Friday, 22 March 2019

Amber! 20th March

Pollington to Whitley Visitor Moorings

With a lovely day bringing in spring we had to cruise somewhere. Tilly was allowed out whilst we had breakfast, but came home on time so that we could make ready.

Lovely day for a cruise

Just as we dropped the clean pram hood a C&RT boat cruised past towards the lock. We were uncertain as to whether both boats would fit in the lock at once, I walked ahead and left Mick to bring Oleanna. The chap with the key of power waved us in as their big boat nudged up, plenty of room!

New crane

Sharing Pollington Lock

A shiny brand new crane had been fitted onto the boat, they had been to Goole to get it fitted and were now heading back to Heck where there is a big C&RT yard.

Ferrybridge ahead

Once up they pulled over and let us past. No coats required today, sun, sun, sun. Ahead of us Ferrybridge cooling towers, just to the right Eggborough and now just behind us Drax, the only one left generating. 

Pollington Hall

As we passed South Yorkshire Boat Club a 1970's cruiser was pulling out and fell in line behind us.  One of those with a sliding roof, perfect for a day like today.

Approaching Whitley Lock we pulled in at the end of the visitor moorings, hoping that the noise from the M62 wouldn't be too much. A low rumble in the background, it was acceptable.

The doors opened and our little thug went off to explore, the steep sided drain covered in duck weed did give me slight cause for concern. But if she got in there she'd have a better chance of getting out by herself than with one of us trying to help!

Fields of fun across the drain

After lunch Mick walked up to the bins with a bit of rubbish, still plenty more which we'll off load when we go through the lock tomorrow. Tilly had been gone just a little bit too long, so I had to do my mad cat woman calls. It took a while for me to get a response from her, but when I did I could see her on the other side of the drain! Well there were trees over there and tallish grasses which looked much better. No idea if she'd jumped across or if she'd found the footpath with it's bridge. Making sure she knew about the bridge to get back I was a lot happier about the drain.

Late morning C&RT notices had started to come through. At 11:30 Thornes and Wakefield Flood locks had been opened and within another half hour the hole of the navigation was open again the levels now in Amber. Checking the webcam in York the pavement was visible again and a chap was busy spraying the silt back into the river to tidy things up for the tourists. By the evening  people were sat out on chairs watching the river go by.

Thinking of Christmas 

Our summer chairs were dug out from under the bed as it was such a lovely afternoon. Mick pottered with the MPPT controller, he lengthened the time that the system is in absorption mode. I sat out and read through the script for this years Chipping Norton panto, Puss In Boots. The sun must have shone so brightly out of my bum last year that I've been asked back. This year I'll be absorbing myself in anything 1960's East End. A very amusing read, the fisherman across the way kept giving me looks. 

Tilly also busied herself by bringing friends home. One was a playmate. Tilly was removed inside so that it could make it's escape, but it seemed reluctant to. I offered to lend it a hand, but I must have been very scary as it decided to leap into the canal. Luckily there was a ledge, with the aid of Mick being more scary than me and a plant pot I managed to catch it and set it free in the friendly cover to dry off. 

Later on I brought home an aperitif, nice and crunchy, good for the insides. She wasn't too keen on it, so I made sure I finished it all up.

This evening we've been deciding which way to go. In past years when we've planned on heading south to the Kennet and Avon Canal, we've always ended up going north. We seem to be doing this again! Selby, York, Ripon? Over the top on the Rochdale? Decisions decisions decisions!

1 lock, 3.61 miles, 3 power stations, 1 east coast main line, 1 new crane, 1st day of Spring, 2 chairs, 1 script, 2 cats (puss and Tilly), 1 birdy, 1 aperitif, 1 playmate, 1 bridge, 1 game of stones, 1 pooh bucket on the roof, 1 river on amber, 1 fish crumble, 2 balls yarn wound, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Pollington. 19th March


Freda Carless moored below the lock

At 9am on the 6th March we had a C&RT notice come through informing us that the flood locks along the Aire and Calder had been closed due to rising waters. The level at Ferrybridge at that time was around 0.5m. It had risen quickly from a level of about 0.15m over night. So far they have not updated the notice, the level being at 0.9m this evening it's no surprise. It's slowly going down, but now we have an idea of how low it will need to get before the gates are opened again. This of course doesn't mean that the river is necessarily closed, the level markers are likely to reach amber before the locks are opened. 

One rubbish tree!

With this in mind we decided to stay put for another day, there was the cratch cover to clean! 

Swing bridge 3

In the afternoon we went for a walk into the village to see what we could find. Walking through the farm yard from Swing bridge 3 we were watched by the cows in the shed.


When we reached the main road we turned left thinking that there might be more to look at in that direction.


Most houses were newish, boiler flues instead of chimneys. Across from the village hall was a stall outside Lock Farm. Bunches of daffodils, rhubarb and eggs for sale. We picked up a box of eggs, but left the rhubarb for others, not our favourite! 

Slightly over grown 

A big notice on the side of the hall told us some of the history of the village. There had been an RAF base RAF Snaith (called this to avoid confusion with RAF Pocklington). After the war the buildings on the site became an open prison. By 1957 the camp became a borstal, the young inmates helping to clear up the airfield. 

Pollington Olympics were held for several years from the 1970's. A torch processed around the village, races, vegetable competitions and floats, a usual village fete. Football, tennis and cricket have had grounds in the village. A fairly normal village which started off life as a settlement around farms and now houses people who commute to work.

The George and Dragon

There used to be a row of shops and three pubs, only one pub remains The King's Head. The George and Dragon still stands proud on a corner. This was once the Greatest Pub in Britain according to Radio 2, but in 2009 it turned into an Indian Restaurant and sometime since the information boards were put up it has become a house.


Walking back along the canal by the lock we peered into the little sheds. On one side of the lock is a diesel generator, presumably used if normal power is cut to the lock. On the other side you can see the hydraulics just waiting for someone to press the buttons.

A long lock with many gates

The lock has four pairs of gates. Normally the bottom two sets are used, but when longer vessels pass through the lock can be lengthened. This can only happen with the god of all Keys of Power which only C&RT staff have.

Just what
is this?

By the bottom gates are two large white metal things. Does anybody know what they were for other than growing weeds in?

Tilly was fixated with this hole for hours

Tomorrow we'll assess the rivers and see how we feel, hopefully we'll move on a touch.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 clean cratch, 2 loads of washing (just where does it all come from!?) 1 average village, 6 eggs, 0 rhubarb, 1 friend a touch to shy to come out, 1 river still too high, 1 pair of socks completed.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Scrub A Dub Dub. 18th March


As far as we know the flood gates are still closed at Ferrybridge, here at Pollington is possibly the nicest mooring along this stretch, even if Tilly doesn't agree! The water tap being close did also have something to do with staying put today.

As we got up we stripped the bed and lifted the mattress for a good airing. The winds now having subsided to a reasonable breeze we could open windows again. At times last week the air inside the cabin felt like we'd already used it five times over, so it was nice to have fresh air again. 

Perfect drying weather

With bedding hung out on the whirligig, making the most of some sunshine and a breeze, more washing was put on.

Green and mildew

I then decided that lots of factors were in my favour, water on tap, some sun, a little breeze and picnic tables. Time to give the pram cover a good scrub. Over this winter we've noticed it starting to get a touch of mildew inside and where it is turn buckled to the roof on the outside it was going green.

followed by a good rinse

Mick removed the covers as I filled a bucket with hot water and some Techwash, the scrubbing brush and hose with spray gun attached were brought out and I was ready.

Each piece had a soaking and scrub on both sides, the picnic bench a suitable height to rest on (although you have to be careful not to leave your cover with lines from the slats). Once scrubbed they got a good rinse on both sides before being put back onto the pram frame to dry.

Stop IT!!!

Nasty Tom

I like it when they come outside to play. I helped by keeping sticks out of the way and killing them, sticks can be very pesky things at times. She had difficulty with the green snake, so Tom did some mending. He then had to test it, I my direction! I wasn't impressed, how childish!! So instead of helping I went to wait for some friends to come out and play. I waited for a long time by their hole, but none of them showed themselves.

Drip drying

The cratch cover maybe should have been done aswell today, but I'd had enough of scrubbing so we packed up. 

River levels are still high, the Ouse seems to have peeked and is on it's way down again. It rose to nearly the top of the life buoy. The Aire is slowly going down, maybe in a couple of days we'll be able to get through Ferrybridge.

0 locks, 0 miles, 4 loads of washing, 1 clean pooh box, 3 pieces of pram cover scrubbed and rinsed, 1 leaking hose, 2 buckets of wash, 1 dodging cat, 2 pesky sticks, 0 friends, 1 big hole, 1 lock walk, 2 giant sweat potatoes baked in the stove, 2 boaters with a bit too much orange food!

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Pooooteling!!! 17th March

Goole to No 3 Swing Bridge, Pollington 

At least there were ducks here!

With the weather calming down we decided we'd make a move today. Having been in Goole for almost two weeks now a change of scenery was much needed.

Mick got the bike out and cycled to Tescos to stock up on milk, bread and some green veg to go with our roast tonight. He also got a Sunday newspaper to make up for not getting our usual yesterday.

4pm today in York

Checking the river levels after the weekends storm means we won't be going too far for a few days even if the forecast is looking a lot drier. The Ouse in York is on the rise again, getting higher than last week so we won't be heading that way.

Just gone midday we undid the macrame, managing to swap ropes back to their normal places and pushed off. Not a totally calm day the bow moved out by itself. When we'd moored we'd winded so that any lapping waves would hit the stern and not keep us awake, a good decision, but it meant we needed to wind again.

Bye bye Goole

Mick backed up a touch to get a better position and then motored Oleanna round at speed, the wind trying to push us back into Goole. But with determination Oleanna made it round and we were on our way waving goodbye to the docks.

She's happy again

A head wind isn't that pleasant when cruising, but putting our hoods up we forged onwards, so glad to moving again.

2 sitting down on the job

Four of the desperado sheep were still cutting the grass as we passed, maybe they are the local Fountains team!

M62 ahead

The three mile straight kept coming, all the time windy but when we got under the M62 bridge things got a hole lot rougher. Waves with white horses whipped up at our bow. Blimey that wind! Even Oleanna looked a touch pensive. So glad we'd not tried this a few days ago!! There was a mile of this relentless gale until we turned the 90 degrees bend and instead of us being pushed to the side the wind calmed down a touch.

A grumble

Sykehouse Reservoir was busy. A grumble of fishermen, hunkered over their poles filled one side of the water. Four windsurfers were making fast work in the breeze, experts at turning swiftly, we only saw one of them take a tumble into the water.

The windy NORF

Only a glance down the New Junction Canal today, we were heading straight on towards Pollington, glad it was only a half hour away. The wind was now steady and waves met our bow all the way. Ahead the amber light at the lock waited for us, but instead we pulled in at the end of the visitor moorings, closest to the water point.


The hoses were connected (one didn't quite reach) and the water tank filled as we had some lunch. We'd moved at last, pootled our way through a head wind for eight miles. A new view, water just there what more could we want.

Some trees would be nice! 

There has been quite a bit of cutting back alongside the moorings. The nearest trees are across the drain that runs along side. The drain is quite full of water and far too wide for four little black and white legs to spring over. 

Not a bad view this evening

0 locks, 8.01 miles, 1 wind,  1 Sunday newspaper, 1 cabbage, 1 empty wee tank, 2 much rubbish, 1 mile of white horses and spray, 1 smiling boat, 2 hoses, 1 full tank, 1 disgruntled cat, 1 Sunday roast, 2 friends in the Blue Bell, York drinking pints of T, 2 boaters enjoying the sunset instead.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Better Is The Enemy Of Good. 16th March

to York University

Our trip to York was still on the cards, just not by boat sadly. We've stayed in Goole to be near the train station to make our trip easier today. 

Albert Street
Goole Station

With rain forecast we tried calling for a taxi to take us to the station, but no answer came, so we braved it and walked. At least if we walked, there could only be one hold up if a swing bridge was used. In a car there could also be a tailback from the station if a train came through, the whole of Goole stops for trains.


Only very slightly damp at the edges we caught a train first to Doncaster (retracing our cruise from a couple of weeks ago from Sheffield) and then back over Doncaster Lock to York. The lock each time was empty, no sign of Exol Pride, the River Don did however look really quite full.

The Ouse full to the brim from Skeldergate Bridge

Back in York, my home town, we caught a bus out to the East Campus of York University. The bar walls turning yellow with the daffodils and the River Ouse level with the banks. A Dutch Barge was moored up at Kings Staith and a narrowboat was clinging onto a trip boat pontoon, one of the few floating pontoons in York.

A good venue with huge glue-lam beams

At the University we walked down through the new campus to the Ron Coke Hub which faces out onto a lake in true York University fashion. Here we joined a couple of hundred people all brought together for the memorial of Professor John D Currey, father of my oldest friend Nick. John had been one of the founders of York University's Biology Department back in the 1964. Back then they were based on Micklegate as the campus out in Heslington was being built.

The lecture hall

It was a chance to catch up with Nick's family, not having seen his siblings for decades. Tea and cake was followed by us all filing into a lecture hall where we heard memories of John through his academic life, family life and his many interests. A full and varied life.

Harry, Nicks famous dog, recently seem in the i and front page of the Guardian

Mick had only met John once for about five minutes, but by the end of today he felt he knew a lot more about the man. The title to the blog today is what John would say to his students as they hunted for good results whilst looking though microscopes at particles of bone. I'd always known John was a lecturer at the university, but to me he was more Nick's dad who wore socks and sandles whilst riding his bike to and from the university in between orienteering weekends.

I also got chance to catch up with an old family friend Diana who I've kept in touch with since we sold my Dad's house, it was nice to see her properly today.

John Currey

Nick had complied a display of photographs and in a room to the side a 3D slide show, which summed John up. A lovely celebration of his life. 

York Station clock

The trains were a little bit more awkward returning to Goole. Here we opted to have a curry on our way home. However we changed our minds and decided to get a takeaway instead and get a taxi back to the boat. The chap serving said they'd be able to give us a lift, so we ordered and then waited. He came out from the back with an order, but it wasn't for us and disappeared to do a delivery. Our food then came out from the kitchen, only to be returned there to keep warm for quarter of an hour. 

The Viceroy

Eventually our driver returned and our food brought out again. With just over a mile to go we warned him of the speed bumps on Albert Street which he coped with, but when a big puddle showed itself he didn't want to go any further. Fair enough, the lift thing had always been a bit fractious with them even though he was the one who offered! We'd have been better off eating in and then walking back to the boat. The food was good, just a shame it wasn't a bit hotter.

Disappointed at not being able to spend a few days in York we considered heading that way still. But with river levels on the rise again today we are thinking again. The flood sirens were sounded in Todmorden today as the River Calder rose, this is where the river flooded and swept away parts of the Rochdale Canal a few years ago, this is our preferred route over the Pennines!

0 locks, 1 gone over 4 times on trains, 4 trains, 2 buses, 1 Toby, 1 curvy station, 4578464 daffodils, 1 new campus, 0 stepping stones, 1 man far more important than I knew, 6ft 10, 9 speakers, 1 old friend, 1 Harry, 1 apt meal to end the day, 1 hungry Tilly on our return, 0 Saturday newspaper.