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  1. Were the two sections in different BWB administrative units, perhaps? I bought the Staffs & Worcs cruising guide (the old blue paperback, still have it) and was disappointed to find that my home area (Penkridge) wasn't there. I had to buy the Trent & Mersey guide to get that, and it was a non-trivial expense for me at that time.
  2. Penkridge had two. I think Park Gate did until the steel gates went in. Others I am unsure, but I remember it not being unusual - although these are half-century+ memories.
  3. I'm pretty sure that several of the locks on the northern S&W still had two top gate paddles in the mid 60's. As the gates were replaced with BWB steel gates that ceased.
  4. Not sure. We didn't have a car and travelled between North and South by train fairly often, passing through Birmingham (this is the late 50's). I don't remember a railway on the other side. The church was on the other side of a canal cutting and everything was pretty grimy. It all looked exciting and exotic then. Of course, it's entirely possible that the delays to contemplate eternity were just due to overcrowding on the lines into Birmingham.
  5. By golly, you're right! It's 40ft lower. Or wherever we were going. This was a long time ago. But it was certainly a place for the trains to contemplate life for a while. Given the breadth of knowledge in this group it's only a matter of time before somebody identifies the church.
  6. Odd, really. But while graffiti should be annoying they can be strangely pleasing. Not sure if counts as a graffito but there used to be a church with a huge (crudely) painted sign on its wall overlooking the BCN main line: "Where will you spend eternity?". It was across from where the steam trains waited for long periods before the final climb to New Street and seemed strangely appropriate.
  7. Since you're passing, the Caldon Canal might be worth a look if the timing works as you head South on the T&M.
  8. Once, just once, in eleven years I backed my (sail)boat into dock absolutely perfectly. There was nobody around. On the other side of my dock a much larger, more expensive and better-crewed boat made a real dog's breakfast of docking just once (that I know of). There was a large crowd of people enjoying the afternoon on the dock as it swayed with the impact. I do not judge skill based on a small sample.
  9. I thought, then and now, that it's an exceptionally beautiful boat, and a worthy successor to Fox. Derek fitted an engine (Petter?) he said had spent it's early life in a dump truck before he bought it for peanuts. The gear lever was right beneath your foot as you steered and I wore a hole in the sole of a shoe from shifting it (no knob). The best part of one trip was borrowing a lovely scottie dog to go with the boat. I got shouted at for taking Vulpes through Harecastle by the light of an oil lamp with flashlight for backup, but it seemed fine to me. I'm SO glad that this boat still exists and looks so beautiful.
  10. I just looked at the boat name and did a little Googling around. I knew a boat in the very (very) early 1970's called Vulpes that looked very like yours - although it was unfinished (brick ballast floor in the otherwise-empty cabin). I was lucky enough to be lent that boat several times by the first owner and have very happy memories of it, and still bear the scar on my thumb where I used an empty pineapple can to empty the aft bilge at Autherley. It would make me unreasonably happy to know it still exists. I did what is now called the Four Counties Ring (including Thurlwood Steel Lock) and whatever the ring is called that goes down the Staffs & Worcs, up Stourbridge 16, Netherton Tunnel and back down the Wolverhampton 21 before returning to Wheaton Aston (my newbie crew were appalled to find that climbing the 16 required going back down the 21).
  11. Yes, thank you!! And that beautiful Holt Abbott cruiser in the background.
  12. I think it would have been A. Rice (he was just "Mr Rice") that I remember as being kind. He let me help to clean the hire boats (Tranquil, Halcyon and a smaller one) one day. I didn't want any payment because I enjoyed working on boats but he sent me off for a couple of hours with the outboard-powered runabout and I took it to Tixall Wide. A long time ago and far away.
  13. I'd nominate the Secret Nuclear Bunker beside Hack Green locks. Boated past it many times but had no idea that there was anything but a farm. Wonder if the Soviets knew.
  14. It's a while ago, but Mum bought a house in Ramsgate with no electricity. Gas mantle lights are fine, except for needing to be lit Very effective. Batwing burners aren't - smelly, dirty, dim, inefficient. My bedroom was intended to be for the servant girl, so the lighting was a candle in a saucepan of water.
  15. Decades ago I was lucky enough to live in a beautiful, and largely original, 18th century cottage (obligatory canal connection: it is very close to Great Haywood lock) whose only means of heating was an open coal fire. If I never have to clean and lay an open fire again it will be a day too soon. (As I write the central heating is keeping me warm and the gas hearth is feeling cozy.)
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