Friday, 25 November 2011

Update 3 All was going well until there was a loud ‘crack’

(19th, 20th & 21st Nov 2011) Dawn and I had been invited to a 50th birthday party from Sally off our moorings.  It was being held at Weston village hall so, to save either of us driving I suggested that I took Darley up to Weston on the Saturday morning and we could stop on her overnight and bring her back on the Sunday, jobs a goodun!  I loaded the car up with clothes, food and dog and headed off up the mooring at about 10.30am.  With everything loaded I lit the range and headed down to Haywood junction to wind then off I went passing Haywood marina, then as I approached Hoo Mill lock the bottom gates opened as a boat came out leaving the lock ready for me to slip straight in After locking up Hoo Mill and creeping past all the moored boats above, I was out in open cut and hammered off through Pasturefields and Ingestry finally holding in on the lock landings for Weston lock at about 11.45am.  As I came under Brinepit bridge and up the steps to the lock their was a boat going uphill as well and just waiting for the lock to fill.  As it filled I stood chatting to the couple off it who were interested in Darley as he helped out with the Camden Community boat Tarporley.  I spent the next 5 minutes educating him in the recognition of Grand Unions and the difference between Tarporley, A large Northwich and Darley, a large Woolwich.  After they had left, I closed the top gate for them then turned the lock. With bottom gates opened I headed Bck down under the bridge to bring Darley up.  Another boat was approaching the lock landings as I pulled into the lock, almost stopping Darley in the tail of the loack, then slipping her ahead on tickover and jumped off to work the lock.  I drew the ground and gate paddle then sat on the balance beam to wait for the lock to level.  As Darley was still in ahead on tickover, as the water levelled, Darley started to nudge the top gate open. By this time the woman off the boat below had walked up to the lock and stood close by and started talking about Darley and how nice it was etc. etc. I dropped wound both paddles down just as Darley’s engine ‘ole was approaching the top gate and stepped onto the counter and put her in astern.  With this done I turned and stepped off the counter onto the lockside copings ready to close the top gate behind me, I did not even notice the 40mm step in the surface of the sandstone block as I was still talking to this woman but I certainly felt it.  I stepped with the edge of my boot just on the edge of the step which caused my ankle to crank over followed by a loud crack as I followed through ending up in a heap on the lockside and in severe pain.  The woman was most concerned asking if I was alright and should she stop the boat.  All I wanted to do was wee myself and swear, but I did not, I managed to get up and hobbled back onto the back end as she said she would close the top gate for me.  I only had another 15 minutes to go so I carried on until I approached Touchwood, Monarch & Grimsby tied outside  the Saracens Head.  As there was no room, I dropped through Weston upon Trent Bridge and tied up on the pilings.  The guy I had been talking to at Weston lock had also moored outside the Saracens head pub and he walked down and shouted for me to throw him my middle rope and helped me to moor up.  When once ties up, I struggled into the engine ‘ole and stopped the ‘cement mixer’ then just sat on the back end boards.  Already my ankle had begun to swell, then Si came walking through the bridge ‘ole to me and said “we’ll fetch you back later if any of them move” “If I can manage” I replied as I hobbled to the back end.  He asked what I done and I told him I had fell at Weston lock and sprained my ankle.  He invited me back to Browny’s boat as they were just about to have coffee and bacon sandwiches.  It took me about 5 minutes to hobble the 100 yards to the boat.  With coffee drunk and sandwich eaten I hobbled back to Darley and Si came with me as he had breasted Grimsby up leaving me space to put Darley.  We reversed back through the bridge and moored next to their boats,  I went into the back cabin to put my foot up.  I phoned Dawn to let her know I was here and what had happened.  She turned up at about 7.00pm with a walking stick for me and boy was I grateful.  Suitably washed and changed I hobbled a little better with the aid of my stick to Dawn’s car which she drove us all down to the Woolpack pub on the village green for a couple of warm up drinks before we went to the party where we got seated on a table with a couple of other couples off the mooring and Tery and Tina who I bought Darley off.  Drinks, hog roast and a chat saw the evening pass until it was time to leave and we then popped back to the Woolpack pub for the last couple of drinks to end the night off.
Fun at The Woolpack.
 Viv drove Dawn’s car, as she only drinks orange, and took us all back to the boats where we were soon in bed and with the pain suitably anesthetised by Guinness, I was soon off to sleep.  Next morning my ankle had begun to go black and the swelling had increased even more, but after Dawn had cooked Sausage sandwiches for everybody we were soon off up to Sandon lock and the winding hole for our return journey.  About 2½ hours later we were tied up back at our mooring and returning home.   Without the benefit of ‘anaesthetic’  I did not have a very comfortable night and kept waking.  When The alarm went off at 7.00am I tried to get out of bed but struggled to put any weight on my foot at all so Dawn said “I’m taking you up the hospital.”  She got up and got dressed then assisted me to get dressed, assisting with jeans and socks etc. then bundled me into her car and took me off to Stafford A & E.  I can only say that all the staff concerned at the hospital could not do enough for me being most helpful and within 1½ hours I was getting back into the car and on my way home absolutely plastered!  An X ray revealed that I had fracture my Tibia with a clean break through just above my ankle. 

My temporary leg plaster
Six weeks in plaster was the prognosis which means I will be in plaster for Christmas boo hoo and no boating for the short term.  And so it is that I am now confined to barracks unable to do the most simplest of things for myself until I go back next Monday and have a walking plaster fitted.  Still should give me plenty of opportunity to update my blog regularly and of cause I must make sure that I Don’t bang it about!
Blossom.

Update 2 Cloths , strings and huge bangers.

(12th & 13th Nov 2011.)  Spent all day Saturday in the garden so of no interest here! Sunday morning we were up quite early and by 10.00am we were off down to the boat as there were quite a few jobs I wanted to do in preparation for the winter (being as Darley has a Petter PD air cooled engine no need to winterise that, Hooray!) When we got to the moorings, Dawn went into the farm shop and came out with homemade ‘farmhouse sausages’ (mmm very tasty) and a small, still warm, crusty bloomer ( mmm very very tasty)  Dawn disappeared into our ‘galley’ under the cratch and set about cooking breakfast, while I started stripping out all the cabin brass and lace ready to bring home and clean, wash and polish.

All the cabin brass polished at home
 With everything packed away into a large plastic ‘recycle’ box Dawn called to say breakfast was ready.  These sausages were huge big fat buggers and full of meat.  Dawn said that no fat came out of them at all while being cooked.  We sat in the back cabin and stuffed our faces while Bruce drooled.  Suitably fed and watered, we then set about clothing the boat up to keep out rain and leaves.  Dawn spent the next hour sweeping the hold out, again, as we moor with the bows under a huge willow tree the hold was full of wet leaves. I placed the top planks on top of mast and stands then got the top cloths out and put them on the bank ready.  Next I got out all the uprights, 14 in all, from under the cratch.  Have never understood why there were 14 of these on Darley as you only need six, a pair positioned in the middle of each room, I was soon to discover why.  On close examination they were of three differing lengths, 4 short, 4 medium and 6 long.  Upon trying them none of them fit as the longest were too long and the medium too short.  The next hour was spent adjusting their length and re cutting the vee to fit.  With these all fitted my next stage was to untie all the knee strings holding the side cloths rolled up.  Upon unrolling the side cloths for the first time since purchasing Darley, I discovered that they did not have any strings tied to them so my first job was to find some suitable rope, tie and splice side cloth strings, 20 in all. At this point Dawn had finished sweeping the hold and came to me asking “is there anything I can do” I just answered “can you splice? I spent the next hour teaching her to splice some ends of some scrap tatty ropes I had whilst I made up the side cloth strings out of anything I had to hand.

The temporary set of side strings
 The result of this was that I didn’t get the side cloths up until late on , so with no time to put the top cloths on we just loaded them back into the hold and finished for the day.  On getting home I ordered 100 mts of 8mm Hempex from Rope Services which arrived by the middle of the week and so I spent the next night splicing up 20 new side cloth strings.
Glossary:
SIDE CLOTHS : (Originally canvas but nowadays mainly man made material) Approximately 3ft wide Tarpaulins running the length of the hold with  one edge fixed to the gunnels with oak strips, the other edge having brass eyelets every yard. Thin ropes, called strings, are spliced through the eyelets on the one set of side cloths which are passed over the top of the top planks and through the eyelets on the opposite side then back up to the top planks where they are tied off securing the side cloths.
UPRIGHTS:    Lengths of 3x2 timber with a vee cut in each end, one sits on the top of the gunnel and the other on the edge of the top plank, which work as a diagonal brace between the top planks and gunnels half way along each room.
ROOM:            A working boat’s hold is divided into four rooms sectionalised by the cross beams, so from the bows to the mast, mast to the first stand, stand to stand and from the stand to the back cabin.
Blossom

Update 1 Nightboating, fireworks and eating out

(5th, 6th & 7th Nov 2011)As both Dawn and I were off work on the Monday we decided to have a week end off boating and we decided to surprise our good friends Viv & Si off Monarch and Grimsby and Keith Browne off Touchwood a motorised BCN day boat who we knew were tied up at the bottom of Stone.  This also gave Dawn the opportunity to do something she had not yet tried, Night Boating. Saturday morning I got everything ready and loaded into the car including food, drink and clothing so that when Dawn came home from work we could head straight off.  Dawn got back just after 1.00pm and after a quick call to Aldi for extra shopping we were on the boat and heading down to Haywood Junction to wind by 1.45pm.  I love Winter boating! Mainly as there are very few others about most of the hire boats are back at their hire centres and most of the private boats are back in their marina’s for the Winter, just leaving the ‘live a boards’ and the hardened cruisers.  As we locked up through Weston lock the light was just starting to fade and by the time we got up to Salt Bridge it was dark and time for the headlight.  As we passed the small online ‘marina’  above Weston lock the residents were just preparing for their bonfire party and had built quite a large bonfire on top of which was an excellent ‘Guy’ in the form of Osama Binladen which had me in stitches much to the amusement of the 20 or so assembled in a gazebo sat on white plastic patio chairs.  As we passed I shouted “you gonna burn him then?”  which amused them even more.  Soon we were locking up Sandon lock then bouncing our way along the terrible pound up to Aston lock with it’s really shallow scour from the lock by-wash. Half hour later , at about 7.00pm we were pulling alongside Gimsby at Whitebridge Park and mooring for the weekend right next to the Scout headquarters where they were holding the official Stone bonfire and fireworks display..  Our timing was perfect as the bonfire and fireworks were at 7.30pm so, when once the boat was sorted out we all stood on the towpath and had a ringside view as the huge bonfire was ignited and for the next half hour over £5,000 worth of fireworks lit the sky above us, they were awesome.

The awesome firework display
 By 8.30 all had finished so we made our way up the canal to Stone bottom lock and The Star pub where there was an open fire (after we had lit it!) and the beer was good and the company very friendly, only complaint was the service tended to be a bit slow, but apart from that a good night was had. By 11.20pm the barman was after our glasses so we drank up and left not wishing to outstay our welcome.  On spilling out onto the towpath, we were serenaded by the sound of a live rock band at the pub just up the road, The Swan, and so we followed our feet across the lock and up the road to enter into a packed house which was absolutely jumping.  With drinks from the bar we secured some seats and enjoyed the last half hour of the show.  I stuck to the Guinness but Browny had some Black Rat cider at 8% which looked like Orange juice! While the rest stuck with the Old Rosey (Jim & Sarah off Chertsey and Bakewell would have loved the choice of about 15 real ales on offer)  We finally left the Swan at about 1.00am and tottered back to the boats agreeing that we would all go up to Wetherspoons for breakfast the following morning.  Sunday morning came quite late for us all, due to the previous evenings frolics, and so it saw me cooking bacon butties and coffee for everyone as we had decided to have dinner at Witherspoons instead.  At about 11.30am we all headed off up into the town and went into Wetherspoons for our Sunday roast and value for money I must say.  A choice of roast beef, pork or chicken Yorkshire pudding, seasoning, roast potatoes, carrots, peas, cauliflower and a pint for £6.50.  Suitably fed we stopped on for a couple of pints (well it would be rude not to) then we ambled back through the town down to the canal, stopping of in The Swan for a couple of pints (well it would be rude not to) then on leaving there we crossed Star Lock and popped into The Star for the last couple more pints ( again very rude not to) finally heading back to the boats at about 6.30pm where we all assembled in Browny’s boat for a Spag Bog cooked by Viv.  Then, suitably fed again we were up and off again going back to The Star for the rest of the night for a quiet evening chatting and having a laugh with the locals and other customers.  By 11.00am on the Monday morning we were up and off, winding just below the bottom lock and heading back to our mooring at Great Haywood having had an extremely enjoyable weekend in good company.
Blossom.  

An overdue update

It’s been a few weeks since I last blogged and I have quite a bit of catching up to do, no excuses! What will follow is a set of updates one after the other but I have entered them as separate blogs just for ease of reading.  I have started each one off with the date as the blog relates to, hope this makes sense.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

COMBING THE INTANET

Just a quickie tonight. Last weekend, while Dawn and I were being shown round Chris Shenton’s boat, Nod, moored next to us at Great Haywood, we got to talking about the graining on the inside of his cabin and he informed me that  J H Ratcliffe’s had stopped making their wood graining undercoat and that he had had to use a cream gloss paint to do his, and I must say it looked good. After, when I got home I thought I would Ebay for this product on the off chance that someone was selling off any stock that they had as I would have bought it and stock piled it for future use.  Needless to say I had no luck but while I was browsing Ebay with all sorts of different ‘Graining’ ‘woodgrain’ ‘scumble’ type products I came across a very interesting item, which I though to myself I will have that if it comes at a sensible price.  Well it arrived today and I can only say I am over the moon with my new purchase and I am sure it will give me hours of fun for only £23.40. Here’s what the advert said:
Nice old set of 12 carbon steel graining combs in original purpose made compartmented tin, there are 3 each of 4 widths 1 inch 2 inch 3 inch and 4 inch and have tooth counts of 6, 9 and 12 teeth to the inch.Faux woodgrain finishes were very popular in the 1930's this set looks to have come from this period
And here’s what they look like



Even came in their original sectionalised tin box, what a bargain! So if you pass Darley on her mooring and all is quiet and there’s a distinct smell of graining paint, Don’t bang ‘em about
Blossom.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

HORSES, PIGS AND DISCO DIVAS

So here I am again, at last.  I know it’s been a long time since I last blogged but we have been soooo busy boating and at various gatherings that I have been a little pre-occupied.  We have had an absolutely brilliant season this year taking Darley to lots of gatherings and having a real good time.  Back in July, after we left Alvecote, we travelled up onto the BCN for the Black Country Boaters gathering at Windmill End followed by Tipton community Canal Festival then the next weekend at the Black Country museum.  So I ask myself what is the recipe for an enjoyable time.  The answer is simple good company, good food, good liquid refreshment and something to keep you entertained between eating and drinking!  Last weekend had all these.  Oh what a glorious week end and firstly a HUGE thank you to Theresa and Roger Fuller for putting on an end of season party for family and friends, to beat all parties.  People came by train, bus, car, boat and one even came by horse boat.  Historic boats included, Darley, Aquarius, Victoria, Thaxted, Thea, Oakley, Dove, Kestral, Kangaroo, Monarch & Grimsby, Ibex & Ilford, Verbena, Tench, Trout, Ant, Touchwood and evn the steam powered Emily Ann.  Dawn had been in hospital the previous Friday for a second operation on her little toe removing a piece of bone and re attaching her tendon so was on ‘light duties’ which included sitting in the back cabin most of the trip up there and effecting her ability to make drinks or cook meals, (couldn’t get down the ladder into the hold to the ‘kitchen’ under the cratch)
 Only joking she did take Darley through all the locks giving me a chance to work them.  We went down to Darley on Thursday night after I had finished work and took fish and chips with us.  After a night’s sleep (2 hours, as I can never sleep first night on the boat) we were off at about 7.30am and tied up at Stone by midday in front of our very good friends Viv and Si off Monarch and Grimsby.  On Friday night we did what we often do and had a joint effort for our tea. Simon’s dad had given him a brace of Pheasant and a duck which Viv made into a lovely game casserole with wedges of crusty bread and Dawn had made a very large cottage pie.  When everything was ready seven of us piled onto the towpath with an assortment of seats and all brought our plates/bowls and fighting irons and just tucked in. (good food 1) Most of the other ‘boaty folk’ had walked down to Wetherspoons in stone for a meal and after we had eaten we joined them for a pint or two (good company 1, drink 1)  After this we all moved on to the Talbot pub in the town where we took over the whole of the bar area.  As we walked up to the pub we could hear the gentle strains of music drifting out into the street! It was Karaoke night. The locals were friendly , very friendly in Dave Ray’s case, (good company 2) the beer was good and reasonable (drink 2) and when once the alcohol kicked in, and the ‘singers’ got started (entertainment 1) the evening, and the pub, really started to bounce.  Dawn went into the other side of the room and collected some song requests and the song book to select something to sing, and the pub was soon being entertained by two disco divas(Dawn and Keith Browne) singing Islands in the stream.  That was it, the plug had been pulled, there’s no stopping us now! this was followed by many renditions of various hits from the decades from many of the assembled crowd including Matt Parrot, Rebecca Fuller, and a combined effort from almost the whole team of YMCA!  All too soon it was time to retire, but this was only the rehearsal as more ‘entertainment was to follow.   Saturday morning was spent polishing brasses by most as the glorious weather started to unfold. 
A mobile phone call announced that Verbena was on her way from Aston lock, about an hour away,  under power from Andy’s driving cob Danny, (entertainment 2)having horse boated Verbena from Great Haywood that morning.  We walked down the Stone flight to await their approach (stopping at the Star for a pint (drink 3) mob handed we worked Verbena up the flight with Thea towing Verbena up the final approach to Stone due to moored boats everywhere. 
After all the excitement it was decided that we would cause more havoc and head off for a jolly up to the winding hole then back to the boat yard where Roger assisted in turning the boats with the use of his pusher tug Prowler (Entertainment 3) 
Saturday afternoon and again the pusher tug was put into use ferrying everybody back and forth to the boatyard where train rides were the order of the day.  Roger has a narrow gauge railway which runs all round the boatyard with a signal box, 3 diesel engines, trucks, guards van and all the paraphernalia required for a fully operational system and a St Trinian’s hand pumped cart which Dawn and Viv immediately grabbed and spent the next half hour going round and round even managing to de rail it at one point. 
(entertainment 4) The afternoon merged into evening and a bon fire was lit around which every body sat chatting and drinking (drink 4) while the hog roast filled the air with wonderful aromas.  Pork baps with stuffing and beautiful crackling were the order of the day (food 2) entertainment being provided by four friends and family Dave Ray with his squeeze box, and two fiddles, a clarinet (although I never saw Rebecca actually blow a single note) and a flute (entertainment 5) The chatting, drinking and chilling out continued well into the morning with things finally finishing with the ‘ferry’ being shafted across the basin with the last of the revellers at about 1.30am.  Sunday morning and we were all at it again with another boat jolly down to the winding hole and back, Verbena set off back with Danny the horse and ferry rides in the afternoon across to the boat yard, this time to look at the fascinating old wood working machinery Roger has in his workshop (entertainment 6)for rapidly converting trees into usable planks and sized and planed timber.  In the evening, Roger fired up his old diesel road roller and demonstrated it on the car park to the yard (entertainment 7) as darkness came on Theresa went round and took orders for Chinese take away for all that wanted it and the bon fire was re ignited ready for a chill evening. Everyone returned later armed with more drink(drink 5) bowls/plates and cutlery.  We all sat round the fire in a big circle, the night slowly ambled on into the early hours again with Chinese take away, beer, and chatting and having a laugh.  At 8.00 am on the Sunday morning,  
Andycap and Flo off Dove had fired their Merganser up and were off up the Cauldon canal with Trout,  we had some breakfast and were soon saying our farewells to everyone and heading back to Great Haywood, content in the fact that we had had an absolutely brilliant time which included all the required elements, and not once did anyone bang ‘em about.
Blossom

Monday, 1 August 2011

Shiny boats, butty flaps and Bar B Ques

Well another cracking week/week end so far only spoilt by the odd interjection.  Whilst down at Alvecote Laurence Williams had asked me to paint some canvas butty flaps for Australia then after I agreed to do them he stated he needed them for Thursday (3 days away) For those of you that don’t know what I’m on about , a brief explanation.  To protect the paint work on the wooden cants on each side of a butty’s well boatmen had ash strips fixed on top of them.  They then started scrubbing the ash strips until they were white and as a result would not step on them so they had small pieces of canvas which were laid over the top of the ash strips to protect them.  They then took to painting the canvas with a bunch of roses, are you with me now. 

I spent Tuesday/Wednesday nights painting a bunch of roses on each.  On Thursday night we had arranged to meet up with Laurence and a few others at Fradley Junction on their way to the National at Burton on Trent.  When we got there some of the ‘fleet’ had already moored at New Bridge No 61 on the Coventry and had a bar b que well on the way.  There was Tench, Emu, Clover & Fazeley and Michael Pinnock Senior’s cabin boat Alder.  After about another half an hour Kangaroo & Australia arrived making a total of six well loaded Joshers.  The next couple of hours were spent chatting, eating and drinking until it was time for Dawn and I to leave (we had work the next day)
Saturday I spent down the mooring doing lots of jobs keeping Darley looking good (how I keep my boats) re-painting the tunnel bands, painting an old porters sack truck blue and yellow with BW 135 on it’s sides, shortening the chains and lifting the back fenders, Taking the cratch cloth off and replacing it with the front full cloth so she is now clothed back to the mast.  This is so I can install some basics underneath such as a fridge and hob/cooker etc.  After finishing work, Dawn came down and brought with her a small bar b que and the necessary cobs, burgers, sausages, chicken and salad.   I mask taped the bows off and Dawn set about re-painting the panels, well the wharf side it was left to me to hang over the off side and paint. Ended the day off with a pleasant evening relaxing and watching the world go by while munching barbqued bits and bobs.  Have been down to Darley again tonight after work just to paint the first coat of yellow on the boas and a second coat on the sack truck so all in all a good long weekend so to speak. 
  Oh and the things which spoilt it, I never said did I.  As people know, I can sometimes be a little picky about detail but I am a firm believer in the fact it is important to get the detail right such as narrowboats don’t have cabin roofs, engine rooms or forward and reverse but they do have a cabin top an engine ‘ole and they do go ahead and astarn.  Another thing that really really annoys me is when people, who should know better, make comments in public places such as “ restored as over shiny looking representations of what their owners think they may have looked like?  I can only think this is due to A) not knowing any better, B) just looking at boats from the end of commercial carrying days when their condition was allowed to deteriorate in some cases, or C) a sign that they themselves are too idle to keep their boats something like.  I am proud of my shiny boat and I keep it how I was taught, many years ago by people who knew what they were on about.  I get a great sense of pride when comments are passed by those who matter to me, such as last week end returning from Alvecote, as we came past the top of Shadehouse lock where Fred Heritage Junior and Sadie were sat on the towpath on deck chairs catching some rays aside Lynx, and as I passed Fred just pointed at Darley and put two thumbs up and said beautiful!  I think people should not confuse ‘shiny boats’ with ‘boats that people have pride’ ‘nuff said, moan over – for now so till next time as always
Don’t bang ‘em about (you might scratch the shiny paint!)
Blossom. 

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Canal blockage at Alvecote!

Another cracking weekend down at Alvecote with Malcolm Burge’s supprise 60th birthday. Dawn took me down on Friday night after work and came back as she had to go to work on Saturday so an evening in the Barlow was on the cards with the boys, and girls.  Saturday morning was spent polishing all the brasses both inside and out and by 2.00pm I had finished all my chores so toddled off to the pub to see what was going on and joined Matt Parrot, Sarah Parrot, Michael Pinnock Snr & Jnr for a chat and a beer or two outside the pub.  By 5.30 Dawn had arrived with our eldest grand daughter Sophie, who was joining us for the rest of the weekend.  The car was unloaded and all the stuff loaded into Darley’s back cabin then we returned to the pub as Malcolm was due to arrive.  Malcolm has always said that he wanted to walk from the towpath to the pub across the canal on loaded joshers, so Kestral and Verbena, Kangaroo and Australia and Emu were all breasted up outside the pub, completely blocking the canal and awaiting Malcolm’s arrival who was bringing a boat from home to the marina which he had been told was needed there as a customer was coming to view it.  The assembled crowd all made their way onto the pub’s balcony and a huge cheer went up as Malcolm came through the bridge ‘ole.  Suitably armed with a pint of beer he fulfilled his ambition and walked across the bows of the five loaded Joshers to more cheers from the crowd.
 (Photo by Vivvy Monarch, hope me daughter don't mind!)
The rest of the evening went off with music and beer in the upstairs room, a hog roast in the grounds and much frivolity and more beer.  Sunday morning saw more than a few sore heads, but even so we quietly slipped off with Darly at about 10.00am and had a very pleasant trip back to Great Haywood and our home moorings where Darley will stay for th next few weeks while i get her ready for our next outing to Shackerston at the end of next month so, as always, till next time
Don’t bang ‘em about.
Blossom.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Minnows, Dove’s and grey bearded bikers.

Got home from work last night and Dawn said she wanted to take the dog a walk down at Fradley Junction so after running the Hoover over and a couple of other household tasks we loaded the dog into the car along with salt, vinegar , a bottle of red sauce and a bottle of blackcurrant squash.  Set off down to Armitage and Michael’s chippy for two cod and chips and then continued down to Fradley and parked at Junction lock and ate our chips while the dog drooled in the back! As we walked up to the junction we were overtaken by loads of large motor bikes including several Harley Davidson’s and I commented to Dawn about the fact that all the riders of HD’s were grey beards, in fact when we got to the Swan car park there was about eighty bikes parked up and I would say the average age of all concerned was about fifty. (perhaps you are that old before you can afford one of these mighty beasts!)  As we got to the junction we could see that the new owner of our old boat Minnow has been very busy and the under cloth conversion was well under way, not my thing mind you and it saddened me to see her like this but----hey ho things move on and he owns her now and it’s his boat and decisions, but I still miss her.

 As we walked up towards  Fradley Middle lock a head popped out of the side hatches of Achilles and a familiar voice shouted Hey, what you doing.  It was Andrew off Josher motor boat Dove and so we spent the next half hour chatting about boaty things, as you do, he also informed us that Wednesday evening was bikers night at The Swan sometimes attracting over 100bikers. After our chat we decided to continue with our walk, besides the fact we were being eaten alive by the mossies.  Returning back to the junction we crossed Junction lock and walked up the Coventry to the next bridge ‘ole then re-traced our steps back to the junction where we left the towpath and followed the nature trail round the fishing pool next to the canal. Getting back to the car we loaded the dog back in and made our way back home.  What a pleasant evening we had and the walk was most enjoyable.  Can’t wait for tomorrow night as we are off down to Alvecote marina and bringing Darley back to her moorings at Great Haywood to get her ready for Shackerstone show at the beginning of September, so until then
Don’t bang ‘em about
Blossom.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

In Need of a good rest!

The trouble with leaving blogging so long in between blogs is that there is so much to report on that a lot gets missed out but here we go;
Since my last blog we have had some hectic weekends, eaten loads of the wrong food and drunk far too many pints of beer & wine! But have had an excellent time doing it.
Over the years I have never been to Braunston by boat but have always driven down for the Saturday or Sunday and have thoroughly enjoyed the event.  This year we decided to take Darley, when we made the decision folks said “you won’t enjoy it Blossom” and how right they were.  We booked Darley in months ago and were looking forward to the event.  On arrival, after travelling down from Alvecote with Viv & Si off Monarch, we temporarily moored on the entrance to the marina bridge and found one of the yellow coated ‘organisers’ who stated we were to go back up the cut and moor abreast Whitby, but we told him that there was another boat against Whitby so were told to hang on a bit.  Minutes later Whitby came past having been moved to accommodate a pair, so that plan was scuppered.  After hanging about for about half an hour we were told there was no-where for us to moor and we would have to go below Braunston bottom lock, i’ll let you fill in my answer!  The only other option was that if we could find somewhere and sort ourselves out.  We went inside the marina and spoke to the lovely couple on ‘The Fudge Boat’ as to would they mind Darley and Monarch mooring on the pontoons behind them.  As they had no problems with that we reversed into the marina and tied up and that’s where we stayed for the weekend. On the Sunday afternoon we joined the parade and when we got to Braunston Turns we carried straight on heading for Newbold that night.  We went intpo The Barley Mow for a good meal, reasonably priced and were entertained by a 60’s Karaoke (and I mean the age of those singing) in the back room.  Our intention was, as we were on holiday, to have a relaxing jaunter back to Alvecote, stopping at Suttons and having an early tea/late dinner in The Greyhound, but that was not to be.  Earlier in the day, Kangaroo & Australia had left Braunston loaded with 41 tons of bagged coal and as we approached Suttons Dawn’s mobile rang.  After a short conversation she came to me on the back end and said “that was Laurence, he wants to tranship 4 tons of coal into Darley as he is stuck at Bridge 13"  thats OK but it’s past Suttons!  In just over an hour we were chucking 4 tons into Darley then we were off. 

What started out as an easy, lazy Day ended up as a 13 hour day and throwing 4tons into Darley at Griff, out of Darley at Atherstone bottom and back into Kangaroo, and all because some scroats decided to chuck the bridge parapet into the bridge ‘ole.  On arrival back at Alvecote we discovered that the Samuel Barlow was not open so having had nothing to eat all day we ordered a Chinese set meal for four and we all sat down in darley’s back cabin and pigged out.  As we were on holiday for another two days we stopped at the marina and chilled returning home on the Tuesday, only to return two weeks Later for the Alvecote gathering.
What a difference this boat gathering was. Arrived on Friday night and spent a very sociable evening in the Samuel Barlow amongst many friends drinking reasonably priced well kept Guinness whilst being entertained by the Marina’s sign writers rock band, which by the end of the evening had every body on the dance floor shaking their bits! The pub finally closed at about 1.30am so coalboys Tom and Jay came back to Darley and we continued to drink and chatt until 3.30 Saturday morning just as the sun was rising.  Needless to say Saturday morning brought with it a thumping hangover as I cleaned all the brass inside and out. 

As all the working boats were moored in the marina pontoons end on, it gave the public etc easy access to all the boats which numbered about 40 including
Joshers ~  Kangaroo & Australia, Kestrel & Verbena, Clover & Fazeley, Greyhound, Otter, Jaguar, Tench, Emu, Sunny Valley, Stafford,  Petrel, Dove, Monarch & Grimsby, Hare, Python, Panther, Madeley, Bream, Linda & Longton.
GU’s ~ Darley, Hadley, Cedar, Achilles & Ara, Nuneaton & Brighton, Thea, Chertsey, Victoria
Cowburn & Cowpar’s ~ Skylark, Swallow
As well as iceboat Laplander,FMC dayboat Elizabeth, Bantock Sucsess. 
Over the weekend there were lots of other things going on like morris dancers, welly wanging as well as trade boats and stands.. A competition was also  held for the best turned out historic working boat with every boat owner having to vote for their choice. The trophy, the Les Lapworth trophy was presented by the late boatman’s wife Alice and was awarded to butty Verbena which was a worthy winner (got my vote anyway)  All in all it was a brilliant weekend, but now I need a week off to catch up on sleep and dry out (alcohol)  And so to my final overall summary of the last two boat gatherings:
BRAUNSTON
Meeting and chatting with friends............................................great (if we walked to them)
Seeing all the boats.......................................................................great
Music in beer tent Friday.............................................................very loud crap
Music in beer tent Saturday........................................................even louder crap
Beer in beer tent.............................................................................overpriced crap
Food available on site......................................................................overpriced crap
Public/friends seeing Darley.........................................................didn’t happen
Will we go again................................................................................not by boat
ALVECOTE GATHERING.
Overall summary of the weekend:
Meeting and chatting with friends........................................great all weekend
Seeing all the boats...................................................................great all weekend
Music in pub Friday....................................................................excellent
Music in pub Saturday...............................................................good but very loud
Beer in pub.................................................................................. excellent and fair priced
Food available on site.................................................................OK but limited
Public/friends seeing Darley....................................................total access all weekend
Will we go again...........................................................................can’t wait till next year but until then, as always,
Don’t bang ‘em about
Blossom.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

A gearbox in the post.

As I said in my last blog, we had a super time and a super trip up to Etruria and back, what I did not tell you about was the diesel spray.  From when we took ownership of Darley there had been a large piece of rag on top of the diesel filter, thinking it looked a mess when we got up to Etruria, I removed it and put it out of sight.  Unbeknown to me it was hiding a secret, which I discovered on return to Great Haywood when I went in the engine ‘ole to stop the engine.  The top of the gearbox and surrounding area looked wet, but on closer examination it was diesel and on even closer examination the return pipe from the injectors had a very small split and a very fine spray of fuel was being blown out on each stroke of the engine.  On really close examination the pipe had split and at some point someone had blobbed some solder over it.  Last night I went straight down to Darley from work and removed the piece of pipe and brought it home for repair.  Dawn had gone out for a meal with a couple of girly mates so I set up my little workshop in the kitchen.  After cleaning all around the area, I applied a little soldering flux and holding the pipe with Dawn’ s oven glove, I held the pipe on the edge of the flame off the gas cooker.  As soon as the exiting solder started to melt, I applied a little more multi core solder to the area until I was sure that the split was well and truly sealed/covered.  Finally I put everything away before Dawn came home (none the wiser – good ey)  As soon as I came home from work tonight,  I shot straight up to Darley and re fitted the return pipe and then fired up the Petter PD2,

 success no leak, jobs a good ‘un.  As I had shot straight out from work I had not opened the mail and when I walked in Dawn told me I had a large letter.  On opening it, what a nice supprise.  It was an owners manual for Parsons Marine Reverse Gears & Reduction Gears Types B. & F. off my good friends That Chertsey Woman and Paddington Bear (Jim & Sarah) off Chertsey, many thanks to you both, I will take it down to Darley tomorrow night.  Along with the manual was also a lovely black and white postcard of Willer Wren’s Sterling uphill of Cowley lock. 

Well only another couple of weeks before the Braunston do so busy, busy getting Darley ready, so till next time
Don’t bang ‘em about.
Blossom. 

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Oatcakes and beer.

Well what can I say,  what a cracking weekend spent at Etruria in good company with good food and good drink.  We left Great Haywood on Wednesday and had a gentle amble up to Stone having dropped my car off up there on Tuesday night then came home to go to work on Thursday.  Straight after work on Friday we shot off up to Stone and headed straight off getting as far as Trentham village, mooring at Hemheath bridge No 106 and getting into the Toby carvery, 100yards from the canal, 15 minutes before they stopped serving and an excellent meal we had before returning to Darley and bedding down for 11..30pm.  For the next six hours I just lay there, unable to get off to sleep apart from many quick ‘drop offs’ and cat naps.  By 5.30am I had had enough and so got up, fired up Darley’s PD2 and headed off at 5.50am.  By 8.ooam we were pulling round the 180° turn onto the Caldon canal, to be met by Andrew Watts, the show organiser who directed me to Darley’s mooring right outside the Museum. 

We went up the cut a short distance, winded the boat then came back to our mooring for the weekend.  The only other working boat there, at this point was the dustbin boat Lindsey moored in front of us on the water point, later to be moved up to the foot bridge. As the day progressed, more working boats arrived until by the Friday afternoon there was a total of 12 working boats of various types, including 2 Big Woolwiches, 2 dustbin boats, 2 Cowpars, 3 Joshers, 1 Henry Seddon’s, a tug and an ex steamer-ex Yates’ tug.  This included Darley, Lindsey & Keppel, Dove, Tench (loaded with 17 ton stone), Ibex, Sweden, Alton, Sandbach, Victory, Swallow and Swift as well as many other modern ‘cabin boats’. 
Ibex, Sweden & Tench
Friday night saw us having a fish and chip supper collected from the local chippy with normal fish & chips £3.00 and large fish and chips £4.00.  Of cause greedy me and Dawn had large, and I could not believe it when I opened the bag as there were three full sized battered cod fillets  in mine and the fish was so fresh and tasty, unfortunately it left no room for drink so quite a quiet night resulted.  We had all been invited to eat our fish and chips on Phyllis and Henry John son’s lawn outside their boat and so we all took chairs and sat in a large circle munching away and chatting.

Saturday morning saw the show site wake up to a whole host of various things going on including large scale model steam vehicles, stationary engines, belly dancers; fairground organs as well as stalls selling their wares which included a hog roast stall and Longdon Road Oatcakes.  I had two cheese and bacon oatcakes for my breakfast on both Saturday and Sunday while Dawn opted for the pork bap’s from the hog roast where she helped herself to the biggest pieces of crackling both days. Morecroft Pottery had donated a limited edition vase for “the best turned out working boat” whatever that meant for we were told that Darley was ‘too decorated’. It was judged by Harry Arnold and he gave it to Roger Fullers Josher Ibex, but I won the best prize on the Friday dinnertime when boatwoman Phyllis Johnson came over to us and said “Blossom, you’ve got the boat looking beautiful, it’s a credit to you both” to me a prize far greater than some old pot!  Saturday night was curry night and curries were ordered and collected from a local Indian take away and consumed in the museum’s tea room after which a crowd of us retired to one of the empty WOW stalls and so we all brought chairs and sat round the tables in there chatting and having a right good laugh until late with Matt Parrott, The Fuller girl, Henry & Phyllis Johnson, Andrew & Andrea Hoyle.  Sunday morning started with quite a fluffy head after drinking several pints of cider followed by a bottle of lovely red wine, self inflicted was Dawn’s sympathetic uptake on it but the two oatcakes soon put that right along with some crackling off the hog roast and some scratchings off the Black Country Museum stand.  By early afternoon we had both had enough and so decided to leave heading off at about 2.30pm after saying our farewells to all our friends old and new.  As I headed off down the arm to Etruria Junction, the trip boat looked like it was preparing to head off on another trip, so I shouted her crew and signalled for them to pull out before me as I was in no hurry.  As I held back while they winded the trip boat at the junction, or should I say shunted back and forth in the junction, a modern cabin approached from down the north and pulled past the winding trip boat and pulled in behind Mike Edge’s boat, Bass.  When the trip boat cleared the junction I eased Darley round the turn to hover alongside Bass checking her position against the flush of Stoke top lock with ahead/astern.  The obnoxious owner of the cabin boat was now positioned on his bow and shouted to me “ to save you struggling there’s plenty of room behind” My answer was fairly typical of me “ I’m not struggling mate” This he followed with a “your not going in front of me I was here first2  I explained to him that I was in fact in front of him and that had he have been watching he would have noticed that I had held back to give the trip boat plenty of room to wind, but if he was in such a rush then he could carry on through as I was not bothered.  He followed this with a “I was going to anyway” and I though obnoxious ba***rd, so at this point I finished the conversation off with a “f**k off you tw*t” and turned my back on him.  It was so nice when Dawn screamed at him to go as Phyllis had the lock ready and he had not even moved, Excitement over we headed off down the flight with Henry and Phyllis drawing for us and by tea time we were back at Stone. A quick wash and change and we got in the car and drove just up the road to the Darlaston Inn for an enjoyable meal of ‘a bucket of fish’ and I had a shoulder of Lamb with all the trimmings. Monday saw us taking it easy back to Great Haywood,

 although I must admit Dawn’s idea of ‘taking it easy’ does tend to involve a little speed occasionally - Bless her! Well that’s it, first show over, can’t wait for Braunston in just over a fortnight, but until then, as always
Don’t bang ‘em about
Blossom
PS I've had to add that Dawn's white horses were more of a case of being out of the channel and too near the tow path rather than speed, as she pointed out!

Monday, 23 May 2011

A Quick snap or three.

Not a lot to say really, I just thought I would keep you up to speed with Darley with a couple of photos that I have taken tonight.Came home, had some tea then went down to Darley.  I cleared all the rubbish out of the hold and swept all the sawdust and noggins of wood up while Dawn worked in the back cabin.













Darley’s hold with the completed false floors all finished and creosoted.


Darley and Matt Parrot’s Josher motor boat Tench. (Even Dawn is colour co ordinated with her blue and yellow top!


By this time Dawn was getting a little annoyed at my David Bailey impression!
 











Bruce’s new perch on the counter and keeping his eye on Dawn for me.
Well that’s it folks as I said, just a quick update.  Write again soon when I have something to say, till then,
Don’t bang ‘em about.
Blossom

Birthdays, Browny, Boy bands and Bottoms

Well what a cracking weekend overall. Friday we drove down to The Samuel Barlow to celebrate Matt Parrot’s 20th birthday in good company with Viv Scragg and Simon, Martin and Sam, Laurence & Sarah, Dave Ray, Keith Brown, Matt and Kaz, Rebecca Fuller, Joe Fuller and of cause the birthday boy himself, Matt Parrot.  Unfortunately, Dawn being a hairdresser, had to work early Saturday morning so she was driving.  I must extend a very big thank you to Malcolm Burge who had prepared, well he got ‘Drew to prepare, Jaguars back cabin for us to stay in, which I thought was a very kind gesture although we were unable to take it up. Food was provided with various sandwiches, finger picks and chips and trays of lovely roast potatoes, yum yum.  Browny was on form as usual keeping us all entertained along with Lol, Matt and the Fullers constructing a model working boat out of beer mats and birthday card envelopes including mast, top planks and deck board, cloths being provided by Sam Noon’s Fag papers.

Photo L Williams.
  All to soon the evening moved on and we had to make our way home.  Saturday, after Dawn had left for work, I headed off down to Darley, as I arranged to meet the previous owner Terry, down there at to replace the prop shaft mid bearing.  This only took us, well Terry as I only watched, a couple of hours after which Terry left and I carried on with the false floors.  By four a clock, I had finished all the false floors and creosoted them, all that was left was the two under the back end boards, but that was going to involve quite a bit of moving of ‘stored ‘ paraphernalia.  It was time for me to leave anyway as we were going out tonight to a show night at the Power station Club, woo hoo! Except it was a tribute boy band called West Lives. (boring).  Sunday morning saw me cooking Bacon butties for our breakfast then I prepped the dinner before going down to Darley, Dawn was following on later.  I started by pumping out the two plastic water barrels used as ballast, about 90 gallons, well the pump I had would not fit in the filler holes so it meant siphoning them into the hold, then pumping it out with the bilge pump.  After this I set about moving a whole collection of Useful items as well as three bags of coal, two sacks of wood noggins for the range a sack of kindling and many other items.  After moving the two barrels I bailed the rest of the water, leaves and sediment out with bucket and shovel.  After leaving this section for an hour to dry off, I gave it a liberal coat of bitumastic paint, then set about making the two floors.  With these in place I creosoted them then put the two water barrels back on top and started filling them.  During a conversation with Matt on the previous night, he said he was coming up to Great Haywood and was leaving his Josher motor Tench there for a week before moving on up to Stone to load about 18tons of limestone chippings for Alvecote.  I told him instead of leaving Tench on the Junction to come up and breast up to Darley,   so I was keeping an eye out for him.  I had just finished filling the barrels when I saw Tench coming across the Junction and so went onto Darley’s back end to get Matt’s fore end rope.

Photo M Parrot
 That was the end of the work for the weekend for when once he had tied up we spent the next couple of hours chatting to him and his mom, Karen.  By 6.00pm work for the day had finished and my stomach told me food was required.  Dawn, who had been busy in the back cabin with cushions, curtains and covers and making an excellent job of it, went off to get the  dinner ready and finished off then went home and absolutely devoured my dinner.  After a coffee and a bit of telly I finished off painting Darley’s pigeon box with flowers and diamonds.  Just needs a couple of coats of varnish and it will be ready to go back ready for our trip up to Etruria and the open weekend at the Museum there which is our first ‘gathering’ of the year.  To be followed by Braunston, Alvecote, Shackerston, Windmill End, Black country Museum, Tipton Community and finishing off the ‘rally season’ with the end of season bash up at Norbury.  Bring it on!  Still a lot of jobs to do though, although Darley does not need any major works, it’ all the little things to make her ours. So until the next time,
Don’t bang ‘em about
Blossom.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Wright’s coal tar soap, Wrong!

Just a quick addition.  As a result of a comment from a good friend, That Chertsey ‘ooman,  I thought I should share this great disappointment with you all.  Last nights blog was me ranting on as usual about ‘the good old days’ so to speak and my love of the smell of creosote, which led me to other related substances including coal tar and all its derivatives.  To my horror, Sarah informed me that Wrights Coal Tar Soap no longer contained ‘coal tar, so I could not resist looking it up and sure enough here’s the official take.

In the late 1960s the Wright’s Coal Tar Soap business was taken over by LRC Products Ltd (London International Group) who sold it to Smith & Nephew in the 1990s. The soap is now made in Turkey for the current owners of the brand, Simple Health and Beauty Ltd based in Solihull in the UK and is called Wright's Traditional Soap. As European Union directives on cosmetics have banned the use of coal-tar in non-prescription products, the coal tar derivatives have been removed from the formula, replacing them with tea tree oil as main anti-bacterial ingredient. Despite this major variance from the original recipe, the new soap has been made to approximate the look and smell of the original product.
Mind you I still love the smell of it (the soap) and while were on, creosote probably does not contain creosolic acid any more, but hey ho still does the job and still smells great.  Have been down to Darley tonight for my creosote fix, a couple of hours creosoting and have now finished just over half the false floors which I should finish off tomorrow night after work. Well that’s it, update over
Till next time
Don’t bang ‘em about
Blossom

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The wonders of coal.

It’s funny how some smells are so thought provoking and evocative.  At the end of our street in Tipton, where I grew up as a small child was the Birmingham New Main Line and at the other was a small general shop called Cotterills which was owned by a little old lady, Mrs. Cotterill, and it always had huge sacks of potatoes leaning up against this side of the counter and that earthy smell of potatoes always takes me straight back to my childhood.  Another smell which takes me back to that time is the sweets pear drops, and Teddy Grays Herbals, but those remind me of my dentist as Teddy Grays factory was on the opposite side of the road to the dentist and the air was always perfumed with ‘herbal Mixture’. 

But enough I hear you say, get on with it.  I love the smell of fresh creosote!  It always smells clean to me, and last Sunday, I was able to fill my nostrils with its addictive fragrance as I started to creosote the new false floors that I spent all last week fitting into Darley.  I have noticed a lot of people nowadays refer to them as shuts,  I’ve only ever known them as false floors, but anyway.  When I bought Darley she only had half the hold fitted out with some badly fitting false floors.  Terry, the previous owner stated that he had timber at home to finish off the floors and said I could have it and so he delivered that to the mooring on last Thursday.  On Saturday I called in at Wickes to fetch 20 meters of 5” x 2” rough sawn timber to finish off the supports and so since then I have been busily making up the floor sections which, as I say, I finished off on Sunday afternoon and started creosoting them.  For the creosote I mix in about a half-pint of black bitumastic paint to every gallon of creosote just to darken it down, we always used to use old black engine oil but that’s harder to comeby nowadays with everybody going ‘green’.  Whats all this got to do with coal – I’m getting there I promise.  I have also had to add an inch thick strip of timber to the underside of each of the existing bearers as they were only 4”, the size of the original steel keelson, but when Terry put a new 12mm thick bottom in Darley he replaced it with a 5” X 3” Joist and so now the bearers have to be 5” high.  Right here’s how my brain works,
whilst sitting having five and breathing the creosote fumes
 the smell, as I’ve already stated is one of those evocative smells from the past, reminded me of the smell of the BCN.
Especially the bottom of ‘The Crow’ where Midland Tar Distillers were located.
This was where Thomas Claytons boat delivered their cargo’s that they had collected from round the gas works.
Their cargos from the gas works were all coal based by-products.
This then got me thinking what a wonderful substance coal is, or should I say was, The BCN owed its livelihood to it as well as all the associated workers.  To explain (My area only)
Coal was extracted from beneath the ground around the Black Country keeping thousands of local men and women employed.  It was loaded directly into narrow boats, predominantly wooden Joey boats  and transported to gas works at such places as Wolverhampton, half way down the W’ton 21 locks, The Mond Gas at Tipton on the new main line and Swan Village in West Bromwich on the Ridgacre Branch, again employing hundreds of folk.  At the gas works it would be loaded into huge furnaces and ‘cooked’ whilst starving it of oxygen, during this process the gases and other by-products would emerge and be collected, then at the precise moment the contents would be pushed out of the oven into water baths to stall the process.  The results were phenomenal as far as range of products, oh and employing hundreds at each gas works...  Firstly coal gas, or to use local term ‘town gas’ which was put into huge storage tanks called ‘gassometers’ which went up and down in the ground depending on how much gas was in them. 

Mothers in Tipton would look at the gassometers and if they were quite low down would blame the pressure of the ‘gas is low’ for the slow cooking of the Sunday roast.  Coke, a clean burning fuel used by smiths in their hearths, it’s had all the nasties taken out of it so less effect on the metal to be forged, also used in blast furnaces for the smelting of steel burning at a higher, cleaner temperature than coal.  Next there was coal tar which would be pumped into Clayton’s tar boats and taken to Midland Tar Distillers for distillation into many other products including tar, paints soaps as a few examples.  Also Clatons would take away loads made up of creosolic acid (main ingredient of creosote) used very extensively by the developing railways for treatment of the railway sleepers.  As a lad I remember walking over to the Mond Gas with your own tincan to buy, very cheaply,  a gallon of creosote for sheds and fences etc. Not like this modern stuff though, this would kill anything!  Another product that was taken away by Claton’s boat was a foul smelling liquid called ‘gas water’  I don’t know what it was or what it was used for but it smelt of bad eggs and smelt the same as the sulphurous fumes that came off the coke as it was quenched out of the ovens.  So there you go, next time your washing your hair with coal tar dandruff shampoo, or washing your hands with Wrights coal tar soap or even creosoting that fence, think of where it came from and the wonders of coal, till next time, as always
Don’t bang ‘em about.
Blossom