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  1. Best guess is yes, but memory.... I do remember that they were pretty flaky (literally).
  2. I remember the gates at Park Gate lock on the Staffs & Worcs being replaced during the school summer holidays around 1964.
  3. Perhaps. Although I've always assumed that, except in the case of projected original transparencies, what came out of the camera was just the beginning - and have spent far too many hours in the darkroom to begrudge anybody the use of software manipulation. For my tastes the bridge picture works far better than the one that started this thread.
  4. I'm not sure that I understand why these images are so bad. Photographs have never been an exact representation of their subject (unless you live in a two-dimensional world with limited contrast and very variable colours). All that's happened is that we now have the tools to manipulate the results in new, and fairly extreme, ways. Personally I kinda-sorta like the images but wouldn't see them as competition winners.
  5. At 1:52 a young Peter Fox is winding a paddle for Mallard and Dabchick.
  6. Absolutely love the look of Turnotheworld! It's more than half way to being superbly steampunk.
  7. 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.
  8. 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?
  9. 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.
  10. 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).
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
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