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Sunday, 8 January 2017

Fixed Costs for 2016

Our fixed costs for 2014/15/16 were as follows;

                                                  2016                                                    2015            2014
CRT Licence                          870-42                                                   856-70         833-38
Insurance                                212-91                                                   232-64        198-19
RCR Bronze                           126-00                                                   126-00        126-00
BSS                                        165-00    Insurance for Severn Estuary   30-00
Avon Licence                           50-00    Severn Pilotage                      190-00
Thames 2 wk licence             122-00    Bristol Licence                         29-75
Wey-Basingstoke transit            7-00    Thames transit Licence            39-00  
Basingstoke licence                 40-00
Basingstoke-Wey Transit           7-00
Wey licence 1 week                 58-00
Thames transit                          10-00                                                                                   
TOTAL                                1668-33    TOTAL                                1504-09       1157-57

I think the first thing that I notice from the above figures is that we seem to be getting a little more adventurous as the extra fees for pilots and licences has grown each year. This year we have had the cost of the BSS Certificate otherwise it would have been a cheaper year. The best value seems to be the RCR who haven't put their price up over the years and I think it is pegged for this year too. That is despite them having their offices burned down. We have only used their services once and that is when we were in Birmingham in May. The engine wouldn't start as there was no power to the starter etc, despite everything seeming to be okay. They came very quickly and after a very through look over things and trying the obvious first, and whittling them down, it was traced to the battery isolation switch. It had been 'chattering' and the copper contact had burned lower and so, despite being in the closed position was not making contact. He soon sorted it all and having tided up bits of electrical wiring etc  he left with my grateful thanks ringing in his ears.

It was the weekend that daughter Amy and Joe had come for the weekend. They were all dispatched to the shops and by the time they were back we were ready for cruising.
We made our way to the Black Country Museum via the Old Main Line level and saw the new Dudley Tunnel visitor centre. We did have a look round and it all looks very nice indeed. The Tunnel trust seems to have big plans  to develop the system further and make it more spectacular. I would love to be able to take 'Holderness' through, but I think we will be way to big, and I expect I am getting a bit old for all that legging as no diesel craft are allowed through.

I love being able to pop in at the close of the day and get some pictures whilst there is nobody there. It makes them look like they are 'real' places and not in a museum.

There is a great big stack of these cast iron chimney pots in the museum. It makes you wonder how cheap they must have been to be able to compete with clay. Maybe Kim and Tracey on the Little Chimney Co. boat could replicate them? 

We returned to Birmingham via the new Main Line and said goodbye to No.1 daughter but soon had more visitors who we took on a jaunt round the Icknield Port Loop. As there is no tow path round the canal and that although the factories etc have been demolished no work has been done to transform the area into a new village within a city. The trees and shrubs have grown up and it looks like you could be on a river like the Avon.

Now housing Sherborne Wharf's offices and facilities, among numerous other enterprises the old round house is looking very well. The alcoves were for storing coal and minerals that had been transported by narrow boat for onward transport around the city. The pub next door has some good live music on, for all tastes so is good to check out when you re in Birmingham.

From Birmingham we headed down the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, through the Worcester Bar in Gas Street Basin. I bet the old boaters used to curse having to unload their cargoes just to transport it over the bar just because of the canal companies not being able to reach agreement over water etc. We stopped at Bournville and walked in to the Cadbury village. We resisted going to the shop and had a lovely walk around. The above is Selly Manor that was moved to this site if I remember correctly. It seems like a film set for the Borrowers or English Hobbits or something.

When we reached King's Norton Junction we turned left on to the Stratford upon Avon Canal and passed through the famous old guillotine stop lock. We passed on down in cuttings with the odd road passing but it would be hard to tell from the canal that you were really travelling through the suburbs. This fox taking the sun by the tow path reinforces the feeling.

We stopped for a day after doing just four of the Lapworth Locks and went to have a day out at Packwood House which was a short walk away. It was beautiful and the grounds were good too. The yew trees are one of it's features and I'm glad I don't have to clip them every year.


  1. When i saw the "chimney pots" this summer i came to the same conclusion as you. But now i'm not so sure. My guess is that the cast iron "chimney pots" are in fact bases for the poles which supported the tram wires. Look at the symbol cast into the bases. What do you think?

    1. Hi Graham, now you point it out it is obvious! I have a quick look on Google to see if I could find the symbol. I thought it may be the tunnel or mining company with a wheel in the tunnel entrance, then a railway company as it looks like a sparking wheel in a bent rail, but then thought why would they need lamp posts or the like. Then it would seem certain that it would be a tram way as they would need the posts to suspend the electric wire, the sparking wheel as it is electrically powered and the bent rail as it will go all round the streets. To be honest I was never confident that they were chimney pots as they would be far too heavy for the roof, and demolish the building if they ever came down, as well as too expensive. Thanks for putting me straight.