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Mike Todd

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Everything posted by Mike Todd

  1. Do you have evidence that construction costs per mile, inc land costs, would be cheaper? Or is it surmise - 'it is obvious that . . . ' All infrastructure projects are much more expensive now than a century (or more) ago, even after inflation, for all sorts of reasons, almost all of which are totally justified. And railway embankments have some quite rare flowers . . .
  2. Given that it was a coal product, at least in the short term, it would no longer be much of an option . . . unless you are happy with coal mines everywhere, esp in your back garden, old men with horrendous lungs and children orphaned early.
  3. What 'no gain' do you mean? AIUI, the network is, in the relevant places, already congested and unable to carry all the traffic that it could. HS2 is not about journey times even if those opposed keep banging on about it. (posted before I saw Jim Riley's similar post)
  4. When metrication first came it it was explicitly stated that dimensions could/should be given in imperial units if that is what they were in whole numbers. Hence the mixed practice with sheet materials was encouraged as you indicate. This was to avoid making unnecessary/costly changes to production practices. Surprisingly, the equipment still seems to be going strong after over 40 years!
  5. Sadly rain does not wash off dust etc from a boat any better than a car ie not at all.
  6. So, what happened to the 5p VAT break, then?
  7. I doubt it (unless a price cap is introduced) but the number of potholes would mushroom!
  8. Ours was called Fiona and we had her for around three and a bit years in the late Sixties. We moored at Bishop Meadow Lock near Loughborough in the days when Jack Monk still rented the cottage. He taught me a thing or two about canals and boats! We made considerable use of her and went everywhere, including down the Trent to Keadby and across the Leeds and Liverpool! (Only Pennine crossing open at that time). Fiona was as primitive as you describe but then so were almost all boats on the canal (the first hire boat we took in 1967 had a sea pump through toilet!). We added a cabin on the back and moved the outboard from a hole in the stern to a transom mount. None of this was done with really sufficient skill (or money) and it was all quite a challenge but we enjoyed it (mostly!) We certainly still have plenty of tales to tell about those days. Alas, after my time at Loughborough University came to an end (with a PhD!) we moved up to Tyneside and it was not practical to keep the boat. It needed some work to sell it, even with all the provisos you describe. So, with help from my brother, we put it on a trailer at Selby and took it up to the north. The plan was to park it on our drive/garden and work on it over the winter. We had not really thought about how to get it off the trailer. Firstly, the entrance gap was just too tight and one gate pillar had to be demolished (later re-built). Then came the question of how to get the trailer out from under the boat. We spotted that the jockey wheel made an excellent lever and so we were able to tip it so that the stern was high and put some planks under the gunnels. Then with the jockey wheel we raised the bow end and propped that as well, leaving the boat temporarily suspended mid air whilst we pulled out the trailer. Quickly we put bricks, including the re-purposed pillar, so that it was safe to work on. All this just a few months after our first child was born! I did what I could but it was a really cold winter. Come the spring the boat was again put on a trailer and re-launched back at Selby (at the time the nearest place on the connected network) We then had a long cruise, with the babe - parked in a push chair on the tow path as needed - ending up at Braunston where it was to be sold at auction. Needless to say we did not get all of our money back, but at least it had a little more life left! Some of our memories of those days really do make us shiver in today's H&S context . . . Although we had numerous hire boat holidays later, it was not until 2008 that we were able to buy another boat.
  9. It still happens today, according to one report this morning, as a few workers cannot afford a home to go to.
  10. But not all such filling stations are co-located. Eg in Banbury. First time there we could see the filling sign from the centre and walked to it assuming food would be nearby. Big mistake!
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  12. But the story is credible and very similar to much of our network: if the lakes (reservoirs) feeding the lock flight run short of water through a lack of rain (not much else from where it could come save for ginormous back pumps) then the canal will close. I can believe it is possible! (not saying that makes it true)
  13. I have no direct facts but it may be that the lower prices of supermarkets were achieved through long term contracts - great when prices are rising but very hard when they fall as they may well have to wait until the expiry of the contract before they get a reduction.
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  18. Gotcha but Sorry I missed off the smiley - think: just how many narrowboats are there on the Panama Canal?
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  20. Unless you are really on a tight schedule, the time restrictions, esp on s Oxford, are unlikely to trouble most boaters anyway as in this heat most will be totally shattered by7 the time the locks close and you will still be asleep (?) when they open! The main impact of the time limits is that they concentrate the boats wanting to make passage into a shorter time and hence queues can build up. Time however to start to engage in conversation with fellow boaters - that is often one of the better times on a canal trip . . . (but not always . . . )
  21. If they wait for just one narrowboat they will save as much water!
  22. ! I do think that it is important to keep getting across the (subtle?) distinction only because the misunderstanding encourage people to make futile objections and impact the reputation of either the LA or CaRT, but also because it undermines the ability of those supporting eg liveaboards boaters, to fight their case effectively. Shelling the wrong enemy is never much use!
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