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Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble


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  1. Wonderful to see this film from just a couple of years before I first saw the BCN. I was surprised to see the gates being closed behind the horse boat - could that have been because the leakage was really bad? Another surprise was to see how grim and gloomy it looks to my modern eyes. It didn't seem that way at the time, and I remember fondly the wonderful run-down feel of those canals both rural and urban. I had one of those folding Moulton bicycles. Mine was the take-apart version to make it easier to stow away on boats.
  2. The regional approach also showed up in the cruising guides (plural) for the Staffs & Worcs. When I became wealthy enough to buy the guide I was bitterly disappointed to find that it covered only Stourport to Autherley (Aldersley?), and I needed to buy the Trent & Mersey guide to cover my home section in Penkridge. Did the regions really hate each other so much that they couldn't work together on a book?
  3. Ernie Thomas at Gailey, Swan Line had some weird boats with weirder engines at Fradley, a small operation with 3 boats at Hoo Mill lock. There was somebody with a few Holt Abbott center cockpit boats near Great Haywood, but when I spoke with him as he was raising one of them at Penkridge wharf (hirer left the weed hatch open) he said he was emigrating to Australia. Double Pennant in Wolverhampton, Simolda and Chas Harden in Nantwich, Welsh Canal Holiday Craft at Llangollen/Wheaton Aston, Shropshire Union Cruises at Norbury. That's all I can remember in my area, but the world was a lot bigger then.
  4. This (1964) was just before I started a job on summer Saturdays with a company that rented boats at Wheaton Aston and Llangollen. Best job I ever had. The boats were delightfully idiosyncratic, including a converted bridge pontoon, a converted airborne lifeboat, two plywood cruisers, three mahogany on oak cruisers and a converted sea-going launch. Mostly air-cooled Lister engines, with some 2-stroke Stuart Turner petrol engines (the only 2-stroke engines I've ever liked). I loved everything about that job, even emptying the Elsans, but the very best was when a boat needed to be moved between locations and I would get to do it between after school on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon (I suspect that might be frowned upon now).
  5. Lovely boat. I remember it coming past the wharf at Wheaton Aston pulling a tsunami-size wake while I was working on another Dobson's boat (Christine). Does anyone know what happened to Lady Helen? I heard that it had been destroyed by a fire that started during fuelling, but that seems somewhat unlikely with diesel.
  6. When I look at the listing I see that the vendor "will post to the United States". Now I'm tempted to make an offer.
  7. It's nice to see the many different kinds of boats that used to be used. I worked for a small hire company in the late 60's, early 70's and every boat was different until one was so nice (built by Taylor's of Chester, mahogany on oak) that it was duplicated. Three different kinds of engine, too. My own boat was perfect for me at the time - a 16ft Microplus, although I really came to dislike the 2-stroke outboard (Crescent 14). I'm sure the standard steel boat is great, but I miss the diversity of the Old Days.
  8. Thank you for finding and posting this film. I lived close to this canal for many years and often walked and cycled along the towpath. There were several miles of it in water below Great Falls (some now dry) and I paddled there in canoe and kayak. The canal follows the Potomac for it's entire length and would be considered rather remote by British standards - that's why the boats incorporated their own stables for the pairs of mules. Fun fact: There was a lock to allow canal boats access to the Potomac in Washington. It was called The Watergate and when a hotel/apartment complex was built close by the developer thought that was a good name. Nixon's henchmen made it famous.
  9. Back in the day... I passed through Thurlwood Steel Lock a few times and, like most (of the few) people who passed through that lock, I cracked the gate rather than using the (horrible, heavy, slow) paddles. Worked fine, never heard of the gates getting "stuff" jammed.
  10. Cressy or Crecy? Perhaps the name just is what it is.
  11. New Marton - and I thought it looked like that location, too. But after looking at the map it can't be because of the bend to the left below the lock. Even if the bridge had been removed there would be a farm in view. Sure has the NM "feel" though. I think the boat is from Simolda at Nantwich. The Double Pennant boats from Wolverhampton were similar, but not quite so weird.
  12. Nor on mine, although I had assumed that was because I'm not in the UK. But... If you search YouTube for the film title you will find it (the first minute or so is flaky, but the rest is fine). I enjoyed seeing the run-down environment with the random (and inappropriate by current standards) boats that were so wonderful.
  13. I remember seeing temporary signs at towpath entrances in Penkridge (Staffs & Words) noting that the towpath was closed for one day (Jan 1st). At the time I assumed that was to prevent the towpath from becoming a right of way. This was around 1964, and until I noticed the "for one day" bit the sign was very disturbing because not using the towpath would add a mile or so to my walk to school.
  14. And then there were the Royal Brine Baths in Stafford. I don't know where the miscreant got the "U" that was such an effective replacement for the"B". The building is (sadly) long gone now.
  15. >They also hired boats from Wheaton Aston, I think that would be Anglo Welsh but I stand to be corrected. That would likely have been Welsh Canal Holiday Craft, who had the warehouse on the wharf at Wheaton Aston as a remote base to allow one-way trips from/to Llangollen. Ted Smout was the owner over the period I worked there doing turnarounds (the best Saturdays ever!) from around 1965 to 1971 (not absolutely certain of those years). Anglo Welsh arrived during that period, and I remember stopping several times, before they arrived, at a deserted Trevor Basin to enjoy the aroma of the Acrefair chemical works. Best of all was when a boat needed to be moved from one end to the other, and often I would get to do it between after school (later college) on Friday and mid-afternoon on Sunday. I suspect it would take longer now. >I still remember to this day conversations with himself I was lucky enough to meet ET. After moving one of his hire boats (Lark) from Gailey to Walsall for end-of-season maintenance we sat in his kitchen drinking tea and watching professional wrestling on TV (a TV in the kitchen!!!). It was the first time I saw a lava lamp.
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