Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Morse Machinations

In amongst other fun things recently, I had to replace the gearbox control cable on the boat. Being me, I bought a standard cable. Being my boat, it didn't take a standard cable.

After much scratching of heads and trying to describe what I had over the phone (and even emailing photos) the supplier of the new cable sent me the wrong one and admitted they had no idea what I had. Odd that a company in Lowestoft didn't recognise an outboard control cable when they saw one, but hey, anyway. Mine had a long thread on the gearbox end; thankfully I was able to replace the cable fittings rather than the newly bought cable, and I can go forward - and reverse - again.

This was all a month or two ago; I was reminded of it today by this ebay ad for a dual lever control unit just like mine, sold for controlling an outboard setup.

This, along with Tortoise's chequered history does make me think that Tortoise is more or less a meatl version of a GRP boat than anything else...

Monday, 27 May 2013

I'm not making this up...

...but I haven't found anything on the internet about it, although not a thorough look.

On Blackbird the other week, a guy came past, checking BW reg numbers & writing them down. I said hello and asked if he was the local warden, volunteer or otherwise - and no. He wasn't anything to do with BW/C&RT/This Week's Name, but had a printed spiral bound book listing boat numbers and names (none of the more interesting stuff that you largely get on Jim Shead's listing). I don't remember the title, but there was something on it about being 'published by spotters for spotters' - very much like to old ABC train spotters guides (I used to buy from jumble sales when a young boy, honest).

Now, I can't find any traces on the internet - must be a very select group of canal boat spotters. Anyone else heard of these books?

Whilst I'm on the subject, I did think it would be good to have John Else down as builder of Tortoise, so just over a year ago I wrote it on the renewal form, despite there being no slot for it. Checking today, it seems to have gone in as 'John Elf'. It's a start, I suppose.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Slough Arm Bridge 2A

I headed down the arm - by bike - to check progress on bridge repair, although that doesn't seem the best word - they'll be removing the bridge span, which may or may mot be replaced at a later date. Sadly access is a little difficult - the towpath is blocked under the M25 by a huge great hoarding blocking the view, although the foreman told me the fences & signs are having to be replaced on an almost daily basis.

The work is being done by Greenfords, subcontracted from May Gurney, contracted by C&RT - as ever, two lots of profit to be skimmed off from that, then. So far all the important services - the mains & fibre optic cables which C&RT are being paid to carry - have been moved to the handy adjacent pipe bridge. The canal is completely blocked by gravel, to give a stable surface for the work to be continued. The bridge had dropped a metre, apparently.

The good news is that they expect to have finished by the published date of mid June.

It's started...

We hadn't wandered along the Brentford moorings for a while; the new flats are at least set back a little, but there's a nice new sales centre - undoubtedly destined to become a bar, or at least they hope it will.

To avoid any unsightly boats mooring outside, of course, there's a new floating deck outside it. Isis/C&RT (an inceasing dubious relationship, now that one is a charity) will insist it's for canoeoists, I'm sure, but that's at least two boat's worth of mooring gone there. I also fail to understand what needs an extra opontoon that can't be launched from the existing bank.

As far as I can tell, Brentford isn't included in the 14 day to 48 hr conversion proposals, but it can only be a matter of time - just a few complaints from people in their new posh flats will lead to changes, I'm sure...