Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Lapworth (Fieldfares without redwings)

It was back to work for Karen on Monday morning – the first day for over three weeks – at least she only has ten or so weeks left.  My first job on a Monday is usually to get the washing done, which I like to do first thing in the morning in the winter, so it gets a chance to dry in front of the stove before Karen gets home from work.  

The engine needs to be running in order to run the washing machine but, as half expected, the engine wouldn’t start – no noise, nothing.  This was just like Saturday when I called RCR out.  By the time the engineer had arrived on Saturday, the engine was running – I had kept trying it off and on during the morning.  The same thing happened on Monday; by the time the engineer arrived at midday the engine had started.  Once again there seemed to be no reason but it was suggested that the start/stop solenoid is failing.  I’m a little sceptical as the solenoid opens/closes the fuel supply so I would expect the engine to still turn over.  Anyway, I’ve ordered a new one and need to get up to a boat yard near Nuneaton to pick it up.

I still got the washing done but had to leave it drying overnight as it was so late in the day when it had finished.  I didn’t do a lot else on Monday other than hang around the boat and have a couple of short walks.  The field opposite us provides a lot of interest at present as it seems to be attracting a large flock of fieldfare that overwinter in the UK.  The birds are a bit like mistle thrushes but with brown/grey backs.  They are often accompanied by redwings but I haven’t seen any yet this year.  Oh, I did get our income tax returns completed before the end of the month deadline, so that’s a big tick on the job list.
Tuesday morning – damp and grey

Tuesday dawned grey and drizzly with a promise of staying like that all day.  The good news was that the engine started OK so I ran it for a while before going for a good long walk with Buddy up the Grand Union canal towards Knowle.

Having spent many weeks moored in the area over the last couple of years we have got to know quite a few of the locals and that also means Buddy has made some good friends.  It always amazes me that dogs remember each other, especially from a distance.  On Monday, when Buddy and I were outside, Bridie came across the bridge 70 yards or so up from our mooring and just sat there looking down at us.  Buddy did the same thing, sat on the towpath just staring back at him.  Instantaneously they rushed towards each other like old friends and were soon tearing up and down the towpath together.  The same thing happened when Sheldon, a lurcher who lives on the boat called Simon's Cat, appeared.

We are moored just down from Lapworth basin at the end of the Lapworth Link canal which joins the Stratford canal to the Grand Union canal.

Looking across the basin down the link (the shortcut described below)

There is a lot of interesting canal history to see in this area and there are many information boards mounted at various points.  One particular board has always fascinated me and I’ve yet to prove that what it purports is true. 

In order to convey the information board’s message, I need to build a picture of the area by explaining the satellite picture below.


The Grand Union canal was opened first, in 1800 – the yellow line on the right.  Before the Grand Union was formed in the 1929, this canal was the Warwick & Birmingham canal.

The North Stratford canal (in red) was opened next, in 1802, to link the Worcester & Birmingham canal with the Grand Union.

Lapworth basin was then added.  Lock 21 was built to drop the canal down to the basin.

The South Stratford canal (in turquoise) was then opened in 1816 and connected into Lapworth basin.  Boats travelling up the South Stratford and onto the Grand Union had to go up lock 21 and turn sharp right down lock 20.

Apparently, someone had the bright idea to build a shortcut (in pink), thus obviating the need to go up one lock and down another.  This is what the information board says but I find it odd that the engineers of the day didn’t realise this when they built the South Stratford canal.  I am obviously missing something but cannot find anything on the web to explain this.  The second photo in this blog entry is a view across the basin along the shortcut.

Looking down the short cut the other way (From Lapworth Link towards the basin with lock 20 up onto the North Stratford canal on the right)

A brief update on my dad before I finish: he has now been moved from Bradford A&E to a rehab ward in Airedale hospital near Skipton which is where he started a few months ago! Hopefully this week we can firm up on when he can move into the nursing home just up the road from Mum and Dad’s house in Gargrave.


  1. I think you are right about the fuel solenoid, now the starter motor solenoid would be different

    1. Thanks guys. It feels like the boat was just sulking as she had been left for nearly three weeks. It hasn't happened for the last three days now. Not good really as problem has not been solved. Cheers, Neil

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