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    Isle of Man

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    Retired Company Director

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  1. Regarding ARIES, my extensive and expensive restoration of this boat in the 1970's was not for the purpose of financial gain. It was in order to preserve a piece of waterways heritage. I wrongly expected the Boat Museum to take the same view and look after it. In the early years of their ownership all went to plan, indeed Aries was the boat chosen to give the Queen Mother a quick trip up the cut when she visited. I did not really complete my full story from my archive, but I will try to find time soon. If you check out my posts on the Aries thread under History you will see her in restored full restored glory. I only hope a new owner comes forward to help. There cannot be all that many wooded boats left.
  2. Grawar


    This was Jeeves at the Old Royal Oak in Hillmorton in 1978. The pub was closed and semi-derelict for many years and for sale at what even then was a low price. I see from tripadvisor it is opened again.
  3. Grawar


    Alan: No, I do not recall seeing any kind of plate attached. Derek: Thanks... it all worked well, unless the chain was hit, in which case your cuppa went flying!
  4. Grawar


    The view looking forward. The 'sofa' converted to a double bed when opened. A small toilet was located ahead of the bulkhead. Thanks, Athy. That's interesting. I have many other shots which I will add later. I sold the boat a long time ago and do not know if it is still extant. I hope so.
  5. Grawar


    And now a view of the interior looking from a different angle. To give a 'period' feeling I cut up old Victorian pieces of furniture to fashion what I needed.
  6. Grawar


    Jeeves was my first canal boat, which I purchased around 1973. I spent many happy hours stripping out the interior and employing my limited DIY skills to adapt it to my requirements. The exterior was painted for me by Ron Hough at Braunston, which is where the first picture above was taken. I repainted the interior myself, including the doors which I made. I will be posting more pictures as time allows. I do not know anything about the boat's true history, but older hands told me she was a cut-down 'Joey' boat made of riveted cast iron with a new large counter and decking in steel. She measured 36 feet in length and was certainly very robust, never creating any huge dramas for a totally novice crew. I have posted the story of Aries, my much larger second boat under its own name. The interior, looking aft.
  7. Andy, no I do not mind if you share these pics.
  8. Thanks for your kind words, Andy. Unfortunately I was not in the habit of noting where photos were taken and at this length of time afterwards, I do not remember the location. However, it would not be far from Norton Canes, so you are very probably correct in your guess. I will be posting more before long.
  9. Grawar


  10. The Shropshire Union with its splendid scenery was one of our favourite canals. Some scenes from Autumn 1980 at the turn to Great Heywood:
  11. At the end of August 1980, four years after four long years and a large account, Aries was finally back in the water and ready to return to the canals. Some happy cruises followed with my young family and friends.
  12. The crankshaft was by now re-engineered and re-built together with the flywheel. Unfortunately, Malcolm reported, the fitter was unwell and away from the yard for a while, so work could not continue. By August the man was seriously ill and retired. The New Year came and by January 1980, the engine re-build had almost been completed at an outside engineering workshop, with the exception of its long awaited oil pump. This was being built from scratch to the original design and specification by Russell Newbery, causing them endless problems. Braine’s boatyard now had a new manager who decided that Aries must be the last of her kind which they would restore as the project had been hugely costly in terms of both funding and manpower. This photo shows the engine from Aries as it sits today at the Boat Museum. I do not have any contemporary pictures of it in the boat.
  13. Continuing the Aries story… through late 1979 and into 1980 work continued. The restoration had by then taken far longer than either I or Malcolm Braine had anticipated. I have not so far mentioned that I owned a smaller narrow boat aboard which I learned to become a canal enthusiast. This was an old cut down ‘Joey’ boat named Jeeves, 36’ in length with a riveted iron hull. I spent long hours renovating the interior myself. Perhaps I will post some pictures another time. In view of the escalating cost of the Aries saga, I decided to sell Jeeves to help with funding. She was taken to Braine’s and fully checked and any faults rectified. I sold her in July 1979 and said goodbye to a much loved friend. Aries was now fitted with a complete set of false floors inside the hold, detailed signwriting was completed, stem and back fenders ordered and a cabin stove complete with middle and top pipes was installed. A full set of top cloths and tippet cloths with traditional stringing completed the external works. The electrical installations with an alternator and new electric starter motor were completed. The starter motor was to prove a wonderful luxury after the effort of cranking up the old unrestored engine by hand on cold winter mornings. The major missing item, however, was the engine itself. A whole new saga began.
  14. In the autumn of 1979, Aries was decorated by Bruce Patterson at Malcolm Braine's yard. The local newspaper celebrated the moment by publishing a piece titled 'Canal Tradition lives on' showing roses and castles in being skillfully applied to the cratch and cabin entrance.. I felt we were finally about to take our maiden voyage, but I was wrong.
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