Sunday, 6th April 2008: Snow in April
The photograph above shows our British Waterways 'on-line' mooring at Cropredy after the unusually heavy fall of snow on the morning of 6th April. By the time we got back to the boat, after ringing the church bells for the morning service, the sun had melted most of the snow but we thought it was still worth a picture! We have spent most of the year, so far, on the boat and over the Easter holiday, we enjoyed a brief excursion to Napton where we met up with other members of the on-line Canal World Discussion Forums for a get-together or 'banter' at the Bridge Inn.
The forum was set up as a 'virtual waterways community' but is rapidly becoming a very real community of friends with similar interests. On the Tuesday morning after our gathering, small convoys of boats headed homeward from Napton in various directions; it was all extremely friendly and great fun. Several of our new boating friends have their own Websites or 'Blogs' which make interesting reading and it is our intention to create another 'Links' page, in due course listing our favourites among these. In the meantime, the following links a worth a look:
nb Bones, nb Hadar, nb Keeping Up, nb Ten Bob Note, nb Warrior.
At the end of March, Graham, together with three friends who have been learning to ring the church bells at Cropredy, went to Hereford for a short residential course to improve their skills. The picture above shows part of the bell frame in the, twelfth century, central tower of Hereford Cathedral. The tower, excluding the pinnacles, is just over one hundred and forty feet high above the city streets and the ringing chamber, which is just below the frame near the top, is accessed by a narrow spiral staircase (with hundreds of steps) as well as various complicated walkways and passageways. The bell in the centre of the picture is the Tenor which was cast at Bristol about five hundred years ago and weighs just over 33 hundredweight. The picture to the left shows Graham (he's the one holding the rope) ringing that bell on 29th March 2008. This was during a demonstration session where visitors were allowed to join the regular band of ringers to ring rounds and changes on all ten bells.
Earlier in the month, Graham had, rather foolishly, fallen down the steps from Alnwick's side hatch while entering the boat from the tow path at Cropredy. As a result, he suffered a very painful cracked or broken rib but this does not appear to have inhibited his enthusiasm for boating or ringing!
Later this month, we shall be taking 'Alnwick' to the dry-dock at Welford for a hull inspection and 'blacking'. We hope to resume work on the exterior paintwork at about the same time; the front cabin and front deck are now in urgent need of attention and we also plan to replace the life expired 'dog box' with a more efficient ventilation hatch based on the 'Watertight Skylight' proposed by Walter Bergius (founder of Kelvin Engines) in a letter that was published in 'Yachting Monthly' as long ago as July 1920. Also, we have temporarily removed the cushions from the fixed seating in the front cabin and these have been sent to the Caravan & Boat Seat Cover Centre in Bristol for re-covering. Other outstanding jobs include long awaited updates to this website, including more photographs of 'GC' the cat and a proper tribute to the life and work of our close friend, Richard Lovatt, who died last year.
Our cruising plans for this year depend very much on our ability to finish the work that we have planned but we do intend to be at the Crick Boat Show which takes place between the 24th and 26th May this year as well as the 2008 Saul Canal Festival in early July - at the latter, we have volunteered to help with the beer tent and ice cream stands. Let us hope that the weather is rather better than the torrential rains that caused last year's Saul Canal Festival to be cancelled.
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© Graham & Jane Oliver 2008