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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Boatmans Holiday on Archimedies & Ara

Having made a cotton button fender for Tom Hills butty Ara, Brian had a good excuse to hand deliver it down to the Southern GU whilst at the same time taking a chance to see how another Coal Boat Operator works.

He went down by train, only an hour & 45min into London and then back out to Watford where he met the boats Archimedies & Ara with the crew of Tom & James at Iron Bridge Lock near Cassiobury Lock, Watford. The next day dawned cold & foggy and that's the way it stayed all day. They had a few good half tonne drops of coal and it was interesting to see a few famous, historic places & boats as well as meet a few infamous people in the flesh. That evening at a lock in the dark they passed Baron & Taurus (another coal carrying working pair) heading back up the GU. Archimedies & Ara tied below Uxbridge & for a second night Mike Askins (owner of GUCCCo Royalty motor Victoria) became the chauffeur to deliver the crew to the pub for dinner. A good carvery and a natter was had by all.

Today was a fairly early start (6.30am) with a quick delivery then a blast down to Bulls Bridge to load with diesel. After a full english breakfast at Tescos (apparently a tradition for GU crews in days of old) they took the motor down to the top of the Hanwell flight for a few more coal, gas & diesel deliveries. Returning to Bulls Bridge to pick up Ara, James made collecting the butty & turning the junction at the same time look very easy. After a few more deliveries they singled out the pair and Brian took the Tiller of the motor Archimedies, but rubbish on the blades meant things got a bit behind schedule. They finished the day with a few deliveries in little venice with a final delivery to the Warwick Castle Pub, then after a shower and a change, they returned to the Warwick Castle to enjoy a well earned pint and a very good rib eye steak.

All in all, it was a fun and interesting few days, Tom & James where very welcoming and it was great to see how other coal boats operate. So don't be surprised if, some time in the future you see two strapping young lads aboard Alton for a return visit (apparently some of there customers even describe them as eye-candy), so watch out ladies!
Renaissance Canal Carrying - keeping carrying on the canals

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Busman's Holiday in Liverpool

We've just had a lovely weekend off, up on Merseyside. We were looking after our Godson Peter for the weekend and we combined this with attending a party for Brian's Cousin Marianne's 40th Birthday and another for his Mums 70th Birthday, so we are all partied out now!

We had a great day in Liverpool on Saturday, walking around the Pier Head, Liverpool Link Canal & Albert Dock. Then we went on the DUKW WWII amphibious landing craft, Wacker Quacker. The tour of Liverpool & the docks was wonderful with the cheerful and friendly crew. We would recommend this quirky tour to anyone visiting Liverpool.

We then returned across the water to The Wirral for afternoon tea at the Cafe at Woodside Ferry, with a great view of the Three Graces and the Liverpool skyline, Peter even picked out Paddys Wigwam!

On Saturday evening we had a great evening at Tapas Tapas in Crosby for Marianne's 40th it was lovely to catch up with family & friend we hadn't seen in a while and the tapas was delicious.

We had a lazy Sunday morning culminating in us all sitting down around the table for the "full works" breakfast. In the afternoon we returned to Woodside at Peter's request to visit the German U-boat exhibition, which was fascinating (yes we cannot keep away from boats for even a day!).

After delivering Peter back to his Dad we continued on to Brian's Mums 70th Birthday Celebration at Garretts Restaurant, Bebington. We had a wonderful evening again catching up with friend & family including Dave Devvy (ex Mersey Pilot) who is responsible for Brian getting bit by the narrowboat bug! The food was wonderful and a great night was had by all including the Birthday Girl herself.
Renaissance Canal Carrying - keeping carrying on the canals