Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dukw in Greenwich

Here is a DUKW in Greenwich, parked alongside a simulator in which you can experience the D-Day landings.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas at the Cutty Sark

Here's the christmas tree being erected at the top of the mast of the Cutty Sark. The tree appears to be lashed to a spar which is in turn lashed to the top of the mast. Maybe there is some sort of maritime protocol being observed here..

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Advert Closer

The Emirates Air-Line is beginning to show signs of cable-car like features:

This will be the first advertisement to appear on the London tube map and it will appear twice. See the map on the Transport for London web site linked above. The two new cable car stations will be called Emirates North Greenwich and Emirates Royal docks. I hope they paid a lot for that.

In this picture we see the lowest segment of the Greenwich side pylon about to be lifted into place on its pile in the river bed by a seven-storey high floating crane, the GPS Atlas.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Spotted on Indian Chief

The pigeon box on the Stoke Bruerne trip boat has a motto painted on it:

Look closer:

An Inn-keeper's motto if ever there was one.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas is coming to North Greenwich

Every year the fair comes to North Greenwich, near the O2. Usually a larger ride arrives first. This year it's the "Skylon Flyer". It's been rebranded: it still has "Star Flyer" painted on the tower. Here's a link to it's previous incarnation in Austria. Hmm. I haven't seen the one at North Greenwich go up and down while it goes round. Perhaps I can persuade my colleagues to take a spin.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Village at War

We went to Stoke Bruerne's annual Village at War event, organised by the Friends of the Canal Museum. I was excited at the promise of a Hurricane flypast (subject to weather and mechanical fitness). In the event the Hurricane did not turn up but this did instead:

Yes! The observant among you will have recognised the Westland Lysander. As it happens, the first Airfix model I completed to my satisfaction (i.e. that looked like the picture on the box). A little research reveals that this is one of only two flying examples in the world, flown from Duxford; the other being based in Canada.

As always the event was great. This year the battle reenactment was replaced by a demonstration of firepower, as I believe the Germans couldn't make it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Personalised Plate

Seen in Leighton Buzzard:

This is a the bottom of a garden in Leighton Buzzard. Normally the Grand Junction Canal Company's mile posts show whole numbers of miles. On this particular stretch, the datum is Braunston.
Here is a "proper" milepost:

Although this is not an original either, you can just see the plaque (horizontal) below the post that records the name of the donors whose generosity allowed it to be restored.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Out for the Week

This week we're out in convoy with friends who have hired from Gayton Marina. It's quite a novel experience for us to be travelling with another boat. It makes working the wide Grand Union locks easier with more crew. After the introductory talk at the marina we took on water at Gayton Junction and then turned left to make our way south on the Grand Union main line.

Moored at Bozenham Bridge.
Total distance is 5 miles, 5¼ flg and 7 locks.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Home Again

Back to Blisworth after a pleasant few hours spent at Cosgrove with the Buckingham Canal Society.
Last night was spent enjoying a fish and chip supper and some live music by the lock side. We tested a new Freesat satellite receiver in the evening, found it to be superior to the Sky receiver it replaces. I've been becoming less and less enamoured of the Sky service since they recalled all the Free Sky cards and replaced them. Ours never did work properly so we were unable to view any of the encrypted free channels. None of the Freesat channels are encrypted, so there really is no further purchase than the receiver.
We left relatively early in the day as I had decided to get Syncopation back to Blisworth by tea time. We passed throgh Stoke Bruerne in toiem for ice cream at the Boat Inn.

Moored at Mill Wharf, Blisworth.

Total distance is 9 miles, 5¾ flg and 8 locks

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lock Ransom

We've made our way down to Cosgrove for the Buckingham Canal Society's annual festival, or Lock Ransom.

For one weekend every year the members of the society take over Cosgrove lock. They operate the lock for everybody who passes through it in the hope of receiving donations for the society's coffers.

Moored below Cosgrove lock.

Total distance is 9 miles, 5¾ flg and 8 locks

Saturday, June 11, 2011


At the school fete the man with the owl said you should never put your face near a raptor, then suggested a photo opportunity.
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Friday, June 03, 2011

Lunch Time at the Cutty Sark

The restoration of the Cutty Sark is progressing. The covers have been removed and you can see the hull of the ship again. From the artist's impression on the hoarding it looks as though the finished article will have something a little like a conservatory wrapped around it. I can't help thinking the finished article will be about as original as Trigger's Broom or perhaps narrowboat butty Raymond. Still I'm looking forward the the time she's open to the public again.

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Crick Boat Show

At the boat show again. The weather has been threatening all morning but the rain did not materialise.
There were no less than two steam narrowboats at the marina: President was there but behind Kildare, I spotted another funnel:

It was Laplander:

Here we are in the Bell boat, paddling up and down the marina.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ronnie Barker

I'm on jury duty this week, so spending time hanging around in Aylesbury.
The new Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury opened recently and now has a statue of Ronnie Barker who the town seems to have claimed because he first performed there.

Aylesbury has a few statues but they are all rather Victorian, up on pedestals in heroic poses. I like this new one as it's very personal and captures the essence of the man as I remember him on TV. You can even sit next to him.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Huge Almond Garnish

MV Amandine passed North Greenwich today.

This large Roll on Roll off ferry was shepherded by a pair of tugs. Built in January this year the vessel appears to have been named after a French almond garnish.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Walk at Lunch Time

Got as far as the Thames Barrier.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Home again

After a leisurely start we made our way up the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union again.

The dark concrete tunnel under the M1 is a slightly incongruous section in an otherwise green and picturesque rural arm of the canal.

Moored at Blisworth.

Total distance is 6 miles, 3 flg and 17 locks

Saturday, April 30, 2011

IWA Festival

We've been in one place all day. That's unusual when we're out in Syncopation. We are attending the IWA Campaign Rally here in Northampton, celebrating 250 years of the Nene navigation. To be honest I was slightly disappointed by the failure of the programmed events to materialise, but the surroundings are very pleasant.

We are moored in the new Beckett's Park Marina. I decided to take advantage of a special deal the IWA arranged with the marina to get access to a shore line, rather than run the engine at the mooring most of the day to provide us power for cooking and worry about the state of the batteries all evening.

The marina is so new it's not entirely finished as there are no water points or facilities block yet. The first was no issue as we filled the fresh water tank at Gayton Junction. The second is more of an issue as the nearest place I can empty the toilet cassettes is a ten minute walk away. Not too far really, just tiring on the arms as the cassettes weight 16kg when full.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Syncopation was still where we left her on Wednesday, although the pin at the front was on the verge of pulling out. A pleasant trip down the remaining three locks brought us to the Nene. We had booked a place in the new marina with a shore line and so we've no worries about keeping the batteries charged until Sunday when we leave (as many cups of tea in the evening as we want). Plus the satellite dish doesn't have to be set up every evening.

Moored in the new Beckett Park Marine, Northampton.

Total distance is 3 miles, ¼ flg and 3 locks

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Another Hot Day

We've moved Syncopation down to the edge of Northampton in preparation for our visit to the Inland Waterways Campaign festival next weekend. The weather was outstanding again in the afternoon. It's the first time we've been down the Northampton arm. In the space of 3 miles we worked down 14 locks. The Northampton arm is a short length of canal but heavily locked and despite being next to the A43 for almost its entire length quite picturesque. On Friday we will move Syncopation down to the new marina at Beckett's Park.

Moored near Northampton.
Total distance is 3 miles, 3 flg and 14 locks.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

All Clean

We've finished cleaning Syncopation. We made our way to New Bradwell in Milton Keynes before turning and heading back North.

We stopped for lunch at a busy Cosgrove where I carried out some repairs to the damaged hatch. With the aid of a 4lb lump hammer I was able to straighten the hinge back to near its original position. The hatch can now be closed with difficulty. I need to trim some of the lining away. It was always a tight fit, but now there is a clash of hatch liners and the hatch needs persuasion from outside to close.


Moored near Stoke Bruerne bottom lock.
Total distance is 9 miles, 2¼ flg and 1 lock.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Port Side Clean

I cleaned the port side this morning, then applied wax polish. This was after we had scrubbed the roof clean of algae and duck poo. They seem to have enjoyed perching on the cratch cover and the front end of the roof during the winter.

At lunch time we stopped near Thrupp wharf to wash the starboard side. Unfortunately we left the side hatch half open when we set off. It was at about 30 degrees. This was enough projection to catch on the side of nb Far Far Away as we left Cosgrove lock. Narrowboats don't travel very quickly but 18 tons have a lot of momentum even at 2 mph. Both boats rocked noticeably and there was a bang as the bottom hinge on the hatch door gave. We didn't notice the hatch was open until the iron trunk aqueduct as Wolverton and didn't realise it had been damaged until some time after that. The hatch would not close in the evening so we left it open (with the glass inner door closed).

Moored at Stantonbury.

Total distance is 9 miles, 2¼ flg and 1 lock.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Going South

After a winter laid up Syncopation is on the move again! We're out for the weekend. The aim is to have the boat in a fit state to be seen in public next week at Northampton.

Total distance is 3 miles, 5¾ flg and 7 locks.

Monday, March 21, 2011


After a few days' stay in Greenwich, HMS Bulwark sailed down the Thames on her way to points south (I suspect). Here is the "Most technologically advanced assault ship in the fleet" squeezing past Antony Gormley's Quantum Cloud

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Work Begins on Cable Car Across the Thames

Exploratory drilling has begun for the piling for the proposed Thames Cable Car at Greenwich

Here is the Haven Seajack 4 from Red 7 Marine being used on 4th March to drill holes in the Thames. More holes were being drilled in the car park of the London Soccerdrome.

The Cable Car was given the final go-ahead on 18 March and will link the London Excel centre to the O2 dome in Greenwich. The journey time by DLR is currently 25 minutes.
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Back in Blisworth

We made our way north to Bugbrooke wharf where there is a winding hole, turned and made our way back to the moorings at Blisworth for lunch.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Weekend Afloat

At last! A weekend afloat. Or at least parts of it. Siobhan has asked for her tenth birthday celebration afloat in the shape of a sleepover on Syncopation. I'm so pleased! It's an excellent reason to clean everything aboard and check all the systems out. Syncopation is coming out of her winter hibernation. We moved aboard last night as a family and after a couple of hours the stove had warmed everything through. We got up this morning and spent most of the day cleaning inside and out.

The guests arrived by 3:30 PM and we moved North from Blisworth, stopping at Gayton junction for water and to empty the toilet cassettes. I tested my lastest innovation - a tap on the end of the hose so that I didn't have to dash to turn the water off as the water level reached the top. The extra weight of the valve also prevent the hose from popping out of the water filler point when there is good pressure.

The spout end is interchangeable withg a car wash brush so I also washed one side of the boat with the hose and hot water from the boat. The other side was facing the canal and I thought it prudent to leave the job until it was on the towpath side. It usually takes two buckets and more time. With the brush on the hose it's quicker.

Ewan and I then retusned home leaving Cathy, Siobhan and her guests to spend the night of the sleepover on the boat. We'll return early in the morning to drive the boat to the Bugbrooke winding hole.

Note to self: Start saving for a new set of batteries. The ones we have are showing seriously reduced capacity. The Smartguage was showing 33% capacity in the morning.

We were hoping to make it to Bugbrooke Winding hole before dark but only made it as far as Wright's Lane Bridge.

Moored at Wright's Lane Bridge No 45

Total distance is 2 miles, 2½ flg and 0 locks.