Blog

New Kid on the Block

Mr Dimmock had better look out; buck his ideas up; be prepared to be deposed: there’s a new kid on the block.

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Young Andrew Haysome has spent a little time on the yard bagging coal this summer. He was obviously fired up, having read my last missive and having seen the calibre of coal-bagger to make it onto the short-list for coal-boating honours. He even progressed onto the advanced course for the more mature student which involved using the patent Awbridge Bagging & Sealing Mill. He’s certainly one to keep an eye on; there’s even talk that coal-bagging may be included at the next Olympic Games in Tokyo. It’s got to be more interesting than synchronised golf. Andrew also found time to smarten up the Narrow Boat Trusts’ pair of boats, Nuneaton and Brighton, on which he was staying. He even owns his own flat cap. Look out, Ryan!

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We have continued to be busy this summer. Since Southern Cross and Bletchley departed (see previous missive), we have loaded Jules Fuels' boats, Towcester and Bideford, with fuels for their own customers in the Northampton area, and we have loaded the Narrow Boat Trust pair for their customers on the Thames and surrounding areas. 

Towcester and Bideford turned up with a fresh victim, ahem - crew member, Matt, who provided us with amusement by performing his comedy “man overboard” routine. 

The Narrow Boat Trust Principle Loading Team made an appearance, and demanded to be taken to the Bell at every opportunity. No change there, then. We finally persuaded them that they should leave, and we even helped them up the Wolverhampton Locks. Actually, we drew a few paddles on the top half of the lock-flight, where we found them long-lining the boats up the locks with professional aplomb. We then helped them to navigate to the Great Western for a light refreshment.

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We also managed to find time to deliver a boat-load of coal to Sarah and Gary at Lyons Boatyard on the Northern Stratford Canal. We had a completely expected dreadful journey there; the Worcester & Birmingham Canal is in a dreadful state; far worse than the Staffs & Worcs Canal which is currently being dredged. The Stratford Canal is no better. No matter; we had plenty of help off-loading and we finished up in the local Indian restaurant, where the replenishment of vital fluids was undertaken. 

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As previously mentioned, we’ve had the Land & Water dredging team carrying out much needed cleaning of the Staffs & Worcs Canal. There have been a few familliar faces on the job; Dai Carver is the dredger-driver and, it turns out, a stunt double for a thespian dredger-driver. He will be appearing on a telly screen near you some time in the future in a load of nonsense called "Forgotten”. Another familliar face is that of Jim Taylor who has been employed solely to model a new range of pink gloves. I even managed a couple of days on the tug myself - just to keep my hand in.


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They have been transhipping dredgings from boats to lorries right by our yard, and this resulted in a very busy yard indeed. We have had to juggle our own lorries in and out with the dredging hauliers to-ing and fro-ing. As well as bulk tippers arriving with fuels for us to bag, we send pre-packed coal out; the accompanying picture shows John loading twenty-five tonnes of pre-packed Excel onto a lorry for delivery to a customer in Cheshire. We do aim to deliver by boat whenever possible, but sometimes the logistics of a job just make this impossible.

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Our next trip out will be a jaunt down the Severn in the company of Mr Dimmock. We have magnanimously decided to give him one more chance to prove that he still has what it takes in the cut-throat world of international coal-boating. Watch this space.

coalboat@waitrose.com © John Jackson 2014