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Everything posted by Grassman

  1. When we passed there in June I made a point of counting the number of moored boats there, and reckon there are 121 and it went on for about a mile. It took us 26 minutes to pass them.
  2. My understanding at the time was that they made the ingredients for tooth paste. The warm water discharged into the canal was free of any substances but the River Rea which ran the other side of the factory had a permanently white riverbed. I don't know who was responsible for the canal turning orange that time, perhaps it wasn't Sturges as there were other factories half a mile along the canal. I know about the history of the bridge but I'm not old enough to remember when it was a lift or fixed bridge. It was always a swing bridge in my day and the key for it had to be obtained from the lock keeper at Lifford by the guillotine lock. His cottage was demolished years ago when Lifford Lane road bridge was widened.
  3. In the 1960's the factory (John E Sturge Chemicals) in Kings Norton used to discharge warm water into the canal next to the old and now defunct Tunnel Lane Swing Bridge. In my childhood I used to catch loads of fish there. No goldfish but plenty of larger than normal perch, roach etc. I'm not sure if it was from the same pipe but on one occasion the whole canal turned a deep orange colour and remained that way for a few weeks. As far as I remember there was no loss of fish which presumably meant whatever was accidentally discharged was harmless, but it looked really strange.
  4. True, but catch up programmes are usually available for a while so there's the option of waiting until you move to a better area for a signal. We rarely stay in one place for more than a couple of days so don't find it an issue.
  5. We recently spent a week moored in Birmingham. It's a great place to visit by boat except for having so many locks to and from there whichever direction you enter from. It's vibrant and has a nice ambience about the place . There's lots to see and do, including some great canalside pubs, cafe's and restaurants, and unlike a lot of cities and towns there's plenty of decent moorings. Avoid mooring in the Gas Street and Mailbox areas on Friday or Saturday nights though, because they are close to the nightclubs in the Broad Street area.
  6. I'm a bit concerned about them using canals for hydro-electric purposes as I fear CRT will tap into leaking lock gates and then use this as an excuse not to maintain them. Similar to them currently using natural habitat as an excuse for leaving long sections of canalside towpath overgrowth alone.
  7. When we used to have hireboat or share boat holidays we weren't particularly bothered about not getting a TV signal, in fact it was quite refreshing and part of the 'getting away from it all' experience. But nowadays, living aboard (8 years and counting) and cruising extensively, it's more of an issue, but at least there's catch up if there's something we really want to watch.
  8. Channelglaze the boat window manufacturers are based in Birmingham so it may be worth speaking to them, even if just for some advice. http://www.channelglaze.com/ Out of interest, where in Brum were you moored when you have your window broken?
  9. Thanks, but I'm fine because I'm happy to pay for one to support the BBC. Please people, don't turn my comment into yet another TV licence debate because that's been covered to death on here already .
  10. This is exactly what we do with our TV & PVR combination. We never watch live TV but will sometimes watch the recording 5-10 minutes behind so as to zip past the adverts. We do that with the News bulletins too. Since we changed to the higher quality quad core cable (my earlier thread) we get a terrestrial signal pretty much everywhere and most of our TV choices are evenings when we're moored up. My wife does like a few of those inane afternoon progs but we're normally stopped for the day by lunchtime anyway, and if there's something she particularly wants she can use catch up tv via the internet.
  11. Howardang mentioned that it should be quieter in September once the school holidays are over, but we find it's nearly as busy, especially the popular canals such as the Llangollen, because all we retired folk think the same thing and wait till the kids have gone back. Better in my opinion to go in June and/or early July before the school holidays begin around July 18th.
  12. I think that the raising of the public's awareness is not so much about attracting donations but more to do with trying to secure future part funding from the government which I believe is currently around £50m per annum. It's up for review soon, and given the fact that when CRT was set up in 2012 the government said it wanted it to eventually be self funding (like the National Trust they said), CRT are having to do their utmost to justify future government financial support by plugging their cause. Hence all their spiel about well being and canals for all etc. How can it be like the National Trust who charge entrance fees and car parking, when 90+ percent of canal users are using their towpaths free of charge and not paying a penny towards their upkeep? It's crazy that CRT should have to fight so hard and waste so much money on signs and other 'awareness' measures. Our canals provide an amenity for people to enjoy and should therefore always have a significant contribution from either local or national government. I know towpath improvements is sometimes funded by local authorities or the likes of Sustrans, but mostly it's CRT who have to bear the cost of the upkeep and maintenance.
  13. Oh, I stand corrected.
  14. Totally irrelevant this, but the tunnel goes right underneath Birmingham City FC's Wast Hills training ground. I thought you might like to know .
  15. Unfortunately our refusal didn't have the desired affect of forcing them to change their mind. They've enough other volunteers to do at least 2 days a week which apparently is enough for them to justify using their workboat and hiring the chipper, chainsaws etc. So on the basis it's going ahead anyway, we've decided to give it a go initially at least, the idea being that if we pass anywhere where the offside vegetation is particularly bad we will take the boat over and deal with it. 😉 Even if we can't spend the time to do it thoroughly, at least we can improve it a little for navigation. I hadn't considered the public liability implications that Alan mentioned, but I think we should be covered. In the past when addressing the offside veg we'd often pop over to the towpath if we saw a particularly low or protruding branch there, so I can't see how this would be any different.
  16. That's why it's so annoying that this winter CRT want me and my 7 fellow offside veg cutting volunteers to instead do the towpath veg this winter, which we've refused to do, as per my comment on another thread. We were hoping this would force them to re-think but it hasn't. CRT tend to react to the number of complaints, so it looks as if more cyclists and pedestrians have complained about the towpaths than we boaters have about the state of the canals. Perhaps we should all complain more.
  17. Is it just me or do you think there have there been a lot more unplanned stoppages this year, mainly relating to locks? I’ve noticed a particular rise in paddles and gates problems, and I wonder if this isn’t just down to the fact there are more boats on the move this year but also because there are a lot more new and inexperienced boaters on the water than usual, who are perhaps accidentally bashing into the gates, or letting the paddle gear drop instead of winding them down. Or could it be because the years of poor preventive maintenance are finally beginning show? I think it’s probably a combination of all those factors. Your thoughts?
  18. Last month my wife sprained her ankle getting of the boat because the canalside overgrowth was hiding a hole in the bank. On a slightly different issue, for the last 4 winters I've been part of a group of volunteers cutting back the offside vegetation working from a boat and using pole chainsaws, wood chipper etc. This winter we were expecting to carry on from where we left off in March but CRT have said we will instead be working various sections of the towpath that have been allowed to 'get out of hand'. We are all boaters and the reason we signed up 4 years ago was specifically to deal with the offside vegetation because it had got so bad, and probably wouldn't get done otherwise. I know CRT are having to really push the benefits to the public in order to try and secure future government funding, but this is a step too far, so we have all refused to do it. Besides which if in the past if we saw an encroaching tree or branch on the towpath side one of us would nip across and deal with it anyway. Their decision has lost them 8 trained and experienced volunteers, and the offside veg will be left to get even worse, causing mayhem in places especially now the canals are becoming ever busier.
  19. I came across Neil last month going through Alrewas helping a friend move his boat. During our very brief conversation as we passed each other, he was moaning that he is no longer just at Torksey Lock as they now 'rotate him' covering other locks on the Trent. He wasn't happy!
  20. All the connectors for quad shield are exactly the same as with standard cable. Prior to bringing in the professional installer to supply and install the quad shield I'd on many occasions trimmed (prepared) the normal cable correctly before fitting the connectors. but it barely improved the signal. So how much the massive improvement in signal is down to the quad cable and how much was as a result of having a professional doing it is difficult to tell. The supply and fitting of the cable and the £15 aerial cost me £135, a lot of money but worth it to keep Mrs Grassman happy . I suspect the improvement is more due to the quality of the cable so perhaps buy the quad cable, try doing the connections yourself, and then just pay for a professional if there isn't much improvement.
  21. Instead of all these silly signs I wish they put more effort into putting visible lock numbers on the gates. I'm not talking about those large oblong signs they mount on posts next to the lock chamber, but just a simple number on each side of the balance beam. The times I'm in the middle of a long flight of locks and have difficulty identifying how I'm progressing. Many do have them but a lot don't.
  22. As Arthur says, the GoWindlass is roughly the same weight as a steel one. Before using it I tied some string to it and lowered it into the water (depth of about 4ft) then tested retrieving it with my Seamagnet . It managed it no problem. We've had ours for 3 years and my wife wouldn't be without it. In that time she's worked through well over 300 locks and, granted she doesn't use the ratchet function all the time of course, but nevertheless the cogs are showing no signs of wear.
  23. What everybody else says, a basic log periodic but what makes all the difference is the quality of the co-axial cable. We'd tried quite a few different aerials over the years including some quite expensive ones, but still rarely got a tv signal. We finally bit the bullet and called in a local tv aerial company (based in Burton on Trent) and they changed the cable from standard cable to Quad shield co-axial, plus a basic £15 log periodic aerial. It also hadn't helped that I'd made a bit of a bodge of the various connections, so they rectified that too. Much of our co-axial cable runs under the gunwale next to the electricity cables so with the previous cable I don't know how much this had been causing our signal problems with perhaps some interference, but the extra core and insulation of the new quad shield co-axial must have helped to prevent this, because since making the change 2 years ago we get a TV signal 90%+ of the time, and often when mooring up we don't even have to move the aerial from it's 'in transit' position. We've travelled all over the country and very rarely cannot get a signal nowadays.
  24. There is Ian Morgan based at Kings Bromley Marina who is a qualified Eberspacher engineer. I'm not sure how far he will travel though, and he is currently booked up for the next 2 weeks. 07811 910931
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