Saturday, 10 February 2018

Saltisford (closest I’ve been to falling in for a while)

Friday was an early start as Karen, Buddy and I went up to Yorkshire for our weekly visit to see my parents.  Things are still pretty much the same, but Dad is now keen on doing muscle exercises, so we were able to help him with those.

Saturday dawned icy, but it started raining heavily quite early on so the ice on the water soon disappeared – well, there was a layer of water on the ice, so it couldn’t be seen. The ice was very thin by the boat because of the flow of water from the lock and when I opened the side hatches the usual gaggle of mallards appeared expecting to be fed.  I know gaggle is not the correct collective noun for mallards; it’s the term used to describe a group of geese that are not flying (skein if they are flying).  The collective noun for mallards is commonly a flush, but other nouns are also used like sord and suit.  I know all this because I used to collect collective nouns for non-human animals – there’s nowt so queer as folk as they say in Yorkshire 😉

In amongst the mallards was a solitary mandarin duck – it was just as tame as the mallards, so I got a good look at it:

Female mandarin duck

The males are much more colourful, but I haven’t seen any around here – the last one I saw was down at Alvechurch when we had the heavy snowfalls at the start of winter.

When I took Buddy out for his first walk I took the rubbish up to the boaters’ skip at the lock.  Stupidly I forgot how frosty it had been and that the water laying on the concrete was deceptive.  When I jumped off the lock gates (the skip is the other side of the lock), I slipped over and fortuitously fell away from the water – I could so easily have fallen the other way and got a nasty shock.  

Anyway, we wandered up to the next lock to see if there had been any progress on getting the old gates removed.  To my surprise, the work on lock 27 had proceeded at what seems quite a pace.  In one day, the old gates had been lifted out and taken away and the new gates had been dropped into place.

Crane still suspended over the lock – the old lock gates now removed…

…and the new ones are in place

That’s some weight: 3,250 kg, or over three tons in old money.  I wonder if that is the weight of the gate before the massive balance beam is added – I rather suspect it is.

Before I finish this short entry, I must mention a major milestone that happened in our family this week.  Sophie, the eldest daughter finally finished her thesis for her PhD – congratulations Sophie – what are you going to do with your time now? 😊


And finally, a picture of the mandarin expecting food:

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