Thursday 31 March 2016

River Calder - Flood conditions...

Sorry - you many be wondering why I'm blogging at 7.00am on a school day - I'm going to the hospital shortly for another MRI scan on my back ... I had a discectomy a few years ago which ended many years of back pain... unfortunately, the offending disk has gone awol again, so it looks like another op - IF they'll do it.  I hate the scanner - I KNOW it doesn't hurt at all, but I'm a bit claustrophobic at the best of times... time to conjure up some happy thoughts!

ANYWAY - after working most of the bank holiday weekend, I stamped my feet on Monday and decided I was having the day off...  I shouldn't have to exert myself in this way but as you may have gathered, all isn't rosy in the world of restorations - ironic really given the mere job title, conjurers up gentle episodes of Lovejoy.

The weather on Monday morning was of course typical bank holiday weather - storm Kate (since when did we start naming storms in this country?) - (and WHO decided we would ?) had been doing her worst overnight by the looks of the amount of water in the garden.

NOT deterred, we donned our weatherproofs expensive clothes that claim to be weather proof, and took off for a walk - with route undecided.

As usual, when we just set off, we invariably end up walking either by river, canal or round a couple of reservoirs.  Monday was no exception - as you can see from the Endomondo route.

Wind and rain a aide, it was a mostly bright walking day - our route took us along roads to start with - skirting round the side of Pugneys lake and then off to Durkar the back way - dull walking but quiet enough.

We used to live in the little semi rural village of Calder Grove - it sits above "Broad Cut" on the Calder and Hebble Navigation.  This poor area suffered badly during the Boxing day flooding.  The canal is often overwhelmed by the  river Calder which runs along side.  For some reason I didn't take my camera out of my pocket until AFTER we'd walked over the bridge, passing the (still closed due to flooding) Navigation Pub - for what it's worth, if you ignore the Trip Adviser warnings it's a nice enough place ... ok so it's NOT the cleanest looking - inside or out but we've never been poisoned or had a bad pint there...  I'd give them a call to check whether they are open if you intend calling in - I found this handy list of pubs and contact details which may be useful.

Just after the pub we came across this pile of old gates which have been replaced during the recent stoppages.

As we went around the corner to cross the river via "Freddy Cruger bridge" - I took a snap underneath.  You can see how much more water there was in compared to usual but nowhere near as much as there was in the Christmas floods - if you zoom in, you can see how high in the trees the debris remains - I wonder how long it will stay there until the wind sends it somewhre elese?

from the other side, you can see how perilous the bank side  property is - in recent years, they've gradually been building barricades to try and protect themselves from the river... not with much success judging by the ever increasing piles of earth we saw further downstream.

A few hundred yards further down the river, you can see the new lock landing CRT have put in place.  The old one... the one that is in a useful place just before the lock onto Broad Cut is about had it - This new one looks sturdy enough but 2 things spring to mind... Firstly, Folk will not use it as it's a pain give you have to go past the lock - moor up and then allow yourself to drift back into the river and have another go at getting in the lock - in fact on our last walk up here we saw 2 boats still using the old one!  Secondly, I can't help but thing by (for want of a better word) braying the supports into the small island which separates Broad cut from the river, this will have weakened an already narrow bit of land, increasing the vulnerability of the entire cutting.  I suppose someone, somewhere knows what they are doing.... ?

Bear in mind when looking at this photo, that on Boxing day, the river lever was over the top here .  The lock cottage garden was washed away - along with their chicken run.  A lovely pretty place to live when the sun is shining but not somewhere to be when mother nature is having a tantrum!

The river was still within her banks but as you can see, she didn't have much room to manoeuvre...

At Thornes Flood lock, the gates were firmly closed as you might imagine...  that didn't matter on Boxing day though as the river simply went straight over them!

With a bit of luck, the weather will be kinder this coming weekend and we  can do the walk in reverse and have a wander down the private moorings area to see if there's anyone out and about to chat with.

Until next time...

Tuesday 29 March 2016


Yes - I know I'm blowing hot and cold at the moment... one minute I'm moaning about lazy teenagers, the next I've skipped to fridges - even I can't come up with a tenuous link for this one!

No matter...

Fridges - or rather Fridge-freezers...  We've a bit of a conundrum here... in that usually, when there's something requiring consideration, a combination of "googling" or asking advice is enough to come up with a definitive answer - Unfortunately, this is another "pump-out verses cassette" type discussion!

What IS the question? - well, it's whether to have a 12vdc or 230vac Fridge-Freezer on board Ellis.

I'll try and explain...On the boat, having something that relies on a 230vac electricity supply being available 24/7 means leaving the inverter on all the time.    In theory you can leave it running 24 hours a day and this will provide the power required to run a fridge-freezer.  Doing so poses a bit of a problem, in that just having an inverter powered on, uses some power - even when the fridge-freezer isn't actually drawing any... so an appliance like this A+ rated one
which purports to use 204khw per year will use MORE when the power is provided by an inverter.

  Normally, this  equates to: 204kwh per year, (204000wh) /365/12 = 46.575ah per day... except that it doesn't when run from an inverter... you need to factor in quiescent current and inverter efficiency too SO the above equation actually becomes something closer to: 204kwh  per year, (204000wh)/365/10= 55.89ah per day.

Now, if you were to have a 12v applicance such as this one:  you could expect a daily power consumption of
50.2ah -  Which is a daily saving of 5.49ah ... 

 Not a massive saving at face value, but when you consider in order to  replace this energy used generally means putting back MORE in the recharging process than was taken out in the first place.

 This in turn leads to longer and more frequent charging cycles of the battery bank.  ADD to that the "risk" of needing to have the inverter powered up all the time - it's quite common for cheaper inverters to overheat and set fire to boats... To counter this perceived risk, quite often that means you need to spend more on a better quality inverter...

SO  - a 12v appliance SHOULD be a no brainer shouldn't it? - Well it would be were it not for the cost of the 12v one - if you've clicked on the link you'll already be aware  - if not ... please, sit down.  A 12v fridge-freezer similar to the 230vac one above (costing circa £149) is £598.00

As a result, many folk would rather save the money on the fridge and use it to buy diesel to run their engines to charge their batteries.  It's all relative though, as doing so ALSO increases the frequency of oil changes etc.

Conclusion? - I dunno...  perhaps we'll toss a coin when we go to crick show in May...  at the moment, we're still heading down the 12v route  but as you may have gathered... we're fickle at the best of times :-)

until next time...

Sunday 27 March 2016

Exhausted Youngsters...

I can't believe it's Easter already. The year is just flying by now... although not quickly enough for our liking - It's a little over 2 months now since we placed the order for the boat...  THAT side of life, feels to be going much slower.

You may remember a short while ago I had a little rant about losing spring and summer to "work" - well the first proper casualty to  this project has been Easter.  We're already working Saturdays in a bid to try and meet the delivery dates...  Well Good Friday and Easter Saturday have been stolen to the project too.

We tried to make the best of things though by going up to my dad's to collect the final batch of cars he and my neice have been spraying for the Brooklands ride.  Rather nice I'm sure you'll agree and it's good to get them all safely on the shelving ready for when I get the chassis completed.

I'm a bit brassed off about it as you might gather because, being salaried, I don't get any additional money for doing additional hours - I never have done... I "simply" have to put in whatever time is necessary to get the job done.  This irks me each and every time I look up at work, to find the "lads" texting their nearest and dearest - multiple times each hour during the working day whilst THEY are getting paid by the hour...

I'm even MORE narked at the moment because yesterday morning - 3.54 am to be precise - the "new lad apprentice" sent me a text message saying " Hi mate . I'm not feeling too well...'think I'm over exhausted and currently throwing up"

This was followed by another a minute or so later saying"but it's Easter so shouldn't be too much a problem?"

This "kid" (19 year old) is only in week 4 of his 3 month trial - and whilst I accept Easter Saturday was an optional extra day for him... it was already his second no show.... the first being last week when his "dog had puppies".   WHAT are you to do? - I know things are different these days, but back when I began full time work (27 years ago eeek) I had to wait 6 months before I was allowed to take a days holiday... and I certainly wouldn't have dared contact my boss at 4am to say I was exhausted,,,  ffs, HOW on earth can a 19 year old be exhausted after just 3 weeks working?  IT's not even as if the kid has even gotten out of 1st gear yet either.

HOW do you motivate someone to get off their lazy arse and work faster ? - we don't subscribe to bullying or ridiculing but when you've already tried "carrot over stick", what do you do next?

The amusing part to this is that I keep hearing myself saying... or at least 'thinking' - "when I was his age, I had a full time AND part time job, dashing around fitting in a social life which would include, gym visits, ten-pin bowling, ice-skating and swimming...  the youth of today!"

OH dear - this has turned into another rant - when I got up (5.45am as normal - even on Easter Sunday) I HAD intended to write about 12v  boat electrics... I'm not in the mood for that now.  Perhaps a strong coffee and bacon sarny will put me back on track.


I'm racking my brains what photo I can post to accompany this entry in the diary...

AS I don't have one of 19 year olds being lazy, I've looked back to more jovial times and picked one of us looking smart on our last Scandinavian cruise - I still write to the old bird in the centre (ish)...She's called Valerie and personality wise, she's a doppelgänger of Pam Ayres... our table was usually the last to leave the restaurant as a result.

That was back in the days when we could afford... or rather justify "cruises".  They're on stop now until we have finished paying for the boat.

HAPPY EASTER everyone.

Until next time...

Wednesday 23 March 2016

My new Wellies...

Now then folks - yes, I know new wellies don't have a lot  to do with boating as such but I wanted to share them with you.

Introducing "The original Muck Boot Company's" best product:

Muck boots.

I bought these on the recommendation of an American lady who's weekly newsletter I read...  she swears by them.   Having walked over 6 miles in their inaugural outing - I have to agree with her.

They have to be the most comfortable, warm wellies I've ever owned... they need to be mind at a few pence short of 100 quid in my size!

YES - I know that's steep for wellies but trust me - it is money well spent.  The liner is a one piece moulding, made from the stuff wet-suits are made from.  In short, it's lovely.  The operating temperature range is minus 30 degrees c to plus 10.

IT was just above freezing on Sunday morning when I road-tested these... we did another section of the Wakefield Way - walk number 2 this time.

Starting from the car park at Newmillerdam the walk takes you around 1 side of the lake and into the woods

The saunter didn't really warrant my new wellies yet but it was nice not to worry about what I was standing in - the walk being a favourite haunt of local dog walkers...  

After the lake, it took us into the woods and then across a planted field.  ME being a country boy, felt obliged to walk around the perimeter... others are NOT so noble as you can see from the photo.

I know that the public right of way IS across the field... and that at some point in the past, there would have been a hedgerow here but farmers DO have to make a living so it's easier on my conscience to walk around than across - I'll leave the other walkers to make up their own minds.

Once across (round in our case) this field, the walk took us across another one... having done this walk a while back however, we knew it was a bit pointless going UP - as in about 300 yards (298 metres - ish for our European counterparts) you come back down on yourself and cross the beck again.

Taking the route along side the beck, did mean I could make proper use of the new foot wear...  perfect!

I'm not sure if you can see from the photos, but "someone" has been making a good effort of clearing out the beck and sides... presumably to prevent this property along side further up from flooding.  WE came across this lovely hamlet alongside the beck ... given the new drainage that appeared to be mid installation, the dredging/clearance was long overdue.

The right of way, sneaked behind the houses and through a couple of fields, into a planted up field...  100 bonus points if anyone reading can tell me what is growing - I'll give you a clue ... Wakefield is famous for it's "triangle"...

The route took us on to the golf course - it's quite a long way across, watching out for balls coming your way... I don't think the players appreciate walkers much but we were courteous none the less.

When we exited the course, we came down the hill and back to the starting point at Newmillerdam.

I'm not sure if you can make out the route from the map, but I've posted a screen shot of the Endomondo record.  

btw- I don't hold with "apps" for the sake of them but I've been using this one from Endomondo for a few years now - it's free (or rather the version I use is) and it maps your walking/running/cycling etc using your phone's's very useful for recording how far you walk and calories burned etc.

Just over 6 miles in new wellies... perfect.

Until next time...

Sunday 20 March 2016

Electric - Part 3... Availablilty of power.

This whole "electric" topic is boring me now - I'm surprised if anyone is still with me here.... *taps on screen*

The trouble with the topic is that it really is rather vast.  I'm not  even touching the surface with my considerations here but like I've said before, this blog thing is more of a "diary/working notes" production for my own future reference... it's nice to have your  company along the way or course but I'm hoping it will help me when we finally have the boat to work on... as a revision list of things we need to do or consider.

Anyway - this is my final "note" for now on the subject.... possibly ;-)

Right then - Availability of power.

On a boat, the electric you use HAS to come from somewhere when you are not plugged in to shore power.  When the engine is not running, this is from the battery bank.

You may remember, when we placed the order for the boat, we beefed up the standard bank from 440ah to 540ah.  Not a massive increase - a usable 50ah.  I can't recall whether I've waffled on about this before but in simple terms the capacity of the battery bank is NOT it's "usable capacity".  

Actually this isn't true of ALL batteries but given ours will be (this time at any rate) the typical LEAD ACID type, it will be on board Ellis.

Let me explain about "Lead Acid"batteries - It is typically considered wise to use just 30% – 50% of the rated capacity of typical lead acid “Deep Cycle” batteries. This means that a 600 amp hour battery bank in practice only provides, at best, 300 amp hours of real capacity.

If you even occasionally drain the batteries more than this their life will be drastically cut short.

Even if you are going easy on your batteries and are careful to never overly drain them, even the best deep cycle lead acid batteries are typically only good for 500-1000 cycles. If you are frequently going deeper into your battery bank, this could mean that your batteries may need replacement after less than 2 years use.

Given it's unlikely OUR batteries will be the best quality deep cycle ones, you can see why it's important NOT to use too much power before you charge them back up - even then, as the final 20% of lead acid battery capacity can not be “fast” charged. The first 80% can be “Bulk Charged” by a smart three-stage charger quickly (particularly AGM batteries can handle a high bulk charging current), but then the “Absorption” phase begins and the charging current drops off dramatically.

This isn't a big deal if you are charging plugged in overnight, but it is a huge issue if you have to leave your engine running for hours (which can be rather noisy and expensive).so you can easily end up with batteries that never actually get fully charged.

Not fully charging the final few percent would not be much of a problem in practice, if it wasn't for the fact that a failure to regularly fully charge lead acid batteries prematurely ages them - thus reducing the cycles significantly.

SO in our case, we'll only have a "usable" battery capacity of 270ah. It sounded a lot to begin with but when you begin to look at power consumption, it soon gets used up.

Which leads us to a whole other topic for consideration - An ENERGY AUDIT... luckily for you dear reader, I'll save that one for another day - not so much for your sake as mine, as having started looking at it - I'm scared.

Suffice to say - that as I'm more hands on than theory, the photo below provides an insight to where this topic will lead.

When it "warmed up" a little, you can see the reading increased to 

(ignore my right toe please) - 1.71amp - THIS is quite low compared to many appliances... we bought the lowest consumption quoted TV we could find.

AND even on standby, just being plugged in, the 12v TV  (I'll come to that in another post) STILL draws

Oh dear... if you weren't already asleep - I can see the 'Sandman' heading your way... QUICK - hide!

Until next time...

Friday 18 March 2016

Electric - Part 2... Galvanic Isolation

Sorry about yesterday... it had been a long, tiring and stressful driving day - dumped on me at short notice.  It did nothing to ease my back which is really bad at the moment but such is life.


Lots of people pretend there is no need for a galvanic isolator on their boat - citing they will never use shore power.

We may well be the same but future proofing is something we're keen to do.  After our first winter on the cut, we may well decide to take a winter mooring in a marina and hunker down during the worst of it... taking advantage of shore power to make life that bit easier.

With that in mind, we're going to fit a galvanic isolator to the boat.    They come in various shapes and forms:

WHAT DOES IT DO? (I hear you ask)...

The short answer is that it protects your sacrificial anodes and hull from corrosion caused by stray electric currents.

The longer answer however is that when you plug into mains shore power, the cable you use has 3 internal cables: A live, a neutral & an earth wire. Thearth wire goes to the shore power bollard where it is physically connected to the ground.   Neighbouring boats also use the same earth connection. This effectively connects all the boats together via the earth cables in the shore power leads.

In your boat the shore power earth lead goes to your electrical consumer unit & then to all metal components such as the engine block, fuel tanks, shafts/ propellers etc & then finally connects to your anodes. Unfortunately as all the boats are now interconnected via the earth cables any voltage leaks or "galvanically" generated voltages have an easy path between the boats. This often results in rapid loss of sacrificial anodes & increased corrosion of all underwater metals. If the boat next to you does not have anodes he won't worry: He is using yours!

To control this problem we need to install a galvanic isolator in the earth wire as it comes to our boat. The isolator is an electronic switch which is "Turned off "... This stops any low level damaging voltages from entering our vessel & protects our anodes, underwater metals AND  in the case of an electrical short circuit on board, the isolator immediately "turns on" connecting us to earth for safety.

IT's another expense that we could avoid or delay, but I'm happier getting things "right" from the start.

I've run out of time again  - part 3 to follow.

Until next time...

Thursday 17 March 2016

13.5 hours driving today....

Wakefield... to Boston... to Margate... and back to Wakefield ... in a long wheel base van with queues of traffic everywhere - ergo, "Electric part 2" will have to wait until tomorrow night  as I've an appointment with the hot-tub and a can of beer!

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Electric - Part 1...230VAC

Mains Power...

When we were kids, we were told that electric power from the mains was 240VAC  This used to be the case.  The rest of western Europe was 220VAC.   As you might guess,  in a bid to conform, we now have what is known as 230VAC – which is a bit of a misnomer … 230VAC doesn’t actually exist anywhere unless you create's a "blend" to cover the range so to speak.

I can vouch that the power coming into our house from the grid was recorded recently by the chap who did our solar panel survey – ( as 251VAC.

Incidentally, we ended up with a 4KW system that we’re very happy with.  The installer is a small “Christian” company and whilst I don’t have any strong opinions on that either way, he DID do exactly what he said he would, when he said he’d do it and didn't make any silly claims… unlike the rest of the folk who came to quote… oh and despite the electrician falling out of the loft and cutting himself badly, everything was up and running the same day... he even cleaned up the lost blood and finished the job, before taking himself off to A & E .... I'd have taken him of course but as it happened, I had to leave them a key to get on with it as I was working down in Margate at the time…

Sorry – back to the point…  ON the boat, in addition to the 12VDC, we’re also going to need “mains -230VAC” power to run the Washing machine, microwave, *dishwasher  and whatever else we think we can’t live without. 
*still in the consultation phase ;-)

As we’re NOT going to be moored in one place for long, relying on Shore power full time isn't an option… or rather isn't the ONLY option  SO we’re going to install a large pure-sinewave inverter as well as have a shoreline connection.

Shore power btw,  is simply a way of getting power from the mainland to the boat via a cable which connects to the boat's "ring main"...  It uses the same kind of 3 pin weatherproof connectors that are used in caravans etc:

IT's an easy way of providing power to a "static" boat.  Quite often you see boats moored up (especially residential ones) and plugged in to the mains... it's an easy way of living and means you don't need to run your engine to charge your batteries or heat water - assuming you've a 1kw immersion heater in your calaroifier).

Inverters are boxes that convert 12vdc electric power into 230vac electric power

I won't reinvent the wheel here by explaining it fully but if you do want to know "how" it's done, it's explained fully here:

They come in 2 guises: Quasi /modified sine wave and Pure sine wave.  

In simplistic terms, quasi electric is a bit rough... with 'square' waves rather than nice curvy ones...

Lots of devices will happily run using electric produced with a modified sine wave - however digital devices... especially modern washing machines and microwaves quite often wont.  You've also got to bear in mind the continuous and surge ratings...   

We thought about buying a Quasi Sine wave inverter but have decided to spend twice the amount (again) and go straight for the biggest Pure Sine wave we can afford - working on the principle it would be just our luck the washer wouldn't work and we'd end up having to waste money buying a pure sine one anyway...

Introducing the planned inverter/charger (more about that later)

It can provide 3kw of power continuously and 6kw for a short period...  It's expensive but should be enough for us.  

You can get cheap ones from ebay and they might do the job - however they might also be rubbish quality and set the boat on fire ... it's not worth the risk so despite the fact it hurts to spend so much money, that takes an awful lot of earning, we're consoling ourself with the the old saying "buy cheap, buy twice".

Remind me once we get the boat on the water to upload my planned "ring main" drawings...  for such a small space, we do seem to have allowed for lots of power outlets -  that's as a result of never feeling there were enough on hire boats so making a conscious decision to make ours the way WE want it... it'll add to the cost a little but in the scheme of things (given we can't afford MOST of it anyway) that's how it's going to roll lol.

Until next time...

Sunday 13 March 2016

Waterways guides & our first Windlass...

Yesterday was a big day for us.

Our first Windlass arrived thanks to Ebay (other auction sites are available - apparently)...

Isn't she beautiful?  - Those of you with good eyesight may notice the plastic revolving handly bit is scratched to buggery.  That's not down to poor post and packaging no... it's due to the fact she's second hand - I'm afraid the Yorkshire man in me (usually quite well suppressed) came out and I refused to spend twice the money on a new one!  On this occasion however, it wasn't totally fiscally related... for whatever reason, I actually find it exiting to think of the journeys it's already been on... the balmy summer days going through the Greenberfield Locks on the Leeds & Liverpool... or a misty autumn morning heading down into Braunston.

Of course she COULD have been yogged at a spouse in anger, knocking some poor buggar into the canal killing them! - er, perhaps we'll stick with the more romantic possibilities for now ;-)

Yesterday ALSO marked the final acquisition of Nicholson's Waterways Guides too:

We'd been waiting for the re-print/updated Book 1 which covers the Grand Union, Oxford and the South East - or to be frank... LONDON.   For months, new copies just werent available...  you could buy a 2nd one on Ebay for silly money - I spotted one being advertised with a buy- it-now price of £100... Only a daft desperate Londoner would pay that amount... I suppose it was a case of supply and demand governing the price.  AS we were simply completing our collection, we were happy to wait for WHSmiths to send it when it came available... 

You'll note the price on the rear.  Yep -  they are a bit steep...  which got me thinking about prices in the past.  Looking through our collection of Canal paraphernalia (read books - get it?)... there are few older ones kicking about.  
  and an earlier one still: 

Andy's dad actually gave us a load of books/leafleets hes collected over the years...  I'm slowly working my way through them.

George (the cat) didn't come with them - he's just having one of his Sunday morning "I'll sit where I like cause it's my house" moments...

History didn't used to interest me if I'm honest... I suppose, the older you get, and thus become PART of it, a new found respect is inevitable !

Until next time...

Thursday 10 March 2016

Waterway Recovery Group...

Right then... GIVEN we've been saving every penny we can for the last 6 years... AND now have to cobble together an awful lot of money later in the year to pay for the boat, I was thinking...  HOW can we have a cheap holiday or 2 this year?

In the "old days" we'd book a cruise on a massive ocean liner and pretend to be rich for a couple of weeks.  More recently, we've hired a narrowboat from various places and "played" at being boaters.

Even that is expensive when things are so tight - AND with my employment teetering on the edge of tolerance, we decided to think outside the box...

What we came up with was/is a Canal Camp.   I sent off for some information from the Waterway Recovery Group and today it arrived.

NOW - given I've got a bad back   (I have a prolapsed disc that's been operated on once but needs doing again) the plan is to ignore my weaknesses, TAKE the gabapentin & Oxycodone and just get on with it.,,  that was until I read more about it.

The idea is quite good.  You browse the brochure... pick a working group that tickles your fancy and then express an interest.  Next is paying the fee £63... and for this you get food, accommodation and even transport... along with some safety gear (although you DO have to provide your own steel toe-capped fotwear) - all in exchange for your free labour.

We were quite up for doing one until we spotted the accommodation provided:

  "Most accommodation  is in village halls, sports clubs or similar.  Although it doesn't usually include beds, you can expect electricity, toilets and dry, draught-free sleeping areas!  Access to a hot shower will be provided at the end of each working day."

Andy doesn't seem too keen now and to be frank, neither do I if I'm honest lol.

WE do agree however, that had we been younger and known about them, we might have joined in - I bet there's a lot of fun to be had.

What we might do, is wait a while - until we're living on the boat full time and then try and find one where we can join in but retire to our boat of an evening instead of crashing on a floor!  IT's one thing to be 'down with the kids' but quite another to be on the floor with them!

It's not for us.

IF you do know a young person (they tend to be the ones shuffling a long, glued to their phones on Tinder *Other dating apps are available*, please show them this link and suggest it might be a laugh.

... we'll send them the £63 anyway which will hopefully be more use than 2 middle-aged puffs would be!

Oh to be young again!

Until next time...

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Chantry Chapel of St Mary (Bridge Chapel)

I've lived in Wakefield knocking on 14 years now...  Andy came to join me about 10 years ago.  It's a nice enough West Yorkshire City - actually, that's a disservice....  it IS a nice City.  Like anywhere, it's got its good and bad parts - the people however are generally down to earth, WYSIWYG types... and I like them.

One of the first things "a stranger" will notice about West/South Yorkshire folk is that the older blokes call EVERYONE: "love" first, being a bloke called "love" by another bloke seems strange but you soon stop noticing it.

It's a nice thing.  There's something warming about an old bloke calling you love - it's impossible to be offended by it.

Anyway-  walking back from the open day at Fall Ings lock on Sunday, we took the old bridge over the river Calder - passing the Chapel on it.

Even though we've lived here ages, it's the first time we've ever stopped and looked at it.  When you get closer, you can  see the faces carved in stone... I never knew they were there -even though  I drive to work each morning passing it on the new bridge.

I don't recognise any of them - do you?

It must have been quite scary here on Boxing day evening when the river reached it's highest ever recorded level -  you can see by the rubbish in the trees how high it got:

Having taken our first "proper" look at it, it seemed appropriate to google it - you can read about it here if you'd like to:  There is also a video if you have 18 minutes spare.

Speaking (well writing) about boxing day floods, we were reminded how close the new bridge came to disaster when we crossed the road towards the Hepworth...  It was closed for a while due to a hydro electric generating unit balancing on the weir which was washed away.  

I took a couple of photos of it  but they're not very good - basically, it's STILL balancing on the weir with a big rope half securing it...  it'll be a pain to recover.

It's a pity it didn't some how smash into and demolish the ugly Hepworth building...  Sorry if that offends anyone but it STILL remains an eyesore in my opinion... I know it attracts visitors from far and wide to the town (which is a good thing) but for "most" of us locals, it's just an ugly building.

We took Andy's  youngest nephew there a while back and whilst they all do a sterling job, encouraging children to be creative...  the best part for me, was having a glass of wine in the little cafe place... it took the "edge" off the cultural aspect ;-) 

This un-intentional installation is a highlight for me though - it's called "yellow transit van parked up"...  genius 

ONE good thing that has come out of it though, is the building of the new bridge behind it.  It looks over the wharf and is a great viewpoint.  I LOVE the diversity of craft on the waters.  Take a closer look at the ones out of the water - MY kind of "chock  work"...

Incidentally, this is the place we're thinking about asking to crane our boat back onto the water... if we do decide to bring it home on a lorry.  That decision is a while off yet and there are plenty of other things to think/worry about before then.

Until next time...