Friday, 26 April 2013

Eating Chinese in Burnley

Burnley has more than its fair share of Indian food outlets probably because of the ethnic make up of the population.  In keeping with most of the UK, most of these are unimaginative and unappetizing making the search for a good establishment a lengthy task.
Finding a decent Chinese restaurant is also difficult  but for quite another reason: it is difficult to find any Chinese restaurants in Burnley. During our winter mooring we found an eat as much as you can buffet. One visit was sufficient for a lifetime.
Tucked away near the Bridge Inn and the multi-storey car park  The Red Lantern is buried underground. Carole will greet you as you enter and there is a bar area if you wish to wait for your table.  Carole's husband is from Hong Kong and he does the cooking which explains why the menu is predominently Cantonese.  In true Hong Kong style, all proceedings are supervised by the matriach seated at the front door.  The food is good, if limited in range: and the service is attentive.  Decor is very attractive with just the right amount of light to read the menu without destroying the ambience. Seating is arranged so that you can chat without being overheard. On Sundays there is a table buffet option:  dishes from a resticted menu are cooked to your order but no limit is placed on how many you can eat for the fixed price: this works well for groups and parties.
If you can venture a little out of town to Padiham and desire a more interesting menu and a high standard of cooking then The Summer Palace is where you should head.  They do not have a wedbsite but details can be found on Trip Advisor.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Hakuna Matata & Yorkshire Tyke

We were musing yesterday on the transient nature of acquaintances on the cut:  you may see another boat frequently over a period of two years and then newver again. In particular, I gave as an example two boats from Strawberry Island which we saw in 2006 and 2007 in Braunston, Fenny Stratford, Compton and London amongst other places but had not seen since.
We are moored for a few nights in Airedale Boat Club and whilst the first mate was away I glanced out of the window to witness the rare occurrence of another boat travelling the canal.  And it was Yorkshire Tyke!  I am not sure if Hakuna Matata was with them as they were out of site quite rapidly. They are headed the opposite way to us so maybe in five or six years.......

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Water Babies

Where is everybody?
We cruised from Skip[ton to Silsden yesterday and, apart from a boat we caught up with and shared the swing bridges with, we didn't see another moving boat.
After an entertaining evening in the Kings Arms where it was acoustic jam night we pottered down to Riddlesden today. This time we didn't even have someone to share the swing bridges with. Not a soul is moving on this  stretch of the L&L canal.  In a couple of weeks it will be the waterways festival at Skipton: I hope there are a few boats around by then.
There is also a dearth of Kingfishers this year according to she who must be obeyed.
However yesterday we say our first duckings of the season: tiny and striped like bumble bees messing about in the water.

Today it was the the turn of the Greylag goslings to show themselves.
I was so busy looking for fellow travellers that I took no photographs so here is a picture from RSPB or a Greylag Goose.Greylag goose

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Happy Saint George's Day

St. George is the patron saint of England (and many other countries, apparently) and this is the flag we use in England to represent him. Those Englishmen who remember him do so particularly on April 23.  That's today!
The legend of St. George and the dragon seems to have arrived in England from the Crusades but appears in many countries, cultures and religions.  He is unusual in being venerated by Christians of all denominations and also Muslims and Jews.
Although the location and the other parties involved vary from one story to another the gist is this:
St. George & the Dragon (Blackburn Museum)
A village relies for its water supply on a pool or stream which is guarded by a dragon.  To appease the dragon each day it is offered a sacrifice. Initially this is a lamb but later its taste turns to maidens.  Selection of the maiden is made by drawing lots and all goes swingingly until the King's daughter draws the short straw.  The King pleads for his daughter to be spared but to no avail: his subjects are particularly egalitarian. However, just at the crucial moment, who wanders by on his travels but George?  He sees the maiden in distress (whether he knows she is a princess is not recorded) and, protecting himself with a cross, he slays the dragon.   So being a king does carry some benefits when it comes to dragons.
Celebration of England's patron saint is less fervent than those of Scotland, Wales and Ireland which I attribute to the natural reserve of the English.

But The House of Flowers in Barnoldswick has gone to town with its window display which includes a dragon with red flashing eyes.

Friday, 19 April 2013

A County Mile

We all know the expression A Country Mile. 
It refers to a distance which is greater than expected.
I have always thought it a confection to confuse town-dwellers and  found it particularly efficacious employed as such.  However there are academics who have more academic explanations and  adduce such literary references as:
Frederick de Kruger's The Villager's Tale (1829)
The travelling stage had set me down
Within a mile of yon church-town;
'T was long indeed, a country mile.
But well I knew each field or style;

The Treasury of Knowledge and Library of Reference  (1850)

Robin Hood shot a full mile; and, according to his bard, a north-country mile was equal to two statute ones.
I leave you to come to your own conclusion regarding its etymology as I believe I have identified a new measure - the County Mile, or rather the Lancashire Mile
This is smaller than the statute mile and so leads to inflation of distances. I cite two instances only, (but am sure there are many others):  both from the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.
Burnley's Straight Mile

The canal  embankment in Burnley is known as The Straight Mile

It would be churlish of me to dispute the straight description, but 1225 yards was never a mile in my books.

A few statute miles away, or, indeed, a country mile away, is the Foulridge Tunnel, known locally as the Mile-Long Tunnel
It is, in fact, 1640 yards long.
I cannot, or rather, do not dare to, suggest a reason for this phenomenon but offer it up for consideration.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

High Winds & High Water

After the gales on Tuesday which we decided to sit out after the most hair-raising descent of Greenberfield Locks, the long pound to Bank Newton was glorious - not sunny, but the views were still magnificent.  We met only two boats all day and had no-one to share the nine locks which took us to Gargrave. Fortunately there was a lock-keeper on hand at Bank Newton to assist as one lock we could not open because the water level in the pound above it was so high.

At Stegneck Lock the water was so high it reminded me of our first descent of the Rochdale Nine in a hire boat thirty years ago.

Soon after mooring in Gargrave the gales returned.  Overnight it felt like we were at sea.

And this morning one of the unoccupied boats behind us had loosed its stern mooring and was across the cut.

Recovering and retying that delayed our bus trip to Settle, but at least it didn't rain on us.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Escape from Aylesbury

Twenty-two boats are escaping from Aylesbury Canal Basin: about twelve today and the remainder tomorrow.  Canal & Rivers Trust arranged for boats to be lifted out by crane and transported to Willowbridge  on the Grand Union near Milton Keynes. This escape has become necessary because one of the sixteen locks on the Aylesbury Arm has collapsed. The lock wall on the towpath side of Buckland lock, number twelve, subsided on Thursday 28th March. (see blog report)
leaving many boats stranded, unable to get out from the arm: this was all the more serious as it occurred at the  beginning of the boating season.
Photo by Annie Brown
There was a delay of an hour so when  one of the three lorries had a blow-out but here we see Xilion Rose successfully escaping from her winter moorings in Aylesbury basin.

Photo by Annie Brown

And under way at last: but not under her own steam - yet.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Salterforth Anchor

Our friends Maggi and John popped in to see us today on their way south from Edinburgh and we went out for dinner.  After much deliberation we settled on The Anchor Inn in Salterforth. One does not usually associate anchors with the canal although, after the waves whipped up by gale-force winds this morning, we might review our mooring equipment.
When the canal was built in the early nineteenth century this inn was on a drovers' road and was one storey shorter than it is now.  The canal embankment obliterated the road and the ground floor of the inn: the first floor became the new ground floor and another storey was built on the top.
As you travel south in England the price of pub meals increases  whilst the chance of home-cooked food decreases. After a superb meal we were treated to a tour of the old ground floor. (now the cellar)

The original front step can still be seen but now it leads down to a cellar under the new (200 yr old) road.

Over the past 200 years water has seeped through the lime mortar of the cellar roof and created the most amazing hollow fillament stalagtites.

Some of them have now reached the floor and merged with their stalagmite counterpart.

On our way home in the dark and vigilant for any new dog poo we encountered a new hazard: jumping turds.  Closer inspection revealed that I was not suffering from too much Thwaites Wainwright Bitter: it was frogs' night out.

Remembering John Whitehouse

Friday, 12 April 2013

Pink Poo

One of the hazards of travelling the canals is the mess let by dogs.  Some sectors of the dog-owning community seem to consider the canal towpath has been provided for their own personal dog bog.  The provision of free bags and bins prompts no modification of behaviour in these repulsive creatures (I'm not talking about the dogs). Today, when we moored we took the usual precautions of checking the location of any dog poo and marking it for avoidance with our can of pink spraypaint.  When we left the boat an hour later there was fresh mess right where we step off the boat.  I make no apology for the revolting picture above - none was made to us when it was deposited.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Canal Photography Competition

Camera On The Cut

Competition launches on
Thursday 11th April 2013.
Closing date Friday 6th
September 2013.

* Entry forms available at any
Sandwell Library

First Prize
£75 and Medal
An original photograph taken in Tipton on the theme ofcanals.

Second Prize
An original photograph on the general theme of canals.

Tipton Community Association

* I will e-mail an entry form if you  send me your address

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Keep to the Footpath !

We decided to stay in Foulridge for another night and took the bus to Barnoldswick - Barlick  to locals.
Before that we walked up to the Lower Foulridge Reservoir which feeds the L&L canal summit.  I set off wrapped up with scarf, hat and jacket.  By the time we reached the reservoir I was carrying them all: it was absolutely glorious and the scenery was consequently all the more beautiful.

The overflow sluice on the left was not running but there was a steady but unimpressive flow from the controlled sluice.

We took a differnt route back and found the souce of the waterfall in the tunnel yesterday.

This is one of the ventilation shafts for Foulridge Tunnel.

Remembering our country code we all kept to the footpath and used the stiles provided.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Hot Choc in Skipton

We are now on the summit of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal: it is bitterly cold and blowing a hooley.  There is still snowdrifts along the hegelines.
We have our grand daughter with us for a few days  and it is the first time she will have travelled on the boat: Not the best introduction to boating. We are planning only to go through the Foulridge tunnel and moor on the wharf at the eastern end.
As every canalboater knows, tunnels drip water even in the midst of a drought and we caught our fair share including three quite substantial episodes under the air vents.  Passage of the tunnel takes about 15 minutes and the one-way traffic is controlled by traffic lights at each portal.  On emerging in Foulridge the sun was shining and the wind had dropped: Are we in Yorkshire already?
keen not to squander this sample of summer, we made a quick sandwich and took the bus over to Skipton. where the sun was still shining but the wind had not abated. First call was for a hot chocolate in the little coffee bar near the bus station.  
I do not know the name but it is easy to identify - just look in the window for a 1950s decor.This colour  was called shocking pink in its day and, interlaced with lime green, it is not exactly restful.


There is an upper room with a jukebox and the range of drink flavours is extensive.  This is just the hot chocolate list: they also make milk shakes and smoothies.

Monday, 8 April 2013

We're Off!

Barrowford Reservoir May 2010
I knew it was our day to set off when I awoke this morning: we have had three days of glorious sun and today is cold, overcast and very windy.  Leaving Reedley Marina we turned right and headed towards Leeds.  We planned to stop at Morrisons in Nelson for provisions but the wharf was occupied by a hire boat form Silsden and we could not get in to the bank. The wind and cold increases as you ascend the seven locks at Barrowford to the summit of the L&L canal. Whilst we were in  the first lock the hire boat from Morrisons caught up with us so we waited in the second lock and helped each other up the remainder of the flight.
Barrowford reservoir is fairly full: when we were last here three years ago it was almost empty and restrictions were placed on the operation of the locks culminating in the closure of the canal in August that year.
see photo, left.

That is not the only change from 2010.

These sunken boats are no longer littering the canal as they were then.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Dead Man's Penny

Thanks to our friend Sue, I learned recently that the Dead Man's Penny awarded to my Great Great Uncle has been lodged in the museum in the town where he spent his short life.  He was born in 1890 but died on 5 November 1916.
Casualty Record Detail
Photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Where in the Somme he fell and where he lies is unknown but he is remembered on this memorial between Bapaume and Albert, and in his home town.

The Thiepval Memorial was designed by Edwin Lutyens as the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme: it bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916.

Photo courtesy of Fi at Chesham Town Museum
The WWI Death Plaque to  use its correct title was issued to the next of kin of servicemen (and later, women) who had fallen in the Great War between 1914-18. Cast in bronze its colour was reminiscent of the old penny and was commonly called the Dead Man's Penny.
People of my age will remember using coins to measure:  the tanner was 3/4 inch in diameter; the ha'penny was one inch and the penny was 1.25 inches.  This plaquette is about five inches in diameter. It would have been accompanied or preceded by a memorial scroll and a letter from Buckingham Palace.  In the panel to the right of Britannia holding an oak twig is cast the name of the deceased.  No rank is indicated as no distinction is made in the sacrifice made.  This principle is continued by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission who maintain war graves all over the world. Below the lion, and rather difficult to see on this photo,  there is another lion tearing to pieces the German Imperial Eagle.
1,355,000 plaques were issued using 450 tons of bronze and continued to be issued until 1930 to commemorate people who died after 1918 but as a consequence of the war.  Of the total made, 600 were for women and the inscription which runs round the rim - HE DIED FOR FREEDOM AND FOR HONOUR - had to be modified as there was insufficient room on the original to add the letter S .  This was achieved by making the H narrower. Until 1919 the casting was carried out in Acton but from 1920 the work moved to the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich. These later castings can be identified by WA and a number on the back.

Friday, 5 April 2013

The Future is NOT Orange

For the past ten years my mobile communications have been provided by Orange (now EE).  At the renewal of each contract I was offered services and benefits to retain my custom.  About five years ago the incentive was FREE FOR LIFE  HOME BROADBAND.  Initially this was limited to 500mb but at my last renewal this was increased to unlimited use. 
A good deal? 
I thought so unitll February when Orange decided that
Free for Life  = until we change our minds.
Suddenly I have to subscribe to Orange landline telephone package to retain this benefit. Unfair business practice?  Of course it is: lawyers confirmed that headline offers cannot be removed in the small print. That did not seem to worry Everything Everywhere (what a stupid name!) 
So EE have lost another customer.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Leaks & Liverpool Canal

Over the last two weeks the water level at our mooring in Burnley has fallen by about eight inches (20cm): one boat in the marina is now sitting on the bottom.
Last week CaRT (the rebranded BW) drained this section of the L&L canal in order to repair a leak. When I took this photo on Sunday the work had stopped, presumably because it was complete.
Howver the water level has fallen faster since then.

Two weeks ago the jetty was a step DOWN from the stern deck.

This week I was hoping to remove rust and repaint the black band below the gunwhale but I cannot get to it now.