Thursday, 24 October 2013

Hillmorton, paddle gear and poetry.

A quick flashback to yesterday, for several years bridge 80, Wise's bridge, was notorious for it's decayed, indeed semi-collapsed, state. Well all is now made well and repairs are complete but it has left it in a rather bewildering condition.
The southern side looks like this,

all fresh brickwork. However the northern side

has a more aged aspect. Doesn't even look like the same bridge.

This morning dawned bright and clear so it was off down Hillmorton Locks. They were doubled in 1840 to alleviate a traffic bottleneck on what was then a major transport route from the midlands to London.
I had never noticed before but the paddle gear on the towpath side locks

is of a completely different design

to that on the offside locks. Presumably dating from the doubling? Seems unlikely that even something as robust as paddle gear would last two hundred years.

Originally the locks were connected so that they could act as side ponds to each other, the gear is still there but is long disused. I have seen it mooted that the system be reinstated but, having seen the difficulties some people have coping with normal lock gear, I feel it would probably be a counterproductive move. The amount of water saved would not compensate for the potential for disaster introduced.

A contentious issue, the addition of poetry to the lock beams. Jill seemed to find the words, in close proximity to yours truly, amusing. Personally I can take it or leave it, the poetry that is, as long as they don't carve it so deep that the beams snap.

I suppose it does, except it's a gate not a door.

Up by the moorings at Brownsover they are busily working on the side of the canal. Possibly rebuilding a culvert? Looks as though the chap on the right should be a plumber.
We topped up the stores at the handy Tescos. They've opened a path through the hedge so you can now walk through the new housing estate to get to the store, much less muddy than the towpath here.
According to the Met. Office there's a big storm coming this way at the weekend.

Watch this space........

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