Happy Christmas from Yardley Gobion

Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year
from a cold, snowy and icy Yardley Gobion.

Steve & Maggie

Snow & Ice at Kingfisher Marina

Yesterday we walked from our village through the snow to the marina at Yardley Gobion. We had over a foot of snow over the weekend and temperatures have been regularly down to - 8 deg C at night and not above zero during the day. One night saw -10 deg C. The ice is well and truly set in along the canal with some snow settled on top of it.

Views from Bridge 60

When we boarded Albert she just didn't rock - it was if she was set in concrete.

Solid ice with some snow on top

The snow on the boats is very impressive, you can hardly recognise which boat is which.

Spot your boat!

A boat moored next to Albert, Jenny Wren, has the whole cabin side covered with snow with the snow extending onto staging. The patterns on the fore and aft fenders, and mooring lines are amazing.

Continous Snow

There's a pigeon box under there!

Stern fenders and snow drifts

Earlier in the winter I left a convector heater in the engine room set to a frost setting. It is probably used quite a bit of electricity by now but hopefully it will be worth it when we come to the thaw; a spring thaw as in 1962/3? Who knows! Certainly no Christmas cruising this year.

IWA First Bulletin

I have just purchased a copy, a first edition, of Robert Aickman's The River Runs Uphill; I intend to review it at some stage. However, I was immediately struck by a fact that leapt out of a page - that Aickman records that the first IWA bulletin carried an obitury for a member Montagu Aubery Lloyd (Aickman's spelling). Aickman reports that Lloyd died after his cruiser sank on the Gloucester & Berkeley canal. He did of course, but this was after his boat had been repaired and his crew had travelled very close to their home on the Thames. The book was completed by Montague's daughter-in-law Ann who accompanied him on his voyage.

I reviewed the book which records the Lloyd family's epic voyage back in November 2007. Aickman considered that this was the first inland cruising book to be published post foundation of the IWA. In Aickman's list of the Associations early books is the classic Flower of Gloster and Bonthron's My Holidays on the Inland Waterways, both of which I own.

Hungry Heron

Some time ago I posted a blog about herons and their behaviour. We live just over a mile from the Grand Union canal and the River Tove is just beyond it, so herons are not unknown in our village. Just over a week ago a heron perched on the roof of house in our High Street for over an hour. We presumed that it was eying up the local garden ponds but we saw no action.

Then yesterday morning we drew back the curtains in our bedroom, looked over towards the flat roof of our garage, and got quite a shock. A heron was on the roof trying to cope with a large brightly coloured goldfish. Although the fish appeared dead from the start (it didn't move), because of its size the heron took several attempts to swallow it. I photographed the whole episode through glass so the images are not the best; I wasn't going to open a window and disturb the bird and get cold.

The video below is a slideshow from my photos.

Heron Eating a Large Goldfish

In the penultimate slide the fish is lodged in the bird's throat. After swallowing the fish the heron stayed on the roof for a few minutes, presumably to settle its stomach! It then took off in a very laboured manner. We will have to ask our neighbours to see of they are missing any fish.

When I posted the video on You Tube I noticed that there was also a Heron eats Goldfish video. In that video the fish is still moving!

Granny's Shiny Boats

I notice that Granny Buttons has posted about shiny boats. His latest features NB Morpheus which is part of a shared ownership with our friends Bob & Helen Westlake. Here they are, recently passing through Stoke Bruerne.

NB Morpheus at Stoke Bruerne, October 2010

The boat is still shiny but not quite so spectacular as in Andrews' original photo. However, you can still see another boat in the reflection.

Frozen in

Its just 9 months since we had lots of snow and ice - now its back again.

In common with most of the country we have snow in Northamptonshire but not as much as up north. The ice is pretty impressive. We visited Kingfisher Marina on Monday and watch Jon from Baxter's breaking ice with a boat that needed blacking in the dry dock. It took quite an effort!

Yesterday we checked on Albert and took the attached photos. As you can see from the broken sheets, the ice is quite thick already.

"If it Keeps on Raining" by Jon McGregor

Last night my ears pricked when I heard that Jon McGregor, whose short story “If It Keeps on Raining” was shortlisted story for the BBC National Short Story Award, on Radio 4’s Front Row, once lived on a narrow boat and that inspired his entry.

It appears that his boat was moored on the river at Nottingham (1999 - 2000) and that its cabin leaked, inspiring him to write a short story about impending rain and its effect on the river. The main protagonist in the short story is a man living beside a river who, fearing the world is soon to be destroyed by flood, builds a tree-house and a raft. He tries to decide who he should warn.

It appears from Jon McGregor’s web site that the title of the story is taken from the song, “When the Levee Breaks”, written and recorded by Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe McCoy in 1929.

I particularly like the description of the man contemplating the crews of passing cruisers who wave at him, the angler across the river, the passing gravel barges and the yacht club members. The descriptions of the state of the river following rain are very evocative – shades of the Thames in 2007.

How did the story fare? – it was runner-up. You can listen to it as podcast.

Blog Milestone

So in just over 4 years Albert's blog has today achieved 30,000 visitors. As I have stated before, we don't appear to be getting huge numbers of visitors but it is still nice to know that our blog has readers. We only got to 10,000 visitors two years ago so our visitor numbers are increasing but then canal blogging is now more popular.

The 30,000th visitor appears to have come from London, but the 29,999th did come from India reflecting the international interest in canal blogs.

Thanks to those who have provided links on their sites to Albert.

Fitting Water Gauges

Some time ago I decided that I needed a water temperature gauge that was mounted where I could see it from the steering position - on the roof. I also decided that I needed to retain the original gauge on the engine control panel.

My first attempt at adding a second gauge was a Smiths-styled capillary gauge mounted on the rear of the pigeon box. It worked OK but it was difficult to make out the readings and it had white numerals on a black background so it didn't match the excellent large brass oil pressure gauge mounted alongside. The plumbing inside was also a bit Heath Robinson, but it worked. After sometime the gauge began to corrode; they aren't meant to be used outside a vehicle, so I looked for a better solution.

Engine with twin water gauge sensors - first attempt

The my second attempt was to use a brass capillary gauge calibrated in degrees Fahrenheit - matching the PSI of the oil gauge. I bought this from a supplier to vintage vehicles.

Brass gauges on the pigeon box

The new gauge required an interesting location for the capillary tube - since nearly all capillary gauges are designed for automobiles (~2 m long) and the sensor pipes aren't usually long enough for boats. The solution was use of a 22 mm diameter copper pipe positioned alongside the engine control rods to carry the sensor pipe internally. That made a collection of 5 engine "rods" - one brass speed wheel rod, one gearbox rod, one brass engine stop rod, one new copper pipe carrying the water temperature gauge capillary tube, and one sturdy 28 mm copper tube to hang onto and to "protect" the engine.

Cluster of "engine" rods

I retained the original twin sensor connection on the water manifold which was constructed from a series of connectors and adapters. However, I recently began to think that this collection of connectors looked untidy. It also had a habit of dripping.

So this week I took the plunge and I updated the sensor system with some "proper" brass connectors. The job wasn't as easy as I first thought since the newer capillary sensor doesn't pass through some standard 3/8" fittings despite being fitted with a 3/8 "BSP nut. However, some boring and tapping later I managed to get a much neater system. And it appears not to leak - perhaps neater plumbing means less leaks.

Latest plumbing for water gauge sensors

I also managed to fix a split water pump hose (outer only) - before it failed.

The Forgotten Post

The last post of our November trip left us moored for the night outside The Wharf at Bugbrooke, but obviously we got home.

The Wharf was indeed a good experience. It was never going to be busy on a wet and windy Monday night early in November, but we had a good meal and a warm welcome. It was not cheap but the quality of food was restaurant standard and the presentation of the food very good. It was a far better experience than the last time we had visited, but that was under the old management. We sat in the bar by the blazing fire on soft settees enjoying a cider and a pint of Frog Island and then ate on a nearby table - very comfortable. We liked the way the menu gave details of their suppliers; they are obviously going for the local gourmet food market. Maggie had a prawn based starter and scrumpy pork, and I had field mushrooms and a black pudding lamb chop stack.

The morning was brighter weather. We were keen to get home in good time and, unpack in day light; we left promptly. The trip down to Blisworth was again windy, but not as bad as on the way north. There were hardly any boats on the move. We got to the tunnel and I could see all the way through the bore to the other end. I expected a good trip through, and got it, but part way through I had the brief disappointment of seeing the headlight of a boat entering the other end - it then disappeared! Being familiar with the tunnel I recognised this as the behaviour of a trip boat, although I wondered what it was doing operating on a Tuesday morning in November. We saw the boat again just as we left the tunnel. It was Mike Partridge on Charlie with a school trip.

We lunched at Stoke and went down the lock singly. It was getting cold and dull as we travelled to Yardley and by the time we had unloaded we were keen to get home to the warmth. We were greeted by our cat Daisy who had stayed home being looked after by our neighbours. She spent what was to be her last night with us lying in front of warm fire - she died in a freak accident during the early hours of Wednesday. We are missing her.

Daisy in the snow earlier in the year

Header Tank Sight Gauge

The Ruston and Hornsby 2YWM engine on Albert has a small brass header tank for the coolant that is open at the top - it makes topping up easy. However, the tank is mounted close to the ceiling of the engine room and it is not easy to see its contents even with a mirror. To check on the coolant level I have had to put my hand into the tank and dip it with my finger.

For several years I have been on the look-out for a sight gauge and I even contemplated making one up from spare flowmeter components that I had lying around. However, when I met with Colin from NB Intrepid I discovered he had purchased some small brass sight gauges from Tony Redshaw.

I did the same this weekend and mounted one today. The gauge is certainly an improvement over the wet finger technique and polished-up it looks the part.

Brass Coolant Head Tank and Sight Gauge

Concrete Wellies!

Some time ago I reported on the concrete filled wellies (rubber boots) embedded in the bank at Stoke Bruerne. During the summer I discussed this with a BW surveyor I met near Long Buckby and he let me into a secret. These aren't the only boots embedded in a canal bank. Evidently one particular member of a BW maintenance gang, when finishing a bank restoration job, used to regularly dispose of his wellies by putting them in the bank. It was his form of signature or in modern terms "graffiti tag". Presumably the boots were free issue.

I was also told that a pair of boots was located along the Buckby Flight. Well I can now reveal that they are just below Lock 9 not far from the railway bridge. They were visible during our recent trip up the flight because of the very low water. I don't know specifically of any others on the system but I remain vigilant, particularly when I see banking repaired using concrete-filled bags.

Concrete-filled Wellies on the Buckby Flight

Autumn Cruise to Welford

We haven't been cruising for some time, with lots of things on our plate, but we have just managed 6 days up the Grand Union to Welford. We haven't been to Welford since 1998 when we made a fleeting visit - it was summer and there were no moorings free.

We left Yardley on Wednesday afternoon (3rd November)and went up the Stoke flight alone. We saw flocks of fieldfare near Grafton Regis, some being harried by a kestrel. On the way up the flight we met our friend Chris Allin who was helping a friend move a boat south. Stoke was, understandably quiet and we met only one boat in Blisworth Tunnel. We moored at Blisworth and found out later that the Cheese Boat was just ahead of us.

On Thursday morning the weather was bright but it was very windy. Sometimes it felt like we were sailing. The boat was listing and crabbing going down the cut. We passed fellow bloggers Zindani at Brockhall, they were going south. The water was a carpet of fallen leaves which meant the prop had to be cleared frequently. A quick burst of reverse appeared to do the trick. We made Buckby flight in good time and met NB Urquhart Castle waiting for as at the bottom lock. We made good progress up the first few locks with them but then we met some shallow pounds. At one stage we got stuck under a bridge and could only make progress be drifting along in neutral. At the top lock we found the lock keeper who told us that there were problems with the back pumping.

Brockhall and a Carpet of Leaves

Because we had made much better progress than we had thought, and realised that going up Watford flight might be a problem, we pressed on arriving at Watford locks at 3:45 The flight was closed; it closes at 3:30 during the winter with last boats entering the flight at 2:45. However it did mean that we were first up the flight in the morning.

Maggie negotiating Watford Flight

Friday was not good weather, dull and damp, but we had a trouble free journey north. Being first up Watford we got to Crick by mid morning and took on fuel and had a pump-out. For the rest of the journey to Welford the weather was dull. We passed the new Yelvertoft Marina and met NB Hadar at the junction to the Welford Arm. Just as we turned into the arm we saw two kingfishers chasing each other, their vivid colours just catching the last rays of the setting sun. It was getting quite dark as we got to Welford. We moored up near the 70' winding hole and explored the end of the arm and the village in the dark (and rain). The local village shop and post office was very useful and we were impressed by the pocket park that is close to the River Avon. The shop staff recommended the Wharf for a meal and we had a good honest pub meal there for a reasonable price.

Saturday was a bright but colder day. It gave me the opportunity to take some early morning photos of Welford.

Morning mist on the Welford Arm

Getting the fire going

Welford Arm Terminus

Welford Arm's only lock

As we left the arm we saw more kingfishers and they continued to appear all the way back to Crick. In total saw saw about six or seven. There were lots of gliders making use of the good weather and the bright autumn sun lit up the hedgerows which were laden with berries.


Ash Keys

Sloes - waiting for the gin!

Close to Bridge 32 there was a large shoot in progress. Beaters were operating on both sides of the canal and when we passed the guns, who were standing near to the canal, they opened up at a group of birds. One unlucky cock pheasant came down in dramatic fashion just close to Albert. It landed in a thicket on the bank, just a few feet from the cut.

We had passed NB Intrepid on the way up to Welford and noted that in their engine room was a Ruston. On the way back we came alongside Intrepid and I had an extended chat about engines with the owner Colin. He has a great boat (Les Allen shell) that is well turned out and an immaculate Ruston & Hornsby India 2YW engine. The engine was installed in '92, so it was probably installed by Keith Jones. Colin has managed to polish many items that I never knew could be polished. He has also fitted copper cladding around his exhaust using an intriguing and quite novel system.

NB Intrepid

Ruston 2YW in Intrepid

We moored up for the night outside Crick Marina; Hadar were moored up in front of us. Unfortunately, for the third night in a row the only O2 mobile Internet connection I could get was GPRS - not much use for blogging. I could have used the Crick Marina WiFi but I would have had to arrange payment.

On Sunday we rose early again to get down the Watford flight without much delay. We were first down the flight and made Norton junction in very good time. Although the forecast indicated that the whole of Britain would have good sunny weather, we did pass through some showers. We took on water at the junction and went down the Buckby flight with a former Ownerships boat now run as a private consortium. This time there was lots of water. We took lunch at Wilton and then made Weedon for our night's mooring.

Monday was a day of weather warnings across the UK. It was clear that we would might not move so we had moored up for the night on the embankment near to be near the services in Weedon Bec. As it turned out the morning was horrible with high winds and heavy rain so we stayed put! By the afternoon the weather had abated sufficiently for us to take a short trip down to Bugbrooke where we moored up outside The Wharf. We have heard good reviews from a crew going North about their meals. We will find out shortly.

Napton, Calcutt & Shuckburgh

We took a walk yesterday with our walking group. I organised a repeat of the walk around Shuckburgh & Napton that we last did in 2008 when the group consisted of only 5 people. We had 19 on the walk - the highest ever number. Couldn't resist a group photo at Calcutt Locks.

The circular walk covers Beacon Hill at Shuckburgh, the windmill at Napton, Calcutt Locks and a return along the Oxford Canal. We had a great lunch at the Crown at Napton. They did us proud with food ranging from steak and ale pie, to sandwiches. We also stopped for coffee at the Bridge at Napton.

Walking Group (and Ruby the Labradoodle) at Calcutt Top Lock

Grantham Canal

You're never very far from a canal in the Midlands.

Last week I went to Langar in Nottinghamshire for a meeting of my professional institution. Arriving a little early at the venue I decided to drive on a short distance to investigate the lovely rolling countryside. Just two miles south along the road from Langar I came into Leicestershire and the village of Harby. At the entrance to the village I crossed a bridge which had the unmistakable signs of belonging to British Waterways - barriers painted in black and white. Looking down there was water in the canal and across the bridge there was a BW maintenance yard to confirm that I had indeed discovered a canal- the Grantham Canal.

BW Maintenance Yard, Harby, Leicestershire

If I had been a bit smarter I should have realised that the Grantham Canal must have been close because near Langar I came through the roadworks on the A46 where a new road was being built. Granny Buttons has posted quite a few blogs relating the difficulties that the Grantham Canal Society and others are having with the Highways Agency in their efforts to preserve the canal line from the new road developments. It appears from Narrowboat World that their efforts regarding Manns Bridge may have failed.

The Grantham Canal is not fully navigable, of course, but large sections are in water and it appears that the canal society do have a day boat operating along one section near Grantham. I decided I had enough time before my meeting to walk along the towpath towards Hose. This section is in water. I didn't manage to go far, but my short time by the canal convinced me that it is a delightful waterway. The first section of canal was fringed by large bulrushes (just like the BW logo) but the canal soon opened out into a clear section with the usual ducks and moorhens and a family of swans. The views from the canal across the Vale of Belvoir to the north are impressive. The canal is elevated at this point. If opened to navigation I am sure that this would be a popular cruising canal.

I walked about 3/4 mile and passed several walkers with and without dogs. I have to mention that the condition of the path was far better than many I have encountered when boating. During a wet period in autumn it was walkable in ordinary shoes - I was in a business suit!. A bit different walking along the Oxford Canal where you are often in danger of slipping in. The last time we boated along the South Oxford we witnessed a cyclist going into the canal in dramatic way. He was carrying camping equipment and it went in with him!

Bridge 42

As I stood by the bridge at Harby (Langar Bridge) I noted that it had a BW number (43) but at my feet I noticed that the coping stone on the edge of the canal had an inscription, presumably original, "Miles from the Trent". I couldn't discern how many miles it claimed, that was missing or it was underneath grass, but a handy modern marker near the hedge gave the figure as 18. So Harby is just about half-way along the length of the canal.

Milestone at Harby

Metal Milepost at Harby

Interpretation board near Bridge 41

I am tempted to try a "proper" walk along the canal. The Vale of Belvoir has a lot to offer.

Useless Machine

Our friend David Marks has the knack for constructing interesting items, mostly useful. His recent credits include a fabulous doll's house for his grandchildren. He also has some long-term projects on the go such as building a wooden organ driven by MIDI technology - he is skilled at both woodwork and electronics.

However, it was with some amazement that I recently discovered his latest device - a version of the Most Useless Machine. You Tube has several videos showing versions of Useless Machines in operation.

Unique or not, David's version is really great fun. You just can't stop trying it. Last night when there was a gathering at David's house it got a lot of use. Hope you enjoy the video.

By the way, the ghostly red light was added at my suggestion.

Starter Motor

Just installed a service exchange starter motor on Albert. Now our engine works fine!

As I indicated in the earlier blog, I looked around for a replacement stater motor when it became clear the troubles I was experiencing were more serious than just a solenoid.

The original motor was identified as a CAV 45F. Searching the web I found a company in Preston who handled the range. It turned out that the original motor, or rather the one delivered with the engine, was a rebuilt 12-volt unit. I had my suspicions when I found the casing was marked with 24-8 but overplated with a Lucas CAV label.

The replacement unit was turned around in 24 hours by CAV Automotive Ltd and the price was resonable. They certainly know their stuff. They identified that the motor required was a C45F 12-11 with clockwise rotation. Evidently they supply to factors throughout the country. They have an ebay shop that gives examples of their range including motors for Gardner, Perkins, Petter, Dorman and Lister engines. I registered the 2YWM (Greaves /R&H) with them.

Replacement CAV 45F starter motor

Granny's First WW Contributions

This morning the November issue of Waterways World came through our letter box. It includes a welcome to Andrew Denny (Granny Buttons) in the editorial. I see they already got Andrew to report on the opening of the Droitwich Barge Canal and reply to a boater's question on single-handed boating.

Looking forward to more contributions.

U-Boat Narrowboat and Albert's Starter Motor

Last night I read about the U-Boat replica narrow boat on the Narrowboat World web site. Today its featured in the Guardian and the Daily Mail, although its interesting that British Waterways don't think she has a licence. Perhaps that's why the owner appears illusive, according to the Guardian.

The Royal Navy used to run warship-outlined narrowboats in the 1970s. I understand that one was a ballistic missile submarine. It appears that Waterways World ran an article about them in July 1977- all part of recruitment.

As one who was interviewed by the River Police about my terrorism threat before tackling the tidal Thames past Whitehall, I wonder what their approach might be to mini warships passing Parliament?

Albert's starter motor troubles are a little more serious than I originally thought. I have now sorted out a service exchange deal for a new motor. I will post more news when I get the problem sorted - hopefully early next week.

Boat Average Speed

With modern technology we are familiar with instrumentation providing lots of information about the performance of machines and equipment. Our Volvo car provides information to the driver on average and instantaneous fuel consumption, how many miles to the next refuelling, and average speed.

Albert, of course, is very low-tech with just oil pressure and water temperature gauges in sight of the steerer. However, below decks there is the control panel that was supplied with the engine. It contains water temperature and oil pressure gauges, an electrical hour meter and a mechanical revolution (RPM) meter. It was the the last two that got me thinking.

I scarcely note the RPM meter except when moored-up or when someone else is steering. However, when asked "What engine speed do you use when cruising?" I usually answer "Between 500 and 600 RPM on canals and maybe 750 RPM maximum on rivers". It has recently occurred to me that because the original mechanically-driven RPM meter incorporates an equivalent hour meter I actually have information available for a more accurate answer, at least on the overall average speed.

The mechanical hour meter effectively counts engine revolutions but it displays them as hours assuming a speed of 1500 RPM. If you are operating an engine at constant maximum speed, for example in a generator set, then this would be very useful information - particularly for servicing. On Albert I had yet to find it useful but recently I decided that it might have a use in calculating the average speed of the engine.

I believe the electrical hour meter was installed new with the engine and that the mechanical hour meter was set to zero on delivery; certainly I have not reset them and a majority of the hours on the engine have now been done in our ownership. So, taking the mechanical meter reading (at the moment 838.4 hrs) dividing this by the hours done measured by the electrical meter (at the moment 2381 hrs )and multiplying this by 1500 (the nominal RPM), should give the average RPM achieved by the engine. The answer is 528 RPM.

This sounds about right given the occasional higher speed periods spent travelling along rivers and the periods spent idling in locks.

Surprising what information simple technology can give. Of course it isn't directly accessible and it doesn't come up on a fancy display at the touch of a button!

Stoke Bruerne at War

We visited the third Village at War weekend at Stoke Bruerne on Saturday. I don't know how we missed the first two but this weekend's activities made us wish we hadn't. It was quite frankly a remarkable event. The organisers, the Friends of the Canal Museum, the Canal Museum and the village, should be very proud.

Field Marshall Montgomery & colleagues

1940s re-enactors

The weather yesterday was kind, and the crowds came out in force, but today I suspect they may have suffered with the same rain problems as the Ryder Cup in Newport. We had planned to go up to Stoke by boat for the whole weekend but Albert has suffered an electrical problem. The starter motor solenoid appears to have developed a fault and I am certainly not strong enough to start the engine by hand!

Replica Spitfire Mk IX EN398 on show

The first thing that struck us, as we got to Stoke, was the large number of people wandering about in 1940s costume. There were numerous re-enactors playing Land Army girls, the Home Guard, politicians (Winston Churchill), members of the RAF and Army, and civilians of all trades. There must have been well over a hundred people in costume. It was, of course a photographers dream and many cameras with large lenses were in evidence.

LDV, USA airman and civilians
(Note the Silver Cross Pram)

Authentic 1940s picnic

The whole village had adopted the wartime spirit with houses with taped-up windows and bunting, and the primary school acting as a Lyons Corner House. There were displays of military equipment; including jeeps, armoured vehicles, a replica Spitfire with a working Merlin engine, and a wide selection of 1940s cars and vans.

Vintage Helter Skelter

The boaters, of course, played their part in creating a 1940s atmosphere with crews of working boats in costume. Several of the more familiar working boats attended including Raymond & Nuffield, the tug Pelican, the museum's Sculptor, Cyprus, Victoria, Angel and Corona.

NB Angel being polished

Amongst the boats was also Hadar. We have passed Hadar when boating, notably at High House, but have yet to meet fellow bloggers Keith & Jo so it was great to stop and have a good chat with them. They were, of course in costume.

Jo from NB Hadar in costume

Keith and NB Hadar

We were particularly taken with their bargain Measham teapot. Although it is not perfect, it has a few chips, it certainly looks the part.

Keith & Jo's Measham being admired

There was music in the form of a George Formby tribute performing in a air raid shelter under the canal bridge.

Paul Casper aka George Formby performing

There were some really interesting displays in the military display area. We were particularly taken by the authentic Ministry of Food caravan where advice on cooking spam, and cheesecake without cheese, was available. The samples didn't look very palatable!

Ministry of Food advice caravan

Just before we left for home we found one of the cottages in Stoke were selling pumpkins; not long to halloween. The purchaser looked very pleased with his purchase.

Pumpkin and its proud owner

You will note that I resisted the temptation to reproduce the images in this blog in sepia. I bet lots of images taken at the event will!