Caravan Afloat (2)

Well it didn't even get a bid! The Ebay auction ended today and this rare gem made no impression despite the reasonable £29.99 opening price - the last copy offered on ABE was advertised for £75 (see below). Perhaps I should have bought it as an investment?

I've noticed that everybody in the media appears to be blaming everything on the recession (which hasn't yet officially happened - although it appears to be inevitable). Perhaps the seller will blame the lack of response on the "R word".

Or is there less interest in waterways heritage nowadays? I remember 1st editions of Rolt's "Narrow Boat " fetching well over £60 on Ebay around the time of the 60th anniversary of publication when there was plenty of publicity. Perhaps it it is all a question of timing?

Steve Parkin

Caravan Afloat

Earlier in the year I purchased a copy of "A Caravan Afloat" by C J Aubertin. It was a first edition - published in 1916. The book was recently featured in an excellent Waterways World article and is a true classic of early pleasure boating.

I found a single copy in the UK using the ABE Books web site but when I came to pay the £75 (yes it is rare and I am a keen collector), the seller couldn't find it in his shop. It appeared that when he moved premises he misplaced it. I eventually found a copy in New Zealand using the Alibris web site. It is an excellent copy in good condition and it was around half the price of the UK book.

Recently I have been monitoring a copy that is for sale on Ebay. At the moment it has no bids with just two days to go. With a reserve of around £29 it will be interesting to see what happens. I wonder if there will be a last minute bidding war. I won't be bidding!

Water Cans (or Buckby Cans)

We own two water (or Buckby) cans. One, painted by Ron Hough, was a 50th birthday present from Maggie to me. It displays the name of our first boat - "BERTIE". The other was largely painted by the first owner of Albert but Maggie added some more flowers and decoration and I put on the name.

When we had the boat painted the water cans, which we are in the habit of placing on the roof in all-weathers, looked a bit scrappy. Although we chain them on they had suffered some tree-damage and, over around 10 years, there was also a certain amount of crazing caused by the sun. This was especially true on the lids and particularly on the white roses. I also decided that my amateurish sign writing looked out of place with our new paint scheme. As a result, I decided to renovate both cans, get Maggie to refresh the flowers, and then get Colin Dundas to signwrite "ALBERT" on the can.

Colin did a great job and used a similar typeface to the one he developed for the cabin sides.

Water cans

Steve Parkin

Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal

Just been browsing Wikipedia for an item concerning my technical editing job and found to my surprise that the Wiki home page featured article for today is on the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal. Terrific page with so much historical detail! No wonder they selected it.

Steve Parkin

Signwriting Finished

We went to High House Wharf on Sunday morning to pick up Albert after Colin Dundas had finished the signwriting. Albert looks truly splendid! We are very pleased with both the painting (Baxters) and the signwriting.

The new style signwriting and scumbling look terrific. Colin's suggestion of outlining the scumbling in red worked very well. The scumbling has been done in Dulux Brushwood, as before. Colin used one base coat (acrylic)and two top coats. The first top coat is scumbled (combed etc) and the second is used to provide protection an a darker colour. We chose the English Oak colour.

The finished job (with proud owner and signwriter)

As usual Colin has been very clever ensuring that the panels are "complete" even when the engine room doors are open. This is particularly important to us since we normally run with doors open.

The "Albert" panel with engine doors open

Our name and "No. 1" panels

We will need to start polishing the brass once we have good weather. At the moment it puts the painting to shame.

The weather forecast for Sunday morning wasn't good but turned out bright and windy. Just as we left we found that fellow bloggers NB Hadar were moored up just behind us. They were breasted-up against another boat. Unfortunately we had no time to stop and chat (if they were on board).

We had no problems until we got to Stoke Bruerne, although it was slow going through an angling match near Bugbrooke; we were thanked for slowing down.

Coming out of Blisworth Tunnel it started raining and it just got harder and harder. There were even had some hailstones. We managed to pick up NB That'll Do at the second lock down and had help with the locks from the skipper of NB Buster who was moored up for the night in the Long Pound. He moors at Kingfisher Marina and offered to help when we met at the customary bonfire night barbeque on Saturday night.

Stoke Bruerne flight in the pouring rain (and some hail)!

The River Tove was in spate again and the side weirs were overflowing even more than last weekend. We eventually got back to our berth just before dark. Jon Munk popped his head out and welcomed us home with the obvious comment about the weather being suitable for boating!

Bow details - at high water

Today it appears that they have closed both Stoke Bruerne flight and Cosgrove lock because of flooding. The water level in Kingfisher Marina is very high.


Signwriting Progress

Visited Colin Dundas at High House Wharf today. He is really getting on well with the signwriting. The harlequin decoration is in progress and the scumbling is basically finished. It was great watching him add the blocking to the lettering. Albert will certainly look smart when he and Kevin have finshed with her. I was particularly taken with the script he developed for the "Albert" panel.

Colin Dundas adding the blocking to the signwriting


Moving Albert for Signwriting

On Sunday took Albert up to High House Wharf for Colin Dundas to do the decoration (signwriting, scumbling and harlequin panels).

After Saturday's heavy rain, as Jon Munk put it "there will be no shortage of water under your keel". Indeed there wasn't.

The River Tove, which flows under (via a syphon) and into (via weirs) the Grand Union, was in full spate.Most of the fields alongside the river itself were flooded and the side discharge weirs along the canal were all open. Most of the canal between Yardley Gobion and Stoke Bruerne Bottom Lock had a significant flow. It was very much like navigating the upper sections of the Llangollen, particularly going through bridge holes. The section leading to Stoke Bruerne bottom lock was really interesting. We had to go at some speed to get through the inflow.

River Tove in spate

We waited in the bottom lock for a hire boat to turn around using one of the quieter sections of the river, but unfortunately we had to give up when we realised that it would be touch and go if they made it all. NB Bird on a Wire were moored up and they offered advice.

The rest of the trip was relatively uneventful except for an idiot in Blisworth Tunnel who thought the best way to pass in the tunnel was to stop! He didn't appear to realise that you lose steerage when there is no flow across the rudder. He also thought it was funny when his bow swung out and clunked Albert's newly painted hull. He added insult to injury by photographing the event. Still as they say - boating is a contact sport. It would be nice if there was only occasionally slight contact.

Albert with a plain fore-end

Albert is now safely inside the wet dock at High House Wharf. She should reappear at the weekend.