Boxing Day Boating

We took the opportunity of the recent mild weather to go boating on Boxing Day. Our immediate family was with us over the holiday, so we all went on a short trip to Cosgrove and back. With the short winter days, it starts getting dark around 4:30, so you can't go too far.

We went down through Cosgrove Lock across the Iron Trunk, turned outside The Galleon and came back to Yardley Gobion. There were only few boats moving. In all we might have seen about half a dozen. We were certainly the only boat out of Kingfisher Marina. The important thing is, the trip included mooring up to have a tasty Cottage pie lunch.

Cosgrove Lock

Chris and Amelia

Our granddaughter Amelia has come onboard Albert before, and been on a trip along the Thames near Kingston, but this time she was able to appreciate boating more. She particularly liked the horn button - she tried it a few times when no other boats were around!

Amelia discovers the horn button

A memorable trip!

New Blog Layout and Theme

You can't have failed to notice that I have changed the style of Albert's blog. I decided a little while ago that I would go for a three column blog with a suitable background. There are lots of blog backgrounds out there that reflect interests in many spheres, many of them freely available. However, none appeared to particularly suit canal boating.

I therefore took the bull by the horns and developed my own background. After some deliberation I went for a canal decoration theme. Using Photoshop I took some images of the rear cabin doors of Albert and made them into the green border decoration you see behind this post. The original decoration (that is "Roses") were crafted some years ago by Maggie.

Below are the door panels when they were being painted back in 2004. Maggie also did the "Castles" on the red outlined block panels. Tony Lewery recently pointed out on a TV programme that we should really call them "Castles" landscapes. Enjoy.

Albert's Rear Cabin Door Decoration

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from a wet and windy Yardley Gobion. Last year temperatures were well below zero and Albert was iced-up for quite some time. This year temperatures have yet to drop below zero for more that just the odd day. As always the British weather remains unpredictable.

Wet and windy at Kingfisher Marina, Christmas 2011

Ice and Snow at Kingfisher Marina, Christmas 2010

Getting ready for CART

I see that British Waterways is adopting a strapline that mentions canals and rivers under their logo ahead of the transition to CRT (or should it be CART?). This one appeared on Waterscape.

Chesterfield Canal

We spent last weekend in Sheffield. In the past we have taken the opportunity to visit Victoria Quays , but this time our friends Anne & Edward Winter arranged a little treat for us. It started with a walk along a newly restored part of the Chesterfield Canal and lunch at Nona's Coffee Shop at Hollingwood Hub. I had visited the Tapton Lock area of the canal, close to Chesterfield, a few years ago but without my camera. This time I took some shots.

The weather was "bracing", exactly what you expect of December in Derbyshire. The new locks, built in Halifax looked fine and Hollingwood Hub is great facility with its coffee shop, offices and meeting rooms.

Lock and Hollingwood Hub

After a short walk towards Chesterfield we retraced our steps back to the coffee shop to have lunch of meat and potato pie with mushy peas and that "must have" condiment - mint sauce. Maggie was at college at Bingley in Yorkshire and this was a typical student treat at the time, particularly at the Ferrands Arms.

Old Lock Gates

We shall soon have to visit the connected navigable section of the Chesterfield with Albert.

In the afternoon we visited Renishaw Hall, home of the Sitwells, which is close by and well worth a visit.

Renishaw Hall and Rainbow

Sunday saw us visit Kelham Island Museum in Sheffield. It was full of visitors to their Victorian Christmas Fair. For me the star of the show was the most powerful working steam engine in Europe (12,000 BHP), the River Don Engine. It used to run the armour plate rolling mill at Cammell's Grimesthorpe Works where it worked for over 50 years. It was built by Davy Brothers of Sheffield in 1905.

Its size is impressive and its ability to reverse so quickly (because it powered a rolling mill) was breathtaking. The huge crowds watching enjoyed it. On the basis that many boaters are interested in industrial history I have added a video clip of its performance. I hope you also enjoy it.

Also at Kelham Island is a Crossley 150 HP gas engine. A Crossley gas engine, obviously smaller, was once fitted to the FMC motor Vulcan in 1906 for tests but later replaced. Here is a short clip of it working. It also powered a rolling mill.