Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Black Rock Sands

Cathy had spent the previous day in bed with a stomach upset while we were at Dinas Dinlle, but today was the day of our first visit with the children to the finest beach we know of in Wales. Black Rock Sands near Porthmadog.

Cathy first came to this part of Wales on a family holiday in the seventies. I first came here nearly 20 years ago with Cathy just after we married. We did the obligatory visit to Portmerion then as we are both Prisoner fans.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Wales Day 2

We spent the day at the beach again at Dinas Dinlle this time. Some family members were too tired even to climb into bed when we arrived home.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Wales Day 1

Our Holiday in Wales at Gilfach was one where the weather cooperated for once. Here's the beach just 20 minutes walk from the cottage.
Or 45 minutes walk if you are two years old...
It's probably empty because of the seaweed and rocks, you're thinking. Actually there are limited sandy parts as well. Cathy walked back to the cottage and took the car to the supermarket in Caernarvon before coming back to pick us up and take us back to the cottage.

Friday, July 27, 2007

They've Got a Shackleton!

We went to the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry again. Whilst visiting Cathy's family in Manchester a couple of months ago we went to the Doctor Who exhibition in the Museum of Science and Industry and then we looked in the engine hall. On our way out I noticed they have an air and space hall too. So we went back during this visit to have a look. After I had finally dragged everybody away from the top floor "Explore" exhibition for children I had a chance to inspect the museum's Shackleton up close.
It's what became of the Avro Lancaster. The museum's example was built in 1954 and looks like a Lancaster on steroids. It was designed to track down and destroy submarines. You can get up close to the aircraft and the other exhibits which include the first Avro aircraft, the Avro One, all built in Manchester

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Stern Tube Change

The original specification for Syncopation included a Vetus water-lubricated stern tube but the shell builder is not keen to fit one as he's never done one before so we've agreed to go with a traditional grease-lubricated tube with stuffing box. I was a little surprised as Tim Tyler has been building narrowboat shells for years but these tubes are relatively new to the canal scene. Anyway, it's goodbye to the low maintenance Vetus tube and hello to the more traditional version:

We just have to remember to grease the stern tube every day. Rumour has it that the Vetus stern gear won't cope as well with the dirtier, gritter canal water but nobody who has one has reported a failure due to this.

I'll add pictures of both types just as soon as I find them.

Becoming a Regular Event

I was out in the garden puppy proofing the fence in anticipation of Arrow's arrival in a couple of weeks' time when I heard the throb of Merlin engines again. Looking up I saw the Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight flying low over Finmere airfield again. That's twice in two weeks! This time the Lancaster was accompanied by a Hurricane, on its way from a display at Blenheim Park to a fly-past at Bletchley Park.

More Puppy Pics

He looks every inch the spaniel now.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Angels at 12 O'Clock!

Wow! On Sunday I was treated to my own personal fly past. Or it seemed like it.
I was the only member of the family outside at the time when I heard a familiar sound: Merlin engines. Then a Lancaster flew over at what could not be more than a couple of thousand feet. Now I know that there are only one or two airworthy Lancasters in the world, one of which is in Canada. So it must have been PA474 of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight so I checked their web site and sure enough the list told me she was on her way to do a flypast at Bletchley and then on to RAF Duxford for a display. That meant the the plane was only three or four minutes away from the flypast and thus lined up at the appropriate altitude to pass over Bletchley Park. An inspiring sight.

Friday, July 06, 2007

How He's Grown!

Here's Arrow again. He must be twice the size he was when we first saw him.

And with his mother and brother and sisters.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Narrowboat Planning

We went to Mill Wharf boats on Saturday to meet the builders and decide on the final positions of the windows. The steel shell will be delivered in the middle of July so the window positions must be determined quite soon. With the help of my Sketchup 3D model, we discussed the final layout of the interior of Syncopation. We have decided to change the rear bedroom. The bed is to be a cross bed, with the head on one side of the boat and the foot at the other side. During the day lower half of the bed will slide under the top half to permit free passage through the cabin and the mattress will fold out of the way. The advantage of this layout is that the bed takes up less length and that allows access to both sides of the bed unlike the longways layout which only permits access from one side of the bed. We also looked for probably the last time at Tonantron II, the current Mill Wharf boat before it is picked up at the end of this week by the owners. In the saloon we saw a rather attractive Stovax Brunel stove in Laurel Green enamel. We've decided against the Petit Godin

we originally specified and will substitute the Stovax, in Midnight Blue enamel finish.

Incidentally we found out that Tonantron is a kennel breeding Boxer dogs and the boat is named after it.

New Statue

Don't blink!
There I was walking back to the office when I came across this chap. A new statue. This is the Barge master and Swan Marker of the Vintners Company. Located just across the road from Vintners' Hall outside St James Garlickhythe. The Vintners Company is one the twelve great livery companies of the City of London and has the right, granted by the sovereign, to own swans which they claim during the Swan Upping and to eat them, which they do once a year with great ceremony. It is an offence except in a few instances even to be in possession of a swan carcase.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

On Solids Now

Arrow and his siblings are now eating solid food - well, mush - since they've developed teeth and Molly, their mum is losing interest in feeding them. They're growing fast, though.

Here's Bramble.

Arrow likes to have his tummy tickled.