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Tam & Di

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Tam & Di last won the day on April 6 2019

Tam & Di had the most liked content!

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  • Gender
    Not Telling
  • Location
    France or Twickenham
  • Interests
    The skills of boating, good food and wine. Boring people stupid talking about any of these.

Previous Fields

  • Occupation
    examiner French & UK steerer's qualifications
  • Boat Location
    predominantly France

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  1. We moved into trading on the Thames almost by accident. We'd set up a job carrying grain from Tilbury to Allied Mills at Weybridge and had no resistance from the dockers with that. The London Dock Labour scheme applied to work done within the port, but the upstream limits were Teddington lock, so we were trading into and out of the port rather than within it. Our crew similarly joined the T&GWU, with son Jason as shop steward. We were then asked by a shipping agent to move some general cargo ex Tilbury, also upstream and out of the port, to a historic commercial wharf, and bought a 300dwt Dutch motor barge especially for the work. The first couple of freights went OK but then the dockers blacked the ship in Tilbury and refused to load it. They claimed we were doing 'dock work' - they were happy to load us to go into and out of the port seawards to Colchester, but not inland. We took them to Court and won our case, but when we then went back to load they simply ignored the decision and blacked us again. We'd already spent three years fighting the case and couldn't afford to continue, but luckily we then got a contract with ARC Marine for carriage of sea-dredged aggregates that meant we were only going into and out of the port seawards, so it ceased to be an issue. We eventually had three small coasal ships doing this, plus occasional short sea trips to Holland. We always had great sympathy for the dockers and the fact that their work was rapidly disappearing, but they did themselves no favours. They didn't even have men or vessels to do the upstream work we'd set up themselves. Still, who knows where things are going - maybe horse drawn narrowboats are the future. 🤷‍♂️ Tam
  2. Thanks for that David. I think you probably know, but in the 80s we did look at a couple of sites in the London area where we could re-open wharves suited for inland craft with grant aid then available, but in the end it was all too problematic. We also ran into problems with the London Dock Labour Board, and although we won our legal case we still got blacked at Tilbury anyway. We then bought a couple of small coasters and moved into sea-dredged aggregates for ARC Marine which was Estuarial and onto the tidal Thames, predominantly for works associated with the channel tunnel. All in the past for us now, but it's always good to hear of new work coming in. Tam
  3. We researched old measurements for Di's "Barges & Bread" book and found that in mediaeval times one acre of land could grow six bushels of wheat and seven bushels of barley; to provide one man with sufficient bread and ale for a year required about eight acres of land. A typical mediaeval village of around 180 people required 3 square miles of land to feed that size of population and is why, if you look at an old map, you can see that medieval settlements are all about 2 - 3 miles apart. In 1303 it was decreed that a silver English penny shall weigh 32 grains of dry wheat, and 20 pennies make an ounce. Twelve ounces make a pound and a gallon of wine weighs eight pounds; eight gallons make a London bushel. All other weights and volumes were derived from that original base unit using wheat grains - a pound weight of money was a pound weight of silver made up of 240 silver pennies. Question: How many grains of wheat in a pound? 😃 Tam
  4. This measurement is actually based on 'tuns' - barrels of wine - which is why is is a measure of volume rather than weight. Tam
  5. I see from the Yorkshire Post article https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/people/barge-operator-wins-long-running-battle-canal-river-trust-over-taking-freight-leeds-wharf-2929913 that problems outlined by David are close to being sorted and the traffic could start shortly. Tam
  6. She's got an amazing voice, but it's very self indulgent and takes away from the sense of the words she is singing. Tam
  7. It's irrelevant when buying from a private individual as you are, but as a small matter of pedantry qualifying ships are not exempt from VAT - you pay VAT at zero%. It comes to the same thing in the buyer's pocket but is very different in VAT law. Tam
  8. That's a lot of weight hung on Floan's head line 😃 ⚓ Tam
  9. As said, VAT is not applicable if you buy from a private seller. If you buy via a broker however there could be VAT due on the brokerage fee. It would be very unusual for a Surveyor to carry out any form of interior inspection, nor (and possibly more significant) would he report on the condition of the engine. I'm not sure about demanding prior sight of all previous Bills of Sale, but it would certainly be reasonable to make the offer conditional upon inclusion of these and all other documentation as Alan says. The selling price could well be more than the present owner paid for it, but values move up and down and more importantly people may have done lots of improvement work when they owned it. Your offer should be what what you feel the vessel is worth to you. Tam
  10. July 2009, just slightly upstream of Dav and Pen’s Marne photos - at Dizy, where the Lateral Canal goes off towards Reims among other places, and the Marne continues upstream at the top of the second photo to Épernay. The CEVNI rules which govern navigation on continental waterways allow for an uphill travelling vessel to cross starboard-to-starboard with one travelling downstream under certain circumstances, and it displays a blue board and/or flashing white light if it does so. The lock mechanism here for the lock up onto the canal is on your port side when going upstream, which means you have to cross over to operate it, putting you notionally on the ‘wrong’ side of the river. However the CEVNI rules have a further exception which says a vessel travelling upstream and turning into a side arm of any kind has priority over any craft coming downstream. Despite these two rules within the CEVNI code I have three times had a cruiser coming down the river from Épernay trying to pass port-to-port here even though I have also made my intentions clear by announcing what I was doing on VHF, and each of these sadly was flying a red ensign. Tam
  11. Another puff for the DBA - not only info on the boat buying aspect and associated repair/maintenance issues, but also practical matters re long term visits, communications etc etc. "Drivable" is still unclear - you presumably have to factor in being in the Midlands from the address you give, but we do SE England to central France (e.g.Burgundy)in a comfortable day, or the Midi would be perhaps two slightly longer ones. Being based in Burgundy would anyway allow you to cruise on down to the Midi for the summer if that's your thing. One thing to bear in mind is that boating on continental canals and France in particular is very different to doing so in the UK, and generally freer of rules and restrictions. On the other hand services such a fuel and water are few and far between, and pump-outs almost non-existant. Tank sizes need to take account of that. Unfortunately Brexit does raise its ugly head - as things stand at present it will only be possible to visit without having a visa for maximum 90 days in any 180, and the 180 days start from the moment you first land on continental soil. That means it is not even possible to roll two 90 day periods into one, and there is still no clear information about visas. There is also some possibility that a boat bought in England after 31st December and then taken to France could become liable to VAT if it is there more than 6 months; a boat bought now while the UK is still part of the EU should be OK as long as it has a comprehensive paper-trail detailing VAT paid etc. Tam
  12. We did have the advantage of learning how to boat by example of the working boat people, but I just don't recognise Mike's scenario. There certainly did get to be paddles left partially open, especially once it became the norm to wind them gently down rather than drop them (albeit in a slightly gentle manner), but we just had to assume that all paddles were left in this state at each lock and deal with it. Going up in a lock someone would always look over the bottom gates to check how tight they were, and going downhill it was obviously easy to see if the top gates leaked. If either of those leaked we would shut gates behind us. It seems as if boating is being brought down to the lowest common denominator. Tam
  13. I'm sure you're right about post-Brexit funding, but I don't agree with your de-facto acceptance. Very few people are interested in history; newcomers to canals see them as they are when they start boating and are unaware that they were ever better. If todays users accept that they just have to prop up a system which is falling to bits things will only ever get worse. Pressure has to be kept on C&RT - C&RT probably won't do much, but sure as Hell if there is no pressure C&RT will definitely do nothing. In that respect and thinking back on the changes 1970-2020 your expectation of 50 years is overly optimistic. Tam
  14. We've tried throwing Fraenkel at them on several occasions - never got very far though as they just ignore it. Tam
  15. I'm not sure how far back we have to go to arrive at "history" in your view, but when you introduce "old canal companies" then yes - canals were certainly regularly maintained to ensure there were no hold-ups for the user. Even if 'history' only goes back to when I started canal boating in the late 50s, if you exclude those canals eventually defined as "remainder", canals in general were better maintained than at present. There did used to be lock keepers and lengthsmen of course, but the users were more aware too. Time was money, so locks got a lot of hard use - all sorts of techniques which are now regarded almost as vandalism. Nevertheless there is a difference between hard use and abuse, and everyone was aware that if a lock was out of order everyone suffered. Perhaps there ought to be a canal boatman's proficiency test before anyone is allowed to go boating 😃 Tam
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