lock Jill slipped getting off the boat, nasty graze up her leg and some bruised ribs, that was enough so once through the top lock we looked for somewhere to moor and have found a pleasant spot, except for the big patch of nettles that I managed to land in, in shorts. Just let someone ask me that old chestnut, "Do you ever regret moving onto the boat?"
A day that requires an application of a large malt whisky.

Watch this space...............

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Catching up, a game of cricket and a splendid Austin.

It seems a long while since I updated this. Last couple of days at Plymouth.

A visit to Carnglaze slate mine where we met

at least one fairy.

Breakfast at The Coffee Shack on The Hoe and a visit to The Monkey Sanctuary.

Happy little soul.
Back at Norbury the lads had done their usual good job, the roof is no longer rust coloured and water does not pour in round the chimney collar. Good show!
Alas, when I tried to hook up the dongle to the laptop the extension lead rolled on its back and put its feet in the air, deader than last weeks mutton. Stopped at Brewood (Pronounced Brood) but the computer shop was bare of any suitable lead. Today we arrived at Wombourne and hooray, a new lead was forthcoming and we are now back in touch with the world.
So here is how the locals here enjoy a fine summer Saturday.

On the village green, overlooked by the parish church, a game of cricket was in full swing,

"Well played sir!!"

A quick single!
I won't do all the silly bits about the side that is in going out etc. If you don't understand the national game then there is little hope for you.

And this isn't Ringa Ringa Roses either.

At the church there was happiness of another kind,

yes, the owner of this splendid Austin Six was trousering a wad of cash for an hours work, that would make me happy!

It's good to be back on the move, heading for Brum via Merry Hell Hill.

Watch this space..............

Friday, 13 July 2012

A special edition for railway buffs. Includes steamed bananas.

We seem to be developing a bit of a rails theme at the moment, after our days excitement on the tram we decided on something a little more bucolic and the next day set off for Sheffield Park, home of the Bluebell Railway, taking father along for the ride. We eventually arrived after our wondrous sat. nav. had taken us in circles around Sussex, a pox on all technology.

Station building, typical of the L.B.S.C.R. in the middle of the 19th C. Once through those august portals we were greeted by a cornucopia of delights.

"Fenchurch", one of Stroudley's celebrated Terrier tanks. Built in 1872 and still going strong.

That's a front view with father in the foreground, obviously overwhelmed by the Bulleid Pacific next to him, gives you an idea of how tiny the Terriers were.

On the front of the train was the diminutive S.E.& C.R. P class tank, resplendent in its pre-grouping livery while at the back was another P class, the iconic "Bluebell",

in her Bluebell Railway livery. As there are currently no run round facilities at the other terminus they have an engine at both ends of the train.

At Horsted Keynes Jill was astounded at the thought of steam powered bananas and sadly disappointed when I explained that all it meant was that the banana vans were heated by steam to ripen the fruit as it travelled from docks to market. Somehow the thought of a steam powered banana has real appeal.

The last train of the day arrives back at Sheffield Park.

Father stands beside Stepney, another Terrier, and then it was back to Morden, fighting the rush hour traffic on the M25, yeuch!
We're now at daughter Natalie's in Plymouth and today were left in charge of grandson Elliot, aged nearly three. Guess what, it was off to the South Devon Railway, being G.W.R. it is not a patch on the Bluebell but we made do.

G.W.R. 2251 class, number 3205 and small boy. She was the only engine in steam today and worked all the trains.

Tiny, the only surviving broad gauge engine from Brunel's time, designed for shunting in confined spaces she has a vertical boiler and cylinders, a real oddity.

At Totnes the train set off on its return journey in a fine flurry of steam and we wandered over to the rare breeds farm.

Feeding the animals is great but

they do slobber on your hand, oh well, I'll just wipe it on my jeans, after all, mother will wash them.

"Don't guinea pigs do anything? Boring".
Actually he was a lot less trouble than father.
Back at daughter's I discovered that she has a home hub, hence the plethora of pictures, pure self indulgence.

Watch this space.................

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Tram ride to Croydon.

At the age of eight I was dragged from the Sussex coast to live in Croydon, I loathed the place and at the age of eighteen I shook the dust of the place from my boots and have rarely returned since. Today though curiosity got the better of me, not to see Croydon but to ride the new tram that connects Wimbledon to Croydon and various places east. It runs along the line of the old railway that was known as either the ghost train or The Wimbledon Flyer and I'd never seen it so it was off to Morden Road.

Exciting isn't it.

Nice colour. Bit confusing, it says Wimbledon on the front when it was coming from there.

We've arrived at Croydon and guess what?

It's as depressingly grotty as it ever was.
So I took a canal related photo.'

Under this lot is West Croydon Station and under that was the terminal basin of the Croydon Canal.
It opened in 1809 and ran for just over nine miles from the Grand Surrey Canal through twenty eight locks to here. By 1836 it was closed, the first canal in Britain to be closed by Act of Parliament, and sold to the London and Croydon Railway. Virtually nothing remains today. For a bit of excitement the police with their sniffer dogs were checking the passengers, presumably for drugs.

Outside the Town Hall the Old Queen gloomily surveys the passing scene.

I will admit that the Town Hall still retains a degree of dignity.

The best sight of the day was the tram coming to whisk us out of the place.
I hope I haven't offended any of the good people of Croydon but if I still think it's a dump.
Mind you the tram was brilliant and you can use your bus pass.

Watch this space.................

Monday, 9 July 2012

We're off on a road trip.

The boat is nicely snugged in the paint dock at Norbury and we, having survived a week of monsoon rain, thunderstorms like Armegeddon, trees blown down across the cut and two nights at The Anchor, have hired a car and are off visiting.

Just as a taster here is a view of the car park at Cherwell Services on the M40.
We are now at father's in Morden and further posts will follow when something interesting happens. So far the highlight has been taking a different route to the one the sat. nav. suggested, she gets quite upset about it.

Watch this space..............