Updated Images of Albert and Gauges

When Albert's paintwork was refreshed a few a years ago, I used the moorings at Stoke Bruerne Bottom Lock to take some photographs. Now we have had a full repaint, and we visited the Bottom Lock on a day with reasonable weather, yesterday, I took the opportunity to repeat the exercise.

You can see that I concentrated on the stern and our new signwriting.

Albert at Stoke Bruerne Bottom Lock

Engine doors open

Engine doors closed

Long-lens view with stern doors closed

We find it useful to have both an oil pressure gauge and a water temperature gauge visible from the tiller. Below is an image of our new water temperature gauge and the old polished oil pressure gauge, both mounted in our pigeon box. We previously had a Smiths water temperature, obtained via eBay and a low price, but it did not match the existing oil pressure gauge (black face) and it also behaved erratically. The new water temperature, obtained from a vintage car accessories distributor is in Fahrenheit to "match" the Imperial units (psi) of the oil pressure gauge. It is interesting that the Fahrenheit version of the gauge is more sensitive than the Celsius version. This in handy since the engine (Ruston & Hornsby 2YWM) runs relatively cool compared with automobile engines.

Polished gauges (shame about the skylights!)

Stoke Bruerne Lock Repairs

Yesterday we took out Albert for a very short trip to Stoke Bruerne Bottom Lock; all of one hour and a half's cruising there and back. With all the snow an ice we haven't managed many local trips recently so we were itching to get on the move again. The Stoke flight was closed for repairs, but the stoppage should be lifted today. We winded in the Rivet Tove junction and moored up on the vacant water point because all the "new" 48 hour moorings were in use by anglers.

We walked up the flight to see what BW had been up to during the stoppage. Their contractors had been spending some time repairing the lock landing below the fifth lock. Last season when the bank subsided they taped it off which made it "safe" for walkers, but it made jumping off boats to operate the lock more than a little difficult. The contractors have rebuilt the stone edging, removed the sheet piling, and dug the bank away so they can re-pile it. It was interesting to see some of the clay puddle in the section they had cut back. From a discussion with Mike Partridge, who was at the bottom lock with his trip boat Charlie, they will now pile the bank from a maintenance barge, since they can only do this while the canal is in water, and then backfill.

Stock Flight lock landing repairs

Maggie was intrigued by by the colour of the water in Locks 3 and 4, and the pound between. It was very green and also quite cloudy. It appears that BW were trying to trace some water that was allegedly leaking from the canal. I presume they had used some flourescein dye.

Green water in the Stoke Flight

Here are some images of around the top lock.

Sculptor's Cans

Mike Partridge's Jubilee

Navigation Inn, Stoke Bruerne in the winter sun

Boating without Fridges?

I just read Sarah's post on the NB Warrior blog about fridges on boats. She appears to have picked up, through G2, on people giving up their fridges in order to reduce their carbon footprint. Her discussion on how to survive on a boat without a fridge is interesting and her description of keeping stuff cool under the foredeck of her former boat Andante, made me think about when we had Albert surveyed.

Before buying Albert we had her surveyed by George Gibson from Honey Street on the Kennet and Avon. George is an ex-Fleet Air Arm engineer and he certainly knows his way around vessels of all sizes. Albert has a traditional engine room so we have a relatively long prop shaft. It was while he was looking under the floor boards in the back cabin, where the prop shaft runs to the stern tube, that he said to me, "You know that this is the coolest place on any boat. It is where the Navy hide their beer." I am sure he is right and I certainly would like to contradict him.

We don't intend to discard our electric fridge, just yet, but we do have a ventilated cupboard in the well deck that is perfect for keeping vegetables cool. It is a bit like a meat safe (remember them?), and it does save space in the fridge for things that really need to be cold.

Falkirk Wheel

With all the recent snow and ice, apart for some much-needed brass polishing in Albert's engine room, we haven't touched the boat for a few weeks. Because I was suffering boating withdrawal symptoms, I recently went through my "non-Albert" related boating images and discovered some canal photos I took in early April 2007 that I should have posted at the time.

The Falkirk Wheel

For reasons I won't explain I flew to Edinburgh on business and met a colleague, Chris Whetnall who insisted that as part of our time in Scotland we visit that modern wonder of the waterways - the Falkirk Wheel. I found it an inspiring example of engineering. It was relatively quite but the wheel was in operation and we took a ride up (and down) in the BW trip boat. One of the impressive features was the small amount of power (1.5 kW h) required to operate the wheel. The other was the rather clever mechanism adopted to handle the water that remains between the gondola (caisson) gate and the canal gate when the wheel starts to rotate.

I won't add much more to this blog except to show the pictures I took. If you are in central Scotland you really shouldn't miss the the Wheel.

The wheel at rest

Part of the system for draining water from between the gondola and canal gates

Double gates (gondola & canal)

Approaching the wheel from the upper level

In the gondola at the upper level

And don't forget the manufacturer's label!

Swans Ice-Breaking

We went for a walk yesterday with our informal walking group. We had planned a longer walk to Stoke Bruerne and including a return boat trip on Albert, but the weather put paid to that. Instead we went on a circular walk that included the Navigation Inn at Cosgrove. We started from our home in Potterspury and walked in glorious sunshine across the fields to Yardley Gobion. The snow was crisp and bright.

St Nicholas Church, Potterspury

We joined the canal path by the wharf at Yardley. It was there that we saw two swans moving down the cut breaking ice using their chests. You can see their track on the photo below.

Swans Ice-Breaking at Yardley Gobion Wharf

As we cut across the fields to the River Tove we saw some hares chasing across the fields at an alarming rate. The river was flowing fast and furious but, unlike in November, well within its banks.

Walking alongside the River Tove

Our lunch at the Navigation was very good and my two pints of Batemans were a joy. They were in the middle of decorating the restaurant but the log fire was very welcoming.

Snowman at Pilgrim's Field, Cosgrove

After lunch we returned to Potterspury via Cosgrove and the deserted village of Furtho. The church at Furtho, St Bartholomew, was open so we looked around the disused, but still consecrated, church, signing the visitors book. Around once a year a service is held their.

St Bartholomew's Church, Furtho

We also looked inside the dovecote; a preserved historic site.

Inside the dovecote at Furtho, Northants