Northwich Trader No. 969, 'Plato', 7th March 2007

Wednesday, 7th March 2007:

No we are not having a new 'Northwich Trader' built - well not yet anyway! The photographs on this page were taken during a brief visit (sadly made by road) to the yard of R. W. Davis & Son at Saul Junction earlier today and show some recently launched vessels in various states of fitting out. This is where our narrowboat, 'Alnwick' (the prototype 'Northwich Trader'), was built between 1995 and 1998.

Click here for more information about 'Alnwick', 'Northwich Traders' and R. W. Davis & Son.

Thursday, the 22nd February was Graham's 60th birthday and although we had taken the decision not to celebrate it (in our view the process of aging is hardly worthy of jubilation!) we have, nevertheless, been kept very busy with various items of pension administration - one nice surprise was when a new 'Whitbread Privilege Card' dropped through the letterbox - apparently, as a 'Whitbread Pensioner', Graham qualifies for most of the discounts that he enjoyed when he was an Area Manager!

Boating activity during February has been minimal but we did allow ourselves a trip to Braunston and back during the weekend of 24th and 25th February and on the Saturday afternoon we met again with other members of the Canal World Discussion Forums - this time for the 'Braunston Banter' at the 'Admiral Nelson', an excellent pub which is half way up Braunston Locks. As before it was great fun meeting with the real people behind the internet personalities and we also enjoyed an excellent meal at this well run establishment - which we are more than happy to recommend. A pleasant surprise at Braunston on the Sunday morning was that we found the Chandlery open at Wharf House Narrowboats Ltd so we were able to top up our supply of LPG and buy some oil and grease. Several other establishments were also open so our visit to Braunston on an otherwise quiet Sunday was to prove most productive and enjoyable. One odd thing about Braunston, especially when we tie-up near 'Butchers Bridge', is the reaction from 'GC' the cat - it is as if he suddenly comes alive - he insists on jumping ashore and going off to explore - sometimes spending several hours away from the boat - its almost as if he's lived there all his life!

The reason for Graham's visit to R. W. Davis & Son at Saul Junction was mainly to thank Phil Trotter for his efforts back in September when he helped us with our broken diesel fuel injection pump. The original pump has now been completely overhauled by specialists and will be fitted to one of the Kelvin K3 engines being rebuilt at the yard. Meanwhile, on the basis that you don't try to mend something that isn't broken, 'Alnwick' will continue to run with what was originally Phil's 'loan' pump.

Whilst at the boatyard, some photographs were taken and information was gathered to update our database of Northwich Traders. The photographs below show Michael Zair, the proud owner of No. 969 'Plato' (which is shown in the picture above) applying red oxide primer to the handrails; next is No. 970 'William James' tied up outside the fabricating shop with No. 967 'Beast' breasted up on the outside; and bottom, a view of the yard from the other side of the canal with 'Beast' nearest the camera - partially visible to the rear of 'Beast' is a British Waterways 'River Class' ('blue-top') butty No. 207 'Cam' which was built by the Thames Launch Works Ltd at Teddington, in June 1957.

Michael Zair with 'Plato' - 7th March 2007

William James and Beast - 7th March 2007

Beast with William James, 7th March 2007

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© Graham & Jane Oliver 2007