Total Pageviews

Sunday, 31 May 2015


I set to early to start to clean the boat through. After breakfast I started at the bow and worked aft. I must say by the time I had finished the boat looked lovely and smelt nice and clean too. I managed to get to Sainsbury's bang on 1000 when it opened to find that the car park was very busy and that the store was thronged. I didn't impress the lady on the 'basket only' as I paid for my paper and some potatoes with all the change that Helen had left me. £3-50 in small change. Many shops are quite pleased to obtain change as they have to pay a bank if they need to get some out. However I suppose that would be small stores rather than national supermarkets. It is surprising who much small change is accumulated.

After my cleaning I had time to take off the masking tape and clean up the edges. In actual fact the tape was quite difficult to get off and even took off some paint that will need to be touched up. I have gone off painting altogether and will only do small areas from now. I then managed to sit down and read the paper.

Since getting our East Yorkshire flag I have noticed more often the flags that adorn other boats. In this neck of the woods there is one that is seen a lot. It is the flag of the Black Country. It seems that in 2012, which was the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games in London, there was a campaign to encourage regions to develop their own flag. The Black Country Living Museum started a competition for the design. In the end Gracie Sheppard won. The flag is based on a quote from 1862 when an American in the area said that 'it was black by day and red by night'. The white is in the shape of a glass cone that was one of the prominent industries of the area just as the chain was also made widely in the area. It seems that the flag was unveiled on Black Country Day 14th July 2014.

The Black Country flag.

Astern of us is a boat flying the following flag. When I asked I was told that it was the Norfolk County Flag. When I have checked up it appears that it is no such thing. It is in fact the Norfolk County Council flag.

The Norfolk County Council flag.

It seems that the 'official' Norfolk flag was adopted following the same initiative in 2012 that created the Black Country banner. It was adopted in 2014 and is based on the arms of the First Earl of Norfolk Ralph de Gael from 1071 to 1075.

The actual Norfolk County Flag.

I then checked out when our new East Riding of Yorkshire flag was adopted.  It seems that we were a little ahead of the other two as it was adopted in 2013. It seems that the blue represents the sea and it's trade and the green the rich agricultural land. Further to this the blue is at the hoist to emphasis the 'oneness' with the rest of Yorkshire. (The Yorkshire flag has a completely blue background) and the green is at the fly to show that the East Riding is to the east! Also it should be noticed that the rose itself is an East Riding one as it is displayed with a sepal at the top rather than a petal like the other Yorkshire roses. Who would have thought that you could learn this from the flags on the back of boats. I have also learned that there is an East Riding of Yorkshire day. Now I knew that Yorkshire Day was 1st August, but Est Riding Day is 24th August. This date was decided on as it was the birthday of William Wilberforce, son of Hull, who was born in 1759.

East Riding Flag
East Riding of Yorkshire flag.

The Yorkshire flag to show the difference in the roses.

It seems that there are several county's that do not yet have their own flag so check it out and send in your designs.

It is great to have Helen back aboard. I will probably eat better now and have so better conversations as Macy the Cat doesn't often chip in, except at meal times!

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Flippin' flies.

It seemed like a nice day so I got out of bed ready to set to with the gloss top coat. After a bite of breakfast I dried off any bits that were still wet and then lightly sanded down the undercoat. By the time I started painting it had got quite hot and the paint work even hotter. The paint had quite good coverage and was going on quite well but once again it takes much longer than you think. I had forgotten to open the front door so it was quite difficult to move about so that I didn't touch what I had already painted! As the time went on the paint got a bit thicker and wasn't so easily spread with the brush. In the end I actually broke the handle of the brush which meant starting with a new brush.

Just to show the difference to the picture when I first started. 

The trouble with starting with a new brush is that the odd hair or bristle comes out for the first use or so so I had to keep stopping to remove hairs etc. Mind you I needn't have worried.

By the time I had finished, gone in to have some lunch and  then popped out again flies seemed to have acted like lemmings and used the paint like flypaper to commit mass suicide. Oh well I will have to let it harden off and then sand down spots at a later date and try again.

After that I was sewing up another window of the double glazing. That looks like it is all finished. I then took the stove on by giving it a good blacking and cleaning the glass. The smoke dirt came off the glass very easy with my trick of rubbing it with washing up liquid and letting it dry before lighting the fire. Where the flue joins into the stove it is sealed with fire cement and as I was cleaning it a bit cracked off. I have a small pot of it from last year so I must remember to repack it. That means that the fire has to be lit to make it hard and sealed.

I then thought I would set to on the scaffolding board that we 'won' at Stourbridge. I sanded it down as best I could and tried to smooth down all the spells and burrs. This also helped to get rid of most of the cement or plaster dust that was ingrained. I then used a scotch pad with white spirit to give it a good scrubbing to get more of the dust out of it.

It has come up okay really. The other side has a few cuts etc but the top surface will be good enough to use as a bench seat at the after end and then double up as a short gang plank as the one we have is about 2" thick and about 7 feet and weighs a tonne. So much so that we have only ever used it once

The grain has come up nicely so I think I will stain it rather than varnish. 

After that I decided that I had better start to put stuff away. One of the joys of these interludes where I have the boat to myself is that I can leave out tools and things that I know I am going to be using later. With two of us I would have to put stuff away all the time so there was room to do stuff. One more big sleep and the better half will be back.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Odd job man.

It is a very pleasant evening now but we have had an hour or so of continuous heavy rain followed by a series of heavy showers of rain and hail. I started with re-grouting some of the tiles in the shower to ensure that it was water proof and wouldn't let water get behind them and cause damage. I then wrote some emails and caught up with a few blogs etc. I had really just been putting off the job that I didn't really want to do. This was the secondary glazing repair. It was nothing really serious but needed doing. The perspex is kept in place with magnetised tape on three sides but on the top there was a gap to the bottom of the hopper window. I filled this with some neoprene tape. To make up the thickness it needed to layers. The glue that sticks the two together seems to have not worked in the middle of the window. Looking closely this seems to be due to the  actual window bowing rather than poor glue as it only happens in the middle of the length. I have wondered whether I should have used thinner perspex so that it bent more easily to the shape. I settled on 4mm perspex in the end.

Here you can see that the hopper window is left free to be used and the lower panel is 'sealed'. The magnetic strips 'A' and 'B' work very well.

Here you can see that there is a gap from where the lower window frame is proud of the upper window. The lower window pane kept in place by the rubber chock piece. The fill that gap you can see on the perspex to the left I have added the neoprene and then the magnetic strip. The two strips of neoprene are now sewn in place.

I am actually surprised as to how well they work. There has been no condensation that needs mopping up at all. The window does have a little mist on them when there is a quick change in temperature, like when it has been chucking it down with rain and then the sun comes out strongly. It soon disappears and having the neoprene may allow this moisture to dispel. I'm sure it has kept the boat warmer too. So for a maximum outlay of under £100 for the six windows, two door and one side hatch I have solved the condensation and heat problems. Mind you a do hope it is a few months before I need to test them again.

When the rain passed I nipped into town to John Beard's Ironmongers that is just near to Wilco as I need some M4 machine screws. The door handles on the kitchen cupboards are just held on by a thread. Well there were held on by a thread but now they seem to be dropping off. I bought longer bolts and now they are secure. Beard's is a lovely shop with plenty of tools and stuff along with all those little things that you never knew you needed. I did manage to resist though having spent only 60p.

To get to the ironmongers I had to pass the Town Hall where there was a statue of Roland Hill. Just round the corner was the defunct headquarters of Brinton Carpets. Kidderminster was well known for being where carpets were made and Brintons were the first, in 1785, of the over thirty companies that were based here at their peak. I'm not sure if any carpets are still made here. On the way back to the boat I passed the local Weatherspoon's and as I had a voucher in my pocket for 50p off a pint I thought I would be daft to not call in. I managed a pint of Iceberg from Titanic Brewery that was very hoppy and went down a treat. The pub was called the Penny Black. I assume that this was connected to the statue of Rowland Hill. He was born in Kidderminster and is credited with reforming the postal system and inventing the postage stamp in the form of the penny black. There was a postal system previously but the system was slow and the postage was paid by the recipient. This meant that many had a code that could be read by looking at the 'envelope' and not having to open it. Therefore the recipient could refuse to pay so the system would not work. Hill decided that prepaying for the postage and proving this by affixing a 'stamp' would make things more efficient and less open to misuse. He argued his case for two years before he was given a two year contract to run the system in 1839. In the first year the number of items through the post increased by 120%.

The statue of Sir Rowland Hill. The inscription reads 'Born Kidderminster 1795, buried in Westminster Abbey 1879. To his creative mind and patient energy the world is indebted for the Penny Post introduced 1840. The statue was produce by Sir Thomas Brock and unveiled in 1881

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Busy doing nothing, or almost nothing.

It may be a bit of a struggle to write something tonight as when I try to think what I have done today, not a lot comes into my head. I did lightly rub down the first coat of undercoat I put on yesterday. I must say I was quite impressed with my handiwork as there were no runs and the brush strokes were quite smooth so didn't take too much sanding down. I masked up the junction with the green to get a good line and then set to with a second coat of paint. I am more used to painting the inaccessible bits with a brush and then the surfaces with a mini roller and then I think you are supposed to put brush stokes through the rolled area. I'm in two minds whether to do that for the top coat of not. I think the whether will give me a day off tomorrow as it is supposed to be windy and wet tomorrow. I have several jobs to do inside so that wont be too bad. I will pop into town for a bolt and stuff from a proper ironmongers that I have found on the interweb to sort out a couple of jobs too.

I am on the lo tech side of the spectrum when it comes to painting and the mini roller would be as advanced as I would want to go I think.

There has been a constant stream of boats in both directions today. There have been a couple of hire boats that the helmsman were struggling to control coming round the corner but they didn't cause any bother other than a bit of embarrassment to themselves. On the other hand there was a couple of Privateers that weren't particularly patient with them. There is the usual discussion point of what constitutes a slow speed when passing moored boats but none were towing water skiers behind them.

It wasn't quite as busy as this! It has been Crick Show last weekend and I can't imagine travelling around that neck of the woods at the time. It is bad enough on a normal sunny weekend.

The boat is getting quite dusty as the tow path next to the boat is small gravel. I expect the boat will look a mess by the time we leave as I have no water to wash it down.

There has been a navigational warning from the Canal and River Trust that there have been low water flows on the Rivers Severn so boaters should be aware there may be shallow spots and not to cut the corners. We are asked to report and shallows to the lock keepers so they can advise other users of any areas that are found to be causing a problem. It doesn't look as though there is going to be too much rain before we head out on to the river so we shouldn't have to worry about rivers.

Low river levels on the River Severn at Bridgenorth in 2012,

At the start of our travels we thought that we should actually stay in one place more often and for longer but I must say I find it hard to not keep moving along, despite having plenty to do when I am stopped.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Paint and prattle.

Well it has just started raining at 1800. I was expecting it but I am glad it didn't start any earlier as it has given the first coat of undercoat a bit of time to go off. That means that it shouldn't be too pitted so will only need a light sand down before the next coat tomorrow. I must say it took longer than I thought it would.

Same as previous views for comparison. 

I must say that it looks loads better when not in close up. Another undercoat will give a very good cover.

It has been pretty busy with boats passing in both directions today. Quite a lot make use of the mooring to pop to do a shop at Sainsbury's and then move on but three boats seemed to have moored here for the night today, where as I was on my own last night. A week or so ago I changed four batteries. I still have them in the engine hole and I found them a bit of an encumbrance when I was changing oil and filters a couple of days ago. Being from Yorkshire I'm sure that they are worth a few bob from a scrap merchant so rather than find a council tip area to drop them off I am hoping to find a scrap dealer next to the canal that accepts them. The distance I am prepared to take them is probably in direct ratio to the price I will get for them. Does anybody know how much a 12V battery is worth for scrap these days? I am thinking that if I can get about £20 for the four that would make the cost of them sound a little better. I will need to get the out of the engine hole in any case before we take to the Severn Estuary as I wouldn't want them careering around down there in a sea way.

I have just had my five minutes of fame too. I have been interviewed on the radio. Well Radio Humberside to be exact. We are setting up a society to highlight the Hull company of old, United Towing. Membership opens today so they were responding to our press release. When I say five minutes of fame that would be a  maximum! I had prepared all sorts of interesting stories and assembled the information required to join but it seemed to be over before it had begun. Still they do say that all publicity is good publicity so I shouldn't complain.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another dry day so the second undercoat will go on. Friday is due to be wet so the inside jobs can be done and then Saturday for the top coat so it all looks nice for the arrival of Helen.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Pitted paint problems.

We are moored right next to the car park for Sainsbury's but it is very quiet at night, and even during the day come to that. There is an entry from the car park to the tow path and the majority of folk walk the other way towards the new housing further along the tow path so the foot fall passed the boat isn't that bad.

'Holderness' moored right close by the super market car park.

Just ahead and behind the trees on the off side is St Mary's and All Saints Church that over looks the lock. It is very nice to hear the hours pass through the day with the bells ringing. In fact there is often a peel played. I think the bells were replaced or rehung in 2004 or so. It seems there is still a bit of work to do as there is one bell  not ringing! This makes the chimes and peels slightly odd. Luckily the chimes are not set to ring through the night.

Last year I started spot de-rusting the after end of the boat. There were little spots of rust where there had been little dinks breaking the paint cover and some areas that had obviously come through from an imperfect paint job in the first place. I sanded down and rust treated the spots and then covered all the paint work with an anti-rust undercoat. Unfortunately I never did get round to applying more undercoats or a top coat before we went home. I had years of painting and chipping when I was an apprentice and it is something that I never relish. I will never paint the boat over all as I know what hard work it is and that you need immense patients to get the preparation right so that the top coat looks the best it can.

This is one area that shows what has happened. There are small areas of rust that have broken out. You can just about see the original green gloss coat under the anti-rust undercoat of black.

I am not really bothered about the paint finish at the moment for two reasons. The first is that the green top coat comes off on a cloth as I think it was put on using too large a proportion of thinners so it would mean completely re painting the green. The second reason is that the make of paint used no longer exists. Hempel's were bought out. As we went around after buying the boat I did manage to buy a few tins of our colours as I found them but I haven't seen any for a while now. I have enough for a touch up.

I don't have any electric tool for sanding down which means it is even a more boring job that it might be. After getting the spot down to bare metal and graduating the edges so that it blends in better with the rest of the surface. I have then covered the bare metal with Kurust that converts any remaining rust particles and stops them developing under the paint later.

You can see that after a coat of anti-rust undercoat you can still see the area that was sanded down as the edges are still proud. Hopefully this will be less obvious after a couple more coats of undercoat. This is one reason that I hate this job as it is always difficult to get it looking good.

The black was just the colour of the anit-rust undercoat but it turns out that Helen likes it so I have bought some black top coat and will finish it off in black. It certainly makes the 'cockpit' warmer. Helen and I have discussed when we do get the boat painted what colour we would have the roof. The colour does make a difference to the heat it absorbs and therefore the heat inside the boat. We see lots of white and cream decks which seem a nightmare to keep clean. It seems to us that having a darker roof makes for less cleaning and also absorbs the heat more. We think that there is more requirement to keep the boat warm rather than cool as if it is so warm inside the boat due to the conduction of the heat from the roof then you would just find somewhere cooler outside. However if the inside of the boat is too cool you have to light the fire or put the heating on. (Or put on my clothes etc). We think that the number of times we have been too hot we can count on one hand and not using the thumb where as the number of times we have had to put the heating on, or a jumper are much more numerous. Therefore when we do get a paint job we will be having a darker roof colour.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Oiling the wheels.

Helen was leaving me today to go home for a week. Our son has just returned home so she will be able to catch up with him too, plus she has organised plenty to fill her time whilst there. You can imagine we were very relieved that the threatened railway strike was called off for the Bank Holiday. Helen's train was 1110 so we set off too early to make sure we found the way okay. We walked through the shopping centre and it seems to have plenty of shops and it didn't seem like there were too many closed. I'm sure that I will be having a wander round, and I found the Weatherspoon's too.

The mainline rail way station is  not quite up to that of the Severn Valley Railway station building that was shown in yesterday's blog!

Helen was travelling to Birmingham Snowhill than a short walk to Birmingham New Street and from there Doncaster and then change for Hull. Everything was on time and she arrived home in good time.

On the way back to the boat I called in to Wilco's for one or two things. I sat and read the Sunday paper for a short time before girding my loins and headed to the engine hole. The oil changes and filters were over due. The oil in the engine and gear box is to be changed every 250 hours along with the lub. oil filter. I started by running the engine for a short while to warm the oil up so that it would run out more easily. I also had it in gear so the the gear box oil was also thinned. The engine oil is the easiest to remove as there is a little oil sump pump that you can work to pump the oil from the sump into a container. Remember to take the oil fill cap off or a sort vacuum forms and the oil wont run. I got out as much as I could and then went to remove the oil filter for changing. I am not one to worry about changing the oil bang on the 250 hours when it is due but the colour of the oil coming out makes you realise that it does need doing regularly. I have never been able to fix a plastic bag round the oil filter to prevent oil leaking over the deck and of course that was another job to do at the end, mop up the oil.

The sump pump can be seen at the black air filter inlet to the right of the engine. The oil filter is right at the back of the engine to the right , below the red battery cables that can be seen. Fortunately the engine and the gearbox use the same oil. I had got in a store of 15/40W oil from Wilco when I was at home. At £15 for 5 litres it is a good buy I think. As you change the oil every 250 hours I believe there isn't much to be gained by putting more expensive oil in the system.

Close up of the PRM 150 gear box in the above photo. The worn nut at the top is the filler and the dip stick. I find it almost imposible to read the level on the dip stick though. I have a hand pump that I can use through this filler but I can't get my hose down to the bottom so I pump out as much as I can and then drop the sump nut underneath into an oil drip try and then pump that out. It all doesn't take too long.

The gear box takes 1.4 litres and the engine 9.5 litres. I checked the air filter and reckoned it looked a bit mucky. I had turned it round once for the last oil change. They aren't that expensive so decided to change it again. So now I have two very full 5 litre containers of dirty oil. I will have to do a little research in to where I can get rid of it. Whilst I was in the area I decided to tighten up the stern gland stuffing box. It had been dripping a little. This entailed me finding two spanners that were small enough to fit in and hold back the first nut whilst slacking back the locking nut so that I can tighten it up a little. I then thought I had better fill the screw greaser. In turn that required me to find the waterproof grease. It is amazing how difficult it is to find a tin of grease on a 60 boat!

Looking aft you can see the weed hatch and to the right the brass screw greaser that forces greases into the stuffing box for lubrication and to make a barrier to prevent water leaking through at the drive shaft. I tightened the two nuts at the metals part where the copper tube goes to from the screw greaser.

It was then a matter of cleaning up all the mess I had made and sweeping up round the the shelf that used to hold the batteries but now store all that stuff that doesn't go in the boat. old oil, empty containers to but the next oil change into, bigger fenders, paints and cleaners etc. I then tested everything and all seemed well and that was another job done.

Friends Reunited.

Yesterday we stayed on the mooring until after the omnibus edition of the Archer's. It was a lovely wedding of Ed and Emma with the reconciliation of brothers William and Ed. However I did think it was a bit weird that they wanted an ex husband of Emma (one of the brothers) to be best man of the other brother! It also meant that by the time we left the rain had long gone and it had warmed up too. As it was Bank Holiday weekend there were quite a few boats moving about. We had to wait a while at Wolverley Lock and a much shorter wait at Wolverley Court Lock.

This looks like and original cast iron bridge with the name and number cast into it. I have never seen this before and I am also a little surprised that the Bridge number has stayed the same. I also see that it has the split bridge for the passage of a horse rope but the more recent rails prevent its use now.

Helen was going home from Kidderminster so I was wondering where the best berth for me would be. It seems like most towns people tell you that it is not a good idea to stay there due to unspecified trouble that has befallen so unknown persons. However we did meet a couple that had spent over five days there as the wife had been taken ill and had no problems. Therefor we stopped on the moorings near to Sainsbury's car park where there are rings. It is very quiet and I get any sun there is from about 1100. Once we had got settled we had a phone call and then expected a visit from our friends Chris and Cyd. They had never been to the boat before and it was great to see them both looking so well after a long period of ill health and other problems. We chewed the fat for a few hours aboard before adjourning to the King and Castle which is the Refreshment Room for the Severn Valley Steam Railway. The Batham's Bitter went down very well.

King and Castle Refreshment Room pub on the Severn Valley Railway Station.

It was great to see them both and doing so well. We have also started the ball rolling for a reunion of all the lads and lasses that were with the rugby team that we played for in the good old days.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Walking round Wolverley.

It rained in the night and the last forecast I heard read said that it was supposed to be wet this morning. As it happened we woke up to a lovely sunny day. Once up and fed Helen went off to be some veg and salad whilst I did the usual jobs. The sun had largely gone when we set off but it was still and warm. There were plenty of people on the towpath, but not too many boats on the canal.

The lovely gardens coming down to the canal at Whittington Horse Bridge.

The canal follows the course of the River Stour as it wends it's way over it's flood plain close to the eastern side of it's flood plain where it butts up to the sandstone escarpment.

Helen happy that she has managed to miss Austcliff Rock.

At Cookley the canal can no longer follow the cliffs so it dives through the 65 yard long Cookley Tunnel with the houses perched on top. I'm glad that the tunnel was dry as if the roof was dripping I would have thought about the plumbing above!

Just round the corner from the tunnel is Debdale Lock which is made very photogenic by the sandstone, oh and Helen too.

The greens are very green at the moment. I expect that in the autumn the colours will be fantastic too.

We stopped before Wolverley Lock. At the lock there was loads of people using the tea rooms and pub. After lunch we went to the tea room to have an ice cream, for pudding. We then had a walk around the village, via the Italianate St John The Baptist Church. We walked around the footpaths and saw some lovely houses.

On the road from the church these houses appear to be built into the cutting of the sandstone. The bedding layers of the sand that was laid down in warm shallow seas are clear to see. There are layers that have more pebbles in them and some that are different colours etc.

This is the Old Court House that is now a private house but was a school in 1629. It then was used as council offices as well as a court house.

We pooped in to the Queens Head in the centre of the village to find a limited range of beer. Mind, I still tried a pint of Banks's Bitter before going for a walk down by the river and back along the tow path. We thought we would try the Lock Inn. Again the choice of beer was limited so I settled for an Oxford Gold from Brakspear. I think we need to turn round and go back to the Black Country for a good pint.

St John the Baptist is built on a sandstone out laying rock so that you have to go uphill how ever you approach it. There was a lady cleaning when we go there but there are some some nice shields and plaques in the church with galleries on both sides. It certainly has a prominent position in the landscape.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Cruising to Kinver.

Other than the talkative angler who chatted to his girl friend until 0230 it was a very quiet mooring. We were off before 1000 and heading to Wordsley Junction and there head down the the Stourbridge Canal. It is a lovely stretch of canal and was nice and peaceful to today.

All these horses can't like butter as they had left the butter cups!

The last of the Stourton Locks where the Stourbridge Canal joins the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal  with the signpost at the bottom. We turned left.

We stopped just before Stewponey Lock to take on water but couldn't find the rubbish skips anywhere. The Toll House seemed to have no function today. Maybe it is only a matter of time!

The round spill washes on the Staffs. and Worcester are often this round type which look very different.

 Helen coming do/wn the horse tunnel from Stewpony Lock.

The very short, 25 yd, Dunsley Tunnel through the red sandstone ridge.

We stopped at the services before Kinver Lock to drop the rubbish off and were soon on the move again. The church of St. Peter's overlooks the town from the Kinver Edge.

After mooring up and having lunch we wandered in to the town to do a little shopping. We then decided to go for a bit of a walk to find the rock houses at Holy Austin Rock.

These houses were lived in until the 1960's. In 1841 there were eleven families living in them. The National Trust took them on after they were finished with as they had no proper sanitation, although they did have mains gas and water. From here we wandered up to the top of the Edge and the views were fantastic.

Helen was amazed at this view with so many trees and 'random' hills and no pylons and wind turbines. But she is from Hull and there are no hills to get any views from! From Kinver Edge we walked down toward the town and the Church.

This is the view from St. Peter's Church. It really dominates the skyline.

Once we got down to canal level we decided to go for a pint at the Vine just by the canal bridge. Tried the local beers Enville and Kinver and it was very pleasant too. I dashed for some chips whilst Helen got the rest of the tea ready and now we are stuffed.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Hidden gems.

Helen had to take something back that she had bought yesterday so we decided to get some stuff from Sainsbury's. We eventually got away just before 100.

Helen says that Merry Hill is a good shopping centre and you can't deny that it is handy for the moorings.

It isn't very far before the Delph Locks. If they were any where like Foxton, or more rural, people would come for the day to see boats go up and down them as they are quite spectacular in an understated way as the canal plunges 85 ft down. the hill.

The narfrow locks have side pounds to store a bit of the water. After the first lock is this building that looks like an old stable for boat horses.

Every lock was against us until the bottom where we swapped with an up bound boat. The side pound weirs make a spectacular sight when they are cascading over. We made good time despite all the locks bar one being against us and we were down in 1hr 20mins for the eight locks.

There was a short break after the Delph Locks at the bottom of which the Dudley No.1 Canal becomes the Stourbridge Canal. We then got to  Leys Junction where the remains of the Extension Canal turns right but we head left right to the top of the 16 lock Stourbridge Locks. Towards the middle the locks get closermand it becomes very pretty indeed. Above is a contender for the shortest pond on the system. It looks as though it could be a staircase, but isn't. Notice also the cantilever bridge with the gap for the rope.

After the 'staircase' we got a lovely view of the Red House Cone of the glass factory. Before that can be seen the wooden shed known as Dadford's Shed. This is a little boat yard with a little arm servicing it.

Just by the Dadford's Dock is the group of hoiuses. The one that looks like a pub isn't. It is the Dock off sales and a general store. It was shut when we passed so I'm not sure that it is open any more.

Helen passing the Stweart Crystal Factory shop at the Red Cone Bottle kiln. 

At the next lock it was good to see that all the old warehouses are being converted to apartments, and next to them is an area of new housing being built. As we passed down the lock a few of the builders watched. I noticed that there was loads of scaffolding about so I cheekily asked if they had a 6' scaffolding plank as I wanted to make a bench out of it. They quickly produced one and stowed it aboard. As one of them said 'if you don't ask, you don't get'!

At the bottom of the sixteen locks it was hard left and on to the Stourbridge Town Arm. We were heading to the end for some water and a mooring.

We had to ask a fisherman to move so we could get water and once full we headed to the end of the arm to wind opposite the Bonded Store that is home to the Stourbridge Navigation Trust. Once winded we found a mooring at the very end of the first stretch after a boat moved up a little for us.

Once we were moored up we headed to town as we needed some milk and I was gagging for a pint after all the locks in the sun. We headed for the Royal Exchange, a Batham's Pub. The beer was absolutely nectar and slipped down in no time. They only do two beers, bitter and mild and a festive brew at Christmas. I felt I had to try the mild and that too was beautiful. The beer was very well kept and the atmosphere in the pub was great. There was singing going on and nattering abckwards and forwards. A proper pub.