Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Going West

We are visiting friends in Vancouver and Montana for a while so the blog postings will be somewhat  dislocated.  Some of you may view that as an improvement but if the opportunity arises, I shall try to add the occasional picture or snippet from way out west.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

More or Less Right

BBC Radio Four has some  exceedingly good programmes and amongst them is More or Less. This should be compulsory listening for everyone.  It is presented by Tim Harford, the Undercover Economist from The Financial Times and he dissects statistical claims made recently in the media.  I would say that he shows the vast majority of these claims to be wrong but that would be an unsupported opinion on my part and might attract Tim's attention.
Last week, on Any Questions, Christine Hamilton claimed that there are 48k Romanians living in Britain and 28k of them have been arrested for serious offences.  Understandably this caused some perturbation in the audience. tim was able to determine that the 48k figure actually refers to London, not Britain. the Office for National Statistics estimate the national figure to be 93k. He was able to confirm the figure of 28k for the number of arrests which is not the same as the number of people  (serial offenders) or convitions (an arrest does not necessarily proceed to aconviction)
So, the case Christine Hamilton was making was erroneous but could be more serious than even she was claiming.
To listen to that programme follow this link.
The next broadcast is on Friday at 16.30

Monday, 20 May 2013

Activity at Aylesbury

As the date for moving the boats from Aylesbury Canal Basin to the new marina at Circus Field draws closer activity at both sites is increasing.

The building to house Travelodge, Waitrose and the car park is losing its corrugated cladding as the structure progresses.
With 22 boats lifted out recently when lock 12 collapsed closing the arm the basin is looking rather empty

Circus Field May 19
Meanwhile at Circus Field work on the new marina is going apace.

"Just add water" might be the next instruction.

The quality of the design is showing in the generously wide jetties with non-slip decking.

The turn from the canal into the marina looks a tad tight from this aspect 

Apart from restricting access to the site, no progress appears to have been made on the repairs to lock 12.
Lock 12 viewd from lock 13

It will certainly be out of use for the summer but the boats due back for the winter will be hoping CaRT pull their fingers out soon.

Friday, 17 May 2013

A Shipley Interlude

On both our outward journey from Reedley to Rodley and on the return we managed to spend a few days on Merchants' Quay in Shipley.

From here we can walk easily to Saltaire and visit the Shipley Glen Tramway. 

When we last visited the Tramway it was in a sorry state but we were pleased to find it now spruced up and doing well. I hope it starts to recoup some of the considerable private investment which has been made to restore it.
It no longer costs one penny to go up and a ha'penny to descend but it is a very inexpensive and interesting way of climbing up to Baildon Moor for a picnic.

For a history of Saltaire read my post from three years ago.

Shipley town has a market square which does host a street market.  It also has a covered market which, as these do all over the country, looks dowdy.  It has a rather odd clock tower which is illuminated at night and as befits its design, the colours change like those lights you stick in the garden which run off solar panels for three weeks and then pack up.Above all, however, it has a friendly and lively population. We have enjoyed more conversations with strangers in and around Shipley than anywhere for months.
Another cake fresh from the oven
A shining example of this enthusiasm we found in a tea shop -Interlude Tea Room and Emporium .  This retro-styled establishment evokes the inter-war years with its decor and music. The home-made cakes and scones and the dedication of the staff to satisfying every customer is so refreshing in a world where mediocrity and apathy are too often the retail experience. I visited the shop three times during our stay in Shipley.  On the first occasion I bemoaned the difficulty in finding cheese scones nowadays which taste of cheese.

Cheese scones for Peter
On our last morning I popped in to pick up something for our travelling lunch and on the counter was a plate of freshly baked, really cheesy scones.

They didn't stay there long.

Take a look at this News Video

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Cadogan Teapot

Have you worked it out yet?

In the bottom of the pot is a pipe which goes almost to the top of the pot.  Tea is brewed in a conventional pot and then poured into the upturned Cadogan teapot. 

The pot is then inverted and no tea leaks out. 

The top of the pipe is now clear of the tea in a bubble of air trapped when the pot was inverted. As tea is poured the bubble increases in size and the tea will never leak.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

East Riddlesde Riddles

After a day in Skipton we decided for a more adventurous day out on Saturday: we ventured to Keighley and thence to East Riddlesden Hall, a National Trust property. For boaters, the nearest mooring is between the two electric swing bridges numbers 197 and 197A near Puffer Parts. 

This manor house was built in 1642  by a wealthy Halifax cloth merchant, James Murgatroyd. It is perched on a small plateau around which the River Aire flows.  Legend is that the Murgatroyds were notorious for debauchery and the river altered course to move away from the hall in shame.
This is not the only odd thing at Riddlesden.......

In the dining hall there is a fireplace half way up the wall.(top right of my photograph)
Murgatroyd intended to build an additional storey in this room but died before getting further than creating the fireplace. (good place to hide a priest, though)

In the same room on the wall opposite the fireplace(s) is a tapestry with its own curious features.......

The head weaver on a large tapestry would sometimes include his own likeness somewhere in the picture and this is the case here.

But how often did Jake the Peg feature in Greek mythology?

There is an extra foot here

No Photoshop in the 17th century to correct the error.

In one of the bedchambers upstairs is this treasure chest.
But the keyhole on the front is a dummy: the real one is hidden in the lid.

The last riddle I will leave you to ponder for a day or two.

How does one fill a teapot which has no lid?

On our way home we hailed The Little Red Bus which takes about 50% longer to travel from Keighley to Skipton because it darts in and out of the residential estates looking for passengers.  There wre five of us initially but the other three  passengers disembarked together and we had the driver to ourselves.  To my suggestion that he should be ginving us a commentary on the journey he did just that. He gave us the local gossip, the history and stopped to show us the views.  Had the day been clear I thik he would have waited whilst we took photographs.  One piece of local information I do want to share with you.  In Cononley there is a terrace of houses which are known locally at Frying Pan Terrace. The story is that in days gone by the residents of this terrace clubbed together and bought a frying pan.  On Sundays it was used by each house in turn to cook breakfast, starting at one end of the street and working its way along to the other. On a similar subject, I recall a domestic science teacher at secondary school admonishing a pupil for washing her omelette pan: apparnetly this was considered a sin: such pans should only be wiped clean with a dry, salty cloth. How the world changes!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Secret Canal Festival

In the May issue of Towpath Talk there is a full page advertisement by the Inland Waterways Association - IWA - announcing the national festival for 2013.
Two pieces of information it does not include are:

It saeems that CaRT are not the only organisation lacking in editorial skills. Perhaps this is a sign that IWA hss got so close to CaRT that it has caught the inept bug - buggus ineptus
Or is it an attempt to join the trend for Pop-up festivals?  Are we only going to learn the answers to Where? and When? on Twitter two hours before the gates open?  That may cause problems for any canal boat wanting to attend.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Coping with Leaky Locks

 I have now found the boat for navigating leaky locks.  
This was moored near the marina at Apperley Bridge.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Another Lock Waiting to Collapse?

We have recently seen on the Aylesbury Arm what can happen when water is allowed to wash behind the lock wall..

At Dobson's Staircase Lock  on Saturday the water cascading from gaps in the stonework would knock you over with its force and volume.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Leaky Gates to be Proud Of

It seems that CaRT are so proud of their leaking lock gates that they have featured them on a new leaflet advertising the Bingley Five-Rise Locks. 
Presumably this is an attempt to  convice the general (non-boating) public that lock gates that immitate Niagara are the ideal they are aiming for.
On this criterion their performance is unsurpassed.
(By the way, if you should read this story on you should know that I gave them the story and photo but have not been credited with a byeline)

If they would prefer a less dramatic picture I offer the one below 
(at my usual very favourable rates)

Sunday, 5 May 2013

A Hopeful Canal Scene?

This is how I like to see the canal: busy with walkers, cyclists, boaters etc. 
Towpath at Shipley May 2013

It is a shame that the boat is stuck because the canal needs dredging.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Dowley Gap Take 2

Back in February BW drained the locks and aqueduct at Dowley Gap (see my report) in order to effect various repairs which included new lock gates and bank strengthening.
New lock gates at Dowley Gap
Bank repairs at Dowley Gap Embankment

Dowley Gap Aqueduct rewatered

What a shame that the top set of gates was not replaced at the same time as the other two sets.

Dowley Gap top gates still leaking ferociously

In order for the bottom gates to be opened I had to reverse into this waterfall which soaked my legs and swamped the rear deck.

Friday, 3 May 2013


The Leeds & Liverpool Canal lays claim to being the longest single canal in England. I would dispute this as the stretch from Wigan Top Lock to Jonson's Hillock when built was part of the Lancaster Canal. (aka The Walton Summit). It was never conceived as a trunk canal but evolved from the demand for improved local transport.  Hence construction started in Leeds and Liverpool simultaneously and the bit in the middle came later. It is the shortest of the trans-Pennine canals but took the longest to build. To the west of the summit the canal relies heavily on reservoirs and we have seen the problems caused in dry summers with the canal being closed from time to time.  To the east  there are more streams and rivers feeding the canal and so the Yorkshire section is less susceptible to drought conditions. There are other differences between the Red Rose and White Rose sections too.  There are more swing bridges and most of the locks are arranged in staircases.  Is this, I wonder, an example of the well-known Yorkshire characteristic of being careful with money? If locks are arranged in staircases the lower gate of one lock is also the upper gate of the next and fewer gates have to be constructed: also it is cheaper to install a swing bridge than to build up a road and  construct a decent stone one.
Bingley 5-rise Locks

As we descended from Riddlesden last week our route involved three staircases and a singleton-

Bingley 5-rise,

Bingley 3-rise,

Dowley Gap 2-rise

and Hirst Lock

Bingley 3-rise Locks

Dowley Gap 2-rise Locks

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Slough Arm Closed

Following fast on the closure of Aylesbury Arm due to a lock wall collapsing is reported that the Slough Arm of the Grand Union Canal is also closed.
Photo courtesy of

This time it is a bridge which is causing the problem.

This is Reeds Bridge No 2A which is causing concern, particularly for the boats in Slough which were planning to attend the Canal Cavalcade in little Venice, London, this weekend.