Shop front in the summer

Sunday, 11 December 2011


I was amazed to wake up this morning to find that we hadn't had a frost and that all the ice that had formed last evening had melted. Driving to work the thermometer was reading 5°C which is a bit different to yesterday morning. By lunchtime it began to rain persistently and as yet it hasn't stopped.

We certainly need the rain to top the reservoirs up that feed the canal. I was talking to a Waterways employee who is working on water control at the moment. He was explaining that the majority of the reservoirs are still desperately short of water. Now is the time of the year that the reserves need to be built up to avoid water shortages and stoppages through the warmer months. I know it's not much fun squelching up the towpath, knee deep in mud to get the next lock ready, but we really shouldn't complain about the rain. It's one of the key factors that keeps the canal system usable.

I've taken a few pictures around and about today. Here's Pippin in the middle of her make over. The red will form the coach line and handrail. Once masked up, the main panel and kick panel colours can be added which will turn her out resplendent in our grey, black and red livery.

Down in the dry dock Windsor is patiently waiting to be flooded off of the dock following being blacked. Bernard took advantage of her being out of the elements yesterday and serviced the engine. Mick has been on her today to do her Landlord's certificate. Every boat that is used by more than one party (ie. not privately owned) has to be certificated by a Gas Safe engineer each year. Mick is our Gas Safe engineer and he basically has to ensure that the boat's gas system is sound, that there are no leaks and that all the gas appliances (boiler, cooker etc.) are functioning correctly. This entails a service of each appliance and a gas test which takes him approximately one day.

We are always limited on space, but even more so at this time of the year. You may find that when you are passing we are shuffling boats about. Here is a view looking up the arm from the dry dock towards the basin this morning. It takes alittle bit of working out to ensure that the boats are in the correct place for ease of getting the next one on the dock.

I'm getting well into writing in code now. I made a video back in the summer, very simple I know - but it's my first time at that too! Now I have been struggling to publish it to our website, but the more I read about code and embedding objects, the more I understand! What a learning curve it is and certainly not a five minute job... I just need to work out how to add some background music now to make it a bit more jolly. I'm sure it will be of interest to those of you that have never worked a lock. Let's see if I can embed it into the blog too! (here goes everything!)...

Well it looks like it's going to be a cold and damp evening. So, I suggest that you sit with your feet up by the fire and look forward to what this week may bring. That will certainly be what I shall do!

Have a good week.

Best regards,



  1. Hello David,

    I would like to applaud you on you first Video that was very nicely put together, in an order that even someone with no knowledge at all can understand.

    I agree with you that adding an audio wav. file would lift the video up to another level and would indeed improve your presentation. I think that choosing suitable music, might well be puzzling for you, or even a nightmare - you have so much choice!

    May I suggest something else too, (As I presuming this video is aimed at your new hirers?)

    It might just be worthwhile adding the instructions below the video, in the same order, so that they may be copied and printed. For anyone who has never had anything to do with canals, the lock operation can be quite confusing, until it is seen for the first time

    I like the presentation. It is hard to believe that it is your first attempt! Well done Sir! I award you 9 Brownie points (I never give 10, as nobody is perfect)

    I hope you all, (In or at Norbury Wharf), have a stupendous Christmas this year!

    Warm regards, ~Allan~ nb.Pengalanty
    (Stuck near Foxton, due to lack of water and lock repairs)

  2. I'd like to add that the obvious things like 'Exit The Lock' (duh) should be in smaller font than the not so obvious things 'lower the paddles' should be in the capitals! Also mention not to leave the winch handle on the paddles! A bit of music may make it better but that is difficult to please all of the people. The sound of the water and the boat would make it more real. I personally would like it to be continuous showing the running around from one side to the other or walking across the gates some of the time. And also show getting back on to the boat when finished as that can be a tricky part of the whole thing. Hope that helps. The video makes me want to get back on the water asap!! Jane