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Richard Carter

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    Klosterneuburg, nr. Vienna

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  • Boat Name
    Baldock & Virginis (1980s): Pallas & Zodiac (1990s)

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  1. Hi Roland, that has the makings of a fine Tom & Jerry moment - I guess you didn't look down, then?
  2. This was one of the classic Sunday morning "breakdown" calls from hirers starting the engine on their own for the first time - in the days before mobile phones, if they were at e.g. Priors Hardwick and had walked 20 minutes up to the village to the phone box you had to go out to them just to be sure ... cellphones revolutionised the breakdown business!
  3. Did this more often than I ought to admit to, on hireboat turnrounds ... We regularly used a special bolt with a ring welded to it to attach a rope passed through the rudder tube to pull a bent rudder back into place after straightening the stock - I was doing this single handed on a rudder with a non-standard thread, and no, it was not in by enough threads, and yes, it did come out and yes, I needed a crown on the front tooth it took out ... Back at FBS in the 80s, I was often alone in the workshop - I once offered up an LH150 box to a Lister SR2, which involves a fiddly procedure to engage the drive gear for the oil pump. Success, then the engine, which was (mea culpa) not secured onto the engine bench, tipped back under the weight of the gearbox and I was left supporting it and wondering what to do next. But I think the most stupid and life-threatening stunt I pulled was on an unconverted motor boat (Avon, wooden, does it still exist, I wonder), where the joins in the top planks did not line up with the stands and mast, so all just held in place by the side cloths. Knowing this I carefully undid the sidecloths and yet a few minutes later walked nonchalantly along the top planks, at least as far as the first unsupported join, then I was deposited into the hold, followed by the top planks - and again, everyone else had gone home, I'd not have been missed until coffee time the next morning.
  4. Ah, thanks for this - my copy of Narrow Boat stayed in the UK when I left 18 years ago, so quoting from memory. Also now remember he installed the bath high enough to be able to drain it overboard by gravity.
  5. Tom Rolt had what I always thought was a really neat idea on Cressy, which he describes in "Narrow Boat", where the raw engine cooling water outlet could be diverted to fill an external roof tank, which then filled the bath by gravity. Too many reasons why that wouldn't work nowadays, though. And they were probably happy with 1930s British style bathing, where sitting in 4 inches of tepid water were luxury ...
  6. It was the Daventry Express, bless 'em. It must have been exciting enough to be reporting on something in the neighbouring county ... Twice the length of boat is progress, surely? Mr Alan Freeman of Percival Road would have been happy to see it
  7. This is the Then of electric, I suppose ... Apologies for the image quality, I only have a 1970s photocopy.
  8. The core of the kit which Foxton Boat Services used to use for raising sunken boats was two Godiva fire pumps, they used the 4 cyl. 875cc petrol engines as fitted in the Hillman Imp. Hand start, which I never mastered properly, and to prime the pump there was a spring loaded diverter lever which somehow bypassed the silencer (?) and governor which revved the living daylights out of the engine to create suction. But I never understood that fully either, was just glad when it started pumping. They took some stick and always needed some sort of repairs after each sinking.
  9. I see the vlogging as fundamentally the same as publishing a book about living on/cruising the canals. There's a huge span of quality and interest there, from game changers like Temple Thurston and Tom Rolt, to those who ran a shop from a boat for two seasons in the 80s and produced forgettable memoirs thereof - but the basic impulse to share the experience, and maybe profit a bit financially, is the same.
  10. I remember doing this way back in 1988 (on a tightly scheduled return trip from Ripon to Braunston over 14 days) in a 35' Springer - we got mixed up with boats leaving the IWA Rally in Manchester, and landed what felt like 20th in the queue at the first narrow lock in Middlewich, but a call came down the line for any boat under 36', and we were on our way again. It felt good!
  11. Idly scanning through old threads brought me to this. It is a while ago, and I see the OP has not visited the forum since 2016, but it may still be of some interest to others ... The steerers are Cliff and Jan Thorpe (with their son Jason), who steered for FBS for just one season - 1982 - which was the first season I was there, the motor boat is Coleshilll. I steered Baldock as a single motor that year, those three boats were by that time the entire camping fleet, as Owl & Mercury had long since been taken elsewhere, and Bletchley & Argus were operating from Leicester under the name Educational Cruises, still skippered by Jack Monk. From 1983 to 1987 I steered Baldock and Virginis, and Trevor Oxley, and later Paul Griffiths, took over on Coleshill. Trevor moved ca. 1985/6 to Pitstone Wharf and then to Marsworth, where he is still engineering away, so far as I know. After 1987 there was, to the best of my knowledge, only a handful of bookings, which were steered on a casual basis by Cliff Myles, before the boats were decommissioned.
  12. Seemingly, twas ever thus - none of the pounds is really long anough to act as an intermediate reservoir, and there's no other feeder, so any shortage has to be run down from Saddington, which means through over 20 locks, if the problem is down near Leicester. On one trip the pound above King's lock - the last pound on the canal proper - had been pretty nearly emptied into the river to try and flush away dead fish after a pollution incident (that was the explanation we got), it took nearly two days to properly restore the levels. Meanwhile the river below Belgrave lock was so high it was not safe to continue north either!
  13. When I started steering camping boats from Foxton in the 80s I was told by one of the previous boatmen that he always had his shotgun ready in the cabin and an air rifle visible on the cabin top when boating through Leicester. I don't do guns, so I didn't follow suit, and I never had any trouble - towpath mooring overnight on the 'mile' did not feel 'risky'. Regarding water supply and low pounds between Saddington and Leicester, I was also told that Jack Monk, when he was on the campers, regularly sat in the top lock at Kibworth with all four paddles up for an hour or so before continuing down ...
  14. Sudbury, amongst others, Bradeley, July 1987. I tendered, unsuccessfully ...
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