A really enjoyable trip. Here's some pictures.
A really enjoyable trip. Here's some pictures.
Yesterday was the winter solstice so I arranged a fire in the evening to celebrate and remind the sun to return in the spring. A few friends showed up. It was nice.
Monday seems to have become the main work day at Knowl St Heritage Boatyard so last Monday I enlisted some help to lever "Hazel" off the mud and get her floating on an even keel again. This meant that we had to deploy the wheelchair ramp to access the boat, but it was a lot easier to work inside as the boat was no longer at an uncomfortable angle. The water level remained about a foot down all week.
Saturday 26th November was the appointed day for the Stalybridge lights switch on and Santa's floating grotto. We would need to move "Hazel" down one lock and tie her at Armentierres Square above lock 6. On Friday I checked the levels and found the pound where we needed to go almost empty. The same applied to the long pound between locks 3 and 4. The trip boat, "Still Waters" had intended to come up to Stalybridge on Friday, ready to do trips on Saturday, but had to cancel due to lack of water.
There were several streams feeding the cut between locks 7 and 8, so there should have been enough water, but, the lowered weir on that pound meant that all that water was running to waste in the river rather than feeding the canal between Stalybridge and Ashton. Consequently, any pound with leaky lock gates was getting depleted. It occurred to me that if I cracked open the paddles on lock 7 to let through water equivalent to the amount running in from streams, then it would divert water to feed the canal without dropping "Hazel" back on to the mud again. I did this then went home, had my tea and took Em to the cinema with a couple of tickets won in a raffle. After the cinema I went to check. Everything was fine, the level was OK above lock 7 and it was slowly rising below. By the morning I estimated that the pound through Armentierres Square would still be low, but usable.
10 AM was the alloted time for moving the boat, so, about 9.30 I arrived to find "Hazel" sitting on the mud again, but the pound below prettywell full. At first I thought I must have miscalculated the paddle setting. Later I found that a pair of CRT men had drawn the paddles to fill the pound below, thus dropping "Hazel on the mud, exactly what I'd been trying to avoid. CRT are fo course world renowned experts on water management.
With much effort and ingenuity we got "Hazel" into the channel and floating again, then shafted her down to the winding hole and amazingly were able to wind. We worked through the lock then bowhauled past Tesco to tie just above lock 6. Phil Ash volunteered to stay with the boat to talk to passers by whilst the rest of us went to Ashton to bring "Forget me Not" up.
It was a very cold and frosty morning. I was a little concerned about getting the engine started but things turned out to be worse than I imagined. The battery was not exactly bursting with joyful exuberance and, though the engine turned over slowly, it simply would not fire. Suddenly, a horrible smell of hot electrics filled the air and everything went dead. Clearly that boat was going nowhere in a hurry. We returned to Stalybridge in the van to announce that we would have to bowhaul on the morrow.
Today we ran a short trip to Lumb Lane and back for a group called Just Life. http://justlife.org.uk/projects/justlife-manchester/ It was a really enjoyable trip on a nice sunny day. We had a few problems (as usual) with rubbish on the blade. One of our guests was from Africa and he was really interested in the plants that grow in Britain. He didn't know about brambles, stinging nettles, rosebay willowherb etc that we just take for granted. here's some photos.Yes I did point out to our crew member that dangling his foot over the side was not a good idea.
Today we ran a couple of trips along the Ashton Canal between Portland Basin and Lumb Lane (Audenshaw) for the charity Refugee Action. Here's a few pictures.
A really enjoyable trip for those who showed up. We were a bit low on numbers and struggled to get round the collecting area in a reasonable time, but all who came enjoyed it and we got a big pile of stuff for the charity shop. As well as new people there were long awaited re-appearances by old friends Martin Nestor and Adrian Glasgow.
In my last post I hoped that "Southam" wouldn't get stuck in a lock. Of course, she did. We set off with a boatload of sponsors and everything went fine until we got to the first lock, where "Southam" jammed. We could probably have got her through with lots of flushing and pulling, but, with lots of elderly people in the fore end, this seemed unwise. Instead we unjammed her and unloaded our guests, then worked "Lilith", the butty, through and bowhauled her to Mossley and back, leaving a couple of volunteers to mind "Southam". On our way we met a former volunteer who I hadn't seen for years. He offered to pull the boat, and helped us to bowhaul all the way back to Stalybridge after we'd winded at Mossley.
One of the sponsors said it was the best sponsors trip ever. It's funny how people seem to enjoy things going wrong.
Stuart has now left for warmer climes in India. The Hughes family are going to travel all round India before going to Nepal to build an orphanage..
Martin is making a great job of building "Hazel"s back cabin. Her hull is being caulked and today Mike Carter, the surveyor, came to have a look. He seemed pleased with what he saw. I was busy for most of the morning dealing with visitors, some of them potential volunteers. We're going to need a lot more organisational help getting the project up and running once the boatbuilding side of things is finished.
I've noticed that the most popular search to find this blog is Subud Cult. That's strange as I think I've only mentioned my membership of Subud once or twice. It's also a bit unfair to Subud as it's about as uncultish as you can get. There's no glorious leader, I've never been asked for money, there's no orgies (shame but there it is) and there's no set of beliefs that you have to pledge your allegiance to. Emuna, my partner, reckons that the Church of England is more cult like than Subud. What it is is a vehicle for the sharing of a wonderful spiritual exercise called a latihan (Indonesian for exercise) that was first experienced by the group's founder Mohammed Subuh Sumohadiwodidjojo ( I hope I spelled that right)in about 1925). There are now small groups all over the world, but there is an understanding that Subud doesn't evangelise. Those who are ready for it will find it. I've certainly found the latihan has made me into a stronger and better, more human, person in the 6 years that I've been doing it.
Sounds painful, but that's been the main task today. I'm not sure what they're really called. They are the pieces of wood that go under the metal guard irons at the bow and stern of the boat. What pleasure boaters would call rubbing strakes.
There were four eyebrows to steam all together, so we did them in two batches of two, bow and stern. They all bent nicely, though there's always a bit of stress when it comes to steaming wood. The steaming equipment only just completed the job. When the second batch were nearly ready the pipe from the boiler to the steambox started to disintegrate. It's done 28 planks altogether, but for some reason todays steaming was the last straw for it. It was a bit much to expect a plastic pipe to take all that heat, but it did it, only failing at the very end.
I originally posted this in 2012, but it's still valid. Don't just sit there gongoogling, come and help. Even if you live a long way away there's stuff you can do.
I've just been writing something for the WCBS committee about how we can develop online sales. At the moment, like most charity shops, we send a lot of stuff to the tip. You simply can't run a viable shop by keeping everything, and yet almost everything has a potential buyer somewhere. I've been experimenting with selling items thrown out by the shop on ebay, with a lot of success. The trouble is, I don't have the time to really pursue it. There is huge potential there to boost the WCBS income, get more boats restored and put into service for the community and reduce waste. The barrier to doing it, as usual, is finding a willing volunteer with the right combination of time, inclination and ability.
IT COULD BE YOU!!!!!
At the moment we're doing OK for volunteers on "Hazel",(
Though, if you'd like to help, we can always do with more) but there
are big areas of sales, publicity, engineering, and boat maintenance
where we're really struggling. It's the self organising volunteers we
really need. The ones who can just be given a few guidelines and left
to get on with the job.
Let me know.