Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Josiah Wedgwood Experience

We moored by bridge 104 on the Trent & Mersey and walked to the Visitor Centre and factory complex near Barlaston. When we left we had learnt and seen a lot about making artistic pottery. Back in the 1930's the old factory at Stoke on Trent was being undermined by the coal industry and eventually flooded by the canal. This new factory started production in 1940. We watched as girls applied white relief to blue jugs, automatic robot arms sticking handles to mugs and lumps of clay being transformed into plates by machine.


Josiah was apprenticed to a potter and he became an outstanding scientist, artist and engineer. He invented many revolutionary processes. One was to accurately measure the very high temperatures in the ovens. After many experiments he created green glaze. His creamware was later called Queen's Ware after he sold a full service to Catherine 11 of Russia in 1773. He also encouraged the building of canals which he used to great advantage.

Josiah Wedgwood

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Holiday Traffic

The canals were not built for fast motorised boats and is suffering from wash damage. Some holiday makers are showing a lack of respect these days. "We are on holiday so must drink as much as possible and get as far as possible". They seem to rush along even when passing moored boats. Presumably have not experienced mooring pins being pulled out or had their boat lurch backwards and forwards when a fast boat passes them.


Gt. Haywood Junction

Having got our order back at Tamworth we are now heading north again. Each year requires a general plan to explore favourite canals and discover new ones. We want to get through Stoke on Trent to turn off on to the Caldon Canal. Many boaters have encouraged us to go see it. It is only 15 miles long to Froghall but there are 17 locks. The summit being 484 feet above sea level.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Commercial traffic

The government have suggested that the waterways should become more commercial. Some of the wide canals & rivers may be able to cope but the lack of investment since the railways 'took over' means that it will take a long time to achieve. Perhaps the railways should take more. The commercial boats are much deeper in the water than the average pleasure boat. So the much needed dredging will have to be addressed.

The canals are increasingly being used for recreation these days by many user groups such as bikers, walkers, fisher men and boaters. It is a 'natural' environment now and is very relaxing for hard working people to enjoy. Commercialisation will destroy all this.

Work boat

One way Street

The length of Coventry canal between Rugeley and Handacre is mainly narrow and slow going. Some parts are only wide enough for one boat. Thankfully we did not meet another head on which is surprising because we met one at most bridges. Apart from trees and bushes creating blind spots many of the new road bridges have been built at an angle to the canal so they too have created permanent blind spots. British Waterways are attempting to cut back the trees and bushes but still have a lot to do.

Armitage Tunnel

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

More pictures on our WEB

Spot the changes.

New item now available; wild life pictures.

More canal pictures.  Now 18 canals to see.

The book 'Life With A Narrowboat' now up to 9 chapters.

Click on

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Stone turn round

Despite an early shower we set off for Stone a few miles and locks further north west. The rain had stopped when we saw a boat ahead stuck in the shallows. Suggested he reverse off but he did not go far enough and got stuck again. We tried to pull the boat back with a rope but in the end managed to pull the bow off sideways. Stone was full of long term moorings two years ago. Now there are visitor moorings above and below the locks so we were able to explore the towns shops. A boat yard however still fully occupies the mooring in the centre but it does have a good chandlery.

Yard Lock, Stone

We have decided to turn round here because an order placed at Tamworth needs to be collected soon. We had to go up 3 locks and a mile out of town to a new turning point further away than expected. Many smart new houses at the northern end of town and some good moorings past the boatyard and Stone Brewery. All 3 locks are at least 10 feet deep with a queue of boats waiting. It is Friday and the holiday boaters are in a hurry to return to base. Have not known a day like it. Started off in light drizzle, then hot sunshine, then a very heavy down pour followed by sunshine again. We put on our waterproofs but the holiday boaters remained in shorts and sandals! Eventually found a quiet spot 2 miles out of town having done 4 miles and 8 locks.