Monday, August 25, 2014

Is this a record?

Hello, it’s me again.  This might be the longest gap in these Herbie blog posts since I started in 2006!  Well, I’ve been busy and to prove it here are some photos of what I’ve been up to over the summer break.

We went from the Pontcysyllte aqueduct to the Slough arm in three days! Alright, not by boat, but we did it.  While we were in Shropshire camping we took Jacob and Grace out to Llangollen to see the sights.  When we got to the aqueduct Kath and Jacob got a fit of the jitters and declined to walk across so I walked over with Grace who seems to have no fear of such tremendous heights.  in fact she enjoyed it.


By car it’s only a few minutes to the Chirk aqueduct so we did that one too.


That was on the Thursday.  On the Sunday we were back home and knowing that Adam was bringing Briar Rose to High Line yachting on the dear old Slough Arm we hitched a ride from West Drayton to help down the arm if the weed proved too much.  Actually there was next to none, save for some encroachment of floating pennywort here and there. Stupidly I took no photos to prove it.

Back at home I have not been entirely idle.  Progress on the Buckby Can painting is slow but there is some.  Here is where we’re at.


You can see I am practicing painting traditional canal roses.  They’re coming along but I don’t feel ready to assault the can with them yet.   On the canal skills front, I’m also trying to get skilled at rope splicing with the help of a very good iPad app called Grog Knots, highly recommended, it shows animations of all types of knots and stuff and also has very good notes on applications and pros and cons of different knots.  In particular it shows eye splices from a different point of view than all others I have seen.  Here are a couple of my attempts. I need to get better but they sure are strong enough.


My rather basic woodworking skills could always do with improvement but I have managed this summer to make a shallow wooden box to hold our cruising tackle – windlasses and mooring gear, so they are ready to hand. The box also has the benefit of raising Herbie’s deck seats to a better sitting height.  Stupidly I have also forgotten to take a picture of it but it now rests aboard Herbie and seems to work. I’ll take a picture next time we’re aboard.

Still at home I have been relearning how to play guitar. After forty years of honing my acoustic guitar skills it seems that there is a whole lot of new stuff to learn when you go electric, so I am deep into practicing pentatonic blues scales and the like as well as a very undertaking a revealing scrutiny of how Jimi Hendrix played what he did.  It soon becomes obvious that he had done his musical homework.

More camping last week and off we went towing our trusty Dandy camper, seen here through the awning at night. Ours is now eighteen years old, and this miracle of British ingenuity is till going very strong and keeps us comfortable and warm and dry in any weather.


Here’s where we went


This is the view from the Dandy door.  We were at the Warren just round the corner from Folkestone at the foot of the white cliffs.  Folkestone town has little to commend it but the campsite is great and the little beach below is quiet and good for swimming and stuff.  We still managed to fit in a sort of canal fix because not far away is the Royal Military Canal which winds around Romney Marsh.  It was dug to prevent a successful landing by Napoleon and the half a million (yes he did have that many) soldiers in his gang.  If it came to the crunch the plan was to flood Romney marsh to bog Boney down.  Here is the canal seen from the rather splendid Port Lympne wild animal park.


That’s sea at the top.

The animal park is especially good for watching Gorillas like this one doing an imitation of me in contemplative mood.  Despite the fact that this one happens to be sitting by a fence, they do have acres of room to wander about and lots of stuff to play with.


The likeness is quite striking.

So you see we have not been doing much boating but we have been enjoying the summer and still have lots lined up over the coming month. In late September and early October we’re planning a longish Herbie expedition taking in the Banbury canal day.  I might get that can finished by then.


Ian and Karen said...

Hi Neil, our new home is just a stone's throw away from Port Lympne Zoo. You had a good view of the canal, we have taken a rowing boat out on it at Hythe and are tempted to get a canoe to do the full 26 miles.

Oakie said...

I will see you at Banbury then after my marathon Grand Canal Tour to Liverpool and back. Looking forward to it Neil.

Vallypee said...

My what a busy bee you've been! I like the idea of learning to play the electric guitar. Good for you! As I've already said on the latest post, your roses are truly excellent, and as for the trips, it's good to see you had some nice weather as well. Lovely to see some Herbie posts again.

Herbie Neil said...

Oakie - I'll put the kettle on.

Val - Thanks, it feels good to be back on line, especially when I get comments so I know you are still out there.

Ian and and Karen - go for it. that canoe trip sounds brilliant.