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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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  • Boat Name
    Free Spirit
  • Boat Location
    Hockley Port

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  1. Cool! Gelcoating isn't hard, if yours is a Highbridge then it's a polyester based gelcoat. As much as you can you're best to not disturb the old stuff as while they're incredibly thick hulled you may as well key the old gelcoat (scratch it heavily with sandpaper) and overcoat. If yours is a blue Highbridge blacked up to the gunwhale then it's from the same hire fleet and is actually one of my boat's twins, there's 3 that I know of like that
  2. Yep they do, flippin awesome boats, about the only thing I'd consider upgrading to (fantastic layout and steel quality)
  3. Fairground organ music is one of my guilty pleasures. I find it great to listen to if I'm trying to do laptop-based work, definitely boosts concentration
  4. 59 locks, 71 miles, excluding the use of the time travel lock
  5. I'll have you know we've been tied up for ages (and yes, I did get the cruise log and the route planner times in the wrong order...) So long in fact we had a chance to enjoy Afternoon tea, and we currently have a load of meat on a BBQ borrowed from @Odana In all seriousness, thank you very much to everyone involved in organising this,it's been a lot of fun.
  6. Spending any length of time around the lower stretches of the Walsall is never a good idea, so this morning we made a swift exit from Tame Valley Junction south towards Tipton. We then turned right and headed to Dudley Port Junction, before forking down towards Dudley tunnel Before entering we were reprimanded by a wisened old boatman, who said "ye better be taking all that paraphenalia off yon's roof, we can't have you going into the tunnel looking like Continuous Cruisers now, can we?" Personally I had no clue what he was talking about, for I had polished my mushrooms just days earlier. Following safe passage through the tunnel we moored up at Parkhead Junction. (Credit "brianac37") Ahh well there's a good reason for reading my log then...
  7. This Sehnsuchtautomat of ours, what does it look like? Well,of course it needs to be big enough to fit the boat in, and needs to not cause civil unrest when it arrives in the past, so of course it is disguised as a lock. .In order to operate it one has to wind a special ground paddle. Leaving the windless on the lock paddle spindle in its top position and releasing the stop, drops the paddle at such an insane hyper speed that imbedded coils in the mechanism provide plentiful more than the “1.21 gigawatts of power” required to electrify the lock’s water. This vibrates the molecules of everything in the lock at such a high frequency it warps it straight through the 4th dimension and back/forwards to the preset time period If you leave it up, a black hole forms and swallows the world. Anyway, we used it to travel back to 1910 and cruise from Pelsall Junction to Catsall Junction, down the Rushall to Newton junction and stopped here for a spot of lunch. Unfortunately all food supplies had been expended, so our purple travelling companion was sacrificed to make Chili Con Barney. We then scooted across the Tame Valley Canal, as ever not seeing a soul and being astounded that it's quite as central as it is in Birmingham. We reached the Tame Valley Junction in plenty of time, so did a little loop around the Danks Branch and back to the junction. Credit Alltrails
  8. Well, it seems that talk of beer woke my crew up! We did the necessary boat fettling before departing from Horseleyfields junction bright and early this morning. We headed up the Curly Wyrley towards Sneyd junction, however just outside Holly Bank Basin we felt the engine drop in revs to a languid 0.6 rpm. The usual tricks of calling it nasty things, percussive maintenance and shovelling on 5 Cwt of coal did nothing to improve the situation, so we pulled over to investigate. We found wrapped around our screw drive: -A propeller -A shopper bicycle -A car tyre -2 bicycle tyres -A camoflauge net -A wheelbarrow -Another bicycle frame -A builders bag -A kayak paddle and a saucepan Not wanting to litter we harvested a fair chunk of our tea plantation to make room for it all. We eventually found our way to Sneyd junction, and chose to head up the Wryley branch, before using our short length to our advantage to wind at the end and return, including a brief excursion up the Essington locks branch on our way back to Sneyd junction. From Sneyd junction we continued on to Birchills Junction, before turning north to head for Pelsall Junction. We dashed there in the nick of time, and moored up. (Credit Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust) Time for a well earned pork pie and a cup of freshly harvested tea for everybody! New video.mp4
  9. I awoke this morning to find the rest of the crew sound asleep. The place seemed dead, not a soul to be seen, not a sound in the air. Our engine was clearly also feeling the same, and required 3 cans of easy start and a jump from a passing donkey to turn over and fire. We positioned ourselves at the lower end of the Toll End Communication Canal, and then discovered due to forces beyond our control that we wouldn't score any points if we navigated up it. Aggrieved, I stormed off into the galley and made a sizeable dent in the pork pie supplies. This still didn't wake up my other 2 human crew members, nor surprisingly the 2 dogs. Seeking another route I steered the whole rig up the Old Main Line and down the Ocker Hill branch, when to my surprise I saw a family of ducklings! (Or "eep eeps" as some call them). The previous absence of wildlife had abated. The rear end of the Bradley canal was thoroughly investigated, and a swift exit to the Walsall canal. Upon poking our nose into the Walsall, we were greeted by 2 men walking down the towpath with a large Stihl chainsaw. This struck me as odd, as we were in 1894, but I never do like to trouble the locals in those parts. Engaging full throttle and building the revs of the engine to a screaming 3rpm we headed up the Walsall, north towards the Anson branch. In an exceptionally poor piece of boating I clouted the side of the bank with some force, but even this didn't wake my crew. (credit Tom Clayton's canal photographs) Feeling the need for a swift exit, we headed down the Bentley canal and to the safety of the Horseleyfields junction. Time to see what the onboard brewery can provide!
  10. https://www.halfords.com/bikes/adventure-bikes/voodoo-limba-mens-adventure-bike---52-54.5-57cm-frames-445554.html Something like this should prove effortless, bulletproof and enable you to cover a fair few miles. I've sold hundreds of bikes over the years,and currently have a collection of 8 on my 32ft boat. My one piece of advice is if you actually want to get somewhere for goodness sake avoid suspension frames,they're awful, and on towpaths suspension forks can do more harm than good to the inexperienced rider. I've seen a few inexperienced riders bounced off! I personally love 1960s and 1970s small wheelers like your gran would ride, but I can't recommend them for everybody
  11. So, last night we chugged from Boulton's factory at the end of the Soho branch, around the Soho loop and to Old Turn. While the rowdy youth crew were powersliding around the canal roundabout, Barney was very excited for a day of locks today, and wanted to do Farmers Bridge. I told him that was a rubbish idea and he slumped in dismay. When we woke up this morning (at 4am to stoke the boiler) there was a thick film of ice on the canal and bitterly cold weather. Oona the gigantic dog-bear was loving it, but no-one else was. We soon span the whole rig around and soldiered on, around the two loops and up to Smethwick. Absolutely incident free, not even disturbed by the locals of Winson Green! We then headed down Oldbury locks, used our exceptionally low draft to good advantage in Titford pools and explored The Causeway Green and Portway branch arms. Even in 1890 they needed dredging! (Credit Captn Ahab) Back up Oldbury locks and round the Oldbury loop, pausing only for lunch from the cut, making Oona highly jealous. Reduced, of course! Feeling thoroughly bloated we headed to Factory Junction, and called it a day. Boating is meant to be fun, not a polar expedition!
  12. No, and if it did it wouldn't be one of those silly European ones, your French lot were at war when this was built so they had all been panic bought
  13. So,the grand reveal of Steaming Behind: Yes,using the Sehnsucht Automat we nipped backin time and had an archimedian screw drive tank fitted with a Boulton and Watt beam engine from his Soho Manufactury just off the Soho Loop. We taught him a few basic things about steam engine design and as a result we've managed to drastically decrease the size of the unit to small enough to sit within the vessel. The screw drive means there's no propeller to foul, so we're impervious to mattress attacks. As a thank you, Mr Boulton is currently making us a gift to sit as a bowsprit. As it's projected to get quite warm onboard with all that steam, we thought we'd make the best of it and set up a small tea plantation. Of course, the ability to warp time means we can have fresh leaf tea on tap, with water heated by the Windemere kettle. The other essential boating beverage is provided by the large fermentation vessel onboard. We fairly quickly realised that it was all a bit damp and hot and miserable to sleep onboard, and Toby the dog was getting bothered by the all-pervasive smell of malt, so we've decided to tow Free Spirit as a butty, which I can only assume gets us extra points. We intend to chug to our starting location tonight
  14. We've got a cruise log and we're not afraid to use it. Good luck all
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