Monday, July 23, 2012

And back again

After an excellent morning in Cosgrove we set off back to Blisworth, arriving about 6PM. The weather was warm and sunny. I wore my new Coke hat and was mistaken by some gongoozlers in Stoke Bruerne for an employee of the Canal and River Trust. I suppose they thought that anybody wearing a hat would be some sort of official. I'm hoping it wasn't because they couldn't imagine anybody wearing it voluntarily.

Last night nearly saw me breaking the Brompton when I went over the handlebars on my way back from Tesco in Wolverton. I cycled the two miles to the store along the towpath, congratulating myself on arriving before they closed. ON the way back in the dark, I missed the single step at the beginning of the pedestrian foot bridge over the canal and hit it fast enough to send me over the handlebars. The inner tube was punctured but luckily the front wheel rim was undamaged. I had to walk the bike back to the boat, holding the ruptured shopping bag together.

8 locks

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Buckingham Canal Society

Every year (well, for the last two years at least) we go to the Buckingham Canal Society's annual festival at Cosgrove. I had even gone so far as to plan the trip, calculating our time of departure so that we could arrive in plenty of time for the evening fish and chip supper.

Astonishingly for plans I make involving getting the family out of the house all went well and we arrived at the mooring below Cosgrove lock at 3:30PM.

Moored below Cosgrove Lock.

7 Locks

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ocean Princess

This unusual narrowboat passed Syncopation today. One of the very few narrowboats designed with sea-going ability. There's a wheel inside, hence the rather spooky appearance of a narrowboat passing with nobody at the tiller.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Coke Hat

I've finally decided to retire my decrepit old fedora in favour of a more authentically c19th Bowler or Coke hat.

I was going to like that worn by the Friends of President but I've checked and they tend to wear flat caps
I've been looking for one for some time. I'd order online but I don't know my hat size (metric or imperial) so it was a question of trying some on in a shop. That's what I did in my lunch hour today.

There was a choice of hats from England or China. Needless to say the hats from China were cheaper, and in my case the fit was a little better as well.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Home again

We set off at 9AM as we knew Buckby locks would not be open until 10AM. It was only after we had entered Braunston tunnel that I realised the tunnel light was not working so I yelled at the crew to get out on the well deck with all the torches they could muster. It was too late to reverse back to the entrance. We made it through without further incident and down the Buckby flight. The run from Buckby to Blisworth Mill always seems long but only took us three to four hours. We packed up the laundry and headed home for fish and chips.

Moored at Blisworth Mill
Total distance is 16 miles, 6½ furlongs and 7 locks

Still Raining

It was raining when we woke up so we decided to wait it out. At lunchtime we gave in and set off, topping up the water tank at Braunston junction. It was a day of discoveries. I found my old waterproofs are no longer watertight. Cathy was trying out the old boaters' technique of wearing a thick overcoat and this meant I could borrow her waterproofs for the Braunston flight of locks. We reached the top lock as the lock keeper arrived to padlock the gates of the top lock. Probably the wettest day I've spent on Syncopation.

Moored at

Braunston Top Lock No 6

Total distance is 1 mile, 5 furlongs and 6 locks

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


We were joined by our friend Penny and her children Toby, Izzy and Roseanne for the day. We quickly reached the back of the queue for Hillmorton locks. Tenth in line, with only one half of the twinned narrow locks working. The Hillmorton flight consists of pairs of narrow locks in tandem to permit more traffic to pass. Over the winter BW have been repairing half the locks, so capacity on this busy stretch has been halved. After about an hour and a half we reached the head of the queue. Down the locks to the winding hole and then back up again, dropping our guests off by their car at the Old Royal Oak before returning to our mooring near Braunston. It started raining as we turned at the winding hole.

Penny saw me lugging the toilet cassettes along the towpath and said "Now there's a Daddy job!" Must ask Cathy if she's ever emptied a cassette.

Moored at Bridge No 89
Total distance is 13 miles, 7 furlongs and 6 locks.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Taking It Easy

We went up the Buckby flight in company with a couple from Belgium who keep a narrowboat at Blisworth Marina as a bolthole, then on to Braunston. We bought supplies at the store in Braunston and meat from the excellent Village Meats in Braunston. Tucked in for the night with a warm stove. Lovely!

Moored at Bridge No 89
Total distance is 6 miles, 2¼ furlongs and 12 locks

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Thwarted by the drought

After a leisurely start we stopped off at Rugby Boat Sales in Weedon to top off the diesel tanks. I think it's only the second time I've topped up the heater tank in four years. Shows a) how frugal the heater is and b) how little we use the diesel heating. This time wasn't so eyewateringly expensive as I hadn't left it so long and the engine tank was not empty as it was last time. Also picked up a bag of coal for the stove.

We arrived at Wilton just before three in the afternoon, only to learn the Buckby locks were padlocked. The drought has brought restrictions to lock operating hours and I hadn't thought to check for stoppages. So we have an enforced wait until 10 tomorrow morning.

Moored at
Buckby Bottom Lock No 13
Total distance is 9 miles, 6½ furlongs and 0 locks

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Afloat Again

Set off late as usual (in as much as there was ever a plan to set off early), stopped at Wright's Lane Bridge near Bugbrooke. I managed to forget to buy coal so we gathered twigs from the hedge for firewood. No axe or saw, so we couldn't use anything I couldn't break by hand. I expected the twigs to burn quickly without giving much heat but it worked surprisingly well.

Moored at Wright's Lane Bridge No 45
Total distance is 2 miles, 2½ furlongs and 0 locks.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Last Pylon

The last pylon for the Emirates Air Line is now being assembled.

When it is complete the cables can be strung. Some of the cable cars are already visible in the North Greenwich terminus.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Olympic Rings

This afternoon the Olympic rings passed by on the Thames:

I was initially under the impression that they were being transported by water to the Olympic Park. But it would appear that these are only a set of rings, not the rings as there are various sets at different events in different places in London and other parts of the country. They set off from central London this morning, passing under Tower bridge, which was lifted specially, with Boris Johnson the mayor of London watching. Unfortunately the view I caught was of the back of the rings - they are the proper colours on the other side. Why couldn't they be painted on both sides? Apparently they will go into storage and will be seen again on the river closer to the games in 150 days' time.

Cable Car Progress

A few weeks ago the most enormous crane was assembled in North Greenwich to lift the parts of the larger pylons into place.

The crane (a Liebherr LR 13000) weighs a thousand tonnes (crane 400 tonnes and the extra counterweight behind it is 600 tonnes) and special piling was put in to support it.

The corresponding pylon on the other side of the river is more that half complete:

Saturday, February 25, 2012


I've just replaced the thermostatic shower valve on Syncopation. Frost damaged it over the last few weeks. I've got away with not draining the water system for the last three winters, but I must be more vigilant in future or this is going to get expensive!

If you look closely, you can just about make out the crack around the central boss at the back of the valve.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Unusual Things

There were unusual and probably unrelated things going on around North Greenwich today. The Royal Navy sent a helicopter to make several passes over the river around the peninsula, at one point hovering at rooftop level over the centre of the river for five minutes, approximately where the future cable car will cross the water.>/p>

Later while walking round the dome I saw one of the Thames Clippers, probably Hurricane Clipper beached on the river bank.

I think the vessel was deliberately beached because if you look closely you can see a man in wellies who appears to be inspecting the sterngear, and this is the nearest handy tidal mudflat to their base.

In the second picture you can just about see how narrow the hulls of these boats are.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dome Abseiling

This last week has seen a number of trips down the O2 domes suspension cables by persons unknown:

We office workers have been speculating and consensus is that they are carrying out some early task in the installation of the rooftop walkway, planned to be opened this year.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Packing Away the Toys

The Christmas fair ride has been packed away at the O2. Here it is folding into a package for transport, like a really slow transformer. Optimus Prime comes to mind.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Here Be Dragons!

Intrepid robot vacuum cleaner ventures where no cleaner has been in living memory (teenager's bedroom).
Posted by Picasa

Geek Gift She Likes

Cathy approves of this year's choice of Geek gift:

iRobot Roomba 531.
This little beastie can do about 90% of the domestic vacuum cleaning from now on, unsupervised.
Posted by Picasa